How the government’s austerity is self-defeating


9:30 am - August 16th 2012

by Duncan Weldon    


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The TUC, and many others, have long argued that austerity is self-defeating.

Slashing government spending and putting up taxes against a backdrop of a weak economy will not only depress growth, it will fail on its own terms as a means of recuing the deficit.

The fall in demand caused by ‘fiscal consolidation’ will simply reduce the government’s tax take and increase social security spending.

The graph demonstrates that is now what is happening in the UK.

It shows the cumulative cuts in government spending and tax rises against the cumulative change in the deficit. (Tax and spending changes from Budget 2010, deficit changes from the newly released round-up of independent forecasts).

By 2015/16 the Government will have cut £99bn and raised taxes by £29bn for a cumulative tightening of £128bn.

However the deficit, on current forecasts, will have fallen by only £64.5bn. For every two pounds of austerity the deficit will only have fallen by one pound.

Austerity is self-defeating.

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About the author
Duncan is a regular contributor. He has worked as an economist at the Bank of England, in fund management and at the Labour Party. He is a Senior Policy Officer at the TUC’s Economic and Social Affairs Department.
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Reader comments


That’s austerity for the population, not austerity for the government. Increasing taxes means that the government is raking more in. And it isn’t spending less overall either.

If the government really wanted to help the economy it would cut taxes allowing businesses to prosper. Profitable businesses pay tax, ones that are making a loss do not pay tax. It would mean increasing the debt, but in the long term as more money pours in from the economy, the debt can be paid off. And that should be what the government (Tory or Labour) should do in the future. Pay off the debt when the good times are around rather than spend like past Labour governments did.

2. David Moynagh

This shambles of a tory led ideology is self defeating. I pity England when Scotland becomes independent. Will be right wing parasites in westminster for years to come. You get what you vote for and you deserve what you get.
Roll on Scottish independence so that we in Scotland need suffer the tory blood suckers no more.

What does this graph mean? What is the y axis? Is it percentage increase. Percentage increase compared to what? Does the blue line use the same axis. If so, what does that mean?

The general point is, as spending cuts increase, so has the deficit, but this graph might mislead to the magnitude of both

4. Duncan Weldon

mister k @3,

Axis is £bn.

Duncan

@ 2 David

Roll on Scottish independence…but not for the reasons you say…

I’d love to see how the Scottish electorate feel after independence, when their politicians stop being able to promise the earth without actually having to worry about such trifling matters as taxation, spending and deficits. Once they do, they’ll quickly have to make massive cuts as well, or face bankruptcy pretty quickly.

Plus it would get rid of left wing Scottish parasites controlling how England is governed.

6. David Waters

So if the government were to spend more, that would reduce the deficit and cut the burden on future generations wouldn’t it?

If that is so, why not increase government expenditure by, lets say, 50%, and happy days would soon be here again.

I couldn’t agree more with the thrust of your argument. As I argued in my blog earlier this week, custs equate to a larger, not a smaller deficit. I also argued that the banks should pay a temporary ‘reparation tax’ to attone for some of the mess that they’ve helped create. You can read my thoughts in full at:

http://www.towardsthegunfire.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/dear-chancellor.html

But Austerity is not about what is good for the people. It is being pushed all over the world by the global elites. This 1% don’t give a shit if it pushes the economy into recession,and depression. And they don’t care if it lasts for years. They have the wealth to ride it out. What is important is the people sacrifice. In fact, it benefits the elites for the public to endure hardship. It makes them more likely to become obedient and more willing to give up rights and benefits they enjoy. It offers the elites more opportunity for exploitation.

The only danger to the elites is if the public take to the streets. But they feel confident that the huge military might and domestic spying operations can protect them. If not they can always buy an island which many of them have done.

9. Keith Reeder

“Plus it would get rid of left wing Scottish parasites controlling how England is governed.”

And – as the evidence of your own eyes will amply confirm, Tyler – isn’t it a bloody shame we don’t have more of them to curb the idealogically-driven, sociopathic, utter ineptitude being demonstrated by the current crop of incompetents at the helm on this (south) side of the border.

