Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em...

... And little fleas have lesser fleas and so ad infinitum.

I've long thought that what we have in the UK these days is not so much a service economy as a flea circus.

It's a telling fact that every single one of the 'sure-fire' business plans presented by the 5 finalists of 'The Apprentice' involved making money by acting as intermediary in someone else's transaction.

As a nation, we gave up making things long ago and started taking in each other's washing instead; now an army of subsidiary parasites has sprung up to charge a hefty commission for procuring the soap powder or contracting the actual scrubbing out to lesser mortals.

The journey from manufacturer to final consumer has become a bloodsuckers' progress as successive agents and middlemen scramble to secure their share, while the same thing can be seen on a more abstract level in local government, say, or healthcare, where battalions of vampiric administrative drones extract a rake-off in the form of generous salaries and pensions.

There's precious little incentive to economise or increase efficiency when staff are effectively paid by the hour regardless of output, while in a higher sphere, central purchasing has led to a massive bureaucracy of corporate fleas all merrily drinking their fill at every transaction.

Small wonder, then, that the actual costs of Olympic facilities and security have far outstripped the actual costs of what is provided; in addition to the grunts actually doing the work, a myriad host of middlemen and -women must be maintained in the standard to which our largesse has accustomed them.

From this abundance, they, in their turn, are forking out smaller (far smaller) amounts to the hundreds of workers who take care of the tasks too mundane for their cash-rich, time-poor overlords - childcare, cleaning, gardening and the rest of it.

And then - here's the ironic bit - all of these lesser people, who do their own laundry and cleaning as well as that of the characters in flashy business suits, are bled dry with taxes to help maintain... what? Another army of parasites, this time eating the bread of idleness and sucking the life-blood of the state.

I'm not an expert, but it strikes me that, now the flea circus has been joined by the Olympic leeches, the poor old British bulldog is likely to be looking pretty anaemic and sick.

2 comments:

  1. It's a telling fact that every single one of the 'sure-fire' business plans presented by the 5 finalists of 'The Apprentice' involved making money by acting as intermediary in someone else's transaction.

    As a nation, we gave up making things long ago and started taking in each other's washing instead

    Right on the money, Macheath.

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