Friday, 25 July 2008

Its the environment stupid!

David Cameron is wrong - we don't live in a broken society. We have poverty and pockets of great deprivation but the vast majority of people and families live in neighborhoods which are safe, and not plagued by anti-social behaviour.

One thing that Cameron is right about and that is that people should take responsibility for their own lives - but no one disputes that! The thing is that Tories talk about this as if it was a concept that they have invented and have a copyright on. One of the things the
left have to do is slay this myth.

Buts lets talk about the people who Cameron thinks are part of this broken society. He is obviously not referring to his own family and Notting Hill chums. So who does he mean? Er.... well the poor. Except that Tories can't bring themselves to admit that these problems are caused by poverty - because that would be admitting that their rotten economic system not only fails a substantial potion of the population but actually causes the poverty that these people suffer from.

Lets continue by slaying the two great Tory (right wing) myths:

1. The rich are rich because they are talented and they deserve the money they have. Not true. The overwhelming majority of rich people inherit their wealth - a fact which was well known in the 1960's but now has been conveniently forgotten. Not only are the wealthy rich because mummy and daddy were, but the Middle Classes are well off for the same reason. I've used capitals because I'm talking about the real Middle Class here - not you and me. We are the middle class. They commonly earn £100,000 or more. Call them Upper Middle Class if you like. These are the largely Oxbridge educated crew who dominate the media, arts and professions. Some of them are genuinely upwardly mobile but the is only because of the expansion of higher education in the 1960's - a door which has now been firmly shut by New Labour.

2. The poor are poor because they are feckless scroungers: Not true. But it plays very well with the Daily Mail readers and tiny minded Tories who can only feel good by thinking they are better than somebody else. The poor are poor largely because their parents were poor. Notice a pattern here? Poor people live in poor areas. They are deprived compared to their rich compatriots. They are going nowhere. Why? Because its almost impossible to break out of that kind of situation. Its the environment that they live in that determines their future. Of course a few do escape. The lucky ones and the very clever ones. But the rest are stuck in their ghetto. Those that do escape are held up by the right as shining examples - if they can do it anyone can. No, once again, not true.

Socialists have always recognised this. Socialists have tried to improve the environment to help the poor but this has largely failed and there are two main reasons: Firstly most of the attempts have been imposed top down by the state - to help people you have to empower them and that's something that governments (of every hue) hate doing. They like to talk about it but make damn sure it never happens. Secondly to end poverty you have to create some wealth. Governments have really had no answer to this because they rely on capitalism and capitalists to do this. So, companies are bribed to move in, business units are set up and it doesn't work. If people are genuinely going to be empowered they have to create the wealth themselves. Absolutely no point in giving millions to companies that are going to pocket the money and move on as soon as possible. The money needs to go direct to the people. But what kind of capitalist government is ever going to do that?

The only way we can end the curse of poverty in the world is to move away from capitalism to a co-operative economic system which empowers individuals and stresses need not greed. And no this doesn't mean living in communes or 5 year plans. It means doing the kind of things that they did in Argentina recently when, during an economic crisis, the bosses bailed out, leaving their factories behind them. The workers refused to accept unemployment, took over the factories and businesses and ran them themselves. Now that's the way to end poverty - cut out the capitalists.

1 comment:

Pooja said...

i completely agree every bit in this post...
n the solution u gave sounds really practical... but dunno y its niot possible ..maybe people r not ready to take that kind of initiative but y???
we want this world to move forward... then y cant v all get together n work towards it ???
I am voluntarily working with the United Nations on its Millennium Development Goals.
n to spread awareness about this cause i have been using every bit of internet platform--
if theres any way u can contribute to this cause...then plz lemme knw