Once the Tax Research Glossary is up and running with sufficient entries to make it useful the next issue that I intend to tackle is the myths that underpin neoliberalism.
Without in any way seeking to be exclusive these might include:
- There is money in the bank
- Banks lend out other people's money
- Tax pays for spending
- Government debt has to be repaid
- Growth is the be-all and end-all of the economy and nothing else matters
- Austerity is the right response to economic downturns
- Public services are black holes into which money is thrown
- Government spending can't add to growth
- Money creation is bound to lead to inflation
- The government must balance its books
- We can't afford pay rise during inflationary periods
- Profit is a measure of anything useful
- Government is like a household
- There is no such thing as society
- There is only taxpayer money
- Our grandchildren will have to repay our debt
- The national debt is a burden
- We can no longer afford the NHS
- There is no alternative.
- The right (Conservatives, Republicans, etc) are fiscally responsible and their opponents are not.
- Increasing public sector pay leads to a wage-price spiral.
- There is a free market, and cutting regulation (“red tape”) will always improve its functioning.
- The Bank of England is independent of government.
- Cutting taxes paid by the wealthiest will ultimately improve the position of the poorest.
- A larger public sector is bad for the economy
- There is no magic money tree
- The private sector is crowded out by the government
- Markets act rationally and efficiently, on perfect information, with consistent self-interested goals, and always clear.
- Economic equilibrium exists in the real world.
- Inequality does not matter (so we can be relaxed about some people getting filthy rich).
- The self-made man (or woman).
- The conditions of your life are down to you and you alone.
- The wealth of one person has no bearing on the poverty of another.
- Government is dependent on markets. We can't have healthcare or education etc without private sector wealth creation.
- The purpose of life is pursuit of success in the market place.
- Everyone is a self-interested, self-maximising economic being.
- Freedom equates to unfettered consumption.
- Neoliberalism frees people from bureaucracy.
- During austerity ” we are all in it together".
- The “Investor” is king.
- Savings are investments.
Some of these items very obviously overlap. Reiteration is not a problem when tackling myths.
Suggestions are welcome. Please email them to email@example.com.
The aim of this exercise will be to:
- Explain what is being claimed
- Show why it is wrong
- Offer a counter-narrative that can be used to attack it.
I am hoping it will prove to be useful.