Ziv Tidhar
'Piggish capitalism'?

Israelis, blame yourselves

Op-ed: Before slamming ‘piggish capitalism,’ Israelis should first look at themselves

These days everyone talks about piggish capitalism, but what does this concept mean? It's throwing the trash bag out of the door, so the Arab who comes tomorrow to clean the stairwell can take it. It's talking to your children's teacher like dirt, just because you earn more than her. Piggish capitalism is paying hundreds of thousands of shekels for your wedding, based on a cold calculation that the cheques of your friends, who can barely get through to the end of the month, will cover it and leave a surplus for a luxurious honeymoon.


It's clearing the furniture from your rented apartment right into the middle of the pavement and entrance to the building, because with such municipal taxes, they deserve it. It's throwing the old newspapers at the bin rather than into it, so the same Arab can practice clearing them up. Piggish capitalism is agreeing to a price with the electrician, plumber or air-conditioning technician and then reneging, denying, and chipping away at the cost. It's not visiting your grandmother for six months, just because you work hard and have no time to breathe, only to find the time just when you need some money.


It's dodging your building’s maintenance payments because you're not a sucker, and anyway in a few years you'll sell the apartment and move to a bigger one. Piggish capitalism is to tell everyone at work about your amazing last holiday in Berlin - and anyone who hasn't been just doesn't know what they are missing. It's parking the car in the disabled space, on a crossing, a pavement, double-parked, or to just take a shortcut - just because you are in a hurry - through the bus lane.


It's disregarding the world with elegance and also smoking at non-smoking areas, because for the money you paid for the beer no one has the right to tell you how and what to do. It's not giving a tip to the delivery guy who brought your shopping, because the prices are high. It's loudly and visibly humiliating the public service clerk and saying she should be fired, because she's just the random clerk who came to work yesterday and is clueless. It's insisting on employing a foreign worker to clean the house just because she takes a few shekels less than the market price, and not paying her Social Security. Why should you pay? She'd never sue.


It's not bothering to write the occasional thank-you note when the service was good or ex-gratia, but on the other hand hastening to send vicious letters from your lawyers. Piggish capitalism is agreeing to buy two or three or four books for 100 shekels without batting an eyelash; so what if the writer gets screwed and crushed.


It's asking to transfer your child to a school across town, where there are fewer Ethiopian kids. It's failing to tell your child what conditions his grandparents lived in when they came to Israel, but also to tell the truth: they were happier than both of you put together.


It's the way you enclose your balcony however you like, even if it's an eyesore for the neighbors - there is no law against it, and anyhow everybody is doing it. It's not explaining to your 4-year-old child not to load up the plate, but to take a few small portions. It's not saying hello or good morning to the guards at the mall. It's beginning a sentence directed at the supermarket cashier or the shop assistant with "give me." It's dreaming all the time about living in a better place. It's burning or downloading music files without paying royalties. Insisting on using all efforts and every trick in the book, to pay less than the asking price for a show or a concert. Anything but pay the regular price.


It's running around the shops on the eve of a holiday like a maniac in search of a gift, rather than sitting down to write a greeting. It's finishing reading this list and asking, so what does he really want? Everyone is obviously corrupt. After all, I’m alright; it's the rest of the country that’s at fault.



פרסום ראשון: 08.01.11, 18:41
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