Category Archives: Economy

Common Wealth Party, 1942-1993

Common Wealth was formed when the 1941 Committee, launched by J.B. Priestley, merged with Forward March (formerly Our Struggle) formed in 1940 and named after the book of that name by Sir Richard Acland. Our Struggle proclaimed:

We are fighting to get a better world, and we will NOT go back to the old world we knew after the last war . . . to the world of unemployment queues . . . the world in which from birth to death “the rich” and “the poor” lead utterly different lives. The little group of men who happen to have got to the top shall not be allowed to keep things all in their own hands, to shut us out of any control over our own lives, and to preserve scarcity in their own interests when we could produce plenty in the interests of all.

Common Wealth’s membership ranged from soldiers fighting in the trenches to  many well-known academics, politicians and writers (listed in this document which also published its fine Declaration of aims)

Their slogan was “Common Wealth asks not WILL IT PAY but IS IT RIGHT?”

Many events and combinations included interaction with Fenner Brockway, the National Peace Council, the international Congress of Peoples against Imperialism, the Netherlands Third Way peace movement: De Derde Weg, CND and the Committee of 100. The text records

  • strong links with some Chinese groups,
  • effective opposition and frequent silencing of Oswald Mosley’s fascists and
  • picketing of the Savoy Hotel which was then making very low-paid people work in squalid conditions.

Though Common Wealth confined itself in later years to political education, for several years it was involved with electoral politics.

Members of Parliament

Richard Acland (Barnstaple 1942-1945)

Vernon Bartlett (Bridgwater 1942-1945)

John Loverseed (Eddisbury 1943-1945)

Hugh Lawson (Skipton 1944-1945)

Ernest Millington (Chelmsford 1945-1946)

In 1945 it polled the highest number of votes of all the minority parties. At this time there were 160 active branches. A year after celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1992, many of its members having died, it disbanded.

Although the party no longer stood candidates at parliamentary level, a number of individual members stood for the Labour and Ecology/Green Parties, whilst others became local councillors.

Common Wealth later became associated with the burgeoning ecology movement and, later, regional organisations, including the Campaign for the North, based in Hebden Bridge, Wessex regionalists, the SNP, an Orkney and Shetland group, Plaid Cymru, Mebyon Kernow and the Movement for Middle England.

 

 

 

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Financial Times: Jeremy Corbyn DID win the ‘battle of ideas’

In December’s FT John McTernan set out the evidence: “Something deeper is going on. From corporate capitalism to housing, from climate change to transport, Labour’s ideas are framing the decisions the new government is making”. He continued:

Since this was written the Financial Times, which used to be ‘about’ supporting free trade, now has a new editor and a new noncommittal agenda:

Though the latest article by Rana Faroohar, Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor at the Financial Times, has been written from an American perspective, it relates to Britain’s situation.

She points out that many corporate sectors are deeply in debt and most are reliant on financial engineering to create the illusion of growth and innovation. companies used to reinvest their earnings to boost productive capacity. Now, they mostly generate “value” by downsizing and distributing to the richest.

In pure Corbynese she states:

  • we cannot afford to repeat the mistaken “socialise the losses, privatise the gains” approach used a decade ago.
  • We have to start by protecting individual citizens and consumers
  • giving immediate cash payouts to individuals, recapturing unnecessary payments the other side of the crisis, via the tax code
  • When it comes bailouts, small and midsized businesses should come first.
  • They should be given grants, not loans. Many run tight margins as it is, and would not be able to survive any additional debt burden
  • If big companies want government money, they need to protect their workers and
  • government should consider taking preferred equity stakes in such companies

Ending in true socialist vein: “Unlike the bank bailouts of 12 years ago, let’s socialise not just the losses but also the gains”.

 

 

 

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Emailed reflections on ‘Kings College gives discredited former PM Blair a platform’

A Bournville reader responds to today’s blog (‘one person’s reaction!’)

It is important to learn from those one may not like!

His first two points I agree with. The first is controversial but the second should be obvious. The third point is vacuous as it’s not spelled out.

Later:

it was a mistake to allow a General Election on Brexit – LibDems and SNP major culprits but Labour also.

The Labour manifesto was good but not effectively communicated.

The (in my opinion unfair) antisemitism slurs were unfortunate.

Organisation and leadership seemed ropey but that’s my guesswork.

Alas we are where we are, which I guess is the human condition!

