The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom
It is not just the feral youth of Tottenham who have forgotten they have duties as well as rights. So have the feral rich of Chelsea and Kensington.
There was a time when at least some of the rich felt they an obligation to give back to society. But that’s practically gone. Instead, looting by the bankster class has become institutionalized. They clearly feel no obligation to society so why should a poor kid growing up in a ghetto? That doesn’t justify criminal behavior by the poor kid, not at all. Â Our society is losing its moral moorings and this is happening across all classes. And the top classes have abdicated anyÂ responsibilityÂ for providing leadership or being role models.
There are a few of the super-rich who apparently feel a need to give back. Bill Gates has given $70 billion to his foundation and now devotes his life to issues like ending malaria and other diseases, water sanitation and hygiene, homelessness, vaccination, and other projects that genuinely help the lives of the desperately poor. By 2016 The Gates Foundation will have given over 27,000 scholarships to disadvantaged youth with proven leadership ability. And he didn’t have to do any of this. But choose to do so anyway.
When Commodore Vanderbilt died in 1877, there were parades in his honor and he was a hero to the common man. Why? First, his word genuinely was his bond. Second, he paid and treated his employees fairly and kept equipment in top shape. Third, when he got a monopoly on the railroads he *lowered* rates so even more people would use them. Such conduct would no doubt be mocked in investment bank boardrooms today, but then they’re primarily parasites and have built little of lasting value like Vanderbilt did.
While Gates and Vanderbilt are certainly known for being ruthless, their transcontinental railroads and personal computers changed the world. Â But most billionaires today are consumed with inanities like having the biggest yacht and with amassing even bigger fortunes by any means necessary. Or they make money from money, “fictitious capital” as Karl Marx called, which contributes nothing to the world. Or they sell drugs and launder money via institutions that pretend not to notice..
The Big Picture sums it up.
Corruption at the top leads to lawlessness by the people
Austerity leads to rioting and unrest
Corruption and austerity = global unrest
The elites across the planet today are mostly corrupt. Their solution for curing the financial crisis, which is mostly of their own making, is to slash budgets and ignore the middle and lower classes. This can only go on for so long before there is serious social unrest (like what we’re already seeing in MENA and Britain) which in its extremes ends up being expressed in revolution.
What we need is a massive societal shift in attitudes and goals. No one ever thought the USSR would collapse or the vile institution of apartheid would fall. But they did. Change is always possible.
I see quite a lot in your article that I could disagree with but I’ll take the statement; “Instead, looting by the bankster class has become institutionalized. They clearly feel no obligation to society so why should a poor kid growing up in a ghetto? That doesnâ€™t justify criminal behavior by the poor kid, not at all.”
Why doesn’t it justify criminal bahaviour? Is the violence and looting just to be one way? is self defence not allowed? Are the poor the only ones that are obliged to turn the other cheek? The assault on the working class has been going on for generations, yes there was a short period when they allowed some wealth to trickle down in the shape of social services, education grants and a health service but that is all over, it is now raw, gloves off capitalism and we are still meant to appeal to our political masters, who are in the pockets of the corporate world, for a little bit more than we are getting. I don’t believe in compassionate capitalism, the few exceptions you quote only proves the rule.I have already stated the right to self defence in a previous post; http://radicalglasgowblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/there-is-no-law-against-self-defence.html
Saul Alinksy remarked when asked about the Black Panthers, it is crazy to say all power grows out of the barrel of a gun when the other side has all the guns.
Looting stores isn’t self-defense and criminality in response to criminality is saying two wrongs make a right and is usually self-defeating. Somehow, this needs to become political, with real organizing and focus. Then it can accomplish something. I lived in LA during the riots. The riots changed nothing for those in the affected areas except for a few commissions who made recommendations which were then mostly ignored.
Whether we like it or not riots are political, as a rule well off people with a good job,a nice house and a car seldom riot. It might not fall into any of our desired left thinking moulds, but they are trying to change things. All it is saying is that they don’t accept the argument put forward by society as it is, and if we can’t convince them of the validity of our arguments, then that’s our problem. They are not born with a Saul Alinsky book in their hand. From chaos comes change, it might not be the change that WE want, but again, that’s our fault for not convincing them of our argument. If we are not among them, we can’t be of them, and have no right to preach down to them.