How’d you guys do? We all played this lottery even if we didn’t want to. It’s the single biggest determinant of how well you do in our capitalist society. Hard work? Bootstraps? The birth lottery laughs in the face of these absurd concepts.
Wealth needs to be taxed. It cannot be that the main driver of success in our society is left to random chance, and yet it is. Your outcomes in life will be largely determined by this.
“Why did you bring race into this?” Because it’s also the largest factor in the lottery that has one of the largest effects, because I am a white man (pākehā), I am not discriminated against every day. I don’t have to tolerate micro aggressions, casual, and explicit racism. What did I do to deserve this treatment at the betterment of my peers? Nothing. I won the lottery. In the hospital when under suicide watch, I had to listen to explicitly racist white old men (of a different era? weak excuse) talk about their racism proudly. (Don’t worry that ate at me too because I’m not strong enough mentally to get into that conversation in my current state).
I did pretty well myself, aside from ADHD and Autism (and co-morbid conditions due to late diagnosis and lack of treatment) and being bisexual, I pretty much won. I had parents that loved me, support when I needed it from this key part of my life. I am a straight looking cis white dude. I am almost the human embodiment of privilege. When I get three years older, I’ll have entered the realm where my reckons are golden simply due to these factors.
I have accepting parents (well, not sure about Dad, but 99% sure he’d be ok with me being bisexual, I came out after he had returned to nature – I’ll never know). I lived in the closet for 35 years. But others who haven’t been able to “conceal” (hate this term, but can’t think of a better word, I hid who I was to blend in) their sexuality don’t have this privilege. Some are subjected to conversion therapy (still legal in NZ despite it being extremely detrimental to the point it drives people to suicide). I’m also a cis man. Our trans community constantly suffers in society due to circumstances outside their control. Again, I won. Deserved?
We were able to afford a deposit on our house in Dunedin. The reason here, a combination of luck (investing in property at a young age (20)), and some inheritance (from my birth lottery). This house by pure luck happened to exist while I owned it in the fastest growing housing market for the three years I owned it. Cool, luck and birth seem like totally valid reasons that are morally defensible. (Sarcasm here for those who can’t see it). The birth lottery came through again. Such a good system!
Right wing people some of those on the left believe that what they have in life they are entitled to, they believe in the concept of meritocracy. All the while collecting inheritance from parents who were either hardworking or lucky enough to get ahead before things turned bad for the rest of Aotearoa in the Rogernomic/Ruthenasia reforms of the 1980’s and 1990’s. It’s not true. That does not even begin to mention most of what they own was stolen from Māori – I’m not here to explain or justify this, it’s the truth and if you can’t deal with that then I’d advise you to educate yourself here.
The reality is people who are billionaires had usually already won the lottery, or even gamed the system in their favour due to their privilege. Elon Musk got rich cause his dad made money in gemstone mining in apartheid Africa. He might be a smart dude, I’m not here to judge his intelligence. He was successful because he got near infinite retries on the arcade machine of life. When you come from wealth, unless you’re a complete mess or suffer some extremely bad luck you can always bail yourself out.
So how does the birth lottery work in NZ? I’m not sure I really need to explain, but if you are a cis straight white male person – you’ve won! Congratulations! Is your life shit because of poverty? Oof that sucks. Birth lottery fucked you, or you squandered opportunities. You still have it easier in every day life than others. If you think your experience sucks, know that others without these attributes suffer more than you in the same circumstances. Change any of the identifiers before person and you’ll be worse off.
You got private health insurance at a reasonable rate? Cool. Thanks for perpetuating and encouraging ableism in the health system. Those with disabilities or mental health conditions are either made to pay a premium or outright excluded. Again… if you don’t suffer the consequences of this system cool, you won a lottery, it’s not anything else.
So how do we fix it? Admit the problem. Too much of outcomes in life at the moment are determined by this random chance. We need to fix it.
We need to fix our value systems and have the guts to admit we had advantages others were denied, then we have to get rid of concepts of “earned gains” for unproductive work. No one earned shit just by having money somewhere that made more money.
Nurses in hospital were talking about their hours, ask any (pākehā) patient in hospital if they think nurses pay should be raised. The answer is almost unequivocally yes. But mention raising the tax rate, and my mates the old white guys started bleating about hard work and meritocracy. Literally after telling me he’d just given his kids 10k. Meritocracy?… nope birth lottery.
We have a sickness where we think human rights are allowed to be breached on a daily basis in the name of progress. A reminder that we have enough for everyone, but some of you were taught not to share. Usually those with the most. About time you grew up.