Interesting in a democracy that we aren’t seeing much reporting of a mass movement of protest that’s starting in the USA. There are a few ‘campsites’ forming in the UK, but our social security safety net cushions people from the kind of homelessness and hunger that brings anything to attention and action in politics. We just don’t care or want to care, do we?
Around the world, research shows that government cuts of 3% or more lead to substantial increases in the amount of protests – ours (UK) are just about to start hurting and exceed this figure (see Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth – ‘Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe 1919-2009″ – Centre for Economic Policy Research).
Philosophically we might start asking, instead of ‘when is a terrorist a freedom fighter’ the question ‘when is a police officer an agent of repression’? I like the latter question as it assumes policing has a lot to do with democracy and freedom, which it does. Instead, those of a more practical bent might start wondering where to spend the over-time. The link to the paper is – http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1899287 – students and those interested will find a wealth of material at this site.
I have as little to do with the system as I can manage. If you earn more than £50K it’s barkingly obvious you don’t deserve it, though we might want to preserve wages (not earnings) up to £100K for motivational purposes. No one should be able not to contribute work to the system and we have a lot of idle rich and putative ones. The are as scum as any evil poor,perhaps more so as they must know they are looting. It’s now taking £4 to £8 of debt to produce a quid in increased GDP – this is because the rich maintain a system that plunders and enslaves. If my next book sells well and the rest it could make me more money than I have otherwise made in my lifetime – farcical – and then some poor slobs end up having to work to pay the interest when I lend it to them (indirectly). I don’t wish to be a slave owner, however indirectly. I might be more effective than the whole of ACPO if given the chance, but I’m not worth one of their salaries. No one is and we’ve been conned over the years into beliefs in all kinds of unproven crud on expertise and the need to pay for it. I know universities don’t teach much expertise outside of science and medicine, and just how poor most business graduates and MBAs really are. Don’t confuse me with a leftie -I’ll be well to the right of anything you think up.
We’re about to see a lot of household incomes drop,including so-called middle income groups. Those with kids and big mortgages are already struggling – inflation is at 15% onimportant stuff like food and general living expenses. Jobs are nowhere to be found in our bleak areas, immigrants are everywhere we could once drop down to and the economy has changed structurally so as to prevent growth in jobs. We still have mad notions that GDP increases mean an economy is growing rather than burning the planet, and don’t understand we could now largely emancipate ourselves from work.
I’ve just read a short book by a police officer concerned the job is so stressful it drives most people away within ten years or so – it does. Women lasted an average of five years last time I looked. The answers are couched in terms of much I’d agree with as a start – but I think we need to go more radical. I suspect work is generally bad for us and we wouldn’t do most of it if we didn’t think we needed the money. And I think we could get by much better than we do now on a 30 hour 3-day week. Work is fundamentally non-democratic and the means through which the ancien regime continues as an Undead.
Street protest will not be about considered change to our society. If a three-day week seems fantastic to you, remember the last real one when Heath was PM lost only 4% of national production. I can find you Wall Street and City Men who will tell you unemployment is now really at 15% – but my company doctor analysis is that it runs closer to 70% if we add in useless work. You can approximate to the figure by imagining, say, that all ACPOs were killed this morning and when we’d notice. I can show you detailed analysis of work that shows most of it conforms to the Pareto principle.
What we need is a sensible change towards better quality of life (not that piss to mention at promotion boards) and reasonable equality. They still have us thinking quite chronic inequality is necessary and that powers in work hierarchies that amount to droight de sneignor are needed. We need to get rid of these hideous medieval practices. One used to be able to moderate this stuff by earning your way out of it – but debt has kiboshed that opportunity for most.
The Arab Spring looks like a failure already. Our own streets will fill as things bite in around 12 months time, but there is no plan to bring real change. I saw some odious BBC woman asking what more kids in relative poverty would mean. FFS! This is how dumb we have become. We are now massively productive to what end? Poverty? Cops paid by banks, earning property through over-time suppressing the people? Where have we seen that before?