Tuesday 10 April 2007

Hitting the root cause

In principle, I'm all in favour of the NSPCC's latest proposal of banning the smacking of kids in shops (NSPCC urges shops to ban smacking article on BBC News). Hitting kids is a form of child abuse, and should be banned completely, in my opinion.

Why shopping centres? As the article states, shops are areas where kids (and some adults!) are most likely to have "temper tantrums" - especially when the kids want something which their parents can't afford.

I've no time at all for the right-wingers (or nonces masquerading as libertarians) who say it should be up to parents to discipline kids in any way they choose, including smacking. But I do recognise the argument that many cases of kids being smacked are a result of parents losing their patience, and that shop assistants are not necessarily the right people to intervene when that happens.

To address the root cause of why kids are likely to pester their parents for products, we must recognise that the kids are not at fault either. Through a mixture of advertising, marketing and placement of certain items in prominent positions (eg near checkouts), shops and companies use - create, even - "pester power". The capitalist Establishment love this, because kids are encouraged to force their parents to spend money, which ends up in the pockets of shopkeepers, toy and sweet companies, and other capitalists. But it also causes disappointment, with all that entails, when the parents can't afford what the adverts are hyping that week.

Which brings us to, why is there such inequality between families? Why is the gulf between rich and poor increasing, not decreasing, under an allegedly "Labour" government? Why are kids, who have no power in capitalist society, made to suffer as a result of such inequalities?

Only when we address the problems of inequality, poverty and greed, will we see a tackling of one of the main root causes of violence - from the smacking of kids, to wars between nations.

No comments: