The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods: Powering the Global Money Engine 4

Long-laugh Light bulbs

Everyone in the world who uses such light bulbs will have had some experience of how wasteful and how contradictory to their sold purpose to us as gullible publics they in fact are.

One is with great difficultly able to get any of the older type non-long-life bulbs. In the developed and civilised nations they are no longer being produced nor traded.  These old non-long life bulbs have been outlawed; like Robin Hood and his Merry Men, whilst the Sheriff and his soldiery of long-life heroes continue to squeeze the common people of Sherwood.

In the beginning, these long-life bulbs were being given away free of charge to households; one was able to stockpile them there were so many freebies circulating. They were popped through your door or handed out at the retail stores, and by the man who reads your electricity meter; everywhere; as if the future was bright and light would be everywhere for ever after.

The earliest ones were clumsy-looking bulbs; with two or four parallel tubes like a tiny bendy fluorescent tube shape.  But the promise and the prognosis could hardly be beaten.  These unwieldy mis-shapes were to last ten or fifty times as long as were the old style kinds which we all over the country were happily replacing with the long-lifers gung-ho and jolly-like.  They didn’t do badly either; not ten times as good but at least as long as a conventional old type bulb.  And since they had been freebies well, they must have been prototypes; and the real things coming to market now in droves for a song apiece would be far better and last the whole nine yards. Wouldn’t they.

But instead of life getting longer for a light bulb, almost unanimously the photons irradiating our rooms and stairways seemed to have decided to work to rule and to walk out shortly after they were being installed to employment.  For all the scientific breakthrough hype and the grand promises of low cost and long life lighting; energy saving and a new era in providing illumination; all that guff which TV likes to spread like manure into our living rooms whenever the science pundits get a slot;  none of it lived up to expectations.

Instead we have now in UK at least – I cannot speak for elsewhere –  a case where single light bulb  – which used to cost old style about one tenth of the price of a new-style bulb – in real terms and not in not-counting-inflation terms – now sets one back a fiver (£5) or more.  And for one’s money one gets a bulb which is as likely as not to blow within two or three months of its installation in the home.  The long-life bulbs do not last as long as did the old style short-life bulbs.  But yet we as a nation have changed over successfully and utterly to the new long-lifers.

It must have been a con. But why?  Look at the resources being squandered by this changeover which has utterly  failed to live anywhere near up to what it was said to be by all experts and all pundits in a single affirmative voice.

OK, maybe the old bulb types were using materials needed elsewhere; or their materials were becoming too costly or rare for them to be continued to be made; or maybe they were unhealthy to bask under? – Where does one see a fluorescent tube overhead these days? – All gone, every one, from a situation previously wherein every office and most stores used them everywhere not twenty years ago.

Nobody has ever heard or been offered or given an adequate explanation about what went on; why and how this change was managed; how it was considered to be necessary.

We all accepted the fact when we were told that the old bulbs were inferior and costly. Yet here we are as a nation binning say twice or maybe even up to ten times as many waste spent bulbs – all that glass – all that metal – all that engineering and manufacture, shipping, and retailing, mining and processing – than we were as a nation twenty years ago.  And not because of demographic or population changes, nor because we ask more use of more light bulbs each per household than we did once; but simply because the new product is vastly inferior to the one it supplanted – and the new product burns out very much fast than did the old one.

Just exactly who is making and has made a killing out of this global changeover, and why one is unable easily to get old type bulbs anymore, are never discussed; a blank sheet; a swept under carpet issue; and no-one seems to call anyone else out over it – not in politics – not in any area of social life.

Maybe, taking our Brexit negotiations as the paradigm, it was just one enormous political cock-up? Or maybe the government was also conned, just as were the people by the government’s literature about the new era for lighting – and Brexit.  But why not bring back the old style bulbs? Was there something sinister found out about them?  And does a new-style light bulb really cost so much to manufacture and ship that it has to cost shoppers here so dearly?

