Friday, 12 August 2011

Greed, Rich & Riots

Greed is the sine non qua of our society. Back in the openly greedy days of the power-shouldered eighties, when lunch was for wimps and greed was a healthy appetite, through the caring nineties, and the naughty noughties, the avarice for more has never declined. The gap between the haves, and, in Bush's words, the have-mores, and the have-nothings has increased exponentially; within countries, between countries.

Do we need to look at examples of greed from those who believe themselves so privileged to ignore their digressions? The bankers and their bonuses; the politicians and their expenses; Murdoch and his phone-hacking?

What an example to set before the dumb and the dumbed-down. The dumbed-down are in the interest of all big business as is numbs their critical facilities. An individual who has not the vocabulary to express him or herself and who is bombarded by advertising which suggests they will better identify with their peers if they eat this, wear that, buy the other, and - surprise upon surprise - finds a: the acquisition of such goods or services leaves them as poor in fulfillment as before; b: poor and as wanting as before; c: poor as ever, may well prove frustrated.

I do not condone the riots. But I do not find them surprising. I have discussed the potential of such with my daughters for some months now. Ed Mileband  echoes the thoughts I posted on a brilliant post by Motown, a black blogger, who suggests that the reasons for riots are more subtle and complex than the reactions and comments of knee-jerk politicians whose only interest is to preserve their positions and power.

What has happened cannot be reduced to a series of simplistic political posturing; it is as an outcome of intricate social webs. Read this article by Peter Osborne of The Telegraph. I am not a natural reader of that paper, but he summarises the problems brilliantly.

There used to be a sense of noblisse oblige among those who were rich; the more you own, the more you owe. Now the established wealth mock the new wealth for their bling but behave no differently. The competitive instincts of both parties is to stay floating atop the shit within their own social circles. Read a few books, I recommend Zola's The Kill, to see how nothing changes but everything changes century upon century.

I know. I come from a very privileged background in my not so distant background.

PS Howard Jacobson weighs in with his own considered thoughts in The Independent: They may be criminals, but we're the ones who have created them.


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