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Hilarious!: ‘Too rich’ Brits lack desire, says Heseltine

(137 Posts)
ttosca Mon 25-Mar-13 13:01:44

Published on Monday 25 March 2013 07:20

BRITAIN lacks a “national will” to improve its economy because people are too rich, former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has suggested.

The Conservative grandee questioned whether people who live comfortably in advanced economies are motivated to strive for better.

However in economies like China and India, which are growing at a much faster rate than Britain, people are driven to overcome “real problems”.

In an interview with the Independent, Lord Heseltine warned that the economy could keep drifting down.

He told the newspaper: “There is no God-given rule saying you’ve got to have a well-performing economy. It could be an indifferent economy.

“It’s a question of whether the national will is there; whether we want it. And the richer you get the less imperative there is.

“Maybe one of the problems of advanced economies is that people are sufficiently well off that they don’t need to drive themselves any more.”

He later added that it in the nature of most people to “desire to do something and to do it better”.

He also questioned official GDP statistics and instead pointed to rising employment and house prices as indicators that the economy was recovering.

Lord Heseltine is a senior adviser to the coalition Government on growth, focussing especially on the regeneration of cities.


You got that? Brits are 'too rich' -- that would explain the huge rise in homelessness and use of foodbanks in the past few years.

So presumably he'd supporting huge confiscatory taxes on wealth so that all the richest people become more so that they can work harder for the sake of the economy?

Or is it just more of the same: the rich need to be paid well to be motivated to work but the poor need to be paid poorly in order to be motivated to work?

Un. Fucking. Believable.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:11:08

Mini, you are wrong about the reason why the elites push the green agenda. Yes they will make money out of it but that is not their main goal. Their main goal is to stymie the progress and prosperity of the world population.

They don't need windmills in which to invest their capital supluses. They could more usefully put it into house building, which would give the homeless and people living in overcrowded accommodation somewhere to live and which would provide jobs and increase the standard of living of the country.
But that would be helping people.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:17:23

' However because value must be stolen from the worker in the form of the profit or surplus value he produces, workers will never have enough money collectively to buy all the commodities that they produce'

The founders of Microsoft and the early employees all had shares in Microsoft and when their enterprise succeeded many became multi-millionaires overnight. No one stole from these workers, they became rich. The 25 year old traders who are lucky enough to work in a successful bank often earned hundreds of thousands with their bonuses. No one stole from them, they were in the right place at the right time and were given opportunities.

Capitalism is a force that aims to create successful businesses which generate profit and which employ people, some of whom become rich in these enterprises. No one is stealing from the employees.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 22:18:33

Marx is not wrong. Cultural marxists???? ignore. Increasingly those on left are going back to the source instead of poncing about worrying about how some literature was produced or some other obscure nonsense. I think what you have been picking up on is a lot of cultural marxism.

Marx doesn't call them elites (that's not to say that he never did) but capitalists and in later volumes covers monopoly tendencies.

I starting reading Marx because I considered it a must read like Robinson Crusoe, Madame Bovary, Crime and punishment...... I had no idea that I would never "think" in the same way ever again grin

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 22:23:14

I can't do this the bloody book grin Capitalism is not a force of good or evil, just a plain old socio/economic system no better or even worse than what went before. It will fail because of the reasons I listed above and other contradictions (in total about 7-10 major contradictions) we won't have a choice and we will develop other social systems over time. Revolution is slow..........just as we were not made in seven days.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:25:13

'So the capitalist then looks around and finds new areas of exploitation/markets, ideally ones where the product produced has to be purchased without exception and it becomes a non-discretionary commodity, like fuel but increasingly health and education'

Capitalists are in a competitive environment, they try to create products that are better than their competitors. There is no easy "exploitation" of anybody, because there is always competition from competitors who provide products that stop another company from exploiting anyone. Competition gives the consumer choice and those who fail to compete go out of business. The consumer makes the decision about which product is best. The consumer is not an easy sitting target for exploitation because of free competition in an open market.

However, arbitrary taxation on the population and carbon taxes and green taxes etc could be considered as a form of exploitation of ordinary people by an elite who faces no competition. There is no choice for the public, they have to pay. They are hostage to the system and although communities do not want windfarms on their unspoilt greenbelt land, there is not much they can do about it, because there is no competition of ideas - the elite are all in it together, they are not in competition, unlike businesses in a capitalist system.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:41:00

Steve Jobs was a great man who spent his time thinking up new products to help people and to stay ahead of his competitors. He didn't have time to think up how to exploit anyone. He wasn't interested in that, he was interested in product development and business.

