The souks of Marrakesh’s Medina certainly seem like a throwback to the Medieval and the forgotten. If it wasn’t for the marketers touting the usual tourist tack, the ubiquitous bottles of Coca-Cola and the mesmerised tourists it would seem like a forgotten time. The chaos, the smells and the products have, sadly, long been cleansed from the streets of Europe. With them the art of haggling has long since been eliminated from common practice. The art of haggling has more or less collapsed in Europe about 150 years ago. And with it, it has taken our ability to partake successfully in the practice.
Tag Archives: Poverty
Why do houses of worship stand imperiously – almost mocking – overlooking the slums of cities? The photo above was taken in Casablanca; however, could just as easily have been taken in any city. It’s an almost universal issue with the world. The house of worship could be a Christian Cathedral, Islamic Mosque, Judaist Synagogue or Buddhist temple but the situation would be the same. They tower over the poor like a boot on the throat. The colossal Cathedral in my home town in Killarney was constructed during the Great Irish Famine in 1845, while millions in the country starved.
The nineteen year old headmaster – with a second level qualification – leads me to our shelter from the morning sun. We sit in the shade of a pine tree, around a locally-produced wooden table and chairs. I am warmly greeted by the other members of staff, a man in his late-teens and an eighteen year old mother nursing her baby boy, as I take a sit at the rather delicately-placed table. The school – a cobbled concoction of mud, concrete and bricks – sits almost apologetically beside some eavesdropping cows and goats. This was my first experience of being a ‘teacher-trainer’ last week.
We live in a time of the greatest expansion in technology, healthcare, education and innovation that the world has ever seen. We flap wildly like the fabled Icarus with Green-house gases threatening to melt the wax. However, we soldier on, we innovate, we adapt like we have always done before. It is our ability to adapt and unify in the face of common danger that has allowed us to adapt and regenerate ourselves as a race and a species. It is no accident that the human race is the one that has dominated society. However, though much greatness has been accomplished and evolution has led to advancement there has always been a primitive avaricious gloom to the species as well.
The corporate loan shark ‘Wonga’ has received a lot of media coverage in the UK recently. The website boasts easy short term loans with an APR of 5853%. The most disconcerting element of this relatively recent development isn’t that it exists – or that it is allowed to exist – but that society has reached such a point of utter desperation that it has come into existence. Surely in a ‘Developed First World’ country legalised extortion is not a necessary evil. To quote the almost comically ludicrous interest rates borrowing £1 for a week expects a return of £6.96. We could argue that people have the freedom to choose and they need to take responsibility for their own actions. Therefore they have to suffer the consequences of them. Further, the question remains: are people really this desperate?