But there you go, promises in the consumer society are so easily able to be broken without any issue or comeuppance to the betrayer. We have websites which sport UK domain names and which after the fact of one’s making a purchase inform you they are shipping to you from China or Korea or Hong Kong.  We have sellers on UK sites who carefully avoid showing you the true size of an item; or else withhold the all-round view of an item, or else do not give or offer any detailed descriptions or instructions about what they have on offer; and who use deceitful deceptions deliberately so as to suggest value or economy or quality or usefulness, and all this over and above the actual fact of the product or service.

These things are barely legal, and generally go against the websites’ Terms and Conditions for posting items for sale; but these things occur in such great numbers that to enforce would be quasi-suicidal to the websites concerned.

Likewise in the Poundshops in every city centre overseas junk shipped from half way around the world is set on shelves to be bought, and then almost immediately to fail or to break or to be discovered unfit for purpose by its buyer. What a thorough waste of a world’s resources; fuel, mining, growing, processing, manufacture, work, crews, shipbuilding, air flights, paperwork, etc, etc; slap-happy Capitalism casting bad money after bad and good resources into the waste bins and landfills of the nations. Literally for an easy fast buck

I have heard people say one only gets what one pays for; a saying which once might have been somewhat true; but which today is honoured more only in the breach or as the exception to the rule; because right now one might just as well pick a supplier out of a hat as go for the item which looks the part.

The new style light bulb was a massive global sting made by persons unknown and one which seems to have taken all of us ignorami numbskulls about electrics and about commerce by complete surprise.  The long-laugh light bulb

The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods; Fuelling The Global Money Making Engine: 3

Utilities SmartMeters

This past Summer our phone has been ringing again and again with calls from our utilities provider ‘whose team is in the area right now’ and ‘is ready to fit a spanking new SmartMeter in your home free of charge’. The nuisance levels of the utilities provider’s calls have been a cause of disturbance to our homelife. At one time calls were coming more or less daily with the same burden and tenor – how good it would be for us to have a SmartMeter, and how it would be fitted free-of-charge; and how it will sing and dance for us to our good advantage, etc etc.

Of course nothing was mentioned about why SmartMeters are being fitted to homes; apart from a mantra that government has recommended them and is contributing to their roll out in all areas.

The old classical saying: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts applies here. When a corporate entity offers you something ‘to your advantage’ and free of charge – beware! A person gets these presumed freebies offered here and there now and then; Microsoft for some time now has been going to great pains to roll out Windows 10 free-of-charge to its Windows 7 and other versions’ users; offering a handy no-charge upgrade whenever the software for Windows updates itself on PCs etc.

(It is worth noting, if you are a person considering taking up this free-of-charge upgrade to Windows 10, that it is a package licensed for use on your current PC/Tablet only and the license to use it will expire and be unusable when/were you to try to transfer it to another, say a newer, device, to be this newer device’s Operating System. Worth considering before you decide. You in all likelihood are exchanging for the sake of having an apparently more up to date and so ostensibly better, but nonetheles a tied-in OS, a perfectly good OS and one which remains transferrable and so is inherently more flexible and more durable than is the Windows 10 you will be getting.)

Likewise to Windows 10, having a SmartMeter installed will also tie a utilitites customer into the provider companiy who supplies that customer presently. Should you decide electricity or gas is too expensive from your present provider, you will have to exchange SmartMeters so as to have one installed which is compatible with any new provider’s setups. I would suspect with some certainty that you will be charged handsomely by the exiting provider for its own SmartMeter’s removal from your premises; and possibly you will also be charged by the incoming provider for its version of a SmartMeter should you elect to have one installed from them.

Note: The Smartmeter will not be your own property, regardles whether you paid to have it installed or had it free-of-charge. You wil be paying for installation and maybe some covering costs for SmartMeter manufacture generally, marketing, maintenance etc etc; but the meter will remain the property of the utilities company. Thus were it to be damaged say by an accident in your home you will be liable to pay for another or for its repair.

Which brings me to the point that tells you that you are not able easily to have an already installed SmartMeter removed should you have decided you want to go back to how utilities were deliverd to you and managed before your free-of-charge SmartMeter was installed. It’s a one-way ticket only. Government and industry have spoken jointly; they want SmartMeters in your homes, and while a choice to have one or not to have one remains opoen to citizens at present; be sure that government and industry will have their ways and over some years they will act to do all in their very considerable powers to have you accept one into your home. For water, for gas, for electricity; and maybe more? This is the choice in democracy.

