I live in Stockholm Sweden. It’s a small capital with about 1 million inhabitants. I work in a clothing store and volunteer for an organization that educates Swedish clothing companies in sustainability and environmental questions. I should be very happy about having a roof over my head, food to eat and friends and family that love me. But still I’m not that happy.
The following story marks some of my thoughts about the world. It’s not strange that people get fat or addictions to other shit than shit food. It’s boring to work in an office or store 8 hours a day. So what are people going to do when all they do is work? Yes off course they have to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and eat cakes. They have to do something to get rid of that scratchy feeling inside. Then the money is gone, and the cycle of living in a rich city and being ”poor” starts again.
I’m taking Swedish “snus” (tobacco in a sachet that you put under your tongue) and drink coffee to ”take care” of that scratchy feeling. For a few minutes it disappears. I know I have to scratch it with something else. What does it really mean? What is that feeling saying? I believe we don’t really have the time or courage to investigate it. But I think that is what I have started. I’m scared I won’t get rid of it. But at the same time I feel a need to for a major investigation.
I think it all comes down to feeling lonely and unloved.
I feel a huge difference in the scratch when I feel loved or when I look at myself in the mirror and say ”Hey, you look great today”, or when I feel I really accomplished something that I’m proud of. Or when I’m doing what I love: talk to people, dance, sing, write, cook etc. I believe, when things start to go wrong either at work or in our personal lives, we start the hunt for quick fixes. The quick fixes might be what make the economy wheel spin. “The guys at the top” who need all of that money must have a really bad scratchy feeling inside.
I’m not sure in exactly what way I’m questioning the economic system. Because money itself is not bad, and the idea of changing services is really good since we might not like to do everything by ourselves. But we could all be self-supporting I believe, and it might even be good for us. Not that I’m suggesting that, but a more balance and less of what we don’t need would probably be better. Food, a comfort place to live, clothes for protection against cold or hot weather, air and love- isn’t that really all we need?
I have never had a job that is really needed by the society.
We would probably get by without me standing in a mall selling expensive dresses. The world would spin anyway. Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves what the purpose of our economy is and what money is? The purpose with the economy should be to serve as many people as possible. “What is money?” is a harder question to answer. I don’t know how it works in your country, but in Sweden, the commercial banks creates the money the second the customer signs the loan paper. Creating money out of nothing is kind of strange and then they get paid for it. It’s like getting paid for air. The definition of the word economy according to the Swedish encyclopedia National Encyklopedin is; management of material resources. Are we taking care of our resources in a good way? Not really. In Sweden, we know that we have brothers and sisters in countries far away that are starving. But it doesn’t help that we know that, and it doesn’t seem enough to do charity projects, because we still have starving people. What is it that makes the economy work so bad? Maybe it’s the greed; the fear of not getting a piece of the cake that has made up the system for a very long time. What if everyone knew that they were at the exactly right place at the right time, with the exactly right person (“good” or “bad”) or not with a person at all at the right time? What if we always knew that we would have food and a place to live? People would probably be more relaxed and satisfied, and maybe the economy would work. I don’t know. Why are people afraid of not getting their piece of the cake then?
I have been thinking about this one a lot, and what I’m constantly getting to is: L-O-V-E. In this case it must be about to little love or no love at all.
The system is also built upon the need to perform and do better or at least as good as your colleague. Otherwise someone else will replace you, and you won’t get any money to either get your basic needs satisfied or scratch that scratchy feeling with. People get depressed and burned out. People have heart attacks. The system is not built upon what we really might be here on this earth to do. Love and create. Every single one of us must have his or her own unique creativity that could NEVER be replaced with someone else’s. But most of us don’t have the time (money) to find that creativity.
Shouldn’t we build a system where we all could focus on creating a healthy and loving life? Sweden is a small country with many sad kids (adults) ruling and destroying their surroundings. If we are going to turn this ship in a better direction for the whole world, we need to start love ourselves and build a new economic system. Hopefully when I’m done with my “investigation”, we have one more person who loves herself and a sad child less in the world. And hopefully, I’ll find out what to do with that scratchy feeling.
Anja Nilsson is a Swedish writer and communication consultant with a background in fashion retail and a passion for art.