It\’s an interesting phrase, isn\’t it?
Lord Turner, a former director general of the CBI, attacked the current head of the employers\’ body for refusing to concede that parts of the City were \”socially useless\”.
Now chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Turner criticised CBI director general Richard Lambert for arguing that politicians or regulators should not decide what parts of society are useful.
It seems to mean that things and actions which are not socially useful are the things and actions which I do not like.
Which rather leads us to the problem with the whole concept. Who is to decide whether something is socially useful or not?
There are those who would insist (indeed, do insist) that my having a couple of pints of an evening is not socially useful. Should I thus be barred from doing so?
I\’m sure we could find people who would insist that my (very bad, I agree) habit of actually reading propaganda reports and pointing to what I perceive as being their flaws is not socially useful: should I be barred from doing so?
We might even find that there are those who deride my decision to not maximise my income (and thus the tax take that can be had from it) in favour of my own personal work life balance: should I be barred from doing that?
Who among us is wise enough, sufficiently omniscient, to decide what all the rest of us may or may not do?
My own take on this is that \”not socially useful\” is simply a fig leaf for, as above, \”things I don\’t like\”.