‘Overall, India is home to 264,300 millionaires. From that group of wealthy people 6,740 are classified as UHNWIs. Between 2015 and 2016, the country witnessed a 12% increase in its UHNWI population; over the next decade, this group is expected to grow by 150%. On average, every UNHWI in India owns more than three houses’ (qz.com, 1 March). Capitalism is a social system long past its sell-by-date. In a socialist world there will be neither poor nor rich, and the estimated 78 million homeless people, including 11 million street children (2013 figures), in India will, as throughout the world, be provided with essentials such as accommodation, food, medicine, clean water, sanitation and transport. All that is required is for a majority of us to make it so.
‘The biggest concern among ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) – those with $30 million (£24.2 million) or more in net assets – is how they are going to preserve their vast fortunes, make more money, and who will take over their empires when they die. That is according to the results of the Wealth Report 2017 by luxury property agents Knight Frank, which surveyed 900 private bankers and wealth advisors representing more than 10,000 clients across the globe and a combined wealth of around $2 trillion’ (businessinsider.com, 1 March). We can assume that such concerns dominated the thoughts of the 100+ billionaires at state capitalist China’s recent annual parliamentary session. Our concern should be the making of socialists. William Morris put it well: ‘one man with an idea in his head is in danger of being considered a madman; two men with the same idea in common may be foolish, but can hardly be mad; ten men sharing an idea begin to act, a hundred draw attention as fanatics, a thousand and society begins to tremble, a hundred thousand and there is war abroad, and the cause has victories tangible and real; and why only a hundred thousand?’ (Art Under Plutocracy, 1883).
Real education is for life
Once upon a time, in university toilets it was possible to read ‘sociology degrees – please take one’ scrawled over paper dispensers. Nowadays, it is the turn of another subject. ‘Graduates with psychology degrees from British universities overwhelmingly feel like the three years they spent at university was not worth it in terms of the benefits it gave them later in life. That’s according to the latest research from salary benchmarking site Emolument. Emolument surveyed 1,800 professionals in its network to ask them whether or not they see the degree they studied as worthwhile for their adult life’ (theguardian.com, 3 March). Psychology and sociology will both continue to be taught in a socialist world, but subjects such as business science, economics, law, political geography and theology will be flushed down the pan along with emoluments!
‘I have always tried to stand up for my principles – I was a conscientious objector when I became due for national service in 1949. But it wasn’t until the 1955 general election that I did anything about it’ (the guardian, 3 March). And this is where we part company with Bunny Easton, who seems to have been a professional protester for most of his 86 years. He started protesting at council rent increases in the 1950s, joined the Suez and Cuba demonstrations, and more recently those against NHS cuts and Trump. This old Communist Party (d. 1991) member may well have been inspired by their 1929 manifesto in which they state ‘the struggle for reforms in the present period leads to revolution’. Nearly 90 years later the struggle for reforms – many of them the same futile demands – still leads to nothing but the continuation of the capitalist system. Unsurprisingly, neither this nor the Communist Party’s horrid history (Stalin, 1956 & 1968….) is mentioned.
Trumping The Donald
Melania Trump has suggested that Americans who lose their healthcare shouldn’t be too worried because they can just turn to the healing properties of nature. Touring a children’s hospital recently she said: ‘I am a passionate believer in integrating and interpreting nature’s elements into our daily lives to create a warm, nurturing and positive environment. I believe that these same natural benefits can be instrumental to enhancing the health and well-being of all children’ (trofire.com, 2 March). This nonsense smacks of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh’s promotion of herbal ‘remedies’ for the treatment of HIV and AIDS, and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki’s support for vinegar instead of antiretroviral drugs.