Stephen Fahey: Small Money

There is an old saying, „When in need, run to the poor”. They know what it is to be in need. And yet, we as a society always look to the rich to save the planet. Naturally, we assume that big money is the answer. Surely it’ll pay for new technologies that will turn the tide of global warming, or rearrange the balance of wealth through innovative tax reforms. And while it may, eventually, it hasn’t. Nor does it appear that it ever will. I mean, it’s had all of recorded history in which to do so, but has not.

So, what to do? Do we ignore the problem and hope it goes away? Do we continue to bash and attack the wealthy? Do we continue to assume that someone else will fix the problem? Or do we find a new path? What if we „ran to the poor”, to each other? What if we took all of our anger towards the ills of modern life and fed it into a campaign of good? What if we gathered the smallest sums from the most people and honestly ran a system of assistance that wasn’t influenced by politics?

We have the tools. We all have the tools. They’re in our pockets right this instant. Any one of us could set up a page on which people could donate 1 euro. And through which we could feed enough small money towards education or medical or food aid, or housing, or anything, to make a real difference. Most of us wouldn’t notice the money out of our pockets. Nor would most of us have to physically do anything at all. And it would even create jobs on top of the assistance it would bring to those in most need of it.

Such a fantasy isn’t fantastical at all, as well we all know. We all know that it is not only technically possible, but possible without the massive kind of effort that the traditional governance of nations insists it ought to be (because such an organisation is not beholden to political contributions). Digitally funnelling funds to a well and honestly managed voluntary body, even to the order of tens or hundreds of millions of euro, let alone the easily possible billions, has never been easier. It’s almost as if we created the internet to bring us together for just such purposes.

The fact that such a body could be organised has been proven over and over again by the mass demonstrations, smaller scale fundraising and the fast paced changes in societal norms – all of which have been catalysed by the few but have affected the many. We are already hurtling towards a more self-aware global society, evidenced by ever growing support for the disenfranchised and the defenceless. But we are yet to solidify our capabilities. We are still fractured. Because we are still coming to terms with our power as individuals, let alone as a whole.

But the day is coming. We are already displaying the maturing characteristics of conscious global citizens. We are already witnessing worldwide events that used to remain hidden from us on the other sides of national borders. We can no longer hide from the hard and the beautiful truths. Whether we want to or not, we are joining. We are already aware that „us” and „them” no longer exist. We are already aware that there is only „us”, even when that means people on the other side of the planet who we will never meet or know personally.

What’s more, the system of governance that we currently operate under is also changing. The modern interpretation of feudalism and monarchic rule cannot hold the people of earth forever. Not only because we are simply too many in number, but because we see the so-called leaders’ dirty laundry online every day. The old way is already crumbling. Its grasp on us is already loosened by the spread of knowledge. But let the fool who thinks that leadership will not be needed in the future beware. The ship will still need to be steered. The only difference is that the clothes worn by the captain will no longer be green.

Stephen Fahey

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Dept of Social Prote
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