Tag Archives: economics

YouClean for Me

You clean for me.
I see
You mop and vacuum,
But your room
I do not see.

I pay your fee
Which all agree
is only just
For you dust
For me.

You iron my clothes
And clean my loo,
But heaven knows
I know little about you,
Who clean my loo.

What Does It Profit A Man

What does it profit a man if he gain a good education
To benefit the nation,
In a subject he comes to loathe?
The wild rose
Goes
Unsmelt
But he dwelt
Amongst those
Who wore fine clothes.

What good does it profit a man if he considers wealth
A supreme good in and of itself?
His health
He loses,
Boozes
Away
To help him cope with his stressful day.
He may pay
For a yacht
But he has got
A hole
Where his soul
Should be.

I can not agree
With those who would level down society
For variety
Is good
And we are not all of the same wood.
Yet to glorify economics at the expense of all else
Leads to an obsession with the self
And rich young things who sit, in groups, alone
Playing with their telephone

Reduction

If we reduce
It to the bare bone,
Man stands alone,
His purpose to produce.
He is a mere factor of production.
What a reduction
Of you and me
To a robot who can not be free.

The dull
Texts that Marx and Bentham wrote
Are full
Of such stuff.
I have had enough
Of the dreary theory
Produced by long dead sages.
Weighty pages
Read
By those who live too much in their own head
And try to force the world to conform
By reform
Or worse!

My verse
Will not halt the curse
Of those who too much water drink
And in think
Tanks construe
Ideas of varying hue
Which, no doubt, they believe to be true,
Then foist them on me and you.

The Root Of All Evil

Money is the root of all evil. Whoever said that, they must have been having a laugh.

“Charlotte darling money is the root of all evil”.

“I couldn’t agree more Tarquin. Don’t you just love those African village women? They look so natural and content carrying pales of water from the village well. I envy them, no investments to worry about or concerns regarding school fees. We are so pampered here in the west, we can learn so much from those ladies”.

I’d love to see Charlotte bent double carrying a gallon of water.

“Oh gosh Tarquin these party shoes aren’t designed for the African bush, my silk dress is absolutely ruined”.

Me I’m a dyed in the wool materialist. Money may be the root of all evil but it sure as hell makes life worth living. Just try existing without cold hard cash, go on and see how far you get.

Tarquin and his kind will try and convince you that money doesn’t make you happy. Come off it, try telling that to the young man sleeping under Waterloo Bridge. He’d laugh in your face if you are lucky and, if you aren’t he’ll break your nose.

Heres a riddle for you, what opens doors and is neither a key nor a door knob? Give up, I’ll tell you. The answer is money stupid!

I’ve plenty of the filthy stuff. It may be dirty but it sure as hell gets me into exclusive hotels and restaurants. Take tonight, here I am in the Ritz sipping champagne having just partaken of roast pheasant with all the trimmings. Delicious it was. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

That waitress, the slim brunette with those come to bed eyes keeps looking in my direction. I’m in there. Tonights the night if I play my cards right, to borrow a phrase. Girls love a big tipper and I’m always generous with my tips. Whats the greatest aphrodisiac in the world? Viagra. I thought you’d say that. No the answers money, course it is. One look at my wallet and women go weak at the knees. Well not all women but a fair number fall in love with my wadge. You think I’m shallow do you? Well I think you’re jealous. Come on, admit it man to man, you’d like some of what I’ve got wouldn’t you? You can deny it until you’re blue in the face but I can see the envy in your eyes.

I am Mr popular tonight. That leggy blonde keeps giving me the eye. Wow my luck’s in, she is coming over

“Excuse me sir I’m arresting you on suspicion of credit card fraud. You do not need to say anything but anything you do say will be taken down and may be used in evidence against you. Do you understand?”

Communal Living Anyone?

Can people live together in a state of equality by which I mean a society in which resources are shared equally and each individual contributes to the good of the whole community? The collapse of the former Soviet Union together with it’s former satelites in Eastern Europe has lead many to contend that such a state of afairs is pie in the sky. States which aim at equality inevitably degenerate into dictatorships which are neither equal or free the argument goes. But what about small communities or communes? Can groups of like minded individuals come together and live in a state of equality in which each person contributes to the common good? In any case how should we define the common good? Does it exist?

