What our economy requires is a revolution to meet need. Nothing less will do.

Posted on

The first time I had Covid I thought it was all over after a week. I did this time too. I was wrong on both occasions. Although the second week of Covid this time has not been as bad as the first time around, it’s still not been something to recommend. It’s not that I have felt especially ill. This contrasts it with the first four or five days, which were ghastly. Instead, it’s been straightforward fatigue that has got to me. I am sure it will go, and I have little doubt that the recent heat did not help, but I will, nonetheless, be taking it easy for anther few days.

That said, the urge to write so in thing has eventually caught up with me. I find it genuinely difficult not to write, although I also appreciate the merit in sometimes taking a break. I haven’t concluded on my reflections from sitting back this time, as yet. There may, of course, be nothing to conclude. Doing not a lot, bar reading (mainly on environmental issues) need not lead to new conclusions, but so far the experience has suggested it might. What strikes me, very strongly, is how very deep is the mess we really are in.

The Tory Party leadership elections are a perfect example of that. I won’t rehearse the strengths and weaknesses of Sunak and Truss again. They are all too apparent. But so too is the reason why they are so bad. It comes down to dogma.

We face enormous crises. There is climate change, of course. That’s literally an existential threat. But there is much more than that which threatens is. The following do as well:

Covid;
Monkey pox;
War;
Food shortages;
Threats to energy supplies;
Threats to water supplies;
Inflation resulting from excessive corporate power.

Then there are specifically created threats attributable to the actions of the UK government:

Brexit;
The threat to peace in Northern Ireland;
Insecure work;
Low wages;
A loss of human rights;
A police state;
Unaffordable housing;
Insecure tenure;
Failing public services.

I could add to the list. And in the face of this the only thing Truss wants to do is cut the size of the state. As an alternative, Sunak wants to balance the books. Both want, as all neoliberals have always done, to walk away from every problem we face and suggest that it is for the market to solve our problems.

The reality is that there is no market solution to any of these problems. That is because these are issues created by a dogmatic belief in the power of markets that cannot as a result ever be solved by them.

There is only one solution to the problems that we face. We need a bigger state. Without one we cannot meet the needs that people have. Nor can we face the collective issues that we, as people, as societies and as a single world must address.

Politicians who now think that the future is dependent on market growth have lost the plot. What we need now is that the resources we have be fairly shared. There is more than enough for everyone, but dogma is going to deny sufficient to an increasing proportion of the population.

And what we need is a focus on meeting need. We need housing, health and social care, measures to tackle the threats to the environment, a functioning penal system, education for life, and energy that is sustainable. But so much more than that, we need to also ensure people have enough to live on, partly by being paid more, and partly by reducing the hideous amounts that they have to pay to the rentier economy to have access to housing and credit.

All I see when looking at Sunak and Truss are a pair of people with the wrong answer to any question because they still believe that the purpose of our economy is to manufacture wants that some people can be persuaded to embrace in pursuit of a policy of growth that leaves a trail of destruction behind it. The reality is that in pursuit of this policy they ignore need, but it is needs that we must now meet within our economy because so many are on the precipice of economic and social catastrophe as our economy totters on the brink of failure.

Standing back it is obvious that what our economy requires is a revolution to meet need. Nothing less will do.