How much are you worth?

We (and with ‘we’ I mean; people living in the free democratic western part of the world… inhibitants of countries that are not directly under threat of being classified as part of the axis of evil) are getting more and more used to determining ‘worth’ or ‘usefulness’ in economic units; money. for example; the reason why people should be warned not to smoke is not ‘because smoking is not good for you and makes your life less pleasurable*’, but ‘smoking can cause cancer and the treatment of all the cancerpatients costs the society money’. You may re-edit this example to fit a diversity of subjects from ‘homelessness’ to ‘invading countries’. Whether or not we do something all depends on economic value.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is very much opposed to killing the pandabear (a species for which you may argue that its struggle may have quite a lot to do with natural selection), but does not have a problem with the inhumane slaughtering of poor babyseals. I wonder why. On the other hand; you may have a real problem with the fact that in some countries they eat dogs (I know I do), but do you care about the millions of pigs that suffer each day to become a hamburger? Or the chickens that are tortured by KFC?

The best way to survive in this world is to be worth a lot. And not just in a Donald Trump/Bill Gates sort of way. I guess there are some guidelines to becoming more valuable. First of all; geography matters. I’d say that Asians and Europeans are quite valuable, but not as valuable as Americans. If you’re African: you’re screwed. The world does not care. My conclusion is not based on personal beliefs, but on media attention for natural disasters.
A second important factor: be cuddly. Why don’t we care about chickens but we do thin that dogs need to be saved? Well, ever tried to cuddle a chicken? Why do we cry over a dead dolphin and laugh at a suffering squid? Cudliness. Ofcourse; cudliness is also cultural, so if you have to choose a culture to be cuddly in; choose the Western one… which, as we’ve already seen is the most important and valuable et cetera.
Factor number three: be unique. No matter how cute and cuddly a dog is (or a babyseal for that matter) they are less valuable than the pandabear. Question: how many dogs kan you kill to save the life of one pandabear? If your answer is ‘one’, may we kill your dog?
Which bringhs us to factor number four: raise your value by being close to the important people, both geographically (which also brings us back to factor number one), emotionally and biologically. I shall briefly explain myself: Geographically: if your neighbour has cancer: you care. If someone on the other side has cancer: you don’t. (well, not really… be honoust). Emotionally; if your neighbour has cancer: you care, if your dog has cancer: that’s a tragedy. Biologically: if someone tortures and kills a monkey, you get angry. If someone tortures and kills a monkey to prevent a human being from pain and/or death: you may still feel sad, but most of us will think that’s okay.

I think it is safe to assume that everyone who reads this falls in basically the same category; human beings, from the Western hemisphere, with abouth the same uniqueness and proximity to those in power (ok, American readers may still be a bit more valuable than the rest of us, except for perhaps -according to Micheal Moore- Americans from Flint, Michigan.) now we come to the fine-tuning. Your economic value also rises by the following things: IQ, social network and status, health and lifestyle, whether or not you’re a parent, voluntary work and… obviously; worldy goods you already posess.

If you are not the brightest bulb in the box, and you sit in a wheelchair, which may mean you don’t get to meet many people, get a relationship and have children and on top of that you drink (occasionally) and smoke; you’re still buggered.
Maybe not as much as a smart, healthy and social African who unfortunately does not own diddly, but still…

If your goal is to survive in this world; you know what to do.

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