Saturday, November 7, 2015

First World Problems

People having been using the phrase "first world problems" for a while now. For those who are unaware, First World Problems are the sort of thing that people complain about, although when you step back and look at it, it's a usually petty or privileged thing. You feel kind of silly complaining about your smartphone not working when, really, people are scrambling to eat around the world. The third world, anyway.

The point is made, of course, but it degenerates fairly quickly to the point where anything anyone does in modern society boils down to "someone is suffering, somewhere." That's when I have a problem with it. When you drill everything down to the lowest common denominator, you're implying that no one ever has a right to complain about anything, ever. I'm not allowed to complain about my food service being poor because there are people in the world who don't have enough to eat? Why not? I paid for it.

I think it's sometimes difficult to separate different societies, and yet it's foolish to pretend differences don't exist. There are huge issues with war, food distribution, exploitation, and poverty in the world, but by and large there's little we could do. We can stop hunger, sex exploitation, child labor, and all the trouble in the world. But we don't, because it means we have to send troops to other nations to kill and be killed and spend a huge amount of money and in the end it will be worse off because all that does is create terrorists who will fight us decades later.

Once you realize that the solution is out of your hands, what can you do? You can put in a token effort to some good, solid NGOs who will at least do their best to alleviate some of the worst conditions, but even that is largely inefficient and comes with its own set of problems.

Yes, I know, it's a joke, but as with most things nowadays a lot of people don't think it's a joke. Sadly, I fear these people are going to be in a perpetual state of disappointment. 

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