Totalitarian art and Billboard advertising

(This Header Photo above was taken at a Soviet Labour Camp in the notorious ‘Gulag’ around the same time that the Soviet Poster used in the article below was published – early-mid 20th century)

I have written elsewhere about how our liberal democracies crow about holding as their sacred cows the values and virtues of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all; of the greatest good for the greatest number; of the sovereign will of the people etc etc: all of which in our hallowed mediocre meritocracies boil down to the dictum: ‘money talks’.

Those who are monied have access to the educations best fitted for high office in a society or in an organisation within a society. They hold it more or less exclusively to themselves and their descendants. They have, because they occupy the high places in society and in organisations in society, access to far more consumer choice than do the ‘other ranks’ of society. They have access to more travel, more leisure, more amenities and resorts and resources able to make their lives less cluttered with the chores of ordinary lives led by ordinary people. In fact this monied educated much more free class of persons, employs ordinary persons to carry out these chores for them; so that plain and common persons not only do their own chores in their own households but also do those common chores in the lives and households of the rich folks.

Rich folks eat better than the rest of us, and dine out more often; they take more expensive and exclusive nightlife entertainments than do the lesser classes of society. And just as there are persons who are in fact wage slaves who have been hired by the rich for the rich to have their chores done for them; so too anyone who is an employee of any kind in our meritocracies, is most generally also expected to sacrifice most freedoms and most civil liberties; the very jewels in the crown of our liberal democracies and which are held hallowed: these are all suspended just as soon as the employee walks in the front gate of his or her place of work.

These freedoms and civil rights, such as they are for the ‘other ranks’ , are in fact so markedly available in greater measure to the wealthy and powerful; that they can be said to perform a step change into privileges which the richer people enjoy. As for the generality of employees, who spend commonly at least one third of their weekdays in an employer’s premises, they have restored to them their muted and curtailed versions civil rights and of liberal freedoms, just at that very time they leave their place of work and head home for the evening.

This is how it is. This is not propaganda. This is not jaundiced. It is how it is.

Of course those amongst the ‘other ranks’ who rise higher up the greasy pole of ambition and advancement in their places of work as employees; these are those aspiring ones whose aim and hope is to become like their masters and their mistresses; and eventually to become one of this hallowed monied class themselves; and so to consider themselves to have ‘arrived’. And one of the ways of establishing oneself in one’s having arrived at such a zenith, and of advertising the fact of having established oneself, may be to dine out amongst one’s new classmates at the places where the rich and privileged are to be seen dining; at exclusive metropolitan clubs and fashionable cafes.

This class of aspirant employees is allowed by their task masters and mistresses enjoyment of rather more of those curtailed rights and freedoms than are made available to the persons whom these aspirants manage and direct; those who are ranked as commonplace employees in the hierarchy below them. This ‘taster’ allowed these aspirants of ‘what it’s like at the top’ is in fact a two-edged sword. It is at once their incentive, that bait and that thirty pieces of silver, paid over to them by their employers; so as to allow them just so much of new latitude as for it to become a draw and a stimulus; but the aspirants are allowed no more than just enough; enough to separate the aspirationals from their origins and their old allegiances, and to instil the appropriate attitudes which prick them on to getting the commonplace employees working hard under their management regimes.

This is how it is. Class division; class action so as to divide and rule. Cream for the crème de la crème and a thin sour milk meted out to the mass of managed ‘other ranks’ employees. The people of privilege recruit and by seductions draw in from people amongst the classes of ‘other ranks’, and so as to help them keep their grip on their hegemonies; and in this devil’s bargain they manage their managers, ever offering these aspirant class the succulent carrots of even great heights to be scaled.

The point here I want to draw before I move on to a discussion concerning Fascist art and Totalitarian art; is that that same oppressed and highly regimented way of life which when I was younger, America, and most of Europe, as well as some smaller fry camp followers of these developed liberal democracies, all in the absolutest of terms openly and publicly reviled and condemned such a way of life as being the ubiquitous mode of life for people living under the Soviet Flag in that era. The same oppression and restrictions on freedom and on civic rights, as these kinds of curb are widely and generally experienced by one who is a common employee in any liberal democracy; is what was condemned roundly by our privileged classes in the regimes of totalitarianism like was the USSR’s.

No mistake. No lack of focus and perspective. This is how it is.

So what we have in our ‘free-world’ as it is so charmingly championed as fairy tale, in fact is a situation wherein those who are have nots, who are whom I have termed ‘other ranks’, most usually work for their employers under pretty similar conditions to those in which ordinary persons lived in under Communism in USSR and in other places. Our brand – note the word brand – of totalitarianism is merely one stage removed from government being the direct source of oppression and restrictions.

Our governments merely – to use a business-type buzzword ‘facilitate’ the employers, the rich and the privileged in their ubiquitous regime of an iron grip over their employees whilst these same employees are in their employers’ premises and are working ‘for them’.

So common people sleep 8 hours; they work 8 hours; they have 8 hours left to themselves. Some good portion of that left to themselves 8 hours has to be taken up with keeping body and soul together duties and with other necessities – washing, washing up, cleaning the house – a long list. Maybe if a common employee is lucky s/he will enjoy 4 or 5 hours each weekday of time to themselves. What economists might call ‘disposable time’; and which the sickly buzzword calls it is ‘quality time’ or even ‘living time’. I have seen ordinary people call time spent on a bus going to the shops an example of ‘dead time’. There is a critique and resume to be written here about time and its perceived value in our societies.

This pretty tight correlation between employment in a liberal democracy and common life under Soviet governments; helps to explain I believe that very striking parallel seen to adhere between Totalitarian art – and its art theories – and billboard advertising – and its back office marketing department setups – as seen in consumerist liberal democracies; and most particularly is seen in the billboard ads of the big corporations; the big corporations being those places in our economies wherein which to work as common employees, and whilst at work, – though sometimes at home too! – folk generally face most restrictions and curtailments of their hallowed liberal freedoms and of their ‘inalienable’ civic rights.

Now let us take a look at how totalitarian art and theory – in the first place looking at Soviet art – which has been especially named rather loosely by the title Soviet Realism. The theory behind the art of Soviet Realism pretty well matches up with the rationale for Corporate Identities, as these rationales are believed to apply by their Corporate creators of them. Also there is the striking similarity of Corporations’ Public Images as presented by themselves to their publics, we consumers, and this close match is able evermore being seen to be clearly manifested; in the press; on TV and in movies; in advertising in general itself and in the way our lives are managed and manipulated by these Corporations and their business aims and manias. This Is the thinking and the driving force behind what is appearing ever more obviously in the brash and direct Corporate advertising now pouring out of many Corporations’ marketing divisions.

Here then below is an image of a Soviet poster of mid 20th century; a pretty readily-identifiable one by its style and content to be of ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ provenance.

The worker in it is lionised; he is a hero. Note it’s not a photograph; but a graphic artwork. This is important because it acts to ‘everyman’ the worker-hero guy holding out a hand. What I mean is that as a graphic artwork the hero-worker guy is not a particular and actual person such as any photograph of the kind would require. Thus he is able to be generalised so as to be ‘anyone’ and ‘everyone’ who works hard or with their hands in the Soviet Union. Thus everyone’s a winner baby – all heroes all workers hard at it.

(Note here a Lotto UK National Lottery hoarding poster slogan of just a few years ago which used a similar wheeze to persuade common people to buy a ticket and win a small fortune. Here is a billboard poster using the slogan for instance:

The slogan was ‘It could be you.” Here in this poster image this slogan has (also) been a little embellished into “It could be your week.” A drawing, a graphic artwork yet again; and no person who is real or actual being shown at all; only a ‘supernatural and benevolent godly’ finger in the sky pointing in at the window of what is a pretty ordinary terraced house of a British kind to be found all over the nation. A tiny person of indeterminate sex and age is silhouetted by the bedroom light in the window and in a rejoicing and exclamatory posture. This silhouetted person might also be ‘everyman’ or ‘everywoman’ and also ‘anybody’ and ‘anyone’. ‘It could be you.’. The fact of the person, this ‘everyman’ being a dweller in a two-up two-down terraced house is significant; since such house are the houses dwelt in only by ‘other ranks’ in Britain. No-one with money would want to live in one. One has to be seen to have money and this house says ‘undistinguished and commonplace’ all over it.

There is a great deal more to be said about how this poster of The National Lottery works its effects; but sadly not directly relevant to my thread of argument at present. Let the universalisation of the human beings depicted in the Soviet image and in the Lottery poster image stand as enough criticism for the time being.

Back to the Soviet hero-worker.

He, it is a he notice, is young, openhearted, having a large strong arm and hand, smiling, healthy, fit, dressed in worker’s overalls, and with a nice appropriate red shirt. There is a hammer and sickle flag flying behind top right, and a tall crane constructing a building there also. The building behind the hero-worker is a large and typical Soviet block of plain unadorned architecture, nothing baroque or petit bourgeois about it – no way. Utilitarian. Powerful looking. Perhaps the building in which Orwell’s Room 101 subsists?

