Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Don't just curse the darkness

I've had a response to making Dundee a Living Wage City that said basically, it's a good idea, but there's nae chance!  The writer, a mother from Whitfield, cites the exploitation of her young son by the employers he was sent to by the Job Centre.  It was yet another story to make your heart sink, but if we don't believe we can make a difference we might as well chuck it in now.
Another response to my blog has been to draw my attention to 'Babyboxes' in Finland.  You can find the story of these boxes at  Briefly it tells of how Finland once had a very high mortality rate, but 75 years ago introduced these baby boxes for every child born in the country.  These boxes were given to expectant mothers and contained everything needed for a newborn.  The box itself had a wee mattress and became a cot for the child.  The infant mortality rate dropped dramatically.  Perhaps the Commission might ask the City Council to cost such a provision for Dundee.
One little candle to light amidst the darkness of unfairness perhaps?
Adam Smith, the author of 'The Wealth of Nations' said, "No society can be flourishing and happy of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable."  In a modern society taxation is supposed to be the tool by which the cohesion of that society is maintained and all its members including the weakest are able to live with dignity.  With this in mind, it might be profitable for the Fairness Commission to visit the work of 'Common Weal'.
Common Weal is promoting a vision for economic and social development in Scotland based on the conviction that 'we will get better outcomes for both society and individuals if we emphasise mutuality and equity rather than conflict and inequality.'  Seems to describe the remit of the Dundee Fairness Commission.  The mechanics of change proposed by Common Weal are as follows:
  • There must be tax reform to reduce inequality, ensure strong public services and ensure that domestic industries are competing on an even playing field
  • Re-define welfare as a 'contract between the people' which all benefit from, with secure funding and strong social buy in.
  • Radically reform finance to make sure it is providing real investment security for industry and real savings security for citizens.
  • Promote balanced ownership structures in the economy to increase resilience and promote high quality employment.
  • Diversify the economy to move away from low-pay employment that creates poverty, inequality and contributes to public sector deficits.
  • Implement participative democracy practices at all levels to prevent the abuse of power by vested interest and better reflect the public will.

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