John Maynard Keynes was a British economist. So good was he that most of the world’s capitalist economies operate on the principles that he developed. He was not deaf. As far as I know had no deaf kids. He was not involved with deaf people. He probably never donated a cent of his wealth to the deaf either, most likely because he, like us, abhorred the bosses using fundraising for everything except what it was supposed to be used for. He may have had a quaint old deaf auntie some where in outer Scotland but apart from that, had no involvement with the deaf, whatsoever. Why then, is he a friend of the deaf? (And probably every other disadvantaged group that ever existed. )
Now, because I am in the mood to be very clever and bore people, I will explain Keynesian economic theory. It is a simple theory that like most theories is made complicated by the use of jargon. In a nutshell, the theory advises people to spend and to spend big. The gist of this advice is that if you spend others benefit. The shop keepers, the car sellers, the electronic goods people and so on. These people, in turn, spend the money they earn and others benefit. If people stop spending businesses go broke, unemployment happens and poverty can follow.
Keynes, if my memory of economics at school serves me right, advocated that in times of economic downturn governments should spend big on infrastructure. Build roads, hospitals schools and so on. By doing so this gets people into work and they then spend their money and the money starts going around the economy. Business revives and the economy goes into up turn.
Keynes also advocated the paying of unemployment benefits to the unemployed. Keynes was at his best during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. His theory was that paying unemployment benefits meant that the unemployed could then buy food, clothes and other essentials. This again put money in the system and helped to get the economy on even keel. Keynes never saw the unemployed as a COST. To him they were something to be invested in. By investing in the unemployed they basically became an asset rather than a burden that relied on charity. Not unlike how many in the esteemed deaf charity sector promote us – A burden that NEED help.
Of course this is a very simplified version of Keynesian economic theory. There are a multitude of factors that come into play. But the gist of it is – spend and thou shall reap and others too. But why does this make Keynes a friend of the deaf and other disadvantaged people?
It is simple really. Society always calls the deaf, the disabled and the disadvantaged a COST. I did a google on the cost of disability the results were predictable and sad. There are 25 500 000 articles on the web that focus on the cost of disability. Some of these are about how much a persons disability can cost them but most focus on the cost of disability to society.
Governments will proudly boast of their generosity. “NEW PROGRAM TO PROVIDE HEARING AIDS WILL COST $X BILLION AND DEMOSTRATES THE GOVERMENTS COMMITTMENT TO PROVIDE FOR DISABILITY” This is not a real headline but is typical of how the government promote help for the disabled as a cost.
If the government talks about supporting big business they use entirely different language. Let’s use Nigeria as an example. A heading on the web screams “Nigeria needs $30 Billion investment in gas and infrastructure.” In Australia it is “Government invests in Kiwi Rail“, “Government Invests in Solar” and so on. Nowhere will you find “Government invests in disability” Why? because society sees disability as a COST and a burden that they are required to support. Helping the disabled is WELFARE – it is not business.
And here is why Keynes is a friend of the deaf and other disadvantaged groups. Deaf organisations and deaf people need to stop begging. They need to stop promoting themselves as charities and promote themselves as BUSINESS and a business that can put big money into the Australian economy.
Not a business that asks for money for those poor little kiddies that cant hear and then spends the money donated on a car park out the back. But as a business that puts serious money into the economy.
Deafness Forum Australia is fond of saying One in Six Australians have a hearing loss. Do the sums. That’s something like four million people. That’s four million people that need technology, a large number of kids that need education programs that employs teachers, a large number of people that want to learn Auslan, that buy Auslan dictionaries, fill the pockets of TAFE and employs Auslan teachers.
DO THE SUMS. It’s huge. But how is deafness, and indeed all disability promoted? Well we tug the emotions, “Oh woe is me – please give.” Pictures of sad little children and their parents that smile at our warm hearted gratitude. The gullible public donates and their money is then spent on worthless conferences and jet-setting executives.
Listen to Keynes I say. Get cold hearted and ruthless. Point out the cold hard fact that DISABILITY makes money, creates jobs and puts billions of dollars into the economy. Denounce the charities and learn about Keynes. He is the new friend of the deaf and our key to taking control.