Unemployment

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Britain Takes a Step Towards Real Fascism with Patel’s Concentration Camp for Migrants

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/01/2021 - 10:10pm in

Nearly a week ago, on 27th December 2020, Mike put up a piece reporting that smirking, treacherous and bullying Home Secretary Priti Patel was planning to open what has been described as a ‘concentration camp’ for migrants by New Year’s Day at Barton Stacey, Hampshire. The camp will have no drainage, sewage or mains water. Even the local Tory MP, Caroline Nokes, was appalled at these conditions. He quotes her as saying

“It will be like a prison camp and conditions will be appalling. There are no plans to provide healthcare services on site, which will add to the strain on local GPs. I am shocked anyone could think this is a good idea.”

See: Patel plans concentration camp for 300 refugees with no mains water | Vox Political (voxpoliticalonline.com)

Mike followed this up with a description of the terrible conditions at the Pennally migrant camp in Wales. The food there is an inadequate and poorly cooked, the only showers that worked are shared and toilet facilities are also inadequate. Social distancing is difficult. Face masks are only available on request, the wearing of which is only enforced in the dining area. Hand sanitisers and soap dispensers are either empty or not working.

See: If you think conditions in Priti Patel’s planned concentration camp are bad, you should see them in the ones she already has | Vox Political (voxpoliticalonline.com)

It’s good that Mike has put this up, because there have been a series of videos by right-wingers on YouTube about the camp and about migrants generally. The channel ‘We Got A Problem’ views Black and Asian migrants as a real threat to the British public. It concentrates on crimes committed by migrants and asylum seekers, as well as Pakistani grooming gangs with a specific focus on the dangers of rape, child abuse and violence from what the gravel voiced man behind the vlog describes as ‘imported Labour voters’. He also abuses them as ‘scumbuckets’ and other terms too vile to be used in a family blog. He, Belfield and Farage have seized on the fact that many of these migrants have now had to be accommodated in four star hotels to present the image that violent, sexually dangerous migrants are living in luxury at the expense of the British taxpayer. When one of the inmates of these hotels went berserk a while ago and attacked five people, it was presented as a result of this person’s greed – he was upset at the food and lack of internet connections – rather than any wider problems with conditions at the hotel.

I don’t doubt that if Patel does start building concentration camps for migrants, it will be popular with a certain section of the British public. People like ‘We Got A Problem’, Farage and Belfield. Belfield put up a video a few days ago praising the government for passing legislation preventing illegal immigrants, or as Belfield calls them, ‘dinghy day-trippers’, from receiving benefits for five years.

This should set off warning bells for everyone else. Not only is it unjust as it is, but whatever the government do to migrants, they ultimately do to the British public. Food banks were first set up to support asylum seekers after Tony Blair passed legislation preventing them from claiming state benefits. Then the Tories pushed their wretched and abhorrent welfare reforms, which have stopped a large section of the poor and needy from receiving state support, so that now very many people are forced to rely on them. Real poverty and starvation is growing, but Tory MPs like Jacob Rees-Mogg think it’s wonderful food banks are there for them. I’m impressed with the generosity of the British public, the people who volunteer at these banks too. But the point is, there should be no need for them. The disabled and unemployed should be given support by the state at a level when they can afford to buy food, pay the rent and clothe themselves and their children. And it should begin immediately. They shouldn’t have to wait over a month. But Belfield thinks the British public are a bunch of scroungers anyway. He’s put up a number of videos baldly stating it. The Tories would like to dismantle the welfare state. It’s what Thatcher and her coterie discussed in the 1980s, though they were prevented from actually going through with it. But I’ve no doubt that if the Tories get away with banning migrants from receiving benefits for five years, they’ll try to extend the time ordinary Brits will be unable to claim benefits.

