Thursday, April 9, 2009

Universal truths

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, talking about a Bristish banker...why does it sound so familiar, so close to home ?

"He just doesn't get it, and why should he? It's not his fault, it's a bad upbringing among grab-what-you-can and eat-what-you-kill predators. His feral overclass thinks it owes nothing to society: the notion of citizenship is incomprehensibly alien. You could write a "Gee, Officer Krupke" song about him: it's not his fault, he has a social disease. Like the smirking hoodie who sticks one finger up at the judge's sermon on antisocial behaviour, Sir Fred is a product of Britain's winner-takes-all culture that Labour never attempted to civilise. The two extremes here in Europe's most unequal country mirror one another in the social dysfunction they cause. Sir Fred's mob thieves from fellow citizens and their pension funds by avoiding tax and snatching monstrous "remuneration" instead of mugging and looting, but "everyone does it" is how they would each explain their milieu."


  1. See, dear friend, Britain is regarded by those who know, as "Europe's most unequal country"... At least in Portugal there's only very poor people and not a single very rich person. Big consolation!

    Should we fight for a society where personal wealth differences are minimal by state or regulatory enforcement or a society where anyone can get as rich as possible (withing legal - if not always moral - limits) and thus serve as inspiration for the common man ("if he could do it, so can I")?

    The answer is arguably THE main dividing issue between Europe and America (Britain is somewhere in the middle, an oddity with an adulterated American soul that regards anything European with skepticism and doesn't consider itself as part of Europe).

    Obama states that America is a country where generally the rich aren't resented because those who aren't aspire to be and figure that they have a fair chance to get there. He hails the American Dream. When other American presidents before him said this, we all scowled and smirked. With Obama, we can't: he presents himself as the living proof that the American Dream is alive and well and that against all odds it can come true for anyone and we all hailed him for this.

    We belong to the generation that witnessed the fall of communism and socialism. Perhaps we are now witnessing the fall of savage capitalism. No clear answers, no clear roads ahead, no clear models to be followed, no certainties. We'll have to hold our breath and prepare for the unknown. In the meantime, it would be wise and prudent to live according to our means and to try to be pruductive in any way we can. Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. Even if it starts at home, even if your scope of action isn't broad, every little helps. We are living in times of war and should live our lives accordingly.

  2. Think global, act local and so on...Obama is the living proof of the American Dream because he had a family who cared for him and managed to provide him with the right education.
    That's what we must provide to every children, no matter where and to which it has been born - that and the right health care, and food and water and sanitation...
    It is possible, you are right : there is a war, there's always been, but now with the raising global consciousness we can start to win it.
    Rise up, stand up.