We face interactive networks of problems. Some were and are easily perceived, some not. All need analysis and addressing.
The U.K. is amongst the worst performing nations in the protection of its citizens against the current plague.
A chronic cause is under-investment in national health infrastructures.
An immediate cause is serial governmental ineptitude.
A foundation cause is the power of the theory of Neo-liberalism, with its policies of social programme cuts, the transfer of wealth to the wealthiest, the reduction of the costs to “Big Business” and its associates, the opening up of public infrastructures for profitable exploitation etc.
Multinational corporations off-shore employment to cheaper labour markets and pay any taxes where it is cheapest. This benefits those at the top of the “financial food chain” to the cost of those lower down. The not-rich are paid less from which they will have to pay more taxes and get less for them plus increasing debt payments. This drains the “real economy” to subsidise the financial economy so that the real economy cannot achieve robust, equitable stability.
Wealth and power correlate. The increasing polarisation of wealth undermines democracy as does polarisation of the media. Optimal taxation protects democracy as does oligarch-resistant media diversity – in all forms as well as news. Neo-Liberalism needs communication power.
Our democracy is theoretical. True democracy is democratic in input, process and outcome. Can a nation which has commercially-based political contributions, “revolving doors” to big money, food banks, and underfed children be democratic in practice?
“All debts must be paid!” is a lie. Debts involving moral hazard have been incurred under false pretences and not to be paid.
“Acts of God” debts, like Covid 19, have not been paid in the past. Debts which are so widespread that their payment would destabilise society, concentrate further the power and wealth of the few, should not now be paid. Those seeking the payment of such society-undermining debts are acting as predators willing/wishing to damage society for their benefit.
Neo-liberalism is a theory which facilitates the plundering of society by a powerful few by using obscure and deceitful language and theory, financial muscle and political influence, to persuade voters that private operators will provide better goods, services and infrastructures at lower costs while extracting monopoly rents, interest charges, dividends and high management salaries.
Is Neo-liberal economics fundamentally fraudulent?
Because we buy and sell stuff and services and use money we are all economists. We need to become better informed and confident economists. We are making a massive mistake to believe in or even tolerate Neo-liberalism. As individuals, a party and a nation, we need to develop the confidence and ideas to check out that what we are told is in our best interests.
Covid 19 demonstrates that Neo-liberalism is not fit for purpose. It neither sustains the everyday nor protects against emergencies.
Neo-liberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of equitable societies and genuine democracies. Noam Chomsky
* Steve Trevathan is chairperson of Lyme Regis and Marshwood Vale Liberal Democrats.