In the old days – before the rampant Capitalism that Thatcherism brought in – a lot of jobs were a family affair. Generation after generation would do the same job. Some people deride this as a lack of a drive to better yourself and pull yourself out of your situation. But if you look at it another way... everything that needed to be done got done, because you knew there were always going to be plumbers. There were always going to be butchers. There were always going to be all of the things that everyone needed for society to run smoothly.
The idea of Capitalism brought with it an ambition among the people to do better. To get more money than your ancestors. Everything is focussed on money. Which means that there are a lot of people who have fought their way out of poverty, and are now living a quality of life that their grandparents never even dreamed of. Well done to them.
But, this has led to a situation in which my generation – the first generation to be raised in the Thatcherist mindset – think that all of those menial jobs are below us. They all want the top jobs as lawyers, or stock brokers. Not builders. But in spite of people’s lack of a desire to do these jobs, they do still need to be done. Without them being done, society would collapse. So the answer is to outsource.
All around the world there are people who are far less fortunate than us, who are seeing that there are jobs available. Jobs that they are willing to do, because they’re willing to do anything to get any money at all. This is why immigration is not only a good thing, but completely necessary to keep the country running. Unfortunately, most of the same people who cheer on the ideals of Capitalism, are also the same kind of people who complain about “foreigners coming over here and taking our jobs!” They just can’t grasp that in order to live to the standard of living that we have become accustomed to in this country, less fortunate people are going to have to prop us up.
Proponents of Capitalism like to talk about how they got where they are with hard work, and anyone can do the same if they put their mind to it, and not only this, if people weren’t so lazy, everyone would be doing it. But this is wrong. Let’s just bypass the sheer amount of luck that you need to have to be able to succeed in a competitive marketplace – you have to have specific skills/products/etc. That there is a enough of a demand for to be able to earn more than your costs, and it’s inevitable that the majority who try are going to fail no matter how hard they work – there’s also the very simple fact that if everyone is a successful businessman/lawyer/stock broker/banker/any other high-flying job, then not only is there no one left for these people to employ, but there’s also going to be a severe lack of poor and desperate people.
For Capitalism to be successful, there has to be poverty and desperation. Otherwise, who is going to do all of the tasks that the more affluent feel are beneath them? Who’s going to police the streets? Who’s going to join the armed forces so that the rich can protect their interests? This is the answer to the question, “why won’t the rich do anything about inequality in the world?” The rich need there to be inequality, otherwise their society would collapse. People like Russell Brand are correct when they say that in order for there to be profit, there needs to be someone else in the world who is losing out.
And we’re all guilty of the exploitation of the poor and desperate, no matter how many “fair trade” products we use in an attempt to feel better about ourselves. If you have money, it’s only because other people don’t. It’s a fact of life.
Is pure Socialism the answer as many – including myself – have sometimes said? Probably not. But the sooner the world realises that borders are imaginary lines, and everyone should have the right to go anywhere, and the sooner something drastic is done to the system so that someone can get into power who isn’t merely a figurehead for corporations who are gaining more and more power in Western politics, despite the will of the people (who politicians in a Democratic society like to claim have the power) the better. Because Brand is right. No matter which party a politician belongs to, it’s not the people who vote them in that will be their priority, but the bank accounts of their friends in business.
The promises of fairness and positive competition when the nation’s energy company’s and rail lines have not been delivered. These are essential services that should not be sold at a profit, but every year prices jump whilst the company’s in charge make some excuse about improvements or “unfair levies”, whilst they proudly announce record profits at the end of the tax year. Renationalisation of these services is essential for anybody who wants to bring positive change. And while they’re at it, they need to get the Royal Mail back before any more damage is done, and do everything in their power to make sure the NHS stays out of corporate hands. The wellbeing of the nation’s people should be a government’s first priority, and these services are all things that they have the moral duty to provide.
All non-essential services however, should be encouraged to make a profit via ethical means. Pay and treat their workers fairly no matter where they are in the world. Profit when it’s made not by exploiting the customers or employees, but rather by doing a good job is a good thing. That’s where I disagree with Brand. Someone has to be making a profit, otherwise where is the money coming from to combat the poverty that most agree needs to be dealt with. Sure, I think the government should provide for its people, but at the end of the day if they are the only people providing for people, it’s completely unsustainable. There needs to be some kind of happy medium between Capitalism and Socialism that works for the benefit of all. And at the same time, we need to accept that the vast majority of people doing the menial tasks *gasp* weren’t born in this country! They’re doing an essential job by keeping this country running. Let them be. It’s ironic that the type of people who welcome immigrants into this country are the type in which we wouldn’t actually need them here so much if they’re Socialist ideals were in place, and those who think we should get rid of them are those whose political ideals absolutely rely on them coming here.
Like Russell Brand - who I agree with largely, but in some ways I disagree with... I tend to agree that voting is largely pointless, especially when constituency boundaries are drawn to ensure one particular party always wins, but for the time being I’d be afraid not to. Even spoiling your ballot paper is a more effective way of making the point that you don’t believe in any of them than just not bothering at all – I have no idea how to implement these ideas. I’m not a politician, and though I might welcome a Revolution (depending entirely on who is revolting and why... and whether or not they are the sort of extreme anti-Capitalists who have contributed millions of dollars to Times Warner by wearing movie merchandise), I certainly don’t have the ideas or the charisma to be the person people rally behind. I just have an idea of how I believe the world should run, which is pretty much exactly the opposite of how it does run.
One thing that does need to happen, is that some serious party’s other than the three major ones by the next election. Basically, if that doesn’t happen the choices will either be Labour (at the moment, my personal choice, but I don’t believe they stand much chance of winning because memories of their final years in government are still fresh), the elitist snobbery of the Conservatives who have gutted the country of its services, gutted the military of resources whilst they were fighting two wars, and whose solution to energy company’s all rising their prices was, “just switch providers”, the Liberal Democrats – the perpetrator of one of the most blatant lies in recent memory when they promised to not vote for student tuition fees and then voted for student tuition fees – and in any case have only ever gotten any semblance of power by selling out their ideals and teaming up with the Conservatives - and a few fringe party’s like the right-wing, Nationalist, racist BNP and UKIP, and the Green Party whose policies on preserving the world are admirable, but who literally have no policies in regards to anything else whatsoever. We need more party’s that represent a far broader range of political ideals than we have now – much as the American system needs... in fact, when reading about how American democracy was rigged on Cracked yesterday, I was struck by how much of it also applied to the UK.
I don’t usually talk about politics as much on here, and I honestly don’t know my point in writing this other than to get some of it out there. This is probably the first of my “Random Rambling” blogs to actually ramble randomly off course at some points. I may be an idealist, but I’ve found that everyone who has ever made any changes has been an idealist, too. Most of their ideals never came to fruition, or if they did they were warped by other people (I’m pretty sure Karl Marx would have been disgusted with Josef Stalin), but they had to ask for the impossible in order to get the parts that were actually possible.
I’ve defended Russell Brand in the last few weeks, even for the things that I disagree with myself, because I can see where he’s coming from. So I guess this was just an opportunity to say what I actually think in a long-winded, meandering way.