The fact that as usual the marketing pitches of the utilities companies who are wanting quite forcibly-desperately for you to have SmartMeters, is always a sanguine and a sunny set of advantages listed as being the benefits to a customer having them bundled in just one place; this tired old fact – it is the case always in advertising pitches – means that the utilities companies are hiding from you their own motivations and desires which cause them to pitch so fervently to you – have a SmartMeter! On us!!!

These advantages to the customer of SmartMeters are generally said by utilities companies to be:

  • The customer has greater control over his/her consumption of fuels etc
  • Possibly some meter accessories a customer might pre-set to his/her conveneience
  • Off peak cheaper utlitiy is more easily accessed obtainable by customer
  • No waiting-in for a meter reader person to call in quarterly etc
  • Faster fuller-data billing – itemised
  • It’s often claimed SmartMeters reduce bill sizes to customers

The biggest selling point to customers and pressed by the utilities companies because they know customers see this aspect as being the prime advantage, is always that promise of Greater Control over one’s usages and so of one’s bills. The ability to manage for oneself better; what one spends, consumes, when, etc and so reduce one’s bills.

Of course this pitch of a customer having more control is at best a half-truth. There are aspects which having a SmartMeter installed opens up which in fact tend towards lesser control for a customer, and/or else towards a greater control over customers by the utility companies. It remains the case ever that the utility companies, because they always set the tarriffs, also set all the terms and conditions for a customer being able to manipulate a SmartMeter’s workings in his/her own favour; and by this way of their terms and conditions utility companies are able to head-off every one of those potentials for customers who might else use SmartMeters well to their own advantage, and also the uitilty companies will just not offer any even reasonable facilities which they do not like or dissapprove; or else which they just see as acting to take away from those aspects which they, the utility companies, want customers to have and to make use of. This is, ‘just business’.

Whilst the utility companies are calling the shots like this on all the terms and conditions for Smart Meter usage you can be sure that all holes and all untoward customer advangtages have been plugged up firmly by them – all those they have thought of. This sort of preclusive action is standard practice amongst most corporate companies; leaving no room for any loss to their maximum lawful profit/advantage. I believe the corporations generally are cooly callously consciensiously religious about doing this sort of thing.

A customer gets as it were a new toy to play with -at least – for the great majority of SmartMeter owners – for a while until novelty wears thin and bother-fatigue kicks in and the SmartMeter is left by customers to run in a set configuration indefinitely. But the corporate utilities, who have employee-others to wear themselves down with bother-fatigue and whose employment is to weather being so worn down; will demand from their employees that these SmartMeters instaled in homes are gleaned for every piece of advantageous data about customers that they are able to supply.

(Supermarkets in the UK offer loyalty cards – as do many large chainstores with branches. Some small perks are available to those shoppers who use these loyalty cards each time they shop. A few pounds (£) perhaps over the course of half a year say. In return for their ‘loyalty’ shoppers are scrutinised electronically most particulalry; their data being gathered and procesed in great amounts so as to give stores demographics of their customer bases and much much more inside data which stores could otherwise never have obtained elsewhere and so cheaply without some such system attracive to customers such as loyalty cards. The bottom line is that loyalty cards do the stores who issue them far more benefit than they do for their shoppers. Of course loyalty cards are pitched to customers as boons and as ‘something in return for shopping with the store’; and little if anything is heard of as a thankyou for all the data your loyalty card has supplied us with; nor any great public fuss is made about what this data is and what it tells the stores. Hush hush. Trade secrets. Other stores might enjoy some advantage should we reveal anything!! One for oneself. Dog eat dog.)

Likewise SmartMeters will be able to offer utilities companies huge amounts of detailed data about customers; just as loyalty cards do for stores. None of this background is aired at all in any marketing pitches made for placing SmartMeters in the home.