It is policy womnks who make decisions that affect the lives of millions, that decide on taxation or energy policy etc. They often have not worked in industry and usually end up in think tanks or charities or foundations etc. They are not interested in business decisions or beating competitors in a free market. They are not capitalists, they operate in a different sphere and sometimes from ivory towers. Steve Jobs knew what people wanted, he met customers, he listened and produced what people wanted. He, like most capitalist business people, was not in the game of spin, deception or exploitation.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 22:51:01

In that case you won't be too concerned that the NHS is being auctioned off piecemeal to American corporations.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 22:56:59

No I don't agree with that. Because healthcare is not a product, it is a matter of life and death and we pay our taxes to have that service provided.
The overall regulation of the health service is the government's responsibility. They appoint the bosses who male policy, so it is not an autonomous business like Apple or Microsoft, and unlike Apple or Microsft to whom our taxpayer money is not paid, we pay for the NHS out of our taxes.

If you get run over, the ambulance service will rescue you. We don't have competing ambulance services. We have one coordinated service that we all pay for.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 23:01:10

There are certain things that we all use and that are common to all of us and these are best nationalised and paid for out of all of our taxes.

We don't all buy Apple computers, so that does not need nationalisation. It is not an essential and needs to compete in the market for the consumer's attention.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 23:04:35

The other great thing about a nationalised industry is that we have a say in its management through our representatives in parliament. We have a say in these scandals that have occurred. We want changes made so that they never happen again. But we have no say in how Apple operate their business, and rightly so.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 23:43:12

Policy wonks, these people do not exist outside the social totality anymore than you or I. Just as the Club of Rome or the Mont Pelerin Society (just two examples) have been funded by someone but who? I didn't fund them, you didn't and neither did the tax man. So who did? wealthy people who want to shape policy and education. These ideas are pushed by a wealthy class who wish to maintain their wealth, they are pushed into universities where they assume a veneer of respectability under the auspices of academia.

claig Wed 27-Mar-13 23:48:04

Yes, I think the elite funded the Club of Rome and its 'Limits to Growth' study, which started the whole green bandwagon which is all about 'limits to growth' of ordinary people.

MiniTheMinx Wed 27-Mar-13 23:52:08

Because healthcare is not a product, it is a matter of life and death and we pay our taxes to have that service provided

So you'll join my protest over the privatisation of water then smile

What other things should be considered a matter of life and perhaps, clothing, shelter? I can think of many others too, child care, education (at least basic life skills) reproduction, warmth, travel to be able to access all of the aforementioned necessities.

Health care wasn't always free and paid for through tax but fire wood was free until you had enclosure acts, water was free, many of the main necessities of life could be had without exchange for money.

MiniTheMinx Thu 28-Mar-13 00:00:18

I think we have more say in how Apple operates than we do in Westminster

Fewer people vote because people are realising that our elected representatives do not act in our interests. Politicians are the puppets of business, so increasingly people lobby the business by withholding their custom. This is because of corporate and wealthy sponsorship of think tanks and because of direct/indirect lobbying, party donations and party membership.

claig Thu 28-Mar-13 00:00:20

'So you'll join my protest over the privatisation of water then'

Yes, but only if you join my protest over the possible privatisation of Royal Mail.

No, I don't think those things are matters of life and death or safety and security like the NHS, fire service and police service.I don't think farms should be nationalised, because I believe in freedom of the individual and believe in an aspiration nation where individuals produce more when they feel they are in control of their own affairs and work for themselves rather than for a collective.

Water can't be free anymore because we live in a sophisticated society and someone needs to purify the water, fix the drains and sewers and fix the broken water pipes and that all costs money. But I think it should be nationalised.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 28-Mar-13 06:58:36

"Germany, Denmark, Italy, France, etc. are some of the richest countries in the world"

Italy? France? grin Most developed Western nations with a social welfare system are...let's call it 'comfortable'... when compared with some of the emerging or third-world nations. Some might say that, freed up from worrying about basic needs by guaranteed health-care, a good standard of living, free education etc., the population can aim high. Others might observe that in spite of having basic needs met and many opportunities/privileges besides, there is a disturbing CBA or 'what's the point?' attitude.

MiniTheMinx Thu 28-Mar-13 08:31:22

What would you have, starve the people into perpetual poverty just so they work harder. Is that what the WTO, The fed and the IMF are doing in the third world, indebting them so that these people work harder?

What do you think when you see a war torn and ravaged part of the world with children begging? oh bless look at them, how hard they work?

MiniTheMinx Thu 28-Mar-13 08:34:58

The royal mail is not comparable to water Claig

So you don't consider water, shelter, warmth or food to be essential to life. I think you'll find that these essentials must be met long before access to state of the art medical care, unless you want everyone DOA. Go back to your biology books, what is essential to maintain life food and water or operations?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 28-Mar-13 10:16:40

"What would you have, starve the people into perpetual poverty just so they work harder"

That's a silly argument. However, what I do think when I hear people who have all the advantages of being born into a free and socially responsible Western society saying 'what's the point'... of working hard, or getting an education, or even something as simple as relocating.... is that they are squandering chances and opportunities that others would give their right arm for.

ttosca Thu 28-Mar-13 13:08:28


> Italy? France? grin

Yes, Italy and France too.

