Are we all submitting to a new form of slavery?
Diligent as ever in his quest to expose ways in which ordinary punters are being stitched up, Little Nicky has turned his attention to the housing market and the way it is manipulated. What brought this to my attention is a report that house prices here in Britain are set to rise 50% in the next few years.
Now house prices have risen 120% in the nine years since New Labour came to power while earnings have only risen 24%. These figures just do not add up, surely it is time for a levelling off of prices?
With the appalling state of social housing, the only way people can afford a decent home in a pleasant environment is by getting on the property ladder. In fact those who do not own their own home are increasingly finding they are treated as second class citizens.
If the projected price rises happen only people in the most highly paid professions or those who can obtain help from their parents or are lucky enough to have a legacy from Grandparents or other sources will be able to afford a home and with loans running at around nine times average income the housebuyers will struggle to service the interest on such huge amounts and fend off starvation. They will not even be able to think of holidays, smart cars etc. Is it any wonder more young people are choosing to stay in the parental home.
It is only two generations since most Europeans escaped from the shackles of wage slavery and not much more than that since many turned their backs on the old world to find a new freedom in America, Canada and Australia. And yet those countries too, without even the excuse that population growth has outstripped the available building space, are suffering from exploding property values and stagnant incomes.
The situation has not occurred by accident of course, few things occur by accident in this world.
In the decades after the second world war, industrialised societies went through a social upheaval. The immorality of Christian morality was questioned and failed to stand up to examination. The old ruse of "do not question the will of God" was exposed as meaning nothing more that "do not question the will of the ruling elite." The working and lower middle classes could no longer be bought off with the promise of rewards in heaven for a lifetime of suffering. State funded education had equipped the majority to relate to the existential view summed up as "you live, you die, end of story: so while we are in between we may as well enjoy ourselves." People realised that their first duty was not to country or employer but to themselves and their families. They were encouraged by socialist politicians whose polices promoted the tearing down of vast tracts of slums to be replaced with municipal housing, the provision of public service healthcare, state controlled education for all and collective bargaining by trade unions to ensure the workers received a fair share of the profits. Unemployment benefits and other allowances provided a cushion against the vindictiveness of unscrupulous employers. The workers could no longer be starved into submission.
By the nineteen sixties the social revolution was in full swing. Timothy Leary invited the world to "turn on, tune in and drop out," while in Britain music and fashion challenged the smug complacency of the middle class hegemony. Things were looking sticky for the ruling elite, the masses, proles, the great unwashed were saying "NO! we will not be told what to think and do, we will do what suits us best, thank you very much.
This should have been great news for the human race, but a population of individuals that have the power to think and act for themselves is never welcome news for any government, even those that wave their democratic credentials in the face of any criticism.
And so just as the medieval peasants who were virtually owned by the Lord of their village were superseded by the wage slaves of the Industrial Revolution whose life depended very much on the whim of a factory or mine owner, future generations will find their lives constrained by the need to service the interest on a crippling mortgage.
The bond will not end at death of course, already we feel social pressure to help our offspring spring onto the mortgage ladder, we are made to feel we have let them down if a substantial bung towards a deposit is not forthcoming. So it becomes an ongoing commitment as the burden of debt is handed from one generation to the next.
"Oh but how will the poor little dears ever own their homes if you donít help them" our peers say. Well maybe the best way to help them and to follow the advice of Jeremy Bentham and think about the greatest good of the greatest number is to make our sons and daughters face the reality our parents generation faced, "life owes you nothing," and then they might get off their backsides and vote for the Green Party, the only political movement committed to ensuring our grandchildren have grand children of their own.
Will it happen? Its touch and go, you see the most sinister thing about this move towards mortgage slavery is it has taken on an almost religious element. And just as religions gained control over civilisations by promising rewards after death so the great god PROPERTY promises that if you work hard all your life, improve, trade up and work, work, work without ever rewarding yourself, you too can be rich when you are dead.
What they donít tell you is that the more likely scenario goes, you work hard neglecting recreation, in retirement you become asset rich, cash poor thus inadequate diet and high stress levels will drive you into senile dementia. You will not be able to look after yourself and will be forced to go into care. Your home will be sold to pay the fees of the retirement home, you will end up having to move to a home for the bewildered because your funds will run out. You will die poor and forgotten. But donít worry because by then you will have forgotten who you are anyway.
Is there an alternative?
There are many, we could rise up against the Tyrannies of Bricks and Mortar, Financial Planning, Mass Media and self serving politics. A mass movement can bring about social change. A widespread campaign of passive resistance such as Gandhi led to win Indiaís independence could disrupt the global economy. And we could all say "screw your overpriced, characterless little boxes," and live in Yurts.
They canít put us all in prison