Friday, January 30, 2009

Between Dreams and Economic Playground

This morning while squeezing Hellmann's jalapeno sandwich spread on hard boiled eggs, I noted the "this is the time for real excitement" slogan on the container. I like food, I even enjoy it, but excitement sounds more like the brainchild of an avid copywriter than something I might feel when thinking of sandwiches or even caviar.
Yesterday night in a news item, elegant women claimed they are excited that now, because of the economic crisis, they can afford buying designer items they could only dreamt about until now. I like nice clothes and accessories, but dreaming about them is really not me.
Our dreams and aspirations, among other things, define who we are.
As a teenager in Romania, a Jewish American student tried to court me, but we had no connection. His dream was to buy his mother an exclusive shoe shop, a dream I could not relate to for different reasons. Being born and raised in a communist regime with no private businesses, I could not relate to a dream about any private business in general, and a boring shoe shop in particular. We were indoctrinated that real work produces a usually tangible something, buying and selling was considered parasitism.
Our dreams change during the years as we open up to new people, ideas, places, and experiences. Now I can at least understand such dreams, but not dream them. The transition is usually from one extreme to the other, until the pendulum stabilizes somewhere in between. When coming from a communist experience into a western economy, one usually embraces the political right and free market theory.
To understand where my economic pendulum stopped, imagine a sports ground with boundaries and rules defined by the state (laws and regulations), that also provides the referee (police and judiciary system), and players who play freely all sorts of games. No wonder in communism, where the state controlled all the games and winning or losing had no meaning, the players lost their motivation to play.
So what do I dream about? Affording a comfortable living.

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