But there remains the ‘public-spirited’ ‘environmental’ and at the same time highly personally arttractive pitch which says that SmartMeters will help you reduce your energy footprint – and, by the way, your bills also. You are being virtuous, doing the general public a benefit by having a SmartMeter fitted in your home; and this is a powerful prompter to have one because of the social thing; which says somewhat in bad faith, you are conscious that you are ‘helping the community’.

Of course most of the time there’s no way of telling how or whether and how much money you might have saved; how much then that you have ‘helped the environment’, if at all. Generally all of us with our money live the most part for today; and are happy to leave tomorrow’s bills to tomorrow. Few amongst us really regulate with rigour what we spend, unless when we are really straitened for cash.

The utilities companies on the other hand, again because their employees are constrained to apply the discipline demanded of them by their bosses so that their employment is retained; carfully, precisely formulate and give their orders to their employees which lay their stratagems so as to maximise money making. Thus the utilitities companies see SmartMeters as useful for dispensing with personnel who arrive on your doorstep to read your meters once every so often; personnel whose wages saved are a considerable saving to their companies when they are laid off and SmartMeters do their work electronically and at no cost.

Likewise the utilities companies obtain via placing Smartmeters in your home a more centralised and a more broad and deep grasp of control over you as customers; your needs and desires in regard to utilities. Customers who fall behind with bill payments, or who are in dispute, are more easily able to have their utilities swiftly cut off; more variant and on and off peak rates in greater subtleties can be programmed to be charged by SmartMeters than by use of old-style plain metering. This is the future – technology in the service of those who hold power so as to marshal and to keep tabs on those from whom their power derives and over whom is weilded. This again is a continuous theme of The Global Money Making Engine and its predations on commonplace private lives and families.

Finally, of course, there is no way back, in particular for SmartMeters everyone will eventually be constrained to have one installed; and generally, with the march of technology, so there wil be a firmer hold and greater grasp of control via mass data mining and surveillances, over a population which is tutored somewhat disingenuously that it is free and democratically governed. The scientists are the technocrats whose knowledge is retained to them as elites; but who are all in the pay and the pockets of the business barons; these same barons, who buy the services of the technocrats. Whenever the busines moguls see a chink, a place into which to intrude and so increase their sway, dominons, powers and wealth, they will be taking it; and in the taking they will regardlessly be diminishing your scope of life and quailty of life palpably so.

This is the drift and tenor of The Gloabal Money Making Engine. It and its adherents have no other greater goals in their visions for life; which represent a crushing and general misapprehension pressing heavily down upon us all.

An Anthropology of Cars

Have you seen those bullish automobiles

Bearing down as their predatory figures chasing speed

For driver-junked adrenalins; they slope forwardly low

Crouched, just as are their animals, concentratedly.

Have you really looked to notice how so crabbedly

Their drivers hunch, so as to shift a gear

Then pull ahead like tautened tiger-springing?

 

A thing

 

Observable to riders and pedestrians;

It takes a hold of them as do possesive chunky tyres

Bite greedily the road

A pure blind tense anxiety of identity

Of man (usually of man, but often woman)

And his machine.

 

A feral team.

 

And vehicles are designed as such to be as so?

Adapted and atractive and addictive

Consensual with the mental connotations fictive

Of latest heroes/heroines; run pursuivant

Hot in the fast lanes

 

Amongst their fired brains

 

Possibly unawares unconscioulsy;

Riding the stallion, goring with the bull,

Blowing away loosed-tresses, negatives from ‘no-go’ days

Released the dream machine to burn off potted octanes

 

Built manufactured styled designed and made-to-look

The part, the vehicle of one’s heart; a diadem

Or broadsword. All point its lines one-way, and all

Apppointed in one way; so styled to kill; its look

The catcher of allurement; ‘whom I want to be’

‘The kind of drive I want myself to be’

 

Agree?

 

Those forward-sloping flashes, long length of bodywork

Aspire; push passions frontwards, cautions

Behind their backs. Those trucks with monster wheels,

Progenitors, begot this first dry thirst for arrowed thrust

Intensity to be the driver of a car’s temptation.