And if they can build concentration camps for migrants too, how long will it be before they build the same for ordinary Brits as well. They’ll be used first to house criminals as a quick solution to the problem of prison overcrowding. And then we might see the unemployed being sent there, both as a form of support and to teach them the value of hard work. Like the Nazis did with the ‘asocial’. And then perhaps it would be expanded to include people, whose political views are a threat to the establishment. Like all these ‘cultural Marxists’ the Tories and their supporters claim are running the country.

Patel’s concentration camps are a dangerous symptom of a real Fascist tendency in the Tory party. A tendency that will start with migrants but could end up with the British version of Dachau.

Democracy Needs to Find the Will to Roar

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 1:25am in

We have, disastrously, discovered the final answer to whether or not it is a good idea to destroy the activist government that has protected us since 1933. Continue reading

The post Democracy Needs to Find the Will to Roar appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Deliberate Mayhem

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 20/12/2020 - 12:41am in

We have hit a new single-day record of reported coronavirus cases with 246,914, our third daily record in a row. The economy is in shambles, with more than 6 million Americans applying for unemployment benefits. And the government has been hobbled by a massive hack from foreign operatives, likely Russians, who have hit many of our key departments. Continue reading

The post Deliberate Mayhem appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Unsanitized: The Tax Time Bomb That Congress Can Defuse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/12/2020 - 4:51am in

There’s a difference between the two types of relief: stimulus checks are not taxed, but unemployment benefits are. Continue reading

The post Unsanitized: The Tax Time Bomb That Congress Can Defuse appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

MYEFO missing points on long-term recovery: ACTU

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/12/2020 - 10:12pm in

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Unemployment

Unemployment numbers were reported to have improved on Thursday while federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg claimed that Australia’s economy was rebounding – but the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) sent out a message of its own: increase wages and help the insecure workforce, and the nation can be guided out of recession. As the Australian…

The post MYEFO missing points on long-term recovery: ACTU appeared first on The AIM Network.

Lee Camp: Unemployment Skyrocketing? An Evolved Society Would Celebrate

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/12/2020 - 8:18am in

Washington DC (ScheerPost) — Leaf blowers are everything wrong with capitalism. . . . I’ll explain that in a minute.

We all know times are irredeemably grim, and they’re only getting worse. The unemployment level in America seems to be setting the record books aflame, and for some bizarre reason those numbers correlate nicely with the number of Americans under 40 living with their parents again. Understandably, the entire country is a little on edge. If I spend more than 30 minutes around my parents, one eye starts twitching, a dull ringing settles into my inner ear canal, and I start to think Rachel Maddow (which they leave on 24/7 as if she’s Christmas music at Macy’s) makes some logical sense. Point being, in terms of discomfort, I would imagine living with your parents in your late thirties ranks somewhere between erectile dysfunction and having a brain-eating parasite.

Anyway, back to unemployment. The Economic Policy Institute recently released new numbers showing, “Unemployment has especially skyrocketed for young workers in the COVID-19 labor market. . . . The overall unemployment rate for young workers ages 16–24 jumped from 8.4% to nearly 25% from spring 2019 to spring 2020 … Spring 2020 unemployment rates were even higher for young Black, Hispanic, and Asian American/Pacific Islander workers – close to 30% for all three groups.”

 

Unemployment is raging. Out. Of. Control.

Forgive me a quick aside about the inner workings of systemic racism. As those unemployment numbers make clear, not every problem in America involves racism, but every problem in America also involves racism. Systemic racism deniers refuse to comprehend this. When shit is bad for young people – it’s even worse for black young people. When life sucks for the elderly poor in the United States – it sucks even more for elderly poor Hispanics. If the police are using weapons of war to crack activist heads – they’re cracking black activist heads twice as hard. If there’s a clean water problem in America – the water in Indigenous communities isn’t just unclean, it has chunks of shit in it!

(Usually chunks of something Dupont used to produce Teflon™. I mean, what’s a few thousand people with cancer in order to ensure the egg slides right off the pan?)

