Economics

Democratic Socialist on Thatcher, Cobyn and the Double Standards of the Right Wing Press

I’ve reblogged a number of videos from Democratic Socialist, an Aussie Leftie, who knows his stuff about capitalism’s connection to Fascism, the Nazi privatisation programme and support for businessmen as the eugenic elite, and Thatcher’s hideous support for general Pinochet in Chile.

This is another of his videos.

In it, he takes apart the double standards of the British right-wing media, and in particular the Daily Telegraph in its smears of the British Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and its absolute refusal to condemn its idol, Margaret Thatcher, for her friendship with General Pinochet. Pinochet was, as I’ve mentioned frequently before, the brutal dictator of Chile, who overthrew the democratically elected Marxist president, Salvador Allende. The Tories smear Corbyn as a supporter of the Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah, and an anti-Semite. He is in fact none of these things. But Thatcher certainly was friends with Pinochet, who was a terrorist, torturer and anti-Semite.

The Torygraph smeared Corbyn as supporting the Iranian theocracy In fact, he did nothing of the sort. The article the Torygraph refers to appears on the page of the Mossadegh Project, an Iranian group that supports and celebrates the work of Iran’s last democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadeq, who was tolerant and secular. Mossadeq was overthrown by a British-American coup in 1953 because he dared to nationalise the Iranian oil company, then consisting of the British owned Anglo-Persian Oil, which later became BP. His fall resulted in the gradual assumption of absolute power by the Shah, who instituted a reign of terror that eventually culminated in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when he was overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini.

This section of the video includes a clip of an American expert describing how he was corrected by the Iranians, when he told a group of them that their country was incapable of democratically electing a leader. ‘It was,’ they replied, ‘before the Americans came’.

Oh yes, and there’s another reason why Corbyn’s support for Mossadeq certainly does not mean he supports the current Iranian theocracy. Mossadeq was a Baha’i, which is post-Islamic syncretistic religion, that the Shi’a regime in Iran despises as a vile heresy. I’ve been told by Iranian Muslim friends, who are profoundly disgusted by the fact that expatriate Iranian Baha’is cannot go to their homeland without signing a document stating that they have renounced their faith. The regime has killed 60,000+ Baha’is in pogroms, and subjected many to the same kind of tortures that Pinochet oversaw in Chile. I doubt very much that Corbyn’s support for the former Iranian president endears him to the Iranian regime.

As for supporting Hamas and Hizbollah, and therefore terrorism, Corbyn actually didn’t say anything like that. He condemned terrorism, but said that he had to negotiate with them.

Democratic Socialist contrasts this with Thatcher and Pinochet. The head of Pinochet’s secret police, Michael Townley, was responsible for the assassination of Orlando Latelier, who served as foreign minister in Allende’s government. Latelier had fled the country and noted the construction of the prison camps in which 100,000 people were incarcerated. He was killed by a car bomb in Washington D.C.

Corbyn is accused of anti-Semitism simply through guilt by association with these groups. But Pinochet was also a brutal murderer of Chile’s Jews. There’s a memorial in Chile now to the Jewish victims of Pinochet’s regime. Pinochet also gave sanctuary to the Nazis, who fled to Chile to escape justice. One of these was Walter Rauff, an utterly despicable person, responsible for inventing the gas cars. This was the method by which Jews and the disabled were murdered by the SS before the establishment of the great death camps. They were vans, specially adapted so that the exhaust was fed back into the truck’s rear compartment, in which the victim was placed. The van was driven around until the poor soul was gassed by the carbon monoxide. Not surprisingly, Emile Zubroff, one of Germany’s great Nazi hunters, was particularly angered by Pinochet giving this man sanctuary.

And then there’s the butcher’s extensive use of terror. Here’s another trigger warning: some viewers may find this very hard to watch. This part of the video has footage of an Englishwoman describing how she was raped and tortured with electric shocks by the regime. She does not go into details, but she simply states what the shocks and rapes consisted of. As well as how one woman was caged until she went made. This section starts at c. 350 mark. And it shows how vile and subhuman Pinochet and his torturers were.

