|Civilisation the writing is on the wall|
great idea, shame about the spelling
A free laundry for people who don't have washing machines sets off a train of thought and then I find poet Josephine Corcoran giving away ideas for writing with young people. But when I google giving away ideas what comes up is marketing strategies, and searching copyright free produces ways of getting around it.
Why do I remember a time when ideas and objects were freely shared? Is this age inserting lies into my past? Scrabbling around online I'm reminded of Amsterdam's free bike sharing, communes, the Diggers, free festivals and squatting. But I'm also made aware of the changed emphasis given to the word sharing and its digital meaning. It's this, like the dawn chorus, that wakes me up.
Perhaps I should linger in the state of mind where utopias are suspended like gardens and lost cities still have their gold. But news of hedge funds making such enormous profits out of food, as a direct result of war, has me wondering why we're not talking about this more - the people behind them, the ideas driving them, the fundamental assumption that everything we used to think of as communally owned is up for grabs by people who have money to invest. Last year we heard they own UK water companies and this is how one hedge fund in the US, Water Asset Management, is talking about water:
"Climate change is intensifying drought, flood, and fire. These factors provide an unprecedented period of transformation and investment opportunity for the water industry. Water companies will continue to thrive and prosper, offering investors the ability to realize capital appreciation as well as sustainable long term dividend income, with relatively low levels of risk and volatility, while delivering positive impact."
What will make headlines to provoke the debates we need when we have cocktail parties for hedge funds hosted by politicians? Who has the language and the understanding?
The UN warned in 2021 about hedge funds threatening the most basic human rights, listing housing, water, food, and environmental health. The term the UN uses is financialisation: "The experts pointed out that financialisation has a disproportionate impact on the enjoyment of their rights by women and girls who form half of the world population, and are systematically victims of discrimination. The impact on older people was also highlighted."
Joint Statement by independent United Nations human rights experts warning of the threat that financial speculation poses to the enjoyment of a range of human rights. October 2021