The Service Economy


You cram these words into mine ears against the stomach of my sense.

Who amongst us has been called upon – usually by their line of work or by their profession or trade – to go – at their own expense – and obtain a certificate, or a check-up, or a training course – so as for him or her to become eligible to enter into or to continue in a job in one’s chosen sector of work?

More often than not these days these certificates and check-ups and courses are done or offered on the web – for a fee.

In England – now – (in all of the UK in fact) one cannot be a common labourer on a building site without – at your own expense – obtaining a certificate that shows you have attended and passed a Health and Safety basic regime. This is a regulatory requirement; and it is backed by UK government authority.

One cannot bake one’s child’s class a birthday cake for them to share your joy in your child’s birthday at his or her school.  Bought shop cakes are permitted normally; but not home baked ones – the Health and Safety risks are considered too great. By school authorities

Any actor or budding actor who wishes to work on a movie set with minors has to –at his own expense – obtain a clearance certificate regarding the history – if any – of his criminal convictions.  These check-ups are obtainable on the web.  Actors and budding actors also need membership of certain trade organisations – at least one – in order to become eligible for auditioning many of the roles which become available – and at their own expense pay considerable annual fees to retain that membership.

These memberships etc are obtainable on the web.

To go from UK to USA as a visitor – say as a tourist – one is required by the US authorities to undergo online security checks – these checks are mandatory – don’t take them – don’t get in.  Yet the US government charges $25 fo each individual who takes them.  The check is over in a few seconds after one’s name and details have been run through an electronic wringer hosted at some pokey CIA backroom; and hey presto 25 bucks please!!

This of course is what we in the West denominate The Service Economy.

It gets worse. Should you be un-savvy and go to the headline search result on Google to get your Criminal record check and certificate, you will pay twice as much for it than had you gone straight to the low profile official website which doles out these checks.  The headline Google Search result takes you to a private firm which volunteers to get you a certificate from the official website – for a fee that matches that paid for the certificate got directly from the official site. Thus one pays X for the certificate plus X again to the ‘service provider’.

This of course is what we in the West denominate The Service Economy.

In store car parks in the UK are now operators making use of a great deal of electronic gadgetry which all operates remotely and without manpower at the point of use. These operators have been hired by stores to patrol their car parks electronically.  This patrolling means taking a photo shot of every motor vehicle registration plate which enters the car park; and of every registration plate that leaves that car park.

The scam is this: the store places time limits on its shoppers who come in motor vehicles to buy stuff.  Shoppers have to abide by this time limit; or else the electronic Big Brother slaps a huge fine on their vehicle.  This fine is called a ‘recompense’ for the vehicle owner having breached that contract one made when one entered the store car park and so accepted the terms written in the small print on the various signs dotted here and thereabouts.

The fine can be £70 plus for an ‘overstay’. The rationale is to:

  • Turnaround store custom more quickly
  • Deter locals from using the area as ‘overnight’ parking
  • Allow car parks to be smaller than they would otherwise need to be
  • Inject an amount of ‘urgency’ in shoppers visits
  • Make money out of this ‘service’

The firm which applies it electronic gadgetry to photograph and time car entries and exits; charges the store for providing to it these services.  The same firm makes money on those vehicles it ‘catches out’.  Their equipment is expensive to buy and to run.  Hence they claim it as their rationale for charging so much for ‘overstays’.

Thus is created – out of the blue – a new ‘service’ (???) – To the benefit of all parties, but especially to the collecting firm; and excepting violently the shopper him/herself!!  This is a service which is predatory. It is the brainchild of some sly wheeler-dealer with no integrity. It provides no public good. It contributes nothing to the general welfare – it is a non-service service

This of course is what we in the West denominate The Service Economy.

