Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second So for the last two to three decades, people in this country have been feeling increasingly out of control– not just of the big things in their life, but even the things which they hold the most treasured, or most precious to them. So we detected, essentially, that people feel out of control of politics, out of control of their local council, they don’t feel as if they have control over the nature of their neighbourhood. But also, they don’t have control over their time, what goes into their family life, what kind of work they get to do, how they are when they’re in the workplace.
Skip to 0 minutes and 32 seconds So there’s a great sense of people being at the beck and call of forces more powerful than they are. Yeah, the nature of our economy must be the fundamental reason why we have this phenomenon, this absence of control, stretching across so many aspects of our lives. I mean, it’s partly the everyday economy– so the nature of what it is like to go to work, how much money is in your pocket, the opportunities you have, whilst you’re in paid employment. But it’s also a deeper sense of what people think it is to run a successful economy– or the overall goals of our country or our society are.
Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds So I think the economy impacts upon people’s sense of control in both of those ways– both immediately and directly, but also in the broader context within which people get to live their lives. As people in our society– and in studies across the world– get more and more unequal, as we’ve seen over the last few decades. You get this stronger and stronger sense that a tiny number of people at the top get to make the big decisions. And everybody else is left out of having a sense of control, or being able to call the shots.
Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds And you see that in every individual aspect of life, as well, from the workplace, to the neighbourhood, to high politics– the sense that there is a smaller and more impermeable elite, which enjoys access to both wealth and power. And then a growing and growing bulk of the population, which is excluded from both. There’s a real sense, I think, that people have put GDP above anything else. And they’ve thought all– every time they’re devising, let’s say, a policy proposal, a regional economic plan, or something the national government might do– people have quested after increasing GDP. And as a result, they’ve put all these other issues to one side, and they don’t care whether it increases inequality as they do so.
Skip to 2 minutes and 19 seconds They don’t care whether local people’s views get listened to and heard, as these local plans come into fruition. As long as that baseline number increases, then they think it’s job done. And as a result, you’ve got this tendency to exclude from calculation– or exclude from consideration– the things which really matter to people in this helter skelter chase for an increase in the GDP figure.
A "Crisis in Control"
In this video, Marc Stears, Director of the New Economics Foundation, describes his view that economic disempowerment has led to a “crisis in control” whereby a small group make economically-driven decisions that have deep impacts on people’s lives.
What do you think?
Have you noticed a “Crisis in control” where you are? Does any of this video reflect your lived experience? Discuss below.
© UCL Institute for Global Prosperity