Monday, 29 September 2008

We need a fair market not a free market

For the vast majority of people in the world, the so called 'free' market has delivered little but poverty. The “free market” economy is meant to deliver investment, innovation, efficiency and a trickle down prosperity. In reality it has meant privatisation - where public services suffer under profit-led management and deregulation - leaving the banks and finance sector free to gamble national economies into debt and exploitation.

In the twenty first century we have faced increased prices, cuts to our living standards, long hours and insecurity both in work, and in retirement. Here, unions suffer the most restrictive laws in Western Europe. Prosperity is increasingly seen to be reserved for the unaccountable few, who face none of the pay restraints imposed on workers and none of the regulations and burdens placed on unions. Free market capitalism has been a social, economic and environmental failure.

What the left has to do is nail the lie of the 'free' market - which means deregulation and privatisation that only benefits the rich - as we have seen. What we need is a fair market which workers can benefit from without the fruits of their labour being expropriated by capitalists. The right have expounded simplistic bullshit - like the 'free' market - and got away with it because the left haven't exposed what a fraud it is. That must now change.

The 'free' market right have also always said that we couldn't afford to re-nationalise utilities, railways etc. Now, having seen the vast sums invested recently in propping up the banks, we all know that is not true.
We need to show people that an alternative economy is not only possible but achievable. That alternative needs to be a mix of state ownership and mutualism - to give people a real stake in the economy and their future.

We need to begin by explaining the benefits of public ownership as a fair market alternative to free market capitalism. People understand they have been had. The events of the past year, and in particular the last few weeks have given us an opportunity to get that message across that we haven't had for at least a generation.

One consequence of all this is the beginning of the end of America as a dominant global economic and military force. The very people who wanted this to be the American Century - the neo-liberals - have brought their country down. This was very well summed up on an article by John Gray in the Observer. The geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting as I write this, and the American dream is becoming a nightmare.

Postscript: I have just read on the BBC that the House of Representatives has voted down the bail out plan which makes the crisis potentially all the more acute.


Anonymous said...

I agree - but what are the Green Party actually doing about this?
You talk a lot of sense here - yes, we know we've been "had", and many of us have known this for years. But what about those of us who earn too little to pay our bills, and have been duped into the "easy credit" trap? And it's all now turning to crap in front of us?
The time for talking - indeed blogging - has gone. We need action - any interest in this event?

Have a good think - we can turn this around if we act; after all, actions speak louder than words....

See you there?


Howard Thorp said...

Just had to add this as a comment - I found it on the BBC's website. Can't paste the link here but you can see when it was posted. It was by far the most highly recommended comment. very interesting indeed - spot on!

Added: Thursday, 25 September, 2008, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Forty million Americans can't afford health insurance; the minimum wage hasn't been raised in 10 years and the country has one of the worst poverty levels in the developed world. Yet as soon as the rich squeal $700 billion is magically found. America needs a second revolution.

colin craig, Stratford
Recommended by 571 people

Howard Thorp said...


would like to attend but can't - I'm already committed to something else that weekend. I'm not against the Socialist party but Socialists have a very bad habit of taking about stuff that no one but them wants to hear - like a sect. I know - I've been involved with Socialists for 35 years - I have had friends in the SWP, RCP, WRP - you name it. None of those parties could ever hope to attract interest from the majority of people in the UK because they live in a tiny Socialist bubble. Not that their ideas are wrong necessarily - just that they all like playing at being revolutionaries - they would have been happy being Bolsheviks but they were born far too late.

The Green Party has none of that ideological baggage. It does have some hardcore greenies and it does have an image problem but it is largely filled with pragmatic people who believe in social justice, want to get things done and are already making a difference in councils up and down they country - which I find very refreshing.The GP is not hidebound by some narrow socialist ideology. To paraphrase Stalin - How many MEPs has the Socialist Party got? - how many councillors?

That is the problem with Socialist parties. When I see sessions like ' 'Was Stalinism inevitable?' it makes me cringe. Ordinary people will run a mile if they see that. And that Peter Taaffe wasn't he a leading light in Militant - yeuuch! What a soulless bunch of apparatchiks they were. I know - I was around in the eighties actively involved in left wing politics e.g the Miner's Strike.

Yes I am proud to be a socialist. I believe that the Russian revolution was a good thing and that many good people gave their lives trying to create a better world. Marx and Engels were right. But I don't like socialist parties and I don't necessarily believe in or trust state solutions. Maybe I have an anarchist streak - but anarchists have always been part of the socialist movement so there's no contradiction there anyway.



Howard Thorp said...

Ooops - I meant to address that last comment to Jay not Glenn. Sorry Jay

Howard Thorp said...


I guess you are wondering why I didn't publish your comment. I've said before on here that I'll publish all comments from people who want to engage in some sort of debate no matter how much they disagree with me.

But I don't publish comments fro, people who just want to indulge in abuse


Anonymous said...

You're a self-proclaimed middle class socialist. Yes, it's easy to talk about the needs of the masses when you don't include yourself as one of the masses. What isn't so easy is doing something about it.
Someone who worked with you a few years ago told me you're full of good ideas; but lacking in terms of taking action....
We need some action and not some blogging....or we face a real uphill struggle. Are we really desperate enough to get Mandleson back?!
Billy L

Anonymous said...

See you there, Howherd?

Manchester Rally
Thursday 09 October 19.00 - 21.00
Mechanics Institute - Manchester

Brian Caton (General Secretary, POA)

Bill Greenshields (President, NUT)

Tony Kearns (Senior Deputy General Secretary, CWU)

Jenny Lennox (NUJ)

Karen Reissmann

Mark Serwotka (General Secretary, PCS)

Venue: Mechanics Institute
Street: 103 Princess Street
City: Manchester
Country: UK

Anonymous said...

Does the same sort of link-up work (operate?) in Cheshire? Or do you the links to start it up, maybe?


SallyLunn said...

No blogs this week?
I bet you've been too busy reading about the global crisis to give us your latest thought, eh?!