The wheels are not in motion. The cogs are no longer turning. The economic machine that has served us well for years has ground to a halt and is urgently in need of maintenance. The political, economic and social engineers are busily working to fix the bugs in the system but what is really needed, and is inevitable, is a full system reboot.
Some engineers are attempting to re-write the user manual by using a new tool called “austerity”. However, this new tool is the wrong one for the task in hand. Using it ignores the combined knowledge and experience of engineers over the past hundred years. Austerity is equivalent to hitting the computer with a sledgehammer because it is running slowly. It is the vain hope that a sharp shock to the system will jolt it into action.
In fact austerity is already proving to be the spanner in the works, making the problem worse not better. As any competent technician will tell you, the vast majority of problems are fixed by a range of simple maintenance tasks followed by the all important reboot.
The solution will not be found in slashing the size of the government or public services. The system needs a powerful anti-virus to protect its users, guard against corruption and ensure that highly skilled users do not unfairly exploit the system at the expense of other users. The system also needs a comprehensive operating system to educate its users in using it effectively and to enable them to flourish.
We need to defragment the system – compressing to increase efficiency, reduce wastage of resources and delete services which aren’t valued by users. We need to restore certain programmes that have mistakenly been uninstalled, but have historically benefitted a considerable number of users and society as a whole. We need to invest, wisely, into expanding the capacity of the system – whether into meaningful employment for users in the system, new programmes to improve system performance or hardware to improve the infrastructure.
But in order for these changes to take effect the system will require a full reboot. If we only solve the short term problems then the economic machine will eventually crash altogether and fail to serve the needs of any of its users. A reboot will allow for the fundamental redesign of faulty elements of the system and for changes to become rooted, making it more robust and functional for all.
So who will carry out the reboot? The users have already started it. They have become tired of their malfunctioning system and are calling on the engineers for change. The language of protest is becoming embedded in mainstream society. The users are defining an acceptable coding language and are beginning to write their own user manual. The only question is how the economic machine will look after its reboot…