I have an idea for a story in which the above themes will be explored. I envisage a group of idealistic people joining together to farm the land in common and escape from what they perceive to be the materialism and corruption of capitalist society. Will their little community work or is it doomed to failure? Watch this space.

The Dismal Science

On Monday I attended the first part of a course on economics. The course was offered free to people in the organisation I work for and, knowing little about the subject I decided to attend.

One of the arguments advanced by the lecturer was that the value of things lessens the more of them we possess. So, for example many of us find it useful to own several pairs of shoes as it is helpful to be able to alternate them. However the more shoes we own the less value they possess as we can not possibly wear 20 pairs (or more) on a regular basis (no jokes please about ladies who have wardrobes full of shoes)!

It struck me that the argument holds good for shoes and many other consumables, however I do not feel that it holds water as regards books. For the lover of literature the more books one owns the greater the joy as one has more works in which to lose oneself. Merely possessing a small number of books would drive the average book lover to distraction.

When I raised this point with the lecturer his response was that one can only read so many books. Indeed one can but I still can’t help thinking that economics, while it undoubtedly has it’s uses falls down when applied to matters pertaining to culture. Not everything is susceptible of economic analysis thank the lord!

Every man has his price

According to Marxists prostitution is merely one manifestation of the middle class family (Engels held that marriage often degenerates into prostitution) see, for example an article in Slate Magazine, “Socialist Hoares: What Did Karl Marx Think of Prostitution?” (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2011/11/socialist_whores_what_did_karl_marx_think_of_prostitution_.html). I am no Marxist. I am however interested as a writer to explore why certain people (primarily women but men also) take a conscious decision to sell their bodies in return for financial security. In my story Rent (http://newauthoronline.com/2013/03/15/rent/) for example, Leah a girl from a tough council estate in East London’s Tower Hamlets becomes the girlfriend of Ian, a wealthy stockbroker as a means of escaping her grim existence. Leah makes the calculation that sleeping with Ian is a price worth paying to escape from a world in which drug addicts inject themselves on the stairs and the lifts stink of urine. However Leah’s fine clothes and expensive jewellery come at a high price – she sells her soul. Leah doesn’t love Ian (his contemptuous treatment of a young waitress in an expensive restaurant revolts her). She is, however unwilling to break away from the luxurious existence which Ian’s wealth allows her to enjoy.

Again, in my story Damned (http://newauthoronline.com/2013/03/10/damned/) a young Thai girl, Nan determines to seduce her western employer in order to benefit financially when he dies. As a girl of 14 Nan knows that by encouraging John to sleep with her that he is breaking the law and, as such Nan has the power to blackmail him by threatening to inform the authorities if he doesn’t agree to leave her financially secure on his death. Nan has experienced hardship (prior to meeting John she sold food on the streets of Bangkok) and in order to better her condition she calculates that having intercourse with John is a price worth paying.

There are obvious differences in the two stories. Leah lives in the UK where despite her life being grim the welfare state will prevent her from starving (her life in the tower block is horrible but she won’t die). In contrast there is no welfare safety net in Thailand and Nan must work or die. So is Leah more “culpable” than Nan when she determines to provide sex in return for economic security? On one level this is true. Nan is a child who, arguably does not possess the capacity to make an informed choice about selling her body. As an adult John could have resisted her advances however, being weak willed he fails to do so. In contrast Leah is an adult who possesses the intellectual capacity to make informed decisions regarding her own body. One may argue that economic circumstances push Leah into the arms of Ian, however many other people in the same situation as Leah do not opt to sell their bodies by becoming the mistresses of rich men so, ultimately Leah does make a conscious choice. Whether her decision is right or wrong is a matter for my readers to determine. For my own part I am wary of passing moral judgements on others. We are all fallible human beings. Life is rarely black and white, it tends rather to be made up of shades of grey.