The twenty-first century although at first sight a move away from the old twentieth century is in significant ways looking backwards a hundred years and more to the vast inequalities which existed before the First World War. In Britain and the United States which appear to be joined in a three-legged race to get back to a dismal vastly unequal society, economic theories and political ideology have joined forces to deregulate and allow the financial sector to set its own limits, or absence of limits, so that a tiny percentage, 0.01% of the population will get rich beyond their wildest dreams. The 99% will find their wages and salaries held down and Pensions trimmed back to level of food and shelter, no holidays, no trips out, no cafe luncheons, no fun spending at all. In the UK the firemen have just been on strike, the teachers and lecturers, the civil servants and the majority of workers in the NHS are all concerned about the extension of hours of work and the cutting back of pension rights. This is in fact the main aim of privatisation, to get a non-unionised work force. So further limits will be easier to impose, so we have Academy Schools, privatised services for the NHS, details of workers out-sourced to private companies, many of which originated in the US and privately run prisons. All supported by British tax-payers but to whom they have no accountability. Most importantly the government cannot be held accountable as these are private firms for example Serco and G4S and others.
These developments are not natural organic growth they are the deliberate decisions of small groups of men acting not on behalf of the country but in the interests of a small elite group who think only of their own personal enrichment utterly without thought for the health and prosperity of the country as a whole. It is possible to make other decisions,all we need is the will to do so.
Originally posted on tressiemc:
I promise you I don’t know Coates from Adam’s cousin Leroy. I stopped attending the Thursday night Black People Meetings ™ ages ago when gas crossed $2 a gallon. But, I know that Coates has written a thing at The Atlantic making the case for reparations.
This is good.
When I teach my inequality course to undergraduates, I spend a lot of time on periods of wealth creation in U.S. history and how fundamental enslaved labor was to its distribution. Even my econ majors tend to walk away saying there’s really no redress for inequality that does not begin and end with wealth redistribution. The issue is almost never if reparations is a solution but only if it’s a solution white folks can live with. So, there’s that.
I like Coates’ addendum on his blog. He gives some love to the academics and teachers who slog through survey courses that…
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Treatment in hospital will for the moment be free at the point of need but nursing care and attention may be noted by their complete absence. (I am of course talking about English hospitals).
Grey hair, nowadays this has become a matter of choice, many people in the public eye and others completely anonymous decide that a choice of colour is much more preferable. I have been tempted in this direction myself.
A spreading waistline, I will remain discreetly silent on this point, I have observed this in people who have not yet reached thirty years of age.
The universal need for reading glasses, this can begin in the fifties. For some a boost with hearing,(often invisible).
By no means universal but frequently seen a walking aid, often specially carved to suit the individual supported by it.
The most interesting aspect when does an individual human being recognise herself as being old? I recall getting on a bus, watching the passengers enter and mentally deciding, that person is old, this one merely middle aged. In very recent journeys I have noted young people stand up to give me a seat, indeed I have been very glad to sit down. They have categorised me as an old woman. Long ago I was told I looked young, time and tide wait for no man nor woman either. I still have my own teeth, well most of them, my hair is thick and glossy,(my hairdresser often compliments me). My grey cells are still in working order, I would even go so far as to say they work better, except for the minor problem of forgetting once familiar names.
Feelings! I can remember 1958, I’ve counted up 56 years ago. I come from another age, I could exhibit myself on Antiques Roadshow and ask if they would put a value on me. Well this item is showing some cracks and the surface has faded, as William Morris said, ‘have nothing in your home which you do not believe to be beautiful or useful’. Which category?
A famous writer once said,’the past is another country’, I think that makes me a time traveller. How strange, exciting, beautiful and frightening this twenty-first century world is.
Where ever I look in society: in education, working life, economic and social life, there is a deeply embedded hierarchy which most of us accept as a part of daily life. There are the best universities, Oxford and Cambridge, although in fact there are a hundred other good universities, the best schools, Public Schools of course, which in their very expensive walls take about 7% of the child population and entry into a Public School is almost a guarantee of entry into Oxbridge. If we look at the present Cabinet we find that this is indeed true. We are governed by men (mostly) from a small elite extremely wealthy group. True they were elected, their friends own most of the press and the BBC is terrified that the licence fee will be abolished so is very anxious not to upset the apple cart. This is a democracy! Yes indeed men and women have the vote, no problem in going to the local school and putting your cross against the name you choose. The question is who represents the ordinary working man and woman? The gulf between the majority of society and the extraordinarily rich is growing greater every day. This 1% who have no intention of paying their taxes on the money they have made in the UK and every intention of selling off the NHS, thereby making a huge profit by owning private health care firms. Many politicians will receive money and jobs in these new privatised sectors, paid for by the tax-payer. Is this the best we can do in a wealthy, civilised society?