A Brief History of Mass Theft

by Darren Allen

Our institutionalised brand of democracy goes by the name of capitalism. In such a system the word democracy, as Noam Chomsky points out actually means, run by the business classes. If it’s not run by business, it simply doesn’t count as democratic.
Capitalist democracy is one in which all capital is privately, albeit indirectly, owned by a tiny club of psychologically stunted monsters. It is a democracy that asks us to vote, every four or five years, for people who have almost zero influence over the totalitarian corporate structures that actually run the planet and in which we spend most of our actual lives; a democracy that can only survive by making its members as stupid, anxious, greedy and hateful as possible so that they continue to vote for the owners and managers who sit at the bottom of the democratic money-funnel with their golden buckets, laughing like this:

Iain Duncan Smith, a beautiful, beautiful man.


It’s worth asking, I think, how we could get to such a state.
Ask yourself this; what do these six things have in common?

  • Democracy.
  • A ‘Level Playing Field’.
  • Peace and Quiet.
  • The Rule of Law.
  • Free Markets.
  • Freedom of Opportunity.
  • Well, one answer is that we have all of them, more or less. As man-of-joy Rutgar Bregman points out, Western Europe is democratic, fair, peaceful and lawful. It’s just lovely.
    Another answer is that they are a cigarette paper meniscus stretched over seven hells of boredom, waste, inequality, insensitivity, meaningless, mediocrity and misery.
    And yet a third answer is that this clean, lawful Arcadia was created through a millennial process of theft, subjugation, deception on a unspeakable scale and mass-murder; infamies too extensive to catalogue and, for many, to even consider.
    Let’s take one example of millions, this guy:

    This is a picture of the 6th Duke of Sutherland, John Egerton and Mertoun House, where he lives. He’s dead now — can’t find a photograph of the 7th Duke, Francis Egerton, for some reason — but anyway the Sutherlands are worth £30 million and his assets include a billion pounds in fine art treasures. Where did they get their money? If you’re Scottish I probably don’t need to tell you who the first Duke of Sutherland was — it was this guy, pictured here with his wife:

    Note the look in their eyes — captured very well, I think.


    These two obtained their power by clearing vast areas of Scottish highland of their inhabitants. Here is Marx’s account of what happened:

    All their villages were destroyed and burnt, all their fields turned to pasturage. British soldiers enforced this mass of evictions, and came to blows with the inhabitants. One old woman was burnt to death in the flames of her hut she refused to leave. It was in this manner that this fine lady (Lady Sutherland) appropriated 794,000 acres of land which belonged to the clan since time immemorial… By 1825, the 15,000 Gaels had been replaced by 131,000 sheep.

    This was itself the culminating event of centuries of confiscation of land and forced evictions.
    Sutherland now finds itself a perfectly democratic county, in a perfectly peaceful, lawful land of freedom; one in which, it just so happens, all the land and resources are owned by a handful of people, such as Frankie Sutherland and the various billionaires and multinationals that his ancestors sold their land to.
    If you’re not familiar with classical economics and the ideas of Mr. K. Marx, the process by which communal land and resources are appropriated by private wealth (or capital), and people are robbed of their self-sufficiency and thereby forced into a position where they have to sell their labour in order to survive, is called Primitive Accumulation. Today we might call this Privatisation, or in plain-speaking, Mass-Theft.
    The classic, and in some senses original, case of mass-theft was enclosure, the lawful practice, which began in the fifteenth century, of amalgamating common land into a single property and handing it over to private interest. George Orwell summarises:

    Stop to consider how the so-called owners of the land got hold of it. They simply seized it by force, afterwards hiring lawyers to provide them with title-deeds. In the case of the enclosure of the common lands, which was going on from about 1600 to 1850, the land-grabbers did not even have the excuse of being foreign conquerors; they were quite frankly taking the heritage of their own countrymen, upon no sort of pretext except that they had the power to do so.

