Democracy what does it really mean, according to the Declaration of Independence; government of the people, for the people by the people; the words are rational, the practice is altogether trickier: who has the vote, who elects the leaders, who controls the information and delivers it to the voters? Women and working men without property have been able to vote for less than a hundred years and it was a long hard battle to get that right. What do the words Free Press mean, who selects the information or indeed misinformation we are served on a daily basis. Our democracy in this twenty-first century is in a parlous state, there is an ever increasing gap between the 1% and the 99% according to the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, Danny Dorling and world renowned economist, Joseph Stiglitz. Both have written many books based on evidence, that the gap between the many and the few fabulously wealthy individuals is a bad thing for the whole of society. One thing it does is to lesson trust between the different sections of society and lead to an increase in revolutionary activity and an expansion of criminal behaviour. Stiglitz has written, ‘The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them’.
He also refers to ‘free market fundamentalists, —unfettered markets do not lead to social justice.’
On the radio this morning this huge difference, very similar to what it was in the 1920s, the salary of the CEO of a large company asks for and gets 123x the wages of the average worker. Only one other country has this enormous disparity and that is the USA. With this fact in mind the Austerity economics followed by this government is a cruel deceit practised by the political class (at the behest of newspaper owners, who are backing them) against the majority of ordinary working people. The NHS, to take one example, is deprived of money because the immensely wealthy prefer to put their profits in a Swiss bank account rather than pay their taxes.
We all of us need to know how to play our part in an open democratic society to get us out of this mess.
I have been a teacher and a lecturer for a number of years. I am married with two sons. I'm interested drama, films, TV, books, society in general, poverty and riches and political systems.
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