Monday, 08 August 2011

Maybe capitalism didn't quite work Our politicians are doing a lot of 'deploring' and 'condemning' at the moment, there being not much else they can say really. Londoners are letting the Olympic terrorists know they needn't bother. I'm watching the #londonriots stream going at about 80 tweets/minute and rising. More people than I would have expected seem to have been seduced by the appeal of random, a-political violence suddenly made possible. They're out there now, on a high, causing very extensive damage to people's livelihoods and neighbourhoods without a care in the world - and no-one is going to show them much sympathy. Why is that? What makes people so care-less? At least we should reflect that this is extraordinary, the widespread appeal of causeless rampage. Well, we've had three years of capitalism looking wembly, and the past few weeks it's been off sick. Will London 2011 come to be seen as at least a significant symptom of capitalism going into terminal? Our politicians don't get it. If you relentlessly celebrate consumption; unambiguously and unashamedly pursue policies that promote an unequal society; encourage the spectacularisation of culture (a key component in what we're seeing, I think); demolish whatever is public that you can get away with; and then confiscate a lot of state support that gives young people legitimate occasions to test their need to disrupt things - don't suddenly look surprised. It looks like capitalism can't cope with what it has created. Does anyone have a decent alternative we can switch to?

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