Jamie Andrews

A new politics for a new era

Check out this video of an articulate young black man explaining to Boris Johnson what he believes to be the causes of the recent London riots:

I agree with everything that the man says, up until the point where he solely blames foreign spending for the lack of money to spend at home. The scale of the recent bailout of the financial system (which doesn’t seem to be working) seems to me to be a more important spending event to highlight.

For me, this video hammers home the reality that most people have made no connection between (i) the scale of the financial sector bailouts; (ii) the fact that the increase in the size of the financial sector over the past twenty years is directly linked to the increase in income inequality; and (iii) the fact that it’s largely due to bailing out the financial sector that there are such strains on Government budgets. The lack of this understanding is the key to why no credible alternative is emerging as capitalism as we know it seems to continue crumbling around us.

I believe that the UK and the rest of the world need to massively reform our economic system. The current approach of trying to get back to “business as usual” is clearly failing in lots of different ways. Unless we reform the economic system more widely, we’re not going to have the money to spend on the well-needed things that the man in the video is confronting Boris about.

We should be looking at the kinds of economic policies employed under Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1930s America, as part of the New Deal. However, we also need to bring it up-to-date: the New Deal focused on building things like motorways and in the 1930s the poor were concentrated in rural areas rather than cities. We need to grow new sectors like a clean energy infrastructure and making sure that we are producing food locally rather than spending loads of cash transporting it from big factory farms.

The New Economics Foundation has some good stuff to say on this subject, but this is just a starting point, and we need to go much further to actually define a new political agenda that confronts the challenge of economic reform.

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