Argentinian Rich and Poor Equal at Last... At Least to Google Street View
IMAGE VIA MERCO PRESS
As Argentina is trying to come out of its economical instability and show progress, one thing stands out: the fact that both the "villas miseria" or ghettos and the gated communities don't appear on Google Street View in Argentina. One because it is considered dangerous to go there, supposedly because only criminals live there; the other out of fear of the aforementioned criminals. How ironic that those places that don't appear couldn't be more different from one another. In the middle stands the middle class, which is neither poor nor rich, but nonetheless is the only one that appears in Google street view. The other groups live in their own bubbles, isolated, and their paths rarely cross. As the gap between rich and poor expands, I ask myself how we can change or improve and not become a society that is disconnected and selfish. If we don't change we are doomed, not just a group of people but everyone. We live in a free country, not different ones.
The issue of class isolation poses a threat to people in developing countries, but developed countries should keep an eye open as well. Although Argentina offers public education, there are only a couple of prestigious schools that are public and meet the standards that private schools have. If everyone that can afford it chooses to go to a private school instead of a public one, what does that tell us? Maybe equality is further apart than we thought it was. You can see the bubbles start to form when we start our primary education. One comes in contact with people of their own "category," becomes friends with them, and doesn't ever meet people that come from different realities. Everyone sees what others go through as a distant reality and not one that happens a short distance away.
But what can we do to change this reality? Improve public education or raise the budget? Make town assemblies so that people come in contact with others? One may argue that it is okay the way it is, that already a lot of money is wasted on the "poor" sector and that may seem true. The past populist governments didn't set their priorities and budget straight (e.g. the money that was spent on a soccer channel, when they could have done other more useful things) However, if teachers in public schools are underpaid, if we build fences to keep us apart, if we never try to connect with each other, how can we expect improvement? Rather than cut government spending, it should be used wisely. We can't expect equal opportunity or to narrow the gap between rich and poor or to lower the crime rate if we don't have access to the same resources. Some people that apply to university lack the basic knowledge they need for it. In our society, without a university degree you can't pursue anything. If a genius isn't given the tools he needs and isn't encouraged to learn and find out what his gifts are because of his socio-economic situation, then there is a serious problem. If you can't offer people an education, you can't build them a future and you certainly can't expect improvement.
My proposal to the Argentine government is then the following: focus on stabilizing the economy but don't forget the education. Invest in the children, since the younger generation is our future. Pay the teachers what they need, give the students of all backgrounds the tools to make an opportunity for themselves and help the community tear down the walls that we have built. Help tear down the prejudice, the insecurity, the stereotypes. Don't only think about the now and the near future. Don't forget those that come after you.