Why can't the one per cent play nicely?

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Why can’t the 1% play nicely?

In schools, these people would be called “bullies”. But now, because of capitalism, they are called the leaders of industry, says Steve Parry.

A few months ago, I talked about my daughter. She is now two years old, and her political development is now aggressive, nihilistic anarchism. She doesn’t want to ‘smash the government’, she wants to ‘smash anything she can find’. She is not interested in stealing things; she just thinks ‘everything is MINE… and I’m going to break it’.

Now, she is the most selfish person I’ve ever met (and I’ve worked with celebrities). So, together with the lovely staff at her nursery, I’m trying to change her. I’m encouraging her to share – and not to attack anyone she thinks might steal her things. Of course, I’m exaggerating about my daughter. But I have noticed that everyone in society agrees that we should encourage children to share, to be kind and to help other children. But this ends when you become an adult. Then you see the real values of capitalist society: selfishness, individualism and greed. The people who would be called bullies in school, are now, when they are adults, described as entrepreneurs, leaders of industry and courageous capitalists. People say they are brave and full of energy.

It is difficult to accept that many people see this as wonderful talent, and think that it will save the economy. But you do not need to be a genius to take money from vulnerable people – you just need to have no feelings.

But my biggest problem is the huge gap between what these people really do and what people say they do. The media and politicians say these people are clean and good. Everyone praises them. These people have become very rich because other people have worked very hard. But they also want everyone to like them and admire them. This is why they pay less tax when they give money to charity. ‘Yes, of course I’ll help the poor, I’m a kind person – but what can I get from it?’

We tell children to share at school, but this is forgotten with adults. In Greece, they are suffering from big cuts, but people say this is necessary. It’s like Dr “IMF” giving a pill to a sick patient; but really, it’s like stealing the heart of Greece.

For the one per cent of very very rich people, learning to share and play nicely when you are a child is just acting for ten years. You have to show that you think about others and and that you are generous, but it’s not real. This is just pretending. The reality underneath smells bad.

I’m sure my daughter will learn not to be selfish soon. It’s just a phase. But this selfish phase seems to be taking a whole lifetime for IMF boss Christine Lagarde and the others. Maybe they should spend a few afternoons a week at my daughter’s nursery to learn? If they don’t learn, at least my daughter would kick them!

Steve Parry is a comedy writer, performer and political activist. He is Welsh and lives in north London. You can contact him on Twitter @stevejparry

As this article has been simplified, the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed. For the original, please see: http://newint.org/columns/steve-parry/2013/04/01/why-cant-one-percent-play-nicely/