This from Hettie O’Brien today is excellent. Absolutely first-rate. She rightly draws the connection between a right-wing message that we “get back to work” in city centre office blocks and the money that can be extracted from commuters and businesses alike:
The service economy in financialised city centres depends on the consumption patterns of office workers: commuting every day involves not just buying a sandwich or a coffee from Pret, but helping to prop up an entire system.
The people who seem most concerned about going back to work aren’t workers, or managers, but rentiers – a category that applies to many retiree readers of the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, a demographic that is likely to have paid off mortgages, receives generous pensions and contains a higher proportion of private landlords, and to the rentiers.
The quotes she pulls from those right-wing media outlets are quick shocking too. Read it up.
When newspapers shriek that workers must return to the office, despite the reality that many don’t want to, they’re voicing what the sociologist Luc Boltanski called a “system of confirmation” – an utterance that is neither truth nor fact, but rather a way of reinforcing the status quo. But nobody can think that risking their health to save a multimillion pound sandwich chain is a sensible endeavour.