There is even a clear blue sky without a cloud in sight. The type fonts used in the poster are not ornate but deliberately plain and direct also – sturdy and strong looking fonts, and some large maybe capital letters. The hero-worker sticks out his hand as if without reserve or doubt; whilst with his other hand, which is gloved for work, he is hitching up some object like a piece of concrete to what looks like a hoist chain.. The cloth cap is the final touch of ‘ordinary hero -worker person’

Notice the type fonts on the National Lottery poster above are also plain and unadorned – very easy and in-your-face to read. The great size of the ‘finger of heaven’ is paralleled in the Soviet poster by the close foreground positioning of the hero-worker so that he too, like the finger, takes up most of the graphic space. Such size and positioning in both cases declaims emphasis; emphasis which stresses, underlines, the object for having had the poster made and displayed.

In the Soviet one the object has been to ‘pat on the back heartily’ every ordinary person who works a long and heavy day for the Union (USSR). To portray that every such person as strong, hale, cheerful, committed, outgoing; and very much subscribing to ‘for the good of the cause’ of Soviet socialism.

The poster for the UK National Lottery with its huge skiey finger has as its object that Someone able to direct the winnings to you; and who lives in the sky a giant and is kindly and benevolent, might just pick out YOU to win. The poster appeals to superstition, which a is a hallmark of habitual gamblers. It is a travesty of any godly feeling and reasonable hope.

Both posters focus themselves and their central messages upon that common or garden ordinary guy or girl who walks past in the street and looks up and notices it, and maybe feels good about seeing it?

Let’s now look at a Virgin Inc poster which presently is to be seen in the streets around where I live. It offers an advertisement recommending people to buy Virgin Media TV shows and channels provision of service.

The Virgin Media logo sits in just that position where in the Soviet poster image seats the hammer and sickle flag; which might be called the ‘brand’ of the Soviets.

There is in this Virgin poster ad that same unvariegated use of colour dressed in much the same way as the Soviet poster, Both confine themselves to plain and few colours; in the case of Virgin red and white and black; and in the Soviet poster an aquamarine blue, and red and buff and grey. Both these items, the Virgin Inc item and the Soviet item, carry just enough visual content so to be able to offer their central message clearly, obviously, almost instinctively self-evidently; but yet each works hard not to cloud or to complicate its message. To make its message patently obvious

Both these poster items exude that monolithic presence which is typical of most totalitarian artwork. The Nazis, the Fascists in Spain and in Italy; the Soviets and the Maoists in China; much of Southeast Asia and South and Central America in the late 20th century, display in many of their artworks similar on the surface ‘keep-it-simple technique. Commonplace is the monolithic and plain, unvariegated, uncluttered, ‘message’ in this art; because it is art ‘in service to a political position’ and is art sanctioned and largely controlled by The State. Such is almost a definition for the art movement known as ‘Soviet Realism’. Art as propaganda – which might be a useful term, one able to encompass Corporate Billboard artwork?

Virgin Media’s poster in many ways is more Soviet than are the Soviets. The same large capital letter plain bare fonts. A mass of garish brash red everywhere (appropriately Soviet red). The posture of the ‘fan’ with arms outspread in embrace, and in an expression of having a sense of holding power; compares pretty well with the Soviet worker’s posture; but displaying perhaps even more kinetic energy than that glorious offered Soviet handshake. The ‘fan’ arms akimbo is embracing some kind of joy perhaps and is possibly trying to express a delighted acceptance of what is implicitly alleged by the poster to be a generous boon and offer from Virgin Media. A sense of empowerment. Virgin Media cares about you and your desires.

The big letters blazon the message; which is an advertiser’s ‘hook’ hoping to land prospective customers who are casual viewers of the poster as they drive by or are walking along. This ‘hook’ is a straightforward pandering to a popular wishful thinking – much like the National Lottery poster appeals to ‘lucky me’ – although this Virgin poster is about the sport of soccer, British football, and about the broadcast of matches on TV. Flatteringly the poster exalts the ‘rights’ of soccer fans (prospective customers) who are to be cajoled into feeling that they are ‘entitled’ to watch and ‘deserve every match’. Pretty disgraceful really, as a piece of trash advertising; one which assumes that via a pretty bad faith, by lionising its public Virgin will get more big bucks; that the simple and uneducated passions of ordinary common people, their ‘wish-fulfilment’ faculties, are fierce enough and ‘blind’ enough to persuade them to buy these Virgin Media services.

The scarf of the Virgin soccer ‘fan’ and also the sports ‘top’ he is wearing; are the analogues of the cloth cap and glove and overalls of the Soviet worker. Stereotypical common ordinary person, according to their respective ideologies.The small print in the Virgin poster makes clear that only Virgin Media is able to make this wish-fulfilment a possibility.

Regarding the ‘respective ideologies’, the worldviews, behind the messages of these two posters; while both use persuasion; one to ordinary people to buy Virgin TV and so get access to ‘every match’; the other to ordinary people also to help convince them that Soviet people do have political power, are enfranchised, are valued, are the salt of the earth, are healthy, strong, valiant workers etc etc; different messages indeed; but having in common that use of extreme bad faith by the persons behind the messages, who are knowing about what they are doing; who are acting so as to persuade ordinary people to believe, and to see things, in ways which are point-blank incommensurate with fact and truth. Propaganda.

And perhaps here is the essential and the central mutual characteristic which Consumerist advertising in the Western World has with Totalitarian artwork in general; its quintessential application of a knowing bad faith, which is applied in order so:

  1. a) to make the weaker argument defeat the stronger
  2. b) to try to have its viewers to mistake the truth totally
  3. c) to work by wiles and temptations and flatteries to seduce beholders
  4. d) to gloze over so that all in the garden appears rosy
  5. e) to make capital (political/financial) by these means
  6. f) deliberately to intend to deceive by way of distortion and diversion
  7. g) to appeal by way of large generalisations and apparently ‘simple’ and ‘prima facie’ messages
  8. h) to treat their viewers with something close to a backhanded cavalier ironic disrespect
  9. I) to originate from ‘hothouses’ dedicated wholly to promoting by using these characteristics

There is much more to be said about this topic and its multiplicity of facets; but let us give just one more set of parallel examples so as to show that this phenomenon of parallelisms between Totalitarian and Consumerist Commercial artworks is not just a happenstance, not just lucky coincidence, but that Corporate art departments, their marketing departments, and their total setup as organisations, the images they project of themselves and the nature of their business methods; all are neo-totalitarian in their manifestations and practice; in their intellectual ideologies and in their workings. In these regards please remember how I drew the foundational parallel in my introduction to this discussion of Poster artwork; which lays out how employees are of a similar ilk in regard to their lack of freedom and of their civic rights when they at work working; to those citizens of a totalitarian nation such as was the USSR. And please note these clear and obvious parallels which are to be found in an ordinary person’s living life under a totalitarian political regime and life for the common person, as so many of us live it, working as employees; and especially exponentially so when working for a Corporation in our superficially ‘free societies’.

Here then is a poster ad for Coca-Cola at McDonald’s

‘I’m happy’ – ‘I’m lovin’ it’. The all too ubiquitous appeal to the ‘feelgood factor’; and reinforced repeatedly by repetitions of them as slogans; or as the older comedians call them ‘catch phrases’. The same plain and large easy-to-read, easy-to-be-understood font letters. The same unvariegated few colours used. Large images proclaiming the essence of the message – i.e. the huge glass of Coke and the huge paper cup of tea. Notice the tea is emphasised in bold font as being ‘sweet’ – the lure of sugar as a comforter and an anodyne.

The MacDonald’s ‘yellow arches’ Trademark flight like the Red Flag and hovering like the Virgin logo there; so as to establish and authenticate the origin of the poster and of its products advertised. Note two big Brand names in cahoots – to add to the lure. Red is a starling colour which draws the eyes to it – especially when it is splashed over like across this poster.

The glass is filled to the brim; and one is able to order ‘any size’ drink. One can see the tea at the brim of the paper cup; how pictures of food and drink, especially when blown up photographically to large size, have their effects on our salivation glands! And the $1.00 price tag. Again in huge plain emboldened letter font. A nice round dollar. Neat, tidy affordable. Just pull that note or coin out of your pocket and pay.

The message? Here is a ‘special offer’. Get down to McDonald’s and hop-up on sugar and get happy – for the time being. To be fair this poster is far less insincere and in not so bad faith as the previous items I have exampled – it works more or less by its sheer appeal to animal appetite – apart from the capital goods in the power in the slogans it is carrying, which are ‘gold dust’ to the advertisers. It’s a straightforward Consumerist commercial ‘dollar for a drink’ offer in many ways.

