11 January 2018


Watching the NHS creak and groan under the weight of winter flu causes me to reflect on changes in the UK since WWII.

We started out with a basic generosity and altruism in which the government worked for the benefit of the people and made everyone better off. Building and funding the NHS was part of this. The economy boomed, there were jobs for everyone, and more or less everyone could afford to rent a house, if not buy one.

Since about 1970 we've gradually changed to a culture of selfishness and greed. And the government works for the benefit of large corporations. The value of people and work has declined precipitously, while rents have gone mental and hardly anyone can afford a house. And yet the 1% are doing better than ever.

Adults who saw WWII and perhaps WWI as well, were keen to make the world a better place in practical ways and to pay for it in taxes. But the children born afterwards, the so-called "baby-boomers" seem to have been spoiled by all this generosity. Ironically they *talked* about making the world a better place, but as a generation they prioritised and even festished self-interest (think Economic Theory and Ayn Rand). Witness the Beatles complaining about the tax rate (with John still in his trademark NHS spectacles).

Now we have low taxes and some people have more individual wealth but the health system is not able to cope. As a nation we are poorer and weaker than we have been for a very long while.

The worst thing is that our present prosperity is built on personal debt which has risen to about 100% of GDP and about 150% of household income. Debt mines our future prosperity. We have more now, but less in the future, because it costs money to borrow money.

No comments:

Post a Comment