Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three positions

Matthew Taylor from RSA (not the Returned Services Association, which is what we in New Zealand usually associate this acronym with) wrote in a blog post:

...while the rich and their banks were unwilling to allow middle and poorer workers to be paid more (over the last three decades wages for all but the rich have stagnated in the US), they were more than happy to encourage the poor to borrow money. Of the 1.5 trillion dollars that flowed up in wealth, a trillion then flowed down in borrowing, much of it, from the point of view of the borrower, very ill-advised. This was the cause of the bubble and the bust.

He also says:

I see a new political space opening up which combines three positions which have not traditionally cohered:

- Opposition to extreme, unmerited and destructive levels of inequality: ‘fairness does matter;’

- Scepticism about the central state as a direct agent of social change and a preference for models which are driven bottom up by citizen initiative and community action; ‘a big society not a big state;’

- Recognition of the importance to human functioning both of values such as respect, virtue, thrift, moderation and of the norms and institutions which embody these values: ‘enlightened social conservatism’. if only these could come together we might see greed put in its place, and humanity given a chance to prove it can care for more than Number One.

RSA stands for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
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