Now let’s break down this unemployment problem because much like a good one-night stand, you must get to the bottom. (I’m only half sure I understand what that sentence meant.) So, the surface problem is obvious: a lot of young people are unemployed. They don’t have money, they can’t pay rent, they can’t pay their student loans, they can’t afford food or life, they can only buy a regular coffee at Starbucks instead of the Frappe Unicorn Caramel Almond Juice Latte™. So that’s one reason employment is important.

Why should we all have to be slaves to the labor market to survive in the first place?

But if we excavate down to the second layer, we find a more important – and largely censored – quandary: Why should we all have to be slaves to the labor market to survive in the first place?

Many people work their asses off grinding away at awful monotonous crap that shouldn’t even have to get done at all. Our economy overflows with useless work. Utterly meaningless jobs, profoundly redundant tasks, excessively bureaucratic nonsense, woefully vapid spectacle production, joylessly soulless drudgery. They proliferate everywhere one looks.

For example, daily outside my apartment window, in a parking lot, no fewer than three Leaf Blower People (technical terminology) blow the fuck outta thousands of leaves. The entire neighborhood sounds like the middle of a nonconsensual monster truck rally for three hours every single morning. And as if that’s not inane enough, most days it’s windy out. The leaves return to their original locations 15 seconds after the guy blows them. So – much like a fluffer on a porn set – his work doesn’t last long.

Not to mention, why do leaves have to inhabit a particular location anyway? At the risk of sounding like a radical, let the leaves be leaves! Let them do their thing. I’m a strong supporter of leaf self-determination. It’s not like they’re scorpions and allowing them to run free near domiciles is a downright danger to society. No one has ever found a leaf in a parking lot, gasped with horror, then bellowed, “The children! Will no one think of the children?!” Plus, we’re talking about a damn parking lot. What car can’t park on leaves? (Other than a Kia.)

And why the hell hasn’t someone invented a leaf blower silencer yet? We have a silencer for shooting people’s heads off, which one would hope happens far less often than leaf blowing. Where’s the Dyson vacuum guy when you need him? Get to work, mate! Invent the silencer. You can’t retire now – your legacy is not nearly secure. All you did so far was come up with a funny vacuum and a hand dryer that sprays fecal matter all over people at public restrooms. (Yes, scientists found that public restroom hand dryers simply hose us all down in shit flurries.) Well done, Dyson. Invent the leaf blower silencer post haste or you’ll be known as the “feces laminator” forevermore.

So, we can agree leaf blowing is a nonsensical job. Much of the machinery of our society is filled with work, that pays people, that is inconsequential, insubstantial, and hollow. Yet, many of us do these jobs because we are wage slaves. We must hold down bullshit jobs to survive. David Graeber wrote a great book about inhuman empty jobs, and although I haven’t read it, I’m going to pretend I have to impress you. It’s a tremendous book. Can’t believe you haven’t read it yet.

So this is the part of the column when I hit you with a groundbreaking, snot-snorting solution that rocks your boat and soils your pants. Here it is . . . How about NO?

 

How about no more wage slavery?

Alot of the jobs in this country don’t need to get done at all, a lot of them can be done by technology, and a lot of them could be thrown out if we just had a cultural awakening that scientifically analyzed our society to maximize efficiency, health, and sustainability instead of profit, profit, and profit.

So at this point in the debate, people who suffer from Stockholm syndrome defend their wage masters by belching, “We can’t get rid of all those jobs and give people houses and food and clothing without endless life-draining soul-bleeding work – because then what will people do all day? People need to work at jobs they hate. It gives their lives meaning.”

To that person I respond – Wow, what a rousing defense of slavery. It’s the same thing they said on the plantations. “If you free the slaves, then what will they do all day?”

Well, if the people newly freed from their jobs have a passion, I assume they’ll pursue that. But if they don’t have anything they enjoy doing, then I actually don’t know what people will do with themselves — maybe choose to count their farts — but that’s fine because that’s called freedom. Many philosophers with far thicker gooey brain matter than I have said that we must create our own meaning for our lives. We must seek out and ascertain our own life purpose and folding shirts at Banana Republic is not a good answer. If people had the time, freedom, understanding and education, they would happily pick their own significance and aspirations. No one spends 23 hours a day grooming high-end dogs — making sure the ass hair is perfectly coiffed — because that gives their life drive. They do it because they need the money. How many people keep trimming the labradoodle’s “reardo” or folding the shirts or blowing the leaves after they win the lottery?

