Austerity’s apologists on the left (and what should be done about them) | Mainly Macro


John McDonnell: He’s definitely NOT an apologist for austerity. Let’s hope he pays attention to the tactics advocated in this article.

The rational case for imposing yet more austerity on the UK has all but disappeared.  Economists are almost united in saying that now is the time for substantial increases in public investment, with government borrowing costs almost negative in real terms and low real wages. Even city economists have given up trying to pretend that the market is on the point of giving up buying UK government debt: the serious market analysis talks about a continuing shortage of safe assets.

In the political world, and mediamacro, things are very different. The right pushes continued austerity for the obvious reason that it shrinks the state: some are honest about this and some are not. My concern in this post is with those on the left who insist that Labour must play the austerity tune. Their argument is straightforward: the public has become convinced that Labour was irresponsible with the public finances, so the way to win back trust is to match Osborne on austerity.

This is a strange argument. The idea that it was Labour profligacy that required austerity is false. That many people believe it is undeniable, but to argue that this requires Labour to also pretend it is true, and promise to be less profligate next time, is bizarre. Myths like this are not set in stone, and can be challenged. To fail to do so concedes defeat.

One thing Labour can learn from it opponents is consistency and simplicity of narrative. The alternative narrative should be that now is the time to invest in the future, and the public sector must take the lead in this. The failure of the Conservatives to invest over the last 10 years, in everything from housing to flood defences, needs to be reiterated at every opportunity, together with the statistics that reveal this failure. A fiscal rule that ensures that in the medium term the government only borrows to invest, with the key proviso that if monetary policy runs out of effective ammunition fiscal policy will support the economy, not only makes economic sense but also matches this narrative.

Source: mainly macro: Austerity’s apologists on the left

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13 thoughts on “Austerity’s apologists on the left (and what should be done about them) | Mainly Macro

  1. mohandeer

    Ed Milliband had his chance to defend Labour’s spending and the Brown/Darling rescue package that saved this country from going under(I’m no fan of either gentlemen) and blew it because he just didn’t know what he was doing with either the economy or any future policy – it just hadn’t been thought through. Instead they went to the likes of Brown and Blair who were right wing and self serving with no concept of how people were really living. The Labour party could have shown initiative, certainly the Greens did, by having renowned economists in the mix like Corbyn did. It’s far too late now to try and explain to people who don’t want to believe an alternative narrative about economics.
    The fact is that too many people equate economic policy of a country with their household budgets or the fact that if they have a tenner for beer that’s all they can spend. Such people like the latter, should indeed, stick to propping up a bar and keep chucking those darts.

  2. autismandate

    Labour were sleep walking when the Tories started the labour profligacy mantra. Why labour didn’t refute it with an instant reflex that it was the Banks innovative products that hoodwinked the world, as I did screaming at the tv everytime it was alluded to. Labour seemed almost scared to refute it.Labour are still not hammering home that austerity is the, now Tory scam after the Banks scam, propped up by their massage of the misinformed public.

  3. David Mortimer

    Austerity’s a political choice which is not in the publics best interest given that it leads to more privatization & increased costs to the tax payers for the same services but without any personal accountability. Austerity is culling the poor. Studies which have been done in member states subjected to austerity show there’s been a huge increase in suicides’ particularly in men under 35.

  4. loobitzh

    I believe that shrinking the state is just part of a much larger plan.
    I have no doubt that the government is very aware of the volatility of the financial markets which are likely to come crashing down around us.

    I believe this is why they need austerity. This is their new emerging market.
    The commodification of poverty and suffering.

    How many new jobs and companies, have been created in recent years in order to facilitate and grow this new lucrative market!

    How many public sector departments have been sold off into the private domain for just this purpose!

    I think they know full well that creating a new manufacturing centre, or reviving the old one is unrealistic within our new Global Community, and with the volatility of the markets new investments, in the old infrastructure from their point of view are too risky.

    I don’t believe they want or need the old infrastructure to exist.
    By actively and purposefully destroying and disseminating it leaves the way clear for their ideologically driven NWO agenda. Agenda 21.

    Therefore this new Welfare and Punishment Market is the easier and more desirable option (for them) as it creates a new playing field for them to completely restructure society from the bottom up.

    Running on this hypothesis, the more austerity they create, the poorer people become, the more afraid and insecure people feel, the larger the pool of dependent human fodder to extract into the new system.

    We are becoming the chips on the roulette table, and we are making them all winners.

      1. loobitzh

        Easier to ask that question Mike than to answer it!

        I believe the rate of the nation waking up is accelerating exponentially, which can only be a good thing.

