A Helot Society 307

So we are back with a vengeance to notions of the undeserving poor. Electronic cards are to ensure that the poor can only spend their benefits on basic necessities like food and clothing, and not on a lifestyle of alcohol and illegal drugs.

Having lived a rather spectacular life encompassing both ends of the social spectrum, I can state with utter conviction that consumption of illegal pleasure-giving stimulants is far higher among the very wealthy than among the very poor. The notion that only the rich should be allowed to have any enjoyment in life is deeply offensive. It is fine for the Bullingdon Club to get plastered on Krug and cocaine and smash up restaurants. That is all jolly japes and high spirits. For a desperate man to seek solace in four cans of Tennant’s strongest or a bottle of Buckfast is however a dreadful sin and sign of social irresponsibility.

The high streets of our poorest towns are strewn with betting shops, bargain booze outlets, pawnbrokers and payday lenders. For anybody to believe that state compulsion of the patrons is the answer to the problem is the ultimate counsel of despair. Forget giving people a better hope, a greater chance, more socially useful pleasures. Just ban the little solace they have now. We have a government which holds a large section of the population in contempt; which cannot imagine that given a different birth, these people might have been sitting next to them in the Bullingdon Club; in short, which has no notion whatsoever of human dignity.

This latest move against benefits claimants is consistent with the entire development of the modern British economy. High wage economies generate a self-sustaining high domestic demand which keeps the economy growing. Our three main political parties postulate a low wage economy, with a minimum wage below the level which can sustain a family. The low wage economy is defended as a guarantee of strong international competitiveness and thus export performance. In fact Britain’s low wage model is entirely different, and the vast majority of those on low wages have no relation to exports. What Britain has developed is a model where a thin layer at the top are on extremely high remuneration. This of course includes bankers and the financial services industry, but also through the cult of managerialism, CEOs and directors have vastly increased their remuneration. For the multiple between the highest and lowest paid in a company to be 70 – the cleaner on 15,000, the core level majority on 20,000 and the CEO on 3,000,000- is now absolutely routine.

Even the public sector is ruled by this pretence that executive work is harder, more stressful, more uniquely difficult than core work. Well, I have been an Ambassador and a barman, and I can tell you which was hardest work. University vice chancellors are on over 300,000. Local councils regularly have a score of people on over 100,000.

We have no media willing to take on the triumph of greed. The most “left wing” of British newspapers, the Guardian, pays its editor total remuneration of over half a million per year and “star” columnists 300,000, while exploiting interns and junior staff, and squandering 35 million pounds a year of C P Scott’s great endowment in losses – straight into its senior staff’s pockets.

Britain has developed a new kind of low wage economy – one where the bulk of those on low wages work to provide services to those on very, very high remuneration. In a sense it is very old. We have become a helot society. It should be stressed that low wage is a deliberate policy. There is absolutely no reason why those in work could not be paid more. The economy would not crash. In Norway the median wage of the lowest 10 percentile is over 20,000 pounds, while the multiple between the lowest ten percentile and the top ten percentile is less than one third what it is in Britain. The UK’s astonishing and accelerating wealth gap is a result of deliberate ideological policy, founded on a notion that those at the top are possessed of rare and extraordinary abilities – whereas in truth, in the UK more than anywhere, their main achievement was usually to be born into the right family.

The concomitant of that worship of the rich is the belief that money measures worth; that if you have a low income then you are scum. That is the attitude that underlies these benefit smart cards. It is truly disgusting.

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307 thoughts on “A Helot Society

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  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    “..but I suppose there’s only so much you can say about said topic without diversifying ever so slightly.”

    The topic is a vast and important one which could sustain a hell of a lot of commentary without any need to deviate or discuss unrelated matters.



    “It’s just another tactic, Mark. The opposition wants the illusion of a discussion of the facts, as long as it doesn’t really impact the big picture.”


    Have it your own way, Ben – go ahead and discuss the “big picture” if you wish. Although the relevance of democracy as practiced in a city state of a couple of hundred thousand people 2500 years ago to the modern state of a 60 million strong Britain in 2014 doesn’t appear very compelling to me.

    But I’ll admit that discussing the first rather than the second is easier in many ways.

  • Ben E. Geserit Muad'Dib Further Confounding Gender Speculators

    SmartHab; Maybe you could convince your handlers to allow your persona here more often. you are more intelligent than the other entities.

  • Ishmael

    “competition is the essence of life and evolution”

    I know a sociologist or two who don’t agree. It’s a theory someone has tried to put into a system because it suits there own twisted agenda. Arguably the most destructive the earth has ever known.