This lady was abducted and tortured because Pinochet’s thugs believed she had treated the deputy leader of the anti-Pinochet resistance, and knew where the leader was. The woman was kidnapped, despite the fact that she was living with missionaries at the time. Before they took her, they shot the maid dead. I’m emphasising this because the Christian right in America and Britain has deluded itself and others that somehow Pinochet and other Fascists like him were great defenders of Christianity against Communism.

Rubbish. Fascists all over Latin America killed, raped and tortured committed Christians, including clergy, who worked for the poor against exploitation by the elites. This included Roman Catholic nuns, and Archbishop Romero. Romero was killed in the 1980s. He was not a supporter of Liberation Theology, the mixture of Roman Catholic doctrine and Marxism that had gained ground in Latin America. However, he moved left politically on his appointment, when he saw how oppressed and impoverished the mass of the people in his new archdiocese were. Before the Fascists killed him, they sprayed on the wall of his cathedral ‘Be a patriot. Kill a priest’.

I’m afraid I can’t remember off the top of my head in which country this was – Nicaragua, Guatemala or El Salvador. What I do remember is that he was murdered by the type of people Ronald Reagan hailed as ‘the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers’, as he called the Contras in Nicaragua. And nearly all of these thugs have been trained by the American intelligence establishment on one of the military bases then called the ‘School of the Americas’.

This is followed by one looks like a BBC report, which shows Thatcher, already looking frail, congratulating Pinochet on having peacefully stepped down. This is true, but ignores the fact that the thug didn’t want to. He was forced out of power by a referendum he wanted to ignore, but his generals chose to enforce. Put simply, he was pushed.

Democratic Socialist then asks what the press would do if Corbyn really was like Thatcher, who was friends with a Fascist dictator, who ruled by terror, rape and torture.

He concludes by stating that he likes Corbyn, but doesn’t see him as being able to withstand the assaults on him by the British press.

Democratic Socialist put this up two years ago in 2015. And I am very glad to say that since then, Corbyn has gone on from strength to strength, not just despite, but because of the hostility of the British press and media.

And the moral character of the hacks in the British right-wing press is appalling. I remember reading a story in Private Eye back in the 1990s about the reaction of some of the journos in the British right-wing press, who were sent down to one of the South American countries to cover its transition from Fascism to democracy. I think it was El Salvador. On their visit, they met members of the El Salvadoran opposition before meeting General Noriega. Later talking about the meeting with the opposition leaders, one of the hacks said to the other that if he were the dictator, he’d shoot them.

Just let that sink in. This hack said that he was in favour of a Fascist dictator, responsible for appalling crimes against humanity, killing the very people, who wanted to lead their country to a new, democratic, better life. Now I dare say it was probably meant as a joke, but it’s a sick one. Especially as the Times and other establishment newspapers a few years after Pinochet seized power in Chile were demanding a coup in 1975 to oust the minority Labour government. The Times didn’t, it is fair to say, want a right-wing government. They wanted a ‘Government Of All the Talents’, containing right-wing Labour as well as Tories to govern after a military uprising. If you want some of the details, see Francis Wheen’s book Strange Days: Paranoia in the 70s. ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone also revealed in his book, Livingstone’s Labour, how MI5 also had plans to round up British leftists in a coup and imprison them in camps in the Hebrides or somewhere else remote.

This is the political background behind Alan Moore’s and David Lloyd’s graphic novel and film, V For Vendetta, starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, John Hurt, and Stephen Fry. I don’t like the movie because of its pronounced anti-Christian bias. But it does depict a chillingly plausible view of what a future fascist Britain would look like, based on what really happened in Nazi Germany. With the exception that the victims of biological experimentation in the Nazi camps never developed superpowers, and single-handedly inspired the masses to revolt and topple Hitler.

