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Is utilitarianism the answer?

I took this photo of West Bromwich library last Sunday. It’s quite an ornate building. A lot of work went into it. Do you think it was worth it? Did they make it to last? David Cameron said that as a country Britain needs to “Do more with less.” Perhaps we could make more things to last; invest for the future and waste less.  Do we need things fancy though or more utilitarian?

Posh Boys

The posh boys are in charge of the country and they believe in mansions and dressing up for the Lord Mayor’s banquet. Even John Major has criticized the dominance of the privately educated elite in government. The Guardian covered that in an article, so I won’t go on about it. It does seem that the old Etonian elite has fooled the public and grabbed power again. They don’t really believe in austerity and utilitarianism. They believe in building posh private hospitals for themselves while running down hospitals in the north. Like the Victorians who built many ornate and beautiful buildings, that is just a façade. Even the workhouses of Victorian Britain were beautiful buildings that hid a harsh reality of an elite keeping down the masses and exploiting the desperate and the poor.

The middle classes

We can oppose this culture, but Britain now has a smaller working class and a much larger middle class. Will the middle classes oppose the posh boys? The middle classes are being exploited too. Final salary pensions are being abolished. Savings rates for the most responsible in our society are at an all time low. The children of the middle classes have to stump up fees to get a decent education and then they leave university deep in debt. The middle classes are finding life harder as the rich get richer and their futures looks less rosy. The prospect of higher interest rates could also mean mortgages will be far less affordable in the future.

The future

People are saving and investing despite the low interest rates. Many are looking at alternative investments such as Zopa and the stock market. People are trying to cut their spending too and are now much less likely to move home. The desire to be posher than the Joneses is declining. Many see their grandchildren suffering as a result of this government’s policies. Others are worried about failing health and a failing health service. Labour doesn’t appear to offer a very attractive alternative, but at least it’s an alternative. The Liberal Democrats seem to have little credibility now. We have seen Labour spending recklessly both at national level when they were in power and at local level since. Can we trust them now? They too sit down to their banquets in their dress suits and many Labour MPs are posh boys too. At local level they are a little too fond of their iconic projects and the chandeliers in the civic centre.


Is it time for a period of utilitarianism, making things that function without the frills? Is it time for making things to last? Maybe we could have 5 years warranties on consumer goods instead one just one? Could we build more homes, that are built to last and also built to use less energy? Would utilitarianism actually help us to become a sustainable society? Would utilitarianism allow us to do ‘more with less’?

What do you think?  Can you survive without the icing on the cake, without the frills, without the hype and the bull shit? Please share your thoughts in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

One Response

  1. Pingback: Weekend conclusion | Mike10613's Blog

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