A Moseley reader adds:

Blair states that Labour has always won when it secured the centre of British politics and refers to the 2019 campaign as substituting ‘a narcissistic belief in our righteousness for professionalism’. He does have a point. How many years have Labour been in government since 1920?

And concludes:

Britain is basically a liberal conservative nation. (note small l and c). Hence, we still have a royal family that the poor and working poor still respect and savour. Socialism is a thing which sounds like a nice idea but could never work within a monarchy. It’s a contradiction in terms.

 

 

 

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Kings College gives discredited former PM Blair a platform

Due to WordPress problem I cannot upload an image to this site. It is included in the email alert

Discredited? Labour’s commitments made in opposition were jettisoned by Tony Blair when in power. For instance:

  • the railways were not renationalised,
  • anti-union laws were not repealed and
  • the earnings link with pensions was not restored.

The Blair government is responsible for most of the 1512 Private Finance Initiatives which HM Treasury listed up to 31 March 2015, a ‘toxic legacy’. 

It supported the US President’s decision to make war on Iraq which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and – according to Professor Goodman and many others – destabilised large areas of the Middle East.

Tony Blair’s hour-long speech on Labour’s 120th anniversary at Kings College (20.2.20): “We must redefine what radical means” may be heard here or read in full here.

He states that Labour has always won when it secured the centre of British politics and refers to the 2019 campaign as substituting ‘a narcissistic belief in our righteousness for professionalism’.

‘Three overarching strategic challenges’ are advocated by Blair to achieve ‘fundamental reconstruction’:

  • First, we must build a new progressive coalition with LibDems, to put Labour values into practice.
  • Second we need a re-imagining of the modern economy.
  • Third: the right ideas in politics never work without the mentality of government.

Strangely enough he sees these three recommendations as ‘profound changes to philosophy, policy and practice’. Stating the obvious he concludes:

“2020 isn’t 1997 or even 2007. And 2030 will be a revolution different from 2020. It’s always about the future. Precisely because of that, because whilst pointing forwards, we have been travelling backwards, nothing less than “born again” head to toe renewal, will do”.

This performance recalls another such ‘poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage (offering) a tale . . . full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’.

 

 

 

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A year in the life of President Obrador – who has been compared with Jeremy Corbyn

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s president

Ellen Brown reports that Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO) has been compared with the United Kingdom’s left-wing opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. He and his left-​wing coalition won by a landslide in Mexico’s 2018 general election, overturning the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that had ruled the country for much of the past century. Some points made in her article are recorded below.

Called Mexico’s “first full-fledged left-wing experiment,” AMLO’s election marks a dramatic change in the political direction of the country. AMLO wrote in his 2018 book “A New Hope for Mexico,” “In Mexico the governing class constitutes a gang of plunderers…. Mexico will not grow strong if our public institutions remain at the service of the wealthy elites.”

The new president has held to his campaign promises. In 2019, his first year in office, he purged the government of technocrats and institutions he considered corrupt, profligate or impeding the transformation of Mexico after 36 years of failed market-focused neoliberal policies. Other accomplishments (recorded here) have included

At a press conference on Jan. 6, he explained that the neoliberal model had failed; private banks were not serving the poor and people outside the cities, so the government had to step in

Ellen Brown reports that when speaking to a local group in December, President Obrador said his goal was to set up a Bank of the Poor with 13,000 branches, more than all the private banks in the country combined. Two days later he explained, at a news conference on Jan. 8: “There are more than 1,000 municipalities that don’t have a bank branch. We’re dispersing [welfare] resources but we don’t have a way to do it.  . . .  People have to go to branches that are two, three hours away. If we don’t bring these services close to the people, we’re not going to bring development to the people. … I’ll invite you within two months, three at the most, to the inauguration of the first branches because they’re already working, they’re getting the land … because we have to do it quickly”. Digital banking will also be developed.

Branches will be built on land owned by the government or donated, and software companies have offered to advise for free. The 10 billion pesos ($530.4 million) needed to build the new branches would come from federal savings from other programs and the bank’s operating expenses will be covered by small commissions paid on each transaction by customers, most of whom will be welfare recipients.

López Obrador’s goal is to construct a “new paradigm” in economic policy aiming not only to increase gross domestic product but also to improve human welfare.

 

 

 

Après le déluge – where does Labour go now?

Noel Hamel from New Malden: “A measured and thoughtful piece that avoids the pitfalls of mudslinging. Anyone interested in left-leaning progressive politics will find this interesting”.

