I despair that there appears to be no discernible political debate over economic policy in the UK at all, outwith a few left websites and magazines with tiny readerships.
The Labour Party has completely abandoned the mildly social democratic platform of Jeremy Corbyn, and now actively renounces public ownership of utilities, improved workers’ rights giving greater job security, public spending to stimulate the economy and the use of taxation to redistribute wealth.
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, explicitly promotes the Thatcherite doctrine that taxation, public spending and all forms of regulation are detrimental to economic growth. She not only dismisses Modern Monetary Theory in its entirety, she also in her pronouncements makes plain that she does not accept the basic tenets of Keynesian Economics.
I am tempted to say Reeves and Starmer are Thatcherites, but that is not really correct. Their belief that wealth is created by economic giants building vast empires of monopoly, untrammelled by government, draws on something much older than Thatcher.
The social consequences of unbridled capitalism are all around us. A whole generation is growing up in which an extraordinarily high proportion have never known job security, cannot aspire to owning property, pay a huge proportion of their income just for rent and heat, are saddled with student debt and have precious little hope of self-advancement.
I cannot understand why anybody would believe that this state of affairs is healthy for society or for the economy. Nor can I understand why some of the economic giants dominating this economy are not recognised for the monopolies they are.
In what sense are Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple not monopolies in the same way that Standard Oil was? A company – and let us be frank, the individuals who own it – can reach a position of unhealthy market dominance without having done anything illegal or particularly unethical on the way.
We have been propagandised out of the belief that the state should in any way regulate economic activity for the greater good, while at the same time being propagandised into the belief that the state should become ever more intrusive in its surveillance of the lives of ordinary citizens.
Jeremy Corbyn’s modest social democratic platform, which proposed merely a few measures to ameliorate some of the worst injustices of this wildly unequal society, was very popular with the electorate. That is why he had to be eliminated using the extraordinary “anti-semite” scam.
But with Corbyn out of the way and the political “opposition” neutralised, there simply is no way that more progressive policies can ever reach the ears of the large majority of people.
The single exception is the odd media interview by Mick Lynch, who briefly became wildly popular by stating a few pro worker views plainly and articulately, something people normally are not allowed to see or hear.
You will note he is seldom on a TV screen now.
Which leads me to the unfortunate fact that most other unions have themselves become power structures manipulated to serve the career ambitions of their own highly paid leadership.
The election of Keir Starmer as Prime Minister is not going in any way to help the average worker. Why are the unions still paying over vast sums of money to a Labour Party which has utterly abandoned ordinary people, unless their leadership has also utterly abandoned ordinary people too?
In academia, there remains serious opposition to neoliberal economic doctrine, but this thought does not have any outlet into popular consciousness. Where there used to be some media which gave a slightly wider platform to left wing economic thinking – the Guardian and New Statesman would be examples in the UK – these have been entirely captured by neo-liberalism and indeed led the charge in destroying Corbynism.
This graph is from the Financial Times.
Let me add these thoughts. The graph is wrong to start its vertical scale at zero, as a substantial number of households at the bottom have negative wealth.
And if you wished to extend the vertical scale to reach the UK’s wealthiest household, the graph would have to be over 4,000 times taller than it is, without being any wider, with various members of the oligarchy sunning themselves at vertiginous heights along the way.
That is the truth of wealth inequality in the UK.
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