A Simpol take on BBC’s “Any Questions?“ – 1/4/2011

By Sarah Beaver,  Simpol supporter and blogger.

Chaos or Community?

The second question discussed on “Any Questions?” was whether the Metropolitan Police dealt with the rioters, in London last week, in an effective manner using their so-called containment strategy. What was said in the panel was that the protest in London was violent in parts, with some protesters attacking both police force and corporate properties and with the police force, in turn, attacking these protesters. I believe, however, that the question is not whether the police carried out their duties ethically and effectively, but whether protesting, and specifically violent protesting is helpful. Why are some people so angry? Will their voices be heard? Can marching make a change? Is there an alternative?

I believe that what needs to be looked at first is why some people are so angry, trying to make a change by vandalising corporate properties. It seems to me that many people (especially young people) feel betrayed by the government and are so angry with big business getting away with paying a petty amount of taxes. These people rightly feel that the government has f*ed it up and is taking out the cuts on ordinary people. They hope that through vandalising, the government will feel threatened, give in and make a change. I can completely understand why this makes many people so angry, but anger and destruction will not make a difference since it does not lead to a solution It only exacerbates the status quo. What we need to realise – and what we need to let angry people know – is that big business and the government are just as helpless as we are. Due to the globalisation of big business, countries have to economically compete with each other. If governments were to raise taxes on certain companies, these companies would move to a more business-friendly country, leaving the present country economically uncompetitive. We need to realise that only simultaneous change on a global level (with the use of simultaneous policies) will be able to get us out of this financial crisis. We need to realise and remind other people that we are all in this mess together. It should be the people and the government, not the people versus the government. We need to spread the word of the reasons for our financial crisis and why we are currently stuck in a situation which only a global solution will get us out of.

What we need is communication and co-operation. Neither violent protest nor arresting protestors provides a solution. The people on both sides (government and the people) need to communicate and find out what it is that has brought us into this war which leads nowhere. If both sides knew why we are in this financial crisis, and that there is indeed a solution, this constant fighting will not have to continue. Both sides could hold hands, instead of holding shields and weapons in their hands. We are one world, we are in this together.

Peaceful protesting in itself seems like a nice idea, but even solely marching will not have an effect in the long-term. Yes, it does raise awareness, but it is a march which leaves people stuck in the current situation, almost like marching just for the sake of it. I am not saying that protests should not happen, but I believe they can only work if the people protesting also try and find or come up with a solution. We can’t put all that power and responsibility on to the government and expect them to make a change – after all, it is a DEMOcracy we are meant to be living in.

Simpol offers us the solution to our financial crisis, so that we can finally live together without resentment or anger. We can either continue in a chaotic two-sides-fight-against-each-other-world, or we can realise that governments are helpless too – that we are all in it together and need to co-operate – and unite to become a real community again, where both the people and the government have the freedom to make the changes they want to make.

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One thought on “A Simpol take on BBC’s “Any Questions?“ – 1/4/2011

  1. Sarah,
    Thank you for the post.

    The fact that this problem is also acute in the United States, points out the need for an international or transnational solution to the problem. So apparently, it is not only the environmental issues which may fall by the way side when countries must compete in a weak international regulatory climate, but also low taxation rates which prevent the funding of social outlays (which is not to say that these outlays should not themselves be reviewed for efficacy). This article in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html) highlights, quite clearly I think, the reasons for SIMPOL. From the article:

    ” Company officials say that these measures are necessary for G.E. to compete against global rivals and that they are acting as responsible citizens. “G.E. is committed to acting with integrity in relation to our tax obligations,” said Anne Eisele, a spokeswoman. “We are committed to complying with tax rules and paying all legally obliged taxes. At the same time, we have a responsibility to our shareholders to legally minimize our costs.”

    Also from the article:
    ” In January, President Obama named Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric’s chief executive, to head the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. “He understands what it takes for America to compete in the global economy,” Mr. Obama said.”

    There are very intelligent people who know how to play the international business game, but it is the rules of game, not how it is played, that are the issue.

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