It means he’s been indoctrinated so thoroughly, he can’t see life outside the factory. That’s like a prisoner who can’t leave the prison.

This reminds me of a TV news story I saw about a blue-collar worker who won the lottery — millions of dollars — and said he was going back to work at the factory on Monday. And the news report gushed over how tremendous this was. “What a great guy! He’s going back to the factory!” But honestly, that shouldn’t be celebrated. It’s the result of a cultural brain disorder. It means he’s been indoctrinated so thoroughly, he can’t see life outside the factory. That’s like a prisoner who can’t leave the prison. It’s not something to have a goddamn ticker-tape parade over.

We should want all the unemployed people to have jobs — because currently, without the jobs, they can’t afford their lives. But we should also discuss regularly how one day, preferably soon, we should not want to have these jobs — at least not full-time, slaving away at mind-numbing labor the employee loathes. But that conversation can’t be had on our mainstream media or even most alternative media. Everyone must partake in the wage slavery all the time because this is America – The freest country in the world! My boss told me so.

Oh, and how will we pay for a leaf blower not to blow leaves? How about using the trillions we pay for wars that are never won.

Feature photo | Bernat Armangue | AP | MintPress News

Lee Camp is the host of the hit comedy news show “Redacted Tonight.” His new book “Bullet Points and Punch Lines” is available at LeeCampBook.com and his stand-up comedy special can be streamed for free at LeeCampAmerican.com.

The post Lee Camp: Unemployment Skyrocketing? An Evolved Society Would Celebrate appeared first on MintPress News.

the recession’s likely long-term impact on homelessness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/12/2020 - 2:59am in

I’ve just written a report for Employment and Social Development Canada on the current recession’s likely long-term impact on homelessness in Canada. An overview of the report can be found here.

the recession’s likely long-term impact on homelessness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/12/2020 - 2:59am in

I’ve just written a report for Employment and Social Development Canada on the current recession’s likely long-term impact on homelessness in Canada. An overview of the report can be found here.

Time to abandon fictions of how our economy functions

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 06/12/2020 - 9:35am in

UK pounds sterling notes and coinsPhoto by John Cameron on Unsplash

“The point is, not every deficit serves the broader public good. Deficits can be used for good or evil. They can enrich a small segment of the population, lifting the yachts of the rich and powerful to new heights, while leaving millions behind. They can fund unjust wars that destabilize the world and cost millions their lives. Or they can be used to sustain life and build a more just economy that works for the many and not just the few. What they can’t do is eat up our collective savings.”
― 
Stephanie Kelton, The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy

 

 

In last week’s MMT Lens, GIMMS lamented the appalling propagandised narrative being touted endlessly by the media and ill-informed journalists following the Chancellor’s spending review that the state finances could be compared to a credit card. The implied suggestion was that the ‘UK was going to sink like the Titanic under the burden of unsustainable borrowing and debt’ unless the government took steps to reduce its spending.

This week a group of mainstream economists wrote to Tim Davie, the Director General of the BBC, to object that some of its reporting misrepresented ‘the financial constraints facing the UK government and reproduces a number of misconceptions surrounding macroeconomics and the public finances and pointing out that the ‘credit card’ analogy … is never an appropriate metaphor for public finances’.

The signatories of the letter pointed to the responsibility of the BBC as an influencer and educator to ensure that they represented economic reality by avoiding household budget analogies. They suggested that the government should not focus on reducing the deficit but instead ‘embark upon a major investment package boosting jobs and growth’ which would be ‘in line with standard macroeconomic literature which stresses the beneficial effects of countercyclical government spending during crises’.