    The species extinction is now about the level when the asteroid hit that wiped out the dinosaurs.

  • CanSpeccy


    “Last 7 minutes. Who’s being suicidal really?”

    But what Chomsky, who ridicules those who seek the truth about 9-11, and who doesn’t give a damn who killed President Kennedy, is talking bunk.

    Industrial civilization has not destroyed those who practice it and its been going for thousand of years to satisfy the wants of all with the money to buy, including the incredible extravagance of the elite of ancient regimes.

    True industrial civilization may destroy itself. But not through the exhaustion of resources, but rather through the liberal globalist drive for world domination which may result in a nuclear conflagration. But even then society of some kind will probably survive and the society that cranks up an industrial machine first will probably be the one to survive long-term.

    And, in fact, the plutocratic elite who own the industrial machine that cares much more about conservation of resources than the hoi poloi. That’s why they wish to destroy the mass of mankind. the nation state no longer exists. It has not existed since the time of Disraeliès two nations. And the aim of the elite is to impoverish and ultimately eliminate the mass so that they cease to consume.

    You need to do some research. Read about the eugenic ideas of the great liberal left: Bernard Shaw, HG Wells, Dr. Marie Stopes, and the rest of the pre WW2 lib left. They openly talked about sending the human trash to the lethal chambers. After Hitler, that was no longer a respectable way to talk, so they came up with sex education, the mass killing of the unborn, etc. with equally genocidal consequences.

  • Ben E. Geserit Muad'Dib Further Confounding Gender Speculators

    “True industrial civilization may destroy itself. But not through the exhaustion of resources, but rather through the liberal globalist drive for world domination which may result in a nuclear conflagration. But even then society of some kind will probably survive and the society that cranks up an industrial machine first will probably be the one to survive long-term.”

    Now that’s coming out of the closet. I abhor the ‘liberal’ elite who are worried about planet Earth. Their concerns derive more from ‘keeping my pastoral life as it is” than concern for any souls not in their income bracket.

    I hate hypocrites no matter their economic or political imperatives.

  • lysias

    Interesting who doesn’t want to discuss Athens.

    Of course, I can’t imagine any of the supporters of globalism cum neoliberalism would want a counterexample brought up.

  • Ishmael


    I don’t think your idea of liberals is very sound at all. If anything it’s the deviation from traditional liberalism that’s the issue, by people who are obviously not and use similar arguments against similar forces to protect there power and privilege, implying it’s them sort who done it. (anarchists being the inheritors of that school of thought).

    So we need to get back to good old Christian values do we ? Yea whatever. It’s never prevented me having a ‘narrative to live’ as you put it. This can come for all kinds of things. But myself I enjoy the mystery and winging it. Each to there own.

    You clearly have a bent for social engineering yourself. It’s people like you trying to take big bits of power to force some kind of ideology on society rather than democracy and people having more power individually. No doubt they will be grateful of your benevolent attempts as you seem to know best.

  • Ishmael

    “True industrial civilization may destroy itself. But not through the exhaustion of resources, but rather through the liberal globalist drive for world domination which may result in a nuclear conflagration.”

    Again to call this liberal is a joke.

    As to the rest, your really going off on one it seems. And that’s from somoene who knows he’s a little off planet. I’v made my points.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    Athens was the first european democracy, but democratic behaviour of a nurture and need kind existed far longer, some 3000 years earlier in the Indus delta region.

    There archeologists found Towns wwith equally sized housing, no temples, no other special habitats that one could recall as chiefs, nothing.
    There were grain silos and going by the size of the wall foundations surrounding the towns, it must have been 50 feet high. They also found water reservoirs within the towns walls, a wholly sustainable existence.

    But there must have been feuds, others who wanted to fight them, but as the indicators go, they were equals and stuck together due to their needs for nurture and security, no voting was required then.

    Athens ruling classes voted, the rich, not the peasants and slaves, our western model of democracy is an establishment model, bastardised by Machiasvelli to suit them forever more.

    Fred, the voting system in Germany, despite its glaring proportionality, has not failed to perform to this greek model.
    There is also a hang up of a nobel class, a leftover of the 360 palentats/Independent states that existed before 1794. Barons and kings that ruled their states with ruthless control and to their own laws. Even the Napoleonic wars and the following first socalist pangs could not disperse with such priviledged ilk , nor could Bismarcks second reich, Adolf, who fed on the metal gioants Krupp and Thyssen, who used nestle money for his dastard party, he was well in with the German Adel.

    So despite a proportional system, thanks to the allies, nothing has changed.

