Samir’s Selection 06/18/2017 (a.m.)
The politics of a tragedy >>>
The fire revealed the world of London’s growing service class: the immigrants, refugees and casual labourers who are warehoused in (in this case unsafe) social housing so that they can provide the over-class of surrounding Kensington with drivers, cleaners, hairdressers and pedicurists. The fire also exposed some of the problems of using market mechanisms to deliver social goods: four executives of KCTMO, the company that manages the flats, were reportedly paid £650,000 in bonuses last year.
The argument in favour of contracting out the management to specialised companies, and motivating the managers of those companies with bonuses, is that it benefits everybody by boosting overall efficiency. That argument is hard to make when managers are enjoying huge bonuses and lives are being lost for the sake of a saving of £5,000…
The neo-liberal model of harnessing the power of markets to deliver public services has been in power for longer than that. The Grenfell disaster will not only strengthen Mr Corbyn’s short-term project of toppling Mrs May’s weak Conservative government. But it will strengthen his longer-term project of toppling the neo-liberal model that has been in power in Britain since the 1980s.
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