What Makes the World Go’ Round: Effects of Money throughout the Globe
“The local legend says in 1945, the Nazi Germans hid a train laden with gold and valuables in a secret tunnel nearby as they were fleeing the advancing Soviet army at the end of World War II.” – CBS News
Treasure hunters and raiders alike are flocking to Warsaw, Poland to seek out gold hidden within the fabled Nazi “Gold Train”. These hunters are using state-of-the-art detectors, earth-penetrating radars, and the best digging equipment money can buy! While historians have said that the event that lead to the disappearance of the train could have happened sometime in 1945, there has never been any conclusive evidence that the train ever existed in the first place. At the dig site in 2015, there were confirmed findings of magnetic equipment, but neither the train nor its golden contents were found. In the heat of all the commotion, CBS states:
“… The World Jewish Congress reminded Poland’s authorities that, in the case of a discovery of a treasure-laden train, any valuables belonging to Jews killed in the Holocaust must be returned to their rightful owners or their heirs.”
Need I remind you that the Polish were amongst the first to be forced into concentration camps in World War II? They, with the Jewish, homosexuals, and prisoners of war were condemned to death and held subject to horrific torture “experiments” for simply existing! Yet the rumor of buried treasure would suggest that by-gones be by-gones! Though these individuals will never get their grandparents back, maybe the gold will turn out to be reparation enough.
Let’s move to the States. As more and more retirees seek more than just a Social Security check in the mail, we see their smiling faces all the more in the public domain – or do we? Part-time employment for the elderly, or what I like to call, “Old Person Jobs” (OPJ’s for short) is a poor attempt at getting the most out of the elderly without giving them the health benefits, insurance, and the like. I simply typed into Google, “Old Person Jobs”, and found at least a dozen employment sites and blogs pertaining to post-retirement employment! On USNews, I found the top ten OPJ’s! These include: “Sales demonstrators”, messengers, tailors, security guard supervisors, public transportation attendants, seamstresses, taxi drivers, crossing guards, etc. So, if you’re elderly and need a few extra bucks, you could always stand in front of Wal-Mart and hand out coupons to people (weird job, right?), be a UPS driver, bus driver, or taxi driver (fun, fun!), or if you’re really lucky, you could risk your life by jumping out in front of traffic with a stop sign in your hand! Sarcasm aside, what are we doing with our elderly? Why do they even need a job post-retirement? What happened to giving people a break after 40+ years in the work force? Instead of letting them rest and give them the opportunity to do what they want to do – like go to Florida and play some golf – we see them subjected to menial labor that keeps them out of the public eye (unless they creepily offer you coupons), keeps them driving (if you’ve ever been behind an elderly person driving, you see the problem here), and keeps them in harm’s way! I’m no economist, so I can’t talk my way out of this situation. But I press the question onto you, dear reader: why won’t we give the elderly a break?
Istalif, Afghanistan: A town burned and sacked by the Taliban in 2001. This village has been known for their resilience after rebuilding from the ashes what was once thought impossible. The town is world-renowned for their pottery, and started their pastime once again after their home was pillaged. But now the Istalif are endangered again as violence increases and the economy collapses, leaving them with decreased foreign presence, resulting in lack of selling their fine pottery. New York Times reports a sad statement from a citizen of the town:
“’I have forgotten what a dollar looks like,’ said Mir Golom Rasool, a 70-year-old store owner — exaggerating for effect, but only a little.”
With the exception of a few non-profit organizations trying to pour some money into the Istalif economy and sell their pottery online, there is no upside to this story. Some say that this is the darkest era of the small Afghani town’s history.
In summation, money is a funny thing. It makes people do funny things. Some of these things include accepting blood money simply for the fact that it’s there, and jumping in front of a car because Social Security just doesn’t cut it anymore. Money is a funny thing in that it can make or break a culture, no matter where it is in the world and no matter how good the craft is. Money is funny like that. Now, for Christians, who see money simply as a tool to glorify God, what should we do about these situations? Should we be more in tune to world affairs, perhaps? That we may not make the same mistake as the Polish? Should we be more kind to our elderly? Should we attempt to change the way our government and private businesses treat our retirees? Should we send a little money to towns like Istalif, so that they may indeed reach the same age as we see here in America? I don’t know. I leave that question (or charge) to you. You’ve seen the effects of money’s role in three different societies: what are we to do?
Sources: NYTimes, CBSNews, USNews
Photo Source- http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/world/asia/afghanistan-istalif-pottery.html?_r=1
March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019
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