Repairing a damaged Nation: Squeezing the Poison out of Society.

In a previous article in this site, “How to Destroy a Nation: Undermine its Foundations”, I described the dire effects of neglect of the key foundations that bind a nation as a community. Much of the damage has been wreaked by deep beliefs in such philosophies as Neo-Liberal economics and a hatred of the role of the State. These have been magnified by treating citizens as Consumers rather than active participants in the community – and the growth of psychology-backed advertising techniques, causing large numbers of people to seek to maximise their ownership of consumer goods and experiences.

Deep Poison in the arteries of Society

It really began with Margaret Thatcher who was UK premier from 1979 to 1990 and leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990.

Thatcher had deep beliefs in the power of individuals, a conviction that individuals should be able to compete a free market unconstrained by the state, the only roles of which were to maintain law and order and defence of the realm. Her beliefs can be recognised by the following taken from a speech:

“I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!’ or ‘I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!’ ‘I am homeless, the Government must house me!’ and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.”

Thatcher’s deep beliefs, and the convictions fed by numerous Institutes, Societies and Academic departments, which have poured out what amounts to Free Market, neo-liberal “propaganda” for years (see the “Ideas” section in this website) have led to a sort of poisonous infusion which has infected the public dialogue. Margaret Thatcher brought neo-liberal theories which had been in the background for aeons to the surface in the formation of public policy. This was also accentuated by the work of The Chicago School, which is widely credited, as a cradle of the neoliberal movement, and professor Milton Friedman as the most influential person. The main tenets of the Chicago School are that free markets best allocate resources in an economy and that minimal, or even no, government intervention is best for economic prosperity.

Other influences:

The growth of the advertising industry, and the infusion of Psychology into its practices. The fusion of mass psychology and Free Market ideology has been a huge force in changing the very roots of s modern society

A vast flow of ideas and actions flowed from Free Market, policies, which have influenced society in the most dramatic manner.

Amongst Margaret Thatcher’s most influential actions were the de-regulation of the financial and banking systems and the sale of public housing, which had been created by public authorities, to individuals. The effects of these two strategies have been dramatic.

“Wealth” takes over

But much more important, was the transfer of power from Government to Wealth. The burgeoning enrichment of the financial sector, led by the banks and the sinister growth of influence on government policy, especially fiscal policy and taxation, as well as the behaviour of central government politicians, changed the nature of society fundamentally.

It is no exaggeration to claim that society has been run in the interests of the rich and powerful, rather than the bulk of citizens.

The Blair “New Labour” Party shifted the balance somewhat from the rich to the majority, especially when it came to education and health policy. But, the Blair/Brown government did little to alter the balance of power away from the finance and banking sector. The result of this massive error was the banking crash of 2007/8. Gordon Brown, as finance minister and latterly Prime Minister. Brown worked miracles in saving the national and world economies from the collapse of the International banking sector, but laid himself open to the claim by the right wing that it was excessive government spending that had led to the crash

This was completely misleading, but it led to a return of the right wing in the form of the Cameron/Osborne government. In particular,

The slaughter of the State

Osborne as finance minister, embarked on a programme of “Austerity”, which meant stringent cut backs on all government spending. The pretence for this clearly ideological attack on the nature of society was a pretence that the Blair/Brown Socialist governments had so overspent on government programmes. Based on this Lie, twelve years of right wing ideology have so undermined the very nature of government that it is no longer capable of supporting an advanced Society. This can be clearly seen by reference to a prior article in this website.

Refer to How to destroy a nation, Undermine its Foundations, which lays out the damage done to the UK society by unfettered Free Market ideology

Now… What Can be done to restore a healthy Society?

Britain and in particular England, still have a right wing Conservative government, with a new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, whose basic beliefs appear to be very right wing, in particular, a conviction that the free Market, together with a small state, with the least government involvement in the economy and society will create a healthy outcomes, with growth and prosperity for all. Truss seems to view herself as a successor to Margaret Thatcher.

Given the almost indisputable facts that The Free Market, underpinned by neo-liberal economics are the fundamental causes of the condition of contemporary Society, it is extremely unlikely that more of the same, rooted in the beliefs of Premier Margaret Thatcher, will result in more damage and a series of “fixes” that will have little fundamental benefit.

The first and most important factor that must underpin beneficial change is to challenge the roots of neo-liberalism, in particular;

What Society needs Now

Deep change and reform based on a number of fundamental precepts:

The implications of this apparently simple prescription are profound

So, the principles behind taxation reform should be:

Most were very saddened by the death of Queen Elizabeth the Second recently. Although the Queen had no formal political role, she was a source of calm background calm and wisdom. She also met with prime ministers and kept abreast of political, developments. So, she was an influence and became a pillar of Society over time.

What will become of the role of the monarchy with the accession of King Charles the Third remains to be seen. But the re-introduction of Princess Anne into a more influential role is encouraging.

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