 

Once understood a vamp wheeled out across the nation

And Britain smitten ardently in months by jive

Immoderate and laded on the TV screens

‘A man is not a jaguar without a racey car’

– Says Riley.

 

And wryly

 

The new fast-breed of car a fit, exact, with sympathies,

Enacted and impacted by made manners, regimens,

As packaged and delivered as being ‘what the people want’ (sic)

Accompted content media supposes suitable

 

But a burden led and bled to exponential series

By the good old boys of business buying beers all round

These the market leaders, the day’s bottom-feeders, call all plays

Shove out a fierce and fast deal labelled; ‘irresistible’

 

Calling the tunes is what they do; lars incontestable;

Since – it’s the darling power their dower they all adore

So what might war-torn vehicle drivers hanker for?

And why were roads not racetracks all the sooner?

The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods; and The Global Money Making Engine: 2

Retail Parking Management Services

This is a service whereby private policing of who parks and for how long is farmed out by a store or a car park owner; so as, ostensibly, to maximise use of car parking space and so for the store to make more money.

It is a relatively new service come on the scene here in UK in the past ten years. I give you an example. A food supermarket in a retail park engages a company to place photographic machinery which takes shots of every vehicle number plate entering and also exiting the car park of the food supermarket.

There are set up on notices in the car park, holding the conditions to which car parkers are obliged to comply so as for them to use the car park without incurring a penalty. These conditions generally limit the time one might park, with no return within another scope of time. There are many more conditions; but they are founded upon this crucial time constraint for the most part.

The marketing logic is twofold for this service being bought and provided. Firstly, because the supermarket store is near other stores with their own car parks; but its car park is often the most convenient for shoppers to park in at this retail park as a whole; there has been, before the private policing was introduced, a number of vehicles parking in the supermarket store car park whose passengers may not have used the supermarket itself during their visit to the retail park. The private policing was introduced so as to deter such vehicles from parking there; and so to move them on to other car parks in the same retail park.

Secondly, shoppers at the supermarket and whose vehicles are parked in it cars park, might once have been able to take their time and shop as slowly and for as long as they wished; maybe often walking to other retailers in the retail park and leaving their vehicles in the car park of the supermarket. The private policing then encourages such shoppers to keep aware of time and/or to move their vehicles to another car park once they have completed their food shop at the supermarket.

The net effects of such private policing and its encouragements and deterrents is supposed to be that there is now room for a greater turnover of vehicles using the supermarket car park; more room for potential customers who formerly, before the private policing services were engaged, were unable to find a parking space at busy shopping times, and who are now more liable to find room. And this potential for greater turnover is assumed or is meant to translate into bigger turnover and so bigger profits for the supermarket store itself.

Now as these kinds of new service go, I very much suspect that charges are laid at the door of the supermarket store for these services being implemented in the supermarket’s car park by the private policing company; and at the same time the proceeds from any monies made as penalties on car parkers there are in large part kept as remuneration by the private policers. Thus there is likely to be a double-win for the private policers, and at the same time some cost to the supermarket to be made up somehow to the supermarket for its use of the policing services.

(Just as many phoneline providers charge a user for accessing his/her voicemails as well them as charging those callers who have left the same voicemails. This is the way our world wags)

Now let us look at these private policing services for car parks.

Firstly one has to ask oneself – is there a real ‘squatter’-type problem of vehicles overstaying a welcome or else cadging free parking at these store car parks whose stores which engage services of this kind?

Would one think that the stores themselves do the statistics and work out the sums which decide the actual state of play regarding this supposed squatter issue? Is it not more likely that figures and statistics in so far as they are actually researched, are being presented to the stores by the marketing arms of the private policing services themselves? Given this is the case, then should anyone take these stats and figures offer very seriously as science? I leave you to your opinions.

Similarly, once the policing services are engaged and set up, is there any work of worth done as research which calculates particularly for each discrete store and its car park, just exactly how much more sales, turnover, profits, are due to any store having engaged private policing services in their car parks?

Ask yourself – would the policing services themselves (be able to) do it? They would require access to the business figures of the stores whose car parks they police. Answer almost certainly, no, they would not do it, probably could not do it.

