Who Says We're All In This Together?

Columns from the Whitstable Gazette.

George Osborne: He's a tax-dodger!
George Osborne: He's a tax-dodger!

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power." — Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Fraud

Do you ever get the feeling we are being conned?

The banks created an international financial crisis, but it is the population as a whole who will have to pay for it. We bailed them out, and then they paid themselves huge bonuses. Meanwhile the sick, the disabled, children, the unemployed, public service workers and the low-paid are expected to foot the bill.

Some of what the large banks in the United States did was tantamount to fraud. They took dodgy mortgages and repackaged them as Triple A-rated investments. They then sold them around the world, effectively undermining the whole world financial system.

Has anyone ever been gaoled for these fraudulent practices? Of course not. It’s their own corporate lawyers who are in government these days. So not only was no one punished, but the banks were rewarded by huge injections of public cash.

A similar thing is happening in the UK. There’s a clever narrative being constructed. Whenever a minister is questioned about the cuts he puts on a regretful face. It’s all down to the profligacy of the previous government, we are told. This may be true, but the degree and the severity of the cuts, and the sections of the population who are being attacked, is entirely down to this government.

No doubt George Osborne has his economic advisers. Unfortunately both he and they are wedded to a particular discredited economic theory. The idea is that if you unleash full-blooded, unreconstructed capitalism on the economy it will create wealth. Public sector bad, private sector good. Get rid of public sector jobs and replace them with private sector profits and we will all benefit, it says.

But economics is not science: it is propaganda for the corporate sector. The very opposite is true. What it really amounts to is a sort of garage sale of our public services. In the current economic climate our assets are being sold-off at rock-bottom prices. And guess who will be buying them up?

You got it: the banks. The banks will be profiting even as the rest of us are suffering.

Who says we're all in this together?

No more auction block

I’m just listening to No More Auction Block by Paul Robeson. It is a traditional Negro Spiritual and possibly one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard.

At first it’s difficult to make out what it is about. Why would anyone be so sad because of an auction? It’s not until it comes to the third verse that it becomes clear.

“No more driver’s lash for me, no more, no more,” he sings plaintively.

It’s a slave auction he’s singing about. The auction block is where the slaves were chained while being bought and sold like cattle.

The great puzzle of this song is not that someone should feel sadness at being treated in this inhumane and degrading way, it’s that the people who perpetrated the crime didn’t see it as a crime.

The song is an expression of human dignity in the face of terrible suffering, but the people who made them suffer did not consider them to be human. That’s the puzzle. How could one human look another in the eye while wielding a lash and not feel empathy?

The song is a warning from history. We have to remember that many of the people who profited from this trade were British. Go to Liverpool or Bristol and look at the great civic buildings there. Many of them were paid for with the profits of the slave trade.

It was considered normal. It was a business. The people who perpetuated it had families, friends. No doubt they loved their children. Such is the banality of evil.

And while slavery is now officially illegal, people still continue to profit from the exploitation of other human beings.

Slavery continues in different forms. Today we buy cheap clothes and electrical goods made in sweatshops by workers on below poverty wages in countries such as China and the Philippines, where human rights abuses are rife, and where workers are not allowed to organise.

We buy these goods from our supermarkets and often they bear famous brand name labels.

They may not use whips any more, but there are other means of enforcement.

William Blake by Thomas Phillips
William Blake by Thomas Phillips

The voice of honest indignation

William Blake said: “the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God”.

That is the voice we are hearing right now, from the students and other protesters, against public spending cuts being imposed by the millionaires of the Cabinet, on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society: on the sick, and the disabled, on the unemployed, on public sector workers, on Health and Education, on Social Services.

In the 20th century we created the welfare state. In the 21st century it is being systematically dismantled before our very eyes.

George Osborne famously said “we're all in this together” when he first outlined his plans.

But you wonder how this can be when, for example, Philip Green, chief executive of the Arcadia group, who owns Topshop, Bhs, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge amongst others – and the man the government chose as their advisor on public spending - avoids tax to the tune of several million pounds a year.

