Philip Whiteley's Blog

February 9, 2011

Inequality is not a conspiracy

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 11:28 am

Do people actually want equality? Or do we consider the concept a bit dull? In the past three decades, globalised finance and globalised fame have massively increased the riches for those with a privileged access to handling large sums of money, underwritten by the western taxpayers; and for those with A-list celebrity credentials. The mantra of the modern world is: to them that hath, shall be given.

This inequality is grotesque. I agree it’s a serious problem. But I’m not convinced by the standard left-wing assumption that it’s a vast conspiracy by the elite themselves. We ordinary folk could pretty well end it, if we collectively changed our behaviour.

For society to become more equal, more people would have to subscribe to a quality paper than Hello magazine or the tabloids. More folk would have to apply to be engineering apprentices, rather than singing stars on the X Factor. It would be more appealing to run the local credit union arranging cheap finance for poor families, than to buy an extra property, do it up and look for a tidy capital gain, fuelling the banks’ investment bubbles. More people would play football in the park than watch it on Sky TV or at Premier League grounds.

In millions of ordinary consumer and career decisions, ordinary people – including some of the poorest in society – support and encourage the principle: to them that hath shall be given. Even leftie football fans fawn sycophantically before their sporting heroes, directly propping up the personal brand of said individuals, and hence their earning power. The Guardian and other ‘liberal’ media have moved away from serious comment, replacing experienced correspondents with comedians.

Admiring the elite, or aspiring to become part of it, are vastly more popular pastimes than supporting programmes to reduce the income gap. Some people dream of greater equality. But most people just dream.

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