Parts of the great events which you ask me to recall escape my imagination. For instance, I cannot absolutely resolve how the end of the internal combustion engine was so easily embraced as a stimulus to a better life. I’ve a vague notion that disused railway branch lines were restored, but how the energy was found to propel electric locomotives remains a mystery. I’ve a feeling that they ran occasionally, strategically and intermittently. However, the return of freight transport to canals and river systems is clear – as clear as sail-trade at sea. Horses and carts were seen on the roads, but few bearing a single rider. As with the thirty-nine to fourty-five war, such a flaunted ostentation was not at all the thing. Of course, a world of tool and method-makers evolved infrastructures to work for what that society had – most had only to walk a step or two to work; to pub; to church, temple, mosque, meeting house or synagogue; – and a few more steps, or cycle rides to town on market day, or to library, concert hall or theatre. Transport was for trade – to exchange the advantages of variable terrains and to carry the produce of fields to towns and of town-waste back to fields again. To walk and to cycle was the lot of the citizen, to whom it was soon apparent that the car had made them blind. The wasted time from house-door to car door, to work door and back again had taught nothing that was not preconceived. Certainly, the end of car traffic brought more pleasure than pain. Children could play in streets without fear of traffic and un-muffled birdsong recalled ancient joys of dawn and dusk. People had far more time for pleasure – even the brief walk to work would contain meetings, handshakes and gossip. Of course much of the time we spend at work today is to finance the vehicles to propel us to that work. What’s more, the meaning in that meaninglessness is often for social status – to demonstrate how much we’ve spent on a lack of meaning. The work often has no meaning – Post Modernity has often worked long hours to have money to buy expensive leisure.
Consideration of such lack of meaning became a stimulus for the Great Resettlement to find some meaning. Meaningless activity has added to spending and to GDP – today’s measure of economic success. Such spending creates empty holes in the ground, so that national assets diminish – but empty holes have no column for entry in a chancellor’s annual budget. The chancellor will declare that prosperity has increased because spending has increased – even though assets have diminished. The Inland Revenue does not accept such accounts. It asks for the value of assets in year one to be set against the value of assets in year two.
As I’ve said, war, fire, ship-wreck, storm damage, funeral expenses, alcoholism, quantitive-easing and economic mismanagement have all lead to increased spending and so to an increased GDP – and also to vastly-diminished capital assets.
People who joined the Great Resettlement could thus easily understand how a fast-shrinking GDP was a good thing, which increased capital assets.
That belief was sufficient to ease the transition from the transcendent and wildly-impossible dreams of the casino to solid economic ground.
Thinking of two people walking side by side, it can be seen that are more or less equal – just two figures in a landscape. Put them in cars or houses and they become different by the measurement of their properties.
Thinking of two people working – They are more or less equal if they are parts of the same culture. Take away any part and we no longer have the whole. Cultures (as I’ve said) are not states to be protected (or a status). They are what we do. Sadly, the things we do have been valued at merely the rate of our status in a hierarchy. The status, not the work has provided the value – the inspiration has been “social mobility” – the state to be achieved, in spite of laws of both physics and commons of humanity.
Post-modernity has sunk into an incurious decadence. It protects only the state to which it has grown accustomed. We are familiar with the cycles of history – romanticism, classism and then decadence followed by collapse. Post-modernity is on the brink of collapse.
The Great Resettlement was a natural, ordinary, romantic new beginning, which bore out the lessons of history.
All the think tanks, government inquiries and select committees of today reach no conclusion which is not presented in the language of state with regards to the maintenance or achievement of a pre-conceived state. Yet cultures are composed of what people do in the face unpredictable scarcities, surpluses and weathers. The only state that can be successfully-maintained (or achieved) is a happy arrangement of social roles.