The right-wing press just loved Thatcher. They still do, but did not condemn Thatcher for her friendship with Pinochet. They were candid about the nature of his regime, or at least, some where. And some of the hacks, who supported Thatcher maintain that they would have loved to have killed Pinochet. Julie Burchill, a long-time staple of the Mail, went on about what would happen to the Chilean Fascist if she and him were in a locked room with her having a gun. Well, I’m very sceptical about that. Not least because in another of her articles, La Burchill vilified the idealistic young men and women, who went to Spain to fight for the Republicans against Franco during the Civil War as the equivalent of the bloodthirsty tourists, who go to watch a bullfight. So she was quite prepared to support the Spanish Fascists against the anti-Fascists, who risked and lost life and limb against him.

Burchill hates the left, and probably thinks that the Republicans were all Communists and Anarchists, but they also included POUM, which was roughly the equivalent of the British Labour party at the time, and liberals. They were a coalition of forces, united against the threat of Fascism. As the ‘Red’ Duchess of Atholl pointed out at the time.

Now it seems to me that if Britain had suffered a military coup in 1975 against the Labour administration, it would have not differed much from the Fascist regimes in Latin America. We would still have mass incarceration, the suspension of traditional British constitutional freedoms and rape and torture.

And I have no doubt that the Tory press, which lauds Thatcher and vilifies Corbyn, would have been 100 per cent behind it all.

The atomic hypothesis and the limits of econometrics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/11/2017 - 2:36am in

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Economics

Our admiration for technical virtuosity should never blind us to the fact that we have to have a cautious attitude towards probabilistic inferences in economic contexts. Science should help us disclose causal forces behind apparent ‘facts.’ We should look out for causal relations, but econometrics can never be more than a starting point in that […]

Fabian Pamphlet on Future of Industrial Democracy: Part 3

William McCarthy, The Future of Industrial Democracy (1988).

Chapter 4: Summary and Conclusions

This, the pamphlet’s final chapters, runs as follows

This pamphlet has concerned itself with the change required in Labour’s policies for extending the frontiers of industrial democracy. It has been suggested that the objectives in People at Work need to be given concrete expression in an enabling statute which provides for the creation of elective joint councils at establishment level in all private firms employing more than 500 workers. In the case of multi-establishment firms joint councils will be needed at both establishment and enterprise level. Similar arrangements should be introduced into the public sector.

The primary condition for the establishment of joint councils would be an affirmative ballot of the workers concerned. Employers would be entitled to “trigger” such a ballot in association with recognised unions. In the absence of employer agreement recognised unions would be able to invoke the ballot procedure unilaterally. Where there were union members, but no recognition had been granted, a union with members would still be entitled to trigger a ballot covering the workers it wished to represent. Where no union members existed a given proportion of the labour force, say 10 per cent, would also be free to demand a ballot.

In all cases there would need to be a majority of the workers affected voting in favour of a joint council under the terms of the enabling Act. Such a vote would be legally binding on the employers; and there would be suitable sanctions to secure enforcement. Worker representatives would emerge by means of a universal secret ballot. Recognised trade unions would be given certain prescribed rights of nomination. Where unions had members, but were denied recognition, appropriate unions would also have the right to make nominations. This need not prevent a given number of workers from enjoying analogous right to make nominations.

Statutory joint councils would have the right to be informed about a wide variety of subjects which would be specified in the enabling Act-eg intended redundancies, closures and reductions in labour demand. Management would also be under a more general obligation to provide worker representatives with a full picture of the economic and financial position of the firm-including cost structures, profit margins, productivity ratios, manpower needs and the use of contract labour. Information could only be refused on limited and specified grounds of commercial confidentiality in parts of the public sector somewhat different criteria of confidentiality would be specified in the Act.)

