There is a superb article by Dr Eamonn Butler on the Adam Smith blog highlighting the current pressure from the Marxist left to ‘force’ the banks to lend, which has set my brain whirring for the day.
50 years ago, when I started working to fill my belly, there was no alternative. Or rather the alternative was unpalatable. It was to return to the children’s home from which I had fled.
Ipso, I had to make a living without any of the accoutrements that the Marxists say are essential to life in this ‘unfair’ society. There was no Job Centre to guide me. There was no Welfare State to support me. No question of a bank loan to set me up – in those days, even had I been 18, it was not possible for a woman to obtain credit without her husband acting as guarantor. No council had a duty to house me in my area of choice.
Consequently, I had to find a horizontal surface to sleep on, which was in the near vicinity of someone who was prepared to hand over money or food in return for – more or less anything they cared to name. Such a precarious lifestyle left me perennially aware that ‘next week’ I might not be so lucky, so I developed the habit of assuming that if I had £10 in my pocket, I could only afford to spend 10 shillings.
Who knew what paucity of opportunity might lie around the corner?
‘Aha’, said a small voice in my brain. ‘But thing are different today. Jobs aren’t so easy to find.’
I am minded of Damian Green’s comments back in January, that there may well be 1 million illegal immigrants living in the UK.
Who are living exactly how? Pretty much the same way I lived 50 years ago. Successfully so, otherwise the streets would be lined with dead immigrants. Somehow they are managing to find a horizontal surface to sleep on in the vicinity of someone who is prepared to give them money or food. They too, must be acquiring the habit of hanging onto to a fair proportion of their cash in case next week isn’t so good. I doubt very much that in 1960 there were 1 million such jobs in the cash economy, so perhaps things are actually better today than they were then?
I managed to buy a house eventually. It cost me £13,000. No bank to borrow 95% of that sum from, it was acquired by dint of doing without everything that didn’t come under the heading of essential sustenance. I have little doubt that many of those illegal immigrants are following the same route.
What has changed is the definition of ‘reasonable expectation’. The Marxists rail at the bankers and demand regulation to force them to lend, not because it is essential that they do so, but because society is attuned to the idea that we have a right to have everything we want, when we want.
A roof over your head must be the roof you desire most, chosen from a list of similarly desirable roofs. It must be furnished ‘just so’ – orange boxes appear to have gone out of fashion. You are defined as deprived if you cannot afford to have everything you want.
When the Tories suggested that those ensconced on deprived council estates move to areas where there was work, there was an outcry from the Marxists. Ed Balls accused the Tories of ‘breaking up communities’.
How were those communities formed in the first place? Were there Welsh Pit villages in Biblical times? No, they came about because coal was discovered in them thar hills, capitalists were prepared to pay good money for men to dig out that coal, and most of the housing was built by the Coal board. Men came from all over, followed by their families, to where the work was.
The self-employed have always taken themselves to where the work is, that is how they survive. No Marxists around then to tell them that they should stay put and wait for the work to come to them. It is just as possible today as it always was, to live without a bank loan, to exist outside of the welfare state.
Bankers lend money because that is how they earn money – forcing them to lend money presupposes that they are currently choosing not to earn money from us – which is a ridiculous proposition to level at a capitalist. We are being encouraged to believe that in refusing to lend us money, they somehow have ‘power’ over us. Power which must be broken.
The real power is wielded by 13 years of Marxist indoctrination which has persuaded us that there is something degrading in living within our means and only awarding ourselves that which we can afford.