The ruinous fire at Grenfell Tower that presumably took the lives of over 80 innocent people has created national controversy concerning the mismanagement of government. Heated protests have swept as fast as the inferno itself, with people venting their frustrations over the neglect of those who lived in Grenfell Tower. From the divide between rich and poor, to the neglect of the latter – both Conservative government and Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council have been forced to explain themselves. Whilst they played a role in lighting the fire, one must not see this in isolation.
In fact, the anger that has poured onto the streets is indicative of an underlying sentiment that has been brewing for many years. It is the feeling of inconsistency, injustice and failure in all areas of life, triggered by the collapse of an infrastructure that epitomises this system. Like Grenfell Tower, capitalism has been cladded with poor material; to plaster over the structural cracks that pose a threat to its existence. The problem lies not with a Tory government who oversaw its cladding per se, nor with an extremely rich council that differentiates the value of its people upon wealth, but with the overarching ideology that incentivises each of them, or any authority to do so. Indeed, it was only after a devastating fire that people began to treat those innate problems of Grenfell Tower seriously – just as it has taken a crisis for people to realise the intrinsic flaws of capitalism.
Lest we believe this problem is specific to party politics, it is worth noting; Theresa May is not the problem and Jeremy Corbyn is not the solution. It is, as Peter Oborne (2017) says, this is not merely a Conservative matter. ‘While it may well be the case that Kensington and Chelsea were shockingly negligent, Labour councils are every bit as bad. Grenfell could have happened in Tower Hamlets or Newham in East London.’ In this regard, capitalist principles are consistent across the board, and are certainly not party-specific. In fact, 30,000 buildings like that of Grenfell Tower have been built by various governments with exactly the same cheap cladding that exacerbated the fire, indicating the systemic nature of this issue and the cross-party consensus on capitalism’s ideals.
Why must people die from profit maximisation and cost minimisation? Why are the destitute punished for their poverty and the rich rewarded for their affluence? Why do governments systematically fail to justly manage the affairs of their people? The answers to such fundamental questions originate not from policy nor government, but from ideology. Islam is the only system that will put and end to the amorality of capitalism. This statement should not be seen as political opportunism but a true conviction, held by those who truly want the best for people and their prosperity.
The Islamic system does not place profits over people, nor differentiate public safety based on the amount of capital they own. It does not treat the basic necessities of a people as a tedious cost to the taxpayer, instead, it places people over profits and understands housing to be a right that must be fulfilled by the state as a matter of obligation to the appropriate quality – facilitating public security, safety and privacy – not compromising on any of the three. This is because ‘the son of Adam has no better right than that he would have a house wherein he may live…’ [Tirmidhi].
The Islamic system treats the rich exactly as it would the poor due to their equal citizenship; it would not discriminate between them, as if some lives were more valuable than others. In fact, it would end absolute poverty by taxing those with idle capital, re-injecting it into society for the benefit of everyone. Indeed, it is time that the world realise those inimical claws of capitalism that leave, in its path, death and destruction – let Grenfell Tower attest to this and may those who sadly died be a harrowing example of capitalism’s dismal failure in managing the affairs of its people.