Skip to main content

The truth lost in austerity; it wasn't public spending that got us into this mess.

How convenient it is for the government that the real cause of our economic woe seems to have become a distant media memory. Better it is for the government to blame the poorest for the crisis, rather than question how it was that the capitalist edifice crumbled.

The inconvenient truth is that far from it being 'social welfare' that brought us to our knees, it was middle class greed.  It wasn't the deficit; it wasn't the 'welfare dependent' poor.  It was middle class greed and a banking sector gone sour;  a banking sector willing to sell us their 'toxic' financial products pushing personal debt higher and higher, and in the UK to the highest levels in the world.

No it wasn't and isn't public debt that was or is our problem; it was personal debt. Whilst the government have been on an ever failing austerity drive of cuts that are stripping services to the bone, hitting the poorest the hardest, slashing funding to the NHS with £20 billion of cuts, and attacking those on benefits, the Bank of England have created some £275bn of new money through quantitative easing making it possible for us to live with our debts. 

Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics. Three years must be an age. But are we doing anything to prevent a repetition of capitalist failure? The answer is surely very little. The greatest hope for the coalition is that we have another boom, that house prices rise, that banks lend more money, that we stoke another furnace of unsustainable debt. 

Perhaps the logic is that it only went wrong because of the actions of 'rogues' in the banking system. This would be the triumph of hope over reality. It was the banking system that went sour. Greedy bankers, greedy shareholders, that did away with mutual building societies and turned them into banks. Banks that expanded carving out ever green territory, buying each others toxic lending: promissory notes that had little chance of being redeemed. 

Yet the government, if opinion polls are to be believed, have  persuaded the public that it is all to do with government spending and 'welfare dependency'. They have succeeded in blaming the poor. And the reason is obvious. Any other narrative is uncomfortable. We would like it all to go back to how it was; toxic and unsustainable, in the hope it will work next time. God forbid that government ever did the wisest thing and raise taxes. Yet if we were truly all in this together then surely we should all pay. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

Prioritising people in nursing care.

There has been in recent years concern that care in the NHS has not been sufficiently 'patient centred', or responsive to the needs of the patient on a case basis. It has been felt in care that it as been the patient who has had to adapt to the regime of care, rather than the other way around. Putting patients at the centre of care means being responsive to their needs and supporting them through the process of health care delivery.  Patients should not become identikit sausages in a production line. The nurses body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has responded to this challenge with a revised code of practice reflection get changes in health and social care since the previous code was published in 2008. The Code describes the professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives. Four themes describe what nurses and midwives are expected to do: prioritise people practise effectively preserve safety, and promote professionalism and trust. The

Mr Duncan-Smith offers a disingenuous and divisive comparison

Some time ago, actually it was a long time ago when I was in my early teens, someone close to me bought a table. It was an early flat pack variety. It came with a top and four legs. He followed the instructions to the letter screwing the legs into the top. But when he had completed it the table wobbled. One leg he explained was shorter than the other three; so he sawed a bit from each of the other legs. The table wobbled. One leg, he explained, was longer than the other three. So, he sawed a bit off. The table wobbled. He went on cutting the legs, but the table continued to wobble. Cut, cut, cut! By this time he had convinced himself there was no alternative to it.  He ended up with a very low table indeed, supported by four very stumpy legs and a bit of cardboard placed under one of them to stop it wobbling on the uneven floor.  Mr Duncan-Smith argues that we need a 1% cap on benefits to be 'fair to average earners'. Average  earners have seen their incomes rise by less tha