Here is what happens when you construct an identity for yourself as inherently good. You immediately remove the ability to reflect on the harm you could be doing. You immediately start to do harm. This has always been true. It will always be true. The true harm the human species does is when it identifies itself as good and its actions as inherently virtuous. When we believe we are right. We will never learn this lesson because the only way to learn it is to understand the harm we do when we identify as good and right, and every time we are faced with the consequences we swear we will know better next time. But we never do. Such is the human condition.
So we need to discuss male pattern abusive behaviour. This is a pattern of behaviour. A clearly identifiable and identified pattern of behaviour, it is so well understood we have articulated it into models like the Duluth Wheel below, into theoretical frameworks(intersectionality) and these are used reliably, internationally by domestic abuse, social work, police authorities, and in education. In Britain we have the Freedom Program which is a specific program which teaches women how to identify abusive and coercive behaviour. We have legislation which demands women are literate in identifying abusive behaviour and we deem women’s failure to recognise and protect children against it, regardless of the identity of perpetrators as a failure on their part.
Trans is a protected identity under law, which indicates a person living outside the biological sex in which they were born. This is valid. Trans people deserve protection under law as anyone does. The word trans indicates something about sex, but gender roles are socialised and anyone demonstrating the patterns of behaviour outlined through intersectionality or the Duluth Wheel is clearly demonstrating male socialisation. Law cannot and will not demand women lose the ability or responsibility to identify these patterns of behaviour, and even if you are trans, if you demonstrate male pattern abusive behaviour as defined within the Duluth Wheel women will naturally risk assess and treat you as a male. Perceive you as a male and strategise how to protect themselves from you as a male.
If you are biologically male and demonstrating abusive male pattern behaviour, there is no conceivable way that a woman can perceive you as a woman. Just as a lesbian cannot perceive a male body as female for the purposes of a relationship. These are the limitations of identity. No adult has the right to be assessed on the basis of their inner identity if their behaviour is demonstrating this need to subordinate. It is unsafe for women to do so and they are legally obliged not to. The purpose of the GRA was not to subsume women’s right to protect themselves, or to allow male pattern abusive behaviour to be ignored and nor is this the purpose of the equality act. We have a wider institutional and legal framework including family legislation and criminal law, which GRA and Equality Act are both expected to complement.
There is a perception online, and ONLY online, within a visible activist circle that somehow this has changed. It has not. It will not.
British women living now are the first generation of British women with not only hte right, but the legal responsibility to identify abusive behaviour in males. We do not only have the right to independence we have a legal responsibility to literate in identifying these patterns. There is no way to identify back into having the right to subordinate or coerce women and no way to legally identify back into the right to have this behaviour become legally or socially acceptable. We do not assess the risk posed by an individual on the basis of their identity, we use their behaviour and the impact of it. This has not changed and will not change. Does not change. This is the product of women organising over decades to build systems and laws which protect our emancipation from male ownership. They are now a solid central part of our institutional and legal framework, somewhat undermined by austerity, but still in place and developing. These include laws covering coercive control, domestic abuse, child abuse, rape, sexual assault, stalking. None of which become acceptable if someone identifies as a woman. Nt contested. Not hate speech. Not new.
Women do not need agreement from perpetrators that behaviour is abusive, they have a right and a responsibility to assess and identify behaviour.
This is my examination of the reflex that drove austerity and rolled equality back for women. it entirely concerned institutions subject to political consensus and has been subject to perfect political consensus. That consensus required the manufacture of tribalism, which is what the left have done for the duration of the neo liberal consensus and what they have done on twitter for the duration of austerity. This reflex is at the root of crisis now playing out which encompass system failure, the debacle over self id, and the social and political crisis generated by austerity, as well as the crisis Labour have been entrenched in for the duration of this blog. It indicates we are at the end of a political economic settlement and crisis will force us to address it regardless of my actions or anyone elses, it exposes what policy makers cannot see. This reflex is still in place as institutions try to hide from the things they cannot conceptualise and so we are generating crisis to address this. You can’t argue with reality. This truth injured the tribal identity of Corbyn’s Labour, and led to my abuse by this faction for now 8 years. Its entirely rooted in elite social closure. Turns out me and the systems I was discussing were the context that changed around this culture and their reaction to me is fear of that context they cant see. I know the systems shaped by intersectionality, they are an elite culture reliant on bullshit economics and discussion of what to do with the poor. They didnt know the rule of law had evolved in 2010, they didnt know what austerity would do and crucially they didnt know the tribalism they were manufacturing was entirely about maintaining this consensus. They still don’t. They lash out at me to protect a tribal identity that is no longer required.
All this reflex did was generate crisis which force us to acknowledge the shifts I identify. That is the process the self id crisis, Universal Credit crisis and LA crisis are part of. This is really long, I would not advise reading it cos it’s long, it’s here as a matter of record.
Atkinson, Galbraith share common themes in ‘Inequality: What can be done about it?’ and ‘Inequality: What everyone needs to know’. Galbraith and Atkinson highlight limitations of existing tools in illuminating the multi-dimensional nature of inequality, with Galbraith outlining the need for new inequality measures in in Inequality and Instability(Galbraith, 2016, 2012, pg.20-43). Galbraith places financialisation as a driver of instability and inequality, welfare economics central to this(Galbraith, 2012, pg.20, pg.5, pg.108-109). There is agreement inequality fell significantly during World War 2, welfare state institutions shaped by changing family structure, were established here(Atkinson, 2015, pg.57, Galbraith, 2016, Piketty, pg.271, Milanovic, 2016). Piketty explores the language of rights, and stigma attached to the modern welfare state and ‘alludes to real inequalities’, the evolution of these systems is of concern (Piketty, 2014, pg.478-9).
Minsky says there is little that can be done with an ‘institution until it has run its course’and ‘market forces will shape it, these include evolutionary forces(MInsky, 1986, pg.8). Milanovic states inequality does not go down by itself rather it generates processes (Milanovic, 2016, pg.98).
Through Galbraith, Atkinson’s and Piketty’s overarching narratives we gain a view inequality is cyclical, we are seeking a multi-dimensional understanding of the economy we do not have. This understanding would be beyond capacity of a single perspective but crisis tell us how systems are connected and expose power dynamics. Keynes and Hayek are agreed that systems show their flaws over time and ideas erode, it must follow that system failure is cyclical(Minsky, 2008, Minsky, 1986, Caldwell, 2007). The context changes around economic models, this has to generate crisis(Skidelsky, 2016).
Through Allan et al, Bengston and Attius-Donfut and Arber, we find changes to family structure constitute some of the most significant alterations to human organisation in history, accompanying changes to birthrate, lifespan, and this shaped institutional development in the twentieth century, and is shaping the demands on 21st century systems, including our cash transfer system (Allan, et al, 2001, Bengston, 2001, Arber al, 2007). These were fundamental alterations to the structure of our economy and society and shaped our institutional structure organically.
Minsky acknowledges that at time of writing his understanding of care is limited, but that changing demographics will make this more important, that ‘economic policy must reflect an ideological vision’ but ‘it is naive to assume all stated social and economic goals are mutually consistent’(Minsky, 1986, pg.9, pg.11). Institutions mediate power relations, power relations evolve and so do institutions.
Atkinson and Galbraith discusses the limitations of family units that form the basis of economic modelling, and shows recognition of some change to family structure in the 20th century(Atkinson, 2015, pg.28-30, pg.41-42, pg. 159-60, Galbraith, 2012, 38-39). Piketty identified the family as a means by which wealth resists redistribution. He neglected this also identifies the family as a stabilising institution, and used literary references from Balzac and Austen in lieu of examination of changing family structures in the 20th century(Piketty, 2014, pg.53-54, pg.105-106, pg. 241, pg.411-412).
Through Bettio, Brennan, and Himmlewhite we see the care economy the family is central to cannot be reconciled within current individualist thinking, and there has been tension between these systems and ideologies shaping them, and there is a substantial body of literature attempting to ‘gender’ welfare states (Bettio, 2004, Bettio and Plantenga, 2004, Brennan et al, 2012, pg.337, Himmlewhite, 2006, pg.581-599. Orloff, 2009).
Daly and Lewis identify distance between family, equality and work trajectories in EU policy. Lewis has followed this tension for a long period, Daly and Lewis show this tension is rooted in evolving institutional development, and a legacy family model, and this can be seen through the development of the ‘adult worker model’. This is generating a reflex response to spending caused by other events; the reflex to strip back capacities to care(Lewis, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2006b, Lewis and Giullari, 2005, Daly, 2011).
We explore the evolution of the tension and reflex identified by Daly and Lewis, and tension demonstrated by Bettio, Brennan and Himmlewhite, identifying this as having evolved to crisis point through Universal Credit(Daly, 2011, pg 1-2, Lewis, 1992, pg.159-173, Lewis et al, 2008).