10. margin4error

Thing is – the “self-defeating” bit of the article is open to interpretation.

Yes, the cuts came too fast and too soon – if the aim was to cut the deficit.

But if the aim was to roll back the state – then austerity has been very successful because it has seen the public sector cut while leaving a big deficit with which to justify further rolling back of the state.

This is a rather zealous government. It has a firm and fixed ideological path and it is driving along that path quite successfully. It may not be a pragmatic and sensible means of achieving itself – but for a zealot the ideological outcome is an achievement in its own right.

That’s why we have generally not elected zealous governments in the past. The public tend to recognise that zealotry leads to myopia, especially as conditions change over time. But Cameron seemed a lot more pragmatic than his government has turned out to be.

@ Keith

You and I are clearly looking at different things then….I see huge debts and deficits run up by a socialist government feedling it’s client state, and ever increasing government spending as a share of GDP, requiring ever more taxes. I also see the end for that movie in a bankrupt government and lower living standards for all.

@Tyler

For democrats wishing to resolve the “West Lothian question”, the most efficient route is encouraging the Scots to leave the Union.

I hope there will be an energetic “Sod-odd Scotland” campaign run from England. A political campaign designed to antagonise the Scots into voting for independence should be relatively easy to put together.

Since an independent Scotland might favour Schengen, I hope any economic settlement will incorporate the costs of erecting a physical border.

“This is a rather zealous government. It has a firm and fixed ideological path and it is driving along that path quite successfully”.

I don’t think this is true. Remember that, in a previous incarnation, Cameron and Osbourne pledged to meet Brown’s spending commitments, though there was to be some “sharing of the proceeds of growth” (whatever that really meant). Further, it’s easier to reduce the state in a growing economy than in a shrinking one.

There have been too many changes of heart to regard the Conservatives as ideological in my view. No less than Blair / Brown, the overriding aim seems simply to be the winning of elections.

Now you can argue that, for example, Osbourne gets a kick from cutting, but I’d bet he would rather be winning votes.

As for being “pragmatic”, I think we can all see that this is not the most competent government ever, or the most well-informed.

Tyler @ 6

see huge debts and deficits run up by a socialist government feedling it’s client state, and ever increasing government spending as a share of GDP, requiring ever more taxes.

Funny that, because the fact are somewhat different. Huge debts ran up to shore up an economy ripped into bite sized chunks to feed the Tory bankers more like. The Country’s poor, disabled and vulnerable being forced to carry the burden as well as scapegoated.

Once they do, they’ll quickly have to make massive cuts as well, or face bankruptcy pretty quickly.

Why?

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/scotland_independence_salmond_economy-3239

This is exactly the reason I find arrogant Tory cunts like you so fucking annoying. It never occurs to you to have the decency to check out the facts, you would sooner just assume that your innate self importance would somehow propel your wishes into existence.

I have news for you and the rest of the strutting little Englanders that infest this board. You may feel that the rest of the World somehow require your permission to live, but alas no. It may have escaped your attention, but I, as a Scot pay tax into the same pot as you and the same pot as everyone else. It may surprise you to learn that Scotland is not actually a tax haven. We pay tax the same as everyone else, in fact we pay about a grand a year per capita more in than we receive back.

Note to decent English people. Please do not take this as a general attack on all English people. This is Edinburgh Festival month and my partner and I have had the pleasure of meeting thousands of decent English people enjoying a drink with at a couple of dozen over the last fortnight. In fact, I have enjoyed socialising with countless English (as well as other Nations) over the last two decades or so. There are even occasions (in my long distant past) where I have enjoyed, ahem, more intimate occasions. Then again, doubt, sociopathic scum like Tyler never attend cultural events of the type we have attended.

I am more than happy to discuss the implications of Scottish Independence with almost anyone, but I draw the line at backward dick ends.

15. David Waters

Does anyone agree with my solution as posted at 11:55?

Seems pretty straightforward to me

@Jim

Don’t insult “cunts” by putting “tory” in front of it!