It yet retains, however, maybe merely subjectively, I don’t know for sure, that presence of emanating great corporate power, which sadly, even in myself I feel, has some unfounded though reassuring sense of grateful gratification passing out of it into its beholders. The totalitarian aspect. It’s that hint the poster has that somehow the McDonald’s Company (and maybe also Coke Company) are doing you a big, big, favour by offering up wholesale this pretty minimal offer. Just being paternally benevolent. Big Brother. Certainly the bottom-drawer reason for MacDonald’s having had the poster pasted up, is being shunted by the poster’s ‘angle of approach’ and pushed right to the back of the poster’s manifest messages. This bottom-drawer reason being to sell, sell, sell, and to make money, make money, make money, and it is excellently well camouflaged herein. It is in this glamour-cast from a Big Friendly Giant set together with an absolute avoidance of ‘mentioning the war’ of not even hinting at maximal profits and best growth for the Companies who are advertising; it is herein, if anywhere, that this poster’s deception and the bad faith resides.  

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This article was also posted at steemit but was divided into two parts:

Part 1 – https://steemit.com/advertising/@matthew.raymer/totalitarian-art-and-billboard-advertising-part-1

 Part 2 – https://steemit.com/propaganda/@matthew.raymer/totalitarian-art-and-billboard-advertising-part-2

Methodology

According to the scientific method

(As we now use – they did not long ago)

Our planet has a beauty which has offered

Gazillion things the Ancients did not do

 

Time’s clever ones we’ve gained a certain grip

On sentience; enabling us attest

Our oracles invested in assorted sense

Grounded in true perceptions – of the best

 

Long shadows date-expire our yesterdays

Of old fantastic vacant speculations

Of Looney Tunes who pale beside our pregnant scholars

Whose great advancements sealed in estimations

 

With generous tape-measured postulates

On stellar progress through a universe

Great science comprehends, with answers tailored

A catechism; chapter, book ‘n verse

 

Age-old wives’ tales are former and defunct

Undone these hearthstone stories told in lieu of warmth

The cheer of naive peoples under bitter winter’s grasp

Inventive band-aids stanching anxious hearts

 

Outgrown such humours, future tense prevails

Passed over Old Light nonsense; elegance the tool

Which glittering prizes honour, note and title

Formidable! in shows of shooting stars

 

Forwards, with opened perspicacious eyes

Sweet scions of advancement scatter light!

Dispelling erstwhile glooms; revealed are stunning concepts

Late impudent lamp-burnings laid, inhumed

 

And gingerly apace, give proofs and context,

(Good hope, untestable, might not conform)

Declaring they’re the people; and shall with them

Die wisdom; like a vagrant in a ditch

 

Time’s Worthy’s words are obsolete experience

Spun, done and dusted dreams; bubbles now burst;

Their loss a fine thing; ramblings all divested:

Our certainties repudiate their past.

Abundance vis a vis Misère Ouverte

Now here is an easy model, an elaborate metaphor but plainly self-explanatory, which explains to people who at present do not see that the consumerist economy as it operates in so many western countries, and in many other nations also, is in fact a very great evil.

Many of you reading this essay will have seen the movie ‘Speed’ starring Keanu Reeves and Sharon Stone; and so you will know the premise on which the central motif of the storyline of the movie – a bomb on a bus – is arranged.

For those of you who do not know; here is the resume.

A baddie (Dennis Hopper) plants a bomb on a bus filled with ordinadry people its passengers. The bomb is geared up so as to become activated for it to explode once the bus has reached above 50 MPH. The bomb is indeed activated at 50 MPH so that it will explode once the bus speed drops again below the 50 MPH mark.

In the movie the bus accelerates to over 50MPH and the bomb thus is activated so that it is able to expolode; and the remainder of the movie is the story of how the bus is kept running at a speed of over 50MPH whilst the passengers eventually are evacuated and the bus is blown up harmlessly, injuring no-one.

This bomb on bus scenario is an extremly good metaphor which helps show how our consumerist economies are running in actual fact.

Our marketplaces and stores are always stacked roof-high with great proliferations of all kinds of goods and services to be bought. This is because the engine of our consumerist economies is our shopping and purchases; which are performed by people like you and me, the end user consumers, who in great amounts buy and shop and thus continue a vast cycle of exchange of goods and services. Like a cyclical conveyer the goods and sevices keep coming from manufacturers/providers in multi-billions of numbers of items for sale week in week out, year in year out.

Many of these goods and services, in fact more and more as time goes on, have been and continue to be manufactured or set up (if services) so as to make necessary for us a swift return visit or more, to the shops quite soon after having bought an item; and whenever an item is purchased.

This reutrn to the shops is made necessary in many several ways. Some usual ways which spring to mind are:

  1. The bought item breaks soon after use (Dime shop items)
  2. The bought item soon requires a replacement power source(batteries, adapter etc)
  3. The bought items offers accessories which one can add to it for functionality
  4. The bought item goes out of fashion quickly
  5. The bought item no long is compatible because of a subsequent development of newer versions
  6. The bought item fails and is not able to be repaired by a professional nor at home
  7. The manufacturer’s projected lifetime for the bought item is short
  8. You want a latest model of a product/service instead
  9. A smallish piece goes missing and cannot be replaced/is non-replaceable in the marketplace

There are a host of other reasons why one is compelled so very often to go back to the shops quite soon after having bought an initial item or service; and for you to buy a second item or service; usually generically of the same kind, but maybe a different particualr model sometimes, which replaces the former purchase or supersedes it.

Near all the reasons I listed and many of those I did not list, for you going again soon to the shops for another similar purchase are ‘engineered’ reasons concocted by the manufacturers of goods, and by the suppliers of services, so that such events as are on my list do in fact occur frequently, as frequently as the suppliers can get away with, so that the suppliers’ policy ever is seen to be to get you back to the shops seeking another and similar purchases as often as possible.

It is this cyclic conveyor which characterises how our economies are set up to work; so as to keep up our standards of living, of employment, and our money circulation going briskly; and so we continue to live materially pretty well; but at the cost of absolutley gigantic waste of resources and of overprodction of goods/services; and the whole thing is a shaky house of cards in an increasing breeze; and dependent on the continuity of such sales being maintained and ever increased and increased at an ever faster rate of sales.

Those of you more perspicacious will be beginning to see how the plot of the movie ‘Speed’ and the ‘bomb on the bus’ scenario is apposite and appropriate to this setup of consumer economics we have gotten ourselves into. There appears to the economists to be no easy way to curb the revs and slow this consumer bus without that bomb going off; that bomb whose fallout includes economic deprression, dislocation, collapse and a resultant fragmentation of society into a new and anarchic free for all on the streets.

This collapse scenario is perhaps the biggest nightmare of governments in many lands right now. Just a few severe shocks to the system such as that one in 2008 which came close to plunging us all into darkess and despair, and the people will become unemployed in droves and out on the streets rioting and angry, because means and materials for living are no longer sufficiently available to sustain many of us.

Thus we are all on that bus and at present it is doing more than 50 MPH and the bomb is primed ready to explode once we dip in speed and slow down somewhat.

This ‘bomb on bus’ explanation of mine might seem to you to be overstated, a scaremongering, a deliberate exaggeration to grab your attention, sensationalism; and me myself appearing to be devil’s advocate and for the hell of it?

Here then is a current live example of the processes of ‘the bomb on the bus’ scenario in action in the workings of the British and maybe in many other economies in other nations; and right now. It is the example of the Community Care Sector in Britain becoming utterly overburdened and ailing, failing to function; so that perhaps hundreds of thousdands of elderly and disabled persons here are presently without much of the help they need to live a modestly reasonable life; and perhaps once not long ago they were receiving from the State at an adequate level of Care services.

The UK is an aging population; hence our voting to Brexit so as to be able to kick out all the immigrant foreigners here, who are mostly young people under 30, was such a grand and farcical shot in our own foot.

I myself walk into my town centre and I see so many of the people are depending on some kind of Social Welfare; huge numbers of people; and I suspect this is pretty typically the case for all UK large towns and cities. Wheelchairs; motability shopping scooters; people walking with sticks; with disabled badges on their cars parked up in specially reserved areas closer to the shops; many elderly making slow progress and heavy weather of their trip to shop for groceries etc.

These are the apparent casualties of age. There are another host of persons who rely on a visitor, a welfare person to come to the house and look after them. They rarely if ever go out anymore themselves. There are the hundreds of thousands of diabetic elderly; of arthritic; of osteopathic; of dementia; of all sorts who are at home and being cared for by a family member supplemented by State vistors, respites and allowances. The problem is huge. Over 50% of us over 60 now.

This means that the Home and Elderly Care Sector like the National Health Service has had grown up to service its huge footprint, a gigantic multi-billion $/£ industry of pharmaceuticals, prophylactics, dressings and anasthetics, gases, toletries and masses of masses of sundries; all being vacuumed up in gratuitous amounts by our Health Service and Social Care, and at an ever increasing cost to the public purse.

The Health Service is in pretty much the same dire straits as is the Home/Elderly Care Sector as regards finding funding to make ends meet.

