Guest Post: The Great Separation

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Graham Barnes of FEASTA blog ( @GrahamJBarnes ),

What do Scottish independence, UKIP, self-employment, cryptocurrencies and the black economy have in common?
The neo-liberal establishment wont fix itself, so for those fed up with banging their heads against policy brickwalls, there’s only one direction. Separate.


The increasing likelihood of a Scottish yes vote hardly represents a success for the SNP’s economic arguments. Voters generally understand that the yes and no camps are trading tailored fictional economic narratives. Few buy into the scenarios painted, believe the promises, or heed the warnings. The bullying of the no campaign reinforces the zeitgeist feeling that Scotland is being bounced by a London centric establishment into a fearful retreat from independent-mindedness. A yes vote, if it comes, will be a signal separation from over-financialisation.

The main UK parties are generally blase about mid-term so-called protest votes, and take the same view of voters that the big banks take of customers – Buggins Turn will see them come back in due course. But the rise of UKIP may be a symptom of more than your average alienation. We may be experiencing the early stages of a proliferation of parties, a fragmentation encouraged (against the electoral system odds) by a creeping awareness of the nature of the democratic deficit. The new definition of a wasted vote is a vote for a party you are not 100% satisfied with. In future elections the hardest choice may be between the Pirate Party and None of the Above.

Recent official announcements on UK employment have emphasised the decrease in unemployment, but the figures reveal a much more telling statistic – that almost 15% of those working are now in self employment. This represents an increase of 367,000 in four years. Of course it is possible to present this as a negative – a migration of desperation designed by a cynical government to keep the unemployment figures down. But there is another dimension to it which should not be overlooked. Without lionising these new self-employees as startup entrepreneurs (a much over respected category according to my FEASTA colleague Brian Davey), for some the change in status can represent an escape from wage slavery. If you are going to take on the responsibility for directing your own employment, then the opportunity to work on something you are passionate about, interested in or committed to should not be overlooked. We know that self-employment is rarely a short cut to financial reward, but it can be a way of reconnecting with what is important in your life – a separation from ‘mainstream’ values. Few people on their deathbed regret that they didn’t spend more time at work.

If the vested interests of the establishment represent an enormous inertia for any meaningful societal or economic change, there is one even more important barrier. The nature of monetary dysfunction is becoming more apparent, though its position as the ‘lynchpin’ of the various interconnected systemic malfunctions is perhaps not yet as clear as its should be.

The appearance of Bitcoin and its subsequent altcoin variations has sometimes been caricatured as a neoliberal response to a state-monopoly of money creation. Whether this was part of Mr Nakamoto’s motivation we will probably never know, but the Bitcoin phenomenon is important for two reasons. First it is a demonstration that ‘other means of exchange are available ‘ in societies that are fed up to the back teeth of being told ‘there is no alternative’ to this that and the other. Second , the innovation at its heart – the blockchain – represents a decentralised ledger that potentially obviates the need for a trusted central management function. We might see this as a sad reflection of a lack of trust in TPTB; or we can see it as a mechanism for democratising trust. Either way altcoins are opening the minds of those that are ‘ripe for separation’.

Finally, what of the black economy. Traditionally, good citizens have seen ethical value in paying their taxes. This fellow-feeling solidarity is based on a fundamental gut feel appreciation of fairness. Orthodox economics has progressively hollowed out this sentiment, and replaced it with ‘enlightened self interest’, in the process legitimising selfish behaviour. At the same time corporations globalise their operations to avoid paying any tax; and citizens are increasingly critical of the misallocation of their tax dollars. We are dangerously close to seeing the taxation rationale completely dismantled. It is not uncommon to hear baby boomers who have willingly paid taxes throughout their lives express deep disaffection and an inclination to evade. Why should a median income worker in Ireland pay 52% marginal rate tax, while Apple pays 2%? A generation ago the Black Economy was the habitat of choice for criminals; unless some progress is made with regards to inequality, fairness and inclusion, it may well be the habitat of choice for all of us in the future.

*  *  *

The neo-liberal establishment wont fix itself, so for those fed up with banging their heads against policy brickwalls, there’s only one direction. Separate.

