It’s been a while

Well, it’s been a while. After trying to push The New Journalist forward (and failing miserably) and messing around with other projects with mixed results I have reached the point where I seem to have the time to write, but not necessarily the motivation.

This is strange, given that the Leveson inquiry has really provided a wealth of issues to get worked up about with regards to the conduct of the media these last few years (and has basically validated my observations about the conduct of certain newspapers since I started blogging about them). I think the problem is that I have no faith in the outcome of the inquiry, or in humanity in general. Since I’ve been away it seems that it has become much clearer just how corrupt our society is. Our politicians still hunt down the poor and disenfranchised whilst simultaneously lining their own class with the wealth of the state. The corporate body goes on poisoning the world, destroying its resources and doing its best to make us fatter, dumber and more subservient to meaningless consumerism (whilst paying little tax and remaining unaccountable to the society it feeds off of). The banks stride from one Titanic act of fraud to another, only to be kept afloat by a collection of world governments who seem to think that if the banks are endlessly handed more money to pass on (at a decent %) that somehow society will kickstart itself eventually and rejoin the road the doom it was speedily heading down before the banks realised a lot of money they handed out would never be seen again.

The point is that everything is so fundamentally wrong that writing about any issue without using that realisation as the starting point seems a little futile. We cannot keep expanding the human race and consumption indefinitely, this isn’t conjecture, it’s a fact: we live in a finite world. Yet everything that is being done around the planet today is aimed at doing just that. All we are told as citizens is that at some point growth will come back and we’ll start increasing our consumption again and make shit and buy shit that we don’t need and everything will be fab. But it won’t be.

Growth in consumption is probably the worst measure of a successful society, yet GDP seems to be the only measure governments want to pursue. When corporations increase consumption, GDP grows and we’re told the economy is doing well, that we should all feel prosperous. The main problem with this is that such growth is always unsustainable because the wealth is never spread out, and it sure as hell doesn’t trickle down, instead it flows upward, leaving a few billionaires at the top, a few more millionaires doing favours for the billionaires and a wedge doing OK. The rest of the planet merely subsists in abject poverty. This, of course, can be masked (for a while) by banks issuing credit so we can all have a slice of the good life until it becomes clear that most people can’t even afford credit and it all comes tumbling down.

In my mind I have a thousand things that I want to write, but they are all jumbled and too big to pin down into a blog post or any other format. Too many things are soiled by an uncontrollable sense of despair that no matter how clear it becomes that our world society is a corrupt and hollow shell serving a tiny elite at the expense of the overwhelming majority, we’ll all still be too distracted by the TV or celebrities or anything that just is not important to actually stand up and do something.

What frustrates me is that the events of the last few years are not a series of isolated incidents (or bad apples) but actually form a coherent narrative about reality that we should all want to understand and challenge. In fact, it’s more than that: we need – for the sake of all of our futures – to understand and challenge it.

I just don’t have any belief that we will.

I didn’t know what I sat down to write when I created this blog post. It just happened and is probably largely cathartic. It isn’t some kind of personal manifesto (and it certainly didn’t set out to be), it hasn’t been months in the writing (about 20 minutes, as you can no doubt tell), it’s merely the frustrations that I may as well put out there to see if I’m alone or not in having them.

In short: I want to make a positive difference to the world, that was why I started this blog a long time ago now, and I haven’t given up; I’m just really struggling to find the words or hope these days.

13 Comments

  • jemima101 says:

    Whats the problem with TNJP,I, and I am sure others enjoy reading it.

    Anyway its good to see you writing again, as one of my blogging heroes(yes you are partially responsible for just a hobby!) Is there a narrative, perhaps not, but then I wonder if ourside the history books there ever is.

  • Neil Moffatt says:

    This encapsulates a lot of my current thinking also, and probably reflects the same m=by many others, even if they cannot express it as coherently as Kevin has. As far as my sister and I see things, capitalism is a pyramid system that has exhausted its expansion and is now collapsing. At least it will collapse before depleting all the earth’s resources.

    It always jarred with me that business always had to grow. And that was before I ever understood economics in any way. I still know little, but this foundation is so flawed I need not know more.

    In answer to your plea, there are already changes afoot via the Internet and community efforts in Greece, for example, where the people regain control from the rich elite. It will take time, but that is the only route to recovery. Certainly not growth.

  • Piers Fallowcherry says:

    Good to have you back. Rather than unsubscribing I kept you in the “inactive” sectoin of my newsfeed and I’m glad I did.

    Stay now.

  • Felicity says:

    You put into words exactly what I feel these days. All these enquiries will be merely lip-service, things have gone too far to change. I’m at the point where I feel all I can do is live my own life with good morals and ethics and leave the rest to get on with it. Humans will self-destruct eventually and the planet will be better for it.

  • Heather says:

    You most certainly are not alone. Anyone with half a brain and an eye to see has noticed the whole wobbly system called Capitalism has failed spectacularly.

    Quite what we can do about it is another matter. There just doesn’t seem to be any spark to ignite the revolution – for a revolution is what we need to reset things I fear.

    (For the record, I am a liberal at heart, so all this talk of revolution shows how far the world has skewed out of line.)

  • Steve Hemingway (@stevehem) says:

    For all its faults, the society we have in the west is infinitely better than anything any humans have experienced throughout history. The most impoverished of Brits can access an incredible range of services and products that are infinitely better than earlier absolute monarchs could afford.

    Physical resources on the planet are finite, but we are, as a species, incredibly ingenious at using them efficiently, under the capitalist system. High GDP per capita correlates with almost all that we want in life, including equality.

