Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Poverty and wealth.



Right now I seem to have plunged into the literature on wealth, poverty, deprivation, social exclusion, materialism, consumerism and acquisition.

Last week I wrote a 5,000 word essay on why the wealthy and their wealth should be of interest to sociologists. As much as you'd assume that it would be of interest the focus appeared to be on the relative poverty stricken that an idiotic distribution of income and wealth generate. Every book I'd find that had even a section on the wealthy were concerned on the deprived and poor.

I became fairly annoyed at this. I realised the importance of the marginalisation that comes with concentrated wealth. But could no one do more than a bit of conjecture in the form of the Sunday Times Rich List. They just have to make guesses at the sheer total of someones wealth. Why is it so difficult to study the rich and calculate their wealth? Because they don't want it declared. They don't want to be studied. Keep the focus off the top spot. Scapegoat those at the bottom of the social hierarchy for all of the problems in society.

Visit the tax evasion section of the HM Revenue and Customs website and you do not see a man in a suit talking to his financial advisor discussing the best ways to moving his money off-shore to avoid being taxed the millions that could be poured back into society. No, not at all. You see a manual labourer by a cement mixer who is probably doing a bit of cheeky cash-in-hand work whilst claiming welfare support and cheating the system out of about £30 a week.

I'm beginning to sound polemic.

Maybe this is the true nature of the wealthy. The ability to evade the spotlight. Shift the blame. Control the paths and messages of ideological propositions through mainstream media. People will eat it up. God knows no one is going to read dry literature that indicates that a policy shift should be adopted by the government. Not many people are going to have the access needed to realise what it is that blights their lives and leads them to be never-satiated, unfulfilled and constantly wanting. The consumer dream.

Golly gosh. The bureaucratic fuck-up's that are the Student Loans company are certainly holding back my consumer dream. Even to have the means to acquire a nutritious meal is beyond the realms of capability. Could that ever be an issue for someone with more wealth than descernable interesting personality traits? Possibly if one's gourmet meal was sent back for containing processed food-stuffs.

But I'll go to my under-paid and measely 4 hour contract job to be able to buy some pretty trainers, or cute band merchandise, or splash out on a takeaway one night. Why? The consumer dream, but of course.

And I don't half hate myself for it. I'm a product of the society I was born into. I can see that and for all the companies I boycott and refrain from doing business with I'll question it all for a pretty neckscarf.

This makes no sense. I apologise for even posting it. It started well enough. But its hard when someone is screaming "STEEEEEPH!" in your ear. I hope no one managed to get this far reading this.

I may edit/delete this.

2 comments:

Colin said...

Have you read Dee Cook's 1989 book entitled 'Rich law, poor law' (Open Uni Press)? Some material dated now, of course, but theory/themes etc still spot on. Worth having a look at.

Mulrine said...

I'll have to have a look. I have some* tax sent back my way so I think I'll get a couple of books from Amazon. Your C Wright Mills recommendation being another.

I kind of need some stuff for my dissertation too.

*Nearly £500. If someone gets fucked over, its usually me.