Chris Wilson

28 July 2009

What is it about your political beliefs that puts you on the Left rather than the Right?:

Two things:
1) A belief that everyone should be able to fulfill their potential. This is not a meritocracy in which everyone gets the chance to reach the top. Some people may have a talent for friendship or looking after the family or something else that wouldn’t count as careerism but is still worthwhile. The biggest impediment to fulfilling potential is poverty – low income, bad housing, bad education, unsupported ill health, etc. Poverty is therefore morally offensive.

2) Public policy should be based on rationality – the sceptical application of evidence and logic to achieve the values outlined above. I would like to believe that I support social democratic politics because the evidence demonstrates that I should. If the evidence doesn’t then I should change my mind.

What do you consider made you Left wing?:

Knowing decent people being held back by poverty. Observing the disparity between the European social model and Anglo-Saxon neo-liberal economics. The open contempt of Thatcher and her allies for the poor, the weak and the disadvanted.

How would you describe the sort of society you want Britain to be?

If I was limited to one word: Scandinavia. A society in which nobody gets left behind and everyone can fulfill their potential. A society in which the market is a useful tool for providing goods and services, not a metaphor for the whole of human existence. A society in which maximising happiness was more important than maximising the acquisition of material possessions (because after all, they’re not the same thing).

What one or two changes would make the biggest difference to bringing that about?

The replacement of one of the main political parties by a progressive, social-democratic party.

What most makes you angry about the way Britain is now?

13.7 million people living in poverty and no political party being willing to declare this a moral, social and economic crisis.

Which person, event, era or movement from the past should we look to for inspiration now?

Why does this question presume that looking to the past is a good idea, or that what we need is inspiration? I shall rephrase this question to one I prefer: where should we look for evidence in the present. Answer: Scandinavia, Denmark, Holland, or Germany. Those societies which have low levels of poverty and inequality and high levels of social solidarity, stabillity and happiness. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky theorising: it’s happening now, in real places with real people.

Position: Librarian and disempowered observer

One Response to “Chris Wilson”

  1. December 28th, 2015 @ 8:35 am

    duncan, and others ietsrentedThe mechanisms for increased employment through higher minimum wages are simple enough.Poor people spend all their money (and then some), so when you give them more of it to spend it boosts the entire economy equal to the drain it applies. It does hurt low-wage employers relative to others, but that’s usually a positive overall.It doesn’t hurt anyone much though, employers of minimum wage earners usually can’t function with fewer workers, and are normally only competing directly with other minimum wage employers: overall, no real ability to make layoffs in the first place, and little or no direct competative disadvantage with increased wage costs anyway.Most importantly, increasing low end wages allow poor people to have proportionately more discretionary spending, icreasing the free flow of money and thus making capitalism work better (assuming it’s reasonably free to work it’s magic).As for exporting poverty, as mentioned by Genius, yes, that’s rather unfortunate, and pretty much complete here. Perhaps if we had stronger unions or an actual left-wing government they’d have something to say about the import of slave-made goods.

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