I am Jewish. Proud to be. My family came here in 1933 before the Second World War. We owe everything to this country and the opportunities it has given us to thrive but also a set of values which are consistent with those of my faith - of trust, fairness and virtue, that make Britain great.
That’s why I feel disheartened when I see what is happening to the country around us and a slow decline, sadly characteristic of modern Britain.
A recent survey by the Resolution Foundation, revealed that a quarter of those surveyed had been unable to feed themselves when hungry this month because of money issues.
Our poorest demographic has a lower income than the poorest in Slovenia.
People say I’m a doomster but honestly, I’m genuinely optimistic…If we can change how our institutions are run.
That’s because we don’t need to be ruled and regulated by what I’ve come to call the Five Masters.
They are State, Money, Land, Markets, and Technology.
Let me explain…
Too often Government equates itself with State and tries to oversee every aspect of our lives. The State need not wield so much power if it allowed much more decentralisation. Families and communities must be given more autonomy; more decision making by people left to run their lives will make for a happier and more efficient outcome.
The market is now running the State or as good as. The chaos around the mini-budget of Trussonomics made that clear. But the way markets work has become god-like, distorted in favour of giant corporations – it’s a sickness that kills off competition and holds no benefit for family and community life.
Money should flow, like blood, across the economy and oxygenate healthy growth and prosperity. It should not be hoarded but delivered for the benefit of all, responding to individual and collective needs to deliver progress and prosperity. More on this later, but if we take away the shareholder need for profit, the dynamics of demand change.
These objectives could be achieved if funding is run by civic trusts whose agenda examines family and community priorities and needs. Civic trusts have no shareholders. Banks, on the other hand, create endless credit to drive profits, and we’re reaching unsustainable levels. Since the crash of 2008, no learning has changed anything. Millions are enslaved to debt without reason as asset prices have become inflated, impacting basic needs such as the ability to buy a house. Is this the future?
For land, it’s about landlords and landowners but not exclusively. We all need somewhere to live, and a truly free and fair society would make sure everyone had a secure home, free of the fear of eviction by the landlord.
Landlords and landowners - who own/run the land – are obsessed with profit, often with little regard for the environment or the greater purpose it could offer families and communities as a rich source of work, nourishment, and abundance.
Instead, the land is like all else - a commodity to be carved up for profit, the soil overworked and lifeless – if you’ve watched Kiss the Ground on Netflix.
In my time running a recruitment business, employing hundreds of thousands, it took me a while to realise that we all need to feel our working lives have purpose and meaning. One of the best ways to ensure this is to have work that serves a useful need.
Businesses must find ways to benefit the families and communities in which they operate, growing with purpose as the priority, not profit, whilst remaining sustainable. The god-like power of the markets and shareholder returns trumping all else have left the rich richer and millions wanting.
We must disconnect markets from impacting the everyday lives of regular people. Regional funding and autonomy can make that possible, allowing a circuit break from market dependence and domination.
Our ingenuity must not be our undoing. We have created so many things that have helped to improve our lives, to feed and care for our people, and to share knowledge. Yet it seems technology fuels addictive behaviours and isolates us in our millions, especially for younger generations. It reduces our freedom of choice through advertising designed to turn us into robots. Let’s harness its power but not become its slave, allowing the powers of consumerism not to consume us.
There’s a lot to take in here but I invite you to come with me and explore ways we can change our families and communities for the greater good. I don’t have all the answers and welcome dialogue from everyone, everywhere. It doesn’t get more inclusive than saving the country, even the planet.
Let me leave you with this simple thought – do you feel looked after by the powers that be, do you feel our institutions built for your protection and prosperity - are working for you? Or do you feel something must be done to address a system broken by debt, greed, and elitist principles?
My next blogs will explain how I believe change is possible, and why I feel this is an exciting opportunity.