Atkinson says of historical records, revisitation of this data through such studies, allows us to understand how inequality rose(Atkinson, 2015, pg.45). Piketty’s longitudinal modelling of tax return data caused an extraordinary reaction because it placed synthetic modelling into context, this is not something we do with data our institutions produce (Piketty, 2014). Nicholas Timmins shows the boundaries of Universal Credit are now being resolved through crisis resolving tension between the intention of the project, and what is possible(Timmins, 2017). I seek to expand our understanding of the crisis at this intersection of systems and argue that through observation of crisis, we can view how dimensions of the economy fit together together.
Keynes said we were with no conviction aware of the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, and temporary nature of the economic organisation of our world (Keynes, 2012, pg.1). The UK had a reputation for stability. In the latter part of the 20th century, inequality relations were mediated by complex but stable and evolving institutional arrangements (Dearlove and Saunders, 1984, p.15). This is no longer true.
I will identify three major shifts shaping institutional development in the 20th and early 21st centuries: changes to family structure, changing demographics (including longer lifespans and falling birth rates), and the emergence of a formal care economy. I explore the relationship of these shifts to financialisation and the evolution of gender equality through the development of our cash transfer system. I demonstrate a reflex response to financial instability is driven by a central belief system structurally unable to see these shifts or their significance in the final years of an inequality cycle. This is generating institutional failure, crisis and political risk, undermining the rule of law, and defining the end of a cycle. It vindicates Hayek’s warning to Beveridge in The Road to Serfdom and adds another dimension to the cycle Minsky describes in Stabilising an Unstable Economy(Minsky, 1986, Caldwell, 2007).
First I examine the changes to family structure in the 20th century and how this has shaped institutional development. I examine the principles of care economics, how the state conceptualises the family, and the legislation laying out the relationship between family and state. I examine the social work function in relation to tensions that shape institutions and political responsibility for the care economy, I lay out the structure of unexplained ‘attachment’ to welfare state institutions noted in Paul Pierson’s examination of the politics of retrenchment Dismantling the Welfare State’ (Pierson, 2007, pg. 13, 132).
I examine the development of the UK’s cash transfer system as distinct from other institutions, exploring financialisation and the evolution of gender equality through this system. I demonstrate how a belief system wrapped around theoretical economics, liberal philosophy and discussion of the deserving and undeserving poor, and the exclusion of this system from the rule of law, have generated a multi-faceted crisis that necessitates re-examination of its flaws and how it is upheld. I show that this cycle has been driven by reflex responses to crisis.
I argue this crisis vindicates Hayek’s warning that reliance on theoretical models that cannot see the evolving context in which they exist, shaping centrally planned institutions, and the lives of people, result in system failure, marginalised groups being controlled by centrally planned institutions, undermining the rule of law, and generating political risk(Caldwell, 2007). As cash transfer system is linked to housing costs, it provides another dimension of the cycle Minsky describes in Stabilising an Unstable Economy, which he felt simply clarified Keynes’ own thoughts on the cyclical nature of instability, Galbraith sees financialisation as a driver of inequality and sees links between this and welfare economics(Galbraith, 2012). Institutional data sources illustrating the relationship between financialisation, inequality, and instability, over the course of a cycle, would offer potential for new measures of inequality sought by Galbraith(Minsky, 1986, pg.324, Galbraith, 2012, pg.20, Caldwell ed. 2007).
I suggest system failure provides opportunities to examine the lifespan of our cash transfer and child protection systems.. I recommend applying to these institutions the methodology Piketty applied to tax return data, analysing data for trends and patterns against the known outcome rather than that responded to by policymakers at the time.
Section 2: The Family: A force shaping institutions
In Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty identifies the intergenerational transfer of resources within families as a means by which wealth resists redistribution, establishing family as a m
eans by which inequality is reproduced. He neglected this identifies it as a stabilising institution (Piketty, 2014, Pg.363, 374, 400).
Changing family structures represent major changes to the underlying structure of our economy and society. This is the primary institution and central to the identity of most people, and is difficult to examine as a result(Piketty, 2014, Arber et al, 2007, Allan et al, 2001, Bengston, 2001).
2.1 Changes to family unit
Changes to family structures over the last century constitute some of the most significant alterations to human organisation in history. This was a gradual change – crossing national borders, intertwining with significant changes in lifespan, birth rate, new aspects of the economy, systems crossing paid and unpaid work, and requiring us to understand how different dimensions of the economy fit together. It is an evolutionary shift that cannot be undone, shaping institutional development in the 20th century and the demands of the 21st (Piketty, 2014, Arber et al 2007, Allan et al, 2001, Bengston, 2001).
Emile Durkheim’s concerns at changes to marriage in his lifetime and Popeno’s family decline hypothesis were expressions of anxiety at the essential functions of the family being undermined, we could not revert to a state where this was done within a household unit (Bynder, 1969, Bengtson, 2001). It was reasonable to fear changes to family structure would disrupt society and the economy and the changes have been quite significant. Our institutional structures are at different stages of recognising it. Family shape has changed, but the concept of the family is not done(Edwards and Gillies, 2012, Edwards, et al, 2012)
Arber’s Myth of Intergenerational Conflict outlines the impact of changing family shapes by examining intergenerational equity, the redistributive effect of intergenerational transfers, the relationship between public and private transfers, and the shifting of the gender contract from the workplace and family to questions of distribution of public resources and meeting major economic challenges. The volume examines wealth distribution in this context (Arber and Attius Donfut, 2007).
In Beyond the Nuclear Family: The Increasing Importance of Intergenerational Bonds, Bengtson outlines why changing birthrates and ageing populations make understanding intergenerational bonds more significant as the 21st century progresses, identifying several different dimensions of intergenerational reciprocity (Bengtson, 2001).
2.2 Coercion and abuse legislation: transformation of marriage
Changes to family structure were evident in the 19th century, but until the last quarter of the 20th century there was a clear empirical connection between sex, marriage and childbearing across Europe and the US (Allan et al, 2001, Kiernan and Lewis, 1998). One contested process of innovation which allowed this change was women’s emancipation from the control and violence inherent in their role within that unit, asserting their right to maintain care and to protect their children. Jane Lewis cites domestic abuse in the progression of divorce legislation back to the 19th century, with the evolution of the right to live independently from abuse and maintain care of your child won over a long period through many institutions and laws (Kiernan and Lewis et al 1998, 64-5, 98, 235, 238). The heterogeneity of family forms is no longer contested, and the right to freedom from coercion and abuse became a legal duty when children are involved, a cash transfer is required for basic liberty as well as security( Brammer,2007, pg.218-220, Caldwell, 2007 ).
Routine violence that blights the lives of black women is the starting point for Crenshaw’s development of concepts of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991). The history of the evolution of domestic abuse services and child protection services, and the tension between these and lone mothers, is fraught and features cycles of mother-blaming, institutional failure, tragedy, harm to children and state abuse, individualising what is a social problem rooted in power relations at the core of the family unit. This is not new or unique to the UK (Humphreys, 2011, Dominelli and McLeod, 1989, Coy et al, 2015, Chzen,et al, 2012, Cassiman, 2012). Power relations hidden in the family unit now have institutional and legal manifestation. Countering domestic abuse only recently become a central policy goal; legislation recognising the coercion at its core passed in 2015, and forced marriage became a specific offence in 2014 (Home Office 2017, Home Office, 2014, Smartt, 2007).
A recent divorce application was refused in Owens v Owens. Sir James Munby, head of the Family Division, used the judgement to say the law is badly out of date. Institutions evolve by crisis (Owens v Owens  EWCA Civ 182, ) – in this case a contested divorce exposed the inertia in institutional recognition of changes to the norms of relationship formation. In the UK, relationships where people are subordinated, coerced, or forced to carry out unpaid domestic, caring, or sexual labour are unlawful.
2.3 Forces shaping an evolution of systems
Every person is gestated in a uterus. Women take the majority of the responsibility for care labour but women are now market actors. The state’s role in the formal care economy is a permanent one that can’t be abdicated and is central to the functioning of many other dimensions of the economy. Care has historically been seen as a household responsibility, and not a factor in economic functioning. Crisis forces it into view as a policy issue but there are huge conceptual issues when trying to quantify it or measure it. This just does not correspond to those tools, these systems exist anyway and shape our economy(Folbre, 2006, Zachorowska-Mazurkiewicz, 2015, Gianelli et al, 2012).
Laws and institutions reflecting the changing family unit evolved throughout the 20th century, but the significance of this change was not fully evident in the late 1970s as monetarism was reshaping our economy. Margaret Thatcher’s problematising of lone mothers reflected her sincere shock at the first generation of politically visible independent mothers. This reaction was triggered by the growing demand she saw in welfare budgets and Children’s Departments, this shift always shaped an intersection of systems (Lewis et al, 1998, pg.166, 186, Thatcher, 1995, pg.121).
