Our nanny state in Australia is a tool of capitalism. It cultivates mass markets and has the appearance of economy and efficiency. Market and state work side by side, giving the appearance of providing for individual choice and community. The partnership is unhealthy because the market passes unprofitable supply to the state, for example rural telephones and rail, because inequality is a breeding ground for politics. Conversely, when the state develops a profitable business, it is expected to stand aside for the market to adopt it, for example the internet, for which equality can be branded. The nanny state serves public welfare as well as capitalism.
People want to have opportunities equal to others’. If they perceive conditions as fair, they enjoy competition when it benefits them and disadvantages others,. There are many types of equal opportunity, from equal status, equal rights, equal education, equal employment, equal pay, equal healthcare, equal hours, and so on.
They also want some facets of their lives not to be equal, to be individual, unique and distinctive. They want jobs to be individualised for them and made unequal, with specialised access and technologies. They want unequal pay, that recognises their voluntary contribution. They want unequal hours that allow them to flex. They want to be able to choose aspects of their job unequal with others.
They want to be able to take unequal holidays on different days. They want personal treatment by their supervisor. They may prefer to have a choice of dress, rather than a uniform. They do not want their home to be the same as everyone else’s. They want to be able to save at their rate, amass their own amount of wealth and will their estate to the beneficiaries they nominate.
They do not want long queues for privileges, such as promotion, cars, houses and transfers. They do not want available products and services to be equal for everyone.
Equality is easily recognised in competition, whereas inequality may be wanted secretly. Equality is easily regulated, but inequality may have to run the gamut of envy, jealousy and complaint. Being unequal, the nanny state could be charged with unfairness. It can become a whipping post for competition between individual employees.
Whereas all employees are supposed to be on the same side, that idea is supplanted in many workplaces by team allegiances, or alternatively, by selfishness. A nanny state can lubricate workplaces with equality by raising awareness of its dimensions. One approach is least common denominators. Fostering of inequalities is less well-suited to mass management. An approach is ‘levelling’, whereby individuals’ competitiveness in wanted dimensions is equalised by attempting to equalise outcomes.
In the novel ‘Turkeys Not Bees’ a nanny state and sports industry want an appearance of more equality and less elitism. They begin levelling performers. High and low performers are equalised by handicapping them like horses in a race.
Levelling also starts in employment, health provision and education.
The protagonists Megan and Chance oppose the nanny state.
Will they succeed?
‘Turkeys Not Bees’ is an exciting fiction story by Martin Knox on Amazon. Reviews: martinknox.com