Try “asswipe” instead, to show precisely how – used & disposable such people really are. The fact that they tend to make society resemble a cesspit makes it more accurate too.

(just a bit of tounge-in-cheek advice there)

@David Waters

It is not necessary to increase capital expenditure by that amount! Worse, it could end up ferreted away in offshore tax havens by wealth accumulators, leaving the rest of us with the same situation as now. It is more important to close tax loopholes, to prevent ‘avoidance’ and prosecute evaders vigirously. Anyone/company stupid enough to up sticks to a flag of convenience country, rescind the right to trade in this country. The cayman islands don’t genuinely have a large economy (as an example)

With avoidance and evasion reduced, the deficit would be wiped out within a year…

“With avoidance and evasion reduced, the deficit would be wiped out within a year…”

The sad and rather depressing thing is that there are a lot of people who actually believe that.

“Anyone/company stupid enough to up sticks to a flag of convenience country, rescind the right to trade in this country.”

Autarky here we come.

@Thornavis
Just looked up autarky, maybe. Doesn’t take into account the fact that it can degenerate into exactly what we have now, with different buzzwords…

margin4error

“That’s why we have generally not elected zealous governments in the past. The public tend to recognise that zealotry leads to myopia, especially as conditions change over time. But Cameron seemed a lot more pragmatic than his government has turned out to be.”

Oh come on, you’re one of the sensible commenters here I cant believe that you actually think that. Everyone has there own ideas of where zealotry lies but surely the 1945 Labour government could be seen as at least as zealous with it’s wholesale nationalisation programme as anything this government is doing. The Tories have introduced a few things the left doesn’t like such as NHS and education reform and made some effort to reign in the deficit but really, constrained as they are by the need to placate the Lib Dems, there is nothing terribly radical let alone zealous there. If there is then the same could be said of the last government which did similar things, I think an objective historian looking back in a century or so will be hard put to notice much difference.

Increasing benefits that the UK cannot afford will not stimulate the economy. That is just buying votes now with deferred taxes (ie borrowing).

In order to restructure the economy from consumption to production, handouts must be cut, corporate taxes must be reduced, consumption/sales taxes increased, and the money ‘saved’ reallocated to investment in infrastructure. Painful, but necessary. Then, later, we could move to the Scandinavian model of low personal taxes (nil inheritance tax in Sweden, btw), high sales taxes and a generous system of redistributive benefits. At present, we have generous benefits and relatively high tax…

show me the money!

Or, show me the money tree to be more exact.

The TUC are a joke. Unemployment would be at Spanish levels if such people were running the nation.

@Tory

“show me the money”

pmsl, bank accounts in offshore tax havens are notorious for cloudiness, aargh, but then, so is the inshore tax haven – the city.

An institution that lobbies for us to pay your ideological master’s tax bill. With near wonga type interest…

Or is it you prefer to leave stones unturned?

@ Jim

*Yawn*

Bank bailouts have cost the UK less than 10bn now, after most of the original 50bn has been paid back. The budget deficit is many times that size, and most of it is strucutural – meaning it comes from spending which was in place BEFORE the financial crisis and any bailouts.

As for Scotland, North Sea oil revenues are running at around 6bn a year and declining, which is less than the amount granted to Scotland from England via the Barnett formula. Meanwhile, even with that grant Scotland is running an approx 7% budget deficit. Take Scotland out of the UK and they wouldn’t be able to raise debt anywhere near as cheaply, so please, tell me how you expect Scotland not to go bankrupt or be forced to make significant spending cuts.

As for your diatribe regarding culture, I won’t even start. Especially if you think that attending the Edinburgh festival is your starting point.

Personally, I actually favour the union, but I was playing devil’s advocate to the Scottish Unionists who think that an Independent Scotland without the evil Tories will be some sort of socialist utopia where the cash and benefits flow freely. I wonder how your tune will change when your paradise goes bust and it’s government will be forced to make bigger cuts than in England.

