They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly whilst expecting different results, and yet here we are, after the conceited neo-liberalistic approach of New Labour, dancing to the same old bitter tune composed by Maggie and Ronnie all those years ago. Despite crashing and burning amid a tsunami of greed and irresponsibility, the latest cabal of larcenists strolled into town and claimed the problem was a swollen public sector, combined with scraps being pinched by some workless ne’er-do-wells.

National newspapers continue to be apologists for this self-defeating austerity drive, promoting yet more right-wing thinking to combat a failure of right-wing ideology, using a deft dash of demagoguery and deception for maximum indoctrination potential. Failures of the private sector the state now outsources core functions to, committed either with knowing complicity or incompetence, are shrugged off, and, incredibly, contracts are seemingly not terminated. Witness the inept surrender of private security contractor G4S to their agreed terms for Olympic security. ‘Just a hitch’, claims Jeremy Hunt, a man who by all rights should have been relieved of his position weeks ago. This follows hot on the heels of ‘welfare to work’ provider a4e (what is it with these ‘something4something’ company names? Is it anything to do with Cameron’s ‘something4nothing culture’?) being investigated for fraud, amid reports which suggest their success rate makes them inferior to the job centre:

http://www.channel4.com/news/welfare-to-work-firm-a4e-failing-where-jobs-are-plentiful

Failures of the public sector are both well-reported and deliberately contrived in order to turn the public against the idea of successful fully public services. Witness the slow-motion dismantling of the NHS, which, as a national institution, would never be tolerated by the masses, unless a long-term campaign of bad reports from overworked and underpaid staff influences people to believe privatisation is the only solution:

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/617665-overworking-blamed-for-nhs-errors

Of course, we all have Milton Friedman to thank for this Neo-Liberal monster which lurches on, despite being mortally wounded and clinically dead as a workable political model. Rich men have asserted their alleged superiority over those less fortunate than them since the dawn of hierarchy, but never did they have a shred of evidence to back up their claims that they were responsible for the good of all and deserved to contribute proportionately less while receiving much, much more. That is, until Friedman, particularly as advisor to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, gave them ideal ideological cover with his hypotheses that free markets were always superior to state monopolies, and that the state should seek to interfere as little as possible in the matters of the free market.

Of course, the US and UK governments of the time, in thrall to big business, conveniently did not proceed with Friedman’s suggestions of giving all in a society a minimum level of income via ‘Negative Income Tax’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_income_tax), nor are they now paying any heed to his statements that tax cuts would most likely be saved rather than spent in the real economy. What they did do, and are continuing to do, is use his teachings as a superficial veil for a massive hoarding of wealth by the upper percentile of earners, while simultaneously removing more and more of the required contributions to the state from corporations. That’s contributions from declared profits not held in offshore accounts of course.

Friedman’s position was ideal. Rather than: ‘the rich deserve even more’, the government line would be: ‘we should all be taxed less’. Rather than ‘corporations should influence society more than a democratically elected body’, the line was ‘government should stop interfering in people’s lives’. Rather than ‘wealth hoarders’, the line was ‘wealth creators’.

While left-wing ideology often provided incisive statistics and evidence to back up calls for more equal wealth distribution(http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/why),
right-wing ideology often could only throw baseless assumptions around. The farcical ‘trickle-down’ theory proposes that allowing the already wealthy more wealth will motivate them to employ some of the less wealthy. Interestingly, at the opposite end of the social scale, we see companies motivating low paid staff by paying them less. ‘Supply-side economics’ was always baseless nonsense, but since Friedman, it had an anchor in reputable economic theory, even if the theory was cut and pasted to suit the corrupt government agendas of the time. The agenda of stealing from the poor to further nourish the rich. After all, where does all this wealth derive, other than the rest of the population? Well, bank computer systems too, but that’s a story for another day.

Friedman, whether he liked it or not, became the corporate poster child; a greedy rich man’s apologist and cheerleader. A symbol for the ‘every man for himself’ culture that has pervaded and poisoned our political system, and will never be eradicated until the anaesthetized masses rise up and see who is really pulling their strings, turning them against one another and loading their shoulders with debt to prevent them ever scaling the ivory towers they inhabit to seek restitution once more. Maggie once claimed society did not exist, and there is a very real chance of it actually imploding in many Eurozone countries, as feeble governments look for every option but asking the people and businesses doing best out of the mess to actually contribute a fair share towards its maintenance and progression.

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