Alex provides the data, if data was still needed, about the IMF and the Greeks. All I am minded to remark is that whilst billions of euros have been withdrawn from Greece in the first half of the year by private investors, escape from the country’s miseries isn’t so easy for the workers who might wish to emigrate out of them. Capital versus labour – it’s always the same story: freedom of movement for the former (with all the traumatic implications for ordinary people’s economies which such freedoms lead to); all kinds of practical barriers, including media prejudice in host countries, for the latter.
This is perhaps one excellent reason why Greeks should leave the euro but stay in the European Union. Get that competitive edge back which Europe’s denied varying velocities lost – but hang on any which way you can to the right to work wherever you want. Beat the capitalist investors at their own game perhaps?
Meanwhile, here’s another piece of evidence about how the world we live in is unfair: in this case, how the fall in trades union membership mirrors exactly the rise in wealth inequality (graph here). Our intuition might have told us that trades unions battling against amorphous and various employer organisations would help, in an imperfect civilisation, to create less unfair societies – but this post goes much further than massage our prejudices. This post confirms a reality with immediately understandable data.
Finally, an image I published not long ago from a Facebook page I’m subscribed to called “Connect The Dots USA”. It clearly indicates how difficult providing social and welfare services will become in the future, especially as the real levels of tax American corporations pay are so far below the nominal 35 percent. Remember, these are the same bodies which use public roads, pollute public land, sell junk food to schoolchildren and sign overblown contracts for the provision of public health services – as well as make money out of publicly funded armaments and IT projects (so many of which curiously tend to run dramatically over budget).
All examples, in fact, of the ways they have chosen to take advantage of federal and state infrastructures which they no longer see the need to contribute to.
And I am sure – as well as fear – that the situation in the UK is becoming evermore analogous.
Of course, it goes without saying that those of us on the left have often been accused – perhaps accurately – of class envy. This argument would have us believe that we don’t act out of a pragmatic understanding and acceptance of the world as it is. Rather, we refuse to accept that life is unfair and that such injustices are a given for those who have the good or bad fortune to be born into this universe.
After fifty years on this planet – yes, I share my birthday with that literary-fest that is Bloomsday! - I can’t argue with the partial truth of that assertion. But where I do disagree with the Darwinian capitalists is in their implicit understanding that life – and the world in general – is only as unfair as it must be.
Today’s three examples give those of us who believe in social, economic and cultural justice the right to sustain the position that this world is an unnecessarily unfair world – and from that moment onwards, fight to eliminate any unfairness which escapes the necessary injustices of an often incomprehensible universe.
If those of us on the left are looking for a pragmatic way of channelling the manifest – and long-predicted collapse – of capitalism, we could do far worse than to argue that in that point which lies between an unfair and an unnecessarily unfair existence we can usefully pursue a popular and realistic revolution.
A popular and realistic revolution we could use to revalidate the latterday left.