‘We depend on each other not just for our survival but for our very being…. Modern western society resists this fundamental truth, valuing independence above all things. Needing others is perceived as a weakness. Only small children, the sick and the very elderly are permitted dependence on others; for everyone else, self-sufficiency and autonomy are cardinal virtues.’
That’s not too far from what I was saying in Cat Dreams and Invisible Women, though I put it in a much woollier, personal, female-centred fashion!
I noticed my reaction to a claim about the NHS’s survival being proof we still care. I thought, rather sceptically, that we want it there for ourselves. The best way of ensuring it’s there as a net for us and our own families is to ensure it’s there as a net for everyone. And there I go… saying that it’s self-interest guiding us, whereas there’s nothing to say it’s not still kindness or a sense of fairness, or that we wouldn’t have the NHS in place anyway.
My attention was also caught by:
‘Free markets erode the societies that harbour them. The great paradox of modern capitalism, the ex-Thatcherite John Gray has pointed out (False Dawn, 1998), is that it undermines the very social institutions on which it once relied — family, career, community.’
Worldwide competition can be destructive both individually and to societies. We touched on the potential for damage to individuals at 1sojournal’s (Cocoons and Comfort Zones), so it interested me to consider how much more widespread this type of damage could be.
There’s an old saying, “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.” People are referred to as ‘human resources’ these days, so that saying could morph into “look after individuals, and society will take care of itself.”