How often have we heard the Chancellor, Prime Minister and members of the current government recite their mantras about the economy which include;
- The financial crisis was caused by New Labour’s overspending on welfare, education etc.
- It is the Public Sector that got us into this mess and austerity is the only answer.
- Britain is broke – there is nothing left in reserve.
In fact compared with the past, current national and international debt levels are not high and the cost of servicing the debt is the lowest that it has been since the end of the Second World War. If our economy is compared with that of similar economies, our indebtedness is average.
In post-war Britain there was significant spending on developing the Welfare State and a recognition that there was ‘true value’ in the public sector. There is now an even stronger case for investment in healthcare, communities, social housing, green technology, communications and Infrastructure, but this shouldn’t be left in the hands of spivs and speculators.
We need to recognise that speculative financial instruments and Private Funding Initiative (PFI) schemes just shift the debt onto the next generation and we should be spending ‘real money’ reserves to kick start the economy properly, because as one person generates income, they spend the money and create a demand for goods.
The government should certainly be held to account for favouring speculative investment and casino capitalism. It has become almost revolutionary to demand progressive taxation and devices such as the Tobin (known sometimes as the Robin Hood) tax. Some workers and unions are starting to develop demands which campaigners can focus on. These include;
- Fighting tax avoidance and putting pressure on companies like Starbucks and VodaPhone through boycotts and occupations organised by UK Uncut
- Establishing a National Investment Bank
- Renationalising the Rail Networks
- Stopping private businesses cherry picking parts of the NHS
- Tackling the housing crisis and high levels of unemployment by investing in civil infrastructure and initiating Social Housing and road building programmes
- Opposing Social Security cuts.
We need to recognise that unless we have a vision of the future, fighting for these demands will be much harder. To see our visions in progress go to our main website.