Councils would have a similar right to be consulted on all decisions likely to have a significant impact on the labour force-using words similar to those set out in the EC draft Fifth Directive. This would be complemented by an obligation to consult the joint council on a number of specified subjects-such as manpower plans, changes in working practices, health and safety matters, etc. There would be a right to propose alternatives and a limited right of delay. Worker representatives would be under an obligation to present management proposals to their constituents for their consideration. The statute would stress that one of the main objects of consultation would be to raise efficiency and improve industrial performance.

The workers’ side of a joint council would have a right to complain to a special court if any of their statutory rights were ignored or denied by an employer. This would be empowered to make orders against a defaulting firm as a final resort.

The most radical changes in established Labour party policy that are recommended in this pamphlet concern the need to modify the principles of single channel representation, as these were expressed and applied to worker directors in the majority report of the Bullock Committee on Industrial Democracy. It is argued that if Labour is to establish a positive and convincing case for industrial democracy in present day Britain it must be prepared to urge its introduction over the widest possible area. To help retain the justifiability of single channel representation at board-room level Bullock understandably felt the need to confine his proposals to a fraction of the labour force. It is suggested that this degree of selectivity would not be acceptable today.

There should also be a limited area of joint decision taking or co-determination covering such matters as works rules, health and safety policies, the administration of pension schemes and training. Joint councils should also be given rights to develop and monitor equal opportunities policies and administer various government subsidies. They could also be linked to a Labour government’s regional or industrial planning process. They should provide the final internal appeal stage in cases of unfair dismissal and discrimination.

Labour should place much more emphasis on the positive case for industrial democracy. They should focus on the extent to which workers need to feel that they have some degree of influence over their work situation. Above all, Labour should stress the well-established links between participation and improvements in industrial efficiency and performance. They must emphasise that the development and extension of industrial democracy would produce substantial benefits for the community as a whole, quite apart from its impact on working people.

By stressing these aspects of the argument, it would be possible to attack the credibility and naivety of Thatcherite assumption concerning the need to ‘liberate’ British managers from all forms of regulation and responsibility-irrespective of the effects on workers in their employ. It should also make it more difficult for Labour’s opponents to misrepresent the negative case for participation as a mere cover for union restriction and control.

My Conclusions

The pamphlet makes a strong case for the establishment of joint councils below boardroom level, which would extend workplace to democracy to a greater proportion of the work force than recommended by the Bullock report. It shows how arguments for control of the means of production by the workers themselves have been around ever since Gerard Winstanley and the Diggers in the 17th century. He also shows, as have other advocates for worker’s control, that such schemes give a greater sense of workplace satisfaction and actually raise productivity and efficiency, as well as giving workers’ greater rights and powers over the terms and conditions of employment.

This is in very stark contrast to the current condition of the British economy, created through the Thatcherite dogmas of deregulation, privatisation and the destruction of unions and worker’s rights. British productivity is extremely poor. I think it’s possibly one of the lowest in Europe. Wages have been stagnant, creating mass poverty. This means that seven million now live in ‘food insecure’ households, hundreds of thousands are only keeping body and soul together through food banks, three million children subsist in poverty. And the system of benefit sanctions has killed 700 people.

This is the state of Thatcherite capitalism: it isn’t working.

As for the proposals themselves, they offer workers to become partners with industry, and contrary to Thatcherite scaremongering that ‘Labour wants to nationalise everything’, G.D.H. Cole, the great theorist of Guild Socialism recognised not only the need for a private sector, but he also said that Socialists should ally with small businessmen against the threat of the monopoly capitalists.

Thatcher promoted her entirely spurious credentials as a woman of the working class by stressing her background as the daughter of a shopkeeper. It’s petty bourgeois, rather than working class. But nevertheless, it was effective propaganda, and a large part of the electorate bought it.

But the Tories have never favoured Britain’s small businesses – the Arkwrights and Grenvilles that mind our corner shops. They have always sacrificed them to the demands of the big businessmen, who manipulate and exploit them. For the examples of the big supermarket chains exploiting the farmers, who supply them, see the relevant chapter in George Monbiot’s Corporate State.

