Facing the Future : Savage Capitalism – A System Beyond Reform?


pope savage capitalism

From time to time word filters through that some folk within youth work object to the C-word. Indeed they never use the C-word – hardly surprising as this would involve entering seriously the pressing debate about the future of humanity and indeed the planet. They prefer to be pragmatic. Burying their heads in the sands of the instrumental and technical their fixation with individual outcomes transforms public concerns into personal issues. Young people just need a dose of positive psychology and structural barriers will simply melt away.  Meanwhile Capitalism, the C-word, continues to fester, widening rather than narrowing inequality.

You don’t have to agree with David Graeber’s, Savage capitalism is back – and it will not tame itself or indeed the Pope’s comments on the ‘dictatorship of the economy’, but I don’t see how a reflective practitioner can escape the questions posed.

And if Graeber is too academic and the Pope too religious, there’s a splendid rant by bullingdonmoron.

You really do have to be an utter moron to support this system.

Decades from now, history books will record these years of Neo-Liberalism as the dumbest period in human history. They will tell of a system that created vast wealth for a handful of people whilst leaving millions struggling to survive, a system designed to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich, a system that promoted a Malthusian hatred of the poor and a complete indifference to the plight of others whilst extolling the virtues of greed and ignorance.

The last 10 years spanned the worst financial crisis in history, a crisis caused by the sheer greed and criminal behaviour of the richest people on the planet aided by the very deregulation and free market ideology that the right wing so craves, and was only solved by using billions of taxpayers money.

But who has paid the price? In 2004, you needed £700 million to be in Britain’s 50 wealthiest people. 10 years later, that figure is now £1.7 billion. In 2004, the richest 1,000 people owned assets worth £200 billion, today they are worth £519 billion. The 5 richest families now own more wealth than the bottom 20% combined. The average salary for a FTSE 100 CEO is now £84,000 A WEEK.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us? 20% of the population, 13 million people, are now classed as living in poverty, of which over 8 million come from families who are IN WORK. In 2004, the median weekly wage was £462. Today, it is £427 a week. The cost of living has risen by 34% since 2004, meaning that the average disposable income per household is now almost £1,200 a year lower. In addition, 913,138 people used food-banks in 2013/14, compared to 346,992 in 2012/13 and 26,000 in 2008/09. There has been a 74% increase in the number of malnutrition-related hospital admissions since 2009, whilst cases of rickets have risen by 25% in 4 years. Public health experts have warned that the rise of malnutrition in the UK “has all the signs of a public health emergency.”

And this is happening right now, IN ONE OF THE RICHEST COUNTRY ON EARTH.

The ruling elite already own all our land, gas, electricity, railways, water and media. They are now coming for our pensions, our NHS, our roads, our schools and our green spaces. They have systematically destroyed the unions, dismantled our protections, created mass unemployment and are dismembering the welfare state. They make it easier to sack us, make us work longer hours for less pay, force our kids to work for nothing, raise the retirement age whilst cutting our pensions and weaken our health and safety laws. Yet executives of blue-chip companies enjoyed a median pay rise of 32% in the last year alone.

We are being shafted.

So, It’s time to get angry, and we need someone to express that anger, because none of our politicians are going to do it. Someone to speak for the millions of hard working people who only want a decent life for themselves and for their kids to have a secure future. Someone that speaks up for all of us, not just a privileged few. Someone that tells us that our worth is not measured by our wealth, but our value as human beings. Someone that tells us that compassion and empathy are not bullshit. Someone that tells us that ordinary people can expect to have a decent job, a decent house and decent healthcare. Someone that tells us our elderly can live out their final years in a degree of comfort. Someone that tells us our sick and disabled should be allowed to exist with a shred of dignity. Someone that tells us that the most disadvantaged will not be looked down upon as scum.

Someone that tells us that our kids can still have hopes and dreams.

To paraphrase Lloyd George whilst talking about the Great War: “If the people really knew the truth about what was happening, it would be ended tomorrow, but they must never know.”

Well, it is time we did know, and time we all stood up and said, enough is enough.

Fair enough, you may think this is over the top, but surely it’s not possible to remain silent in the face of the consequences of neo-liberal austerity. What do you think is going on in the realm of the economic and political and what do you think we should do about it?

Thanks to Joe Taylor over at NATCAN for the Graeber link


One comment

  1. Yet more evidence for the people to steal from the rich in every opportunity. Walk into their homes, their businesses, their clubs, their yachts, their vacation homes, and just take back what is yours.

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