The Traumatised Society

Online comments to a recent Telegraph article about the housing crisis reveal much about social attitudes of many who own their own home.

Britain’s monumental housing crisis is the scandal of our age
The dearth of cheap homes will be a key election issue for both Labour and the Tories
By Mary Riddell

Hat tip to Maggie for this

Over the last 50 years or so, housing has become the primary "investment " for about 65% of the UK population and has fuelled bank lending and consumption based on rising land values. This bounty is not earned. There has been no productive wealth creation or effort expended to produce the lifestyle enjoyed by land owners. And of course the banks have earned super profits on mortgage lending, grabbing their share of the property windfall. But this is not a cost free bounty and this is not just a crisis of housing. The private capture of rising land values, which are generated communally, lies at the root of our economic, social and political ills.

In The Traumatised Society Fred Harrison explains how this is a crisis of our civilisation and describes the rise and fall of previous civilisations which allowed the means to life, in terms of land and resources, to be owned and exploited by an elite. He explains how 1,000 years ago, in England, 100% of the bounty from the land was used for the common good but from the time of Henry VIII the public share of surplus revenues from the land reduced from 100% to c.4% by the beginning of the 19th century. To make up for the dwindling public revenues income and other taxes, which penalise enterprise and work, were introduced. Once we became dislocated from the land, the foundations of our civilisation began to erode and we became so traumatised and distracted that we lack the capability to think properly about these issues.

Critical Thought: Interview with Fred Harrison (1 hour)

In the book Harrison refers to "cheating" and cheats. On his blog, he posted a recent example of this cheating which is embedded in our political, social and economic culture.

Lying with Moral Language


0 #1 Janos Abel 2013-08-17 23:25
The so called land issue is one of the three mainstays of the current outdated socioeconomic system.
Societies, like biological life forms, have the capacity to evolve through adaptation to changed circumstances. But within human societies there is a grouping of individuals who derive extraordinary privileges flowing from the particular state at which society reaches temporary equilibrium (steady state).

Such a grouping then acts as an immune force tending to prevent successful adaptation when the wider environment changes*.

The task of progressive activists then seems to be to counter this anti-evolutiona ry force. Groups motivated to engage in critical thinking are (hopefully) the incubators of such activism.

* A step change in circumstances was brought about by the scientific/indu strial revolutions that took place in the last few hundred years.

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