A synthesis of institutions has evolved to uphold women’s ability to exit an abusive household and maintain care of a child. The rule of law developed through many systems, and involved the evolution of new systems.
2.4 The social work function
The social work function named within the Act is the embodiment of political responsibility for the care economy and family (Dominelli, 2002). The function is recognition of the multiple locations of control shaping institutional development manages the relationship between them around named groups. It is embodied so there can be reflection on power dynamics(Thompson, 2000, Dominelli, 2002). Lena Dominelli explains that challenges to the prevailing notions of citizenship and participation in society, changing notions of welfare and civil society, and groups challenging oppression and asserting autonomy within institutional arrangements and equality legislation, have been at the core of our growing understanding of the nature of oppression and power dynamics (Dominelli. 2002, Parker and Doel, 2013).
This function is the embodiment of reflection on the social cost of uneccessary intervention, and the balance between that and the role of the state in protecting from harm. It evolved naturally as a response to crisis, scandal, and institutional and political failure, without reference to Friedrich Hayek (Day, 1981, Caldwell, 2007, pg86, Thompson 2002, Butler et al, 2005, Baines, 2006).
In Five Giants: A Biography of the Welfare State, Timmins says he barely covers social services because it is to fall down a deep hole (Timmins, 2001, pg.7). As in Hayek’s time, a systematic response to institutional evolution which needs to be embodied and faced with human power relations has the potential to harm; social work is the statutory function which evolved as recognition of this (Caldwell, 2007). Social work is the site of direct political responsibility for the care economy. The work of this function should be a reflection of the dominant political and economic ideology of the day as the site of responsibility for what it cannot see(Hothersall et al, 2010).
Local authorities are institutions shaped by a variety of tensions outside policymakers’ control. Policymakers can control the shape of the institutions, eroding the institution does not erode the responsibility, nor can it undo learning that has already shaped institutions and has to be maintained (Coulshed 2006).
2.5 Care Economy
The principles of care economics are different from the principles of market orthodoxy. This is another dimension to the economy, it has always existed. Care economics are linked to norms and practices in society and families. Care institutions can only supplement kinship relations. In touching story about Burgess, the family sociologist his lecture commemorates, Bengston outlines why outcomes for those without kinship
relations are poorer (Bengston, 2001, Brennan et al, 2012, Himmelweit, 2007, Betti, 2006, Dupuy and Fernandez-Kranz, 2011).
Stability is key – the relationship is the output. When market rationale is applied to care institutions, it sacrifices this primary output in favour of more measurable tasks that can be quantified in pursuit of efficiency. This generates crises related to abuse and neglect, linked to political responsibility (Himmelwhite, 2007, Brennan et al, 2012, pg.239-251, Dominelli, 2002, National Audit Office, 2011).
Care labour is the basis of intergenerational reciprocity, a combination of time and money and labour transfers between generations that fluctuates over time. This is at the core of inequality reproduction, as well stabilising the economy (Attius-Donfut et al 2005, Piketty, 2013, Furstenburg et al, 1995).
Neither state nor market can do of this. Time spent doing care labour cannot be spent in the market economy; time in the market economy is purchased if it cannot be obtained through kinship networks. A care chain is a feature of the economy, reproducing inequality in the female labour market and across national borders. It directly shapes our cash transfer system as a reflection of the economy (Brennan et al, Wolf, 2013, Bettio, 2006, Williams, 2012, Lutz and Palenga-Mollenbeck, 2012).
It is easier to see crisis than stability. Policymakers have difficulty when primary outputs cannot be measured, quantified, or replicated, and they have little interest in care or family. Risk, power dynamics, legal frameworks cannot be quantified so crises force these into our understanding.
The debate over the bounds of care economics is endless, but the baseline of statutory responsibility is tangible and evolves through a process of legal precedence and crisis. It is always linked to political responsibility, shaping our institutions.
2.6 How does the state conceptualise the family?
The state needs a concept of the family for a legal framework through which questions can be resolved so responsibility for this unit can be maintained. It must account for the complexity of the evolving family unit, power dynamics and distribution within it, the wider institutional context, how inequality shapes it’s functioning, and outline the limitations of state intervention in the private domain.
The Children Act 1989 (‘the Act’) provides this. The age of the legislation and the ease with which it evolved reflect how well it meets these aims (Brammer, 2007, pg.170, HMSO, 1989). The small number of families who use these courtrooms reflect the consistency with which these responsibilities are met.
Domestic abuse is overrepresented in private family law, reflecting law that mediates power relations in families, and law as an instrument that can override those seeking to coerce, control and abuse (Scott et al, 2015, Rights of Women, 2012, Coy et al, 2015). Public family law concentrates on power dynamics inherent in physical, psychological, emotional and sexual harm to children, defining the limits and boundaries of state intervention and responsibilities to those children (Brammer, 2007, pg.53).
Core principles shape all decision making and are understood across institutions. The Welfare of the child is paramount in all decision making(S.1.1). Delay in proceedings is harmful and the process in of itself is likely to prejudice, the welfare of the child (S.1.2). ‘Unless contrary is shown involvement of that parent in the child’s life will further the child’s welfare’ (S.1.2a)(HMSO, 1989)
The Act does not define any ideal family unit or make specifications beyond a welfare checklist, and demands assessments that orbit a child’s identity and attachment, taking into account each of the contexts in which they exist and preventing social engineering(Re A (A Child)  EWFC11.
Decisions are made with the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned, in light of his age and understanding, his physical and emotional and educational needs, the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances; his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant, any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering, how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs. All decisions should be made with reference to the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in, Brammer, 2007, Pg.171).
‘Where a court is considering whether or not to make one or more orders under this Act with respect to a child, it shall not make the order or any of the orders unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all’(S.1.1)(Stationary Office, 1989). This is legislation which has to recognise state intervention and legal orders as harmful because they are.
It recognises significant alterations to family structure in the 20th century, normalising shared residence in recognition of stable post-divorce family forms(). It is the venue for these rapidly changing power dynamics to play out. It defines an institutional and legal context where emancipation from abusive relations is a responsibility, not an aspiration, in systems which can easily be used to coerce and abuse (Brammer, 2007, pg.218-220, Scott et al, 2015).
The Act assumes parental failure if children’s needs are not met; its structure implies it is legitimate to do so. There is no scope within the Act to recognise inequality between adult parties. The Act cannot recognise inequality between those adults, beyond recognising domestic abuse as significant harm to children and indicative of future harm to the child, no function can be introduced to the act which does this, so it must rely on institutional context to offset this inequality and assume the responsibility can be met.
Family courtrooms are closed and deal with complex issues of liberty, power dynamics, kinship relations, and the limits of state intervention in the private domain. Discussion of proceedings is held as contempt of court to protect the identity of the child at the centre(Sheehan, et al, 2012).
2.7 Relationship of families to institutions
The legislation marks out the bottom line of relationship between state and the family. It outlines parental responsibility for meeting children’s needs and contains two main legal thresholds for statutory intervention. Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (s.) gives local authorities the power to provide accommodation and financial support to families with ‘children in need’; the state is bound to responsibility when parents cannot meet their children’s needs. Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 (s.) places a duty on local authorities to investigate and make inquiries into the circumstances of children considered to be ‘at risk of significant harm’ (HMSO, 1989). This is a line between poverty and abuse.
2.7 Room for doubt
The Act uses a civil standard of proof. ‘Balance of probability’ provides more uncertainty than a criminal burden of proof; ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ removes the ability to manage risk and protect children. Balance of probability is adequate for risk assessment and management, with reflection on the potential for harm without the accountability of a public courtroom and with room for doubt (Brammer, 2007, pg.598).
Adoption is the only permanent severance of parental responsibility. This can only be done when all other avenues have been exhausted (Macfarlane and Reardon, 2010, (Re B-S(Children) EWCA Civ 1146).
This is the Hayekian rule of law, comprising “systems and laws that evolved naturally to tell us not what we must do, but what we must not do so as to avoid harming others, and so we obey no man only the law” (Caldwell, 2007). The complex power dynamics and potential to harm laid out by Kimberle Crenshaw is recognised through legal precedence; the enormity of the power exercised here is recognised, and so is the harm available instruments do (Crenshaw, 1991,Sullivan, 1985). Complaints about family courtrooms go through the parliamentary ombudsman via Members of Parliament (CAFCASS, 2017b). Imbalances have intergenerational consequences but cannot indefinitely avoid political attention.
I have outlined three major shifts shaping institutional development in the early 21st century: changes to family structure; changing demographics, including falling birth rates; and extended lifespans. I have shown that a synthesis of institutions has been shaped by these changes, and within this the rule of law has evolved. I show how the dynamics of power and abuse described by Crenshaw shaped institutional development within this synthesis of institutions, and freedom from domestic abuse became a duty. This is evidence of systems able to respond to major unexpected shifts in the structure of our economy and society and to reflect evolving power relations.
