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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 Fri 29-Mar-13 20:14:18

'Capitalism has created the technology to feed the world and prevent disease and yet it lays humans to waste all over the globe in its relentless pursuit of that golden 3% growth.'

It is not capitalism that does that. It is people and often elites. There is a difference between them and capitalism.

It is certain green policies made by elites at global conferences that have set "targets" with their "target culture" that mean that certain crops that could be used to feed people are instead used to create "biofuels" in order to, so they say, "save the planet", which has resulted in food prices rising and has led to food riots in some countries. Capitalists didn't create the "target culture", it was people who have probably never run businesses who set those targets while saying that they only wanted to "save the planet".

When Microsoft or Google create their European HQ in a European country, it is major news and the Prime Minister of that country goes on TV to tell the people because it is a very good thing. It means that local people will be employed there and will improve their skills. It helps the whole country. That is the good that capitalism does.

And when Microsoft sets up subsidiaries in Bangalore that is a very good thing and hundreds of Indian highly-trained graduates benefit from that investment and can improve their skills and prospects by working for one of the world's top companies.

Companies don't spend their time plotting how to exploit their workers. Businesses are a force for good. Investment is a great thing.

I don't agree with you about art. I don't think that the government should have the monopoly on art. If someone bought a work of art, then it belongs to them. I don't believe a government should strip that from them. If the government wants it for the people then they should buy it in the market.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 20:18:15

'Capitalism turned the United States into the wealthiest country in the world with the largest debt.'

Yes, but only the largest economy in the world can sustain that level of debt.
America has the ingenuity, the dynamism, the system and the people to turn that around. It all depends on the policies of the politicians.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 20:30:01

So poor people get no pleasure from looking at a Jan van de Cappelle. well I guess those elites would say the people are too stupid to enjoy something so simple as art appreciation, that should be reserved for privileged people, civilised people. Let the poor eat crap and take drugs, that's what they like.

Art can be appreciated and made without cluttering up landfill, there is more to life than producing widgets you can not afford to buy just so that you can afford some low grade craparolla fish fingers, if your lucky.

Education should be democratised fully and all privilege within education scrapped. That way you can live in your meritocracy claig and perhaps the poor will grow to appreciate art and music instead of being brain damaged by a diet of hamburgers and Brittany spears!

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 20:36:54

Here is a great picture of american ingenuity, now compare that to the van de Cappelle.,_Calm.jpg

Note the picture is of a little 3 year old boy of immigrant parents who moved to America in search of that elusive dream.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 20:45:28

It is about freedom. Many works of art and antique cars and antique furniture etc etc are not currently in state hands. Some have been owned by families for generations and people paid good money for them or their ancestors commissioned the works and paid for them at the time.

I don't believe in the government stripping people of their possessions of homes just because they are valuable and unique and objects of beauty.

Then it is also a matter of money. Governments have public money taken from people's taxes. I think it would be a waste of the public's money for some art committee of the great and the good to decide to use the public's money on buying up a Jan van de Cappelle (what the hell?) rather than investing that money in education and hospitals.

I think the public has different priorities to the great and the good and the Lords and the Dames.

'the poor will grow to appreciate art and music'

I think this is elitist and the philosophy of the great and the good. More people like the Rolling Stones than Jan van de Capelle, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Apparently the Bowie exhibition at the V&A is the most visited V&A exhibition. I wouldn't go to see it, but I believe in letting the public decide if they want to see Bowie or Jan.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 20:59:26

Yes the Jan van de Capelle is good.
There are poor people all over the world and in Cuba too.

Many poor people in America have done well with time. America is a more dynamic system with less of a class structure and more social mobility than we have here. That is why more people from around the world want to go there than want to come here.

