Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The "illusion of wealth" and the 'illusion of freedom" ...

Flanders blog "Spending Rows" was an interesting one .... as a number of comments went on to explore more fundamental issues too - like the real reasons the UK is in such a mess ... this is nothing new, but I was struck by one of the last comments ... about the "illusion of wealth" and the "illusion of freedom" ... which I thought I'd share (Post 54 below), with a few additional thoughts ...


We recently had the "illusion of wealth" through debt, and we are still developing the illusion of freedom through mass market exploitation. Unfortunately, mass market exploitation encourages reckless and feckless behaviour, which in turn acts as a drag on the general economy and the welfare state.

The whole thing is a balancing act, between the positive and negative affects of liberal behaviour. The more liberal we are, the bigger the potential mass market, and the bigger the potential profits for those at the top of the pyramid.

The recent asset bubbles eventually became unstable due to excessive gearing/ leverage. Similarly, if the British population becomes too free (excessive freedom), the liberal bubble will burst, and we'll end up with a bankrupt welfare state and an ungovernable workforce.

In this context, "excessive freedom" is a lack of restraint amongst the wider population. Examples include: health problems, such as diabetes, caused by lack of moderation in diet; drug and alcohol addiction; marital breakdown; financial debt; distrust of authority; loss of social capital and increased individualism; mental health issues due to psychological manipulation from the marketing of lifestyle products and the motivational science of business and the effects of a fast edited media frenzy; trafficking of prostitutes for the sex industry; lack of purpose and lack of shared values; lack of good education, despite half the population possessing a degree; etc etc etc......

Unfortunately, all the above have a financial effect on the economy. 

The three main political parties in Britain all have a liberal mass market agenda, because they know it is much harder to contain the negative affects of liberal behaviour than it is to benefit from the positive affects. They all live in hope of constant economic expansion keeping the balance positive. However, there is a significant risk that the balance will move to the negative as the unstainable elements outweigh the positives. If and when this happens, the liberal bubble will burst and Britain will end up morally and financially bankrupt. We will then have to beg the adult countries of the world to bail us out.


Post 55 (leanomist) wrote: 

Eloquently put Mr Tweedy (Post 54)

I also believe that many of the results of 'excessive freedom' quoted are generated from the application of outdated 'economics'* too ... 

which systematically generates 'divides' (e.g. individualism), 'waste' (between 40-80% of our taxes are wasted) and 'stress' (e.g. just trying to keep a basic roof over the head**), as well as driving more 'self interest' and 'greed' too (ie. it 'amplifies' them). 

Such outcomes make the overall 'economy' worse, and gives lots of otherwise hard-working people 'little hope' (e.g. future generations) - i.e. the 'values system' is broke, and 21st century 'economics' will have to rebuild it ...

David Clift, a Future 500 Leader

* Poweromics = People using position and power for their own personal gain, based on poor moral values, self interest and greed. Take a look at http://poweromics.blogspot.com for more examples/information.

** If the Government had ensured a steady supply of housing (an actual asset) over the last decade, the focus on property prices going up (asset inflation) would have been much less (and the banks would not have been able to profit so greatly from this failure). When the Government introduced inheritance tax they also made 'land' one of the few things exempt from it too! ... how about taxing 'land ownership', as people cannot avoid it by moving their 'land' abroad, and it would make the mega-rich landowners (e.g. the Duke of Westminster) more likely to release some of it, instead of snapping up more of it and holding on it (nb footballers on £100,000 a week are starting to cashing in on this loophole too) ... so our children don't have to pay 'an arm and a leg' just to get a 'roof over their head', and get more 'freedom' to be 'innovative & creative' too ...