I’m not rich, nor will I ever be. I’ve not been blighted by extreme poverty either. But I come from working class stock; I’ve gone without and worked for everything I have. So have most people I know. I know there are those in the world who believe they are entitled to all sorts of things – jobs, houses, healthcare, an education, fame and fortune – without working. Yes, too many kiddies of my acquaintance have that entitlement deep within them. They think that working hard, making an effort is for others; that somehow, just like on a range of pervasive and nefarious get-famous-quick shows they will float to the top without skills, talent or work.
Wise people know that won’t happen. Wise people know that most of us make our way in the world through education and work. But the messages in our world today, our western capitalist celebrity driven world, do not value hard work, or loyalty, or fair pay for a fair day’s wage. Governments may bang on about social mobility but nobody in positions of social status and power really believe in it or support it: they like and need the status quo – they want the majority of us to stay disempowered and most definitely not wealthy.
Have you noticed how the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? Not to mention the middle being squeezed out of existence. And our economies are not buoyant robust creatures living off the back of the rich, there is no trickle down effect because the way the rich get rich is by keeping it to themselves, paying limited tax and squeezing their own workforces, and others if they can manage it.
Several things this week have brought it home loud and clear: the rich don’t get it. They have no idea what it’s like for anyone in this world other than themselves.
1.Bankers Bonuses continue despite banks going broke being the biggest single issue to impact on the UK economy in recent years
2. The IMF effectively said the current model of capitalism is a failure.
3. Gina Rinehart, mining magnate of Oz, came out saying Australians just didn’t work hard enough, were paid too much and she thought we needed more of Margaret Thatcher’s tough, eat-em-alive and divide-the-country style leadership; that welfare was sending one of the richest countries in the world broke. Oh, yes, we all know that to be true…
Austerity doesn’t work. Squeezing the middle doesn’t work – their disposable income drops to zero as our costs spiral and our wages stall and plummet, and the high street dies and is filled with charity shops, pound shops and coffee chains. As disposable income dries up, so do jobs, companies go bust and more people lose their jobs. More people end up on unemployment benefits and cannot pay their bills and the government bill for Welfare does not shrink: despite all the government slashing and burning, it grows. But hey, the rich are okay – they’re still buying up the heart of London, living in Singapore, or overseas, not paying tax to the countries they make their money from.
The rich are killing us. The Ukraine revolt was in part about the gaps between them and us. The palpable disgust and contempt we have for Bankers is because they’ve ripped us off and are still ripping us off. Why has my pay been frozen for years now and bankers still get their bonuses? I didn’t bankrupt the country but I’m paying for it.
The outpouring of bile from Gina Rinehart shows what a truly ugly person she is – and I am not just talking about what she looks like. This is a woman who inherited her wealth, who grew up not scraping and scrimping but in an environment of wealth and privilege. A woman who is the wealthiest person in Oz, who wants to pay her workers $2 an hour, who has not had one single philanthropic moment in her life. She lives overseas in order to minimize her tax liability yet, the government panders to her and she berates her countrymen.
Western governments have repeatedly got it wrong. The boom and bust pattern endures. The current model of capitalism has failed – look at the elevation of vacuous idiots in all walks of life. The IMF spelled it out, and I say it again, austerity does not work, but governments aren’t listening and more of us will lose our way as retirement ages are increased, pensions become harder to get and young people remain under employed.
When David Cameron was elected, it was widely mooted that he and the likes of George Osborne would be good leaders as money wouldn’t corrupt them as they were already independently wealthy and therefore able to make good decisions for all of us. What was lost in this hope was the fact that they, along with the Gina Rineharts of the world, and other leaders who have been in power far too long, have no idea what it’s like for ordinary people. What it’s like not to have enough money to get you from one pay day to the next, to have your buying power eroded by greedy CEO’s constantly putting up their costs, for the excessive infrastructure costs of life. Big business and shareholders drive the world, not customers, not people.
I know I’m naïve, I know I should know better, but what has happened to us? Why are we driven by money to the extent we are? Why must we live in an economy not a society? Why have governments – and in this I mean democratically elected governments, I’m not even going close to dictatorships – repeatedly let ordinary people down? Why are governments only governing for a few, not for the many? Why don’t they care about young people, old people, sick people, hard working people, the environment, the future?
When did it all become about the money – when did the world lurch so far off its orbit that the only thing that matters is money? Perhaps climate change is the earth’s way of getting back at us for our stupidity, for being so moronically greedy and self serving all the time… (Images from pandawhale.com-Gordon Ghecko; buzzinnet-house; abc.net-gina; commonelectionguide,blogspot-sillypeople)