In 2005 Philip Green received the biggest pay cheque in corporate history - £1.2 billion - which he duly siphoned off to his wife, a tax-exile in Monaco, thus avoiding tax of nearly £300 million. This is in a single year!

Tax avoidance by large corporations is estimated to lose the country around £25bn a year. If only a quarter of this was recovered, this would be more than enough to avoid the need to make any public spending cuts whatsoever.

Currently the top 1% of the population owns 23% of the wealth, while the lowest 50% of the population share 7% of the wealth between them. This is a huge disparity in the distribution of wealth in this country and it shows how unjust our economic system really is.

If we were truly “all in this together” we would expect to see the gap between rich and poor closing. But of course we won’t.

There is a good argument to say that the real measure of a nation’s well-being is not its income, but how evenly distributed that income is. By this measure Britain is one of the sickest countries in the world.

Michael Hudson on the parasite economy.

More by this Author


Comments 55 comments

AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

emotionally I agree with every word of this hub. I just note that the banks were considered "too big to fail" but the repeal of 1930s era legislation separating risky and non risky business allowed them to become too big to fail and the argument that led to the banks capturing the legislature is based on Neoclassocla economics which in turn takes its model from Newtonian Physics. That model of economics could have been designed to appeal to greed and selfishness in my opinion.


seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 5 years ago

Just voted up and awesome. Will leave proper reply tomorrow. Duty calls. Taxi service for teenage daughter.

Look forward to reading your hubs. Following, but do not feel obliged to reciprocate cos I mostly write whimsical nonsense.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks seanorjohn. Hope your teenage daughter got home all right.

AlexK2009, the idea that the banks are "too big to fail" is a myth created by those people who have most to gain by the idea. It's an illusion, of course, another piece of propaganda.


dave 5 years ago

chris, I remember that song from when I was really little - my dad had it on a 78 - we used to sit round the fire listening to Paul Robeson.

It's simultaneously a relief that it's over and a mourning for what happened -- though many thousand gone.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Well said, CJStone. Whether it's the Uk or the U.S., the situation is the same. For reasons I find inscrutable, millions seem to care more for the millionaires, the billionaires and the corporations than they do for the sick, the poor, the elderly, the unemployed or other challenged citizens. It's that reality, I believe, that is the cause of all the economic disparities we see in both countries. Sad, but true.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 5 years ago

It is said that a human being threatened with his livelihood becomes undignified. I do not remember who said it but I disagree.

I agree with your observations, even if I do not live there. Perhaps it is true that humanity is dramatizing what has happened before so we need to go back to those times and study those times.

I do not particularly hate the rich. They have a right too.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

It is always easier to attack the powerless. It appears to be equally easy to make the populace believe the powerless are to blame for their own poverty or misfortune, and apparently only deserve to live at the sufferance of the rest. Give the mob a good scapegoat, whether it be the poor, the uninsured, the 'undocumented' or the umemployed -- always someone who can't fight back. Yep -- we need to keep those tax cuts for the wealthy, and cut back on social security benefits, and make people work until they're 69. Yes siree!


Will Apse profile image

Will Apse 5 years ago

The rich and powerful took their opportunity in the last big economic crisis- the second oil shock. In the UK we got Thatcher. In the US, it was Reagan handing out huge tax beaks to the very wealthy.

Even failure favors the wealthy in our grossly unequal societies.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

dave, yes it's a great song isn't it.

Hi William, the strange thing is we could get out of this recession just as easily by giving money to the poor as giving it to the rich. The government could have paid off everyone's mortgage for less than they spent bailing out the banks. I suspect that what we are seeing is a financial coup d'etat against our democracy.

msorensson, I don't hate the rich either, I just think they should be taxed at the same rate as the rest of us. The same laws should apply.

lmmartin, yes it's called blaming the victim. The poor are responsible for their own poverty, never mind the economic system. But hopefully people are beginning to see through this rubbish.

Will, this current government are true children of Thatcher. That's what I meant when I talked about a particular discredited economic theory. Monetarism. It was a failure back then and it will be a failure this time round, though it will, as you say, favour the rich.


