Disclaimer: Articles on this website are written from the perspectives of various Localists, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Local Matters. Our contributors come from a wide array of varying political backgrounds, and we believe that cooperation across the political spectrum is essential.

Economics has three fundamental factors of production: land, labour, and capital. Balancing these elements correctly generates wealth. However, another element often overlooked by modern economics is something called ‘humanity’. Removing humanity from the equation has lowered its status in calculations, companies and governments often don’t consider the people in their decision-making process, instead of putting efficiency and profit above people. What Work a person ‘does’ in England is not seen as an important question, modern economics will gladly see you work zero-hour contracts, it will benefit from seeing you work seven days a week on low hours and low pay, as modern economics is not concerned with such issues. But we know it is important, governments can state that we have the lowest unemployment on record but how has that been achieved? Research conducted by the CV-Library, revealed that 55.6 per cent of British employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. Inadequate pay, lack of career progression and poor company culture were among the main reasons given.

But what does it mean?
The individual person, as a factor of production (i.e your labour and time), has become a tool for the ego of others. In many cases, people are reduced to ‘workers’, and a worker is only required to perform simple tasks; repetitive, uncreative, and negative to their spirit, we have all had these jobs at one point or another, it is likely you feel this way about your work daily. Workers no longer follow a ‘calling’, but merely continue in their duties on the ’daily grind’, where one works simply to make it to the weekend so that they can afford to support themselves and their families. This is not to say all rewarding work is fun, my father, a sheet metal engineer who works harder than anyone I have known, his small workshop churns out incredible patented agricultural machines; a remarkable and dying skill – I can see what has been accomplished and I see the toll it has taken. Everything he has made it out there functioning and feeding people. Data from Eurostat shows that full-time workers in the UK work an average of 42.5 hours a week. This means that the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Even the most passionate worker, all too happy to do as they are told, can lose interest and passion under this strain. Many desk jobs can lead to a repetitive cycle of people clock-watching their way through the day to come home exhausted from menial tasks, so fatigued they simply play games or watch TV for the extent of their free time. People lack the energy left from the week to read, make love, learn an instrument, create art, educate their children – life-affirming activities. People are stuck in a daily grind to pay rent, to buy cheap consumer products to entertain themselves in their two hours of free time. Contributing to this a total of just over 4.55 million households as of 2019 are renting. Renters are often not allowed to even improve their homes.

In the same way that a person becomes a worker, they also cease to be a participating member of their own community. Many of us simply don’t have the time. Since Covid-19 one upside has been an increase in community spirit, we have seen people coming together to clap for healthcare workers, people have been helping their neighbours, chatting on the street, pooling resources and caring for those less fortunate. A break from the humdrum consumer lifestyle has brought out the best in us, cooperation between people in England is a strong binding factor. The same governments and corporations that don’t consider people as a factor in economic calculations, has also lessened their role in citizenship. People’s role has been negated by the market forces’ perverted emphasis on their appetite to consume – making them an anonymous voters in mass political structures too large to accurately portray the will of the people. This attack reduced the most vital part of citizenship – participation.

Citizenship does not come from thin air like republican models of society may like to think. Modern forms of economics, together with mass political systems in which peoples’ share of the vote is diminished by a rising population and a two-party system are destroying the responsibilities and wider possibilities of a citizens’ role. These are systems where the people’s will can be ignored by representatives. Citizenship is the product of shared responsibilities, active participation and decision making regarding the personal relationships which are the heart of vibrant communities. Humans are charming and influential in small groups, hence why we form so many of them.

The local matter:
It is important to see the extent to which modern economics has destroyed the importance of people in their local community. Shopping malls and supermarkets where strangers make purchases from other strangers have largely bankrupted local family businesses. If the small businesses were able to flourish there would, in fact, be more people in meaningful employment within their community. Within my local community in East Anglia, we understand this, we push out conglomerates before they gain a foothold, we lookout for everyone in our small communities. A family friend of mine drove hot dinners to the elderly weekly out of responsibility and duty to those above and below her. Our people with learning disabilities use the ‘welfare’ state to a lesser extent than those in the city, instead, they work packing bags in our local shops and take on manageable work for their abilities that rewards them, they grab lunch in the local cafe from those who can cook a good hot meal. Conglomerates would see an end to this symbiotic relationship. Giant forms of bureaucratic welfare often work to abolish local responsibilities and leave many people out of sight and out of mind, paying them to essentially ‘stay quiet’. As an example Railway companies now see us as ‘customers’ not as ‘passengers’, these important intellectual twists leave your role as a citizen secondary to that of ‘consumer’ or ‘walking wallet’. Where citizens used to understand local custom (on most matters) we are now all too often pushed into the completion of digital forms to satisfy some remote centralised bureaucracy. We send digital forms to a faceless administration, often we are even replied to by software instead of a person with investment in what they do.

Large societies are in opposition to democracy, a political process on a mass scale dominated by ‘the two’ parties can’t have any relationship to the practical matters of people in local areas. The mass parties work in the name of eternal ‘growth’ and ‘efficiency’ yet there has been no attempt to explain the moral purpose of this growth. Despite our overwhelming productivity, our work hours are still going up, our rent is rising, our free time is diminishing and our vote is being diluted. The results are clearly a catastrophe of resource wars, population excesses, mass migration, environmental arrogance, resource squandering, and social disintegration. Community involvement minimised, the modern person has been isolated and manipulated, on a path to social breakdown on a scale that will match that of the forces working against them – When economic hedonism has come to an end.