Part 2: Belief systems shaping institutions
Our cash transfer system is central to this synthesis, children subject to child benefit claims, likely to be subject to this legislation. I juxtapose the belief system shaping our cash transfer system, with this synthesis of institutions. Skidelsky describes how damage to social, legal and political life by mismanagement through central planning and collectionsivism, led to the collapse of communism. Skidelsky describes the liberal economic remedy of privatisation, deregulation, and individualism as remedy to problems generated by collectivism (Skidelsky, 1997). Margaret Thatcher believed her reshaping of the British economy with was inspired by Hayek (Thatcher, 1985).
Hayek’s views were shaped watching the collapse of the stable Habsburg Empire and the rise of National Socialism (Caldwell, 2007). ‘The Road from Serfdom’ articulates the extent to which the liberal economic remedy of privatisation, deregulation, and individualism was also shaped by fear of of communism in the latter half of the twentieth century, this is confirmed by Margaret Thatcher in her memoirs (Thatcher, pg.356, Skidelsky, 1997).
A system corresponding to Hayek’s view would not rely on theoretical modelling aggregating vast amounts of information to create artificial certainty or shape lives this way around needs of a centrally controlled money supply. The Road to Serfdom started as a letter to William Beveridge, warning of just this, arguing that, since the acceleration of the process of collectivism was triggered by the crisis of war, grave defects would become evident as time went on (Caldwell, 2007, pg.89).
Keynes argued that the ideas of economists and political philosophers are more powerful than commonly understood(Minsky, 1986, pg.9). He was sure the power of vested interests was vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Certainly the journey from a discipline concerned with the political problem of balancing economic efficiency, social justice and individual liberty, to a discipline concerned with policies which can be sold, indicate this erosion (Atkinson, 2015, pg.14-17, Caldwell ed. 2007, pg.32). Minsky points out ‘a theory which denies what is happening can see unfavourable events as the work of evil forces, rather than characteristics of an economic mechanism’. With monetarism the symbolism of the welfare claimant and public spending, has been sufficient to explain such events (Friedman, 2008, Tyler, 2008).
Hayek was aware the monetarism Thatcher was evangelical about was in essence Keynesian, in that it utilised the power of central planning to which it promised the antidote (Sullivan, 1985).
Market forces do not include evolutionary forces, evolving legal frameworks, care labour, the forces which shape household functioning, other forces shaping institutions, or how power dynamics shape this. There is no way to view intergenerational reciprocity within this belief system. It does not see the evolving institutional context in which it exists, so crisis indicating institutional evolution trigger the politics of blame (Pierson, 1994). Minsky, Hayek and Keynes are agreed on the importance of reflection on evolving context economic theories exist in, here there is no acknowledgement or link, reflex protects this(Caldwell, pg.115, Minsky, 2008, pg 9, Daly, 2011).
3.2 Equality and Cash Transfer Systems
Equality legislation is tangible evidence that for some groups equality is contested, these groups can be demonised more reliably than other groups, there will be political capital in doing so. Strands reflected in equality legislation should be reflected in welfare spending. Labour attached to child benefit, has to be delivered regardless of pressure created by policy and is regulated using the same authority given to the cash transfer system, capacities to care can be stripped only until crisis end the reflex.
Nicola Lacey says in her critique of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, that as well as having insufficient resources to enforce it, welfare systems are excluded from its remit, welfare plus equality legislation is the liberal prescription for inequality. Lacey is dismissive of the illusion of equality created by the Act, but this was a powerful statement of the baseline for citizenship (Lacey, 1987). A liberal prescription where welfare undermines the rule of law, and the two are prescribed together undermines rule of law gradually and systematically. The rhetoric of the Equality Act 2010 applied duties across public sector institutions (Wadham, 2010).
In a recent ruling overturning increased employment tribunal fees, Lord Reed was forced to clarify the rule of law. He said:
At the heart of the concept of the rule of law is the idea that society is governed by law. Parliament exists primarily in order to make laws for society in this country. Democratic procedures exist primarily in order to ensure that the Parliament which makes those laws includes Members of Parliament who are chosen by the people of this country and are accountable to them. Courts exist in order to ensure that the laws made by Parliament, and the common law created by the courts themselves, are applied and enforced. That role includes ensuring that the executive branch of government carries out its functions in accordance with the law…laws are liable to become a dead letter, the work done by Parliament may be rendered nugatory, and the democratic election of Members of Parliament may become a meaningless charade.(Para 66,  UKSC 51 On appeal from:  EWCA Civ 935 )
3.3 The Beveridge System, Working Men, a Mediating Class
Beveridge viewed care labour/childraising as essential labour but was clear it should be contained within marriage (Glennester and Evans, 1994, pg.60, Timmins, 1995, pg.55). He was aware of the power of this system. He viewed it in terms of working men, the labour market and state, its purpose preventing idleness he imagined was the cause of inequality. He was bringing together existing employment insurance schemes, hardwiring loss of citizenship into the bureaucracy he established for every person outside the contributory version of unemployment benefits, a small aspect of our cash transfer systems. This system has maintained a legacy breadwinner/unpaid carer standard family model(Lewis, 2001). This was not undone by equality legislation or evolution of duties to children which shaped these systems. Heavily influenced by the Fabians, this was not a system for enfranchised citizens, but the poor to be shaped by a mediating class.
Skidelsky identifies the Fabian view of socialism as an intellectual construction accompanied by a new class of social engineers, philosophers, and political scientists, inherently linked to this version of collectivism. Andersen points out the distance between those who theorise egalitarianism and those who have won rights as citizens within a democracy, a failure to connect theorising fairness with systems which evolved to address inequality and have potential to harm (Skidelsky, 1997, pg.40, Andersen, 1999, pg.289-).
Elizabeth Andersen’s critique of how liberal philosophy is used to frame the questions of egalitarianism as a redistribution from a fortunate ‘us’, to a less fortunate ‘them’, describes the change to citizenship created for recipients of cash transfer systems by this, regardless of equality legislation and the wider institutional and legal context(pg.).
The work of Rawls and Nagel and Dworkin, provides a motif in lieu of examination of power dynamics and how they shape systems, this can be seen across disciplines, and in how we measure inequality (Salverda et al, 2009, pg.2, Andersen, 1999 p.288, Coulshed, 2006, Dominelli, 2002).
Notions of liberty here are not nuanced questions of state intervention, unequal power relations, and liberty, which occupy our courts; this is identity formation in a belief system which cannot tell the difference between natural human reproduction, the rule of law, and publicly funded institutions so seeks to undermine all as one.
3.4 Evolution of an Institution
Within the bureaucracy that has been the Department of Health and Social Security, Department for Social Security, Benefits Agency and Employment Service, the Department for Work and Pensions, there are multiple locations of control including decisions made on behalf of the Secretary of State. Bureaucracies are useful for providing universal services nationwide, evolve slowly and are stable (Coulshed, 2006). They can be rigid, require staff able to develop relationships, clear lines of democratic accountability, reflection on power they exercise and a clear understanding of the rule of law which binds them. Centrally planned institutions form part of the Civil Service in service of the Crown. A responsibility to deliver services impartially, fairly, universally and within the rule of law – should stabilise against abusive policy instincts(Cabinet Office, 2017).
The system Beveridge wanted never materialised, what emerged was flexible enough to adapt to decades of unexpected shifts. Women’s emergence from a family unit defined by coercion, emergence of gender equality as a goal, market participation of mothers, deindustrialisation, financialisation, and financial instability have all form tides of its evolution.
3.6 Forces shaping a system
Minsky described the hysteresis created if cash transfer systems which restrict economic and social activity are combined with an unstable debt based economy, each episode of destructive instability perpetuating an extension of control and expansion of welfare spending which ‘does not recede because new economic activity is restricted’. He refers to the ‘complexity of the array of entitlement programmes’(Minsky, 1986, pg.29-30).
Minsky discusses how entitlement programmes swell, on one hand entitlements sustain demand, prevent economic falls, increase disposable income, subsidise care labour, on the other they carry an inflationary bias, are harmful when continually expanded (Minsky, 1986, p.29). Once state control exceeds a proportion of the whole, the effect of its actions dominate the whole system (Caldwell, 2007 pg 102). Paul Pierson describes how crisis generates a reflex response of blame politics, which never successfully retrenches the welfare state(Minsky, 1986, Pierson, 1994). Piketty identifies that debt and forced labour also forms part of a cycle, Workfare has featured heavily in the latter years of this cycle(Middlesex University, 2014, Piketty, 2016)
Minsky identifies that ‘transfer payments which provide income without work, set a floor in money wage rates ‘(Minsky, 1986 pg.29.) The symbolism of the deserving/undeserving division is applied at the cash transfer ceiling Hyman Minsky identities. Our cash transfer system is a live record of wages connected to child benefit, housing and childcare costs and therefore the motherhood pay-penalty(Lips et al, 2012, Lewis, 2012).