Antoine Van Hove 5 years ago

Although I consider this a useful contribution, I can't help the feeling that we always act as if the greed we see and encounter is something projected outside ourselves.

This doesn't mean that what you point out about these people, shouldn't be right.

But they are in fact crosspoints in which the greed of so many others, including our own greed, is culminated and reflective concentrated.

They act as mirrors to ourselves!

They reflect our collective desire to try to fulfill our happiness only through material and financial needs. Which is nothing but a reflection of our deep believe in deficit, shortage and fear to not be able to get what we need.

And what we need, is something comletely different than what we desire. What we desire is most probably an extreme reflection of those fears.

So, let us not judge those people, but thank them for mirroring this aspect of ourselves, so that we are able to get to know ourselves better.

We all are the ones who keep this crazy system alive, which is not about money; there is more than enough money. But money is only a symbol!

We are the ones who decide how we look at that symbol, and how we make use of it.

Is it a mean or is it a goal?

And how many times are we confused about both?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

You know I agree with you Antoine. I know we all contribute psychically to the world as we find it, and I know that some of the people complaining the loudest would be just as bad if they had the power. We cannot change the egotism and greed of human beings. But we can legislate against their worst effects. So slavery was once legal, and it isn't any more. Likewise the kind of exploitation that sees Philip Green and his cohorts reaping in billions at the expense of the rest of us can be changed too. Money isn't only a symbol: it is the means of exchange between human beings. Unfortunately it is in the control of a small elite. We have to democratise the money system, so that we all have a say in its distribution, that's all.


Antoine Van Hove 5 years ago

I disagree completely, my dear CJStone.

We can change egotism and greed through awareness!

And it the money system is in control of a small elite, then it is because allow that to be reality.

Please, don't project these things as "realities outside ourselves".

These are our realities, which we allow collectively, through our personal greed and egotism. If we release those in ourselves, it will disappear on the outside. Since the outside is nothing but a projection of our inner world.

I hope you forgive me being so direct, but it is sincere, surely not personally and lovefilled.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 5 years ago

This would be difficult, CJ

"msorensson, I don't hate the rich either, I just think they should be taxed at the same rate as the rest of us. The same laws should apply."

Firstly, they can afford the lawyers.

Secondly, they can hide their money, the government does not have the manpower to track all of it.

Thirdly, and not the least of course, they can influence the lawmakers.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I know where you are coming from Antoine, but the world works on many levels at the same time, and while it is true we can change egotism and greed through awareness, we can also create solidarity between ourselves through political action. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

You are right, of course msorensson, but this doesn't mean we shouldn't be taking action against such abuses.


Antoine Van Hove 5 years ago

In your last comment I agree completely. The two don't exclude one another. But political action, without the awareness to release it first in ourselves, is useless.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

And excessive self-awareness without the realisation of our common humanity is just another form of vanity.


Buttonpatch profile image

Buttonpatch 5 years ago from United States

Interesting, but>>>>it's the same old feudal system in disguise, the purpose being to lull us into thinking that we are in control of our own destiny while we are in reality just a modified form of slave labor.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Buttonpatch, yes it's true it is a return to the feudal system. They want us back in servitude again.


Antoine Van Hove 5 years ago

"And excessive self-awareness without the realisation of our common humanity is just another form of vanity."

That is also very much true! Forgive me if I looked vain to you in what I said.

It wasn't my intention at all, nor was my motivation driven by it.

But thank you for the sincere warning! We indeed cannot be enough grounded in our common humanity.


amorea13 5 years ago

Great hub CJ - I agree with each point you make - of course we are not 'all in this together' - such a comment is beyond hypocrisy - it's a straight lie!

The vast, vast majority of politicians CJ have for hundreds of years been raping their own people and pillaging the wealth of their own nations (and this applies to politicians in any country) and behind them sit the real power; the bankers from Babylon whose deviant genius set up a system of 'modern' slavery whose effects were so sadly sung about in Robeson's song.

This 'system' of confused and mixed 'law' has turned every citizen into a corporate slave SO cleverly that it is now run (and enforced) by mostly its own citizens. We have for the most part CJ, fallen asleep at the wheel of our own lives.