Summary of Alan Simpson’s paper:  Après le déluge

Parliament starts the new decade with Labour still in a state of grief…and anger…about its crushing election defeat. It’s a good place to start. The real grief is the damage done to the bigger dream that once surrounded Corbyn. Only a shift into more circular economics stands a chance.

For the Left, the problems began with Labour’s failure to root its policies in the radical decentralisation regularly espoused by both Corbyn and McDonnell, but which never made it past control obsessions within the ‘Corridoriat’ of Senior Advisors surrounding them.

Killing the dream

In 2017, thousands were drawn towards Jeremy because he symbolised a different sort of politics; something open, honest, radical and inclusive; a politics that promised to be genuinely transformative. Labour lost, but we felt like winners.

Blinded by Brexit

The 2019 election should never have happened. Johnson only had one card – Brexit – and Labour should have forced the Tories to wallow in the Brexit mess Johnson had wrapped himself in. A spring or summer election would have suited Labour much better… on condition that Johnson’s Brexit deal would first be put to a public vote.

Brexit neutrality made Labour look indecisive and Jeremy weak. It spurned Labour’s strongest card in favour of a public vote. Whatever the outcome it would have taken Brexit out of any subsequent election which would have had to address the bigger threats of societal and climate collapse already hovering around our doorsteps.

Labour lacked a simple strap-line

We didn’t even have the wit to dump the ‘Brexit’ part of the Tories’ ‘Get it done’, prefacing it with a succession of bigger issues; ‘Fix the planet: Get it done’, ‘Tackle homelessness:…’, ‘Repair the NHS:…’, ‘End poverty:…’.

The Tories set about casting Jeremy Corbyn as a man who couldn’t lead

Corbyn’s senior team helped, turning Jeremy’s campaigning zeal into an absence rather than an asset. Goodness knows how many rail-miles Jeremy clocked up, but it never became the ‘leadership’ peg the public were looking for, building a mass movement, with a hugely empowered, devolved power base.

Jeremy inherited a PLP that wanted to lynch him and (to their credit) an office determined to stop them and he ended up with a corridor cabal.

The opportunity to build a wider consensus got lost behind internal obsessions with control, creating a siege/control mentality that was never able to reach outwards. No national/international figures were ever brought in to raise Jeremy’s policy/leadership profile. No one who’d ever arm-wrestled in climate negotiations, trade deals or peace diplomacy came in to lead Labour’s transformation planning. Instead, ‘corridor control’ came to dominate. Factionalism overtook radicalism. At the most senior levels, people who’d never negotiated anything more than an extended tea-break were left in charge of the policy sifting process. The most repeated Shadow Ministerial complaint was about delays in getting radical policy proposals through the LOTO soup (LOTO: the Leader of the Opposition Office)

  • Sue Hayman saw a string of her environment proposals get lost in this Never-never-land.
  • Two years on, Alan Whitehead still awaits approval for publication of his Local Energy book (on radical decentralisation).
  • Andy MacDonald’s pledge to set annual carbon budgets for every part of the transport sector never became the platform for transformative changes in aviation and shipping policy.
  • His proposed ‘pendulum shift’ of funding from private to public transport infrastructures went the same way.

So where does Labour go next? Back to the Future? There is no ‘nice politics’ of the middle ground to return to. Business as usual will never return.

  • Look at the fires currently raging in Australia and the floods in nearby Indonesia.
  • Look at our own pre-Christmas floods
  • Look at earlier fires that wreaked havoc from California to the Arctic Circle.
  • Look at the ice melt.

Any wannabe Labour Leader who ducks the centrality of transformative climate politics is not worth following. As climate physicists continually try to warn us, ‘There are no small steps left’ but a systemic, transformative change might hold society together. The Left needs a bigger, anti-poverty, climate politics to hold communities, and the country, together.

Regionalised and localised approaches to flood prevention, food security, air quality, re-wilding, fuel poverty, clean energy and transport must form the backbone of a Labour commitment to refound accountable, secure and inclusive democracy. It needs to go hand in hand with the radical re-empowerment of local government. There is no other way of delivering the 20%+ annual CO2 reductions needed to avoid the next tranche of climate tipping points.

