We do the work. Someone else takes the wealth.
During the 2010 election campaign in the UK I heard the Sun columnist Kelvin Mackenzie talking about economics.
“Economics is very complicated,” he said. “You have to be a genius to understand economics.”
This is not true. Economics is easy to understand. Wealth comes from human beings. It’s as simple as that. It comes from human beings engaging with nature in an intelligent and productive way in order to make all of the things we want and need. It is work that makes wealth.
The reason that modern economics has become so complex is that it has attempted to obscure this simple fact behind a fog of distraction in order to hide the processes by which a very few people have become more and more obscenely wealthy, while the rest of us are being squeezed to the point of desperation.
We do the work. Someone else takes the wealth.
We’ve been living under an illusion for the last 30 years or so. The illusion goes under the collective name of “Monetarism”. It is also sometimes known as “Thatcherism” or “Neoliberalism”. In the US it went under the name “Reaganomics”.
It is the idea that the market knows best, that everything in the public sector is bad, and everything in the private sector is good, that the private sector only needs to be deregulated for it to provide wealth for everyone. Take away the fetters and wealth will expand, it says. If the rich get rich, we all get rich as a consequence.
The idea was that the rich are “wealth creators” and the wealth they generate will eventually “trickle down” to the masses.
Do you remember being told that?
Actually it turns out that none of this is true. The rich aren’t “wealth creators” at all, they are wealth extractors. The world hasn’t been becoming richer, it has been becoming poorer. The wealth hasn’t “trickled down”, it has been siphoned up. The rich have accumulated even more wealth while the poor have been shafted.
Do you ever get the feeling that we’ve been ever-so slightly conned?
This government has now been in power for almost a year and here’s a check list of their achievements so far. Unemployment, going down a year ago, is now going up. Real incomes fell last year for the first time since 1981 and are on course to fall again this year. Consumer confidence has slumped to levels seen in the depths of the recession. High street retailers are sending out profit warnings. And, to cap it all, the government has been forced to revise up its forecasts for the budget deficit.
The British state and its policy of appeasement needed for the domestic deployment of “boots on the ground”, the foot soldiers in charge of dividing the working class.
“Mahmoud Jibril - foreign affairs”
Before the uprising, Mr Jibril was involved in a project called “Libyan Vision” with other intellectuals, which sought to establish a democratic state. He is also head of the rebel council’s crisis committee, which aims to streamline decision making.
Born in 1952, Mr Jibril has both a master’s degree in political science and a PhD in strategic planning and decision-making from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
After completing his doctorate in 1984, he taught strategic planning and decision-making at the university for several years. He also wrote several books and ran leadership training programmes in several Arab states.
He later became the head of the Libyan National Planning Council. Then in 2009, he was appointed chairman of the National Economic Development Board (NEDB), reporting directly to the prime minister.
A leaked US diplomatic cable from November 2009 written by the US ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, described Mr Jibril as “a serious interlocutor who ‘gets’ the US perspective”.
“He is also not shy about sharing his views of US foreign policy, for example, opining that the US spoiled a golden opportunity to capitalise on its ‘soft power’ (McDonald’s, etc) after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 by putting ‘boots on the ground’ in the Middle East,” Mr Cretz wrote.
An earlier US diplomatic cable described Mr Jibril as ‘reform-minded’…”
Translation: Jibril is a US educated technocrat whom the Office of Economic Development would love to get into place in order enforce a strict neoliberal structural adjustment line, in Libya.
Well, he’s probably going to get his chance. Good looking out, pro-intervention lefties. Good looking out. You weren’t useful idiots or anything…
Households 6% worse off, says IFS. Britain is on the mend, says George Osborne
New IFS research published today estimates that in the three years from 2008 to 2011 real household incomes will in fact have fallen by 1.6%, or £360 a year. So households are likely to be about 6% worse off than they might have expected had incomes risen in the normal way.
read the complete article at ifs.org
Similarities between the current European crisis and the 1981 Latin American debt crisi
There are similarities between the current European crisis and the 1981 Latin American debt crisis. “In both cases debts were issued in a currency over which borrowing countries had no control,” says the FT’s John Rathbone. For Latin America it was the dollar, for Europe the Euro. Secondly, there was first a period of easy credit, followed by a worldwide recession.
Bailouts were tied to the so-called “Washington Consensus” that demanded privatization, massive cuts in social services, wage reductions, and government austerity. The results were disastrous. As public health programs were eviscerated, diseases like cholera reappeared. As education budgets were slashed, illiteracy increased. And as public works projects vanished, joblessness went up and wages went down.
“It took several years to realize that deflating wages and shrinking economies were inconsistent with being able to fully pay off debts,” notes Rathbone. And yet the “virtuous” EU countries are applying almost exactly the same formula to the current debt crisis in Europe.
read complete article fpif.org