A Human Revolution – I Don’t Think So
This Blog has been written by Andrew Wright of MessageBase and they have supported us in some of our activities especially around the themes of social media and social enterprise. Andrew has worked extensively in the telecommunications and IT industry, holding senior positions in major blue-chip companies, including General Electric, Cable & Wireless PLC, Bull Information Systems SA and Banyan Corp. He has also been involved in several high tech ventures, SME’s and charities. A father of two, Andrew also has a passion for rugby and French wine. His company MessageBase can be found at http://www.messagebase.co.uk/telephone-answering-service/overview
In the 1960’s and 1970’s social mobility was taken for granted; if a person succeeded at school or college, whether or not he (and sometimes ‘she’) went on to university, anybody from the ‘working class’ (how quaint that term sounds today!) could, would end up at least in the aspiring middle class, safe in a secure ‘job for life’ and even as an owner occupier of their own house.
These working class ‘heroes’ entered the arts, senior levels of the civil service, journalism, the professions and even the top echelons of the political, ruling class e.g. Harold Wilson (albeit he was a ‘champagne socialist’!), Margaret Thatcher and later, John Major for example.
Many were entrepreneurs and engineers who made very serious money in ‘proper businesses’ in the days before the property booms of the late ‘70s & ‘80s. Arguably, the process or ‘upward mobility’ through the class system kicked off during the industrial revolution but certainly, after the First World War the trend was clear.
Nothing, it seemed, could stop the complete levelling of society…
Then came globalisation, ‘Big Bang’ and the end of the Cold War; it was all change. Even before that Harold Wilson used patronage, big time, to leverage the rich and famous. Only after Margret Thatcher’s last term did the political classes realise they could get in on the action by this means and nobody utilised it more effectively than Tony Blair.
The influence of globalisation, the fall or the Soviet Union and rise of the super-rich, Russian oligarchs, sovereign wealth funds controlled by dubious and non-democratic states and of the BRIC nations have altered the compass bearings of everybody, but especially those in positions of power and influence; really, now anything goes and end justifies the means…
Globalisation, of course, means global companies and these businesses (and their executives) now have more power in the world than many nation states. The temptation for some managers of some of these businesses in this globalised world, to “do bad” is too great; it is interesting that many of the companies to be criticised recently for their anti-social, anti-privacy or other ‘anti’ activity are relatively new businesses such as Nike, Google and Facebook. Not that some long established oil and ‘big pharma’ companies have changed their ways, of course!
The pool of economic slurry that the UK is now immersed in is of little or no concern or consequence if you have untaxed homes in five continents, investments off-shore or in secretive, Switzerland and pay minimal taxes in your own homeland.
Private enterprise (and we are all shareholders in it via our pensions it nothing else) and business is at as much at risk from the inequalities and action of the 0.01% super elite as the ordinary man in the street. People like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the Russian Oligarchs, hedge fund managers, bankers, property developers, corporate CEO’s and ‘celebrities’ are not ‘risk takers’ or wealth creators (or aren’t anymore!); they have accumulated or misappropriated capital, think that charity is a substitute for providing the fuel for the society they live in – they roam the world in search of ‘tax havens’ and cheap assets mostly, property – and have detached themselves completely from the rest of the members of the societies they emanated from.
MessageBase can be found at http://www.messagebase.co.uk/