    Big business, and businesses in general do not like capitalism: as Adam Smith observed, it is the goal of producers to suppress competition. In modern society with so much power concentrated in the state, the most efficient way of doing this, and receiving the ‘economic rents’ which arise is to capture the legislators. Sadly this is happening increasingly in the USA and in the UK.

    You complain about ‘the corporate body’ as if it were a separate species. In fact corporations are owned by individuals, just as governments spend on behalf of individuals. Corporates, like any economic actors respond to economic incentives. One of the biggest incentives is to increase net profits by minimizing taxes. Governments deliberately produce tax codes with lots of loopholes because they are advised by professionals whose income depends on being paid to exploit these loopholes. The solution to this problem is not to increase tax rates on companies. One solution would be to not tax them at all, but to tax the stakeholders of companies (individuals, ultimately, forming employees, suppliers, shareholders, bondholders, other creditors) on the additional revenue that will accrue to them from the reduced rate of tax.

    There is a problem with excess returns to management, but I believe that this is largely confined to the financial sector and simply arises because of the huge economic rents that accrue to actors in this sector as the result of innumerable subsidies to providers of capital, particularly banks. We are now funding UK banks at 0.5% from the BoE for buying Spanish Govt. bonds yielding 7%. Is it remotely suprising that it’s difficult for a small business in a competitive industry to get bank funding. The whole point is that small businesses face competition from new entrants into the sector while banks, because of the massive regulatory barriers to entry are virtually immune from competition.

  • LiamKav says:

    The problem with doing something like this is that you’re constanly exposed to the worst of humanity. Don’t give up hope! Everytime you highlight something wrong with the media etc people read it. People then talk to others about it. It does make a difference. Small, but lots of small things can build up, and elections governments and many things can swing on small differences.

  • E says:

    I’m glad you’ve come back (for a bit, at least). I’d only just discovered your blog when you said you were finishing. Enjoyed this website immensely. In regards to this post, It’s great to finally find someone with the same feelings and beliefs. The world’s screwed, thanks to the moronic ways our governments and media behave, and there’s nothing we can really do about it (especially seeing as only the elite get any real power anymore) We just have to fight any way we can, including attacking the evil biased media, like you’ve been doing.

    I’m afraid the majority are stupid, and will always be stupid, and the Daily Mail and so forth continue to strengthen this stupidity. But we can resist this, like you’ve been doing, and try to show the world what the people who give us information really are. Keep up the fight, and maybe one day the proles will fight for a better world (1984 reference BOO-YAH) You’ve just got to hope man, hope that one day someone GOOD and WISE will find power thrust upon them, rather than being power-hungry and seeking power. It’s all we can do, but if we keep trying to humiliate and insult the Elite (and their media servants) the world can get better.

    (and yes I do understand that i’ve just written a barrage of positive, hopeful bullcrap, but hey, it’s good to be optimistic right?)

  • E says:

    Oh and to Heather, revolutions never work. Just look at the outcomes of each, Russian Revolution, French Revolution, English Civil War etc, etc. We are soon to see the results of the Arab Spring. Let’s hope idiots like Hitchens are proven wrong and that things will get better in places like Egypt etc.

    You’re so right though Uponnothing, the world is going to sh*t, economically and ecologically. A revolution by force is not right but perhaps a new political and economic system can be formed (more modernised version of Communism maybe? with democracy? lol)As I said, one day the human world will wake up to the resource problem, and climate change, and every other thing we’re screwing the world up with.

    Anyway, keep up the good work man. Never feel discouraged. Stick it to the MAN

  • Rich Johnson says:

    Just so you don’t feel like you’re tearing your hair out alone; you’re not.

    I think “Too many things are soiled by an uncontrollable sense of despair that no matter how clear it becomes that our world society is a corrupt and hollow shell serving a tiny elite at the expense of the overwhelming majority,” just about sums it up. And that is a depressing thing to consider.

    But. Film critic Mark Kermode, in response to a complaint from Simon Mayo that his rants against 3D were becoming boring, remarked recently, “Well, when it stops being wrong, I’ll stop complaining about it.” And for that reason alone – and it’s a good one – you need to keep blogging about what’s wrong. For one thing, I and people like me need to read it.

  • Rich Johnson says:

    (Sorry, I meant to elide “no matter how clear it becomes that”, there. Being ungrammatical gives me an uncontrollable sense of despair too.)

  • I relate, massively, and I can completely understand your despair, but I am glad you are back, and I hope you keep writing. I don’t blog (much) myself, but your posts have always been the ones I am mostly likely to pass on to people, because you are saying important things. I hope you can muster the strength to keep fighting!

  • M says:

    So pleased to see you back – this blog helped inspire me to abandon the mainstream media completely and seek my news from more trustworthy sources. However I agree with LiamKav that it does mean you have to confront a particularly nasty side of humanity, which must be draining. I also completely identify with what you’ve posted here and I know there are so many others who do too, despite being conditioned by the system you summarise so eloquently.

    If things are going to change, surely pressure needs to come from all sides, but particularly from mass social movements, as happened in movements such as the civil rights movement in the US. It sure as heck ain’t going to happen without them…

    PS a little something to mull over – World Streets editor Eric Britton reckons one major obstacle to winning the fight for a more sustainable future is a lack of creative communications – an area in which you could no doubt help out:

    http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/why-are-we-losing-the-war-on-sustainable-transport-sustainable-cities-and-sustainable-lives/#more-8719