Posted on 15 March 2011 as a reply to #5
'Capitalism hates you'
I like that.
I, like Helen, work in various galleries in various roles. I don't really mind working a low paid job (at the moment), because it pays my rent (at the moment), and because I'm starting to get offered more paid freelance work.
I have peeped through the bejewelled curtain of freelance work, and it pays well...
I have thought about going for more permanent, contracted roles (office admin things), but in all honesty I need the flexibility... My galleries really do honour their side of the casual-contract bargain, meaning that I can go away an artist's residency for three weeks and come back to a job. A lot of places don't honour that side of the bargain, e.g. "if you don't work Friday night you're not coming back"
So, a bit like an out of date version of Helen, I feel like a New Labour wet dream, like I'm a poster boy for the 'flexible worker' that they wanted everyone to be. Politicians are terribly keen for people to adapt to 'the new economic climate', which is strange because as Pete says, capitalism doesn't need you to adapt to it's whims. It doesn't need you to thrive when it shifts entire workforces, or closes big employers, or enforces incredible notions of how public services should be run.
The Big Society is, I think, a slightly different idea to the flexi-casual-freelance problem that Helen is talking about. The Big Society is a bit more of a foggy-eyed Tory thing, with a Neoliberal gloss that might hurt actual volunteering. It isn't openly malevolent, just unrealistic and nostalgic. It is the continuing basis of every political decision on outdated, disproved, market theory that seems to be the real problem.