More words such as yours CJ are required. Keep up the great work.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Antoine, you didn't appear vain, I was just pointing out the limit to your argument.

Thanks for your comment amorea. I agree with all your points. I like that phrase "we have fallen asleep at the wheel of our own lives". This is so true.


seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 5 years ago

Thanks CJ, teenage daughter back home safe. I have a son in his final year at University and am proud that he demonstrated against the cuts in education. I am equally proud that he campaigned with our local labour MP in the regional marginal seats. He used his facebook and twitter accounts to try and expose the Thatcherite agenda of the "modern Conservative Party."

Your economic anylsis is spot on. Politically, I think Miliband is right to emphasise the generational conflict.

Those Condem Mp's should be asked to pay back all the free tuition fees they enjoyed, curtesy of the previous generation of politicians. The savage cuts we are now facing were hidden through the disingenuous policy statements beginning "We have no plans to...)

"vote for change" .... Well, we are all going to see that happen. We are all going to end up being short - changed.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hello seanorjohn: check out the link above. George Osborne is a tax dodger too. So much for "We're all in this together." They must think we're really stupid.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

Same as it always is. Once the empire (still the British one, really) gets too old, the wealth has all collected into too few hands and the proletariat rises up and over throws them and makes new leadership and redistributes the wealth (with greater or lesser efficiency) and new people get the power and wealth and begin to gather up the spread out stuff again. Each revolution is like snow that falls evenly upon a plan, but eventually ends up blown into drifts again. Ad nausea.

The wealth in this age is more cleverly hidden and the castles aren't as easy to find. The mob will need to assault the electronic fortresses and redistribute the wealth directly from the king's account into theirs.

Don't see how else it's going to happen. Not even saying I want it to. There's still some life left on the middle class wave, and the middle class isn't miserable enough to go suffer a few winters barefoot at valley forge to get equality for the people pushing shopping carts or farming sand in the Sudan. AT least that's my sense of it.

The wealthy still have time to save it, to preserve their power, but they'll have to give more back to relieve pressure. They won't, I'm sure. They never have and [cliché alert] history repeats itself.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 5 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Good work, Chris - I agree with every word. Sadly, I am one of Thatcher's generation and I am fully aware of the damage that this type of economics causes. Nothing changes. Here in Greece, the IMF is violating the nation from behind, systematically stripping away rights.

Personally, I think that the Greece should default on their loans and tell the markets to stuff their bonds up their collective arse. Not going to happen, though, although Athens may burn.

Shades: Too true. That is one reason why I gave up on the old left vs right, socialism vs capitalism thing. Unless humanity transcends greed, nothing will change. Capitalism now joins communism as a complete failure.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Sufi, check this out: http://www.minisikerdoskopon.gr/en/ Basically it says that Greece has been under attack by speculators. Same people are attacking Ireland, Spain and Portugal, effectively undermining the economy and driving them into the hands of the IMF.

Shades,here's the problem, that the postwar consensus that gave us a fairer distribution of wealth has completely broken down, and we now have what amounts to a financial coup d'etat by the oligarchs who want to return us to feudal servitude. And while it's true that wealth tends to accumulate, the degree of concentration in just a few hands is greater than it has ever been.


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

I agree with you and ms.I just can't write or think about this anymore. It is depressing me. No matter how we try they always knock us(the middle class down)We do vote, but they have more money and influences to get their way.

http://hubpages.com/politics/Tax-Cuts-For-The-Rich...


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I know the feeling Granny's House, but you mustn't let it get you down. Being broke is depressing anyway. Being depressed and defeated is even more miserable.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

CJStone, I think you're spot on about feudal servitude. The sci-fi realm has been writing those stories for decades. This time it will be global.

Sufi, I'm with you, except I think it's Nationalism on its deathbed. Capitalism isn't really an "ism" in my opinion. Capitalism is the post-Adam Smith word for the system that has existed since in slightly varied forms since the first seashell was used as currency ... or wherever it came from. I think Feudalism, or Corporatism that resembles Feudalism is what's next.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I know that book Shades. I think I've written several versions of it myself.

