USA writer Nat Needle argued,
"I don't care to motivate my children by telling them that they will have to be strong to survive the ruthless competition. I'd rather tell them that the world needs their wisdom, their talents, and their kindness …"
Clive Erricker’s book takes up a similar theme. Various Government pronouncements on family values, parenting, education, citizenship and many other matters seek to convince us that democratic ideals shape the changes that are taking place in these areas and that our society will become more democratic as a result.
He argues that this is a subterfuge, which seeks to convince us that democratic values and free market capitalism must proceed hand in hand in order that we have a society which offers both opportunity and prosperity, on the one hand, and fairness and justice, on the other.
His argument is that the balancing of these values has been, and is increasingly, suspect. The result is a cosmetic veneer of democratic rhetoric used to justify economically anti-democratic practices. Why should it be challenged? One reason might be that the basis of it is competition (the creation of winners and losers). Another might be that its basis is solely economic (wealth creation).
For every economically stable family you create another (perhaps many more) unstable one, whether in this country or elsewhere in the world. For every academically successful child you create one (or more than one) who is unsuccessful, and less able to compete in relation to employment opportunities.
Dr. Clive Erricker is Adviser for Religious Education, Hampshire LEA