In early 2017, John McDonnell, Jeremy and I began work on what was to be a Labour ‘Smart Cities’ Initiative. The plan was to open up conversations with up to 20 localities about the development of radically decentralised, clean-energy grids. Modelled on lessons from both Denmark and Germany, the plan was to put localities in the driving seat of strategies that made ‘climate’ the centrepiece of tomorrow’s economics. It needed rapid decarbonisation of the energy system, nationwide energy efficiency and waste reduction programmes, the use of smart technologies to localise, store and share energy, and a new skills agenda delivering full employment in a more circular economy.

The first Merseyside venue, workshops and speakers were all agreed on. But the political penny began to drop that this posed a serious threat to existing fossil fuel interests and to centralised energy generation. Suddenly no one could find a common diary date for Jeremy and John. The 3-D commitment – decarbonisation, decentralisation and democratisation – became the first of Labour’s ‘corridor casualties’.

Climate priorities, as well as electoral calculations, dictate that this is where Labour’s repair work must begin in Scotland and Wales as much as in the newly lost heartlands of the North and Midlands. This is where tomorrow’s security, stability and democracy politics will find its roots.

The last election should have been the Climate Election. What happens in the next decade will determine whether we tip from crisis to collapse. Labour needs to become the Party that ensures we don’t.

 

Alan Simpson

Advisor on Sustainable Economics January 2020

 

 

 

 

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‘Corbyn’s Labour’ is already missed

The vision laid out by the participants in the Labour leadership contest makes Roy Jones from Colwyn Bay – who prefers “the much maligned ‘Corbyn manifestos’ “- fear for Britain’s future (24th January).

He sees, in the contest, not a word on the economy, infrastructure and environment, from Labour’s would-be leaders.

Looking back over our previous reliance on empire with an abundance of minerals from home and abroad and an industrial revolution of science and technology which made us the workshop of the world, he continues: “This fell into decline, albeit with a brief period of hope after World War II, until faced with the inability of Britain’s bosses to modernise industries and Thatcher’s wilful destruction of most of them. All this leaves our balance of payments, income and expenditure, reliant on the financial service “industry” for 80% of those sums”.

Roy Jones lists some measures advocated in two Corbyn-inspired manifestos for a society skewed by years of preserving the status quo at the worker’s expense:

          • a green industrial revolution, advancing science and technology and skilled jobs,
          • the rebuilding of our public services
          • providing rent controlled housing,
          • addressing poverty and inequality – a living wage of £10 an hour
          • increasing public ownership
          • and setting up a people’s bank.

But ends: “I fear the worst kind of flabby Labour future”

 

 

 

 

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How can we bring about change that will irrevocably transfer power back into the hands of the many?

Mervyn Hyde writes: “I feel that in order to get to the heart of our struggle we need to highlight where power lies and the tools by which the powerful maintain their interests”.

If we are to convince people that there is such a thing as a better life, we have to inform them of the past and how things have to come to pass – from the first world war to the present day

It should of course be obvious that neoliberalism is the main tool that took hold in the early 1970s; the other tools are the institutions and language used to propagate the messages that sustain the whole system.

An American description:

Prior to the 1970s a pre-war dispute raged between Friedrich Von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes as to what economic values best served people’s interests. Naturally Keynes won the argument and his policies were broadly implemented post the Wall Street crash and the last world war; they created growth and an expansion of living standards never seen before.

Neoliberalism requires:

  • Greater openness to international trade and investment;
  • total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services;
  • de-unionisation of workers, lowering of wages and working conditions;
  • cutting public expenditure for social services like education and health care;
  • reducing the welfare safety-net;
  • eliminating the concept of “the public good” and replacing it with “individual responsibility”;
  • increasing government subsidies and tax benefits for business;
  • reducing government regulation of everything that could diminish profits;
  • selling state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors.

“The Golden Age of Capitalism”

Then in the 1970s Milton Friedman (part of the Mont Perelin society of which Hayek was also a member) persuaded us that freedom of expression could only be achieved through free markets, privatisation and deregulation – the main pillars of neoliberalism.

Using crises created by the corporate sector or by political events as outlined in Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”, they redrew the political consensus that had existed since the war. This process has been in continual flux up to the present day but moving ever forward to return all public property and services into the private sector – aided by politicians, political institutions “Think Tanks” and Lobbyists.

The reasons for their success have been the coordination of all the instruments of state, a corrupt media and stage-managed attacks on working people’s support systems.

This document drawn up by Nicholas Ridley in 1977 shows the kind of planning the Tories drew up long before trade unions ever dreamt of such attacks.

The key proposals are in the confidential annex, showing how they break the power of the unions in order to privatise the nationalised industries.

Following this and the advent of the Thatcher era, the Labour Party had been either infiltrated or through our universities – MPs began to accept greater degrees of private intervention and took neoliberal doctrines as read into the future.

Whilst outwardly objecting to the harsh nature of Thatcherism as it was then known, more and more Labour politicians have become wedded to it. Even today over 100 Labour MPs are still committed neoliberals although would never admit it.

Margaret Thatcher and her chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe were behind a politically toxic plan in 1982 to dismantle the welfare state, Margaret Thatcher’s secret 1982 cabinet papers “the longer term options” released in 2012 are reported to have caused consternation amongst her colleagues and she later disowned them.

Mervyn Hyde adds, “The actual archive link can be found here, noting that it is viewed through archive viewer, so you have to click on where it says Image viewer” – but as yet the writer has failed to see them.

Until now this has been the general trajectory, in essence neoliberal politicians of all colours have collaborated to achieve the same ends, a transfer of power and wealth to the corporate sector.

From here on, what do we have to recognise in order to bring about change that will irrevocably transfer that power back into the hands of the many?

The last election could be described as a text book analogy revealing how, over the last three years, established sources combined to defeat the one and only enemy they have – socialism. Using a fabricated crisis and the perfect divisive outcome of the referendum, they were able to manipulate just enough people and confuse the rest, whilst weakening support for the Labour Party from within. The elements brought to bear to achieve this were: racism, ignorance, and apathy, aided by a complicit media that feeds prejudice and hate as well as confusing information.

Neoliberal doctrine has successfully divided the nation into fragmented parts, creating an illusion that this is how life really is. People have over the last forty years grown to accept the conditions two-thirds of us now see as normal – roughly one-third being dedicated to opposing the illusion.

For this minority ever to break out of the cordon set up by the establishment, they must recognise that those within our movement have to be challenged, as well as those outside it. That means challenging these orthodoxies:

  • we can’t afford our public services,
  • private enterprise is efficient and will increase the well-being of people,
  • competition is no longer relevant,
  • deregulation brought about the financial crash
  • and the myth that we need rich people and financiers to provide us with wealth to sustain our life style

Apart from the media and its influence we also have to recognise that a lot of people seem not to care about anything except their own interests and it will require substantial efforts to break them out of their mould. When told that the NHS is being dismantled, their eyes glaze over – some would even say ‘oh well it needs changing anyway’ without the slightest knowledge of what they were talking about. Hyde calls this a form of blind faith that either they won’t suffer from these changes or they just won’t happen and things will go on as they have done; he points out that the reality is that the agenda will roll on and possibly over them.

The way to break out of this from his point of view is to challenge power at its source, be that the media or government and change the way members of the party think essentially through educating them.

Rebuild our manufacturing base via public investment, which would make our economy much more stable

1982

Again through general ignorance lots of good people in the Labour party are oblivious to Britain’s real economic position. Some have socialist beliefs on how they can transform our well-being, but they still don’t understand that Britain’s position is unique in Europe, due to the fact we have our own currency and as such can spend directly into our economy, without the need to raise taxation, which would be used as a regulator of the economy.

What this also means is that we do not have to rely on trade to raise income, since Margaret Thatcher dismantled our manufacturing base we are a net importer of other countries finished goods, we could therefore rebuild it via public investment, which would make our economy much more stable and even export some of what we produced. Doing nothing as we are is financially unstable (Ed: also socially damaging).

This video of Professor Costas Lapavitsas (above, SOAS) breaks the EU illusion held by lots of Labour supporters, by describing in detail why getting out of Europe is essential. But after seeing the video readers may also find that we are not likely to get a genuine settlement no matter how hard we try.

Fundamentally the countries in Europe (Eurozone) can only spend into their economies by raising Euros through trade, this causes huge disparity among EU members especially those in the south, and the only real winner in this is Germany with its massive manufacturing base. This creates such an imbalance of trade and power that it can’t theoretically survive unless changes are made, like becoming a federation of states subsidised by the European Central bank, which breaks all the neoliberal trade rules they have put in place. This graph clearly describes the fundamental imbalance that currently exists:

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?oldid=452727

Hyde sees a need to challenge the perception of Labour Party members that somehow Europe is some sort of economic Utopia that will defend our interests and feels that due to the problems facing Europe, sooner or later the whole pack of cards will fall in.

