Fracking is the perfect metaphor for the service-charge, extraction oriented economy: "suck up a sky's worth of valuable gas through a massive crack pipe, then pack up and lumber off to fracture and steal someone else's underground treasure."
Ian Martin is incandescent on the financialized casino economy and the greed-is-good, all-the-market-will-bear ethic that says the you can tell that someone is doing something good if they're doing well.
But once you've mined the earth and milked the service industries, what is there left to frack? Us, that's what. Heard of Kwasi Kwarteng? He's a rising star in the Tory party. Always a danger signal, this. To qualify as a rising star in this context you have to make Judge Dredd look like the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Kwarteng's suggestion, which has gone down very well with literally everyone I hate, is that a young person who hasn't got a job and therefore hasn't paid any national insurance contributions should get their unemployment benefit in the form of a repayable loan. Even if someone was out of work for the entire seven years between 18 and 25, he says, "the total sum repayable would be £20,475 – considerably less than the tuition fees loan repayable by many of his or her peers". The clincher, there. You might be unemployed, but think yourself lucky you're not going to university.
Redefining citizens as frackable units is precisely where all this current terrifying unpleasantness with the NHS is leading. Once you apply the laws of fracketeering to the NHS it's a short step from monetising cataract operations to privatising them. Procedures that are highly profitable for shareholders, however, may be out of reach for the poor. Perhaps we can come to some arrangement. You owe us for restoring your eyesight, but you can't seriously expect to see and get a full state pension …
Fracketeering: how capitalism is power-hosing the last drops of value out of us all [Ian Martin/The Guardian]
(via Seanan McGuire)
((Image: Gasbohrung "Völkersen-Nord Z6", Battenbrook, CC-BY-SA)