Coles’ support for industrial democracy was thus part of a recognition to preserve some private enterprise, and protect its most vulnerable members, while at the same time socialising the big monopolies and extending industrial democracy to the private sector, in order to create a truly democratic society.

This is another point that needs stressing: without workers’ control, democracy in general is incomplete and under severe threat. The corporatism introduced by Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and extended by subsequent neoliberal administrations, including those of Blair and Clinton, has severely undermined democracy in both America and Britain. In America, where politicians do the will of their political donors in big business, rather than their constituents, Harvard has downgraded the countries’ status from a democracy to partial oligarchy. Britain is more or less the same. 75 per cent or so of MPs are millionaires, often occupying seats on boards of multiple companies. Big business sponsors party political conferences and events, even to the point of loaning personnel. As a result, as Monbiot has pointed out, we live in a Corporate State, that acts according to the dictates of industry, not the needs of the British public.

This needs to be stopped. The links between big business and political parties need to be heavily restricted, if not severed altogether. And ordinary workers given more power to participate in decision-making in their firms.

Paul Krugman: Trump and Ryan Versus the Little People

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/11/2017 - 4:11am in

"The end result of this tax bill would be to leave most working Americans, even those who wouldn’t face direct tax increases, worse off, all for the benefit of a tiny minority":

Trump and Ryan Versus the Little People, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: According to news reports, Donald Trump wanted the House Republican tax “reform” bill to be called the Cut Cut Cut Act. Alas, he didn’t get his wish, and it was instead given a boring name nobody can remember. But there’s still time to change it! So let me propose, as one reader suggested, that it be renamed the Leona Helmsley Act, after the New York hotelier convicted of tax evasion, who famously declared that “only the little people pay taxes.”

That, after all, is the main thrust of the bill. It hugely favors the wealthy over the middle class, which is pretty much always true of Republican proposals. But it’s not just about favoring high incomes: It also systematically favors people who live off their assets, especially inherited wealth, over the little people — that is, poor shlubs who actually have to work for a living. ...

So when Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, says that the bill’s goal is “to deliver middle-class tax cuts to the hard-working families in this country,” he’s claiming that up is down and black is white. This bill does little or nothing for the middle class, and even among the affluent it’s biased against those who work hard in favor of the idle rich.

Also let’s not forget that tax increases on working Americans are only part of the story. This bill would also, according to the Congressional Budget Office, add $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. You know what that means: If this bill or anything like it passes, Republicans will immediately revert to their previous pretense of being deficit hawks and start demanding spending cuts.

And since federal spending is dominated by programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — that benefit the middle and working classes, the end result of this tax bill would be to leave most working Americans, even those who wouldn’t face direct tax increases, worse off, all for the benefit of a tiny minority, especially those who haven’t even worked for their wealth.

You might wonder how Republicans imagine that they can get away with this. But anyone who has paid attention to U.S. politics knows the answer. First, they will lie, unashamedly, about what their bill actually does. Second, they will try to distract working-class voters by stoking racial animosity. That didn’t work too well in Tuesday’s elections, but they’ll keep on trying.

“Manufacturing the Future”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/11/2017 - 3:12am in

Last year, I was honored to deliver the 9th Annual Wheelright Memorial Lecture at the University of Sydney.

A couple of weeks ago, my longtime friend and collaborator Katherine Gibson presented the 2017 Wheelright Memorial Lecture, “Manufacturing the Future: Cultures of Production for the Anthropocene.”

her work has consistently challenged orthodox and heterodox economics’ primary focus upon the operation of ‘Big-C’ Capitalism. Instead, Gibson has crafted a unique methodological framework she terms ‘participatory action research’, which looks to the diversity of existing community economic arrangements by engaging directly with local subjects.

The method engages with local communities to shed light upon the idiosyncrasies and often non-commercial nature of local modes of provisioning. Rather than accepting the ‘tragedy of the commons’ – the notion of the inevitable degradation of commonly used land and resources – Gibson’s work has revealed the importance of the commons to many existing developmentally diverse communities. She thereby challenges the core tenet of orthodox economics, which prioritises the optimisation of the allocation of scarce resources through facilitating smoothly functioning markets.

