Voice From the Back

Capitalism In Europe

Despite press reports of some sort of economic recovery the job situation is still grim for millions of unemployed workers. Greece, of course, has been hit the hardest: Its unemployment rate is still hovering above 27 per cent, but the whole European situation is still dire. ‘In the broader 28 nation European Union, 25.9 million people remain jobless, out of a potential labor force of about 244 million. Data released last week showed no change in the euro zone’s 11.9 per cent unemployment rate in February. Spain’s jobless figure was 25.6 per cent, and Italy’s was at a new high of 13 per cent’ (New YorkTimes, 8 April). This so-called efficient social system is denying potential productive workers of contributing to society.

Asian Billionaires

Every day on the TV and press we are made aware of the appalling poverty that exists in Asian countries, but that is only part of the picture. ‘There are three times more Asian billionaires in Britain than there were five years ago while total wealth of the 101 richest Asians in the country has risen 14pc to £51.5bn over the past 12 months alone. The latest Asian Rich List is topped by the Hinduja brothers, Gopichand and Srichand, who have added £1bn to their wealth over the past year and now estimated to be worth £13.5bn’ (Daily Telegraph, 12 April). Millions starve in Asia but Asian billionaires increase their immense wealth -that is capitalism worldwide.

A Brutal Society

It is common for the media to depict the USA and its allies as always behaving in a humane fashion unlike its evil opponents who indulge in torture and other brutal tactics. Recent events seem to give the lie to such a notion. ‘Senate committee found CIA interrogations and detentions to be ‘brutal’ and urges administration to release the report as quickly as possible. A leak of the major findings of a landmark Senate inquiry into the CIA’s post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees led, on Friday, to intensified pressure on the White House and the CIA to release the inquiry speedily and with a minimum of redactions’ (Guardian, 11 April). Capitalism is a brutal competitive society and all its governments reflect that brutality in their actions.

A Belligerent Society

Of all the millions of words that have spewed from the mass media about the centenary of the First World War it is probably those of the humorous writer of the Horrible Histories Terry Deary that get nearest the truth. ‘Soldiers on both sides were brainwashed by propaganda. They were told to go out and kill for their country. All these arguments over who started it are pointless -they all joined in enthusiastically’ (Sunday Times, 13 April). The inevitable outcome of a social system based on economic competition is military violence.

A Poverty-Stricken Society

Politicians are quick to assure workers that either we are experiencing an economic recovery or that good times are just around the corner, but a YouGov poll suggests otherwise. ‘Millions of families are in such a perilous financial state that they are just one pay cheque away from losing their home, research shows. Nearly four million families who pay rent or a mortgage have so few savings that it would take only a month’s missed salary to lose their home, YouGov polling for Shelter reveals. Of these, 2.4 million have no savings whatsoever and would not be able to survive a full month’ (Independent, 14 April). Hardly an economic recovery, is it?

The Big Con Trick

Politicians have a very good opinion of themselves but the Prime Minister has excelled himself here. ‘David Cameron has claimed his concept of a ‘Big Society’ is merely following in the work of Jesus, more than 2,000 years ago. The Conservative leader’s vision of Big Society was a cornerstone of his 2010 General Election campaign. But, speaking last night, he said the idea was just a continuation of Jesus’s work. ‘Jesus invented the Big Society 2,000 years ago,’ the Prime Minister told Downing Street’s Easter reception. ‘I just want to see more of it’’ (Daily Express, 10 April). Certainly the British unemployed would be delighted if Cameron could perform that biblical trick of the multitude with a few loaves of bread, perhaps to supply his Big Society’s food banks.

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