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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Looting Motivator

There are many causes for the riots occurring in England tonight.  I look for feelings I may share with the rioters—things that with the right conditions could result in my looting shops.  I find frequently lurking beneath the surface of my thought is the tendency to take for granted the immense labor required in producing a simple good.  For example, when I go to a restaurant, Olive Garden for instance, the establishment because of its excellence makes everything look easy from the outside.  In addition to the preparation and presentation of food, the restaurant likewise is the customer of growers and distributors who though immense labor similarly makes their contributions look easy—one might say almost effortless.  This tendency to take excellence for granted even extends to my attending worship services on Sunday.  Great effort is required to perform all the tasks in preparation for a worship service, yet I sit there and take it all in each Sunday with little appreciation for the work required.  And, of course, this goes many times over for many labor and capital intensive things I take for granted such as uninterruptedly enjoying the utilities supplied to my home—gas, water, electricity, refuse collection—with little thought about what’s required to provide it.  This assumption on my part that the plenty of life is a simple, easy matter (as simple as flipping a switch) could lead I believe to a belief that I should be able to enjoy these things by the simple plucking of them from the trees of production where they grow heavily and abundantly.  I keep remembering the face of a shop keeper in London who is standing in her looted store and crying.  She said “Why do people do these things?”  I’m afraid one of the answers is that your efforts in making the store a nice place to shop is taken for granted.  Your shop takes on the appearance of easy excellence.  In appearance it is simply a tree that sprung up naturally—no, with even less effort, magically—and is loaded with fruit for the taking.  I know this is only perhaps one minor factor in looting, but lack of appreciation for the work of others in producing a product—and thus maybe even a resentful envy for the display of plenty—could contribute to the grab-it-now mentality.

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