*This is going to be meandering, and probably not going to go anywhere, so if you keep reading, don't say I didn't warn you.
I just learned about the freegan movement. Basically, it seeks to minimize consumption and ones participation in a capitalistic system. I think this is an awesome idea, but hopelessly improbable. It'll probably go the way of the Hippie communes in a little while.
But some days, I really wish that I could join them. I wish I never had to touch another dollar, or look at numbers on paper representing some electronic money that I owe or have somewhere in the ether.
Last spring, I took microeconomics. The very first day in class, I'm sitting in the front row, my laptop open to faithfully type down the notes of the day. This was the class that was going to teach me how capitalism works: how current injustices are a result of a misapplication of capitalism, and are not inheirant to it. This was the class that was going to turn me from my godless socialist ways.
Okay, not really. I went into class thinking that this was a waste of a perfectly good hour that I could be sleeping. I had to take the class for my major. The first day of class, I was sitting in the front row waiting to take notes, but that's because I wanted to get the material, take the test, and not have to be there again.
First day the teacher's giving his lecture, saying that everyone in the United States is a capitalist, that no one is a socialist. I raise my little hand and say "No, I'm a socialist...There's a socialist party in the United States." I was duly ignored, like most of the time.
I stopped going, shortly after the forth class that made me want to chuck my laptop at the teacher. The entire CLASS is based on false premises, not the least of which being that people are inheirantly selfish.
One of the more interesting classes in my memory was when we were learning about the Prisoner's dilema. (Which I had already learned of in philosophy). For those of you unfamiliar (and too lazy to click over) the, short version of this story is that there are 2 prisoners, A and B. A or B can turn the other one in. If both keep silent, both go free. If one turns the other one in, the one who turned the other in goes free, the other one goes to jail for 10 years. If they both turn each other in, they both get 5 years.
So the teacher asks "What would you do in this situation?" After about 3 minutes of no one answering, I raise my hand.
"Did I do the crime?" I asked.
"That's not relevant to discussion." He answered.
"Yes it is" I said. "If I did the crime, I would confess. If I didn't, I wouldn't".
"Yeah, well confessing isn't an option" He said. "No one would confess"
"It is an option, and people confess all the time".
"Well, it doesn't work that way. Most people would implicate the other one".
I went back to my internet.
On the last day to drop, he invited everyone to come take a look at their grades. I went into his office.
The first thing he says is "Well, you haven't been attending classes, so you should think about dropping". He then looks at my grade and says "Oh, it seems you have a 92 in class...but it'd be higher if you started attending class".
I smiled, and said thank you.
Going back to my original title, I didn't learn much from class that I wasn't already aware of, but I did find out that capitalism really is the horrible, stupid philosophy that really does bring out the most selfish, greedy characteristics in human and rewards them.