Ownership, in our experience, seems to be tied to power and status. Buy these tapes and you’ll be more successful at work! Buy these clothes and men will find you more attractive! Buy these electronics and everyone will think you’re urbane and hip.
We’re looking at you, iPad and Kindle.
But then there are programs like Ithaca Carshare, with a concept that goes against that very idea, working out really well. We sometimes forget that individual ownership and claiming everything we can see isn’t the only way to go. There are other options.
Maybe it isn’t the actual owning that is important. Maybe it’s being able to say we own things that makes it worthwhile. But is telling people you own 360,000 songs on iTunes really worth the time, effort and cost? Is displaying six TVs in an educational building worth it, or is it the bragging rights that people aim for?
The sense of entitlement is strong in our culture, and as cliche as it is to mention, 10-year-olds have cell phones. Ten-year-olds? Really? Since when did 10-year-olds have the sense that they need to own the newest technology, except for in our country and in our generation?
This entitlement is too often ignored, we think. For example, did you know that people are brought here from other countries with the promise of fair work and pay, then treated almost like slaves? (Check out page 11 for the article “Be Our ‘Guest.’”) Or that young girls, forced into sex trafficking, are the ones that are punished under the law while “customers” get a slap on the wrist? (page 14.)
Ownership in the sense of the haves and have-nots will probably always be an overlooked social issue. Sometimes at Ithaca College, we ignore that social dividing line of the haves and have nots, because it’s safe to assume that we, as students at a private university, have a certain amount of economic privilege. With this privilege comes an expectation that we will have relative ease in obtaining such coveted ownership.
So why do some people think they can own anything (people included), and some try to hoard everything they do have? This spans from Americans trying to make money off of others as if they are entitled to it, to countries fighting over territories as if it were the age of colonialism all over again.