The very biggest drain on the amount of resources which are presently being made available are probably the fees charges made, usually to Local Authorities, for the cost of Care Home accommodation for so many people, mostly elderly, who no longer can survive by their own physical/mental resources at home in the community. The buck for the bills for these people’s care for the most part stops with the Public Purse also.

Altogether then we have a consumer society wherein for a company to survive it needs to be ever selling in large amounts, and increasingly so, in an ever grater proliferation of new models, inovations, upgrades, improvements, ventures into new areas of provision and so on. All this,in the parlance of the politicians and the pundits comprises a good portion of our ‘energetic, resourceful, creative, innovation-driven and successful consumer economy.’ There are no words adequate to praise it and us – to be sufficient for the poltiticians and the pundits.

Yet what are we getting; what are we seeing; with this wild-frontier type push ever further westwards of the consumerist machine, which like a log shreddrer is carving to sawdust the forest resources of an entire world, as it applies itself to Health Care and to Elderly/Disabled Care in UK in Nursing Homes and in the Communtiy at large?

Remember our consumerist economies are utterly dependent on their increasing sales of and increasingly adding to a proliferation of products/services; and also rely on superseding ‘older’ ones with ‘newer’ models/types/kinds just as soon as the marketplace is able to bear the novelty of the next version, and/or the next new product/service. How does such an economic model bear down on a Publicly Funded Sector like Health and like Social and Community Care?

Of course the bill to cover adequately these unlucky peoples’ needs who depend on these Public Sectors of Health and Care is likewise going to be ever increasing and ever proliferating; as these Sectors are being evermore railroaded into a false and constructed necessity to be buying upgrades to replace constructively redundant versions of goods and services – sometimes jettisoning ‘redundant’ versions which have perhaps decades of actual years of life potential in them, were they to be continued to be suppported by their manufacturers. But offering such continued support is anathema to the manufacturers; their decisions not to continue spupporting such items are calculated premeditated business decisions so that the profits keep high and rolling in of necessity. A nice tranche of new money is likely to be coming in for manufacturers, traders, from the sale of yet another whole lot of next version, next increment products and services.

How is a Health and a Care Sector with a reluctant funder in the Great British Public able to sustain itself when it is caught in a vice grip of the pincers of a public reluctance to throw more money at them and a consumerist economy which is run and exists only on the fact of squeezing evermore money and sales out of its goods and servicves, as these are being prepared for and in the preparation for, the public. Just as the public is in chains to this consumerism; so are its Publicly Funded Health and Care Sectors and Services.

Further, the public itself is evermore a-clammour for the next item up in the range, a new this or a better that; a replacement; and the old model they had likewise having years of good life still in it – this one ends up on the dump. The public has ‘bought into’ this consumerist model; it has been convinced by the advertising and by the hype and by the propagation machinery of an onslaught of a magnitude which makes Dresden in 1945 look like 2017 Bahrain and its manufactured island resorts. The public has been fooled by the continuous and continuing barrage of persuasion from the manufactruers and the companies and by the artfulness of the men and the women who head them up.

These men and women who head up the companies; they themselves buy things top of the range and which last because they are made for their class of person. They do not buy their own mass produced temporary and stop-gap goods and services which they convice us to buy. They eat of the best; dwell of the best; wear of the best; take leisure of the best; and so on. No budget value frozen chicken Christmas dinner for one in a unheated December room for them.

What would it be like ask yourself if advertising stopped for a day? If no one was to buy and sell for one day? No tokens, coupons, special offers, giveaways, two for ones and so on; nothing. Think of the withdrawal. Think of the time available to consider one’s position?

The accompanying and also contsructive, constructed, ‘rush’ in which we are all encourage to be; the absence of any period of time without music, without background noise, nor background action, images, colours, flashings, and so on; all these assualting the senses every waking minute in many of our lives, maybe in most of the lives of our people, imagine these gone. Their functions are clearly fabricated to encourage us into believing we are in the swim of soemthing we call ‘life’; just as the station master at Waterloo Rail Station Terminus in London asks his staff to put on CDs of Brass Band marching music so as to chivvy along the commuters crossing London during rush hours.

It is yet another hoodwinking, another pulling of wool over our eyes; so as to supplement the barrages from manufacturers, traders, their angles and the pressures they innundate upon us to buy, buy, and buy again. Thus we are in a race we can never win; a consumerist race against ourselves until the resources start to run out and science begins to admit to and accept its limitations and its guilt in providing us with overkill in the realm of ‘the next upgraded item’ ever in the planning.

Theirs is not scientific method; which is a method which proclaims proudly its aims of objectivity and of negation of bias or of interference. These scientists are all chasing the bucks; their whole efforts are inclined towards feeding up to the gills the consumerist economic machine. Likewise the large and prevalent marketing departments in so many larger companies; being hothouses where ‘new’ ideas for products, for the public presentation of products, and for the presentation to the public of the company and its public image, for devising ploys and angles and for getting the better of the competitors; and of stealing a march or even a piece of technology or the like from competitors, if it can be done without comuppance; all this is commonplace everyday of a course stuff today; and the ethics of it and the long-run deleterious effects it has on society and on general trust and goodwill at large are passed over in an eyblink and go wholly by the board.

Our science, like our marketing and our economy as a whole is not geared up primarily to serve its customers, us, with the means of a comfortable and reasonable life. It is geared to the consumerist setup to serve those who head it up and not the people. I am convinced that consumerism is an elaborate and deliberately constructed mental prison, constructed thus by what may be termed loosely Big Business, in which most of us misguidedly enter into our cells and lock ourselves in and throw away the key, thinking ourselves happy and well served.

Consumerism is a great evil.

I have not got onto the subject of how our delusional hedonism which has resulted from this self-incarceration, and which our putting ourselves into the chains consumerism has provided to us; how our short-sighted self-gratifications thus reverberate and concatenate across the world to other less prosperous, less preposterous, nations and peoples than are we; and make their lives deprived, prolonging their deprivations; peoples whose labours often service our materialist penchants and lusts for gadgetries and our OCD shopping fetishes.

I believe also, and this issue is one which I am going to round off this overlong essay with, I believe that there is a way out of consumerism; a way out into another means of production, distribution and marketing. A way out which considers first those whose hands produce and use products and services, and which offers everyone adequate levels of care and of healthcare and of general social provision. A way out which values truly the earth and its need to be cared for; cares truly for its resources being managed soberly with restraint; values truly the welfares of less fortunate ones home and abroad whose lives deserve better. A way out which enlightens us who are self-satisfied in the cells of the prisons of consumerism; enlightens us of our complicty in this farcical runaway helterskelter ride to destruction; and enlightens us how we might feel better about ourselves and feel less unsatisfied and restless about our half-lives, ever on the go chasing one knows not what; satisfied because the good things arising out of our new-found restraint, sobriety, and coming to our senses can be seen not merely for ourselves and in our own lives, but by us more importantly in those lives who live and work on the desperately miserable wrong side of consumerism. Not just the elderly in the Care Homes in UK or the people in wards in our hosptials; but those others we never see or meet with too, who presently are providing over the course of their (also constructively) curtailed lifetimes our unnecessary abundances of proliferated wastes and redundant gorgings of resources and of overkill goods and services

Get off the bus.

Too Many Free Rides

Fat people park their cars get out and shop

Drinks and cigarettes; young waddling overweight

Prohibited car parking seems as if it never could

Mean anything but: Park

 

As near the grocery entrances as the space permits

In jam and gridlock cars pile up in stacks outside

Minimum walkers, young people, go fat and pastey pale

Bigger than I myself am: 20 stone

 

No consciousness, compunction, understanding of the shape

Their bodies are not in; nor none for crippled guys

Or elderly whose journeys all the further, necessarily,

No spaces left, and neither fellow-feeling

 

All hours into the late of evenings day on day

Cars and small vans draw up – unnecessary slams of doors –

Fat guys and fat dolls loll out pour their bodies from the seats

Inflated Mr Blobby bubbles wandering into care

 

Fat guys fat ladies early middle aged

Floating on pavement motorscooters, the resplendently disabled

Hazards pedestrians have to spot, at speed they sit and shop

Too arsed to walk the distance are their minds; that roll

 

Instead upon their special pleadings, welfare claims that oil the wheels

Claimant forsooth, impute a disability, a tidy sum

Donated, sequestrasted, from the public purse

Buys buggies, motor cars, bus fares, respite, outings, and tired ennui

 

Thinking it smart to be beseemed a mid-life cripple

Throwing oneself on State compassion for the not so sick

Excepting such have attitudes to life and independence

Are sick; OK to be a failure as a person

 

If fat submerges minds, their minds are sunken

Into a pillowed squadge of olio-like cream

Smothering derrogations in a deadened indolence

Dead in the water lie their honest civic lives

 