The division between welfare claimants and ‘hardworking’ citizens relies on identification against claiming benefits which cannot be relied on when that divide expands into an employed pool. It would force recognition of inherent contradictions in the belief.
3.5 Beliefs system shaping a system
Thatcher was a Beveridge woman (Thatcher, 1995, pg.120). The whip for the undeserving hardwired into the system was central to her revolution, she used think-tanks outside our institutional structure for policy making, viewing existing institutional structures as resistance to change (Timmins, 2005, Thatcher, 1995).
The welfare economics shaping our cash transfer system is dominated by synthetic inequality modelling, welfare claimants as symbols of dysfunction, amplified reflections of tabloid symbolism, and measures of GDP which do not recognise care, intergenerational reciprocity, family or law, reinforced by opinion polling. Theoretical models orbit a simplistic household unit. Discussion is of expected behaviours attributed to household units. Millions of units aggregated in theoretical models, disagreements concern how cash transfers will change spending patterns, and moral hazard. Aggregating millions of units ensures this unit cannot be a complex evolving form, there can be no analysis of the interaction of this unit with multiple systems, coercive impact of those institutions, nor an evolving legal framework or different dimensions of the economy(Cowell, 2011, Salvera et al, 2009, pg.650, Atkinson, 2015, Galbraith, 2016).
3.7 Reflex which drives cycle.
Stripping capacities to care for and protect children as a response to pressure caused by other forces is a reflex which has driven this cycle. Mary Daly outlines pressures which trigger the reflex to strip back at capacities to care, this includes demographic shifts, demands of an ageing population other spending pressures caused by changing family structures (Daly, 2011).
Jane Lewis outlines attempts to ‘harmonise’ work and family reconciliation, with gender equality goals across Europe, demonstrating this reflex is in action not just here but across EU. She notes the ‘slipperiness of policy meanings’ and the ‘implications of this on policy development’. She demonstrates the distance between these trajectories is tied to institutional development across the EU, and the evolution of these goals()This was the case in 2007(Lewis, 2002, Lewis, 2006). Haux and Knjin et al demonstrate the smooth progression between Labour policies to ‘activate’ lone parents as workers, to post-2010 Governments(Haux, 2012, Knjin et al 2007).
A central theme of welfare economics is recreation of a ‘two adult worker model’ household and an ‘adult worker’ model. This model has long formed the core of a welfare discourse about responsibility.(Lewis and Giullari, 2006, Daly 2011). Without acknowledgement of responsibilities to children, there can be no consideration of the material risk created by this.
The UK is a country with a birth rate which just excludes us from acute fertility worries of other countries, the evolution of a harsh ‘liberal regime’ is considered central to this. Schmitt discusses scholars who are still unable to accommodate the dual role of women as workers and mothers in 2012’ (Macdonald, 2006, Schmitt 2012).
The starting point for mainstream welfare state scholarship is Epsing-Andersons cross European typologies of welfare states which sees the relationship of state to labour market, and is blind to what child benefit signifies (Arts and Gellisen, 2002, Epsing-Andersen, 1990). A cross national typology is not possible with this included, the evolving functions which link to children are tied to the functioning of the nation state. International comparisons of approaches to child maltreatment, present difficulty for the same reason(Brown et al, 2017). Paid childcare is valorised over unpaid labour, because it is recognised in GDP(Daly, 2011).
The reflex to strip back at capacities to care is limited by political, social, and legal crisis. The judgement in Portugal vs Soares De Melo(72850/14), referred to ‘the ease with which the paternalism of creating poverty and rescuing children from it can become corrupted’, stating ‘European courts have a responsibility to uphold that the interests of the mother and the child are linked.’ The judgement related to a cash transfer system and action taken to remove children from a mother’s care after she was stripped of the ability to provide for them.
3.8 Crossed Line
In the UK this reflex reached a conclusion. By giving government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal and despotism is made possible(Caldwell, 2007, pg.119). A test has been introduced to ask if a mother has been raped, sexual autonomy at conception resulting in loss of benefits for that child, loss which must be absorbed until crisis warrant intervention. Only the sexual assault of the mother renders a child valid, a professional is required to evidence the form, the word of the mother insufficient. Professionals have refused(HM Revenue and Customs, 2017, BBC News, 2017c).
An institution working to the pleasure of the crown actively seeking to remove ability to meet duties imposed and enforced by the crown, undermining the rule of law, encroaching on human reproduction itself, and generating crisis; adjudicating the validity of a child the on the basis of their mother’s sexual violation. This cannot undo the twentieth century, but provides vindication of Hayek’s warning to Beveridge revealing another dimension of the cycle identified by Minsky. A reflex to strip capacities to care is a reflex that has driven this cycle, this is now generating crisis and linked to political risk but offers opportunity to review our development of these systems.
Part 3: System failure: Learning from Crisis:
3.0 Branco Milanovic says a ‘very high inequality eventually becomes unsustainable, but does not go down by itself, rather it generates processes that lower it’ (Branco Milanovic, 2016, pg.98). Minsky is clear there is little can be done to an institution once it is established, it must run its course, you must restrict yourself to internal operations, until social and economic order is disrupted enough to warrant redefinition of that institution(Minsky, 1986). If flaws become apparent over time, this should be cyclical.
Skidelsky referred to the damage to political, legal, social economic life caused by collectivism, we will limit ourselves to institutional, legal, and political dimensions of this crisis. Economic, social, and media crisis can be seen through this lens(Skidelsky, 1997).
- 1 Legal
In a recent judicial review brought by a group of single mothers attempting to challenge the benefit cap, Lord Justice Collins stated that application of the cap to children under two was causing ‘misery for no good reason’ EWHC 1446(Admin) Case No: CO/379/2017). On the application Mothers of young children demonstrated the links between caring, the labour market, and our cash transfer system.
Statements and public judgements from Sir James Munby, Head of the Family Division, in the period 2010-2017 demonstrate institutional failure, concern about political use of adoption, concern about the state’s ability to meet the needs of children in its care. These warnings now focus on systems, rather than individuals or organisations. The Re:BS judgement had to reiterate the evolution of the rule of law around adoption and stemmed a 26% rise in adoptions in 2013/14(Re B-S(Children) EWCA Civ 1146)).
Care demand statistics have shown increases in care applications, year on year. Increased prevalence of domestic abuse and neglect is visible even without statistical analysis. Between April 2016 and March 2017, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services(CAFCASS) received a 14,579 applications, 14% higher compared with the previous financial year( Between April 2015 and March 2016 Cafcass received 12,792 applications, 15% higher compared with the previous financial year(Cafcass, 2017).
This is not a new or sudden problem. Harlow, has traced the evolution of the impact of this belief system on social work departments(Harlow et al, 2003, Harlow et al, 2012). The question of how managerialism impacts social work practice, has been explored intensively. Laming Report into the death of Victoria Climbie, offering a startling picture, Rogowski outlines the way managerialism shapes Social Work, with Coulshed and Mullender’s ‘Management in Social Work’, seeming prescient as we enter this crisis(Coulshed, 2006, Rogowski, 2011).
The absence of recording of domestic abuse as a primary classification of harm obscures this is harm not caused by person who is subject of the application. Figures obtained by the Independent Newspaper about 18 of 43 police forces, showed the number of reports of domestic abuse surged by more than 13,500, from 431,000 to 444,600, between 2015 and 2016, charges brought by police slumped from 60,700 to 54,800. This was reported as police failure, it is as likely to indicate reluctance to press charges due to lack of available options to leave, this is not a new problem, it is one we learned from(Humphrey and Absler, 2012, Agerholme, 2017).
The rate of child deaths due to maltreatment in the UK should remain static, a reflection of the rarity and constancy of this risk, care application figures should be stable for the same reason(Jones, 2014, Hall, 2003). These figures indicate system failure and cannot coexist with a functioning child protection system, which can only exist as part of a functioning wider synthesis of institutions and is linked to the functioning of the nation state.
The imposition of sanctions for failing to meet the conditions of Jobseekers Allowance, the whip Beveridge devised, was notable for being a minor part of our one of the smallest benefit in our cash transfer systems and complex to deliver. In the years 2010-2017 was expanded, peaking in 2013(National Audit Office, 2017, Office for National Statistics, 2015, Timmins, 1995). Sanctions are resource and labour intensive and impact other institutions and budgets, and cannot be delivered consistently across the country, they rely on limited understandings of claimant behaviour (National Audit Office, 201 pg.15). Sanctions have been linked to food poverty, the growth in food banks, rising malnutrition admissions, and to deaths, lone parents have been particularly impacted by sanctions(Gingerbread, 2017, Reeves and Loopstra, 2016). Universal Credit attempts to expand this to cover our entire cash transfer system.
