I HAVE been reading the letters in the Leader Times from various local politicians in relation to our national economic plight with a great deal of interest.
Sadly, most of the writers belonging to the mainstream parties have fallen into the groove of regurgitating the position of their respective parties and show little evidence of any serious independent thinking or ability to construct an alternative narrative that might better explain our current predicament. One consequence of this is that they appear willing supporters of solutions that will have little or no effect.
Over the last 30 years the mainstream parties have been in thrall to neo-liberalism: privatisation and everything is for sale, free-trade and out-sourcing to the cheapest producer and the re-programming of the citizenry into consumers accompanied by ready access to credit in abundance.
In 1994, James Goldsmith predicted globalisation would destroy the old contractual understanding and obligations that held society together and wreak terrible damage upon developed economies. Part of his thesis was workers in mature, developed countries would become poorer. Events have proved that the broad thrust of his analysis was correct.
Prices of essentials have been exceeding wages for at least a decade. In the first half of the decade the disparity was small and masked by the widespread availability of credit. In the second part, the disparity between the prices of essentials and nominal wages has grown markedly and a great many sections of society are appreciably poorer.
This has been accompanied by a deliberate policy of “financial repression” under which the prudent are being robbed and some of them that are anxious to preserve their wealth from further erosion are investing in assets of greater risk. Some of these people will be seeking some sort of safety net and may be drawn to structured products that will transfer yet more wealth from the prudent to the wealth-takers – the financial intermediaries.
The Conservative and Labour parties make for a sorry sight as they stand looking at the wreckage of their endeavours and have no idea how to put things right; and even if they did powerful vested corporate interests would prevent them being implemented.
The future is going to be difficult. One can be beguiled by the false and misleading promises from the mainstream parties or one can break the chains of bondage by rejecting consumerism as far as one is able to, or limiting consumerism by adopting a low maintenance lifestyle.
In this regard I consider David Penney to have a better understanding of our predicament than the siren voices of the writers from the Conservative and Labour parties.
Castle Road, Colne