Fifth Column – Issue 17

Relax –  The Children Are The Future

Casual labour is among us and thriving in this wonderful drive for efficiency and flexibility and national duty savings in virtual money.

The impulse to take advantage of one another has served us well so far, so why not move it on apace and join in the retro-fashions in rehashing the past as a new idea, and introduce an industrial relations package that puts us in mind of the early twentieth century, with a mind set akin to Feudalism.

Even the cynical Hobbesian contracts are being waived as owners and their lackey managers exclaim, “Piecework in our time!”

At the heart of this progressive movement are the children, those sung about in many a pop anthem as representing our hopes and dreams for a brighter future wherein we will realise all that is good and progressive in us as a species.

Well, what does this entail when the one singular thing we all had as children, that impulse to ask “Why?” is atrophied.

I can only speculate that the children of power brokers, as they always have throughout a privileged history, continue to say, “When [will I take up my appointed place in the higher echelons of society]?” A significant part of what would be a dynamic in a hierarchical society such as in this country, is the seeming loss of the word ‘why’ from the proletarian classes and its replacement with the word ‘How’. The Greek Goddess of Victory’s slogan, ‘Just do it’, aiding the unquestioning acceptance of unacceptable industrious deference.

In the spirit of humanly inquisitive disciplines, the younger generations are being coerced into applying ‘how’ to the speed and so-called efficiency of what we too often see as a failing system of political and social organisation  called capitalism. 

A signal element in this seemingly evolutionary process is the attitude of some, however, in societies dictated to by oligarchic minorities but whose power is amplified by the slavish media and advertising slogans, but enough of the youth, the representatives of the future as possibility, whose approach is work to get money, however devalued, to pay for a lifestyle of ‘to the max’ social activities that often include getting insensibly drunk but sating all the visceral needs of the moment without any continuity of thought as to the state of the future, let alone the present. The approach resembles a ‘crash and burn’ orientation to life that takes no time to consider any wider implications of actions, ironically, in any social terms. The paradox is that they socialise until their underpants -sorry, boxer shorts or thongs – are on fire, yet couldn’t give a hoot about society and its demise. Yes, these high-living ragged-trousered philanthropists have a whale of a time, can even ‘communicate’ like the wind in facilitating their goal of wild immediacy of tactile, visceral satiation, but cannot, or will not, acknowledge just how such behaviours undermine the basis of dignity in industrial relations that many have sacrificed their  lives to establish..

The quantity of work these working-class socialites take up would make any self-respecting Protestant proud. However, in accepting the terms and conditions without question and without realising or caring that they devalue the very people with whom they socialise, and any children that will be expected to accept the said so-called, merely contingent reality to which their self-indulgence contributes.

In a sense, it is the labourer that’s casual; an attitude of powerless yet influential laissez-faire to politics that will condemn the children of the future to techno-based enslavement to Machiavellian machinations and wiles of an unimaginative ruling elite, who on evidence from history, hold a deep-rooted, generational mind set that wholly believes in Noblesse Oblige as social welfare.


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