Thursday, 18 December 2008
Make Love, Not Washers.
The recession is bringing all kinds of people out of the woodwork as the media cast around for someone, anyone, who might be able to offer some explanation for the pigs ear that the wide boys have made of the economy. I'm fully expecting astrologers, aromatherapists and the Church of Later Day Freemasons to all be putting in their two bobs worth any day now. On last night's Radio 4 World Tonight it was the turn of a Professor of Community History from Birmingham University who, after first explaining that he was the first member of his family not to work in a factory, went on to explain how we would have all been much better off if we had stuck to industrial production rather than the service sector. Well yes and no Prof. Yes and no.
Apart from global capitalism deciding on the geographical location of industry with no other consideration but the maximising of profit, even if you take that out of the equation, I don't think that the matter is a straightforward one. All throughout the 80s I was arguing for the retention of our industrial and agricultural base as opposed to trying to base an economy on financial services. This was partly due to finding it easier to understand and appreciate the world of what I considered to be "real" work, as apposed to the more ephemeral world of the service sector, and in no small part to my prejudice against "prats in suits who thought that moving bits of paper around was work". All rubbish of course. The project is to do away with the division between work and leisure and build a world where production is at the service of our desires rather than the creation of profit, and I knew that then as well as I do now.
When my generation left our Secondary Modern Schools at the age of fifteen we were destined for a lifetime of boring, repetitive, alienating factory work. I was one of the lucky few who managed to escape. The thing is Prof, before we start getting all moist about factory work it might be an idea to consider who is actually going to do this work. Cos it ain't going to be me and it sure as fuck ain't going to be you,