Press reports cite Universal Credit costs ballooning to over £15.5bn. This project has been dogged with problems since its inception (DWP, 2016, , Department for Work and Pensions, 2015, Timmins 2017, Lakhani, 2014). The scale of the project, mean crisis in delivery are resolving tension between the intention and what can be delivered, this will form the boundaries of a new system(Timmins, 2017). Once a system is defined it must run its course, but this system is in flux.
3.3 A synthesis of institutions in crisis
There is longstanding evidence of institutional failure in Children’s Services Departments. Treatment as a constant blinds us to when a line has been crossed. By 2010, entire Children’s Services departments were being declared unfit for purpose, Dr. Eileen Munro’s review of the administrative burden on social workers, demonstrating the administrative aspect of this function was in crisis(Cockcroft and Gimmell, 2010, Munro, 2011).
Media vilification as a reaction to the death of Peter Connelly was accompanied by threat of privatisation, and stripping of consideration of maternal inequality from assessments, and lowering of risk thresholds, indicating dysfunction at the site of political responsibility for the care economy and the same reflex in action here (Jones, 2014, pg.59-125). There are concerns over social work’s future as a profession(Cooper, 2015).
This tandem system failure expose significant institutional erosion, problems with how policy makers conceptualise institutions, what shapes them and binds them, disconnect with how rule of law develops through them and how power is exercised with them, as well as a belief these responsibilities can be abdicated. The reflex to strip back at capacities to care can include the ability to protect children it is still limited by crisis.
This crisis unfolds while an enquiry into child protection failure in the twentieth century is underway. Changes to family structure were at the core of major shifts defining the 20th century, our systems will not adapt to the 21st without acknowledging them.
- 4 Political risk and inequality
Inequality links to politics in ways that cannot be denied, but they are not always clear(Galbraith, pg.9, 2016) Iain Duncan Smith resigned citing the fairness of the welfare changes he was to deliver(BBC News, 2016, Duncan Smith, 2016). This was political crisis for this welfare blueprint, after a long period of corrosive properties of our cash transfer system being elevated as a reflex response to crisis.
The Labour Party(‘Labour’) manifesto retained 7bn of the welfare cuts covered by Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation, in 2017, allocating only 2bn to reviewing cuts to Universal Credit (Savage, 2017, Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2017) As a final anchor for this particular strand of our dominant economic and political consensus we can see how it was upheld throughout its lifespan.
Labour symbolise a coalition of direct democracy, a parliamentary party, and trade unions, since the Party was born with the Labour Representation Committee in 1900(Labour, 2017). They identify as the ‘unchallenged representative of the working class’, cash transfer system recipients were excluded from this definition, so expansion of our cash transfer system would always have caused problems. This identity has fuelled internecine warfare between liberal and left factions of the party within rigid institutional structures connected to elite institutions throughout their history(Crick, pg.2, Healey, 1989). Trade unionism is now linked to public sector institutions, including cash transfer system and Local Authorities, rather than industry(Comfort, 2013).
The liberal left symbiosis is uninterrupted by the evolution of citizenship or these institutions(Crick, pg.2, Caldwell, 2007, pg.157-170, Healey, 1989). The internecine warfare surrounding Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is a recurring Labour Party and Movement crisis. It becomes risk when the institution transitions significant shifts. Tony Blair aimed to reform Labour so they could adapt without this. Labour culture and structures prevent them discussing consensus they share, or consensus they orbit, they relive this internecine crisis channelling tension from external crisis into it(Crick, 1984, BBC, 1995, Healey, 1989) . This legacy identity and shapes trade union, and a parliamentary party and direct democracy functioning. Media narratives orbit it, a re-emergence of a mediating class, adding a political dimension to the cycle Minsky identified.
3.5 Social Media ‘movements’
Lock et al describe the astroturf metaphor ‘‘AstroTurf which originated in the 1970s in the United States (Irmisch, 2011) does not grow naturally but is manufactured and has to be installed. Thus, it becomes a proper metaphor for certain public affairs activities that have spread globally ’(Lock et al, 2016, pg.88). Atkinson said identifying location of control in systems is important, nowhere more so than here(Atkinson, 2015).
People’s Momentum is a company registered to Jon Lansman, Tony Benn’s campaign manager in the early 1980s(Shabi, 2017, Helm and Hacillo, 2017). The cast of protagonists hasn’t changed significantly the last incarnation of events covered by the BBC documentary ‘Cast into the Wilderness’(BBC, 1995). This is the period before Margaret Thatcher’s shock at increased welfare spending indicating generation of independent mothers. They have fulfilled this function since at least 1983, indicating stability..
The progression of Astroturf from Netroots, to People’s Assembly, to People’s Momentum show how discussion of cash transfer and local authority changes likely to generate crisis, channelled into existing political media structures and narratives and finally to loyalty to a Labour leader (Hundal et al 2011, Unite, 2013, Helm and Hacillo, 2017, Sehmer, 2017), Peoples Momentum, 2016, Caldwell, 2007, pg.157-170, BBC News, 2017a). This ‘movement’ offers an interesting record of how existing political institutions and forces reproduce systems through subordination of marginalised identities through activism, especially as these ‘movements’ are accompanied by intimidation, including that of elected officials(Crenshaw, 2011). (BBC News, 2017, BBC, 2017b). Political risk appears to be rooted in the tension between a legacy identity, expansion of our welfare system, a changing media landscape, and a period of retrenchment highlighting how power relations have evolved over a cycle
3.6 Crises expose resilience as well as dysfunction. Peter Kyle, a Labour MP for Brighton and Hove demonstrated the link between the family courts and parliament is functioning(Laville, 2016). He spoke in parliament about women being abused in the family courts on, leading to cross party work addressing cross examination of vulnerable witnesses, and wider general agreement on the need to examine the synthesis of institutions around domestic abuse(Roscoe, 2017). The constituency surgery system is functioning, there is cross party awareness of this crisis and addressing domestic abuse is a central policy goal and subject to consensus, and many organisations were aware of this crisis(Women’s Aid, 2016). Six years is a significant period of inertia.
A Government attempt to introduce an opt out of responsibilities in the Children Act, through the Children and Social Work Act (McNicoll, 2017), was unsuccessful, indicating this is a line too difficult to cross. An Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, focusing on institutions throughout the 20th century is now underway(iicsa.org.uk, 2017). There is considerable disquiet over the state of the social work profession, and our ability to meet minimum requirements(Cooper, 2015).
In the latter part of the 20th century, inequality relations were mediated by complex but stable and evolving institutional arrangements, this is no longer true(Dearlove, 1984). Keynes said we were with no conviction aware of the unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable and temporary nature of the economic organisation of our world(Keynes, 1919, pg.1). The family is the primary institution, changes to family structure indicate fundamental alterations to the structure of the economy and society; a major force shaping institutions.
I outlined how institutional development has been shaped by significant alterations to family structure institutions in the 20th century and show accommodation of these shifts is central to meeting the demands of the 21st. These changes included significant changes to family structure, changing demographics, falling birthrates, extended lifespans, the emergence of new systems, and the evolution of the rule of law. I use ‘Arber’s Myth of Intergenerational Conflict’ to show understanding these changes is central to understanding the relationship between public and private transfer, the shift of the gender contract from family and workplace and to understanding questions of distributions of public resources and intergenerational reciprocity. Bengston demonstrates why changing demographics make consideration of intergenerational reciprocity central to meeting 21st century challenges.
I show a synthesis of institutions, including our cash transfer system, evolved to protect the ability of women to leave coercion and abuse, which is now a legal duty where children are involved.
I place care labour as the basis of intergenerational reciprocity, a combination of time and money transfers through the generations, and because care institutions can only supplement kinship relations, the state will always have to manage and reflect on power at this intersection, this cannot be abdicated. I introduce the principles of care economics as a dimension of the economy which has always existed and which shapes institutions.
I use the Children Act 1989 to map out the relationship between the family and state. I show it accounts for complexity of the evolving family unit, how inequality shapes its functioning, wider institutional context, and the limitations of state intervention in the private domain. I cite this as the Hayekian rule of law, ‘that which evolved to tell us not what we must do, but what we must not do so we can avoid harming others and so we obey no man only the law’, and with recognition of its potential to harm. I demonstrate this evolution of rule of law in systems shaping the relationship between family and state mark out power dynamics which used to be hidden within the family unit. These systems evolved around power dynamics described by Kimberle Crenshaw in 1991(Crenshaw, 1991). We have systems able to organically reflect unexpected and major structural alterations to our economy and society and reflect evolving power relations.
These systems are linked to our cash transfer system, which is an accurate record of wages, childcare costs, and housing costs, with child benefit as a passport benefit which is still functioning and necessary. I juxtapose the evolution of these systems with the belief system shaping our cash transfer system, to I demonstrate a reflex response to financial instability is driven by a central belief system structurally unable to see these shifts or their significance in the final years of an inequality cycle.
