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PINERO | Capitalism Is Literally the Worst

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of The Sun’s dueling columns feature. In this feature, Darren Chang ’21 and Jade Pinero ’19 debate, “Is capitalism good?” Read the counterpart column here. For a lucky few trust-fund babies and Horatio Alger protagonists, capitalism is great! For almost everyone else, capitalism ensures a crippled existence, devoid of agency, entirely contingent on one’s continued productive utility. Also, notably, free two-day shipping.

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PINERO | Oh, the Places You’ll Go

The relationship between ends and beginnings is parasitic. For something to end, it must already exist. For something to begin, it must not yet be. Burrowed deep inside the ends of things dwells a promise of the new. That promise — of a beginning — must slowly consume the ending within which it is sheltered until it is material and its host is not.

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PINERO | The Real College Admissions Scandal

We call education an “investment,” which typically refers to money spent with the eventual expectation of a return. My rough calculation of the number of students and the average cost of tuition indicates that over $400 billion is “invested” in college every year. For scale, with that money you could own JPMorgan Chase, Facebook or Johnson & Johnson and still have the equivalent of Alaska’s GDP to spare. This week, dozens of parents and administrators were arrested on fraud charges in relation to a sprawling scheme for admission to some of the nation’s top colleges. These parents “invested” six- and seven-figures to cheat on standardized tests and manipulate the athletic admissions process to ensure their children’s acceptance.

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PINERO | The Case for Spirituality in a Secular World

After sitting for my senior portrait, each step I took as I emerged from Willard Straight felt suddenly significant — as though each was one closer to my youth’s looming end. I felt an unfamiliar urge for quiet contemplation and reflection. Sage Chapel seemed to beckon, so I obliged. The pilgrimage to Sage quickly became a part of my routine; five daily minutes in a sanctuary with a Bible seems to keep me spiritually satiated. I don’t consider myself religious, but I do, however, find solace in the words of radicals — people who dare to challenge the status quo and evangelize our collective imagination.

Jade

PINERO | But What About Venezuela?

In recent years, Venezuela has become a favorite talking point for socialism’s detractors, who typically invoke the nation when they find themselves without a more substantive defense of their views. “But what about Venezuela?” they ask in comment sections everywhere. The question is rhetorical. Venezuela is just their trump card — present-day proof of the failed socialist experiment. But what if we truly wanted to know the answer to “what about Venezuela?” If the question was asked in good faith, what would the answer be?

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PINERO | Instagram’s Commodification of the Self

Raise your hand if you used social media today. If you’ve posted in the past month. If any part of that post — photo, editing, caption, geotag — was vetted by someone else before publication. Wave it around if you’ve ever done something or gone somewhere specifically “for the ’gram.”

It’s true that this behavior has become normalized, and that I myself participate. Neither negates the fact that it’s totally bananas.