Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vacation or Infatuation?

Today's in-class daydream is my internal debate over the true merits of capitalism. I understand that I've been indoctrined to the highest degree by 18 years of Rush Limbaugh in the background (thanks Dad) and another two at one of the most libertarian schools of economics in the country, and I get it. Rationally, socialism makes no sense.

Waiting in lines sucks. Getting low quality service sucks. Paying what turns out to be a higher cost for all of this sucks. Constant embezzlement sucks. No merit-based advancement sucks.

But the reality of my time in Italy so far is that life doesn't suck. I live in a culture that just seems to have lower stress, in general. The food is better. Naps (siesta) are part of the culture for everyone. There's never a need to eat McDonald's because the pace of life is just a little slower.

The only straw I can clutch is my hatred of the bus system here, particularly the 19 bus. It does the night run between the guys' and girls' apartments, and to go out we take the 8 bus to a stop that's about halfway between our two apartments. Getting the girls home via the 19 bus generally requires us to sit at a stop for a half hour or more late at night, though.

Basically, what I'm trying to figure out is: am I enjoying the Italian culture (really, the European way of life) because it truly makes me (and people) happier, or am I enjoying the fact that I'm on vacation so I have no job but can still spend money without really thinking about it? I'm leaning toward option B - rationally I must be just romanticizing life here - but part of me thinks there's some merit to option A. I'll get back to this in a more coherent way in a later post.

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Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty