30 November, 2013

To Serve and to STRIKE!

There is a great deal bandied about these days concerning the duty to serve.

Currently, the Tory Government is considering a new Law to jail people in the caring services, who “wilfully neglect” any patients in their care.

It is, of course, a major attempt to blame the servers for a quite evident decline in the quality of services during this particularly parlous current state of Capitalism, and, of course, the cuts meant to remedy the situation. You would think from the rhetoric that they, the Tories, are doing all they can to “serve” the community, but are being traitorously let down by the “soon-to-be-criminal” actions of our professional carers.

But surely, we have to ask, “In considering the provision of services to the mass of the people in general, we need to define who is best equipped to provide them, and why?”

Of course, to answer this we must first ask, “Can a service be provided effectively on the basis of delivering that service having to generate a worthwhile profit?"

Note: A profit is not wages! Over and above the payment of wages to those delivering the service, there is an added margin, paid to the owners of the facilities, which is The Profit!

The proponents of the Capitalist System do not only insist that it can, but they actually also say that it is the only effective way of doing it. Are they right? 

The crucial imperative in a capitalist system is that it is financed by people with large financial resources, who will invest the necessary wherewithall to allow businesses to be set up to provide various services, but only if they get both a regular dividend on their investment, and in addition can sell that investment for a different kind of profit too.

Clearly, the motivations of these crucial investors are by no means a philanthropic desire to “serve” society. It is a group of people who already possess quite considerable resources, but who ideally want those to provide a substantial income, without reducing their extractable initial investment, and without them having to actually do anything, apart from observing their investment carefully to ensure its profitability.

They are scarcely imbued with ”service to the community”!

They may interpret a current excitement or concern in the population as likely to produce a sufficient demand to allow investments in those areas to deliver what they are exclusively interested in – unearned income in as large amounts as possible, while still maintaining the value of their original investment for return when they think fit.

Some time ago I decided to look into the question as to how these people came to have such large disposable wealth, that they could then invest in the capitalist way. And it turned out that the main way had always been Theft! My researches turned into a rather long paper on the SHAPE Blog entitled Primitive Accumulation, and it was to become the most accessed SHAPE paper in the last five years.

Not one single capitalist accumulated their wealth by either saving earned wages, or by just making things and selling them. It always was, and still is, impossible to accumulate the vast sums involved by such means.

And, there is another kind of stealing, which is regarded as entirely legal.

It is acquiring what you know to be valuable, from people who are unaware of that value, by paying ridiculously low amounts to the owners, and then selling what you have acquired at something like its true value.

[Unsurprisingly, when negotiating to buy such things, they still force down the price as far as they can. Is that not stealing? Yet, it is not only regarded as entirely legal, but also both very clever and meritorious. So, “dishonest trading“ is a very good method too!]

“Conning the ignorant” is generally considered to be “good business”, and when coupled with bribes and “transactions of mutual benefit”, can also fleece public organisations in the very same way.

So, quite apart from explaining where investable capital was acquired, this investigation also demonstrated how very inappropriate such people are to provide services for the general population. They couldn’t be more in appropriate!

And, of course, to do it without a problem, you have to cultivate an extremely low opinion of the people you are conning. So these “dealers” are scarcely the group of people likely to conscientiously serve the community, are they?

Indeed, they also can have zero grasp of what services should be, and how much they should cost ordinary people. That is never really a major consideration, “For these are the people we con everyday for our wealth and status. Our only really important consideration must be how lucrative will an investment in such an undertaking be!”

Not quite the same is it?

They will be concerned... but it will be, “How can we organise it so that the return on our investment is satisfactory – that is – will it be big enough!”

No! No! No! No! No!

You can never trust such people to provide a Service!

They may deliver something passable to initially secure the deal, but as soon as possible it will be modified with the only important principle taking over “How do we milk this for maximum profit?”

Now, you may well wonder how they get away with it, but once such a division of society has been established, with all the wealth and influence on one side, and everyone else on the other, how can things be changed? Well, initially they certainly couldn’t! No one had the wherewithall to counter the power of the wealthy. For they not only owned the businesses, but also the means of disseminating the News. 

They quickly gained owning-possession of the newspapers, and then later, the Radio stations and even the Television stations too, so the public were only told what the owners wanted them to be told.

Making a difference seemed impossible!

But, who actually produced everything? Surely, that was what ordinary people did for a wage? And, if they didn’t produce, the owners would find themselves in dire straights. Investors would sell their shares in the affected company, and the value of the company and of the investments within it would plummet!

So, workers slowly began to build defensive organisations to counter the power of the rich. They first built Unions and then political parties.

How do you think the Labour Party got its name?

By acting together, pooling their meagre resources, but most of all by using the power of the Strike! 

They could withdraw their labour – refuse to work, and stop anyone else from stepping in and doing their jobs. The picketed Strike was born and was breathtakingly effective!

Yet, how would these same people be in service jobs?

They were certainly fully aware of the vast majority of the people they would have to serve. Before the Welfare State they did ALL the Service of ordinary people, and they did it for nothing!

In my street I had half a dozen “Mams” (or “Aunties” as they were called). If any family had some sort of calamity, people were round immediately asking what they could do.

Do you even have to ask who make the very best people in service jobs?

It is surely obvious.

And these are the very same people who went on Strike, who put out fires, and protected us from the criminal classes (who were NOT workers, by the way, but the lower end of the owning class, who were still accumulating in the original way by straight theft)

Indeed, perhaps the reason for the title of this paper is becoming clear. For, in providing an appropriate service, you have to fully appreciate what service should involve, when thinking about those being served. While being ready to strike when defending yourself against those who are usually in charge of such provision.

Yet, the Tories love to contrast these as incompatible opposites – claiming that workers strike because they ignore the service requirements that will be lost by such actions. But, of course, the real ignorers of those needing to be served are those who only see them as a means of making ever-larger profits.

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