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Issue 4 - April 1972
Costs And Values
I've got an idea. Like most ideas it is not original, is very simple and extraordinarily difficult to get down on paper. My idea (I'll call it that) is about the Economy, Employment, Institutions, Organisations, The Community and so on.

I want to start off with the community because this is where you CAN start with making obvious errors straightaway. I live in a community as do we all, but I am also a 'community worker'. I want to look at ways in which health, happiness, security, growth etc IN the community can be inhibited or helped by the application of various resources (in terms of money, organisation, expertise and services).

The premise of my statements ideas and questions is a FEELING that a lot of time and money is being wasted by the administrators who haven't the least idea of or confidence in the community. I keep using that awful phrase so I'd better define it. By community I mean that natural organisation or sets of relationships that arise out of people being together in particular geographical locations and/or with particular common interests. The feeling I have is that there are presently ways in which the administrators of our wealth actually inhibit or at least do not help the situations that their institutions are professedly set up to deal with.

Let us take a case to illustrate. An elderly arthritic lady who will soon have to be admitted to residential care. She gets £6 a week plus heating etc. I don't know precisely how much this all costs, but I can make an informed guess. Administration of her pension and allowances costs as much again as the actual benefit. This money could be paid directly to the deprived person - each old lady could be paid £15 a week. She would now have the resources to visit her friends by taxi, to have her room decorated - to combat the isolation and personal deprivation she suffers through being poor.

Vast amounts of money are being poured into the middle-class poverty industry under the impression that deprivation (ill health, 'poor' education, security etc) is something to be 'treated' by professionals. Doesn't it seem perfectly obvious that it is PEOPLE who are poor and the best place for the money allocated is in the hands of these people.

These kinds of thoughts are also relevant to the unemployment issue - can we AFFORD unemployment - i.e. the cost of administering the benefits is so high and the allied social deprivation is so costly to treat in terms of a probation officer for his son, free dental treatment etc etc. How much does it cost to keep a family unemployed?

If anyone has any comments on this article can they get in touch with me through Muther Grumble 'cause I intend to do some costing and analysis when I get round to it and the results of comments and discussions ensuing from this article can maybe go in some future issue of MG together with my own further work on it.