Your rating: None

- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:10 | 4859773 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture


Story line?

Write much Graham?


Sun, 06/15/2014 - 22:31 | 4859978 nink
nink's picture

Big things and stuff is happening cause its all much  bad.  

I hope this provides the appropriate level of clarification required.  

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 01:32 | 4860380 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

If you aren't able to fill in the blanks then you just haven't been paying attention to some important things that have been happening.  Stop being distracted by whatever pointless garbage is wasting your attention span.

I am Chumbawamba

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:12 | 4859783 Reaper
Reaper's picture

You can give in and be enslaved or you can say no.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:16 | 4859792 nmewn
nmewn's picture

And what of the black economy? Why is it there and who put it there?

Because some asshole deigned to make a law regarding someone elses behavior, this is the source of your ‘enlightened self interest’.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 23:28 | 4860132 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Apparently they want this 'black economy' to be part of the real economy. Never thought I would see the day when governments would include hookers and blow as part of GDP. I smell desperation.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:17 | 4859793 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Don't drop the ball Scotland. Follow through and set a global standard.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:19 | 4859799 CunnyFunt
CunnyFunt's picture

Set a global standard in failed socialist attempts?

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:29 | 4859823 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

You need to brush up on UKIP. This whole ordeal has been going on for months. I'm a 4th generation Scottish American. We always back our team. Dropping the EU will trigger a aftermath. 

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:36 | 4859833 CunnyFunt
CunnyFunt's picture

Uh, look up the SNP platform.

Scottish independence would be followed by hard statist measures.

All this romanticism about Scotland makes me laugh. If you have ever lived there, you would know that it is a shitty place. That's why I left.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:38 | 4859845 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Funny cunt, you have no idea what is going on. Suggest you STFU. Hint, they want out of the EU. 

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 21:53 | 4859876 CunnyFunt
CunnyFunt's picture

So what? More socialism is never good. I suspect Scotland will be a basket case within 7 years following independence.

Yes, it will all end well when half the population is still fighting the Battle of the Boyne, albeit across the Sea.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 22:05 | 4859911 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

I suspect you're the basket case who stands to lose on the gravy train pay check submitted to Brussels.  Off to bed. 

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 23:34 | 4860149 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I will start off by admitting to never visiting Scotland, nor following their politics, but I don't think anything will come of this. If they gain independence, leave the EU, etc, the same types of people will still wind up in charge. I would LOVE to be proven wrong on this, and see Scotland set themselves up as a truly free country that thumbed its nose at all the EU types, I just don't see it happening. With a few exceptions (Our Ron Paul, your Nigel farange) govts tends to attract the worst among us to its top positions, and people are stupid enough to keep voting for the same type of people, and there will still be too many people in Scotland who will vote for the free shit and magic unicorns promising politicians to really make a difference. Again, I would love to be proven wrong on this.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 01:35 | 4860385 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

They may take your lives, but they'll never take your freedom!

I am not Sir William Wallace nor Scottish.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 01:39 | 4860392 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

All I can say is that I'm extremely glad that my great-grandfather got the hell out of Scotland and moved to Australia (with nothing). In Scotland he had nothing and knew that no matter how hard he worked he would always have nothing. But in Australia he could own his own farm (and that's exactly what he did). 

Oh, and if you want to see what thousands of years of inbreeding does then check out the Scottish women (not the ones who mixed with Vikings). 

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 22:12 | 4859926 Dutch
Dutch's picture

The point isn't whether separation is good or bad. Divorce is usually awful for everyone involved. The point is this is happening, and it signals something.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 01:38 | 4860388 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

To me it signals an inexpensive vacation destination for dollar and euro holders.  Go Scotland!


Sun, 06/15/2014 - 22:46 | 4860026 AdvancingTime
AdvancingTime's picture

Borders are a creation of man and not visible to the birds flying above. Much bloodshed and many wars could be avoided if the issues of regime change or borders could be handled in a more rational and constructive way, but do not expect this to happen. Borders and political control is a problem that haunts man since before the written word.

