Saturday, 9 April 2011

There is an alternative

On March 26th 400,000 - 500,000 people marched in London for an alternative to the government's cuts programme. In the aftermath, political pundits sniped at the marchers claiming that protests don't work and that the marchers had no coherent alternative.

This blog is about the alternative. In over 200 posts I've laid out how we can create a different kind of economy which will create jobs, wealth and greater economic equality for people in the UK. I'm not a lone voice. The Green Party laid out such an economic plan in its election manifesto. Working with the New Economics Foundation, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas proposed a Green New Deal which would have revitalised our economy in the face the current economic crisis caused by financial capitalism.

This is the kind of fresh economic thinking that we need. It replaces the tired old neoliberal paradigm which has produced the economic stagnation and failure of the past thirty years. If you want economic progress, jobs and greater social equality you can't depend on the unfettered market to provide it. The market is an engine of inequality, producing extremes of wealth and poverty. This has been well demonstrated in the USA in the past thirty years where the rich have become the super-rich whilst the incomes of ordinary people have stagnated. Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote about this recently in Vanity fair and its worth quoting from his article - Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%:

"Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."

Neoliberalism has allowed the rich to grab an ever greater share of the economic cake, at the direct expense of the rest of us. Our politicians have cravenly submitted to the demands of capitalists and their huge corporations. We need an economics that is for everyone, not a tiny minority, and this is what the Green New Deal is about. Its time to put aside the failures of the past, but this can only happen when people wake up, realise what is being done to them and vote for genuinely progressive alternatives espoused by parties like the Green Party.

No comments: