I believe we need radical change in our economy for many ‘reasons’. I can argue a bit like Stiglitz in ‘Freefall’ but don’t see economics as much of a pointer. It’s easy enough to point to any author’s previous failings. I think Stiglitz is broadly right that we are in the hands of very out-of-date free market fundamentalists who can’t see ‘trickle down’ theories have had it and we won’t see our recovery through private sector recovery and entrepreneurial stuff (half our entrepreneurs at any one time want to open coffee shop franchises and whatever is ‘in’). We need a new take on government providing work and income distribution. This is why I would say that we elected the wrong government, even if ZanuPFNulabour had to go (it’s very scary that they still don’t get why).
Lots of people put argument forward as though it is totally correct and the only way to go. This is not how science or reasonable people debate. A big public sector is not necessarily bad, but we are right to be pissed off with a police force that has massively expanded and is now led by very well paid people who lie about crime and do what government tells them. The Japanese (when we held them up as a ‘success’) always kept people in non-jobs. It is not a smaller public sector we need,but one in which real work that is of use to us goes on. There is a lot more to argue on ‘economics’,but we can hardly start if we think our politicians know anything about it.
On might expect Stephen King (Head of Economics at Hong Kong and Shanghai) to disagree with Stiglitz, but he too is suggesting western decline and the need for a new focus on wealth distribution. I could go on and on, but let’s save this for the poor sods I teach next term. Wagers of law are still too common, with both sides trying to outnumber the other.
It’s time to think from work up, from lives up and get on with making the quality of our lives better. This is an old call that has often led to its almost complete reverse in horrors like the Sino-Soviet Experiments where too much power was concentrated in very few hands. There are plenty of ideas about. What I would say is our lack of talk about what we could do when our politicians are bleating on about stuff relevant 60 years ago is very, very scary. Current policies in the UK are about to explode unemployment upwards and it’s clear we have sent our society backwards for 30 years.
The only way out of this is for more of us to be able to talk about what we think might work and set up a national ‘spreadsheet’ that would back real work that makes things, establishes social capital and moves us away from much that holds us back and sets us against each other.
We have come to think we can’t really influence change – nothing makes me more sure of this than pathetic literature. This is only true because we are taught to fear democracy – and there are good reasons ion history why we should. What we need is to find ways for people to be able to discuss what they want and for our public arguments to support and criticise this, not for people to succeed through dominating argument.