Recently President Obama and other officials have talked about the legal sanctity of sovereign borders, but in reality this is an argument of convenience masking deeper issues. When it comes down to it we are just pawns in this sad power game. If you doubt this just ask some of the many people displaced from their homes in Syria. More on the subject of sovereign borders in the article below.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 22:05 | 4859912 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Recent official announcements on UK employment have emphasised the decrease in unemployment, but the figures reveal a much more telling statistic – that almost 15% of those working are now in self employment. This represents an increase of 367,000 in four years. Of course it is possible to present this as a negative – a migration of desperation designed by a cynical government to keep the unemployment figures down

Unfortunately, there is no real way to sugarcoat precarious forms of employment.


Finally, what of the black economy.

That is where the criminal element resides.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 03:37 | 4860482 Nick Jihad
Nick Jihad's picture

"criminal element" is a good phrase for discouraging actual thought. What sort of criminal are we talking about?  The 'mallum in se' kind, or the "mallum prohibitum" kind?

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 22:23 | 4859953 Lazane
Lazane's picture

Graham Barnes has absolutely nailed it. I am 59 yrs a one time dinosaur and casualty of corporate suit world. I have paid what I consider to be more then my fair share of taxes and I do not wish to pay them any longer. Why? Because the neo-liberal progressive establishment will not fix itself, and they leave me a now self-reliant,  self-employed,  free man no other choice but to cut them off of my gravey train of prosperity and allow them wilt on the vine. It is the only way to slay this beast.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 01:45 | 4860404 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

A state does not have the right to exist, and no man can be forced to give up a part of his compensation for labor "for the greater good" (i.e. the state).  A man can not be forced to be subject to a state because the rights of man are antecedent to that of any state.  The "state" is a creation of man, and a fiction.  A fiction cannot be greater than a man.

I am Chumbawamba.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 09:02 | 4860840 yrbmegr
yrbmegr's picture

Good luck.  The NWO will disagree.

Sun, 06/15/2014 - 22:42 | 4860015 AdvancingTime
AdvancingTime's picture

An event in the not to distant future that may effect the British currency is when voters in Scotland will be given the choice of opting for independence in a referendum in September 2014. This is something much of the world has yet to weigh in on. A separate Scotland has three options, unilaterally keeping the pound, creating a Scottish currency or joining the euro.

All of these alternative currency arrangements depend on the rest of the UK agreeing to the union and terms, an independent Scottish state might have to accept "significant policy constraints" under such a pact.Many reasons exist for maintaining a "Sterling Zone," The Scottish government said a currency union would be in everyone's interests economically and benefit both Scotland and the rest of the UK, but the 58 million citizens of the UK will be in no hurry to give away any of their sovereignty over monetary and potentially other economic policy to five million people in another state. More in the article below about some of the issues an independant scotland will face.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 00:03 | 4860208 Dr. Bonzo
Dr. Bonzo's picture

I would say the neo-liberal establishment refuses to fix itself, but great write-up.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 06:11 | 4860557 what's that smell
what's that smell's picture


the fat man-child mark kapeles riding a blue work-out ball?

the magic the gathering online exchange?

poof!...and it's gone.


Mon, 06/16/2014 - 07:11 | 4860613 Scarlett
Scarlett's picture



you're still on the mtgox news.  


You might want to check up on the new news.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 02:10 | 4860429 starman
starman's picture

Reality always turns out differently then  theory.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 03:47 | 4860487 smacker
smacker's picture

Whilst I support Scottish independence because I believe it would be better for the Scottish people and economy if led by visionary politicians (this is wishful thinking given the current crop of buffoons), I remain certain that the Scottish people will vote NO. They don't trust their own lying and incompetent politicians and they're afraid of the unknown. They'll vote to stay with the devil they know ...and to keep on receiving the benefit cheques from Westminster.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 08:57 | 4860822 Shigure
Shigure's picture

Agree -  "The new definition of a wasted vote is a vote for a party you are not 100% satisfied with. In future elections the hardest choice may be between the Pirate Party and None of the Above."

I'm going round my area putting "VOTE HERE" stickers on the rubbish bins ;)

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 09:00 | 4860836 yrbmegr
yrbmegr's picture

As any zen master will tell you, separation is an illusion.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!