Tuesday, 8 February 2011

People, Not Those People!

An agora in ruins. - East stoa of the ancient agora in Thessaloniki, seen from the South. 2nd c. AD., by Marsyas at Wikimedia Commons - released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License When anybody suggests introducing the market into anything, a common outraged cry is,
"People, not profits!"
And given the sort of markets masters generally like to introduce into things, those angry voices will often have a point. Nor is it, on the face of it, unreasonable to feel that there are some matters far too humanly important to leave to the whims of rich, conceited, bean-counting money-grubbers, shoddily representing the interests of ten thousand faceless pension funds, and somewhat more accountably representing the interests of their own fellows in boardroom and golf-club.

But if that's true, it makes little sense to me how that outcry always seems to translate as, "State, not private!" "The collective, not individuals!" "The Just People, not just people!"

Sweet Lady Liberty, why?

For all these things so human and important, why is it then such a good idea to leave them to the whims of rich, conceited, news-spinning power-grabbers, shoddily representing the interests of ten thousand faceless voting blocks, and somewhat more accountably representing the interests of their own fellows in boardroom and bunker?

Or perhaps I have that wrong. Perhaps the real idea is that all truly precious things should be subject only to the ultimate whims of rich, conceited, target-gaming mandarins, shoddily representing the interests of ten million helpless clients, and somewhat more accountably representing the interests of their own fellows in boardroom and bureaucracy?

Or perhaps - just perhaps - those of us whom even these humane proposals still leave malcontent, should come up with a new cry of our own:
"People, not power!"
And whoever will join me in that one - why, for sure they may count me their brother!

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