Sunday, 1 February 2009

*Am I mad, or seeing clearly?

Really great posting from Matt Sellwood:

There have been a number of times over the last few years when I have had occasion to wonder if I am mad. Or if most of the rest of society is mad. Or possibly both. That feeling arose quite tangibly during the Iraq war - but never so much as it has over the last few weeks.

The economy, almost overnight, has switched from boom to bust. A long and 'glorious' (sic) period of growth has transformed into the deepest recession for 25 years. Meanwhile, almost every objective factor in the economy is identical. We have the same number of people, with the same skills, exploting the same resources, to the same ends. And yet, somehow, the mass hallucination that is capitalism and the money structure, has dictated that we can't currently do what we were doing only a few months ago. For absolutely NO objective reason - simply because some jumped up merchant bankers (using the slang term of the phrase, as well as the literal) constructed a fantasy edifice of imaginary money, to which we have to kowtow. And, as a result of this slavery to an economic system that makes absolutely no sense, unemployment lines are lengthening and people are losing their homes.

Surely, this is totally mad?

Meanwhile, our government is taking all the actions that we have been told for years are impossible and utopian when they have been suggested to ameliorate climate change, global poverty and war. 'Quantitive easing' is coming into effect - a ludicrously academic term for printing more money. Banks are receiving enormous bailouts, where money seems to be no barrier...and not even being taken into public control in return. Meanwhile, the Scottish government baulks at a request from the Green Party for £100 million a year for free insulation - a measure that tackles climate change, poverty and creates jobs.

Surely, this is totally mad?

And, of course, then there's my favourite disciple of the madness. James Purnell, our ambitious and oily Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, announces his new intentions for welfare reform. At a time of tight job markets, everyone must take what they are offered by the all-powerful market. You have a PHD in nuclear physics and dared to refuse a job shovelling shit, in the hope that you might get to fulfil your potential in another few months? No benefits for you, scum! You have serious depression and don't feel able to work at Maccy D's for minimum wage? Get back in line, you workshy idler! And, meanwhile, the utterly ludicrous imbalance between the amount of time the government spends harassing poor people and the amount of time it spends addressing the tax gap (over £80 billion a year at last count) continues.

Surely, this is totally mad?

I've always thought that economic systems are made to serve people, not the other way around. That our productive capacity should depend on our numbers, our skills, our resources, and not on a money system that bears little relation to any of those things. That our society and its organisation should be tailored to the desires of those who live in it, with due regard to the rights of all, including future generations - but with no regard to the imaginary dictates of capitalism.

Am I totally mad?
Posted by Matt Sellwood at 03:55

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