ElBurroSinNombre Fri 29-Mar-13 21:37:28


You do seem to be a more than a little prescriptive. Because you like art, other people must like art. Because you want socialism, it must be what the people reallly want - even if they are too stupid to know it yet. I am not sure what point your portraits of poverty in the US is trying to show. There will be winners and losers in any economic system - even the socialism that you espouse. The main difference being that there will be far more losers in a socialist system. Ask yourself why people have consistently risked their lives to leave places like Cuba and the Eastern bloc. None of the people shown in the portraits are close to starving to death precisely because the US has wealth created through capitalism. If they lived in a different part of the world, in a less successful economy, then you can be sure that some of them would be close to starvation.

You misunderstand capitalism. If there was a demand for fine art amongst the masses then that need would be identified and sated in some way by an entrepreneur or movement. Because the need for fine art amongst the masses does not exist at the moment does not mean that people must be educated. If you look hard enough you will find all sorts of art in popular culture - it is just not treated in the same revered way.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:08:55

Having read capital and a great many other books about capitalism I know a bit. I know enough to say that capitalism shapes peoples desires through media.

I think you misunderstand the point I am making. Fine art is considered civilised, for the privileged few whilst mainstream art like advertising, pop music and fashion is the working man's art. But that art is actually the art of the capitalist, used to shape desire and spending patterns, used to make profits. The fine art isn't always appreciated by those who can afford it, it is an investment. It realises more money for them. Whilst the working man's art is a commodity and creates a profit that shows up on some other persons balance sheet.

Modern culture is not revered and treated in the same way because it is not produced in the same way and with the same purpose as fine art, not because people are too thick to appreciate ascetic beauty.

Porn, that's a great example of modern media art. Should that be revered and appreciated? or is it there to dumb people down and pick their pockets with little care of how they react to it?

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:21:55

Porn is not art.

There is nothing wrong with popular art. I think some of teh distiction between popular art and fine art is due to snobbishness and elitism. Elites always want to distinguish themselves from the masses and what is popular so that they can look down on the masses. We see the same philosophy in teenagers where as soon as a song is in the cahrts, that artist is no longer cool, becauae the unsophisticated majority like it.

I saw a report about a Scottish artist called Vettriano where he said something like the art establishment didn't like him too much even though one of his paintings is the highest selli ng print or something like that. The public likes his work, so many of teh critics who see themselves as superior to the masses, don't like him much.

This sort of elitism is similar to the stratification of our class society with different accents and different clothes in order to distinguish themselves from the majority.

Some of these people think that common people are vulgar and that the art that they like is vulgar too and that they are more spohisticated than them.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:27:39

'Whilst the working man's art is a commodity and creates a profit that shows up on some other persons balance sheet.'

Just because something is popular and people want to buy it or own it, doesn't make it worth less. Its value is not diminished by filthy lucre. Profit is not a dirty word. The Beatles sold millions of records because they appealed to people and their art resonated with people. The money that was earned is immaterial.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:29:53

What about films, are they not art? Are they not a cultural form? What makes Lord of the rings different to Dolly dimple does Dallas (or whatever) ? it is something to be viewed and it elicits a response. The purpose of art is to elicit a response, porn does that but you are dismissing pornography. Why?

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:33:14

'The fine art isn't always appreciated by those who can afford it, it is an investment.'

But so what? It is a free society and a person can choose to invest their money as they see fit. The great and the good and the socialist can't decide to take it off them just because they do not think that the person appreciates it sufficiently.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:39:39

Now you are getting into the philosophical question of what defines art. Not everything that is produced is art in my opinion. There is a large difference between a Truffaut film and its deep reflection of life and character and Dolly Dimple does Dallas.

I think art speaks to the soul and stirs and moves the soul in a spiritual way. Art touches and changes a person.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:41:28

Pornography changes people, it changes the way in which men relate women.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:47:02

But it doesn't touch the soul.