Thatcher believed her policies were inspired by Hayek. I argue a centrally planned system relying on theoretical modelling, aggregating vast amounts of information to create artificial certainty, shaping lives around the needs of a centrally controlled money supply, reducing them to objects excluded from citizenship, was what Hayek warned against.
Minsky explains if cash transfer systems which restrict economic and social activity are combined with an unstable debt based economy, they continually expand and do not recede. This system is shaped by theoretical economics dominated by synthetic inequality modelling, and a simplistic household unit, attributing crisis to welfare claimants as objects of dysfunction and cannot see outside that.
We demonstrate the reflex of stripping at capacities to care as a response to spending caused by other forces is driving this cycle. Spending caused by other forces, including spending pressure caused by changes to family structure, has been trigger for this reflex, housing costs are covered by this system, so this reflex can be directly linked to financialisation(Stephens, 2005).
Through literature on the Adult Worker Model, and fertility policy we see scholars still see reconciling mothers as adult workers as intractable in 2012. Through Neyer et al, we find considerable difficulty reconciling concepts of gender equality, within fertility literature(Neyer, 2013). We trace a smooth transition for ‘activating lone parents’ as workers through policy of several governments, with the Soares De Melo judgement we show how this reflex is limited by crisis.
Through Universal Credit, the two child limit, and the conclusion of this reflex with the ‘rape clause’, we are able to demonstrate system failure around this intersection of institutions. Showing Hayek’s warning is vindicated through the first cycle of this institution’s evolution. We can now correct our understanding of what shapes and connects these institutions so they can evolve.
Part 3: Learning from system failure: inequality, crisis, and political risk.
We argue the study of inequalities will learn from crisis, systems and political forces mediating power relations are in crisis and flux but this is cyclical, institutions evolve and so do power relations. We find evidence of system failure around the intersection of systems around children. We find political risk due to tension between the legacy identity and function of the Labour Party and Movement. These institutions have to accommodate major changes, and are redefining their boundaries through crisis.
Austerity: System Failure and Inequality Reduction
We have the opportunity to measure known outcome instead of what was responded to for what appears to be a complete cycle, contained data sources, a series of shifts we know should be reflected in this data. This is information which may structure our understanding of the relationship between instability and inequality, and how different dimensions of inequality connect.
Viewing this as inevitable, cyclical, how institutions evolved within this cycle, we are able to see the intersection of systems generating crisis, and their evolution.
That reflection on power and the natural evolution of society and the economy is necessary for systems not to become harmful, defined twentieth century paradigms in many different ways. The significance of both Economic Consequences of the Peace and Road to Serfdom as texts is not their relationship to cash transfers and child protection and evolution of systems after they were written. We need to revisit those thoughts and synthesise what these crisis tell us in that context. This was inevitable.
I now have Lily Madigan continuing inciting abuse of me, continuing Labour’s harassment of me. Tomorrow I have police coming about the person who fantasises about gang rapes and women who look like having their faces dissolved in acid. This hasn’t stopped for seven years. I don’t know what I did. I accepted invitations at face value, I didnt choose austerity, i didnt choose being a Looked After Child, I didn’t know they were lying when they asked me to speak at Oxford University, Trade union funded events, to write for the Guardian and New Statesman, why would I? I didn’t have any choice about any of it. I have tried to distance myself from Labour politics. Tom Watson’s office are clearly fine with me or my daughter ending up hurt. Maybe that’s desirable? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is about me but somethig about me means its ok to harm me, its ok to do that. Maybe I missed something and am not like other people.
Maybe I need to end up dead? And then everyone can feign shock and surprise that relentlessly inciting abuse of a woman with no power, no money and responsibility for a child had that impact? I dont know any more. I really dont.
This is the bit where we all start to realise Corbyn is in fact our Trump. Abusive astroturf but more importantly, you should read Milne on Putin. The idea Putin doesn’t know this is absurd now the dickhead spring has fizzled out, Brexit and Corbyn are defiintely on his radar.
So tensions are increasing with Russia, nerve agents and murders and stuff that belongs in spy thrillers. While we disentangle ourselves from international relations with the 27 countries of the EU and our role as a bridge between the EU and the US. Milne is fairly pro-Russia, always has been, Corbyn and Milne hate the EU. Tensions are opening up between EU and US because they have a man baby POTUS. This is in addition to our institutions having been hollowed out by a reflex response to crisis, the rule of law being undermined by austerity, and power relations internally that used to be mediated by institutions becoming exposed. Corbyn’s lot are polling well even though they are descending into chaos and they want women’s rights nullified. We are climbing deeper and deeper into the shit and those in charge can’t even see it. Amazeballs.
So I had a think. Things are no better on the ground, our cash transfer system is like a giant threshing machine with millions of people in it, there is no political will to keep mashing people but nooone knows how it works and noone can switch it off. So it just generates crisis. Same goes for Local Authorities. The systems that will emerge from this mess will define their boundaries through crisis but by now there has been eight years and have been through a fair few institutions and the brutal truth is there isn’t much in the way of institutional resilience. The culture immediately around policy making are Oxbridge mainly, they think their homogenity is an issue of fairness, it’s not, it’s an issue of them not knowing the basics of how things work. Three universities provide this culture, one of which I just attended. The elite social closure means they have access to disciplines which are reliant on synthetic modelling, bullshit economics, and discussion of what should be done with the poor. No understanding of the damage this does that exitss everywhere else, and within the institutions they shape at all, in fact there is little to no link with those institutions. Guardian and Labour are a bolesha beacon of dysfunction, a culture of entitled posh kids who thought you could just identify as someone’s representation, because that’s how it’s been since the post war settlement was established. Primary function? Generating bullshit tribalism and maintaining sealed walls by doing whatever is necessary to maintain an echochamber in a chatroom. What they will do to maintain this gets more extreme and they are currently unleashing hate and violence on women and demanding that women’s rights be completely eroded. Labour’s internal factions are in a death spiral and there is the possibility that this could break open the Labour movement and out of it could somehow, through crisis emerge trade unions which represent institutions. But that’s a long way off. Trade unions spsent the last seven years preventing discussion of the consensus that has now shifted, past tense. They are still not aware of the system failure in the institutions they represent, well they wouldn’t be. They are not for that. Apparently. I’d like to say with the Tories it’s malice, it’s not. They are a perfect reflection of Labour. That kind of tribalism is only possible with extraordinary levels of homogenity, and shared boundaries and that is the case here. I sat with a Tory the other week and he was perfectly nice, policy wonk, fell into policy after elite university, not much of a clue how systems work, not much of a clue why he would need this. Representative of a culture. A culture with impressive job titles.
The main universities providing these policy makers offer disciplines with no connection to these institutions, no connection to the context in which they exist, lots of disciplines about what to do with the poor they can;t see which are largely about convincing academics thzat poor people are people just like them. Lucky for women like me they still get to use stuff like the symbolism of the Lone Parent, and its a language they all understand, and this means they dont have to recognise the changes that occurred in the twentieth century.
I don’t really think much is going to happen, crisis will continue to escalate. There isnt the resources in that square mile of London to prevent them, we don’t have systems anywhere that learn from crisis, and this culture don’t yet understand, this long after the financial crisis, why we need them. Pretty fucked really and we have launched ourselves into Brexit, which we have negotiated like a misogynist dad in a spiderman suit approaches a divorce. People outside this culture can now see it, digital culture means a social dimension to polutical communication and that is exposing the power relations these people think exist. I am not sure what institutional resilience there is really or how big this gets. Without any resources at the centre of policy making, politics, media, all we can expect is crisis which expose their limitations and give them chance to correct them. Not good at picking up hints htough, we have gone through the financial crisis, leveson, grenfell, god knows how many years of austerity and we are no further on. Except an entire nation has witnessed and experienced this and their understanding of power has reconstructed. THis is crazy. Actually crazy.
