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Citizens' Voice logo for Aesthetic Realism and Eli Siegel on economic justice
Saturday, November 20, 1999
Blue Line for Aesthetic Realism and Eli Siegel on economic justice
 
Value people, not profits

Editor: 

     I recently read an Associated Press article on the struggles of working men and women in Wilkes-Barre.   There were descriptions of Wilkes-Barre citizens barely earning enough money to survive, of people who are homeless having to sleep in their cars and in the woods.  And the sad fact is many of these people work.  That Americans who work every day -- many two or three jobs -- are poor and hungry is an abomination and a national shame. 

     Why is there so much poverty today, even as the news and so-called experts tell us that our economy is healthy?  The answer was explained by the great American educator and historian, Eli Siegel.  In 1970 Eli Siegel, founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism, showed that our economy, which is based on seeing people in terms of profit, had failed because it is unethical -- is based on contempt for human beings.  He defined contempt as, "the lessening of what is different from oneself as a means of self-increase as one sees it." 

     There is sheer contempt for people in an economy where people must choose between paying a doctor's bill and buying food for their family. 

     I agree with Sister Marie Larkin who came to Pennsylvania from Ireland nine years ago and is quoted as saying, "The CEOs of these companies are making millions.  They're making it because some poor worker is earning a pittance .... I think it's criminal." 

     In the international periodical The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known #1220 titled "For America to Fare Well," Ellen Reiss, the Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism, explains why people are poor, including people who work, and what will have this end once and for all in America. "The only reason people are poor in this nation is the profit system and the hideous contempt at its basis.  The basis of profit economics is that the wealth persons produce as they work day after day does not go to them, but to someone who did not do the worked -- a boss or a holder of stock .... And moreover, profit economics is based on some few persons owning the means to produce the things every human being needs.  It is based on people being able to get what they need for their very lives or their children's lives only if they can pay somebody profitably enough." 

     As long as children are going to bed hungry, as long as a father must worry that he will wake up without a job because the company he worked for is going to move to a country where labor is cheaper, America will not be the nation she was meant to be.  That is why it is necessary for people to ask these important questions asked by Eli Siegel:  "What does a person deserve by being a person?" and "To whom does the wealth of America belong?" 

     When these questions are asked by every legislator, by every citizen, the United States will be a truly kind and proud nation. 

    Matthew D'Amico
 
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