Let’s talk about the Panama Papers, so we can stop pretending like we know a thing or two about them.
The CoffeeTalk Series is just a weekly sit-down videos, talking to you about issues in a fun and engaging way.
Last week a gigantic information leak disrupted global news, leaving us – myself included – once again stupefied and frustrated at how unfair and hopeless the future on this planet might foresee.
The Panama Papers leak reveal once again that the 1% of the world’s wealth is safely stashed away somewhere hot and tropical, far from the possibility to be invested into something that could positively contribute to the world.
But we already knew that. I have discussed this topic with a few people and nobody was really angry, or disgusted; maybe more delusional than anything else.
‘Well, we already knew that they were scamming us, right?’
‘I tell ya, it’s those big banks. Those big families have robbed us off everything’
Cue the conspiration theories and the angry rants about an unfair global financial system. Cue a long and exhausting rant about how everything suck and the inevitable conclusion: that we – the average Joe and Johanne – can’t do anything about it.
I find it curious that we live in a word where technology is at its exquisite best. We can read the news simply by logging on Snapchat, the same app where we pull funny faces playing around with filters.
We are one tap away from learning everything we know about subjects which required years of academic studying and hundreds of dollars of university fees.
Really, information has never been this accessible.
For 1.7 terabyte of informations to be travelling across multiple servers and be analysed by 500 journalists, so that we can learn about a inaccessible group of privileged people – to me, that is incredible. That is revolutionary.
We all suspected from time to time, that really rich people don’t actually pay taxes. And we also suspected that those politicians who seem to ‘win’ all the time, or pull out stunts out of nowhere and come out clean and dusted off by all of their PR nightmares – we knew that they were hiding a secret hand.
But knowing it and having the proofs on a screen, actually, on our own phone’s screen.. That is different.
That changes things. Because once you have proof, you are accountable for your actions.
The Panama Leaks was extraordinary; a magnificent breakthrough into mainstream media. I have watched the video of the director of the German newspaper that received and published the leak, and I was thinking the whole time:’Damn, you are the real Batman. For real’.
When the news broke, I waited two days for the internet to start talking about it. But nothing really happened, except for the usual people who are active in political and social issues.
So I asked myself: Why doesn’t anyone talk about it? Why doesn’t anyone care? Is this really not important and I am clearly freaking out about this?
Have I become the old man in The Simpsons who yells at the wind?
Probably. I do enjoy barking and yelling at a lot of stuff that bothers me, but seriously, here is my take on why nobody cares.
There are three reasons why I think that people don’t care about something like the #PanamaLeaks, even thought it’s clearly a game-changer.
Let’s be honest. Everyone is too busy snapping and working to read a 20-page report on rich people’s tax avoidance and Russian president Putin’s corruption.
Politics and economics are probably not everybody’s cup of tea, even though we all wish we sounded smarter when our parents challenge our own political views.
I’ll hold your hand with that and shake it firmly like at a job interview, mate. From a politics enthusiast and economics-graduate, I will admit that it’s probably not toilet break-worthy this thing.
But hear me out, because the reason you probably find it boring is because of the other two reasons why you are not paying attention to it.
2. You don’t understand it.
When my parents used to discuss politics and economics at the dinner table, I always felt like they were speaking gibberish or something, because I couldn’t even understand how the whole stock market worked.
There’s one bad thing about feeling like you don’t understand it. You feel alienated. And when you feel like you don’t belong, it challenges distant high school memories where you were awkwardly standing somewhere at a party, pretending like you were having fun, when all you wanted to do was to go home and continue playing The Sims, or punch a wall or whatever you used to do as a teenager.
I get you. I always feel left out when goddess women talk about make up and I feel like such a loser, because I still haven’t learned how to put my freaking illuminator properly and it’s 2016!
Feeling like you don’t belong brings you to hate without knowing, ignore without inquiring, and feeling like a sack of poo without even knowing what you look like in the mirror.
But I’ll tell you why you don’t understand it. Because it’s not meant to be easily understood!
If politics and economics and social issues were easy enough to be understood by anyone, we would surely be out of dodgy and shady people ruling our countries.
Being a step higher than anybody else is sometimes the secret to some people’s power.
Not stimulating young people to understand the actual impact of being politically active, or the effects of global warming or any kind of social issue that is not hyper promoted, is at the big guys’ best interest.
Some huge companies and organisations leverage on your ignorance. They earn money from you being scared, ignored and angry.
Remember, you can’t protest against what you don’t know about.
And then, finally..
it simply doesn’t affect you.
You barely have $100 in your bank accounts, or you pay taxes like everybody else – why would you get all worked up about this?
Because it affects you and I, and everybody else who benefits from the global economy.
Because even thought we are separated by social classes, ideologies and oceans, we are all intertwined in the constant struggle of life.
That’s why we should care.
If you want to learn more about the Panama Papers and you wish to understand better the effect of it that it has on all of us, this week’s coffee talk is there to wait for you.