Over recent years we have all been led to believe that we are living under the best possible political system – Democracy – combined with the best possible economic system – Free Market Capitalism. However since the Economic Crisis seven years ago it has become increasingly clear that this is actually untrue, and that our society is riven with problems, and in particular the gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots ‘ is growing ever wider. The evidence of all the things that are going so very wrong is plain for all to see, including some of the following shocking facts:
Poverty – We’re the 5th richest country in the world, capitalism is supposed to bring us untold wealth, and yet for some reason 13 million people (20% of the population) still live in poverty, including 2.3 million children.
Food Banks – Again we’re the 5th richest country in the world, and yet charities report that they are having to set up more and more food banks as in our prosperous society ever-higher numbers of people can’t afford to eat. Last year no fewer than 500,000 people visited food banks.
Unemployment – This has remained stubbornly high, and even during the ‘boom’ years before the 2008 financial crash, 1.5 million people were unable to find a job. It then rapidly rose to 2.7 million and even now, as we are being told the economy is growing again, there are still over 1.6 million people out of work.
Benefits – People know about benefits being paid to the 1.6 million unemployed. What is less well known is that almost another 1 million people who are in work are also on benefits because their wages are so low (meaning taxpayers are in effect increasing the profits of large corporates by subsidising low wages).
The Banking Crisis – How can we all forget that in 2008 the financial sector, which is supposed to be such a great generator of wealth for all, led us into the worst economic crisis for 80 years, the results of which we are all still reeling from. And now, while the City gets back into business-as-usual, with another round of huge bonuses, the rest of society still undergoes austerity, and will for at least another 5 years apparently.
Cost of Living: Top earners continue to enjoy above-inflation pay increases, which they justify by saying that in order to get the right people you have to pay a ‘market salary’; but at the same time ordinary people are told they will have to continue to endure below inflation pay-rises (and in some cases pay freezes or even pay-cuts) because Austerity is the price we all must pay for the economic crisis. We’re supposed to be ‘all in this together’, though quite clearly we aren’t.
Tax Avoidance – Not a day goes by without us hearing about how much we are losing to tax avoidance, but the government, despite a lot of talking about it, in reality does little. It’s worth noting that while £1.2bn/year is lost to benefit fraud and £5bn is paid out as job-seekers allowance, £95bn a year is lost to tax avoidance. Rich tax avoiders are the real financial burden on this country.
Energy Prices – Privatisation was supposed to deliver cheaper fuel, and yet our bills are now the highest in Europe (even though oil prices have dropped very low), many people can’t afford to heat their homes properly, and last winter 43,900 people died from the cold (a 151% increase on the previous year ).
Water Bills – Again privatisation was supposed to lead to greater efficiencies and cheaper bills, but in reality our bills have climbed inexorably higher (doubling since privatisation), while the owners of the water companies become ever richer and use tax avoidance schemes to increase their wealth further.
Transport Costs – Our rail fares are now the most expensive in Europe, again a complete failure of the promises of privatisation, while on the Underground in London ever-greater cutbacks, and compromises to health and safety are threatened due to shortage of funds.
House Prices – House ownership has become the preserve of the rich, with property prices now at such astronomical levels that most ordinary people will never be able to afford a deposit, let alone buy their own home. The only winners nowadays are property investors and the profusion of buy-to-let landlords.
Homelessness – At the other end of society 112,000 people in this country are homeless, and yet at the same time there are also 635,000 empty properties in the UK.
NHS – Created after the Second World War this is one of the things that British people are most proud of, and yet it now seems to be in crisis with falling standards, hospitals closing, increased waiting times, allegations of managerial incompetence and corruption, and frequent talk of an impending financial crisis.
MP’s Expenses – Recent scandals with MP’s pay and expenses reveal that many of our leaders, far from being inspirational people who have our best intentions at heart, are simply careerists whose main objective is to line their own pockets.
Voting – The disillusionment with our political process is no more starkly demonstrated than by ever-falling numbers of people voting, as people recognise that whichever party they vote for, nothing changes, as all the main parties are virtually indistinguishable. Alternative parties with alternative views are unable to break through as the system is fixed against them.
Cronyism – Almost every day we hear in the news of the latest scandal where people in high office are given vast bonuses or pay-offs, often as a reward for being incompetent or facing dismissal. Some of the worst offenders are public services, such as the NHS, BBC and the Civil Service, where top officials give themselves vast sums of money, while at the same time telling us services must be cut due to lack of funds.
Immigration: We are told that immigrants are essential for the economy to carry out crucial jobs and fuel economic growth, while at the same time 1.6 million people already in the country don’t seem to be able to get a job.
This is a very long list, and there’s plenty more not included here. We are now allegedly experiencing a recovery, and yet at the same time the government is telling us that Austerity will continue for at least another 5 years. How can that be? And what is going so very wrong with society?
This website attempts to explain the flaws in our economic and political systems, how if nothing is done things will continue getting worse, and why only when ordinary people stand up and say they’ve had enough will it be possible to change things for the better.
To get started with an overview of why everything has gone so wrong, click here.