Ne’er The Twain

A ride through ‘nice’ places today: Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Clifton Hampden, Marsh and Toot Baldon, Stadhampton, Newington, Warborough and so on. All very nice, and as completely and utterly removed from the riots that have been going on in London and other cities as can be.

The stock markets continue to fluctuate wildly, with millions of pounds being ‘lost’. I would suspect that many residents of those nice places I rode through today will be victims of those losses, one way or another. I suspect the same couldn’t be further from the truth for those taking part in the riots.

That the two are so alien to one another is probably a root of the problems that are such a threat to everyone, whatever rung they’re on – ‘super rich’ aside.

Talking about stocks though, I don’t understand how the media can talk about billions of pounds being wiped off the stock exchange when it goes down, whereas when it goes up they never talk about millions of pounds being somehow conjured up out of thin air. So much for responsible reporting. The stock market is only gambling with a slightly more respectable face on it. You might as well play roulette.

Galbraith, analysing the Great Crash 1929, identified the causes as bad income distribution, businesses engaged in corporate larceny, a weak banking structure and an import/export imbalance. The difference between rich and poor in Britain is appallingly vast and has been getting worse and worse for years, whatever the political complexion of the government in office. Corporate larceny is all around us; the banks are so weak that we – ordinary people – are being forced to prop them up with billions of pounds, for no-one’s gain but the banks and bankers, and I don’t know about an import/export imbalance.

It is easy to be depressed.

The absence of leaders and leadership is startling. We need people with the vision and purpose to overturn so much established thinking. We need to face up to the need for huge changes to our collective attitudes – to wealth and wealth distribution, to crime and public morality, to standards, to climate change, to over-population, to religion, to war, to the media, to striving, to ambition, to what we value as a society, to how we are organising ourselves on a daily basis, going about our daily business. We need leaders. We only have people who seek to protect existing vested interests, who play to one or another gallery.

With all this turmoil on society, it’s strange and not very comfortable to realise that fundamentally all I want is a quiet life; for how I live to continue until I die. I’ve arrived at a point that is generally good in all important aspects. I know how fortunate I am. That I am aware of my good fortunate doesn’t make me any the less keen to preserve it. I know there’s nothing noble or praiseworthy or inspirational about that but I’d be a liar if I denied it.