These have been a disgusting few years. That form of looting known as corporate larceny continues to rage unchecked. Economic scavengers bring the world to the brink of ruin. We don’t need the discrepancy between rich and poor laid out in percentages, we see the brute fact of it with our own eyes in the shops and on the roads and in the restaurants of our richest cities. One medium-sized banker’s bonus would probably pay for all the trash that’s been looted this past week. And we don’t even have the decency to conceal the extent of this legalised pillage from those for whom, without sentimentalising them, a pair of trainers is a treat. The Sunday Times publishes its Rich List, celebrity magazines trumpet wealth, television fetishises unmerited success and, since we’ve mentioned trainers, you tell me, reader, who the young get the idea of their desirability from. Even in Tottenham you are not born needing trainers. A craving for trainers is not inscribed in the DNA of the poor. There’s an irony in the sight of those peddling tat to people who can’t afford it being the first to have their windows smashed. But theirs will be the losses soonest mended, and who’s to say that what’s happened won’t make their merchandise more desirable still? What your friends looted on Monday, you might have to buy on Friday.
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Read the whole article by Howard Jacobson in the Independent.