    They farmed grains, stored it

  • karazazu

    There’s an old book by Belloc with a similar thesis : “The servile state”. As I remember it, he thought socialism would be trapped into helping create a new helot state, and the workers would welcome it. Recommended read.

  • Paul

    15k for a cleaner? For real? I work as a professional and I just had my best ever year. Made about 20k. Maybe the boss of a small cleaning company could clear 15k, but most cleaners are on minimum wage, with no chance of a raise.

  • Ishmael

    Republic of the Universe

    1 Oct, 2014 – 12:45 am

    Yea, crazy stuff. The world is a business and business rules. Life, unknown anywhere else, so precious and unique brought to this kind of existence. what a triumph.

    Whatever happened to exploring the universe. Just ending poverty is not a big ask. But no. Economic religious freaks. Looks like it will be slow ugly destruction of the human race….

  • Ishmael

    Ok come on, how may have had clones on Tony Blairs brain transplanted into there cranium. Own up.

    I swear it’s all we ever seem to get in the way of ‘argument’ from critical outsiders on this blog, around and around. A jumble of incoherent ideas strung together with fairy dust.

    Get a good comeback? Don’t worry, don’t address the counter points made, just continue babbling from the script. Maybe if you sound confident enough people won’t notice the inane babble it is.

    Why are people still following these insane ideas, please think for yourselves. You’ll feel much better I swear. I wonder if people in power can do that at all. And when facing life that’s always new situations this bonding to old ideas is just crazy. We are not the enemy. But this wedding to an ideology, jeez, it’s got to stop for humanity. And it’s not like it hasen’t been shown time and again to be full of holes. An awfull way to organise society.

  • Ishmael

    Yea, I fiugured Sagan, just taking time to type.

    No, more of a mystic tbh. I don’t really belive in the separation buisness. But still I value that take on things. In it’s place so to speak.

  • Ishmael

    Taoism was the last and most useful practice I found. And I emphasize practice, not some kind of ideology. It has similar emphasis as anarchism. I don’t read up on it anymore as theology is not important, but I was just looking through wikipedia to see what they say. Quite an interesting passage.

    “As the “practical, political side” of Taoist philosophy, Arthur Waley translated them as “abstention from aggressive war and capital punishment”, “absolute simplicity of living”, and “refusal to assert active authority”.

    Anyway I believe the imposition of ‘sanity’ and ‘rationality’ belies the fact that normal healthy beings don’t separate out ‘self’ onto some ordered mental construct (fantacy) that informs how they act, a negation of all that we are. An attempt to separate mind/body and spirit/heart. Practice being aimed to wake up parts of the ‘body’ that correspond natural human feelings like the youth who act in the moment, spontaneity, without effort. Without needing an ideology. And tied to natural human feelings that tend to prevent people going totally off the rails as some are.

    I think we all know this freedom, but lifestyle, cultue and stress takes it’s toll. And many then can’t even experiance this simple fundamental human freedom, it being like a foreign county, tied to chains made to exult the ‘exceptional individual’. Shame. No money measures up to a second of life really. It should be the least of our concerns.

    “Spare a thought for the souls
    Who cannot leave this earth
    The attachments bind so tightly, not a chance
    Not a chance of a new birth

    The river gently beckons
    But the answer is no
    Gripping their illusions
    They cannot let them go

    Hunger for the flesh
    Leads them to a weaker heart
    Mortals who imprisoned themselves
    Let them have a new start

    Wishing to hold onto life and all its games
    Singing their lament song
    Holding back the change

    They came here for to dance
    To learn and not to cling
    Holding onto life
    As if it were the important thing”

    Howard-Jones. Hunger for the flesh.

  • YouKnowMyName

    for those who are paid to read/reply on the forums – you could do worse than quietly reflect on the imbalance of the UK distribution of wealth (tho personally I suspect it is currently more egalitarian than in many previous centuries). Whilst meditating in the meantime why not practise your German Language skills?


    It is in German language, a Monty Pythonesque TV show, (thankfully with English subtitles), no John Cleese BUT THEY DO MENTION THE WAR!

    it is going viral in German speaking areas, allegedly

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Karazazu –

    Thanks for the Belloc reference – one of the greats. But doesn’t it occur to you that globalism is socialism – only lacking the redistribution element? Or, even closer, Stalinism in all but name? An ant economy controlled by monolithic corporations, in which any real wealth generated is siphoned off the producers and pumped upstairs to the a central finance praesidium, never to return…

    See also HG Wells – “The Time Machine” for an effete and hedonistic society – the Eloi – kept in thrall by the Morlocks, who treat Eloi as cattle, and eat them.

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