So I think it’s now evident there is a backlash underway and it’s time to discuss it. I said so, anyone with half a brain could see this coming. Here is the problem. We have to go back a bit, let’s start with austerity which is where this blog began. Austerity hit women hard, not by design but by reflex. A belief system which couldnt conceptualise care labour, the rule of law, or what institutions did, lashed out at the institutions which govern inequality. Largely Local Authorities and our cash transfer system, it was subject to consensus, mostly people agreed, because these systems were politically invisible. They were invisible, most should remain invisible but a reflex response to crisis exposed what policy makers cant see. Local Authorities are in chaos, cash transfer system is now generating poltical crisis, Brexit is going to cause a major reexamination of our institutional structure. As human beings are want to do we have generated a crisis which forces us to examine the shifts that defined the twentieth century. Changing gender roles, growing understanding of sex discrimination, emergence of women as market actors instead of property, changing lifespans, birthrates, ageing populagtion and care are a factor in economic planning. These are major shifts which occurred over a century, and can’t be done. The tide came in if you like, and austerity generated the crisis to let us know our feet were wet. As occurs with every political economic settlement reaching its limits it played out in a crisis in a mediating class, much of which this blog has recorded. Here is the thing, each of those legal frameworks, the equality legislation, safeguarding, they were the product of immense social change. These were systems which evolved through crisis and we were due a period where we had to reevaluate. The last time this happened was the late seventies, so the ideas we used then could not possibly have been aware of these shifts, this crisis largely just forces that to be reviewed. Most of our publci policy problems require a multi-dimensional understanding of the economy which incorporates these systems for the first time, rather than them just evolving through crisis while policy makers are oblivious. The attempt to undo this using ‘I identify as’ was largely an empty tantrum, which is insufficient to wipe out these shifts, but which can force us to address the failures of bullshit academic disciplines and the blindness of policy makers and politics to these systems. I have been waiting and preparing for this crisis for a while now, as anyone daft enough to follow this blog knows.
Its not that equality cant be rolled back, it could. Society could organically decide that we no longer have these things, we no longer think women should exist in the public sphere, we no longer think being gay is ok, we now think children shoul dbe abused. BUt that hasn’t happened, and the inorganic forces of lefty media, academic disciplines, and vocal activists having their tantrum where they declare sex doesn’t exist and nor does homosexuality, and systems shaped by male violence don’t matter, cos trans identities mean they don’t, was never going to achieve that aim. It was just going to generate crisis, and here it is. Power relations exposed. The GRC didnt actually impact Equality Act provisions and same sex protections, the right of women to organise was not under threat. The vocal activists who target Woman’s Place meetings, demand we don’t discuss biology and insist lesbians can now be attracted to male bodies if those male bodies identify as female, were showing us something important but it was fantasy.
The problem is that rights can just disappear. There are less than 10000 GRC issued, I think its only about 4, but I havent checked. This is a tiny and complex population, mostly just trying to get on with their lives, some suffering extreme mental distress,dwarfed by the online population using them as a cudgel, and they are about to face a backlash. The ones whose disorder has been given license by recennt activism are exposed and will pay the price for this, but their problem is not malice and being vulnerable and being dangerous are not mutually exclusive.
Most trans people never needed a GRC, self id was always the norm, and people took it at face value. Now a vocal minority of activists supplemented by very privileged media orgs, politics orgs and twitter users, have forced recognition of the difference between sexes. They have forced examination of self id. The risk posed by male entry to female spaces, the patterns of male offending and these activists have forced us to address the question of whether you can identify out of a gender hierarchy where males subordinate females, does male pattern offending change if they identify as female. What is the role of sex when gender id is not consistent with sex. The conversation has been raised and so have the stakes. And now this issue is mainstream in everyone’s living room. It’s going to look women clearing the table, in fact it’s just the natural recognition of major shifts through crisis.
The wider population are not going to care that the GRC doesnt actually impact Equality Act provisions, nor that the majority of trans people were just living and not asking for anything. They wont see them. They will see the vocal activists saying biology reverses, through the power of mind, that they were always women, the abuse, the vitriol, the kids issue is going to be huge. The Spectator, the Times, the Sun, the rest of the papers, they are all now looking at htis issue and once they have their teeth in they wont let go, especially if there is a political capital in it and there is. And the backlash is going to snowball. You can’t undo shifts that occurred over a century in a small tantrum but a society can organically decide to undo these rights trans people have barely obtained.
It is going to fall upon those currently reaching #peaktransgenderism, the ones appalled at being gaslighted, the disregard for safety of women and kids, the ones who recognise activists stating clearly that women’s right to organise should end, to remember this. And this is going to snowball., Its going to hit the academic disciplines, the institutions and individuals that sold this narcissism as trans rights, used trans as a way to provide absolution for extreme violence, and the impact of the long term effect on children who should never have been encouraged to sterilise themselves or undergo surgery is going to be a long running theme. The impact of shows like I am Jazz, CAN create a ferocious backlash which could completely undo all the organic gains trans people made. I don’t want to see it.
In many ways this crisis is the one I was waiting for, the one that exposes why we need to develop an intersectional understanding of inequality, learn what institutions do, how they were shaped by these major shifts, what shaped the rule of law around equality, and how this shaped other institutions, but I know what this backlash will look like and its not good. Its going to fall on the people who relied on the transexuals like Miranda Yardley and Kristina Harrisson to be the voice of sanity defending our rights while we slept, to stand firm with trans people as the backlash threatens their rights. Trans needs to be a protected characteristic under law. The backlash is likely to impact the wider LGBT(add alphabet soup) media and organisations, and I don’t really want to see this snowball. I am a lone parent, I am on the receiving end of irrational policy all the time, and I know that sense can;t pierce people’s deeply held feelings.
Lone parents always got it because we represented a visible manifestation of one of the most significant changes to human organisatiions in history, end of marriage as ownership of women and emergence of women as independent actors. But we are generations into that and the rhetoric that used to work on lone parents no longer does. I know how vicious this can be, and I am sad that I have had to watch this open up. Trans people are the first generaton of people who can address gender dysphoria which has always existed as far as I can see.
It is exciting to see a new women’s movement forming, seeing women from all walks of life asserting boundaries and rights and it thrilling to see women join together. But I hope those women will remember the reason they were able to do this was the trans people who saw this coming, feared the backlash against irrational activists egregiously overextending their demands, and to remember that when the backlash hits it will be their rights and without the support of women who waived through trans rights in the first place this may be a much more difficult conversation now.
This whole episode has been sad. A strand of virulent narcissism amplified by dying media organisations and presented as the end of women’s rights. Forcing women to assert themselves is one thing, but those rights were unlikely to be under threat. The backlash is underway and I am 100% that the groundswell that carries it is integral to this crisis. I will continue to stand and support the right of trans people to what everyone else takes for granted, but I fear that in a year or so that might be a lonely place to stand.
Kids don’t ‘choose’ a gender. They mirror their primary caregivers and the relationship between them and the care offered by these adults, in the formative years when identity and attachment intertwine to form the basis of what will allow them to effortlessly reproduce systems for the rest of their lives. They will learn this through play, through the relationships and attachments to those care givers, and through watching and learning and absorbing effortlessly. The influences on them will expand as they move into the wider world, their peers, school, society, media…etc etc Children may not listen but they watch and they absorb, they dont learn from what you tell them but from what you do and model. Some people, like me, can’t trust this code. We have to recognise that some of what we learned during this period was dysfunctional, that insitutions are a part of our identity which is not normal, and we have to unlearn and relearn throughout our lives, often finding we have reproduced stuff which may not be that great without meaning to. Tendency to abusive relationships or in my case a hyper developed understanding of institutional functioning and power relations etc.
If there are events during this period, often related to primary caregivers, sexual abuse, physical abuse, abusive relations between care givers, trauma events, what we learn is thrown off. This is a very serious time for htis to happen and these events can cause distortion and problems which repeat in cycles htrough our lives. This manifests in a whole bunch of not very good ways through our lives but comes out often in teenage years as distress, dysphoria, difficulty dealing with certain things, acting out, self harm, loads of stuff. Often seemingly not connected to these events. Gender dysphoria is the belief that your inner identity and your body are alien to each other and it is deeply distressing, It is disordered thinking and is not a natural default state nor should it be encouraged and is often related to incidents during this formative period of childhood. A level of dysphoria is natural during childhood and adolescence as our bodies change, our relationships change and we reach adulthood. We do not have a realistic perception of ourself or our place in the world. If it is sustained and lasts until adulthood it may require body modification or other serious means to accommodate it and ease distress. The things someone tells themselves about this process are not anyones business. Children don’t ‘choose’ a gender at any age, they cannot do so. This is nonsense.
Teaching children to doubt their material reality, their bodies, is deliberate inducement of confusion and dysphoria. There is no evidence to suggest halting sexual maturation will allow sex to change and we should not be encouraging childrne to doubt material reality when they do not conform to gender roles, nor should we be trying to prevent discussion of the full context of treatments being offered to children.
The nonsense spouted about this is inconceivable. Utterly inconceivable.
What? Firstly I have absolutely NO right to an opinion on the existence of any human being. My ‘views’ if they can be counted as ‘views’ are that we have developed the technology to ease the distress of gender dysphoria and any person living outside the sex they were born is likely to suffer discrimination, and should be protected from that discrimination and have recognition in law of why that discrimination occurs. This has not changed in years. And years. And years. It is NOT a ‘view’ on whether people should be or should not be trans, this is not my business, and if I was t osuggest it was my business I would be downright wrong. My views on male pattern offending, systems shaped by violence and abuse, and sex based protections are related to my training as a social worker, my identity as an ex Looked After Child, and my experience as a woman. None of this has changed as a consequence of trans people having the right to protection from discrimination. The debate about this is a nonsense.