In an interview with the BBC, Julie from Merseyside admitted: “It’s something I never ever thought I would be ever capable of doing. I just didn’t think it was in me as a person. I’m ashamed to admit, I have slept with a guy for money”. Julie, a single mum, turned to sex-work after waiting eight weeks for her first Universal Credit payment. Julie felt she was left with no other option and took £30 for sex to keep food on the table.
Julie, like many other women in the UK, is the latest victim of the government’s austerity strategy that has seen the victims of the 2008 financial crisis targeted as the problem that needs to be solved. Many single mums have found themselves desperate, struggling for money and turning to sex-work as well as food banks to feed themselves and their children.
It is scandalous that in one of the world’s richest countries which has the 5th largest economy globally, that there are such soaring levels of financial hardship amongst the population, millions of whom cannot even afford to feed themselves and their families.
Many have attributed this atrocious scale of poverty and deprivation to brutal austerity cuts, changes in the welfare system, low wages and high energy, food, housing and other essential costs. However, what is not given due attention by most politicians or the media is the fact that it is the capitalist system and model of economics (which the UK and majority of states today are based upon) which is the foundation that the above symptoms are predicated upon. This system is to blame for the gross financial inequality and crippling levels of poverty that plagues the lives of so many within their nations.
Capitalism’s debt-fuelled model of growth built upon greed and credit has led to volatile economies as well as having caused the global financial crisis, the effects of which continue to afflict many states today.
Its unjust interest-based system has funnelled wealth from the poor to the rich and plunged many individuals into crippling debt. Its reckless casino based stock-market and financial services system have caused much economic instability. Capitalist governments run their states like businesses, giving attention and weight to the generation of revenue for the corporate elite rather than ensuring that the poor and vulnerable are looked after and provided for adequately so that they can enjoy financial security and a dignified standard of life.
We should understand that it is only the Islamic economic laws and system prescribed by the Creator of the Worlds, Allah ﷻ, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, which can organise the wealth of a state in a just and effective way to generate a healthy and fair economy and solve the problem of poverty. Islam’s focus on the distribution of wealth rather than just its production, its rejection of the interest-based system and casino of financial products and services, its prohibition of the hoarding of wealth and the privatisation of essential resources such as water, gas and electricity so that all share in their benefits, its productive agricultural policies that ensure land is used effectively, and its host of policies and laws that help individuals into employment and provide the basic needs and a good standard of living for the poor – are the path to fighting poverty and generating prosperity.
Take home message:
The suffering and neglect of the masses today are all thanks to the capitalist model of economics – resulting in many resorting to humiliating means to make ends meet. It is only the Islamic system prescribed by our Creator ﷻ, which lays down values, policies and laws that put the common man at the fore, that can eradicate poverty and grant humanity the dignity it deserves.