Ask yourself, would the stores themselves do the calculation? The stores may see an increase in sales (not necessarily though) but without them receiving vehicle figures for those vehicles which parked in their car parks under a private policing regime, stores could not begin to try to assess how beneficial such services might be to themselves. And at best only a correlation between more vehicles visiting and more sales could be determined anyway. Suppose for instance more cars parked but their shoppers in general stayed less time and also bought considerably less goods that they had formerly? It’s possible. Under certain conditions probable even.

And were there sen in fact an increase in income to the store, how might such an increase be parcelled out – as natural growth, as seasonal, as a blip, as due to the car park?? etc etc. Thus any claims for increased takings for a store made by a private policing provider of this kind in its marketing pitches are quite clearly unable to be clearly substantiated in fact.

Now this policing of the car parks is maintained daily and 24/7 365; even though the store’s most busy times of day are say only at best a fifth or so of this time, say averaging at 5 hours daily most of the year.  For the remainder of the time the private policing service is a redundancy in place and still acting and operative.

Every vehicle which enters the car park is snapped by a camera for its registration plate; and the same when it leaves. Penalty notices are sent out to owners of all vehicles who incur them by overstaying or by returning to soon. Thus for the sake of five hours daily of greater access to parking for incoming customers, the store pays for 24/7/365 surveillance of its car park; and the policing services at the same time are reaping all income from transgressor vehicles 24/7/365 also to boot. Thus this is an unnecessary service provision for much more other time than it is a necessary service, if it is one at all.

There is a good measure of uncharitableness in such measures and in the extent of their being engaged and enforced by stores for their car parks. To a person caused to have to pay a large penalty in UK£ because s/he parked at a time when few vehicles were present in a car park, and in doing so broke an imposed and somewhat arbitrary private rule, it might well often look like sour grapes on the part of the store and policing service: as if their message was ‘I don’t want anyone, you included, taking any gratis advantage of my parking space at any time; even though most of the time it’s no skin off my nose for you to enjoy hospitality at my car park”.

In short, these private policing services are for the most part a wheeze, a smartarse snare calculated so as to maximise income for their suppliers (and their engagers?) – a mere income-generating machine at great general disservice to the public.

I have no doubt about the ethics of such services. The facts speak for themselves.

The penalties which they impose are considerable in size, when they are set against the nature and duration of most ‘offences’ under their rubric. And – it is claimed by the providers – much of these disproportionate charges of penalties are necessary to be levied so as for them to be able to offset the high cost of the technical equipment by which their surveillance of car parks is done automatically – for the most part.

So we have a situation in which little human labour is required to maintain surveillance. A piece of IT churns out regularly and at set times as appropriately lists of those vehicles and their registrations which have infringed; and their owners are sent out penalty notices also sent automatically on pro forma letters automatically generated. Once a private policing provider of this kind has an IT setup and is feeding into this setup 24/7/365 data of discrepancies from car parks across the UK; how much understanding does it take to see that this is an abominable imposition made possible by a calculated and unethical abuse of the new technologies?

Their money is tainted money. The public in general is abused.

Not only the income from payments of penalties but also that income from had the hire of their services by retail stores, are suspect in terms of righteousness. Their business-model is obnoxious. The labour of hands which they put in is inequitable to the size of the remunerations they extract for their effrontery. Ordinary people across the nation are being ensnared by their terms and conditions; for offences which have been pulled out of the air, created anew, and with no sanction other than the powers of property law supporting their nefarious schemes, set up by smart dealers who saw a new smart wheeze for making a fast buck without them having statute law levied against them.

There is access for these private policing companies to databases held by UK government on which all licensed registered vehicles details are kept; hence everyone who abides by government rules in these regards is vulnerable to such a (dis)service offered to them. This government data is protected by Data Protection Law but because these private policing services operators are able to claim an unlawful breach of contract has occurred, because a driver has not adhered to terms of these operators for parking, this means these operators are by law allowed access to these data. This access I believe would be without charges to them, since a Statute law has been infringed; thus another string in their bows aimed at low-cost mass imposition of petty private regulations bearing penalties for breach, laid on a general public across the nation.

