Mind you – I wouldn’t do this. Yet. But others might. However what I ask you – if you read this article, and you disagree (which many will) I will ask you to come up with solutions in the comments that fit my paradigm. Vehement denouncement won’t do anyone any good.
I live in the Netherlands. I (for now) depend on a disability income. The VVD is now in dutch government. The VVD will deconstruct pensions, social wellfare, disability incomes. The argument is very simple and makes sense – these income sources are ‘happiness machines’ and the VVD intend to ‘shut down these happiness machines’.
Modern Western Societies have ‘settled’. That means that everyone who can have a job will have a job, until the situation changes. And it means those that can’t have a job will almost certainly never have any spending power. Wishing it were any different doesn’t make it so.
I think this is a catastrophically counterproductive plan. I assert that for a highly evolved, diversified service economy the above types of welfare are an inescapable reality. In complex economies the system has two choices – (1) kill those who are desperate – or (2) give out some sort of basic income. I think there is not much of a functional middle ground. The US for example tries to do both (and has sent two million people to prison, mostly attributable to desperation of those incarcerated) and I’d argue that because of this oligarchic stratification the US as a society is failing.
I assert that in complex postindustrial societies there simply is not enough work for all people, and this will become much worse in the next decades. I assert that the VVD does not want to recognize this, since recognizing it means that they affirm that a percentage of people are unable to generate a fair income, by a fair and equitable effort. The people from the VVD would blissfuly continue in their fantasy that ‘might makes right’ or ‘that competence bestows rights’. This is a position of nothing less than veiled fascism. People are not equal. Those in power will instinctively find rationalizations to blame those without power, since acknowledging their ’empathic’ and ‘humane’ instincts would cost them money and personal power. In essence the people from the VVD are racing to the top in terms of not giving a fuck about other human beings. In this regard the VVD looks in admiration to the oligarchic, elitist, and social Darwinist society in the US and other places. The VVD is conspiring to introduce a societal climate of exclusion and ‘perimeterization’. The VVD is simply trying to cordon off those with less competence, and marginalize them.
Trying to get rid of the poor has been tried many times in history and it always ended up in revolutions.
As I said, complex societies cannot handle desperate underclasses. The VVD seems to think that desperation is a tool for compelling the poor towards a better life, ‘by teaching them ambition’. This might be true in the third world, or horrendously inhuman places like China, the US or Singapore. However in those places society simply kills those who can’t compete. This won’t ever happen in the Netherlands, or far too gradually. In the US those who systemically can’t compete either end up in far out of the way places like favellas, ghettoes, trailer parks. If they aren’t cordoned off they are murdered or die from neglect. In most cases they are implicitly euthanized by a saturation politics of deadly narcotics (Cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, crack), which apparently the US has made to fester more or less like spraying fields with DDT to kill. I am saying the US has more or less implicitly evolved means to kill off incompetent underclasses.
I am stating that this stratification of society (no social guarantees, ruthless competition, ghettofication, expanding prisons) is not a sustainable trajectory in western societies.
It doesn’t matter whether or not this article is an opinion piece. You can denounce it all you want. It doesn’t matter. If the poor have the idea in their head that their chances for a bearable life (let alone an actually happy existence) are diminishing sharply they won’t care about the reasons (since they aren’t responsible for the reasons, by and large) and they won’t care about longterm promises ‘it will one day be better’. The poor will at some point realize they get a really shitty deal.
So what can the marginalized do?
I am proposing Plan Nuke. Plan Nuke simply means – the poor start businesses. The poor order stuff and services. The poor rake up so many debts that the debt agencies get completely overloaded. Since the poor have nothing much to lose, and can’t ever pay back, this will completely stagnate the economic system. If enough of the underclasses can rake up sufficient debt companies will refuse to give store credits to anyone. Companies will literally go bankrupt as ‘the poor’ buy things they can never pay back. And I am not proposing the poor keep these products – I propose they order, say, a copy machine and then give it away. Or they damage it in such a manner it become useless and fit for the garbage heap, and then they send it back to the company they ordered it from. If a few tens of thousands of dutch (and this goes for many other countries as well) realize they have pretty much nothing to lose do this, then they can completely wreck the dutch economy. I think everyone in this category can ratchet up many tens of thousands of euro in debt. That means hundreds of millions of euro in irrecoverable economic damage. It would mean tens of thousands of debt collection agencies clogged with work, and thousands of companies going bankrupt in a matter of months.
The thing when doing this is the staunch realization that you as a poor have little left to lose. You can do the above, but you can also go out into places like Wassenaar with a jar of gypsum or frying grease and dump it unceremonially into the nearest sewage drain. Cost for society – tens of thousands of euros. Slash a few car tires every day. Scratch the car hoods of the best looking cars in the richest neighborhoods with the letters ‘plan nuke’. If you use any sense, chance you’ll get caught are close to zero. Buy a pointer laser, go somewhere away from your house and aim the laser pointer to any passing airplanes. I am sure people can think up hundreds of little ‘sabotage’ acts with next to no chance of being caught. I am stating I wouldn’t do these things (and who knows I might be lying) and I would add any disclaimers here that would disavow me from legal consequences.
The point however would be that right now the VVD can implement these measures to their hearts content. They can then proceed to take those people that fall off the wagon one by one and process them into ghettoes, extreme welfare marginalization, cutting them off from much needed psychiatric trauma care, health care to deal with the severe physical damage resulting from the societal marginalization, and slowly let these people either die or become inconsequential.
Summarizing – a complex western society is too vulnerable to have many extremely desperate people around. Cost of living has skyrocketed far too high. You can’t afford living on ‘just’ welfare. However far right parties think they can reduce welfare and ‘gently coax the vulnerable of society’ into complacency, apathy and inconsequentuality. These far right parties are wrong and morally corrupt. However they might still try anyway, and will, and must, face protest of a character that costs them more money they’d save on squeezing out the poor.
So what do I want? – Very simple. Not be poor. If the system can make me able to do non-dehumanizing work, I’ll happily work. But as long as this is unthinkable (and right now it is) I will need cash, in my hands, without me being terrorized and marginalized by the system. I not just demand a humane existence – I would actively advocate causing some damage if I don’t get it. Those in charge would qualify this as criminal – but that’s only because they got to define what is criminal and what is not. I advocate not playing by their rules.
I think it would be a good idea.
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization
Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 – 1948)