Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing
March 25, 2013 2 Comments
In an era where numbers take precedence, the monetary value of a service is taken to imply a potential saving, with little regard to the human cost.
Numbers, mere numbers, mean we see the dog warden privatised. No questions about their efficiency, about the efficacy of what they do. No questions as to how privatisation will do anything but deliver a worse service for residents and worse conditions of employment for the warden.
The pest control service is now scrapped, a victim of the savings. Savings? We mean saved money, not saved services. Savings: a sick euphemism for cuts.
No more black sacks, no more school uniform grants, children centres facing tough times, battered wives facing a diminished service.
And those doing the cutting – are they being cut too?
The number shuffle, where the amount of money in the world is moved around as the casino decides that the house cannot lose.
We can close libraries, but must spend billions on replacing an unused weapon with another that we will not use. We can make cuts to the health service, see care assistants, social workers, police staff, and others working for the community attempt efficiency gains – all so that the bean counters are gratified.
The cuts cover the destruction of a national school system, cover the breaking up of the NHS, and see victim status granted to the undeserving poor. And whilst the shirkers are being punished, those that see themselves as born to rule paint themselves as strivers.
My conversations about dog fouling, burglaries, litter, uneven pavements and homelessness all include references to the financial constraints we all have to operate under nowadays. I find myself apologising, and I do not know why. In a world ruled by spreadsheets and dictums about balancing the books we now assign a value to almost everything. Money, a mere medium of exchange, a promise to pay the bearer on demand … Nowadays it is those who once looked after the money for us who now demand.
What value on communities weakened to appease those who gambled in the good times and who cannot suffer in the bad?