Friday, February 16, 2018

Speaking of Bill "Job Churn" Morneau, How Do You Talk Someone Out of Their Health, Wealth and Happiness. It's Easy.

A chilling report from Britain's New Economics Foundation entitled, "Framing the Economy," examines how Brits were smooth talked into accepting brutal austerity.

From The Guardian:

What do people think the economy is? How do they think it works? How do you think it works, if you think it works at all? The New Economics Foundation, in its report, Framing the Economy, conducted 40 in-depth interviews in London, Newport, Glasgow, Wolverhampton and Hull, with the aim of finding points of common understanding. Though 40 is a relatively small number, the researchers were looking for images, metaphors, certainties and black holes that came up again and again, across regions and demographics.

From these tropes, they’ve been able to plot how, from 2010, the coalition government’s austerity agenda played so well into people’s hopes and fears; how the public attachment to it was so tenacious. How, even as the policy was failing to stimulate the economy in the way that had been promised, it was still seemingly resistant to counter-argument. Even once it was plainly, across the country, having devastating impacts on people’s lived experience (disabled people having their benefits removed and dying weeks later, the victims of the universal credit experiment evicted from their homes), the notion itself – that we all had to tighten our belts, and that was the responsible thing to do – was curiously buoyant.

If anything, the more hardship it caused, the more necessary it was for many to cling to the narrative. And this was all underpinned by deeply held notions about how things “work”. The economy was seen as a container, the most frequent metaphor was a bucket: some people put in, and others took out. It was also seen as cash, almost exclusively, with other frames – productivity, investment – rarely getting a look in. By the bucket definition, the economy was finite, and economic disasters were the result of too many people taking out, and not enough people putting in.

Dora Meade, the lead researcher, was shocked by the “ubiquity and level of fatalism”. If you combine the feeling that the economy is something beyond a normal person’s understanding or control, with the sense that the system is rigged, “people are left feeling there is very little they can do. There’s no role for the general public, even if they believe it’s broken and unfair.”

The New Economics Foundation does, however, say that we have an opportunity to reverse this, to shatter the dogma fed to us by these neoliberals.

These are times of great danger but also of great possibility. For the first time in decades, there is a sense that the economic consensus is fracturing, that a change must and will come. A space has opened up to talk and think differently about the economy. The question is what this space will be filled by: a narrow, nationalistic story which scapegoats outsiders, or a positive vision for a just and sustainable future? It is imperative that civil society rises to the challenge.

The energy, the momentum for this has to come from us. It's pointless for us to rely on today's Liberals or Conservatives or even New Democrats. Trudeau talks shiite all the time and his dutiful followers swallow every spoonful of it. Politicians, especially in the States, masterfully manipulate the narrative to get people to vote directly against their own self-interest.

1 comment:

Northern PoV said...

"Politicians, especially in the States, masterfully manipulate the narrative to get people to vote directly against their own self-interest."

Lots of blame for the audience, too Mound. It takes both sides to play along for it to work. The crude manipulations would have little effect if folks had a minimum of civic responsibility ... like our antecedents, esp. those in the years 1918 to 1975.

The USA and UK and not far from the 'apex of civilization, ... in income, lifestyle and educational oppportunities. Like Canada, their populations have embraced wilful ignorance and useless diversions such as 'branding'. We have strayed from the path of our evolutionalry destiny and would rather watch TV or surf the net than confront the truth that is so easy to see.

"We are the reason we are going extinct,
But don't think twice, its alright."