Tagged: Anthropocene, Australia, commons, community, economics, inequality, mainstream, manufacturing, sustainability

Macroeconomics — religion or science?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/11/2017 - 2:51am in

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Economics

Macroeconomists build theories codified by systems of equations. We use those equations to explain patterns in economic data. Unlike experimental sciences, chemistry and physics for example, macroeconomists cannot easily experiment. That does not mean that we cannot challenge existing theories, but it makes it much harder. Like astronomers waiting for the next supernova to explode; […]

The case for controlling migration – a new paper from Jonathon Porritt and Colin Hines

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/11/2017 - 1:21am in

When two friends, whose opinions you respect, agree on something enough to write about it together I tend to take note. Jonathon Porritt and Colin Hines, both friends and both respected environmental campaigners, have co-authored a paper on immigration. This is a difficult area for the left. I commented on their paper in draft. I don’t agree with it all. But I think the debate is worth having. This is what Jonathan wrote about the paper on his blog:

I still find it hard to believe that more people in this country feel we’d be better off outside the EU than remaining in the EU. For me, there are three main reasons for this astonishing outcome at the 2016 Referendum:

1. The Stronger In campaign was dreadful, a botched, Tory-driven nightmare from start to finish.
2. The ‘politics of fear’ on which the campaign was based left no room for any positive vision of the future of Europe.
3. All those on the progressive left (Labour, Lib Dems and the Green Party) had not the first idea how to deal with what turned out to be a deeply unpleasant debate about IMMIGRATION.

That all-important third point has been weighing on my mind ever since. So, earlier this year, together with my good friend Colin Hines, we started work on a paper on immigration – unapologetically advocating for ‘taking back control’ of immigration into and between EU countries, but from a progressive political perspective rather than through the warped mindset of, say, the Daily Mail.

That paper (‘The Progressive Case for Taking Control of EU Immigration – and Avoiding Brexit in the Process’) is being launched today.

Do please have a look at the accompanying PR – which you’ll see immediately below:

“PRESS RELEASE 

Progressive Parties in the UK Must Now Address the Immigration Challenge Head On if Brexit is to be Avoided

Immigration was the dominant issue for voters in the 2016 Referendum demanding that UK politicians should ‘take back control’ of our borders from the EU.

Since then, however, Brexit discussions have focussed on the so-called ‘divorce issues’, with immigration apparently off the agenda. This has allowed Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens to keep their heads down on what remains the highly controversial issue of immigration.

A hard-hitting paper from Jonathon Porritt and Colin Hines suggests that this is very unwise. Public opinion on Brexit continues to soften, but any serious prospect of avoiding a ‘hard Brexit’ (which remains a critical priority for all progressive parties), let alone of rejecting Brexit altogether, depends on decisively addressing UK voters’ concerns about immigration.

Jonathon Porritt: “Progressive parties have already paid a high price, across Europe, by allowing right-wing and populist parties to manipulate citizens’ concerns about high levels of immigration coming into and moving between EU countries. All EU countries are now wrestling with this ongoing dilemma, with the majority of their citizens demanding that their governments should indeed manage immigration far more rigorously – in effect, taking back more control of their borders. Progressive parties are now duty bound to develop much smarter, compassionate policies to achieve precisely that.”

Colin Hines: “What is inadequately understood is that political discussions about reinterpreting ‘freedom of movement’ to allow nation states to manage migration is already taking place across Europe. Such an emphasis in the UK would strengthen support for a ‘No Brexit’ position, as the public is becoming increasingly uneasy about the present state of negotiations on leaving the EU.”

As the paper highlights, 2017 elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have made this a pivotal issue for all centre left and Green parties, in a way that can no longer be ignored or deferred. And there are already welcome signals that both Labour and the Lib Dems are beginning to move in this direction as well, but they need to move far faster and far more proactively than is currently the case. As indeed does the Green Party.

