Sylvia's writing to freedom

Capitalism for children 06/01/2011

Due to the festival of “La Befana” (an old crone) my children are still having their Christmas holiday. The festival takes place on January the 6th and the city where my kids go to school has renamed itself for this occasion as the city of “La Befana”. All over the city are large cloth dolls, which represent “La Befana”, hanging from homes, sitting on statutes or flying on a broom. Also really big socks are hanging from the houses. The Italian Catholic legend says that the 3 wise men were visiting baby Jesus and on their way to Bethlehem they asked “La Befana” for directions. This part confuses me, because the wise men came from the East and had to travel to Bethlehem how on earth did they end up in Italy?

Where most countries are done after Christmas with all the food and consumeristic behaviour, Italy takes it one step further in celebrating Epiphany in a modern way. Throughout the whole week of the 6th children get extra candies and at the peak there are also gifts. For our kids, as being Dutch, this could have been a really nice period when it comes to collecting gifts, Dutch people celebrate at the 5th of December “Sinter Klaas” , that’s followed up with “Christmas” and last but not least “La Befana”. My kids are “unfortunately” having parents who happen to disapprove of these consumeristic worshipping of capitalism. My children get their fair share when it comes to practical and sustainable toys/stuff, but that doesn’t depend on such days.

So my children are still at home and enjoying their free time, although there is homework to be done. Last year my daughter A. found a game on internet called “GirlSense” (an on-line dress-up doll game) and also my son J. started playing it. After  a week or so they were fed up with it and started playing outside in the snow. This year there hasn’t been that much snow and they decided to start again with this game. With “GirlSense” one can make his/her own shop/boutique, design clothes and accessories, sell and buy and advertise, make friends etc. J. started with a lot of passion to set up his shop again and turned out to be a fast learner at what the possibilities of the game are. He designs with great ease and he sells like crazy. He understood the principles of capitalism and competition, so he looked around in the other kids their stores to see what others liked. He did put his logo on most of his clothes and bags so he started branding. Everybody who bought something he made friends with.

The game can be played in two different ways, one can buy her/himself into the game and get a pro-account or play with the free version. My children have the free version. When a kid makes a certain amount of friends, sells enough, buys enough, designs enough, get enough visitors in his/her shop and enough dumbs up he/she can be upgraded to a pro-account. J. plays now to get an upgrade. He buys cheap nice looking stuff from the pro-members and sells it for a lot more to all others. He keeps track of the time zones in the USA to advertise when most children are at home and behind their computer.

I haven’t seen any doubt in him about him being a boy and making dresses, shoes and handbags. He is designing stuff and enjoys himself. Although at a certain point he started to look for shops owned by other boys and he found a few, so a bit of a relief I did see. Than he saw that a normal gamer made I-pods and within a few seconds he had found out how the boy had done this and J. started making I-pods and did some readjustments to the model. Right now he isn’t even able to put this article in his shop, because it’s sold before he can add it to his shop. He’s also really serious about the pricing, we as parents can learn from him. It’s really fun to see him making comments in a Desteni like way, we lifted up the veil of capitalism for our kids and now J. is playing the kids out against their own greed and self-interest.

The game makers do not allow abuse on the site and that’s good, but the results are that when J. wants to put a text on a t-shirt or pair of jeans he’s bound to the words that are approved of. Though there is always enough one can do within boundaries, he named a fashion line “GOD DOG”, “EGO” etc. It’s all in English so it will improve also his English. As all games this one will be labeled as “done it, seen it” and school life continues as normal, but for the time being he enjoys himself. J. plays this game in awareness of how the real world functions, if you’re not aware this game will make you a perfect slave to consumerism and addicted to the one and only solution possible CAPITALISM. How would this game operate when the running motor behind it was an Equal Money System? There wouldn’t be a pro and a normal version to start with, all gamers would be equal. With labour money one could buy stuff and decide if one would like to design and sell. The clothes would be comfortable and sustainable fabrics to choose from. Would be interesting an EMS game for children…



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