Internalising ‘the haves’ perception of ‘the have nots’

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I’ve been reflecting on the position most of us are presently in, that of resource poverty, within a financially austere society: we all seem to be scared of asking for, or even mentioning, things which should be rightfully ours in a just society

This has even been seen in our hesitancy to use the term ‘resources’ in our replies to government consultations; we can’t be seen to be asking for ‘more resources’ in our consultation replies. We are scared to ask those, who are seen as the ‘haves’ within the resource distribution equation of today’s society, in case we get even less.

We ‘have nots’ have internalised the miserly thinking of ‘the haves’ within this period of austerity, caused in the first place by them, the ‘haves’, who have so greedily wanted more. We ‘have nots’ are in danger of seemingly adopting the ‘haves’ perception that we, the ‘have nots’, are really the ‘not deserving’.

Within general conversation I suppose ‘resources’ does mean ‘money’; but ‘resources’ can also mean other things as well, such as land, plant, equipment, manpower (personal assistance); as well as internal things, like skills, talents, knowledge, status, prestige, etc.

I note that some writers also use the term ‘goods’ to describe all of the above, but such a term is not in common use, other than within capability theory and other philosophical theories.

However, in this day of the big society and co-production, the term ‘assets’ is more generally used and I was wondering if we couldn’t use it to our advantage. In today’s ‘neoliberal’ politics of individualism and self-reliance, ‘assets’ are normally seen as being intrinsic. In terms of Charles Leadbetter, it is these ‘assets’, in terms of knowledge, skills and experience, which we ‘plebs’ can bring to the professional’s table of ‘coproduction’.

But, as with ‘resources’, ‘assets’ can also be seen as extrinsic; e.g. a large bank account is a substantial asset. The issue is that within today’s political neoliberalism, ‘assets’ is the term more readily associated with internal capabilities, whereas ‘resources’ tend to be associated with external ‘goods’, or tools

I do think there’s a job to do when discussing with others, the virtues of the big society and co-production, that the use of terminology surrounding ‘resources’, ‘goods’ and ‘assets’ must relate to both the internal and external dimension of such terms; otherwise we will be in the situation where disabled people will be called upon more and more to use their internal ‘assets’ at a time when their external ‘resources’ are being depleted; whereas, in reality both terms are really the one thing.

It was Professor David Miller of Oxford University who pointed out that to sustain social justice; the individual requires external resources to take advantage of equal opportunities. It is no use making theatres accessible to disabled people if they cannot get on the bus to get there, or have no money to pay for the ticket.

Similarly, you cannot promote or maximise the use of an internal asset / resource, such as skills, knowledge, or experience, without having the respective external asset / resource, such as money, suitable transport, or accessible information.

Both internal and external assets / resources are co-dependent.


About jimelderwoodward

Disabled people's rights activist living in Scotland, promoting the principles and practices of independent living, the outcome of which is participative parity as equal citizens in all areas of community life - economic, civic, social and cultural
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