Philip Hammond and systemic debt…

With the Tories losing more seats than the LibDems in the latest local elections and the LibDems now having fewer than 3,000 councillors for the first time since the party formed in 1988, the Coalition are relying on their old tiresome excuse that it’s Labour’s fault. Moreover, furthering the individualism agenda, Philip Hammond has made sure to blame the public, attempting to take attention away from the bankers, for the economic crisis. The Tories, in championing their economic program, skirt over that £1.3 trillion was used to bail out the banks and was turned from private into public debt; using this transfer to ‘justify’ their ideological agenda. Essentially, as Hammond’s comments demonstrate, they turn to the individual. 

However, the system needs what Hammond and the Coalition has attributed as the problem. Debt. Capitalism, as I have said many times before, is based on the unsustainable production of false needs, where people are encouraged to borrow credit to spend and consumer things they don’t need, with the creation of exchange values central to constructing profit. If people were not to access loans, extra credit and thus debt, the system the Tories promote would not exist. I hardly see the Tories championing Zero Growth, the logic that growth is unsustainable because of the environmental and economic consequences. The falling rate of profit is key here, as resources are continually exploited in order to create more and more money, and when these resources run out they look for new ones – but it becomes more expensive to find these new resources, and thus profits become harder to maintain. Capitalism is unsustainable, as shown by the frequent crash and burns of the system.

Debt therefore shouldn’t be seen as a problem under capitalism. It’s a scapegoat for an ideological agenda by a fascist government, as we are told that painful choices are to be made and that the poor and often exploited groups should be exploited some more in the name of ‘national interest’. So Hammond may call people who utilised banks’ services “consenting adults” who should accept responsibility, but it’s rather rich, given Hammond is in a party still intent on blaming Labour for the Tories’ own choices.

Essentially, this is the epitome of the Tories’ individualised mentality. With only 68% voting in the local elections, however, people do have a responsibility to make their voice heard against this government. Yes, voting isn’t perfect, but it can help make limited but important changes to people’s lives. It’s depressing but also angering and frustrating that so many people have decided not to vote, whilst having their lives torn apart by this government. To help tackle such voter apathy we can use outside party political action, helping to dissemination information and resources to people often excluded from having their voice heard, empowering them so they believe their views and lives do matter. This is why I find the work of SilenceBreakers, the progressive social enterprise I am a Director for, so important.

Essentially, this is the same as David Cameron telling people to clear their credit card debt. If they didn’t make the system so exclusionary and one-sided so that people didn’t NEED debt to survive, then they’d have legitimacy. But they want the very system that creates these problems. Hypocritical, as always.

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