No doubt in their financial calculations such gratis access to this data is assessed by them as bearing a cost to themselves to administer. This is the way our world wags. Thus for this intrusion into the personal data of those who fall foul of them, they are able to lay charges on these from whom they squeeze penalties.

Legal contracts are made with motorists whenever motorists park in retail store car parks who engage such private car park policing services. Legal contracts are made even though those few signs dotted around car parks of this kind hold, what is for the common person, a considerable amount of small print text in legal jargon. As for who ever reads them when as shoppers they climb out of their vehicle for some groceries – God knows?

Perhaps 90% plus persons are unaware that they are putting theselves under binding contract law simply every time they park in a store car park. But the Great British law recognises it as fact and binding. Nor perhaps do the same percentage realise that their vehicles are being photographed going into and coming out of such a store car park; blissfuly unaware of Big Brother uses of technology on their daily routines – this time so as to churn out huge incomes to scoundrels for a little nefarious effort. Guys and gals at the end of a computer terminal sitting awaiting income coming flooding in.

A vehicle owner is able to phone in so as to pay ad hoc penalties sometimes. S/he may pay using credit/debit card. This too becomes a liability in law to those unaware of this feature of the small print. In law it represents adequate opportunity to rectify an infringement on the spot. Penalty charges rise of course when such rectifications on the spot are not on one’s radar and one misses their opportunity.

Much of this business-model setup has been contested in UK’s highest chambers The House of Lords; which House unaccountably found in favour of these hangers-on.

The business-model represents an opportunist window wherein a scheme on the whole is adding to the general public burden, just as does a new tax devised and implemented by government adds to it, such as the spare bedroom tax and VAT added to items previously exempted. It is a niche industry found out and then exploited massively.

There being no personnel on the ground to speak to or to negotiate with its rigidities in the car parks are wholly inflexible because base don written instructions and not on human relations or conversation. This to is not only a very economical labour saving wheeze then; but it;’s very lack of personnel needed works in its favour in that there is never anyone around to converse with about the details etc.

It is a scheme which is generating income purely out of new impositions having been placed on people who did not have them on them formerly. Its economic benefits to its retailer hirers of the service is at best dubious – no-one is able to do the sums with any certain assurance.  It is a new and a privately inspired and managed way of marshalling people in general, pushing them here and there and making cash by doing so. It lives off the backs of ordinary folks, and lives off them pretty nicely thank you. Ordinary folk are pushed about by smart privateers who are doing so for the most part solely to generate large income and for no public nor pretty much for any other private benefit to their hirers. No social benefits; nor any locally to their clients; no palpable discernible benefits. A perfectly lawful dastardly wheeze. Another Great British disservice.

Worst of all concerning this scheme hatched by clever degenerates so as to be a lawful abuse of UK citizens in general, is the social knock-ons. It says to other stores around it: This is my car park – I don’t want your customers using it. And other stores around it are thus slightly loosened from any former genial social cement between themselves and the regulated car park retailer. And one retailer at a retail park does it; and many follow since they do not want to be at a disadvantage of an overflowing car park but few customers. Driver customers themselves become less friendly in attitude to the stores who employ such means. Especially once stung by a few minutes infraction paid for through the nose by them.

The whole thrust of such disservice services is to weaken social congeniality – which itself is a general thrust of most of the disservice services of the bad goods I am writing about in this series.

Such disservices are each all-for-me-and-none-for-you wheezes which tend to depend for their powers to generate income upon weakening the social fabric somewhat; no-one doing a favour to anyone any longer, so to speak. Favours have to be costed.

It is in short petty regulation dreamed up and craftily based of statute law property rights which shield it from illegality; but which do not shield it from public opprobrium and from a gross ethical dubiety. Lawful poncing on statute law.

The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods: Powering the Global Money Engine 1

I have listed in a Word document file in the course of the past half an hour over 100 discrete absurdities of economic life whose crazy adverse consequences I have experienced personally recently here in UK; a 100 plus number of items which I am pretty sure will ring on your bell also wherever you are in the global marketplace.