In addition to the economic problems facing Europe fascism is on the rise. Germany is still the richest country in Europe with massive trade surpluses, yet it has consistently produced right of centre governments and coalitions. As in England the left suffered defeats even though wages and living standards were falling under right wing regimes –  due of course as here to the perception that the neo-liberal centrist politicians were no better than their counterpart conservatives. Since the war the predominant party coalitions have been centre right. So Hyde feels it would be better to concentrate on attacking the establishment and describing how Britain, with its unique position, can effect change more rapidly than any other.

Within our ranks we have neoliberal MPs dedicated to undermining any socialist advances

He continues:

“When Blair first took office as prime minister, I attended one of his members’ forums in Reading, and after he gave his speech, a member asked the question, “where was the socialism in his speech” and Blair replied, “socialism is dead”. Judging from some of his old front benchers and their comments over the years I have no doubt they hold the same views and won’t ever change. the Lisa Nandys of this world etc. Our messages have been stifled and diversions such as anti-semitism have been created and not adequately rebuffed; hence we now need a voice strong enough to call out the lies and deceit in the media.

“This is not a full explanation of the need to change perceptions about our economy and relationship with Europe, there are a number of academics that highlight just how bad Europe is and how progressive Britain could become with the right government in place, but trying to change Europe from within as explained by Costas is virtually impossible.

“Changing those perceptions and ridding the Labour Party of those who actively work against us is the priority. Identifying LibDems, New Labour, and the Tories as being the same is essential to growing support, which they are, although they would claim they are not as extreme as Johnson etc., the reality though is no different; they all have the same objectives, just faster or slower time- tables – in fact if you listen to them they all use the same language, which is the big give-away.

“We lost the last election for many reasons, some of which I have outlined here, Jeremy’s only fault as Ian Lavery said, was that he wouldn’t join Johnson in the gutter. Sadly our unsophisticated electorate didn’t comprehend his magnanimity and – if we are to cut through – we need to speak the language they understand, without of course getting in the gutter to do it”.

 

 

 

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Key policies from Labour’s manifesto

Richard House draws attention to a useful breakdown of key policies from Labour’s election-winning manifesto

 

 

 

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Labour: setting the agenda for meaningful climate action

Richard House has drawn attention to an article by Carlos Martinez, activist, writer and musician who runs the political history blog Invent the Future.

He asks how climate change can be tackled effectively, stressing that the poorest countries should not focus on reducing their CO2 emissions, which are already extremely low – three-quarters of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to electricity, and commenting: For low-income countries, development has to be the priority, and this relies on energy. If that energy is to be green, then OECD countries should take responsibility, providing technology and financial support. “The great global injustice of climate change is that the peoples who have contributed least to the problem are the most vulnerable to its effects”.

Ann Pettifor’s book The Case for the Green New Deal succinctly explains what the Green New Deal (GND) is, where the idea came from, why it’s necessary, and how to make it happen. It was conceived a decade ago by a group of British economists and environmentalists and recently popularised by progressive US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

GND measures to decarbonise economies which will create millions of jobs include:

  • investment in renewable energy and zero-carbon public transport;
  • upgrading buildings for energy efficiency;
  • building “smart” distributed power grids to provide affordable clean electricity to all; reorganising the food system;
  • ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry;
  • and prioritising basic needs.

But though OECD countries need to cut emissions by 80% over the next decade fiscal revenue isn’t sufficient to finance large-scale green development. Economist and an expert in monetary theory, Ann Pettifor is well placed to describe how the GND can be funded.

With a tightly regulated financial system based on publicly-controlled and accountable central banks, it’s possible to fund a Green New Deal that will eliminate waste, transfer green technology to the rest of the world and build a fairer, more equal society.

Citing China’s effective deployment of capital and exchange control measures, she argues that in order to implement this programme, public control over the monetary system must be regained, offshore capital must be brought back onshore and capital flows regulated and taxed.

The GND represents a set of economic and political reforms that, in combination, form a platform capable of uniting hundreds of millions. As such, it should be a key plank for left parties in Europe, North America and Australia.

Martinez comments: “The cost of failure will be climate breakdown: vast areas of the planet rendered uninhabitable; hundreds of coastal cities (including New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Lagos) permanently submerged; food and water scarcity; vicious climate wars; hundreds of millions of climate refugees”.

He ends: “If a Corbyn-led Labour government can implement its version of the GND (labelled the Green Industrial Revolution), this will be a huge boost for the global battle to save the planet”.

 

 

 

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