How many times have you downloaded an item ostensibly offered gratis free of charge and found ‘hidden gifts’ within the item you are interested in? How often has there been a remote transfer to a payment page; or a ‘thrown –in’ and irritating browser attached or some ads streaming in every few minutes? Right, we know – there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  Yet there remains the fact that in all these cases I have listed it is hard to tell where the boundary lies between nuisance unsolicited approaches and mails (electronically and via the postal service) offering ‘goods and services’ –  and an approach which is sheer predatory guile and entrapment.

All these items and issues I have raised above here sound like a Litany of complaint from me. Everyone knows what I mean about them and all of us have our own private bad experiences with such persons and their ‘services’.

What stimulated me to write this piece was reading a young girl’s critique on Linked-In about unnecessary goods being made and sold. She (rightly) saw that goods’ manufacturers create demand and supply their rubbish products in response to that demand they artificially create.  The tools of artificial creation of demand are hype, propaganda, branding, and ads – plus some other and generally lower key tricks of their trade.  They simply tell people it’s the latest thing, the best, often enough; and then roll it out. Enough of us are caught up in the web of deceit.

But this hallowed Service Economy, which like the Masque in ‘The Tempest’ is an ‘insubstantial pageant’ is something which might be halted and so ‘vanish into thin air’ and ‘leave not a wrack behind’.  Indeed it is ‘such stuff as dreams are made on’ – bad dreams.

This Service Economy as often as not is commonly a disservice economy. It introduces middle-men factors into areas where none are necessary; and so that they are enabled in essence to become predatory upon ordinary people, by which they make all their sustenance and gain.

This Service Economy has allowed has encouraged has been responsible for large numbers of hurdles being placed in the way of getting gainful employment; of getting qualifications; of getting to the right source; etc etc; and at each hurdle is an altogether superfluous charge made which acts to rake off surreptitiously some of the ordinary guy in the street’s modest income into fat pockets who dream up these nasty snares and sleights.

And of course, our governments sponsor these guys; they give them all support; because these guys are the salt of the earth; they are the new generation get up and go dynamic intrepid service sector creators and entrepreneurs, who are the driving engine of modern Britain and modern USA and so forth. They are championed by the politicians – they are their ‘God damned heroes’ as the villain says as he dies at the end of ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’.

But they are idols with feet of clay; they are not what they are whitewashed up to be by our solicitous governors in parliament and The White House. Our Lord Jesus Christ accused the Pharisees of his day of being ‘whitewashed sepulchres; looking fine outside but within stinking and old rotting bones. So too are these guys and so to is The Service Economy; they proclaim (falsely) to provide to us as being the latest saviours of the nations and their economies.

Again; this Service Economy is in fact a disservice economy.

In the days of Queen Elizabeth I; when the ancient fairs in the cities and boroughs of England were celebrated annually; there were men of letters who observed human nature as it presented itself at these events in its manifold guises. They wrote down their observations; and dramas like ‘Volpone’ or ‘The Alchemist’ or ‘Bartholomew Fair’ were presented on the stage as the fruits of this their observation.

The scorns which these dramatists pour upon the variegated tribes of cheats and thieves who frequented London and other metropolises in those days; and who were that era’s parasites and predators on the commonwealth of citizens; in our day are now the time’s paragons, the exemplars and paradigms of respectable society.  We the ordinary people are asked to and expected to look up to them as benefactors and protectors – of our ways of life and standards of living.

But let me here call a spade a spade and not beat about the bush; they are the mountebanks; the coney-catchers, the bawdy-baskets, the cozeners, and the pickpockets of our age; and as such are neither more nor less than an inverted mirror of the outcast petty-criminal classes of England’s oldentimes.

The fable of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ applies.  These guys would have us believe that a label adds value; that a service is valid and necessary (although they mean only to their own increase); that they are the people and so we should admire.  When the fact is that they are naked of worth and empty of value and stand in need of a gainful occupation of common benefit to the world.

‘These with a thousand small deliberations 
Protract the profit of their chilled delirium, 
Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled, 
With pungent sauces, multiply variety 
In a wilderness of mirrors.  What will the spider do 
Suspend its operations, will the weevil



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