There was little strain upon me to have listed a 100 plus items of such bad jokes; and from off the top of my head. This is because there are so many abuses to choose from, and because these stupid inconveniences and bear pits continue to be encouraged to spring up and multiply like dragons teeth daily by those persons who presume to govern us and by those others who casually and arbitrarily hold non-accountable sway over our lives.

I intend over the course of some weeks, step by step to itemise and describe individually each of the 100 plus items of absurdity I have been able to list. There are many more; and I’m sure you can do your own sets of explications.

1. Uninsured Drivers’ Insurance
This item is advertised as offered for sale by a number of UK motor insurance companies. The blurb I myself read told me that over 1 million drivers in the UK drive without owning motor insurance. The insurance sales line was for a prudent driver to insure against being in an accident involving one of these million uninsured drivers. So it’s a bit of a scare approach…. What if….????

Kindly lookers-on might adjudge this pitch to be insurers plugging a hole they have discovered in the marketplace, and in adequate road safety protection for conscientious drivers?

Firstly I ask; is the statistic offered correct? Was it backed up by any source information? Not that I was able to discern, no. So, to begin with we are taking on trust an insurer setup which aims to be, and stands to gain from, informing us and thereby causing us to take fright at such a 1 million driver statistic.

I point out secondly that given the statistic is correct, what of the dereliction of government and of law enforcement in this 1 million insurance-less drivers being allowed to have accumulated in UK. 1 million drivers are perhaps 5% of all drivers in UK? One driver in every 20 one meets with daily, thereabouts: An epidemic of serious law breaking.

Consider the revenues lost. Non-insured drivers will not hold current road tax licenses; one needs to show proof of insurance to obtain this license in UK. Nor even do they perhaps hold a driver’s licence to drive; nor probably do they hold an MOT roadworthiness certificate for their vehicles. All this represents loss of revenues on a large scale to government; and it also represents loss to insurer companies, repair garages, and others of otherwise appropriate lawful expected income.
I ask: is the solution to be found in insured drivers taking out additional insurance as it were on behalf of those who drive without insurance? Is such a surrogate cover for the accidents of uninsured drivers in fact coming close to condoning drivers being uninsured? Helping also to normalise the situation of insurance-less driving in the UK? De facto alleviating, detrimentally so, the pressures placed quite rightly on police and authorities to tackle with vigour this epidemic of insurance-less driving in UK. Thus are insurers usurping de facto the proper place of law and order; by means of a private sector intervention which appropriates a situation which should be solely, wholly, within public sector space.

This intrusion of private enterprises into areas which have de facto been by way of an indifferent dereliction vacated by public authorities, areas appropriated privately but which de jure belong only in the public spheres; this effrontery is a common thread to be found in many of the examples I am going to follow through with as I write of them some more. The overstepping the mark by private business into areas either in a remiss state of public neglect; or else into areas into which pubic reach ought to have expanded, but it has been tardy of, even sometimes deliberately held back from, keeping abreast of – this state of affairs is a trigpoint which locates the precise social economic character of the present era.

Further, should not a normal fully comprehensive driver’s insurance policy already be sufficient to cover for uninsured drivers bumping into a driver? If not, then the name of fully-comprehensive given to such a policy is a misnomer. And if fully comprehensive insurance is not sufficient; then has it been so in the past; previous to the insurers offering uninsured drivers’ insurance?

I do believe that here in the UK there is a scheme, and has been for years, run by government, using public funds, which kicks in so as to cater for and care for those who meet accidents from uninsured drivers. If this is so, then for the most part uninsured driver insurance is redundant, unless a driver wishes to have heavy cover or over an d above protection?

All in all I believe uninsured driver insurance to be by and large approaching the status of a scam. It appears to me to be a provision of an additional and a quite unnecessary service; and being offered simply to generate revenues for insurers from premiums from policies in numbers otherwise not likely to have been sold. Given that insurance companies I believe almost across the board will not pay out whenever an insured person holds duplicated insurances; or else when a person has been compensated elsewhere for the same injury or loss; then what use might uninsured drivers insurance be to drivers overall?

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