> Most developed Western nations with a social welfare system are...let's call it 'comfortable'... when compared with some of the emerging or third-world nations. Some might say that, freed up from worrying about basic needs by guaranteed health-care, a good standard of living, free education etc., the population can aim high.

Err, well, that's actually the case. If you don't have basic needs met then you can't concentrate on curing cancer or theoretical physics, can you?

> Others might observe that in spite of having basic needs met and many opportunities/privileges besides, there is a disturbing CBA or 'what's the point?' attitude.

Yes, reactionary and nasty people might say this. This attitude isn't borne out of any facts, but instead contempt for the working poor and the social security system.

The countries with the highest labour productivity are also the most developed and most of them have very good social security/welfare nets:

ttosca Thu 28-Mar-13 13:09:32

> What would you have, starve the people into perpetual poverty just so they work harder. Is that what the WTO, The fed and the IMF are doing in the third world, indebting them so that these people work harder?

It's that old right-wing chestnut: The poor must be deprived in order to make them work harder, whilst the rich must be richly rewarded so as not to discourage them.

ElBurroSinNombre Fri 29-Mar-13 09:08:34


I am intrerested in what you are saying as a Marxist. I will outline my argument very briefly;
Earlier on in the thread you concede that almost every society has had a means of exchange (be it shells, stones, money etc.).
Take a step back and ask yourself why this same economic system has arisen spontaneously and independently in so many different societies. To me, it is because it is in our very nature (i.e. it is a behaviour that has evolved with the human race). And for the same reason that is why Marxism is doomed to fail whenever / whereever it is attempted (because it is not in our nature). I doubt very much that you can give an example in the whole of history of the Marxist / Socialist model that has ever existed that is stable and remains true to Marxist principles.
This does not mean that we should accept unfettered capitalism without any constraints. It just means that we should accept that capitalism is the least worst option - given our nature - and make a form of capitalism that allows all of the population to have - at the very least their basic needs met.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 14:20:08

ElBurroSinNombre I will try to answer you but DP is on the rampage round the house with a saw, asked to do some DIY, he is now a very bitter man!!

It would seem that exchanging "commodities" is part of human nature when in actual fact the ability to and now under capitalism the requirement to exchange through the market shapes human nature just as much as the other way around.

Did men seek to find ways of producing surplus that would allow the formation of class society, creation of mediums of exchange (money) private property and wealth/social power ? Did anyone think that far ahead? History doesn't happen to us, we shape it in our quest to acquire our subsistence but in doing so it shapes us. The mode of production shapes history/society those changes shape our means of production etc,..

So are we competitive and selfish by nature? No. Going back to tribal society, the strong and the fit would have surrounded and protected the children/women/vulnerable as there was a division of labour, what they produced they would have shared. No point hunting wild boar and eating all of it if you end up with no women, how will you reproduce? who will scavenge for berries or make pots.

The same could be said even now, if tomorrow capitalism came crashing down (it won't) then we would find other means of meeting our own needs, that doesn't mean that in meeting my own I can't allow you to eat. Adam Smith said that the best economic system is one where people compete to do what is best for themselves and their folks, socialism is about the realisation that in meeting my needs I meet yours. If you make pots and I make pasta, we must realise that we need each other in order to eat. The capitalist mode of production and the exchange of commodities in the capitalist market obscures this relation.

The main difference: under socialism workers are in control of the means of production and no one takes a surplus from your labour to get rich. Property can be held in common and we can start to see the "social" nature of production. You will need my pasta for your pot in the same way I need a pot in which to cook my pasta smile or better still, we need our pot to cook our pasta. The defining characteristics of capitalism is worker exploitation and capital accumulation because "capitalists" own the means of production and therefore social power.

The human nature argument actually is fairly weak but hegemonic capitalist thinking and propaganda in education and media, in people's communities etc, is accepted without question. It doesn't require an argument but different way of thinking but the way in which people think is shaped by the totality "capitalism"

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 15:57:54

But thought existed before capitalism and capitalism was created out of thought, not vice versa. Even in tribal societies, the chief and his family probably got the best cuts of meat and the rest had to make do. That is human nature.

'You will need my pasta for your pot in the same way I need a pot in which to cook my pasta or better still, we need our pot to cook our pasta'

But I don't want pasta and don't need your pot, because I want lasagne (and preferably without any horsemeat in it). I don't want to play the "community spiel", I want to keep it real, I don't want the "community" meal in "our pot", because I want to be free to decide what I want to eat in "my pot". I don't support Pol Pot.

You can buy your own pots and pasta, and I can buy mine and different privaye producers will provide different versions of them all.

I believe in a capitalist cornucopia of choices and listening to individuals' voices.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 16:15:07

"“it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness.”

"The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in men's better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange"

""Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an Alp on the brains of the living...."

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