The Greater Good and Modernisation

The rich are always modern. Most of the central London area of Marylebone is owned by the De Walden estate. It is immensely rich and it is now modernising the buildings that it owns. By modernising I do not mean to say that the estate is building ugly new buildings in this part of Georgian and Victorian London; quite the reverse; it is tastefully restoring old buildings, converting them to their original uses as homes, and investing huge amounts of money in this modernisation, which will doubtless add to the income and wealth of the estate.
The nouveau rich are also always modern. They worship at the altar of progress, understanding only that progress is a way to enhance their wealth, rather than from any principle that progress must take us to a better place than where we are now, which of course would be a false idea.

On the other hand the poor generally are not modern because their economic interests, such as they are, tend to be in keeping things as they are. A poor person who lives in a poor home may, by the process of gentrification and modernisation, find what little they have been taken or adapted to swell the coffers of the rich.

In administrative law this is quite normal; a house can be compulsorily purchased to enable a supermarket or a football ground or an Olympic stadium to be built because governments, those institutions that serve the wealthy not matter of which political hue they claim, hold that the greater good lies in building a new Tesco, or a new stadium, and that greater good, even though it enriches the wealthy, is more important than the well being of the individual. It was always thus.

You prosecute the man or woman
Who steals a goose from off the common
But leave the larger felon loose
Who steals the common from the goose.

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