As for what's coming next, does this quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt ring any bells? "The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power."


spryte profile image

spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA

After reading your hub and the comments attached...I see it as a cycle too. I wonder when the next Red October or French Revolution will occur...but I lean toward Shadesbreath's idea and think it will come from the electronic sector. Is WikkiLeaks for example just the barest glimpse of some black ugly beast beginning to rear up its head from the murky depths? With my morbid bent...I'm predicting total annhilation of the global economy. (And if this comes to pass...it is a complete coincidence that anyone read about it here. Really.)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

Use your second ammendment rights while you still have them, Spryte, so you aren't caught unprepared when the mobs come through raiding your house for food after the colapse. The oligarchs are going to take them from you; they ARE taking them from you; they do it disguised as well-meaning liberal idealists. Pretty tragic watching the fascists use the liberals to do their work for them.

I think you're right, it is all going to implode. They won't care because they have their fortresses and everything they need. We're going to argue with each other about whether the 2nd ammendment or the wikileaks thing or abortion or whatever is right or wrong, and it's just going to happen because we are stupid and focused on the wrong stuff. (sigh)


spryte profile image

spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA

Well my new motto is "They can have my Happy Meal when they pry it from my cold dead cholesterol-riddled corpse!" :)

It's either that or we'll be too busy wondering what Lindsay or Brangelina are doing...

It makes you want to go up to people and slap them upside the head sometimes doesn't it?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Shades, it sounds like you are already composing the next great apocalyptic science fiction novel of a dystopian future.

Spryte, watch Michael Hudson above. I think he has it about right. The oligarchs are not only parasites, they are stupid parasites who don't realise - or don't care - that they are killing the host.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

One wishes that "seeing through this rubbish" made a difference. Doesn't there come a point when knowing one is being abused doesn't prevent it? A point when powerlessness is such a fact that being fully aware of it just makes it hurt the more?

One can imagine everyone waking up to it together with enough cohesion and organization to overturn the rascals, but then what? The chaos would be an even worse yoke, probably. New abusers would rise to the top of that to become rigid and imperial, but lacking all finesse and even a veneer of democracy. It is so frightening it makes me sort of glad my time will expire before it reaches the nadir. Back to the jungle. The rich parasites won't even have a host to sutain them so there would be no need for "law and order" - and every monkey for himself would be the rule of the day.

What is so scary is that the prophets of doom make sense.

And we forget that there is abundance enough, while we ourselves all would love to have a bigger slice of it, just as insurance that we won't become destitute. Maybe we are afraid we will get only what we deserve and that may be so little. Must be really scary to be paid millions for tossing a football around and that is all one really knows how to DO or to be able to "contribute" to the general welfare! Surely they'd like to keep the status quo and avoid being paid what they are really worth. And they at least risk some broken bones and concussions so they surely DO more than the really rich and useless figureheads who glitter with gems and crowns and only risk life and limb when the mob gets fed up enough to attack their golden carriages.

It's all so absurd, isn't it? Seems that most of the "givens" are psychological. Wealth is an illusion built upon poverty. Go figure


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 5 years ago from Sparti, Greece

CJ: That was an interesting article, although it is something that the Greeks have known for a while. That is why I think that Greece should have defaulted on its loans - the speculators would then learn that not all gambles pay off. Sadly, the government/markets love-in would not allow that!

Shades: Quite right to pull me up on my loose use of words. I should have said 'laissez-faire' capitalism. During many debates on here, I read a lot about Mises, Rand and those Austrian chaps. Change a few words here and there, and their rhetoric is the same ideology that I used to hear from Marxists. Unrealistic, idealistic, and failing to take into account human nature or history. That is why I am something of a political nihilist nowadays. I think that they all lead to the same place - it could well be neo-feudalism :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

I wonder if feudalism is so bad a fate if it is benevolent feudalism? Not saying that's what I'd like to see, but I do wonder whether the man on the Clapham omnibus really cares who's in charge so long as there's food in his belly, a roof over his head, and he can still get home in time to enjoy a beer with his missus in front of the tv.

