learning from history

Apparently we have learned nothing from the evils of the industrial revolution. Those who have read Dickens have read about the worse of history during the industrial revolution, children were forced into labour in underground mines, families were ripped from their communities to relocate to industrial townships in order to find work, and employers exploited the workers for profit. All in all remembered as a terrible time of inhumanity during history.
This week as I was listening to a debate on stores opening until 9pm, it occurred to me that the same thing was happening. These days we have youth working in the massive organizations such as McDonalds, and finishing work at midnight then getting up for school the next day. Do we really want to live in a society where consumerism and the mighty dollar can be worshipped 24/7 while family time and leisure are set aside for them?
As I contemplate the convenience of 24/7 shopping (I previously lived in cities this was the case) I realise that consumerism becomes a way of life because we allow it. If we will stop shopping, they will close the shops. After all, that is what a free market is all about.
What kind of society do you dream of living in? I want to live somewhere that compassion is the currency, where people invest in community and make decisions based on what is good for families rather than business. Is it just a dream? No, all it takes is for us to choose to shop specifically and carefully…during reasonable hours.
I want novels today to reflect that community, not to be the dark stories that Dickens wrote. Billie Letts, Maeve Binchy and Mitch Albom are the authors who write stories about our day that reflect the value of community. I hope that I live in a way that makes these values come to life in my community.

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2 Comments on “learning from history”

  1. Laura Says:

    You said it. Family/community quality of life is compromised by our/my insatiable need for the ‘right-now’ mentality. There is no waiting for anything, nor is there any opportunity to see a more beautiful picture that comes with going outside and looking at nature. It must be commercialized & made into a shopping game to have the newest and latest. Our souls are so deprived of what will truly satisfy. 24/7 isn’t what’s is cracked up to be, and your paralell to Dickens, no matter how literarily significant he may have been as a writer, is a good one. He pointed out suffering and loss through his characters. What kid needs a cell phone so bad they must work at McDonalds? I’m all for learning work ethic, but what are the goals they are learning working all hours of the night & day. I worked since I was 15 at a variety of jobs, and did learn, work ethic, but I think I was also a cog in the wheel of the cycle I believe you are addressing. Richard Foster discusses the implications of feeding this cycle in our life choices, globally, and our responsibilities, in his books “Freedom of Simplicity” and “Celebration of Discipline”. It isn’t just the obvious things that weaken our moral fiber but our economical demands on others through a massed produced culture.
    long comment- must be on my mind- Thanks for the post- Laura

    • angelvalerie Says:

      Thanks for your comments Laura, good to hear that there are more of us willing to stem the tide of consumerism as the new mass religion.


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