        I also believe that as they tighten the thumb screws, more people will be activated.
        Flight of Flight survival techniques will kick in.

        They are pushing through their agenda at an alarming speed. I am astonished at how fast they are implementing change. But I also think they are beginning to get worried because they can see more and more of us are on to them.

        I believe the time will come when there will be some event that pushes us collectively over the edge and the masses will stand up and take to the streets.

        One way or another we must bring this government to its knees.
        I believe posting blogs, people getting the information out there in order to wake people up may just be the first step needed.

        Step two may need weight behind it.
        Words are good but sometimes words need to be reinforced with direct action.

        Action would only work if there was a conscious uprising with boots on the ground.

        However, in that instance the masses would need to take care not to behave in a way to give the government the excuse to enforce Martial Law or some such draconian measure.

        Or we could all end up in their soon to be built internment camps.

        No easy answers, but history can teach us a lot.

        Social Revolutions are never pleasant.

      2. loobitzh

        I also believe those of us with our eyes fully open need to start being braver and join all the dots up for those of us who become fixated, understandably so, on specific narrow issues.

        The changes are happening so fast and furiously, its easy for the bigger picture, the ultimate agenda to become lost in the intentional chaos they are creating for us. I believe this is no coincidence.

        In chaos people often become disorientated and somewhat ineffective.

        Their agenda is ultimately one of Fascism, to create a Corporate Totalitarian Global State.

        Whats happening here in our green and pleasant land is being replicated worldwide.

        The agenda is the same, the people implementing the change are the same agents.

        This is no theory, this is a conspiracy aimed at all of us.

        If we want our children to have any chance of freedom then it needs to be us from the bottom up insisting on the changes WE need.

        If people go onto YouTube and search for ‘Common Purpose’ and Agenda 21 it may help them to see the bigger picture.

        Common Purpose, one of our Governments very own 3rd wave Charities, is now a Powerful Global arm of the takeover.

        It is though ‘Common Purpose’ and its training/indoctrination programs the NWO leaders are being selected and placed strategically throughout government, councils schools hospitals and any place of influence.

        Their strategy is to break an institution, eg NHS, Schools etc, and then to send in their Change Agents to fix it. Only their choice of fix is not what they are writing on the tin.

      3. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

        My preferred solution would be to overwhelm the existing yah-boo-sucks tribal party politics with ConDem… Constituency Democracy… but the first need is overwhelm the Con Gov.

        It will take 434 MPs to vote for a General Election (I have asked the question) or a Vote of No Confidence, presumably requiring a slightly lower number to beat the 312 Cons plus supporters such as the 8 DUUP Westminster MPs, which could just about achieve 330 against 320 if all the opposition MPs worked together???

        But meanwhile, and in view of what loobitzh proposes, you might find it of interest to seek out what details you can (‘taint easy) about the TTIP con, as an illustration of what ICC (International Corporate Control) will mean, for govs & citizens, and to view a TV series from 1971 called The Guardians, a fascist dictatorship in Britain set in the 1980’s, DVD’s of the whole series available from Amazon via…

        It scared me stiff then, being a Baby Boomer with WW11 memories, but even more so now, comparing the 1933 to 30 April 1945 period in Germany to the speed of breakdown that we are now experiencing. The series could provide some ideas and indicate things to avoid… but I, too, have sadly concluded that there will have to be a huge public movement before it can be achieved. But if it is not achieved, I hate to think what our next generations will live through.

        Equally, the focus on, and hoo-hah around the EU Referendum will provide a nice 4 months period when most attention will be very much elsewhere. Equally scary.

      4. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

        Ooooopppsss… you are absolutely right Mike. I was totally convinced that the Con total was 312, but from whence that had cometh, I can’t think, unless it was something I heard during the election reports, after the BBC’s opinion that the Cons had a majority according to exit polls, and incorrectly put 2 & 10 together?

        I am grateful for your correction (and will now have to recalculate my objections/hopes) but horrified that the Cons actually have so many.

        Any idea when the next By-election is due?

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        Sadly, I don’t.
        Lately they’ve all been in Labour heartlands where the incumbent has passed away.

  5. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

    It is absolutely true that any gov can borrow money at far cheaper rates than other “suppliers”, but then you have Boy George’s fixation with getting everything he can off the gov’s books to give a false impression that he is “achieving” something, while the actual cost to the taxpayer is an insult.

    And there is the fixation, especially in the NHS and Mod, with PFIs, not just more expensive than borrowing, but also ripping “public budgets” off by millions, often for another 30 years.

    Fiscal crime should not just cover avoidance and evasion but also costing more than the lowest rate available.

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