As to the financial thing. Well it's not hard to see that the debts of the West are too great to be re-paid by conventional means, so maybe Sufi's solution is the right one. Perhaps the Western nations should call time on the current system, and we can all start again?


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

Yeah, Sufi, Greece should have defaulted. And our banks should have failed here too. That is how capitalism is supposed to work. If the market doesn't right itself, if stupid risks don't come with a penalty, then its not really capitalism. It's just that stuff that makes for apocalyptic, dystopian novel material like CJ pointed out. Scary to think about. I keep telling myself it is just imagination, that the Chicken Little part of my brain is not giving us enough credit (lol @ that metaphor, given CJ's video article), but I'm still going to prepare for the worst. The framers saw all this coming. Washington called it all in his farewell address. That man gets smarter and smarter the more years go by.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

The business world in many ways is like water, it will seek the level that it is offered. I am not defending this but merely observing it. Up to the time that Clinton signed his bill for th fair housing act, we had some rules in place which guarded against financial institutions lending money to those who could not afford. The rules basically placed the institution at risk for taking the gamble. Clinton and his crew essentially said to hell with that and everyone deserves to own a home. Given that, and the availability of the money, what can you expect might happen in a world driven essentially by greed. Bush is blamed for it and now we live in the aftermath of Big Government giving license to create a reckless entity in the financial world. Once it started, almost every business was obliged to go along if they were to compete and stay alive. It was a house built on sand which Clinton gave to America as his legacy. Unfortunately too many liberals have long since lost sight of that fact. WB


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Wayne, the purpose of government is to intervene on behalf of us, the electorate. We need big government to defend us against big finance. The problem we have in this world right now is that government has been effectively hijacked by the finance industry. It's not just to do with Clinton or a specific piece of legislation, it's the whole rotten system.


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 5 years ago from Guwahati, India

It is necessary to investigate the Bank’s activity with an expert body to find the truth.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

And who would the expert body be?


chspublish profile image

chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

Great stimulating hub. I get so mad thinking about all the 'stuff' that goes in without the voice of the people included. Change is definitely needed, but how to rally the troops, so to speak and be successful without inducing revolution? What is a quiet revolution and how to go about it? Great hub, thanks.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

chspublish, the first thing is to be informed, but I'm not sure it's not revolution we want. It depends what you mean by the word. It only means a turning: a great turning in history. It happens over and over again,whenever corrupt governments are in control. The people rise up and the governments fall. Here is the I Ching, dating to several centuries BC, on the matter: http://deoxy.org/iching/49


literarychimp profile image

literarychimp 5 years ago from Ireland

Informative and provoking hub thanks alot CJ. I’m afraid I’m with Sufi and the nihilists here, and have become increasingly disillusioned with politics over the last month or so. Let me digress a little bit by describing the situation in my own country, Ireland for a minute. Ireland is identical to Greece at present, our banks are bust, our government is swamped in sovereign debt and we have been pushed into accepting an IMF/ECB loan without the prospect of an Argentina like default ever been considered. How could it, we are simply too entangled in the European market system. If the German banks fail other European banks will fail and we will eventually feel it. The Irish Labour party (our only large traditionally left of centre party) have an outside chance of becoming the biggest party in the Dail (the Irish parliament) come the next election. Yet I find it difficult to muster much enthusiasm. They are still beholden to their own invested interest groups and classes (public sector workers and so on) and its hard at times to distinguish them from any other bourgeois centrist party who quarrel about the doctrinal details but are content to mutter out the neo-liberal creed at the same time. Certainly the more our right wing press purposely tires to destroy them, the more they quiver indignantly at the fact teachers are getting ten bob more than their French counterparts while overlooking the iniquities of the banking sector the more I am inclined to be sympathetic. At least they are the only party that want to haul in the tax exiles. Although I always found “exile”, loaded with its suggestions of wistful forced immigrants weeping by the waters of Babylon an outrageously romantic way of describing Mr. Green and his cohorts. Ireland have after all lost 11-20 billion to tax skipping sorcery, which is 1/8-1/4 of the IMF/ECB bailout ourselves and our children will be paying for generations. I’m sure the British treasurer could whip up eleven billion in unpaid taxes just by investigating rich billionaires employed by the Tory party. Still you can rule out the prospect of a united left wing government. For this to be a possibility Labour would have to go into government with various parties that would be unacceptable to their electorial base. Labour get votes and more importantly private donations from upper middle class, socially liberal, Irish Times reading professionals and they will quickly scatter as soon as two specific words are mentioned. Those words are Sinn Fein. And those who knows anything about our political situation or history will know it’s hard to blame them. The relevance all this has to the present discussion is that while I am sympathetic to socially democratic solutions that involve banking regulation and cutting down on tax skippers I hold no illusions that they will usher in a radically altered society. I spent enough of my youth as a Marxist to know there is one ultimate political question that determines everything else, do you accept the market economy? If you answer this in the positive you’re a poor man’s radical. Still, neo-liberals dressed up as socialists are probably preferable to neo-liberals dressed up as Conservatives, or God knows, Irish republicans. After an eon of Finna Fail rule we have enough of the latter kind.

