MY POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS TODAY
One of the biggest problems in society at the moment seems to be the lack of correct cognitive models of the socioeconomic situation. I am on the internet quite a lot and read people’s comments about money, about billionaires, about poverty, about the failing social services, the benefit system, the failing NHS and very rarely do their ideas about these issues match mine. So I try to explain where some of the problems lie and it is difficult because we don’t even have the language to refer to correct cognitive tokens to talk about the correct relationships between things. Occasionally I attempt to describe some of the underlying issues to create a perspective that enables a different interpretation and understanding about some aspect of all this.
But broadly speaking we are struggling to coordinate our communication to make collective sense of various issues. A simple example would be that people complain that Tesco should pay their taxes as if Tesco is an immoral entity doing harm to the world. Tesco is a fine company and does a lot of good. But I can’t say that because, according to those people who interpret Tesco as doing evil, it puts me on the wrong side in their model of the world. Most people who simply think Tesco is great are generally thinking about it in limited terms and are supporting the economic model in which it exists. The thing about Tesco is it is the emergent manifestation of the underlying socioeconomic interpretations currently in existence in the collective mind of the people operating in the system. In other words Tesco is a successful and productive company in the current dynamics of how we operate. If there is something wrong – and there certainly is – then it is the mechanisms by which we are operating.
Noam Chomsky makes an important observation that many of the world’s most serious problems could be solved by simply abiding by the law. He doesn’t go on to make the point, but I will, that the significant issue is consistency. In other words it doesn’t matter what those laws are, what matters is that they are followed consistently. That way, if things aren’t working out then you can alter the laws. So if you have a plan you have to stick to it. Not ad infinitum but whilst you are enacting the plan you have to stick to it. If it isn’t working out then you don’t breach the plan and carry on because then, when things are not working, you don’t know if it is your breaching of the plans or the plans that are at fault. The approach of attempting to fix the situation by breaching the plans gives rise to that well known frustration that “it is one law for them and another law for us” scenario. Very often those breaking the law in high places perceive what they are doing which breaks the law as acting to prevent the strict adherence to the law creating a negative result. The problem with Tesco is we need more appropriate plans and laws.
So why did the Tories underfund the NHS? It strikes me as most interesting that the Tories did not need to underfund the NHS to achieve the plan to privatise the health service. In fact, it may be the very thing that scuppers their plans. And so it is ironic that their underfunding has at least highlighted that something is wrong in the minds of the population. Whilst the cognitive model of how the NHS operates is not understood by the general public then they perceive it as underfunding and it makes sense for people to agree it needs more funding. It probably doesn’t.
It is the restructuring of the NHS in line with the neoliberal cognitive model that is causing the majority of the problems we see. I will point out that I have just used the term “neoliberal” which is only just floating into the collective cognitive model enough that I can sometimes use it as a cognitive token without having to explain in detail what it is. Without the word “neoliberal” I would need to write an essay on neoliberalism before I could carry on. The restructuring of the NHS from a service provided by the collection of people it serves to a pyramid marketing system to incentivise people to work in the industry for profit in order to render a service we collectively desire is fundamentally self contradictory and cannot work. So, even without underfunding, the NHS would be in crisis because a lot of the money currently supplied from the ‘government’ is paid to independent corporations who are in it for the sole purpose of rendering a profit for shareholders.
Say the NHS transport costs 100 per annum then they put it out to tender and a company offers to provide the transport for 90 then the ‘NHS’ appears to be getting the same service for 10 less than it used to and this is understood to be more economically efficient. Then the private company needs to keep 10 for profit leaving 80 to pay for the transport. The private company is not being bad, these are simply the rules of the system. Now, in simple terms, you get 80% of the transport you once had for 90% of the cost. There are two simple ways that can be employed to render what looks like the same service. One is to not invest in the infrastructure by, for example, not servicing the ambulances as often or not purchasing new ones when they are needed, and the other is to pay the workers less for the same job. The private companies don’t mind because when the system needs investment they simply don’t tender for next year’s contract. They did some work and they gained some profit – that is what they are about. But the whole system begins to collapse.
The American insurance-based health care system costs about six times as much for the same product as the NHS. And it is not even provided for all the population. But for those that get it, the service is of a high quality akin to the service previously supplied by the NHS. The NHS has been restructured to fit the American model. Had the Tories not underfunded it we would see the same degradation but it would have been over a longer time frame. They, presumably with the corrupt disaster capitalism paradigm, perceived the mechanism of underfunding as accelerating the point at which the offer of insurance-based health care would appear to be a solution. They have run up against a very tight line whereby they may have alerted the public to the crime a little too early.
Jeremy Corbyn (as representing the grass roots comprehension and cognitive models) is the only politician to make it clear that, not only does he understand it is the structural changes that are the problem, but has confirmed this interpretation by pointing out that Labour will repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 because it is the initial and primary point at which the NHS was structurally reorientated to fit the American insurance based model. No amount of increased spending by government would fix the underlying problems that are being introduced under the neoliberal cognitive model of how things work. Obviously immediate benefits would be seen by injecting more cash but the long term disaster would simply be staved off in the short term. It is important to stave off the disaster but it is virtually ineffective with respect to solving the real problem.
We need to change the direction of politics in the UK.
Labour might not solve all our problems but they are turning the ship decisively from the imminent catastrophe and towards a serviceable future.
And whoever thought it was a good idea to ask politicians if they would press the Nuclear Button as a measure of whether we are safe in their hands when the consensus cognitive model is insane enough to interpret our survival as being dependent on the willingness to destroy the world?