aidan floatinghome

Nov 174 min read

Pandemic Situation and the Dream of a Living Wage

The argument for a living wage feels very real. It is not just a thought for lock-down time but would help reset the rift between the rich and poor that has grown drastically in the past 30 years, and reinject some diversity into the world or at least stop the last bits of colour from draining out.

We need to stop with this perpetual growth model - it can't be sustainable on a finite planet! We should take stock of where we are: what works and what does not. We need to scale things back to more sustainable levels and be as considerate of global effects and the global population as we claim to be.

Perhaps governments could start by covering healthcare and basic housing, maybe even a basic amount for food and amenities, making the job something we do to improve our standard of living, thereby hopefully reducing the constant need to create meaningless positions just so people can earn. Perhaps financially incentivise jobs that are undesirable but necessary and can't be automated. I know there is social welfare, but this should be made more accessible. In fact, i would argue that it should be a default state! I also believe there should be a cap on expanding wealth, but here i just wish to outline my situation, knowing that there are others situated similarly...

I constantly find myself in debt due to the exorbitant prices of anything with a minimum ethical and quality standard; due to the constant charges common to every person that should in my opinion, be overseen by a social structure or government along with no-interest banking; due, in my particular situation, to the absorption of the entertainment industry into the easily duplicable virtual realm!

I feel trapped in this system and excluded by it at the same time, and i don't think i'm alone.

Before the pandemic i was living hand-to-mouth, common for people in my line of work. I am principally a live musician and sound-engineer, so when the live entertainment industry was shut-down in march 2020 and all work was cancelled, i was fucked! I am not alone in this either. There are a lot of struggling people right now, mostly freelancers (including artists and all that in here) and small-business owners, some with families and dependents... I, on the other hand, am lucky to have amazing friends and family who were able to step in and help bridge the gap until the government responded with an aid package (in which regard, kudos, Germany have been quick and accessible). That money ran out in august and luckily, again, i had some work during the autumn, while restrictions were temporarily lifted. Once again, though, i find myself looking for help to get through the next bit of lockdown. I have faith that the German government are once again on it. If not, it will be slim pickings come christmas!

In the mean time, however, there is the existential question of what is the point?

Why wait for work to come back in an industry that is probably going to struggle for a number of years to get back on its feet when i could be learning to do something else in the mean-time? Sure i enjoy the work, but is that really enough? I am quite fed-up with the '0' constantly staring back at me from my bank account and find it hard to see art fixing this problem... How would i have got through a situation like this if i was living in Ireland, for example? How would i get through a situation like this again?

I am looking into the British government's advice on the matter: to retrain! currently i am learning the German language and hope to join the forces of academia once again as an electricians apprentice in the near future (if any of my Berliner friends reading this has advice, please pass it my way - i'm not sure yet how to do the education thing here!). It will probably be useful in conjunction with the music and all, but mostly i hope it will help me with the bank balance!!! Again, i don't think i'm alone here!

"What next?" i hear the chorus sing.

Be well y'all... winter's coming!

My next post will be something light, like a winter porridge recipe!

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