Only their physical bodies linger yet to catch up

By dying with their outlooks which count barren thought

To linger out longer they draw on the bounteous gratis boons

Of A&E and Casualty and mass prescription calls

 

And to what object no-one thinking really knows

Clinging to living deaths with such tenacious agony

Drawing off too much fabric from upright society

Hamstringing impetus and urgency to heed

 

The lame the sick the poor the guys in clear and present need

At home across the world our giving figures fall fatigued

Too many causes, rude, bad instances of loose abuse

Following gravy trains of faking it

 

Even are daily beggars on the busy public streets

A pollution; lazy bones rather would they ply and skim

As counterfeited indigents by facile false pretences:

Could work, could help themselves, and not take penury’s pence

 

Soft soaping, selling pity, moving passers-by to grieve

Then hooking straight with comrades thronging up and down the street

Dividing up the spoils, accept of someone elses bread

So keep themselves in liquors

 

And thus are alms curtailed for needy damaged goods

Who interspersed amongst them need a spell in wards

And treatment, caring for; poor paupers in a bad way

Persons life-dwindling straightway right before one’s eyes

 

Who cannot help themselves, by whose leave others

Make mockery their state, fake tacit imitations

Untruthful insincere thereby demolishing good faith

And ample moral fabric by their ugly subterfuge

 

These dudes who will refuse all help because

This life is one they choose to further, perpetrate,

Offers of shelter send them spinning helter-skelter on their way

Aghast at rocket speed their legs are up and running

 

Or offer them some small change being all your pocket

‘Forget it’; signally too light to make their want prevail;

Not good enough for no-goods, playact fussy bedesmen,

Not an affront; just scathing

 

Such is our world in many places in these times

Too many of us well-content to win our mealboard sideways

Begging on streets or propagating shady business coups;

Scams recognised by law disgrace their culprits and our life

 

Too many easy-money chasers set for easy bucks

Creasing out crooked wheezes, subtleties that soak the system,

Money rackets miring vital store of self-esteem

In each of us, by pitch are all defiled.

In an Age of Tired Truth

As camouflage a crafted style amounts to politics

Ideolog smithys all the while

Hammer-on, turning ploughshares into vicious steels

Fettling up such salacious stuffs to kill with; under principle;

Deeply thereunder unhandsome lies their currency of skill

 

Broadside bespoilers orgify indictments, undertaking deft

Redactions that bend their centrefolds’ real-time sincerity,

Image projectors draw up goodly rulers, public schoolers

Of morals;

Who truth-tell miscellaneous models of conviction,

 

Convicting at once wholesale and absolute a population,

Unfamiliar with

The sweet conversants hid in idyll lyric ideologies;

Fodders whose sufferings speak of power-grabs in sighs

A shade indifferent, yet all the more the assured,

Entirely.

 

Be ye beware the honours laid on scrining heads of state

Endowed by self to self for self-same-self’s own sake,

Insignias they drape over scarred eviscerated landscapes

On moons where dress-up lookalikes play Tammerlaine

 

Buck Mulligan big words to salet, dress, their gutted meats

The heaps of broken bodies, litter caracassing the streets

Served up, and seasoned; cooked on prejudices

Sophisticats admire; a spread of equal comfortable ease

Finds tolerable digestion,

 

Rummage-bag war-words pirouette, proliferate self-defence

Tracing a delicate lilting lift, then unctuous genuflection

Their grateful arms uptake the fashionistas at high-tea

Self-referenced by their grievance

 

Their works only uneasy worn when lone before bare ghosts,

Raised-up on favours buttonholing the bigger ballot box,

When willingly to blow and bend, main chance any cost,

For any loss projected on the residues of time

“Take what you can! – Give nothing back!” (citation: Jack Sparrow and Mr Gibbs)

Science arranges nature as men tend their gardens

To answer a convenient pleasantry

Minds outwardly displaying, show their content in their portraits

A patch of earth; a process, or some gadgetry

 

Drawn down on a banked collateral evolved, laid under;

By invisible selfless hand at work jobbing unceremoniously

Which does not market, advertise, contract-with, brand, or sell

Silent and salient mass producer of life’s bottom drawer

 

Some such is in its logic prior to, in time also

Set previous; and a master’s seat providing thus,

As sated gardeners draw in pleasure, being their labour’s pay

This lord of all earth’s glories sits on Summer’s evening day

 

Contented with fit satisfactions such a master sits

Equal of quiet homage owns a non-audacious peace

Forgoing contests for comments brimming over a neighbour’s wall

The upstanding gratulations of men’s subtle friendly foe

 

Unheard, unregistered, this blithe master simply rests

Happy to be providing singing birds in feathered nests

Intrepid ransacks, goings-on beseige his open door

Thinking the master out men taking cue would rob the store

 

Making themselves thus masters with insurgent curly tails

Or thinking so, science thei rbecoming fairway garden

Yielding them garlands of ornament in exponential glamour

Tin, copper, iron, aluminium, gold

 

Lavish this ravishment and sonorous the lauds

The sub-tenant masters ingather to their metalled souls

Vaster than master true might want to hanker, presuppose

Rankles in heads infatuate dirigible

 

Can you dig it? Good! Go dig it! Raise a mountain mining town

People it and bedraggle it with wraiths constraint curtails

Knee high in scorious silts in loin cloths set them sifting folds

The master’s fairest earth’s-extracted, comminuted

 

Contaminants sanguine scented waft their crazy money fumes

Like sharks across the ocean snuff for palatable meats

High guys in lofty towers prattle, dandle forks and knives

Menus awaiting

 

Mimicking masques at being masters, fashioning in their heads

Graven and set up adorned high tables ceremoniously

Mirroring their afflictions, affections showing selves abjectly

They worship. Food to think on…?

 

Which high hombres spurn widowed: that their loaded scales should skip

Unstable as the basement drifts they’re leaned upon

And baseless and those power dreams their egos preened on

Assuming unassuming grace presumes a coup deposal

 

Disposal of the spoils had from the reaches of the planet

Deposal and disposal of that providence germane

Of riches truly riches and not hijacked plundered offal.

That come should come tomorrows of a natural consequence

 

That Tom should raid the larder every merry midnight feast

Should throwaway all precaution in his fervid feeding fit

Pantechnicons of groceries, and him forever underwrit

And before he bursts exhaustion he could suffer

 

A world worn out by aggravated knife assault

Cuttings that like a cake a slice in here, a portion there

Feeds and increases appetites anticipation-drawn

On a rich addiction

 

No counting costs; be doffed, till loss has everything

Take what you like the master says, but you need pay for it;

Yet givings-back are proceedings in a temperate counsel

Finding for a due regard against profligacy

“Hell will have millions of wills hating each other forever”

Caesar could brook no superior, as would Pompey no equal’

These of the type, imperator, run mad to be at governing people

Whose heads overstock self-regard in a block, here’s no standing room

But the history books harvester suchlike men, the inexorable years consume

 

No egress delivers their hidebound-haught, nor a root humility

And their liberal allowance of a goodly God, is all expedient utility

By investment’s presents, they ape a fondly forgiving magnanimity

Publishing edicts grandiose; they’re the germens of niggard vanity

 

Dominion bids all their will concert, bear down, and so persever

Forcing towards aggrandisements, to beyond even death’s river;

Fell certain their ludicrous revelries present no bar to Lethe

Whilst counting out honeypot moieties prorogued albeit obliquely

 

Such gooks are to whom we trust ourselves, our very beings,

The Hectoring ombudsmen’s statecrafter reparteeings

Buyers and sellers in stockmarkets dealing future country matters

Men who would have themselves philanthropes, and good-batters

 

The costumes appear all altered, the same old brass orations

Pinning tails on the donkeys so to suit destitute situations

Expending elastic reasoning upon extruded attributions

Wills working up saliencies corrupt, care of the form of words

 

Adding in slants, their havocs angle as judicial truth

Sworn statements at heel well-tethered, underwrite anew

Some dummy idle-notion motions; incident to rudder

Using cable-ties, and sisal strings; and epoxy gum palaver

 

All government aims at, fast maintains, the claims to its accession

That a frame up rule may be done by a fool in his frequent fits of passion,

Add a semblance of trait like a conscionable face to his imposture

And the winds’ welfare blows better blustering clothes than’s lacklustre

 

The game is to say, and to stay at all costs, one is winning

Nor losing; the name’s in the title, possession’s most vital, concerning

A sped Union Address on this knacker’s yard shed mediaeval

Look you tough in a suit standing tall, even when you’re weasel

 

Satisfy happy hands rapping hard marching bands in a tunnel

Where the lights have gone phutt, nonetheless all’s about gloss enamel

Lo, and a roar breaks, and a train’s making shakes: This Convention

Is a coda; moreover, the leader’s last texts got a mention

BBC Presents: The News – aka: The Good Old Conservative Club

Norm is a regular voter, wears a knowing boater hat

In the summer on the backs, or playing on lawns with jacks

A figure fifty years or more time-challenged going back

Who swills down Abbott Ale from a hefty fifty gallon sack

 

