Friday, November 25, 2005

REDUCTIONISM...NEW YORK STYLE

If one comes with cash, New York City is a marvelous place. The more cash you have, the more marvelous it will be. Of all places I've ever been, this place has cultivated its seductive allure to the highest degree. But I wonder about the workers I see spewing out of the subways, fanning out across the streets and dissipating into nameless high-rise office buildings. Does this city open its heart to them? Or is this one big, pathetic, one-in-a-million crap shoot in which every hopeful young person is spending his or her life in the hopes of making it big--or of being recognized, rewarded, made significant--by the Big Apple? For every lottery winner, how many lose and fall further at the expense of the few?

AT THE END OF THE DAY. Does the Big Apple shine for those who labor in it? Or does the extreme power, privilege, and price tag of this city juxtapose to their meager pay and comparative marginality, making them cynical, hardened, resigned? Are they resigned to exist in a city and a system of wealth that needs and uses them while reducing them to 21st-century indentured servants? At the end of the day, at the end of a lifetime, what has this city given them for their contributions? For all the talk of freedom in this city, control--of money, of power, of creativity, of image--is the overwhelming, if unspoken, reality of this city.

1 comment:

  1. As we waded through crowds of shoppers in midtown Manhattan today, I found myself musing over recent U.S. Census Bureau data that indicates more Americans have never been more wealthy and at the same time more Americans are falling into poverty. We are nation of contrasts, with the gap widening. A course correction now will prevent heartache and civil unrest in the future. But it is not likely that leaders, elected and held in power by moneyed interests, have the ethical capacity or moral will to even speak to the issue. We need different kind of leadership.

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