Thursday, 4 June 2015

On Capitalism: True or False

Steve Lambert installation at 2 Degrees Festival outside Charity Shop in Tower Hamlets, London

'CAPITALISM Works for me' said the large, lit-up sign with large True and False digital counters on each side. On a podium were the words, 'In my life this is...' and underneath were True and False buttons to be pressed to vote and be counted.

Marx's “callous 'cash payment” of capitalism is why I answered 'False'.

Capitalism, much like democracy does not work for those in a power minority. The power minority are the people, whatever the number they are, who have the least power through political sway, economic leverage or strength of ability. They may be a majority in numbers but a minority when it comes to power.

A great power minority are the children of the world. The first twenty years of life may be the largest percentage in terms of being 35% of the worlds population but when you consider them in terms of strength of ability, economical or political sway, they have little power. The five year old can't vote or run for government. They can't use their spending power as a consumer or run or build business. They do not have the ability or strength to engage in the 'fight or flight' response, both figuratively and developmentally. 

According to Oxfam 'half the global wealth is held by the 1%' (Guardian, 2015). 

Another power minority, despite the great number, are the poor. And the limitations associated may as well be the same as that of a five year old. The may be able to vote but despair breeds apathy. They may be able to run for government but costs and lack of opportunities may be barriers. Lack of spending power and the inability to be able to work towards delayed gratification because the immediate situation is so pressing means little left over for anything other than survival.

And although this is written in the affluent society of one of the major cities of the Western world where we may have a higher standard of living than in other places, we still have poverty.

How can anyone say that Capitalism works when in Britain today, Tower Hamlets, a borough in East London, book-ended by the illustrious Canary Wharf and the City of London, has a child poverty rate of 49% (BBC, 2014).

Does that work for you?

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