Knowing you, “decent people” mean non-Tory voters….you are so certain that what you beleive is right, and that all Tories are rich people who want to crush the poor or whatever your latest foaming at the mouth rant involves us doing, that you can’t see anything else. Tories don’t want people to remain poor – quite the opposite. The Tory party would be more than happy if everyone was doing well, as that woulld tend to earn them more votes. Tory voters don’t however want any greater extension of a welfare state which encourages welfarism as a lifestyle choice – something the Labour party does NOT want given it recieves much of it’s voting support from it’s client state. Labour’s greatest goal is to keep giving people jsut enough to keep them voting Labour, but never let their aspirations or chances in life grow enough to remove their dependency on the state.

Firstly, I think it is fair to say that the TUC’s approach can broadly be ignored. There are clear reasons why the TUC does not want to see cuts, and to legitimise their worry of not wanting to see their government funding dry up they come up with various attempts to show how it is not working.

I would agree however that austerity in itself does not work. You cannot implement austerity and only austerity and expect your problems to be fixed. Auserity needs to be introduced along with a package of other measures to correct the economy.

“Slashing government spending and putting up taxes against a backdrop of a weak economy will not only depress growth, it will fail on its own terms as a means of recuing the deficit.”

Absolutely right. It is wrong that austerity should be combined with tax increases. They simply work against each other and prolong the issues in a faltering economy. It should be combined with tax decreases. There are numerous reports of how much money is being sat on by businesses which a lot of people want to see put into the economy. Unfortunately, a lot of the left are saying that that can produce tax revenue. However, taxation falls on the value increase and not on the capital, in otherwords the profit. But you are not going to get money moving through the economy again with tax increases. You will mearly slow it down or get it to leave the country.

Austerity therefore is only half the answer. There is no doubt that the government must reduce spending. Those who are saying simply collect more to close the gap are missing the point in the most fundamental way, and must realise that we are at a tipping point now where the marginal revenue of further collection will stop helping and start doing damage. There is also nothing to stop government from simply closing the gap and when they have done so continue to spend more in order to win votes.

Austerity should therefore be combined with active measures to increase company and job creation. Lower taxation, and less regulation. That does not mean get rid of all regulation, but a lot of it is unnecessary, expensive for firms, and gives a very unfair advantage to the larger established companies effectively shutting out competitors.State sanctioned monopolies are never excusable, outside of full scale war. It also means that the interface between government and business should cease to exist. So long as a company plays within the boundaries of the law, then they should be unrestrained in their actions, over step the line however they should be prosecuted.

It is barking mad to believe that somehow, we can collect more from citizens to make up for the spending errors of government, and somehow that will teach them not to spend more in the future. Where we are to find these angels to run the place I don’t know. Unless you really do believe that Marxism works, in which case I suggest you check yourself into the closest clinic.

@19 Dissident

Sorry I don’t understand what it is you are saying there.

27. Keith Reeder

“Unless you really do believe that Marxism works, in which case I suggest you check yourself into the closest clinic”

Whereas we’re surrounded by evidence that Free Enterprise Laissez Faire Neoliberalism will solve the world’s economic problems, eh?

@27. Keith Reeder

“Whereas we’re surrounded by evidence that Free Enterprise Laissez Faire Neoliberalism will solve the world’s economic problems, eh?”

And when precisely have we had that?

For decades we have had state using corporations as political tools, you need look no further than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the packaging up of mortgage debt to sell around the world so Clinton could be credited with giving everyone a home. We have large businesses being assisted unfairly in the market for failure, consider RBS, Lloyd’s and Northern Rock. You have effective tax rates on the individual of over 60% in some cases. You have state regulation paralysing industries with regulation and tax, consider GSK. We have the state sanctioning monopolies in transport such as the First/Virgin nonsense. You have political will setting artificial low interest rates to flood the market with cheap credit fulling inflation and debt expenditure. You have state protected unions holding entire cities at ransom over transport. You have 60bn a year being spent on Quangos, most of which do nothing yet still cost the taxpayer.

Sorry what were you saying about us having a Liberalist economy?

