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Spirit of Contradiction >>
Show me the money
where is the money from the boom gone?
its time to stop attacking those who are keeping the economy going = the workers and start retracing the whereabouts of the excessive wealth made by a select few during the boom years
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Show me the money!
Where has all the money gone? The billions the banks lost went somewhere and would it not be a better course of action to retrace its movements and get most of it back and stop attacking those people who are the life blood of the economy. It seems that the established wisdom in most of the media and right wing parties is that the people who profited during the boom are the victors and let them enjoy their bounty. They may be sitting on a foreign beach living off the interest of their money not contributing to the Irish economy while we are making the workers and once workers on social welfare pay for this money that was foolishly wasted by greedy bankers, replace the b with a w if it helps relieve some of the pressure.
For pressure is what is being felt mostly by the young of Ireland and other nations. We are indoctrinated into institutions of education whose foundations are still mostly based on Victorian models and whose competitiveness weeds out rebellious souls and drains the successful to a level of obedience (ref young doctors). All the while the motivation is that if you play by the rules a level of stability can be attained and you will live happily ever after.
The free market model that has been gradually thrown on us has rocked all foundations of stable incomes which was its real agenda from the start. An economic model that would break the unions was devised and words like ‘competition’ and ‘free market’ were used to hide the agenda of a gradual erosion of once well paid jobs with lower paid worker brought into once closed markets making more money for the middle men and with often poorer quality service for higher prices (ref Eircom, extortionate water charges in the UK)
All the while people like Ray Darcy, who does really seem to care for this nation, are fooled by distractions by people like Michael O Leary about topics like the pubic service. Yes there are things wrong with the public service and Fintan O Tooles idea of a cap of €100,000 a year would appear to solve many of them. The public service and semi state companies are the last place were you can find a secure income. Even then the wages can be terrible at the bottom, one guy messaged Ray that he is 3 years in the public service and is on €404 a week and has lost €50 a week because of the measure that have been introduced and O Leary is worth what €500million? Instability, a population on short term contracts and no pension funds lines the pockets of the bosses while leaving the majority of workers in a constant state of limbo. The old battle for workers rights has begun again and this time it is global with each nationality having its own wars, some nationalities are better than others.
The Scandinavian countries are a model that can shine a light on our predicament. In Norway and Sweden your taxes are available for all to see, this means that you can ask for a rise if you see your boss is earning more and accept a pay cut if you see that they making less; Transparency. The deeper issues that are missed by this debate on the public service are whether the state should actually assist in strengthening the economy as happened with Roosevelt in the 30s in the US and at what point is one persons excessive wealth detrimental to others in society?
“Whoever has the most when they die wins” Will the Bill Cullens and mick O Learys of this world just work until they drop dead continually searching for the next horizon and so busy working that they don’t notice time passing and that they may not be achieving all that their souls’ desire. What if we the people through our politicians encourage them to slow down by closing all tax loop holes and paying 60% as was the case in the booming US in the 60s and maybe taxing even more one you reach lets say the €100 million mark, the money that Bono and the other tax avoiders over the years could be made pay for their greed.
Globally the top 1% increased their wealth from 36% to 38% from 2007 to 2009. The system has been set up to defend them. It sucked the life out of the countries newly freed from Colonial Powers in the Third World and now has its eyes firmly on the workers of the First World. All this to put more digits on the bank balances of those in the Premier World. There are no boundaries in the Premier World, freedom of movement of money is the only true freedom in the free market.
Much of the billions made during the boom have left the country and are relatively safe sitting in German banks. Both by our government paying for Anglo and by the instability in the market that this created, thus making the rich of this land remove their funds from our banks, allowing already huge foreign banks get larger. This would make a wealth tax hard to impose for if it appeared that the far left parties might get in large amounts of the capital that is left would flee the country. This would require draconian measures to get it back but I would not mind a mass sale of properties in Dalkey of homes of people who have removed their money.
A wealth tax would stimulate people to use their money and get the economy going far better than hitting those who are already barely standing. The debate has been twisted by people like IBEC who are a smaller version of the bigger problem of a complete system designed to protect those who need protection the least. A whole level of well paid professionals are employed at all levels to pump out how the top 4% supposedly pay 50% of the tax but is this not because many of them are overpaid and earn many times the average industrial wage and cuts to their income might mean 4 holidays this year instead of 5.
I am optimistic that the well educated people of Ireland who are being battered will increasingly come to the conclusion that the solution to our problems lies in tackling those who can afford it most. The system will have created the backlash that may leave us all comfortably working 3 day weeks. This could be attained if the cost of putting a roof over our heads decreased to a sufficient level. This will not happen if the rich, the people who made all the money in the boom, are not stopped from buying everything at fire sale prices when the market levels, which will be a while yet.
My priority is the environment and all this talk of economic recovery is really detrimental to the environment using our present energy and resource models. As the cracks in the system become ever larger and those disenfranchised become more vocal so hopefully will the technology that is required for a truly sustainable future hopefully catch up and be ready in time. The Republicans appear to be trying to slow any recovery in the US to try and win back the Presidency. Again this is good for the environment and I hope it backfires, while Obama’s investments in eco tech solutions become more and more viable.
A positive aspect of the virtual money, that has been created since the dropping of the Gold Mean Standard in ‘72 and the model of allowing banks give out loans of ten times what they had in their deposits, which came crashing down in 2008, has been the money it made available for advancements in communication. As the tide rolls back and we have to live more simpler lives the amazing systems of communication will still be there and instead of travelling to learn we now have almost all necessary skills available at our fingertips.
Maybe from this chaos we can find order and truly use all the amazing technological innovations for the betterment of humanity rather than for the benefit of the few as is mostly the case at the moment. The self service tills at supermarkets are an example. I would avoid using the self service section to encourage the companies to keep the check out staff. For it is just another way to save money and employ less and is really only going to make the shareholders more. Then I consider the concept that this is monotonous work and I would not like doing it myself, much as I would not like to work for Ryanair and that these initiatives could actually be good in the long run when there is a balancing of wealth and working three days in these horrible places or any job for that matter will be enough to live comfortably, while allowing full employment for there is enough work for us all to work a 3 or 4 day week but the mechanisation of the work force and ever depleting resources means that full employment with most people working 5 day weeks is not viable. Vive la gradual evolution!