I think this is another reason that Marx has got it wrong. Marxism is about materialism, it sees the world in terms of material production and material and economic value. It wants to abolish religion. It sees no place for the spiritual or the soul. It believes those things are the opium of the masses. It fails to understand real value and possibly even fails to distinguish between true art and porn, seeing them both as material goods which have been produced and failing to see the spirit behind true art.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 22:53:06

Music is the language of the soul. It plucks heart strings. It moves in an inexplicable way because it speaks directly to the soul and not to the brain.

It is not a material, rational thing that is processed by a rational mind, it speaks to a spiritual soul. No Marxist or rational materialist can control the reaction that people feel when hearing it. Just like religion, it is the opium of the masses, beyond the control of the materialist, rational control freak.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 22:59:25

So there is spirit in pop music, spirit in advertising pictures , music videos, coronation street and other brain rotting craparolla but not in pornography. Or are you now saying that there is no spirit in the culture and art favoured by the working person? or is that these commodified cultural forms are not infact art/culture at all but just commodities like bubble gum and cheeseburgers and cheap t-shirts?

Why would someone who appreciate art reduce it to a mere material thing? because I am not, I am distinguishing art from commodity, making art does not exploit people, making commodities does but they both inspire desire and elicit responses.

Religion has the same history as class society and came about because of mans desire to control womens reproductive capacities. It is made made just as all social constructs are.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 23:00:43

*man made

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 23:01:38

anyway, we may find something we agree on one day Claig grin
Have a good easter

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:02:38

ElBurro said

'You do seem to be a more than a little prescriptive.'

That is socialist. The prescriptive, know-better, nanny state, control freak that knows what is best for other people.

Dennis Healey, a very distinguished politician, is an example of someone who thinks he knows best. His reported comment that "UKIP are bastards" shows, I think, his lofty out-of-touch condescension towards another political party that has different views to his, and it also possibly shows what he thinks of the millions of people who agree with UKIP. I think it shows a lack of understanding of others and even a disdain of someone who thinks they know best.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:06:06

I hope we are in agreement that global warming is a load of man-made hot air.
Happy Easter.
Good night.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:08:46

'I am distinguishing art from commodity, making art does not exploit people, making commodities does but they both inspire desire and elicit responses.'

Yes, but porn is not art, it is a commodity.
Real art elicits a spiritual response, a commodity is just material.

MiniTheMinx Fri 29-Mar-13 23:31:56

As is coronation street and cash inducing advertising pictures. All reduced to just commodities.

How do you feel when faced with a picture of a starving third world child? I want to pick them up, feed them and comfort them. What am I suppose to think? "I'll get my credit card"

global warming is a load of man-made hot air,

ahh but if you are looking for the spiritual you might miss it under capitalism. If there was meant to be a real purpose to life on earth it can't have been to fill it with discarded plastic widgets.

claig Fri 29-Mar-13 23:43:21

'How do you feel when faced with a picture of a starving third world child?'

I feel sad. But some people exploit those feelings in order to collect cash and sometimes only a small percentage of the cash goes to help people in need. Sometimes charity bosses are on huige salaries and quite a large proportion of the money collected goes on "administration".

Plastic is made from oil, so plastic can be converted back into oil, which is a great thing that helps people be productive and travel and keep warm. Most of teh plastic collected now just ends up in landfill. It is not converted back to oil. That is a waste.

What the purpose of life is, no one really knows, but helping people to prosper and progress is part of what we all should do and trickery and manipulation by elites who wish to reduce population, production and prosperity of people is not part of our purpose.

ElBurroSinNombre Sat 30-Mar-13 10:48:19


You may find it hard to believe but the piece of fine art that you have shown us will have been produced by the artist for money. It was, is, and always will be a commodity. That does not mean that there is no artistic merit in it. This is very similar to the examples of art in popular culture that you give (except that now items can be replicated with ease). If there was no anticipation of payment by the artist then the fine art would, in all likelihood, not exist. That is capitalism at work - economic activity that meets a demand of some sort and is mutually beneficial to both producer and consumer.

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