Economic contradictions in the media


1. We're told the economy is doing well, that our market system is creating great prosperity. Then we're told that, as a society, we can no longer afford basic social services (care for the elderly, further education, etc), and that individuals must fend for themselves or pay ever higher taxes.

2. We're told we have a better standard of living than ever before. Then we're told (when independent studies are published) that poverty levels have tripled since the 1970s, and that people work longer hours than in the '70s.

3. We're told we have the lowest unemployment for 25 years. Then we're told that welfare dependency is such a big problem that we can't afford to be "soft" on unemployed people, and must create subsidised jobs at huge public expense.

4. We're told there are great opportunities for everyone – prosperity is there for the taking. Then we're told it's an increasingly "competitive" world (which implies scarcity of opportunities, since in an economic sense "competition" means fighting over scarce resources – a fundamental concept in free market economics). Business leaders talk of an increasingly "brutal" market (which doesn't sound like an improvement).