Yesterday I learned that Boris Johnson, the Kleine Kaiser of London, feels strongly that instead of griping about those with wealth, how they extracted it from us and the tax they pay or mostly do not pay we should be grateful to them for living among us, ruling our lives, spending part of their loot on services to them giving jobs and be humble in our thanks.
We have been here before historically, inevitably, down the millennia it has been a feature of absolutist and elite societies for those at the top to demand not just obedience, deference, respect and taxes, but gratitude as well. In the last century we have all those archive films of vicious and gruesome rulers being cheered by happy underlings weeping for joy at their servility.
In the UK it was not quite as bad but it was a feature of the past that the landowning lords and lairds might expect that their tenants and their labourers should be filled with gratitude for the generosity and consideration of their social superiors. At local level this could be extended to those higher up who tended to ape the attitudes of their superiors.
In some cases it went beyond documents or advertisements in the local press or related obsequious articles and took physical shape, sometimes large scale. A choice example is the Percy Monument in Northumberland. It is not just bowing and scraping, Boris Johnson style you peasants, it is giving hard earned cash to prove your worth as an inferior.
The essential issue is globalisation and how it is going to impact where and how. There is a strong case made in "Time" that it has just started (hat tip family) and despite bumps along the road has a long way to go. The difficulty is that this seems to entail ever increasing expansion and a pace of change for the larger.
In the 21st Century something we have lost sight of is the idea of sustainability. During the last decade of the 20th century we heard a great deal about just how much further the human race could push its demands on resources and exploit the planet. The concerns expressed then still have their force however they might go against the grain of human greed now more evident than ever.
It is not sustainable to have an economy dependent on a large financial services sector which commands the bulk of its wealth and dictates overall activity. For many places notably those with large urban populations it is not sustainable to maintain rapidly increasing population growth. It is not sustainable to have increasing and unbridgeable divisions in a society associated with extremes of wealth.
So why should I, or anyone else in the Atlantic Isles, be grateful for what is happening in London and to those who are worsening the situation by the year?