Despite the yawning chasm between the haves and have nots and the perpetual gaslighting of the poorest in our midst, why do the poor keep voting against their interests?
In 2006, not long before the subprime mortgage episode and fourteen years before the global pandemic, Three employees of a major bank had written an internal equity strategy report entitled ‘Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Are Getting Richer’. In this document, the authors argued that global wealth was polarizing, not merely a little or a lot, but in an unfathomable way that would eclipse anything seen in history.
In the intervening years, we had the biggest implosion of the banking system — subprime mortgage crisis — which led to the biggest bailouts of several banks in the United Kingdom, of which, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyd's Bank were among. Quantitative Easing (QE)was introduced to ensure liquidity and lending carried on as usual to small to medium enterprises. Between 2009–2013, a total of £375 billion was injected into the system — all of which went to saving the banks and not to the SMEs, who needed it the most.
These bailouts and the ensuing recession inevitably led to the ousting of Gordon Brown’s Labour government in May 2010 and the installation of the conservative led coalition with the Liberal Democrats, promising to revitalize the British economy.
Despite the pronouncements of Gideon Osborne, the Chancellor of the exchequer of ‘us being it together’ the conservative government went on to implement the biggest cuts to public spending in over a generation, increase in value added tax (VAT) and cuts to benefits(or in american parlance, welfare) which led to the highest rates of youth unemployment in Europe — bettered only by Spain and the stagnation of wages despite the rising costs of rents — which in London, effectively priced out a generation of renters, who could barely afford to feed and rent in the nation’s capital.
There also was the trebling of the university tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000 pounds, which meant that tens of thousands of young people would be hamstrung by debts well into working lives, unable to afford a property in London, where the costs of house prices soared much higher than Barack Obama’s oratory.