It seems that studying Plato, master of the philosophical analogy has rubbed off on me. In a system in which the interlinking of government and capitalism has created a politically endorsed economy, the original foundations have been oft neglected and I wanted to get back to how, at least in theory, our public and private sectors interlink.
Now that the panic has subsided somewhat, I find myself asking whether Piketty's book, for an average-Joe like me, was worth reading. Hopefully, by explaining my personal experience reading Piketty, I will help other intellectually-curious, non-economist types decide whether it's worth all the effort.
Let's not create a society of the richest poor people. Let's not condescend people by saying that if you started life as poor, you'll always be that. The cards are not stacked against you in the 21st Century. Piketty's book provokes jealousy and insecurity in people rather than freeing them to create and aspire.
What's needed isn't bestselling feminism, or even radical feminism, but an ethical humanism more radical than feminism. A movement that actually demands change of the existing cultures and tries to get every human to act towards it, rather than the sort of change that inspires people to buy a different brand of beauty product.
Until now we have been approaching our cars and our apartments without thinking economically. If we want to change that, it is neither communism nor turbo capitalism. It is not to reach a higher moral goal either and certainly not an evil act. It is simply reasonable and in addition also human and beautiful.
In a stunningly ironic way it is the political equivalent of survival of the fittest that seeks shelter under a religious cannon. The religious Americans have there ultimate dream cake and eat it: the pre-eminence of self-regard on this earth is the right thing to do for yourself, others and God and as a consequence you are spiritually rewarded for it in the afterlife.
Attachment parenting doesn't acknowledge capitalism or patriarchy as deities the way mainstream parenting does. Attachment parenting (the practices involved in) supports a woman's right to understand how her body works, how powerful she is in the life of her child and in wider society and how awesome her biology is.
It can sometimes stick in the throat to hear these politicians eulogising about "honour" when they seem so short of it themselves... Nick Clegg praised Tony Benn for being a "fervent defender of what he believed in", seemingly forgetting his own paltry commitment to defend students from a hike in tuition fees.
"Who will replace him?" These were the words that a colleague in education spoke when he heard about the sudden death of Bob Crow. Not an administrative enquiry, a question concerning who will put their name plate on his office, and who will take his place at meetings - no, this was in deeper meter, resonating with the feeling that "they don't make them like him any more".
Four words essentially ended capitalism: Too big to fail. If that isn't fascism by its very definition, then clearly something big is missing. A model to look on and admire is Iceland - an economy that collapsed, arrested those responsible and now have a sound footing economically. That is what true capitalism is.
I wandered into a beautiful Shoreditch boutique called Labour and Wait the other day, and walked out with brown paper bags full of plain enamelled pie dishes and school canteen tumblers. Unpacking my purchases at home, I wondered why, given the asceticism of my purchases, I still felt my usual pang of shopper's guilt. If anything, it felt even worse.
It's hard to comment on something that's old news and still get your voice heard in this blogging sphere. There are so many of us now.. writers, journalist, doctors and celebrities. All with a voice, egger to expose our midnight left to right pillow thoughts to anyone, willing to read them, in this critical world of cynical writers that try to find words that rhythm.
While Francis' analysis is correct, the problem is that capitalism is not the only system that acts in this way: religions - Catholicism included - also create problematic demands on us. Indeed, one could argue that the idea of God could be seen as an infinite demand: if God has said, for example, that being gay is sinful or having women leaders is wrong, who are we to even begin to argue?