Grumbling Brits and the economy

Thought I'd share some reading for you today. I've recently become engrossed in the work of philosopher Mark Rowlands, a Welshman who teaches in the US. Which might help us understand why Santander's chief exec recently complained about "grumbling" Brits and why they may be undermining the economy.

Rowlands' book from earlier this year, Running with the Pack, is a reflection on why we run - long distance running in particular. A couple of passages draw attention to the differences between the way Americans and Brits consider any form of endeavour.

He concluded that Americans are driven by optimism (they can achieve anything if they work hard enough); faith (we must have immovable faith in ourselves) and work (work is inherently ennobling).

Rowlands dismisses them all. Optimism is misplaced because whatever happens we will get worse. Faith is bogus because, actually, it's the loss of faith that makes us grow stronger. And work?
"But my murky European spirit tells me that work is not inherently ennobling at all: to work when you do not have to is stupid rather than ennobling. And there is no evidence of any reliable connection between hard work and realisation of dreams."

And then there is this: "...I'm still enough of a Brit to recognise the age-old tradition of taking an activity that someone does and finding ways to denigrate it - ideally by casting aspersions on the motives or character of the person doing it. I appreciate this tradition for the cultural art form that it is - even when I am the person whose motives or character are thus aspersed."

I hate to say. As a Brit that helped me understand and define myself a little better.


Post a Comment