So far … so good, and just what the economic doctor might have ordered if he or she understood how sovereign governments which issue their own currency spend. For too long, the public has been bombarded with such analogies promoted by mainstream economists, politicians, and institutions alike. Analogies which have formed an incorrect version of how the UK government really spends. Given the seriousness of the current economic emergency we are facing and the challenge of climate change, it was, and is, time to challenge the economic orthodoxy.

But whoa … just as we start to get hopeful about a sea change in economic thinking, the signatories of the letter went on to spoil their clarification by reverting to norm. The household budget norm. The one that ultimately would constrain government spending – that of having to deal with an out of control debt burden at some unspecified time in the future.

They claimed that increased deficit spending could be justified on account of interest rates on government bonds being at record lows which would mean that government would therefore spend less on debt interest over the next five years, despite the rise in national debt over the course of the next five years. They then went on to suggest that it was likely that interest rates would remain low for the foreseeable future and that these were not signs of an institution approaching its credit limits, rather they were a signal to government’s creditors to continue to fund its borrowing.

Whilst criticising the BBC for the sin of allowing its journalists to refer to household budget accounting, it then goes on to reinforce that very same narrative. The one that involves government collecting money from us in the form of taxes and borrowing any additional money it needs to carry out its spending agenda. The narrative so beloved of Mrs Thatcher encapsulated in her much-quoted dictum ‘There is no such thing as public money … There is only taxpayer money. If the state wishes to spend more it can only do so by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more’ has informed the public and political debate about government spending for decades. The money has to come from somewhere and the question raised when politicians, particularly progressive ones, talk about spending is how will it be paid for? The spectre of debt hangs around our necks like a bad-smelling penny.

As Stephanie Kelton, author of The Deficit Myth says, we have learned to accept the conventional description that ‘Taxing and borrowing precede spending’. But even though it is flawed reasoning, it dominates the way we think as we compare the state finances to our own household budgets. It sounds reasonable and rational. But as Kelton points out ‘We’ve got the whole thing backward’.

Going against all of our carefully groomed preconceptions, the monetary reality is that the UK government neither needs to fund its spending by collecting tax, or match its deficit through issuing bonds (in other words so-called borrowing) or indeed buy them back via QE which is often confused erroneously with ‘printing money’. We have been living a lie propagated by a neoliberal establishment, both on the right and left, which has an interest either in keeping that narrative alive and well for its own ideological purposes or to appease the City.

Getting the formula right is vital. TAB(S) = tax and borrow to spend, is replaced by (S)TAB = Spend to tax and borrow. In basic terms, this means that the sovereign currency issuer has to spend into the economy before it can impose a tax or indeed indulge in the pretence that it has to borrow – a left over function of gold standard days. The borrowing model exists as a sleight of hand, a smoke and mirrors which bears no relationship to monetary reality and suits politicians to scare the pants off people!

So, some might say what difference does knowing any of this boring stuff make to my life? Well, in fact, a whole lot of difference. You don’t have to be an economist or understand economic formulae to see the effects of government spending policies on the nation, whether it is the 10 years of cuts to public sector services and welfare or indeed this round of fiscal injection which has sustained the economy during these last few months as Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on people’s lives. We are living the consequences of the decision to impose austerity, cuts public services and change the way the benefit system works. We are living the consequences of a market dominated economy which puts the needs of corporations above the needs of working people.

This week the BBC published a distressing video report of conditions in Burnley which have worsened over the last few months. It was also a stark reminder that poverty and inequality is not a new phenomenon, it didn’t just happen as a result of Covid-19. It existed well before the pandemic arrived. The level of human degradation was shocking to see.

The BBC analysis showed that the death rate from all causes between April and June this year in the most deprived areas was nearly double that of deaths in the least deprived parts of England. Whilst Boris Johnson talks of ‘levelling up’ he is, in fact, acknowledging the damaging consequences of his government’s policies over the last decade which have led to increased poverty, inequality and ill health across the country whilst at the same time shifted wealth into fewer hands.

