Ownership is an Illusion

Another incredibly ambiguous title for some sort of sociological topic I’ll be discussing. You know me, I love creating titles that not only catch your attention but also get you thinking. At the end of the day, that is my goal. To stimulate the minds of my fellow readers, who ponder the subject of this post they’re reading from their smart phones, laptops, or whatever device tickles your fancy. Fascinating. The many items in which we can display my blog for you to read. With Apple TV, you could probably even be reading this from your 75″ plasma screen TV (how exciting).

Everybody now-a-days owns the latest gadgets and gizmos. The newest IPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, Google Pixel, or perhaps you’re not a tech savvy person and you’re perfectly content with your Nokia. Maybe instead, you indulge in the newest Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, or Lamborghini Aventador. Don’t like cars? How about a Harley Davidson? Forget transportation, your first major priority is becoming a home owner. Will you choose a lovely three bedroom house in the suburbs or a two bedroom farm with open land out in the country? After all, these are all major purchases and I don’t mean in financial terms. Sure, all of these expenses are huge but you’re probably considering settling in your home to raise your children (which is usually 18 years depending on what you consider to be the age of maturity). That is a long time. But don’t fret, once you own this property, no one can take it from you and you’ll be free to live your life in this home for as long as you desire. After all, you own it.

Unless of course, you don’t.

Let me introduce you to famous sociologist, Karl Marx. A jack of all trades. He was a philosopher, historian, political theorist, economist. You name it, he’s done it. He’s most famously known for his theories in sociology (sociology being the study of human behavior in social contexts). His theory was known as conflict theory. His theory posited that capitalism would inevitably create tensions between classes that would ultimately lead to its own destruction. Why? Because people don’t like being unequal, specifically the lower-class. The poor despise the rich because the rich have everything the poor wish they had, and the rich despise the poor because they see the poor as not trying hard enough to be successful. Eventually, this classism will lead to a revolution in which the poor overthrow the rich (of course that never actually happened as Marx was so hoping it would, can you tell he was a communist?). Marx only identified two classes: the Bourgeoisie (the owners) and the Proletarians (the workers). The Bourgeoisie were the capitalists. They owned the companies, the properties, they even owned the workers. The Proletarians on the other hand only owned one thing: their labor.

Interesting concept. With the bourgeoisie making profit in any way they could, lowering wages, hiring fewer workers, replacing people with machines, the proletarians are struggling to make any real, long-term purchases. They also can’t save. Every penny goes straight into the bare necessities like food, water, shelter. Additionally, big purchases are risky. They spend all their hard-earned money on the snazzy new car just to have it repossessed by the bank because they couldn’t pay their mortgage.

That brand new Porsche we were talking about earlier, along with the IPhone X and gorgeous new suburban estate, isn’t really yours. The bank can take it from you just as easily as you purchased it. So answer me this, when you have nothing in your possession, what are you left with? What do you really own? What is one thing no one can take away from you? According to Marx, our ability to work.