In an interesting op-ed in the Guardian, David Graeber argues that austerity is accepted by the population in Britain not because it is liked but because it is seen to benefit everyone.
He explains why there haven’t been any revolts in Western Europe in the last five years despite the region suffering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The working classes, he says, value the overall health of their families and communities more than themselves. The principle of solidarity is important.
“There was a time when caring for one’s community could mean fighting for the working class itself. Back in those days we used to talk about “social progress”. Today we are seeing the effects of a relentless war against the very idea of working-class politics or working-class community.”
‘Solidarity’ is still strong, but it is now substituted by other reasons that have the same effect, i.e. ‘we must look after the planet for our grandchildren‘ or ‘this is good for the country‘.
He draws on psychological studies to make his case.
By Daniel F. Benson-Guiu