March 2016        

When abnormal becomes normal: The privatisation agenda

Jimmy Doran

The CPI uses the slogan “Irish Water, open your eyes, they just want to privatise” on the Right2Water marches. Well, we have to open our eyes to a lot more, as corporations are privatising everything—some more obvious than others, but they are creating income streams everywhere.
     Banks are now pushing the “cashless society” agenda. It may sound abnormal at the moment, but they are well on the way to making it normal. When they achieve this the benefits to banking will be serious. Every time you buy something there will be a transaction fee. Some banks will have a set fee, for others it will be a percentage of the transaction.
     Banks will also, in their quest to bring in a cashless society, charge you for lodging cash in your bank account. In the same way it will come to the stage that it will be of no benefit to keep money or to save money in a bank, as there will be negative interest rates, which will lead to more people being encouraged by financial institutions to invest in their various investment schemes to make more money.
     The banks never lose in these investment schemes: the risk is always with the investor.
     Another way that corporations are creating income streams is consumerism. At one time, when people wanted to do a bit of exercise they went for a walk, a run, or a swim. The way consumerism has gone in western “civilised society,” to go for a run you have to have a certain brand of running gear, special footwear, an app for your smartphone, and a sweat band.
     Then of course you need water; so you buy a bottle of water. Remember how everybody thought it was hilarious on the Late Late Show when the guy from Ballygowan said he was going to bottle water and sell it! See what I mean about strange things becoming normal?
     You could of course use tap water, but then you would have to put that into a special bottle that clips to your special belt for your run. Everything is fair game for corporations. That’s just a simple run; there is a whole different world out there if you go down the route of gym membership and personal trainers.
     Did I mention that all this paraphernalia carries corporations’ logos, so you are advertising them as well? Normal or abnormal?
     So that is a simple run. There are many similar examples of how consumerism has gone mad. Privatisation is what Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and their friends in big business are all about. If they get their way they will do the same with the health service, education system, transport, and so on. It will become normal to have to pay for private health and education. They’re half way there with fees for visits to hospitals, fees for universities and apprenticeships, prescription charges, voluntary contributions for schools, and so on
     These are all accepted as normal now. It’s time we opened our eyes!

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