Democrat - January-February 2009 (Number 112)
Arthur Smelt asks
2009 what next?
Human progress is severely hampered by human failing
At the beginning of 2008 reference was made in this column to an obsolete economic system. Since then we have experienced more serious, damaging and frightening developments which most of us are being sucked into.
The mass of the population, not only here but throughout the EU and elsewhere are worried about the way in which their lives are being blighted. They see a relatively small group of politicians and financiers creating chaos in their quest for self enrichment. It is blatantly obvious their control over the systems they promote are seriously flawed and the interests and welfare of millions of ordinary people have been trashed by the maniacal behaviour of predatory moneygrubbers.
Businesses large and small are falling by the wayside at a rapid rate. Unemployment is growing and nobody knows where it will stop. The ability of people to pay their dues and demands is becoming a dire and serious problem. To become unemployed and lose one's home is a crushing experience which can lead not only to privation, but can cause mental and physical ill health, marital breakdown and family upheaval thereby causing even greater cost and damage to the fabric of our society.
According to a survey done by Price, Waterhouse and Cooper, corruption is widespread in British business. When 302 companies were questioned towards the end of 2008, it was revealed that bribery and corruption were the fastest growing forms of economic crime in Britain. 48% of UK firms suffered some form of economic crime over the past two years compared with 43% worldwide and 38% in Western Europe. In the present economic climate we can expect crime of every kind to increase. Robbery using the system encourages robbery outside the system.
Recently in Greece there have been widespread riots over a period of weeks. Reports indicated that a teenager shot by the police was the main cause of the riots. This incident may well have sparked off the unrest but there has been general dissatisfaction for some time regarding the way the country is being governed.
All has not been well in Greece for a considerable period of time. Unemployment, economic problems, lack of public services and corruption especially in law enforcement are behind much of the unrest. After struggling to payoff the debt left by hosting the Olympics, the Greek government broke EU laws on public spending and were penalised. The penalties did not help the Greek economy and showed yet again the idiocy of EU rules relating to growth and stability. It would seem that the billions of public money now going to support ailing financial systems does not count.
The EU dogma of neo-liberalism aimed at consolidating the 'free market' madness we are now embroiled in, must be radically changed.
Adhering to the 'free market' now being forced upon us, our government continues to hand over and sell off the profitable parts of the public sector. Royal Mail is a case in point where the Dutch firm of TNT is being allowed to cherry pick this public utility. After years of under-investment and profits creamed off by the Treasury, corporate privateers are allowed to grab 40% of profitable bulk mail. In view of the endless list of cock-ups in the private sector such madness is not the answer. To follow the same road which has already caused massive damage is not only myopic but downright scandalous and must be stopped.