Don is of higher circles, is patrician altogether

Surrounded, set on full jam shelves, of a regal bonded leather

He likes to think he’s hyper-hip to tip the wink to others

On what’s the trended forecast. Then there’s that Carruthers,

 

A blithering fuss of ill-presumed half-formed intent

Ever emblazoning rampant couchant camp accoutrements

Of a bankrupt-mind Micawber wearing prissy points of view

That as things were he estimates has long been overdue

 

Such creatures are the surplus, upkeep daffodilled roundabouts

Concieve policemen overgrown undergraduate boy scouts

Approve the Raleigh bicycle and an early Evensong

Make all excuse to hear themselves talk blethers all day long

 

Their scions shine, the talking classes, daughters? hardly, nay,

(The Ladies are preternatural talkers nonetheless they say)

Hear you their TV buckshot commentators’ scattergun array

Here the alumni parcelling out the beans-in-sauce they spill

 

Not Heinz, no way; perhaps some fancy high-end food hall brand

Tasting like dockers’ loincloths, labelled Made in Disneyland

That pours out dry and non-revealing cuts of reformed ham,

Frittered and culled in the early mornings from the Tabloids’ charabanc

 

Dressings of mighty-obvious grace a sterling brand new plate

Of filleted cods overcooked, but cold, because arriving late

Bones yet within it, not yet made about with and so picked

‘Just sound-off as if you know your stuff’ – indeed that’s all the trick!

 

Guys they get handsome paid for pushing tour de force boiled scraps

A bubble ‘n squeak of rumour ghosting bogies’ late-sprung traps

New laid and dusted over with a sprig of painted folly

Here are the feeds from prigs who fire up simple people’s worry

 

Everything’s normal, everything is tout suite correct, secure,

Just as so long as who’s in power remains (of course) in power

Be wary though, of others, the foreign sorts, or those inept,

Ot that just plain dangerous thinking sort: thus is the day’s collect

 

Incanted every day to every high church dancing measure

Set to the full variety of received chant as forgathered

Bound-up, and published, imprimis, in service books of text,

One takes ensample illustrations from, they’re graded to perplex

 

A captive Tory audience, wandering desert Promised Lands

Looking for one like Moses, one whose bought assurance stands,

When greatly in consternation at the new perturbance thrummed

Construing its sombre dooms to pledge a bleak November land:-

 

Their indifference confounds together, now and ever; news and views

Their informers, provoking ever, look for the next-up reed to bruise

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This article is also posted at steemit: https://steemit.com/poetry/@matthew.raymer/bbc-presents-the-news-aka-the-good-old-conservative-club

The Developer: Client Relations 1: Setting Expectations

As like all of us, clients need quite a bit of repetition, if they are to take in and grasp any terms one attempts to set as ‘rules’ upon the hiring of you as developer to make their software and design works.

There is no use in being anything but straightforward and repetitive; nothing complicated by hedges and conditionals; simple statements in simple language; and the same messages regarding terms when spoken to a client as when writing to a client.

Not dictatorial butyet assertive and clear.

These rules ought to be more or less the same set for all your clients. In this they are rather principles of how one oneself goes about ones work and about managing one’s relations with one’s clients. They should be set down in the written Agreement between Parties to the works. They should be offered to the client again in full in the initial progress report you write up for the client; and every now and then, say once a month, the client is reminded of the efficacy of these terms of yours in progess reports.

Such reminders can be vareigated so as not to some like dictatorship, and hinted at but not too vaguely, so that they seep into the relationship gradually and without too much heavy-handedness on your part.

Your terms need to be able to set for the client those expectations a client might reasonably desire, and also they need to set those expectations of behaviour and those protocols which you feel are fair and equitable, but yet they will allow you to work without you getting embroiled and having to manage difficult or crumbling human relations between yourself and the client as you go and ‘on the hoof’.

All the above is an ideal scenario; and of course no set of laid down expectations for clients and for their developers in practice is going to prevent utterly a need for relations to be managed day to day at least somewhat.

Thes expectations need to be formulated, written down and communicated to the client as soon after hiring as is practicable; certainly before any agreement with a client is signed by a developer. Even during negotiations previous to hiring their content ought to be made use of during the negotiation process; so that the cleint has ‘no illusions’ about where a developer satands and how he works.

As a general rule it is always for the best that in negotiations and Agreements, Requirement Documents and Specifcations etc; as much as is possible to be set or settled between parties up front before work on coding/design actually begins. Thus everyone concerned ought to know where they stand and also have in place clear understandings of whatis required of them; when what is reqired is expected; and how the work is in general going to progress.

Rules for behaviour and for settlement of non-deal breaking disagreements, say on how to do a piece of work or what software to use; as well as dealines and billing etc, ought to be laid down and laid out and acknowledged as read and understood by parties.

Behavioural rules will always inevitably be broken in the course of the relationship, but the idea of the writen down and acknowledged agreed protocols is that they act as a guide and a reference point to which a party is able to point and so point up such breaches. An appeal to the ‘spirit of the agrements’ is able to be had by a party with some evidence (the protocols themselves) being available to support such an appeal .

Now all the above so far might seem to you as if it is too longwinded and cumbersome to bother with so as to put in place. Too much time; too much bother; when all that is required and expected is software etc written. For smaller projects maybe there’s a case for saying this with some justice; although for anything above medium sized projects our experience at Anomalist Design LLC has reiterated almost without exception that every client relationship over extended time will require more time and more careful management from parties; this being time and attention which wil eat into development time per se severely and cost you considerably in delays and distractions, in comparison to a situation where you had to put in place up front at the beginnging between parties such mutual safeguards as I am outlining here.

The keys to successful ‘prenuptial-type’ protocols of this kind are:

Comrehensiveness – i.e. any written terms being suficent to cover most or all of the usual sticking points which any experienced developer will know are commonplace arising in the course of working on projects

Clarity of language – i.e. that there in minimum room in writen terms for ‘other interpretations’ or ‘escape hatches’ or else plain fudging becuase of exploitations of vagarires.

Equity of approach – i.e. the terms are fair and balanced; apply whereever appropriate to all parties; demand nothing onerous or drastic excepting in conditions governming extreme situations arising and so are proportional. Where there is room for reasonable doubt on an issue; it is a good because generous policy for the disadvantaged party to allow a benefit of the doubt to the other parties.

Firm answers/courses of action for hypothetical situations foreseen arising – i.e. do not shy away fromcommonplace worst case scenarios – but instead takle th epossibility of the in the shape of rules, protocols, time constraints, recompense, sufficiency of redress/recovery.

Nothing redundant – i.e. be as brief as clarity and comprehensiveness will allow

Setting Agreed and Understood Expectations – i.e. which should be matched with wholehearted commitment to fuflling these when situations arise

Setting Boundaries – i.e. over which parties do not step and were they to step over one of them then set….

Penalties kick in – i.e. and these are concretely expressed and definite in their execution and effects.

Some examples of the kinds of things which are the nitty-gritty, the detail of such key components of up-front Agreements; that is, actual terms and the set expectations etc, themselves will be laid out in another aritcle in this series; together with possibly an instance of such an Agreement which Anomalist Design LLC has used with some success in the course of its working life.

Should you not feel confident about your abilities for drafting such a set of terms; there are web entities which for a small fee are willing to scan and consider your draft|(s) and offer good hints and advice on how to tighten them up and make them good.

Do not duck out altogether and leave it to your admin to deal with writing such items. You need to be initmately familiar with their contents, and with what you are in fact committing to when you sign.

Your efforts at practicing making such documents are able to add clarity to your own vision for the project in hand, and has many such ‘spin-offs’ of benefit to you in clarifying your role(s) in the works. Coninuing perseverance in drafting such documents also will bring little by little greater clarity and penetration to your other written documents; specs and requirement docs, etc; and even to your abilities to envisage routes down which to follow so as to architect projects in general.

The rule here is a general life rule: Nothing, no experience is wasted; whether good or bad, success or failure, loss of gain; all is grist to the mill for the person who is happy to examine his/her experience and draw the life-lessons arising from their examination.

More is to follow. Watch this space.

____________________

This article is also posted at steemit: https://steemit.com/softwaredevelopment/@matthew.raymer/the-developer-client-relations-1-setting-expectations

Lawful Mischief: Let the Buyer Beware

In a recent article I wrote about how unforeseen liabilities incurred by many manufacturers are as a rule passed down through their marketing and supply chains to a consumer public for it to bear.

Wayback now I wrote and noted how in the course of the 18th century here in Britain at a time when The Agrarian Revolution occurred, which preceded The Industrial Revolution, and encouraged the well-off to make an outrageous land-grab by taking from the ordinary person ancient rights of access to land for grazing and firewood etc. This land grab was carried out by well-off people ‘enclosing’ land. That is, setting up fences which kept out others, and even those who formerly had had rights of access etc.

