Wednesday 15 January 2014

Don't mention the rich

(This is a quick post I did on facebook)

Did anyone see the discussion on Newsnight a couple of nights ago which talked about the role of the state?

The whole discussion stayed within the confines of talking about the wealth available as that derived from taxation, as if the wealth of the super-rich is, by nature or god or both, out of bounds. The cunning thing that our rulers have got away with in the last period is to restrict thousands of public conversations to the need to cut the amount of wealth that the state spends for the benefit of - largely- the poor or the poorer. This is done as if it is the only wealth that can be discussed. All that other stuff - the profits -is simply out of bounds, beyond reach, not relevant. And so not relevant, it's not even mentioned.

Meanwhile, this is taken on one step further by some in the discussion to imply that this money that the state spends is 'not productive'. What they mean, is that it's money that doesn't go through the capitalist system. But apart from any thing else it 'produces' the most profitable thing of all - 'labour power' ie the ability of people to work, which is 'sold' when people go to work. Capitalists spend hardly anything on producing labour power (a few apprenticeships and their subsidies for management training, I suppose). The state spends billions on education and health which hands to the capitalists fit and suitable employees. This is highly 'productive'!