One of the most significant things that has occurred in the modern world, especially in cities, is that people are forced to rely on others for almost everything they need to survive and this becomes a mental and physical trap of dependency which people unavoidably, but unintentionally, fall into.
We find jobs working for someone else to earn money, doing things that may be entirely irrelevant to us and our survival, in order to buy the things we need for our survival, which we can no longer procure in any other way. We become dependent on others for everything, whilst being told that money gives us independence when what money really creates is a fragile dependency that can disappear in a moment, which we are physically unable to prevent even though we may be physically and mentally able. We have been robbed of our ability to take care of ourselves other than via the fragility of third party work.
Having grown up a city boy, latterly living in the west country, cities are incredibly vulnerable places to live, dependent on almost every single need in life being shipped in on a daily basis, cut off from the natural world, yet entirely dependent upon it, it is easy to lose any sense of self and identity in the City. Alienation stalks the streets, no matter how vibrant seeming the life and style, unaware, even, of what the problem is. Cities, live a few days away from starvation, but few talk about it. (1)
Money as a means of controlling peoples independence is perfect because it is subject to human intervention regarding its abundance or scarcity. There’s a very good reason why money doesn’t grow on trees, if leaves were money, none of us would be dependents of the state. For example, Theresa May and the DWP would have no hold over us without money, as it is, the Tories are exploiting economic dependence like no other previous government, though economic dependence has always been an issue.
Poverty, money’s lack, is brutal state sanctioned violence and is, as Francesca Martinez, stated, the ultimate form of control.
I grew up in the age of capitalism, as it extended its reach from America to the UK. Capitalism was the parasite on the back of industry, which was the great global phenomenon which arose from the Industrial Revolution, bringing much needed progress into the lives of ordinary people. Fridges, washing machines, electric irons, vacuum cleaners, cars, tea makers, central heating, double glazing and all manner of power tools. Labour saving devices of every shape and size imaginable, though, with hind sight, our labour wasn’t saved, it was just anonymised into work, which included women as they were released from domestic labour into the market place.
But Capitalism, what was that? Defined as: “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.” Yes that. Of no earthly use to man nor beast, how it flourished as people became trapped in the commodification of life and culture and the profit driven age of the self, created by capitalism (2) and on which capitalism was utterly dependent. This was freedom from the land of the free, which is still waiting and it’s day has passed.
The age of industry and labour in the west is over. In Britain it was literally killed off by Margaret Thatcher, but I certainly did not grasp the enormity of her betrayal at the time.
The rise of bullshit jobs since Thatcher has been staggering, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Somehow the vital link between pay and living was eroded and broken and since 2010 the government has abandoned any duty of care for the well being of the people. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) brutally punitive sanctions regime. Deprived of the means of survival, the governments indifference to people’s suffering is measured by the callous cheers and jeers in parliament as each Act is passed to impoverish people further. Iain Duncan Smith’s response to being told people were dying was, “I don’t agree with that!” (3)
The government has abandoned the people and their indifference is truly amazing.
We are each in possession of an incredible natural resource, our own bodies. We live on and are surrounded by another natural resource, the Earth. We breath a natural resource, we drink a natural resource, we eat from that same natural resource, no matter how corrupted by human intervention. It is inherent in nature that we flourish from her bounty. The big question is, why aren’t we? Why are we prevented from living using our own and natures natural resources?
It seems crazy to have to say it, if you want to build a fire, chop wood. If you cannot do that, if that fundamental relationship with nature has been broken, we are excruciatingly vulnerable from a government as staggeringly corrupt as the Tories.
KOG. 30 November 2018.
(2) The Century of the self parts 1 – 4: