This is communication number 1665 and here’s a little run down of things that happened in England in that year. These snippets seem sensible given these are the years most people know about and the plague was also starting to spread. There was the start of a second war between the English and the Dutch. The monarchy moved out of London to avoid the plague. Peyps was busy writing. Newton was busy doing mathematics. Parliament moved out of London to avoid the plague because rich people have always had the means of saving themselves.
The last month has clearly shown that our economy isn’t fit for purpose. While I am happy to admit that this crisis is that, a crisis, and it is quite a rare event, the current situation is not a good one for the people. Who would have thought that the destruction of the unions and the rise of the gig economy would have had such profound effects on everybody’s well-being? [sarcasm]. For the last three hundred years there has been a constant struggle between those who want to make as much money as possible and those who are the ones who create that wealth through poor working conditions and threat to life. That seems quite extreme but let’s look at this.
The “working class” have always been treated as expendable. They are treated as though they don’t have value. The only value they have is that they can manufacture for the profit of others. This system has stemmed from the feudal system. There used to be Lords of the Land and “owners” who would have peasants who worked for them just for the right to live on that land. A single upper class person who just happened to be born out of the correct vagina had the power and owned everyone else. All the productivity was for this silver-spoon person. That person was in charge of it all and the structure of society continued. Now we have “industrialists” and also people born from the correct vaginas who still own or run everything. Our current Prime Minister went to Eton and Oxford. He’s been “bred” to rule the country. The rest of the country accepts this because “that is the way is has been”. There is a sad acceptance that these people are born to rule over us. We are still a monarchy and this “natural way of things” is forced into our collective consciousness through every system we have, including religion.
“Our Queen” still makes addresses to the “people” every Christmas, firmly linking her status with that of the god of all. Our fairy stories have princes and princesses along with Kings and Queens who rules over us. Our history forces us into this idea that the current Monarch is there for the good of the people. Every story about god and his zombie son means we subjugate ourselves to a thing which is naturally meant to rule over us. There is no meritocracy. There is only those who have and the rest of us. We like to think that they have our best interests at heart but do they? Bollocks.
Sorry, this is meant to be about the economy. I got side-tracked by those for whom the economy is really important – those in charge. If they worked for the people then they would be happy for more state control of the essentials. But they work for business and their friends. Let’s see the things that should not be:
- Removal of a social safety net – there’s this idea that the working class are inherently lazy or that if they worked harder they could remove themselves from poverty. Read a study assholes. Poverty breeds poverty. Yes, some will scam the system but nowhere near much is lost to them as the many who currently “minimise their tax bill”. As a society we should want to help people. We should want to do the best we can.
- Gig economy – this is clearly companies removing the need for paying their employees correctly or giving them workers’ rights. Only work for us when needed? Then we don’t have to give you all those pesky things that cut our profit and reduce our payout to shareholders.
- Zero hour contracts – these aren’t contracts are they? If you only get work when they need you then it’s a bullshit system. Pay people and employ people properly. Give them benefits. You’ll get more out of them and create a better society. But when the bottom line is profit who cares?
- Privately owned utilities – things that are essential to all should be run and controlled by the state. These things shouldn’t be in public ownership with those few who have money and the ability to buy shares to be the ones who profit. For instance, the railways in this country are subsidised by the government to the tune of billions, and those billions go to the shareholders when those companies make profit, which they only do because of the subsidy. Railways aren’t there to make money. They are there to enable people to get to work or move around effectively.
- Dividends – I don’t mind people being able to run companies and I don’t mind profit being made but I do mind the short termism that comes from that. I do think there needs to be a social reality towards companies and the rewards, somehow, need to be based on what good they do as a whole, not just their bottom line. Do I know how to do this? No. Let’s take a minor look at that bastion of Britishness James Dyson. He’s so rich and successful that he’s been knighted [fuck the honours system] and he’s also so patriotic that he’s pro-Brexit and seen as a wonderful person. But he’s a shit. He moved all his production to the far east because it was cheaper and you can pay people less. He moved this for short term profit reasons rather than because he loves our country. I do not know his personal tax contributions but I will point out that JK Rowling pays her taxes in full. Those who have suffered and been poor know what help can be given although isn’t.
- Short Termism – If companies had a longer cycle of profit and working then maybe a couple of months of shutdown would have fucked them over so much. The idea that they should save, pay decent wages, have good pension schemes and not raid those pension schemes seems beyond most companies.
I get that I seem angry at the capitalist society we have at the moment. I am. Think about the squalor, the working conditions, the living conditions that could be changed if companies acted responsibly towards their employees and not like the Lord Of The Manor who gives out all things. Thin what would happen if everyone got a decent wage and there was a decent safety net to help those who struggle. Think what would happen if we could improve the living conditions of everyone in this country. It wouldn’t take much. Then we could start on the rest of the world and show them the way. If you want to know why I’m angry think about this:
THERE ARE FOOD BANKS IN OUR COUNTRY
Oh, Tesco would love it if I bought an extra packet of pasta and put it in the food bank donation trolley wouldn’t they? Why the fuck are they still making a profit when they could be putting that entire profit, even for a couple of years, into society. They could start to end this. They could say to their investors, “look, we aren’t going to pay out for three years, we are going to put all the profit into local society and see what good we can change, we are going to pay a bit more to our staff and we are going to help these areas”. What an experiment that would be. Tesco would make more money because they are doing a good thing they are being socially responsible, they would be able to pay out more in dividends over a longer period of time, but reduce the initial dividends and lower the annual payout. I don’t mean to pick on Tesco but I when I see the donation box and I think of their profit I get angry. They trick us into donating our money when they could be using theirs to better ends.
Oddly the food supply system in this country seems to work well and I have yet to convince myself it should be taken into state control. We do need the state to legislate more for profits and forcing companies to pay better. We need the state to change things for the better. But they won’t because the “state” is made from those who were “born” to be there. They wouldn’t want you to have that power because in the last forty one years we’ve had right wing governments and unfortunately for us they want to keep the power.
Everyone laughed when Labour said they’d give everyone free broadband? It was cheap and brilliant. I bet all those who stand on their doors at 8pm on a Thursday clapping still vote tory in the next election. The sound of clapping causes me so much rage, like the donation box in Tesco. This country fucks itself over every election. I’m cheery honest, just need to stream this consciousness out somehow. I don’t think I’ll be reading these through either. It’s hard to get my thoughts in order on these matters.