Just because you think we have had a liberal economy recently, and call it a liberal economy does not make it so. If you actually want to find out what a liberalist economy is, please do read Hayek or Friedman.

TONE: “In order to restructure the economy from consumption to production, handouts must be cut, corporate taxes must be reduced, consumption/sales taxes increased, and the money ‘saved’ reallocated to investment in infrastructure. Painful, but necessary”

That might work if it was just us in this hole. But the whole world is in the hole. We are not alone as a nation in trying to cut wages and so become more competitive (i.e. austerity), and everyone trying to do that at once spells disaster. Profitable production doesn’t just require cheap labour: it requires a large market to sell to, which it’s not going to find if everyone across the board is trying to slash incomes to become competitive. You can’t have production without consumption.

30. Keith Reeder

“You can’t have production without consumption”

Indeed. And – although many on the right choose to ignore the fact – the public sector is really a major (THE major?) engine driving that consumption.

@ 30 Kieth Reeder

Your evidence for that assertion, is this the famous multiplier thingy ?

Really, the only thing that will solve the world’s economic problems at the moment (too much debt, too much leverage) is a sustained period of de-leveraging, rather than trying to inflate a new bubble – kicking the can down the road and causing larger problems in the future. No, it won’t be pretty, but austerity and lower living standards are the only real long term solution. At the moment what is being done jsut shifts the problems from one balance sheet to another and increases the likelihood of catastrophic consequences further down the road.

@30. Keith Reeder

“Indeed. And – although many on the right choose to ignore the fact – the public sector is really a major (THE major?) engine driving that consumption.”

Confusing. Not least because what you are suggesting is looking at the situation in a very two dimentional fashion. The public sector is paid for by the private through tax raised. No problem there. But to pay a public sector worker, you have to take that money away from the private sector, thus reducing the private sectors ability to produce/grow/etc. Therefore the net gain is nothing, in fact in many cases it is a loss because the way govt’s spend mean they do so more inefficiently.

Why have a public sector at all? because we realise that there are something (although limited) which a central body can do better. The provision of train tracks is one such example.

So how can a public sector produce growth? by using the money they do have for infrastructure that is going to enable the private citizen to be more efficient at his task. Unfortunately, the public sector has not stuck to this. They are now in almost every aspect of life spending far too much while they are at it.

Tyler
Why is austerity NOT imposed on execs & the rich too? While the rest of us have reduced living standards imposed on us, they award themselves even more money. Is that acceptable to you? If it isn’t, why ignore it?

Given the fact that they are just as likely to make mistakes and mismanage as the rest of us…

Tyler @

It just so happens that Scotland pays (with or without Oil) more than we get back from the UK. Not that I resent that in itself, in principle, but what I do resent is this completely unsupported myth that Scotland gets back more than it puts in or that English people subsidise us. That may annoy people like you, but by any reasonable measure, it happens to be true. Had you bothered to actually read some objective research, you would have found that to be true as well. However, as you have a full set of Tory prejudices to rely on, you have no need for research, do you?

Anyway, no one expects a post Independence Scotland to become a Socialist (or any other kind of) paradise. If Scotland becomes independent then the hard work will truly begin. Like every other country, priories will require to be set. No more ruinous wars or phallic nuclear weaponry programmes for example. No funnelling taxpayers money into private shareholders of Atos and A4E workfare junkies, either.

Bank bailouts have cost the UK less than 10bn now, after most of the original 50bn has been paid back.

Yes, but it wasn’t *just* the bank bailouts though was it? The credit crunch caused huge damage to the Country’s economy forcing the Government to borrow to keep the Country afloat. A plan that was working until you cunts threw a bucket of water onto the machinery and we have ANOTHER tory double dip.

you are so certain that what you beleive is right

Actually, that comes from what you and the rest of the vile scum write almost every day on this board and every other opportunity people like you are afforded.

