Paul Verhaeghe, professor of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis, claims we live in an extremely controlling society, where authority has all but disappeared, lapsing into brute force. He says the neoliberal economic order has changed us for the worse, that change cannot be left to the so-called ‘free market’, and that we ourselves must take the first steps towards creating a new social order.
If positive social and political change worked top down, we wouldn’t have to make this programme. Sadly, it doesn’t. So at a time when the political class is out of ideas and the corporate class is out of excuses for its behaviour, the job of finding new perspectives and insights and ideas falls to the independent media. As a busy year draws to a close we look back at those people who have inspired and enlightened us in 2017. This is the first of two shows that are a whistle-stop tour around the thinkers, writers, doers and Renegade types we met over the last 12 months.
The last thing anyone would have expected in 1970 is for the lowest paid workers in the US, UK and Australia to have their relative positions deteriorate over the next fifty years. Yet, this is exactly what has happened. In an economy which has for many years been productive enough to end absolute poverty for good, millions of people have been left in financial hardship, for reasons rooted not in economics, but ideology.
Ever since the Global Financial Crisis, living standards have split between those who own their own home and those who do not. Inability to find work is no longer an indicator of poverty. In fact more than half of those living in poverty come from a household where someone is in work. The property-owning democracy was meant to make people more conservative, but the rise in home ownership exacerbated the rise in inequality. What effect its reversal might have on our politics is anybody’s guess.
Are we better off today than back in the 1970s? The obvious answer would appear to be yes…but is having a lot more stuff now than back then, is that really what ‘better off’ means?