Over years right-wing politicians and the media, in an orgy of blame and finger-pointing, have created a narrative that people’s personal shortcomings lie at the heart of their poverty, not government inaction.

Whilst the government has relinquished its responsibility for the overall economic and social health of its citizens through its spending and other policies, it makes it all the more depressing when the government then goes on to laud in cynical soundbites its additional funding (under pressure) for local authorities, for families to stay warm and fed and extra money for food aid charities. Forced to mend its own failures, caused not just by Covid-19 but by its ideological agenda, greed and to feather its own nest through the revolving corporate door.

This is a systemic problem which has its roots in insufficient government spending on public and social infrastructure and employment legislation which has served the corporate body and poured vast amounts of public money into private profit and not just in these last few months.

When queues lengthen for food banks, when children are ripping bags open for food because they are so hungry, when parents are feeding their kids before themselves and when someone says ‘a couple of days food means everything to us’, this is a systemic failure of a corporatised government serving other interests as if trickle-down of wealth was a real thing!  Covid-19 is not to blame. Government and its policies are.

It was reported this week by the Trussell Trust that it 47% of households surveyed at food banks during the summer owed money to the Department of Work and Pensions due to loans and overpayment of benefits. Three out of four households on Universal Credit using food banks were repaying an advance payment to the government, a loan primarily taken out to cover the five-week wait for the first payment.

Emmie Reeve, the Trust’s chief executive urged the government to stop taking money from people’s pockets during the winter months saying:

“Our welfare system should increase people’s security, not suffering. But right now the government is taking money from the benefit payments of many people using food banks,

 

“Taking money off payments to repay these debts makes it much harder for people to afford the essentials and can impact on people’s mental health – this isn’t OK.

 

“With the pandemic continuing to hit people’s incomes, the government must pause taking money from benefit payments over the winter months until a more responsible and just system that offers security and support is in place. This would help people on the lowest incomes to keep every penny of their benefits to help afford the absolute essentials, instead of needing to turn to a food bank for help.”

 

GIMMS would argue that it is not only cruel and inhumane to cause suffering, but that it is totally avoidable where the government is the issuer of the currency. The government is using the household budget model to claim, falsely, that it must be responsible and recoup taxpayer money where benefits have been overpaid. But with a S(TAB) model of the public finances (spending has to happen before a government can tax or borrow) this can be shown to be nothing but an accounting procedure to make the government look as if it is a good guardian of the public accounts. It bears no relationship to monetary reality and is both harmful to the economy and ultimately harmful to human and planetary health.

When Emmie Reeve asks the government to stop taking money away from the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us ‘until a more responsible and just system that offers security and support is in place …  to ‘help people on the lowest incomes to keep every penny of their benefits to help afford the absolute essentials, instead of needing to turn to a food bank for help, that is indeed vital. However, it is not just the welfare system which needs to change. It is the whole vision of how our economy functions. How an understanding of monetary reality could, and should, determine the policies pursued by governments in the interests of national economic and social well-being.

As discussed in last week’s blog, over recent decades the share of productivity has ceded into ever fewer hands leaving people poorer and living less equal lives than the richest who have benefited from ‘trickle-down’ policies at the expense of the poorest.

We have a situation where our public and social infrastructure is in a state of decay and the language used to describe what is happening is about relegating blame to weakest and poorest in our society and our public institutions like the NHS. Only this week Dame Sally Davies suggested in an article in the Guardian that the COVID-19 response was compounded by groupthink and a ‘lack of resilience’ in the NHS’. It was as if the problem lay with the NHS and not successive governments from Thatcher to Blair and Cameron who are really to blame for pressures being faced by the NHS as a result of Covid-19. There was not one mention of government involvement through austerity, cuts to public spending and damaging reforms designed to fragment the service and make it ripe pickings for the private sector.

Neoliberal groupthink and ideological arrogance would be a better description. The state has become nothing more than a cash cow for the private sector at the expense of government-directed public purpose, which includes full employment.

