London is getting ever richer. Why this is, is, at first sight, a mystery. San Francisco is also getting richer. But that’s not mysterious: thousands of beaver geeks are busy building “apps” there, San Francisco actually produces products, common products which common people love to use. And code writers prefer to live there, in a big city, next to Silicon Valley’s centers of power and innovation. Apps made in San Francisco are then sold worldwide.
But London? What does London make? The answer is not what London makes, but what it harbors… which we abhor. An increasingly serious world problem. The New York Times’ Roger Cohen ponders the situation:
“The streets look the same — if spruced for the new gentry from drab and dreary to spick and span — but London’s animating spirit is another. Money, and I mean the world’s money not Britain’s, now determines how London looks, sets it apart from the rest of the country, and defines what it is… it resembles a mausoleum reserved for the occasional use of the globe’s peripatetic rich and their ample staffs.
Real estate as investment and tax dodge, rather than as dwelling, is a life-sucking force. Georgian mansions of cream-colored splendor sit there, empty much of the time, with a banner to the great unwashed on their shuttered windows proclaiming: Stay out!…
The faraway “Continent” of my youth — full of such unfamiliar and vaguely suspicious items as garlic and French intellectuals and edible food — has defied the Channel and arrived. London and gastronomy are no longer strangers.
French and Polish and Romanian youths pour into London in search of a living wage and passable English, followed by young Spaniards and Italians. That they are undeterred by how crazy-expensive London life is testifies to the economic slump and high unemployment across much of Europe.”
It is most reassuring for me when mainstream commentators adopt pretty much word for word what i have been saying for years. All the following ideas I brandished in the past, iconoclastically:
“London is skewed in dangerous ways, indicative of European and global problems. House prices keep jumping. Cranes are everywhere, hoisting new luxury developments into being. Some are certainly for wealthy Greeks fleeing their country’s problems. There’s a bubble. The capital has become a glittering enclave in a country often resentful of its dominance. It presides with an air of superiority, like squeaky-clean Singapore looking down on Southeast Asia.
An alternative way of looking at the push for independence by Scotland, now a one-party Scottish nationalist state, is to think of London as having seceded from the rest of Britain, a city-state unto itself. There is widespread resentment of the city’s self-absorption. An alternative way of looking at the way London sucks in money and the affluent from the rest of Europe is as a reflection of the stagnation and unresolved structural problems of the eurozone. In some ways, London reflects both a country and a continent in which the fracturing forces are, for the first time since World War II, stronger than the unifying forces. London is a capital of culture, but also of inequality and tax evasion.”
An alternative way to look at the most recent phase of the Greek crisis is that it consisted in several Machiavellian shows, entangled with each other. Tsipras wanted to claim he had no choice, but to take some strong measures which he knew and wanted, to take. Merkel and Hollande did not feel like negotiating with Cameron, something they sure could not do, as long as Greece is on the front burner. Cameron himself may have felt that the Greece crisis gave him an excuse for having had no time for significant negotiations with the EU, thus dissimulating his impotence. After all, Cameron is only PM of Great Britain, not the power behind London’s growth. That is what really pulls the strings: world plutocracy, un-taxed, uncowed, unabashed, indomitable.
Politics is nothing, if not Machiavellian. London itself is so outrageous, that it presents, by its very absurdity, both crisis and opportunity.
London’s average metrics are getting ever richer, on the back of We The People, worldwide. And Roger to conclude, in a style reminiscent of yours truly:
“[London] is also a magnet for people looking for a safe place for their money. Having made it in countries like Russia and China with a cowed press, rampant corruption and no rule of law, oligarchs and crony capitalists reach the conclusion that they like nothing as much as democratic systems with real legal systems and a vigorous press. Having trashed the West they trust the West with their money.
Autocratic hypercapitalism without Western checks and balances produces new elites whose dream is an American or British lifestyle and education for their children, and whose other goal is to buy into the rule of law by acquiring real estate, driving up prices in prime markets to the point where the middle classes of those countries, with incomes stagnant or falling (and taxed), are pushed aside.
London is the capital of these trends. That is the different reek, of something amiss and skewed and wrong, in its purring streets.”
Roger does not go into the nitty-gritty of the tax code. However, this is the core of London’s ascendancy. The tax code allows “non-doms” and plutocrats from all over the world to come and situate themselves, tax free, in London, for at least seven years. No questions asked.
London has turned into Monaco, writ large. With much less stringent admission criterions. Plus the added twist of world financial conspiracies, so unethical that the law of the USA does not allow them to be conducted, even in New York.
England (that is, London) and the USA (in particular Delaware, Wyoming, etc.) are the world’s largest tax havens, for world plutocracy. The serious money is hidden in “dark pools” where the real owners cannot be traced, in the present system: the situation is similar to tax evasion in Greece, but much worse.
The leaders of the USA, Wall Street, and London thus try to control the world, by inviting the controlling plutocrats to reside there. It’s a sort of Faustian bargain, writ large. The New York Times has made a whole study of wanted international criminals, and completely opaque arrangements controlling the mighty towers in New York.
Apparently the idea is to sell our democracy, in exchange for the influence, you plutocrats, you, our beloved plutocrats in residence, exert upon the world.
The price which is paid is not just measured in how much soul goes down the drain, but in the influence of plutocracy on politics. Academic studies have shown most decisions in the USA, have to do with what the .1% want, not what We The People of the USA want. The same phenomenon blossoms in England. Hence the Scottish rejection of the London wealth phenomenon.
It is high time that the Scottish rejection for plutocracy supreme spread around the world. If we do not reject plutocracy in a timely manner, it will come to control us completely, until a new serfdom becomes a fact.