“The effects of the Great Depression spread, and they spread around the world. The richer the country, the more advanced its industry, the worse, in general, the slump.…
The first solution that occurred to statesmen was to propose tightening of belts, acceptance of hardship, resort to patience. Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.
People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.”
John Kenneth Galbraith writing in his book The Age of Uncertainty.
Given what’s happening in Europe right now with the complete and utter failure of austerity from on high imposed upon those below to relieve the crushing depression they’re experiencing — as well as calls by conservative austerians here in the states for more pain for the little guy because, as Atrios so aptly put it, we’ll be “purified by the promise of suffering of other people” — I think JKG’s words from three decades ago are really quite apt.
Also, too; it’s of no small historical signifigance that Galbraith’s book actually originated from a tee vee show on the BBC.
A show that then Tory MP Margaret Thatcher and her conservative stooges did their damndest through the use of threats of government sanction to make sure didn’t get broadcast.
To the BBC’s great credit they told the future Lady Margaret to take her totalitarian efforts at censorship and piss up a fucking rope, and aired it in the face of furious conservative push-back.