Divide and Conquer

The title is familiar enough. It is a winning formula in conflicts. It is being used with success even now, every day in fact, although the conflict itself is unseen, little known, and even less understood.The result, however, is clear enough – society is disintegrating. Let me explain.Before the printed word became available, knowledge was transferred from one generation to the next by word of mouth. Those that had accumulated most knowledge were the oldest members of the community, and their job was to hand this knowledge on to their successors. Often the survival of the group as a whole depended on this transfer. Elders were venerated.

With the advent of the printed word, however, books were available as well as the knowledge from the elders. Books could be read at any time, stored in libraries, and were still there long after the elders had passed away.

As the elders were generally not capable of contributing much else to society, developed communities pensioned them off, and pushed them out of mainstream. Older people tend to be more conservative and set in their ways, and they are not so interesting from the business standpoint;- they consume little, are difficult to influence, have little or no interest in fashion, and have little or no spare money to spend on luxury items anyway.

They can, however, exert influence on succeeding generations that runs counter to the interests of the business community, so the best thing to do with them, as far as possible, is to isolate them. Homes for the aged, or hospices, provide as good an opportunity as it gets for wringing the last few pennies out of a person before they no longer need pennies at all, and hence serve a dual purpose.

Governments, on the other hand, could well be required to pay pensions to those with temerity enough to remain alive after retirement, and strive with all the tricks possible to stem the outflow of unproductive cash without crossing the thin borderline of organised euthanasia. Unbridled inflation, devaluation, late pension adjustment to the cost of living index, and prayers for a good hard winter, or a flu epidemic – good old-fashioned smogs no longer being allowed.

Those nearing retirement and still in employment, while no longer having the financial burden of young children, may still be paying off their latest mortgage and saving hard in order to thwart the government’s evil intent for as long as possible. They too are of little interest to the business community, but must be tolerated for they cannot be disposed of so conveniently.

With a little applied psychology, however, they can be packaged into a specific group, and thus isolated from the rest of their fellows, ensuring as far as possible that any influence they wish to exert is countermanded at source. Who in their right mind would take any notice of an old fuddy-duddy anyway?.

The next group, in the middle of their working lives, possibly still with hopes of promotion, advancement, etc., are certainly worth some attention. Their children are probably through with their education and independent already, and have long since flown the nest. Still fashion-conscious, and probably with money to spare, for the prospects of old-age do not loom so large, and not yet so set in their ways that they are difficult to influence.

Yes, here there is money to be made, but best package them into their own group, as their requirements are going to be different from those of their younger offspring, and any negative influence on younger consumers must be minimised.

The young parents, although burdened with the expense of a home and family in need of education, are striving for the next rung on the ladder, and are looking for any edge that will help them. Despite their relatively high expenditure, they will, with the right persuasion, divert money to a ‘good’ cause.

The business community seems to have an inexhaustible supply of ‘good’ causes, and with the right market research will provide new ones – ‘tailor made’. This group must be kept free of all unwanted interference by their elders, but influence from their offspring is a requirement.

Undergrads, late teens, teens, pre-teens, kids – an amazing range of subdivisions each with its own peculiarities and characteristics – each sub-group unique enough to warrant specific attention by the business community. They don’t earn money, but they are the means of extracting it from their doting parents – on behalf of the business community of course – and are the prime targets.

Unfortunately, the education system is in the way – it does not give the free access to children that is required. No problem – privatise it! With business in on the ground floor, so to speak, we have a free hand all the way through, and we can turn them into <strong>real</strong> consumers.

Thinking about it further, if we include pre-school and kindergarten, that would just about complete the package, but we don’t need them before they can communicate – somebody else can have that job – and they must be weaned and house-trained, that is imperative.

Just a moment! Take the children just after weaning? Where have we heard that before? Isn’t that how they produce slaves?. Hmmmm!!

Well, it seems that the business community has been taking their lessons from George Orwell to heart, but the rest of us failed that class miserably.

The problem is that at our present level of consumption we are already cutting so deeply into the Earth’s non-renewable resources that it hurts, and that, mark you well, is with only 1.5 billion of us classed as “developed”. The business community, however, (George not having mentioned this bit in his lessons), are hell-bent on selling as much to the remaining “undeveloped” 3/4 of the world’s population. If they succeed, resources will disappear 4 times as quickly!

Well, if you are really intent on following the business community over the cliff to oblivion like lemmings, then you can relax, do absolutely nothing – success is assured.

If, however, you would rather stay around a while longer, and leave a little breathing space for your grandchildren, and theirs too, then you have a fight on your hands!

What can we do to fix it? How do we fight back?

Well, for a start, we need a good counter to “Divide and Conquer”, and of course there is one:-

“United We Stand”

Society must be reintegrated, otherwise the youngsters grow up with a totally unbalanced view of life. This imbalance leads to us drawing false conclusions that leave us vulnerable.

It is necessary for children of 5 or 6 years of age, for example, to begin to understand that life does not go on forever.

It is necessary for youngsters of 11 or 12 to understand that whoever thinks that life is fair is a misguided fool.

It is necessary for the grandparents to share their conservative views to counterbalance the rashness and radicalism of youth.

For in hiving off the old folk into forgotten corners, we have ignored some important factors;- their accumulated experience, their wisdom, and in view of their approaching departure from this life, their changing attitude toward it. This you will not find in books, and it is irreplaceable.

And don’t come out with the old cliche that “it was different in their day, what do they know about our generation?”

There is nothing new under the sun!. It may seem that way because of the packaging, but underneath people do the same things now as they always have done, and for the same reasons.

Think about it, but don’t take too long. Give the old folk a purpose in life, and with luck a new lease on it. Don’t deprive the children of an essential part of their childhood. Bring Gran and Grandpa home!

What? They’ve passed on already? Share somebody else’s! Start a new business; “Rent a Gran”, you’ll be made for life.

With society back in its rightful form, we can then set about dismantling the apparatus that caused the problem – together.

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