Both Jonathon Porritt and Colin Hines believe that Brexit can be avoided, but that this will only happen when all three political parties address the immigration issue head on, reassuring people that we really can and must take back more control over our borders.”

And if that grabs your attention, check out the report itself.

Colin and I have written it both to address some ‘taboo territory’ for the progressive left – and to start to undo some of the damage caused by the 2016 Referendum.

‘What about the workers?’ is no defence for tax havens

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/11/2017 - 8:44pm in

There is an article on the Conversation website this morning where Pete Hodson (who I guess comes from the Isle of Man) argues:

As in the 1970s, Manx economic and social prosperity is again reliant on one, troublingly fickle, economic sector. This time, it is asset management and offshore investment, rather than deck chairs and ice cream. Severing tax avoidance loopholes must, therefore, proceed gradually so as to protect the Isle of Man from a capital flight cliff-edge. The outcome would be a 1970s scenario of unemployment, emigration and social deprivation.

International wealth flows like water, settling in the jurisdiction where the tax regimes are most advantageous. A knee-jerk clampdown would spook investors and inflict severe economic damage on British Crown Dependencies – most of which lack alternative income streams. We need to instil a moral conscience among the super rich and demonstrate that their taxed wealth provides societal good. Their money – be it offshore, onshore, or in outer space – should be subject to the same tax regime as the rest of us.

Moral pressure and gradual legislative reform can achieve this. But don’t proceed in a way which could strip the Manx working class of their livelihoods overnight and for the second time in living memory.

I do not buy this argument. It’s akin to saying let’s not end the drug trade because some workers may not make a living any more. Or to saying that any technical innovation must be barred for the same reason. To provide another contrast, it’s like saying we should have carried on burning coal to save the jobs of mineworkers whatever the environmental consequence.

I accept that there are real issues for those who live on small islands. That’s why the UK was so keen to foster tax havens in the first place. That was the wrong decision. So would their perpetuation be now. There is a need to prepare alternative economic plans for these places, and I have offered ideas on this issue. But keeping them as tax havens at enormous destructive cost to the greater economy is not one of the options now available, even if inevitable social disruption follows.

Trump’s committed to trickle down

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/11/2017 - 7:03pm in

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Economics

Trickle down has to be one of the most discredited of all neoliberal ideas. The claim is simple. It is that if the rich get richer then their spending will pull everyone along behind them as their wealth trickles down via their spending.

As excuses go trickle down is fantastic. Personal greed is excused as being socially beneficial.

There’s just one problem. Wealth doesn’t trickle down. The wealthy just get wealthier and more get left behind. Trickle down has not just been rumbled. It’s been derided. And quite appropriately too.

This, however, has not been noticed in Trumpland. As Vox reported yesterday:

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn’s background as a Goldman Sachs executive leaves him more experienced in the art of talking to really rich people than communicating with the public. That ends up making this interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, published this morning, an extraordinary document, because when Harwood pushes him on a few points, Cohn ends up basically surrendering and admitting the plain truth about the Republican tax plan: that it’s a bonanza for big businesses and the rich, whose main benefit for normal people is a vague hope that prosperity will trickle down from those at the top.

And as they added:

Cohn has been deeply involved in crafting the plan from the White House end, and the regressive nature of the plan both fits Cohn’s background as a rich business guy and the sincere convictions of conservative tax wonks. But experienced political operatives know you’re supposed to say your plans are all about the middle class.

Cohn instead told the truth. Trump’s plan is all about the rich getting richer.

But maybe Cohn would deny that trickle down does not work. But that says one of three things. The first is that he should know it does not, and so he’s not suited to the job. The second is that he’s lying. And that means he’s also not suited to the job. The third is he knows and does not care. That also disqualifies him.

Except in Trumpland. Where no doubt it is fake news that trickle down has failed.

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