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December 05, 2009

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Pat

I rather think that the Banks got bailed out but the steelworks not because one PM chose to prop up losers, and one chose to allocate resources elsewhere. Whether that has any connection with one being acquainted with commerce and the other not I don't know, but I rather think so.

Richard Gadsden

You're applying a Marxist conception of class rather than a social one.

Social class is an intrinsic status that grants a lifelong advantage in obtaining economic status. That's why there's no way steelworkers can become bankers.

Gary Monro

I don't think your examples of inequalities are really the result of 'class' distinctions. They're not inequalities really.

Bankers get bonuses because they are perceived to be worth them - not because they went to nice schools. Banks - rather than steel works - get bailed out because you can live without steel works but not, it is believed, without banks.

Inequality increases because, during booms, those who can turn their hands to better jobs or be more productive or valuable do better. Those who are capable only of living off the state stay put come boom come bust. During a boom, one group moves upwards, the other stays put, so inequality widens. The left's solution is to punish the successful.

And benefit claimants are hardly stigmatized when half the population is on some kind of benefit or other. The harassed ones are those breaking - or thought to be breaking - the law. Do you advocate benefit fraud as an acceptable form of upward mobility?

guthrie

"The harassed ones are those breaking - or thought to be breaking - the law."

Well, not really. The harrassed ones are the ones being unustly threatened with reductions in benefit or being forced back to work even when they can't. It is all very well moaning on about benefits cheats, but there are other people who deserve benefits who are threatened every time the gvt wants to make some media headlines.

Inequality these days increases because the rich and powerful take a greater slice of the cake and those without bargaining position get stuck with less.

Will

Can we have a whipround to buy Gary Monro a clue?

Gary Monro

Guthrie,

In my opinion, wealth isn't a cake so there's no 'greater' slices to be had, as such. Wealth is not a fixed, scarce commodity. If there's a food analogy at all for wealth - and I'm not sure there is - it's that wealth is a yeast. You don't have to make somebody poor in order to get rich; wealth can expand.

Will, that's a kind offer - thank you. I do hope you're not the one supplying the clue though because, based on your current offering, I'm not sure I would be buying.

Dave Semple

@Richard Gadsden - actually Chris isn't applying a Marxist conception of class, he's applying a Foucauldian one. The idea of power inequalities as the basis for class is essentially the idea of Michel Foucault.

Marx himself would have demanded that these inequalities be related back to (though not necessarily reduced to) the conditions, relations and means of production.

Econoclast

I think it's a little disappointing that after 18 years of Thatcherism and 12 years of new Labour, the chances are that - come next June - we will have a Cabinet full of the products of the UK's most expensive schools.

Chris Allison

Im sorry but the banks got bailed out because the system could have collapsed.

If the banks had collapsed the steel workers would not have got paid, let alone a bonus. The steel workers would not have been able to get their shopping from ASDA just as the Bankers wouldnt have been able to get their shopping from Waitrose.

People shouldn't underestimate the risks to our way of life (physically) if the banks had all gone under.

Keith

Surely chris is right. Bankers create no wealth as J S Mill says "money and bullion are not wealth they are but the sign or symbol of wealth". Money merely is a accounting device. To pay vast sums to people who merely move symbols from one account to another makes no sense at all!

Stephen H

No you are totally wrong. The conservative benches are stuffed full of toffs- who inherited wealth and went to the right schools. Plus their tax and economic policies are aimed squarely at preserving inherited wealth and protecting the rentiers.

That is classic social class politics.

Hilary Wade

Actually Wath Comp was quite cheap.

Neil

Keith: Bankers create no wealth?

You accept that bankers caused the current crisis by making poor decisions, correct? Resources were woefully mis-allocated, leading to a credit crunch in which businesses could not get access to capital, leading in turn to a fall in output and a global recession.

So when bankers do a crappy job, the economy tanks and everyone's wealth is diminished. But when bankers do a good job, the economy grows and everyone's wealth is increased. Is that not creating wealth?

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