Big Society, and the Social Anaesthesia State…

A recent reading on the French economy mentioned the development of a social anaesthesia state since the 1980s, within France, paralleling movements towards decentralisation, marketisation and the replacement of a statist mentality to more neoliberal framed constructions. Ironically, such a movement actually saw increased public spending, as they grappled with the various interests effected by the switch. Therefore, increased spending on welfare, for instance, helped with the formation of a social anaesthesia state, in an attempt to dampen the pain associated with cuts in services, and the inadequate transfers of funds between state and local authorities whilst functions from the centre to the decentralised zones were carried out more in theory than practice.

In a similar vein, the UK government’s plans, especially in line with constructs such as the ‘big society’, will result in higher spending on many social support services like welfare as people lose their job, and search for any sort of assistance they can. However, charities are being merged, destroyed and cut back whilst the government preaches about a ‘big society’ (well Cameron, seeing as many within the government are fastly distancing themselves from the vacuous rhetoric). Therefore, whilst spending will increase on things such as welfare through people being effected job, health wise etc., the venomous way the Tories are attacking our welfare system and services will mean that a social anaesthesia state is not implemented. Implicated within many of the government’s policies is a destruction of services and support for people, as marginalised groups are marginalised even further. With a continual declining slope towards neoliberalism, internationally as well (see recent blog on this), alongside the state being destructively attacked and dismantled, there is a lack of actual protection against the growth of dissent.

With the government only a year old, it is clear they are one of the most regressive governments to exist. The economic, political and social direction is worse than Thatcher. Our systems of support are being torn down beneath our eyes. As the cuts become more engrained, as more people’s lives are dismantled the stronger apathy – but also political resistance – will become. Without an anaesthesia construct, with the big society attempt rapidly failing apart, resistance will grow. The problem is translating this resistance into real change, given the corrupt international political system we find ourselves within.


5 thoughts on “Big Society, and the Social Anaesthesia State…

  1. The idea of the Big Society is an anathema, to Neo-Liberalism, as it goes against Ayn Rand philosophy of the anti-Altruistic ‘Selfish Society.’ In which everyone can live for themselves, and everything would balance out, due to Townsley’s equilibrium networks theory, (Rand’s Philosophy was developed into Neo-Capitalism, using computers, to organise the networks). Therefore, any type of Society, big or small cannot exist inside such a network theory.

    However this is wrong.

    Society is essential for our physical and physiological well being, its part of what all primates and apes, from Pygmy Marmosets, to homo-sapiens; we are all have a society and family, for guidance, warmth and protection.

    Unfortunately the ‘Western Left’s’ ideas of Society, has been corrupted by, it’s flirtation, with Neo-Liberalism, becoming more top down, i.e. more state than society, and the two polarising ideas, has created a mess.

    Society, can only work if it is ‘bottom up,’ i.e. localism, co-operatives, and mutual’s, floating back up through society. Local building societies, tailor made for local needs, local renewable energy sources, co-operatively owned, by a local area, with any excess energy profit pumped back into the local area, these are all good examples, and it can also be extended into health, transport, and other local services, this would help to bring back a back a pride in the local area, and a sense of belonging, as you know you have helped.

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