I didn’t go to work today so got to listen to more of morning Radio 4 than usual.
On The Today Programme, John Humphrys spent several minutes (08.15 or so on Tuesday’s programme for the next week) talking quite apocalyptically about the money markets and then set about looking for a culprit: “Who’s to blame? Somebody must be. I spent yesterday in the City of London”.
I know, he was just being a cipher for the questions everybody is asking. But anybody who seriously is inclined to view something as systemic as a financial seizure in dangerously good/bad terms of culprits (“dodgy deal” makers, “snake-oil mortgage-broker salesman types”) and their innocent victims has fallen into structural antisemitism – a way of looking at the world* which sets you up for scapegoating in a society which continues to associate Jews and money. This way of thinking dodges the responsibility for facing up to the structural origins of the problem and to replace them with better, more stable, more equitable financial frameworks. For example, Stephen Bell of GLC suggests that the brokers, the people who repackage loans, are obliged to shoulder some the risk of their sales, which at the moment is shouldered by the banks.
I also heard John Tusa’s 1968 Day by Day Programme which sets up a discussion between participants in the anti-war, sexual liberation and equality movements, their observers and their critics. There’s a very good web site. The current programme, for March 18th 1968, was on the aftermath of the anti-Vietnam War demonstration in London and also the stock market crisis related to the price of gold. Amazingly fresh for today.
Lastly and most topically, given my gig that day as examiner of a thesis on teacher educators and student teachers and their integration of different types of knowing, the Today Programme reported (at about 08:35) that an attempt by the Peruvian Governmentto improve the state of education backfired disastrously. Teachers in Peru were forced to take a national exam to separate the good from the bad. Out of 180,000 only 1 in 100 passed. Now emergency measures are in place. Knowledge. What about knowing – not so easily assessed…
*I confess, with deep distaste for my not-to-distant-former-self (a discomfort that I share with Bob From Brockley who, while a more stalwart person of the Left than I have ever been, is busy beating himself up on his blog) that this is the way I used to look at the world until I started to take adequate notice of sociologist types.