Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bread and Circuses

Five million dollars. That's how much a 30 second advertising spot on the Superbowl broadcast costs. Five million dollars. The average salary for a professional football player is $2,000,000. With 11 players on each side, that's an average of $44,000,000 on the field at any one time. CBS Television stands to make close to a billion dollars on the broadcast. 

It shouldn't surprise anyone that such an exorbitant expense for a sporting event is seen in many countries as obscene.

As citizens of America, we tend to forget the fact that better than 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day. The amount of money being spent for this one sporting event will exceed the national budget of several countries of the world. If the money was spent differently, for example in research against disease, it is possible cures could be found for all viral infections. With just a little more, say the expense of two Superbowls, we could reach Mars by the end of this decade.

Entertainment is necessary in America but the waste of resources, money, and effort is criminal. Why is it allowed?

Two reasons: bread and circuses.

When a population controls as much of the global economy and political power as does the US, it is necessary to see to it that population stays happy. In ancient Rome, this was accomplished by gladiatorial games and free provisions for the populace. There is a parallel with today's America. Rome was at its height as the republic collapses and the empire began. Its population consisted of a tiny super-wealthy upper class, a marginal middle class, and a huge underclass of poor and slaves. With over 50% of Americans dependent on the government for the majority or all of their income, the government being the largest employer in the nation, and a new developing servant class in the form of illegal aliens, Rome is once again appearing.

It took the Roman Empire about 300 years before it began a serious internal division. That internal division began with a religious conflict between the old ways and the new Christian faith as well as political disagreements about leadership and defense. Today's America is in a similar situation and it is becoming more serious by the day. Perhaps events like the Superbowl will soon be inadequate to divert American attention from the declining state of its own society.

Perhaps Superbowl 50 will be insufficient to hide the fact America needs to become more aware of what else is going on in the world. That would be a good thing.