The land grab was made because new ways of intensive farming were beginning to make cultivation of the land become a booming business venture; the land grabs were made for money; for pursuit of gain; and at the expense of that class of person who had little enough anyway on which to subsist.

Thus by way of what amounted to a manipulation of justice, laws were passed, Enclosure Acts, and these laws legitimised and made ‘above board’ at least in a temporal world, these shameful landgrabs of greed.

Going back to ancient times – I have told this story before too – there was Alexander the Great, ruler of all the known world by way of sweeping war and conquest – his empire. At one time before Alexander stood for judgement a pirate who was allowed to speak a few words in his own defence. The pirate is said to have said to Alexander something of this sort: ‘I have robbed and raided just a few odd ships here and there; but you have raided and pillaged whole nations.’

The pirate’s argument is wholly sound. I don’t know what happened to him?

The point being made by me by giving you all these examples of what I have titled ‘Lawful Mischief’; is that here with us today are the petty Alexanders and the legitimised theives and the manipulating defrayers of liability; and we all allow them to trade still and we are all too often hoodwinked by one or two of them and their sly ways.

The remainder of this article is going to course through about a half dozen examples of present day hoodwinking; most being within the law; some worked by traders; some by consumers; and some beyond the law; criminal. The aim of doing this coursing through examples is to demonstrate how the law in many instances is no adequate protection against a person being cheated, hoodwinked. I make this review of scams, legal and illegal, to demonstrate to you the fact that there are as flagrant and wicked ill-doers sheltering under the legal side of trading, as there are on the criminal side; and that taken as a whole and ethically speaking, those persons on the right side of the law and those persons on the wrong side of it, in fact have very little to differentiate them one from another.

Which of them is worse is hard to say. The crimimals have honesty on their side in that they never intended to give their activites a makeover gloss of lawfulness. Yet the criminals to are those who are the more brasen in that they show no regard for staying within the law.

Much of the Lawful Mischief I am going to example is carried on by bigger companies; most especially by those companies who have a disproportionately large market share of trading compared to their nearest competitiors; and then there is another typical large company format which is ace at brewing Lawful Mischief; which is the large company which holds presitgious Brands and Marks, and often also they hold, so as to fortify their trading supremacies, state sanctioned monopolies in the shape of patents copyrights and design rights; all of which hedge them around with an exclusivity for their prestigious Branded products.

In such larger companies as those whose habit is to practice these Lawful Mischiefs, there is likely to be, I doubt there are any without, a dedicated marketing department of ‘creatives’ – misnomer – a large and hothouse department wherein astute men and women dream up attractive but in the main tacky ideas. These are stewed up and offered for consideration, testing and trial in the company; with an eye solely and wholly on impressing the consumer with a false asumption that here is a fantastic deal or offer, when the deal or offer for a consumer is inevitably and in fact a cognitive deceit and illusion.

Let’s take the most topical of these Legal Mischiefs; one come to light today; that airlines are in a habit of deliberately overbooking passenger numbers on flights. The aim is to ensure that every flight takes off with a full payload of passengers; thus the airline profits in this resepct are always maximised. Whenever turn up to fly too many passengers, airlines are in the habit of offering sums of money to volunteers amongst passengers who are happy to fly later on another flight; to just sufficient numbers of passengers willing to opt for a voluntary delay. They are paid to demur from the present flight, so as to make the flight 100% full and no less.

Now today it was reported on BBC News that a man had been forcibly removed from a flight because he had not been willing to accept payment and take a later flight. The man got a bloody nose into the bargain from an airline ‘heavy’ and other passengers were vexed – I’m not sure whether about the delay or about the treatment given the man?

Now airlines so far as I know are springing it on passengers expecting a seat once the passengers are boarding, that some of them will not get that flight. So one might believe one has a valid ticket to fly but in fact one has not. And one does not realise this is so until boarding.

The man forcibly removed did not want to miss his booked flight; he was unwilling to be bought off; he was unwilling to leave the plane; and he was manhandled off it.

Now this scenario of the extra passenger who does not want to leave the plane one would think would have been an inevitable thing for the airline concerned to have envisaged as a likely scenario bound to happen sooner or later? I do believe that the airline did envisage it but true to form the airline just let it go and opted to deal with such as case when the occasion(s) arise(s). I say true to form because of the presuppositions of the airlines who do this kind of practice are tellingly revealling to consider.

The part of this ‘marketing’ of Lawful Mischief, in this case, by the airlines, which stands out like a sore thumb, is the presupposition that the airline is/would be – able to buy off sufficient passengers always every time so as to make everything, everytime, go hunky dory for them. The thought that money does not speak sufficiently loudly to some people who are being asked to leave a flight never entered their calculations. Their own great avarice to maximise profits by ensuring via this marketing wheese that evey flight of theirs is 100% full on takeoff, this has led them to believe that money offers to voluntarily delayed passengers would always carry the day and bear the sway.

And so here today we had a man not to be bought off, and in a hurry to get somewhere; a misfit; an odd sort of person who did not fit the smart airline buisiness model; labelled a troublemaker by the airline’s CEO; given a bloody nose by an ‘official’; and frog-marched off by heavies against his will and angrily shouting and resisting.

This then is one of many such legitimate faces of trading in our laissez faire competitive political economy. Laissez faire means ‘Let’s do it’; and the term emphasises freedom and freedom of choice, thus free trade and open competition et al. The onus of laissez faire is ever upon those who trade and do business, for them to set their own terms; and hey presto, the hallowed marketplace is the arena which by a kind of Darwinian Natural Selection, approves or disapproves the terms any trader sets. The buying consumer in theory has a right to buy or to walk and go elsewhere. Thus in theory the consumer carries out the final verdict on the trader, on his goods/services and on his terms.

The consumer then in theory is the natural and actual curb on the rapaciousness of any trader.

One might classify the following aspects of doing business as a company today in the consumer society, as being wily ways invented by such companies deliberately so as to circumvent in their favour this extremely theoretical Let’s do it laissez faire in our would-be open society’ of ‘autonomous ‘checks and balances’; all supposedly built into the system by a form of ‘naturalmeans. The smart Alec henchmen and women of such companies in their marketing departments act to back the companies to the very hilt in a quest for their own fulfillments of greed, power, and avarice. The circumventing aspects of business in the main are:

  • Marketing and marketing departments
  • Advertising
  • Patents, Designs and Copyrights
  • Trademarks and Branding
  • Licensing of rights
  • Dividing up trading territories
  • Following (globally)the cheapest markets to make goods/offer services in/from
  • Setting up Charitable Foundations
  • Creative Accounting
  • Tax Avoidance

There are more – these are more than enough for now.

Everything on this list is done religiously avidly by, especially, larger companies, and by those companies aspiring to reach the heights; it is done primarily by them so as to bias the Let’s do it laissez faire open-endedness of theory deeply, profoundly and dreadfully in their favours in practice.

I am able, if I had enough time and patience, to demonstrate to you in words and examples how each of these aspects listed works in the great favour of the companies who practice it; and on the other hand to the deep detriment of the ‘buck stops here’ consumer. If you had enough patience also?

Before I leave the airline malpractice example which I began with I want to add something final which my wife brought up when we heard about what was going on. She said: ‘why doesn’t the man sue the airline for breach of contract?’. I thought about it and said: ‘Because of the long and dreary costly bother of setting up a small claims case; and because of a residual uncertainty about not wining the case.’

Law here in UK and I guess it’s worse in USA is too expensive for the common person. Justice costs too much. It is too slow and too uncertain. A large company is able to spin-out cases indefinitely and to take them to the limits of The Supreme Court if necessary; when much is at stake for them. They are able easily to daunt or weary or cow or deter ordinary Joe and Jane Soaps from taking them on. It is David versus Goliath but with Goliath bashing the stuffing out of David every time.

And this fact of the sheer dominance of companies leads inevitably to their using their dominance to oppress lesser entities and persons. Consider your own experience; consider how many times you have been more or less forced to pay demands and extras and small but significant add-ons and service charges and so on by the companies you deal with in the course of your upkeep of your household? In my own experience I can say hand on heart that never before has so much money left my household and gone unexpectedly, unduly, and irrecoverably, to utilities, to taxes, to IT and Comms services, to all kinds of traders and leviers, than it has done over the past two or three years.

Particularly I believe the situation has worsened so much because so many companies and their employees and so much marketing and other wheezes have been at work and have put in place so many ‘milch cow’ wiseacre Lawful Mischiefs so that the balance between the consumer and trading companies is now well out of kilter; extremely so.

The simple fact that there is no adequate or straightforward means of redress at the disposal of a consumer right now has allowed companies of all kinds to exploit to the very brim of the trough wheezes which bring in a kind of ‘rapine’ income to them.

