"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Friday 23 March 2012

Budget2012 and the Protestant Work Ethic

Every blogger knows that whilst a little bit of emotional involvement in a subject can help when writing, too much can cloud issues and cause logical arguments to tangle around each other. So this is one of the reasons I have held off commenting on the #budget2012 until now, specfically the so called #Grannytax [I am giving the twitter hashtags. There are lots of emotional and logical comments/arguments on there. Some of them mine!]

I have long thought - and said - that this government seems to be employing Weber's Protestant Work Ethic attitudes of 19thC Britain. In a nutshell the idea of the PWE is that as God rewards the morally just and good by ensuring that they have a 'comfortable life', it therefore follows that those who are suffering from poverty and, say, illness and other miseries, must therefore be morally bad and receiving their punishment. A creed well suited to capitalism and entrepeneurialism. And further more, as the rewards of the good life are shown in profits and more wealth, it is dependant on those so rewarded to invest this wealth back into their business affairs and if God is rewarding them further then greater profits will be made. Whoopy do doo for the rich and yah sucks boo to the poor.

So what have our wonderful coalition government done since gaining power [some say stealing power but that is an argument for another blog on constitutional reform] in 2010? Well it would seem like just in this budget the rich have been rewarded with a cut in the tax rate for the very rich of 5%. [Not of course that the very rich often pay as much tax as many of their PAYE lower income fellow citizens. In perfectly legal tax avoidance schems, expensively paid accountants can ensure that] And in this budget the poor in the form of pensioners are being punished #Grannytax furore is still building. I am listening to Ros Altmann on the radio as I type and she is livid!

But look also at the other acts of this government since 2010. NHS reform bill passed this week, NHS reforms obviously more of a worry to those in society who cannot afford to use private health care if their local NHS 'suppliers' are cut. Sue Marsh's heartbreaking blog too often tells us the hardships the cuts in the Disability Living Allowance and support services are causing. Over the past year or so many welfare services across the country have been cut: Sure start centres, childrens' centres, pensioners' luncheon clubs etc etc. Marches have been undertaken to save many libraries, petitions taken to save amongst others coastguard services - the sort of cuts that in the past would only have been envisaged in Sci Fi novels about some sort of totalitarian regime that storms into power and its citizens end up existing cold, starving and ill in caves....

No-one can deny that economically the country is not in a good state. But we can deny that it seems as if the poor and needy are getting hit disproportionally - are we being punished? Answers please.

Yes I am a pensioner - just! And like far too many was part of a company pension scheme which took my money for many years but now is not paying out what it should [although the company still makes a profit. But they must have been good whilst I was bad?] Many others paid into private pension schemes which have got into financial troubles and are not paying anything. We live in houses that are too large and costly to run but we cannot afford to sell because [a] they have lost too much in value and we cannot realise enough capital to make moving worthwhile [b] no-one wants to buy anyway! Heating bills have gone up [I did not want power supplies to be privatised but who listened to me?] Postal services are not what they used to be. Fuel prices are going up which affect the costs of services and food, and yet village shops are closing due to high costs like council tax etc so that we have to get to large out of town supermarkets somehow. I won't go on - its all been said so many times but are the coalition government listening OR do they care?

OK blown it now - over emotionally involved. But it had to be said.

Image of one edition of Weber's theory on sale at amazon.co.uk

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