Tories don’t want people to remain poor

Oh please, spare me the tears. You cunts have set out to drive more decent people into poverty since War time levels. And every policy you cunts advocate pretty much solidified that. During the last time you were in power poverty more than doubled and it rising pretty quickly now. Eight million people in part time work, many of whom do so simply because there are no full time jobs out there is hardly making people better off. Nor is your merciless attacks on the disabled likely to result making people better off, unless of course you are talking about the sub human scum that that own Atos and other parasites who are considerably better of at the expense of those too weak to fight back.

I wonder if the guy who sells people with no credit ratings crippling loans has a vested interest in creating more poor people?

Your biggest donators are the tsetse flies who feed of the poor and you know it.

something the Labour party does NOT want given it recieves much of it’s voting support from it’s client state

Does it? You have evidence for that? What a fucking piece of shit you are, what a truly despicable thing to suggest. Perhaps you should do some actual research into the long term unemployed and voting intentions. The places with highest long term unemployment have the lowest turnouts at elections. People who become cut of from the rest of society, withdraw from the democratic proccess.

What kind of backward prick describes long term unemployed as a ‘client state’.

This is another reason I fucking hate (not ‘dislike’ or disagree with, I genuinely hate them) the much of the Tory vote. Not the old fashioned people who grew up as Tories and vote out of a sense of loyalty, but the despicable people who use terms like this.

Every day we see the Tories announce some despicable law or ruling and we have to dismiss them as ‘mistaken’, ‘mis-informed’ or even incompetent, but we are expected to believe that a political Party has deliberately set out to keep people unemployed as a vote buying exercise.

Even if was true, even if it was possible to do this, then the biggest perpetrators of this act was surely the Tory Party. No single Party in our Country has created more welfare claimants in its history than the Tory Party. 2.8 million people on incapacity benefit alone. Three million unemployed, plus those fiddled out of the figures.

You cunts destroyed millions of people the last time you were in power, and you are going to do the same.

Scum, simply sub human scum.

@David 6

> So if the government were to spend more, that would reduce the deficit
> and cut the burden on future generations wouldn’t it?

Actually, with carefully chosen spending, yes. A number of really important things have been overlooked regarding the situation in the UK. The first is the source of the debt that actually caused the economic problems; which can be broadly described as private debt.

People keep talking about the deficit, but a really critical thing to remember is that the deficit was not the cause of the financial crisis, and the UK *does not*, at the current time have a debt problem. Sure, it’s easy to make it sound like it does, but the reality is our interest rates on Government bonds are incredibly low (bolstering the case for borrowing… I’ll get to what to spend it on shortly), and our debt as a percentage of GDP is about one third of its post war peak. We are nothing like Greece, because we control our own currency, giving us tremendous flexibility.

The critical factor is not the absolute value of our debt, but its relationship to GDP and rate of interest. As long as the combination of GDP growth and inflation keep pace with the increase in the debt pile, there is no problem. This is why austerity is so stupid. It hinders growth, and in the worst case it might lead to deflation, which will increase the value of our debt, and that’s when we will have a problem. It’s the Government’s actions right now that are threatening to give the UK a debt problem.

To be clear, I’m not arguing that *endless* Government spending is the solution, I’m arguing that the Government should spend now, and then revert to ‘austerity’ when the private sector can offset the resultant drop in demand (a similar point is made by a commenter above; spend in the bad times, save in the good).

So, what to spend money on?

1) Stop firing public sector workers – making people unemployed will not increase demand (plus it means Government spends more on benefits, negating the reason for laying people off in the first place).

2) Infrastructure. Various parts of UK infrastructure could do with an overhaul. Now is the perfect time. It’ll put people to work for years, and some infrastructure projects can be ramped up quite quickly, delivering short-term impact while the longer-term projects get off the ground. High quality infrastructure is good for the economy anyway, and the additional people in work will have money to spend!

3) No, that’s it. Well, I can think of other things I think the Government should spend more money on, but they’re longer-term projects, not likely to have a big impact on short-term demand.

So, using debt to solve a debt problem might sound nuts, but if you look in a little more detail (and in particular notice whose debt we’re talking about in each case) the answer really can be “yes”.

