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Peaks of power and privilege

What did power and privilege mean to you before the pandemic hit?

Many have been historically well served by the current economic and political systems, benefitting from a sustained period of economic growth and accumulating power and resources.

This is an advantageous starting point from which to navigate uncertainty and to cope with shock.

"Like all crises perhaps, this situation will make not just the poor poorer, but the rich, richer."

CEO, Open Systems Lab Alastair Parvin

What we heard...

"All of these corporations that are chasings growth for growths sake (e.g. like airlines), that needs to change in the next ten years. I don’t think that is sustainable at all. They're still betting on massive expansion. I think we need less focus on growth. If we [the community greengrocer] never grow, but we continue to employ five people who have viable livelihoods, who support a raft of volunteers who feel that it give them life and joy, that is good, that is a result, we don’t have to grow to be successful, embedded and providing valuable livelihoods and jobs…. That has to be the priority for the future” 

Isla McCulloch, Chairperson of the community greengrocer Dig In, Edinburgh

“ all crises perhaps, this situation will make not just the poor poorer, but the rich, richer.  For example, huge government bailout money will end up in pockets of Landlords. Local Authority austerity in the aftermath will force immense pressure to sell land, when they most need to be doing the exact opposite. In other words, systemic market failures, inequalities and injustices (e.g., monopolies) are likely to be amplified. A perfect storm of system failure is coming.”  

Alastair ParvinCEO, Open Systems Lab


Stats and facts


Food for thought

The 2000s ushered in an era of credentialism that prevented ordinary people from rising through the ranks. Jobs that once required a high school degree now required a BA, jobs that required a BA now required an MA, and the choice was pay to play or get locked out. Sometimes you paid and got locked out anyway, as wealthy elites purchased careers for their untalented offspring.

Sarah Kendzior, Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America (2020)

Those who have power rarely want to acknowledge that they have unearned benefits at the expense of others.

Alicia Garza, The Purpose of Power (2020)

Navigating change before the pandemic

  • Different starting points

    To what extent has your experience of Covid-19 been impacted by your own starting points or those of your local community?

  • Clouds of austerity

    How have the cuts in public funding impacted you, your family and your local community over the last decade?

  • Peaks of power and privilege

    What did power and privilege mean to you before the pandemic?

  • Old world inertia

    To what extent do you feel the pull of the old and the familiar in your own life and the communities and institutions that you are a part of?

  • Lake of latent energy

    Where were you seeing energy for change before the pandemic?

  • Castles of command and control

    What has been your experience of engaging with public, voluntary and other services – to what extent did you feel they were designed to meet your needs?