The direction we are going in, which has been covered in many previous MMT Lens blogs, seems ever clearer as the State steps back from its primary purpose which involves a democratically elected government as agents of the people, inspired by the concept of public service to deliver the public good.

In an article published in the Guardian in May this year, Andy Haldane, the Chief Economist at the Bank of England, suggested that civil society had been neglected politically and financially and quoting from Raghuram Rajan’s book ‘The Third Pillar’ wrote ‘We have let the local community pillar break down and wither’.

Referring to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) which said that we should measure social value and its contribution to society he argued that we don’t see volunteering as work because it’s unpaid. “What could be more ‘doing things for others’ than volunteering?” he suggested.

Referring to the fourth industrial revolution and the prospect of jobs being taken by robots, he asked how in such a scenario do we reward people. Although expressing some ambivalence about a UBI and with questions about its feasibility and financing his view was that a renewed civic sector could exist alongside a ‘more socially purposed corporate sector’ and a state and public sector that provides insurance and infrastructure support.

Yes, indeed we have allowed the local community pillar to break down and wither, but not for the reasons he suggests. Ultimately, the charitable and voluntary sector (as was pointed out in last week’s MMT Lens) is a deliberate failure of government. A failure to spend sufficiently on delivering public purpose aims.

Indeed, Haldane’s project to encourage volunteering in the NHS has been about mitigating for a badly funded and resourced public institution using an appeal to public goodwill to do so. His suggestion that volunteers could provide the NHS with skills which would otherwise cost ‘hundreds of pounds per hour’ is symptomatic of an ideology whose toxic roots are now bearing poison fruit in these difficult times. The idea being encouraged that charity and volunteering can play some part in state-funded delivery of services which puts cost above people under the guise of encouraging community cooperation. The false belief that there is a limited pot of money to be shared out is being used to justify this mega shift in how society operates and who controls it.

The suggestion that volunteering can replace good publicly paid for and provided services which provide employment and wages which in turn keep an economy functioning, or indeed that a UBI (Universal Basic Income) could mitigate for the prospect of industrial and technological change as part of a fourth industrial revolution sounds appealing. However, it is nothing but a neoliberal trojan horse which keeps working people in their place and the corporate sector dictating the economic rules for its own benefit.

Furthermore, the idea that socially purposed corporate sector is the way forward ignores the fact that the corporate rationale is to make profits for their shareholders, usually through exploiting working people and other resources. If it indulges in social or greenwashing, it does so to persuade its customers that its motives are wholesome, yet another corporate sleight of hand.

Haldane seems to suggest that government’s role should be reduced to one of being an insurer and servicer of corporate needs rather than those of citizens and that utilising a volunteer workforce to keep costs and spending down should play a part in that. It ignores the fact that it is the very power of the state, along with its spending and legislative powers, that allows these market structures to exist in the first place.

Unemployment, underemployment, precarious employment, hunger, homelessness, decaying public and social infrastructure all are crimes being committed by this government against its people. Whilst corporations benefit from the sovereign currency powers of government, working people and their families pay a high price in growing poverty and inequality, which in the coming months as companies fail and unemployment rises can only get worse.

In conclusion, it is worth repeating the final few words of last week’s blog:

“Only the government can step in as the power behind the public purse, and such an acknowledgement offers huge opportunities to create an economy that works for everyone and not just the few. If a job needs doing, then it should be the state that provides the wherewithal, either through a job guarantee to smooth out the cyclical ups and downs of the economy, or through an expanded public sector. The only constraint any government will face is one of real resources and that is the real political challenge. How those resources are shared to create a society that works for all.”

 

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The post Time to abandon fictions of how our economy functions appeared first on The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.

A Deadly Attack On Our Democracy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 04/12/2020 - 2:19am in

The president has largely ceased to govern, nursing his grievances in the White House and emerging only to golf. Mainstream Republicans have largely abdicated responsibility. Continue reading

The post A Deadly Attack On Our Democracy appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

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