Those who helped break the economy cannot fix it

Make no mistake, yesterday’s increase in interest rates was a big deal. Painful as it might be for a good share of the population, the real point is that the Bank is signalling the end of a particular phase of monetary policy.

Since 2010 the counterpart to self-defeating austerity policies has been expansionary monetary policies. These have inflated assets – enriching the already-rich, while failing to stimulate wider economic recovery. Yesterday the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee signalled an end of this dangerous game.  Continue reading

Brexit: some questions

1) To what extent would a hard Brexit result in a substantial economic downturn from which no recovery would be likely in the short term?

The answer depends on the deal/or none that is eventually concluded. It could be that the EU offers a free trade deal, on the grounds that not to do so would be as damaging to the EU as it would be to the UK. If this was the case most of those who export much or most of what they produce to the EU would have no incentive to move, a major fear if tariffs were imposed, particularly for the automotive industry, although this would obviously also have to apply to finance and services. This would represent a triumph and rehabilitation for May, and put Labour on the defensive, but it looks very unlikely. In any event, such a deal could only be concluded after the UK had left the EU in March 2019, and uncertainty over its likelihood would have probably precipitated substantial movement of firms out of the UK before it was concluded, as appears to already be happening in finance. Continue reading

The neoliberal road to autocracy – a response to criticism

Ann Pettifor

In an article The neoliberal road to autocracy, published in April 2017 on the website of International Politics and Society, I wrote this:

Of all these promises, the one that globalisation’s advocates proclaim most strongly is the fall in poverty worldwide. But in fact the decline in absolute poverty is part of a longer trend that has been traced from 1820, according to World Bank data. And much of that fall is not due to open, global markets, but to scientific and especially medical advances. Indeed, the numbers of those living on less than $1 a day fell most rapidly between 1950 and 1970. During the “Keynesian” era, absolute poverty (measured in US$ terms) fell as rapidly as in the neoliberal era.

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The NPF Economy, Business and Trade Report – some progress made, but a long way to go

In contrast to most of the other NPF Policy Commission reports the Economy Report proposals are more reflective of the new “Corbynite” Left Keynesian agenda than the poor quality material it produced prior to the General Election. This is obviously good in itself, but peculiar in policy development process terms. Thus, this latest report “touches base” on pretty much every key 2017 Manifesto commitment on the economy, and overall has a mildly Left Keynesian anti-austerity content and flavour throughout. Whilst those of us who have contributed to the NPF processes all year on this report obviously hope this improvement is partly based on our contributions, the marked Left Keynesian shift of this document is mainly due to the need to play catch-up with the hugely successful 2017 Labour Election Manifesto. A Manifesto which so confounded the massively dominant narrative within the PLP and Party bureaucracy according to which a reforming anti Austerity Left leaning approach could only spell electoral disaster. Continue reading

On Labour’s “sexist” industrial strategy

When Jess Phillips speaks it rarely ends well. On this occasion, seemingly determined to ruffle as many feathers as possible, she is reported as saying that “left-wing men are the absolute worst” when it comes to sexism, and that Labour’s industrial strategy is sexist. Challenged on this by Caroline Molloy, she said she really meant lefty men are merely the more annoying than the sexists of the right who parade their misogyny alongside their stupidity. Ah yes, she didn’t mean to say left men are the worst, just like the time she bathed in the media attention after telling Diane Abbott to “fuck off”. Or when she threatened to stab Jeremy Corbyn “in the front”, or of accusing the Labour leader of “hating women“. Now, I’m not about to dismiss Jess’s experiences of sexism and mansplaining in the party. It happens and if you’re a bloke who doubts it or doesn’t see it, why not ask some women comrades? Sadly sexism is alive and well because Labour is not hermetically sealed off from the rest of society and is bound to reflect what happens in the social world. The point is not to let it lie. Here all men in the party have a duty to support women and challenge sexist attitudes. Remember sexism, like racism, is scabbing. Continue reading