This then is that Triumph of Capitalism, so much lauded and made so much of; by the same persons and their businesses who are wringing dry the very pockets of the common person. It’s just another form of totalitarianism; one sanctioned by governments. And were it not sanctioned by governments, nevertheless governments today are ever more abject and at the behest of large companies and so are kowtowing to and mollifying and soliciting them and their wealth and power; begging them almost to come and trade build or sell in this particular neck of the woods.

Yet governments as they go are also are compiled of persons the same who sit on boards and who are in the pay of large companies; even of persons running conglomerates as Captains of Industry themselves. The parallel accords with that of the academics in The West; who are now businessmen; and as such are in the pockets of and in the pay of industry and its Captains.

These Captains are the new Tamburlains and Genghis Khans; Sennacheribs and Piccolominos of the world. Their ambitions universally are forever for a greater dominance; of their competitors and of their consumer publics; whom they screw as tightly as their smart Alec wise-guy idea departments can muster.

Let’s take a few smaller but yet very significant examples of ‘screw you Joe Public!’

It has been customary in former but recent years in the UK for smaller manufacturers of car spare parts to be allowed a waiver in regard to those patents which protect, fortify and surround with a hedge the big car manufacturers’ automobiles, so that these smaller firms are able to produce spare parts for cars whose designs etc are yet still under patent. The same logic has always applied likewise to IT manufacturers of hardware and of the sundries which their hardware requires. I mean items like printers and phones as hardware, and sundries like batteries and inks.

Yet use Apple’s i Phone i Tunes software on your Microsoft desktop to upload one’s phone data and save it temporarily; and then try to restore/repair your i phone’s software using the i Tunes app, and lo, when your battery in your phone is a replacement, and not an Apple battery, one is likely to run into problems; and your restore/repair is likely to fail. You are left high and dry. No forewarning on the i tunes app software notices or information; nothing obviously present without reading through reams of Terms and Conditions before using the i Tunes software.

Thus the ‘spare parts’ waiver on the patent useful to small manufacturers of replacement batteries for Apple phones is circumvented, made null land void, in respect of resetting and restoring your phone. One cannot but believe Apple has set this state of affairs up deliberately; a sort of ‘dog in the manger’ trick so as to do as much as they are able to ‘tie in’ their consumers to Apple branded goods only.

I wrote in another piece recently about ‘Tommy Shops’ having been historically present in the South Wales Valleys mining communities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Miners were paid in ‘tokens’ issued, minted, by the employer, the coal pit owner, who had also set up shops selling all the things needful for life, and which was the only place that redeemed the employer’s tokens. These were Tommy Shops. In this way the employer was able to exploit the miners even when the miners were not digging out coal for him. Miners and their families were wholly tied-in to using employers’ Tommy Shops to buy all their worldly goods in.

Is not this Apple battery Legal Mischief not another incarnation of the Tommy Shop and its tokens? I think so.

Now printers. Printers historically I have seen them being ‘given away’ gratis at stores – a large and complex piece of state of the art electronics being given out like sweets are offered in a hotel reception. The trick, the wheeze, the Legal Mischief being that printer inks are horrendously and outrageously expensive, and last disappointingly very briefly before a refill is needed. Thus a printer is joyfully taken away gratis by a very happy shopper who then spend five or six years paying through the nose for it in ridiculously priced ink refills.

Now the small firms spare parts waiver of patents on printers kicks in; and small firms begin making ‘compatible cartridges’ for the ‘free’ printers. The printer makers hit back. Soon a printer arrives on the market which will work only with ‘genuine’ Branded to the printer manufacturer’s ink refills. It is the Apple, and the Tommy Shop story over again; and over again.

We all know these small scale Legal Mischiefs and for the most part we accept them as part of the detail of modern life. It says something sordid about modern life that we have to do so. We have to do so because usually there’s no alternative other than a new printer or a new phone. Captive markets we are. Tommy Shop traffic

And the old Scots saying that: ‘Many a mickle makes a muckle’ applies. It is a few $ or £ extra for us every time we buy a battery or an ink; but for Apple and for the printer Companies this few extra $ or £ amounts to billions across the years. Worse, they feel they are entitled to this windfall which they have worked their way by their machinations with patent law and with spare parts; all’s fair in love and war – and in business.

Thus we come to charity. There is no charity in business, that is why Apple and Printer Companies set things up and set us up the way they do. How many other similar ‘tie-ins’ to Tommy Shops do you know of; have affected you? Remember it’s all part of that laissez faire Let’s do it; that freedom to choose and that allowing the marketplace to settle issues of supply, demand, pricing, stocks, profit, and value. I don’t think so.

Just like loaded dice, we are on the other end of a bum deal. Just like the big guy with the loot on the poker table is able to blow away the little guys by raising them so high their hair stands on end and they cannot follow because their money and credit does not stretch that far. This is what it looks like from our end of laissez faire.

Some more – and more substantial – examples.

Charity. Burger King and MacDonald’s. Burger King has pulled off a major coup in marketing. It has won the prize awarded by companies like itself who value these marketing wheezes. Burger King approached MacDonald’s with a proposition that they join forces so as to produce a sort of ‘charity burger’. The proceeds, part of them, will go to needy causes.

What a wheeze! A fait acompli by Burger King indeed! MacDonald’s might hardly have refused such an approach from Burger King. How would it look in the ensuing publicity – the tabloids no doubt being encouraged by a very accessible and amenable Burger King to report big on such a remiss refusal by MacDonald’s.

So MacDonald’s more or less dragooned into the wheeze by a sort of (im)moral blackmail. And to boot Burger King comes out smelling of roses because it was Burger King who had the idea and who initiated it and who approached MacDonald’s. Thus Burger King is the top dog in the partnership no doubt.

And for charity too – the icing on the cake – what a wheeze! The charity bit to Burger King is worth every penny donated; as a smart polish and shine for company image and reputation – especially seeing that MacDonald’s is paying a substantial amount of it! MacDonald’s is merely the poor relation here. Caught out by a smart Alec in Burger King’s marketing factory. It seems to me only incidental that there is a charity element in play in the arrangement. It is the kingpin of the marketing ploy as ploy; but only incidental that the needy get something out of it. That’s why it got the marketing prize. I’m not a cynic – I’m a truth teller. I am single-minded about straight down the line dealing – and am unhappy with sly tricks.

There are more. I may let some remain for another follow up on this topic – there’s so much to cover. One last example – of the consumers taking the hint from their masters, the companies; and taking a leaf out of their books.

There is a scam going on here in UK for some years now concerning driving and cars. It became the ‘fashion’ that whenever one was in a bump in a car one would claim insurance payout for the ubiquitous and inevitable ‘whiplash’ one had suffered. ‘Whiplash’ is a strain of the neck cause by a vehicle juddering to a very sudden halt in a bump. Likewise, another consumer wheeze – claiming on gas appliance insurance – by taking it out in early spring and claiming in autumn but the heating being broken from before the time you took insurance out.

Of course, as fashions, these things merely put everyone’s insurance premiums up severely and their cost becomes distributed, diffused by the insurance companies, to the consumer’s pocket – yet again.

Another vehicle scam was that persons would buy up an old worn out car and insure it as if it were new. Then crash it – a write-off. That too ended up as a bill for the likes of you and me.

Lastly before I stop I want to give an example or two of collusions between companies and consumers to fix up a wheeze by which both make some cash – though there are caveats.

The first example is the guy with the billboard who accosts you in the high street asking you whether you’ve had an accident in the past 3 years. He, his company will fight your case ( which you never knew you had till now) and get you compensation (which you never knew you could get till now); and the thought of this is supposed to light up a cash till inside your head and show you daydreams of a cruise or of a couple of days abroad. Greed is the spur – but the guy is offering you a sprat to catch a mackerel for himself.

These claims are notorious for not paying out what they promise. Very often most of the money compensated, when there is actually money compensated, surprise, surprise, is swallowed up in legal bills to the firm who was so concerned that you should have gotten justice for your accident that was not your fault. The final fillet on the bait is – a no win no fee pledge – and the mouthwatering avarice driven passer-by is then hooked.

Likewise on the phone here in UK today about half one’s calls are scams. One which is a Lawful Mischief is concerning PPI – Private Property Insurance or something like that. It was something ‘mis-sold’ to house buyers for a long period before the 2008 crash. Even now, after four or five years of scattergun cold calls about that money due to you from your mis-sold PPI the calls keep coming in; and big hoardings at junctions here still are carrying new posters such as ‘ There’s still billions of unclaimed PPI!’.

The whole economy here seems ever more and more to be becoming a big game of gambling and windfalls; gambling one loses and windfalls which are so light they barely hit the ground. Money in truth has become our raison d’etre – get it any way we can – above or below the board – licit, illicit, scam or wheeze – they’re all valid.

Everyone is game for some Lawful Mischief; instead of freedom its a chaos of free for all, two falls two submissions or a knockout. Freedom is precious – to be guarded by way of self restraint and due consideration. What we have is a riot, a mess, a confusion of voices shouting to one another and only each individual listening to his/her own voice and to no-one else’s.

Not freedom – wanton license.