@ 36

I find myself agreeing with this!

1: Mindlessly accepting that public sector workers should be thrown on the scrapheap will not solve the burden of private debt in this country, or elsewhere for that matter. The root cause of private debt is a combination of too many corporations driving down worker wages to pay for executive bonuses, with the constant bombardment of endless adverts from said corporations saying you *must* have this car/gadget etc – we know you can’t afford, here’s a loan…

2: How long have we limped along with patched up Victorian infrastructure, whether you are talking about railways or plumbing/sewers for example?

I am not sure about the outright abolishing of capitalism that some commenters have written on here, given how stupid our species can be both during and after such revolutionary zeal. What if you ditch the baby with the bathwater? It will be difficult for me to be anticapitalist, as I own shares (not many) but that makes me by definition a capitalist of sorts, as I am profiting (very nicely) from owning a slice of the company I work for!

Query, is it possible to be a leftie and a shareholder?

@ Thornavis

Regarding my comment @19, I am referring to the fact that any system will result in an elite, one way or another. Unfortunately.

What I suggested could be corrupted, with the right misinformation campaign. So, in any system, you need to ask who wins the most.

Autarkhy, or Demarkhy (which I prefer) would still have it’s rich and powerful people, however you define that in those systems. As long as they don’t have a free ride at the expense of everyone else.

@Dissident

> I am not sure about the outright abolishing of capitalism…

Indeed. It’s easy to see where that sentiment comes from, as our current system clearly needs to be modified, but the evidence would seem to suggest you would only move the power from one small group to another (i.e. the rich, to the politicians – obviously not a mutually exclusive group, but I hope the point is clear enough), and the same evidence would suggest the wider public would not be better off under that system.

> Query, is it possible to be a leftie and a shareholder?

I think the answer to that is yes, it’s just a question of degree. I have no problem with people being successful and profiting from their ideas etc. The problem is that a tiny minority become outrageously successful while the vast majority just bump along the bottom. Which makes it particularly galling to see Osborne and people like him talking about tax cuts for corporations, when they clearly go out of their way to ensure they pay a smaller percentage of tax than the current headline rate anyway!

Dissident

Are you sure you looked up the definition of autarky in the right place ? You appear to be confusing it with autocracy.

Ahaaa, cheers Thornavis. I did look up the wrong definition! I looked at autarchy, not autarky. So you think self sufficiency is better than the current system? It does have it’s advantages.

In my original assertion I was thinking corporations and the rich need us much, much more than we need them. In other words, the balance of power should be rethought.

Dissident

” So you think self sufficiency is better than the current system? It does have it’s advantages.”

Er no, I was making exactly the opposite point. Autarky is a very bad idea indeed, your suggestion that British citizens be prohibited from trading in the UK for removing their money to a safe haven is a step on the road to a closed economy.

@ Jim.

You a legend for comment no. 14. Bravo.

Only a fantasist could believe that Scotland is going to become independent.

“Only a fantasist could believe that Scotland is going to become independent.”

Or chronic alcoholics.


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    How the government’s austerity is self-defeating | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/32PECWMk via @libcon

  10. Clive Burgess

    http://t.co/HnFp3Ohl [http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/08/16/how-the-governments-austerity-is-self-defeating/|leo://plh/http%3A*3*3libe…

  11. Tom French

    How the government’s austerity is self-defeating | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/g5KLMddJ via @libcon

  12. Croydon Labour Party

    RT @libcon: How the government's austerity is self-defeating http://t.co/oBNg3j9Z

  13. Claire Hague

    How the government’s austerity is self-defeating | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/CECDFqS1 via @libcon

  14. Why the government’s austerity isn’t working | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] says this shows how austerity is self-defeating; a squeeze on spending weakens growth and thus reduces tax revenue. I'd add that this will […]

  15. Jobs and Climate

    How the government’s austerity is self-defeating http://t.co/yDghc96V #SHIFT

  16. Joel Benjamin

    How the government’s austerity is self-defeating http://t.co/yDghc96V #SHIFT





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