Yet, like I intimated, I’m wallowing in a kind of post modern nihilism at the moment, socialism was a great idea, but I don’t think our own peculiar type of advanced mammals deserve it.


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

China and the rest of the international community will teach the EU and the US very soon why spening on NATO and the military will not make the US economy stronger ... it never has. There is no strength left! It was sold out long ago to special interests in support of a global industrial military complex - it just didn't work out ... but brain washing ordinary folks with limited education works great - not even at this late point in time do these mental proletarians raise their voices to stop all military spending around the world!


Charles James profile image

Charles James 5 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

Goood piece CJ


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 5 years ago from Savannah GA.

Excellent material thought provoking and well written! I am clad I found this hub today!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Glad you like it Highvoltagewriter.


matteotti 5 years ago

I like the comment about the Big Society idea:

What kind of Big Society is it that closes Libraries to pay for bankers bonuses?

The Big Society could be taken to mean "We are in it together" but my ideal Big Society would be like I heard of for in Paris Commune where the elected officials (council, in effect) decided in a meeting that a certain district needed a new sewer trench and then closed the meeting to go and dig it.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

That's an interesting thought matteotti, but I suspect most councillors hands would be too soft to dig sewer trenches. On the other hand, if council workers were also councillors, then they could easily go and dig the trenches after.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

Another well written, well-stated column. The same thing happened in the U.S. The "little people" have bailed out the U.S. banks, also. I'm sure this is why the riots in and around London are happening. People are beginning to realize "we aren't in this all together" and that the bankers are profiting off this "economic downturn." When the cuts to our "entitled programs" come about, don't be surprised if rioting in the streets commences here in the major cities of the U.S. Yes, today, there are different forms of "slavery".


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

CJ, I have missed your work- have not been by in ages and I note a most impressive profile.

I noted the blame game attaches this problem to Clinton, but the guru of Republicans, Reagan first moved jobs overseas. Under his watch, the financial sector grew its percentage of the economy.

Such fingerpointing feeds the problem, keeps Main Street divided so that Wall Street parasites take over the government body without much problem. Blaming the Other keeps the focus on being right, even as our livilihoods disappear.

I have felt like a serf for the longest time. I do not know where to find my empowerment in such an environment and therefore go within.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Storytellersrus, yes the problem began with the dergulation of the banks which happened during Reagan and Thatcher's watch. The economic theroy was called Monetarism but, despite the fact that it has been discredited a thousand times over - it is essentially a form of propaganda for the wealthy elites - it is still being practiced by governments around the world.

I'm glad you feel like a serf. Recognising your true status is the first step to being able to overthrow the system that put you there. I'm a serf too.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Haha. Yes, there is much truth in that last statement. In fact, I have just accepted an offer to join with other serfs to demand Obama bring light to corporate causes of the economic crash. Together we stand! Alone, we cry like birds fallen from the nest. Peep!

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