In this country we have been led to believe that we live in a democracy, where the people choose what government they get, who leads them, and what policies are implemented; and that free-market capitalism is the best economic system for generating wealth and spreading that wealth throughout society.
However the truth is that our democratic system, far from giving voice to the people, is actually fixed to ensure that only one type of political thinking is ever allowed to achieve power, and our economic system is fixed to ensure that wealth accrues only to a very privileged group of people, while the rest struggle on in a society where the levels of inequality – the gap between rich and poor – grow ever larger.
Our current parliamentary system ensures that, as much as possible, only two parties can ever come to power. That works reasonably well if those two parties have very different policies, but now their policies are so similar as to be almost indistinguishable, alternative viewpoints have become frozen out. In addition, because the parties need money to get elected, they have become servants to the people who fund them and the corporations who lobby them. Laws are now being made not for the benefit of ordinary people, but mainly for the benefit of corporations and big business. See the sections on Party Funding and Lobbying to see just how bad this is.
One of the main consequences of this is that the economic crisis has been manipulated and exaggerated, and turned into an excuse for the wealthy to make themselves even wealthier, by imposing Austerity on everyone else. Historically the National Debt is actually low at the moment, not high, and this is the lie that is being told to us all. See the section on Austerity for more details.
Of course prudent financial management is good, but the government’s finances are being shattered – the budget deficit – not by benefit fraud (£1.2bn/year), nor unemployment benefit (£5bn/year), nor even by paying interest on the National Debt (£51bn/year); but by Tax Avoidance, which costs the country £95bn/year. Most of this is perpetrated by the very wealthy, whom the government is reluctant to go after due to Lobbying and Party Funding. For more on Tax Avoidance click here.
Of course all of this comes under the umbrella of Free Market Capitalism, a system which says that if you let ‘the market’ control everything, with as little government intervention as possible, then great wealth will be generated for all. Unfortunately this idea is flawed, because although great wealth may be generated, those that generate it are then able to manipulate the system to keep most of it for themselves. Experience is showing that all Free Market Capitalism is achieving is to let the rich get richer while everyone else in society struggles, creating an increasingly unequal society. Let’s be clear though, this isn’t being ‘anti-capitalist’. There are many different versions of capitalism, but it’s the ‘free-market’ version we have now which is leading to all the current injustices. For more click here.
In addition the Free Market economic model, with it’s belief that everything be driven by profit, and profit alone, is having a devastating effect on the Environment, whose value to us simply cannot be expressed in monetary terms. Corporate desire for profit is systematically destroying the planet around us, and if things carry on as they are the very future of humanity will be in danger. Click here for more.
The problems of Free Market Capitalism have been compounded in recent years with the advent of Globalisation, which has led to multinational corporations becoming more powerful than governments, being able to play governments off against each other, enriching themselves at everyone else’s expense, and thus creating vast problems of global inequality. Click here for more details.
Finally, some of the problems we are suffering are extremely basic, and have been going on since long before capitalism came along. One of the most fundamental problems with our society is the issue of Land Ownership, and the tremendous inequality and unfairness that causes. For a fuller description click here.
What can be done? How can we get out of this mess? And how can we change this rotten corrupt system which only serves to benefit a very narrow privileged section of society. Well, there are things we can do, and for some ideas for how we might be able to change things for the better click here.