Home > Uncategorized > Standing in the Way of Control

Standing in the Way of Control

One of the stated aims of neoliberalism is to ‘shrink the state, to reduce government interference in citizens’ lives and give them the ‘freedom’ to make use of the ‘choices’ available to them. A happy by-product of this is the abdication of government responsibility, financial and moral, for its people, but that’s not why they’re doing it, oh no!, they’re doing it to make us free and happy. Oh yes.

This assumes that we are controlled by government and the services it provides and that we need to be freed from the yoke of dependency. While this is true, all that is happening with the benefit and public sector cuts and pay freezes, workfare, and introduction of ‘competition’ into healthcare is that the control is being passed into private hands. Wages, benefits, employment, unemployment are all meant to control us. Our need to use essential services by its very essence controls us.

Our current government now wants to freeze minimum wage levels, if not do away with them altogether. This ‘deregulation’, it is argued, will make the job market ‘freer’ and increase ‘choice’. Of course, it doesn’t. It’s just another transfer of power and control from the state to private concerns. Instead of legislation controlling what we can earn, private enterprise will be able to claw back a massive bargaining chip and use it to club workers with. This, combined with changes to industrial tribunals, cuts to legal aid, and reduction in services such as CABs, concentrates power, and by extension control, in the hands of business. Any slight measure of accountability is lost, and so are we.

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