    Half of the land in Britain is currently owned by 36,000 people. One man, the Duke of Westminster, owns 133,000 acres (similar statistics — often much more severe — hold for most of the rest of the world) and most of these rights can be traced back to one form of enclosure or another.
    For the most part then primitive accumulation has been a straightforward case of Sutherland-style theft and concomitant murder; simply stealing or enclosing land and / or killing everyone on it — what we might call Direct Mass-Theft. The earliest ancestors of the noble families of Europe initially gained their power in this way, taking the land of their own country’s peoples, and then, during ‘the great work of subjugation and conquest,’ taking that of other peoples, a practice which continues today (in Brazil, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere).
    Marx summarises:

    The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre. It begins with the revolt of the Netherlands from Spain, assumes giant dimensions in England’s Anti-Jacobin War, and is still going on in the opium wars against China, &c. The different moments of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England.
    In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the state, the concentrated and organized force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.

    Direct mass-theft is, however, wherever possible, avoided. It’s unpleasant work, exhausting and it’s just not good for business to have blood dripping from your hands. In the early days, at the dawn of capitalism, such crude tactics were necessary, as they still are in many parts of the world, in order to gain monopolistic control of the source of wealth; land. But mass-thieves have always understood that to gain the second vital component of their wealth, labour, it is vital, not to mention easier, to also use Indirect Mass-Theft; impoverishment (the stick) and addiction (the carrot).
    Techniques of pre-modern impoverishment included (and still include), usury, taxation, raising prices on food, capitalising on disasters and enacting laws that curtail self-sufficiency (that make it illegal for people to collect firewood, hunt (‘poach’), mill their own flower, etc), all of which combine to force people into a state of dependency on the owners of capital and the issuers of money. With no land or access to it, unable to buy the necessities of life, or make them, forced into debt and compelled to give away what little they do have, men and women become poor and hungry, the prerequisites for wage slavery and indentured servitude.
    The influential writer and political theorist of early capitalism, Arthur Young, explained;

    …everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.

    Another influential writer of the eighteenth century, Joseph Townsend, put it this way;

    [Direct] legal constraint [to labor]… is attended with too much trouble, violence, and noise… whereas hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure, but as the most natural motive to industry, it calls forth the most powerful exertions.… Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjugation to the most brutish, the most obstinate, and the most perverse.

    Michael Perelmen, in The Invention of Capitalism (from which these two quotes are taken) points out that nearly all of the political theorists of the time, above all Adam Smith, were silent or circumspect about the need and the reality of primitive accumulation, although…

    …on reviewing the major figures in the pantheon of political economy, an unremitting hostility toward self-provisioning of all kinds emerges — at least insofar as it interferes with the recruitment of wage labor.

    And…

    …almost all representatives of early political economy agreed on the beneficial effects of high food prices in forcing wage labor to work harder (see Furniss 1965; Wermel 1939, 1–14, 17, 24). In this vein, Sir William Temple (1758, 30) suggested that the community would be well served if food were taxed when harvests were plentiful lest the working class sink into sloth and debauchery. David Hume (1752c, 344), for his part, asserted that such policies would even be in the interests of the poor: “‘Tis always observed, in years of scarcity, if it be not extreme, that the poor labour more, and really live better.”

    Impoverishment did not end with the pre-modern techniques of land-theft and economic deprivation. As capitalism got underway new methods of crippling people became available. Self-sufficiency and traditional networks of mutual aid could be hobbled or broken up by forcing people to be dependent on the technology, energy, transport-systems, bureaucratic credentials (aka qualifications), channels of information and ‘consumer goods’ of the market. While the impoverished pre-modern or third-world worker cannot grow food on his own land, raise his family in his own home or make his own clothes and furniture, the impoverished modern worker cannot use his feet to go where he needs to go — he needs a car — use his mouth to communicate with his fellows — he needs a phone — or use his own intelligence and experience to propagate knowledge — he needs the correct qualification (or ‘a proven track-record’ in communications). Now it is not just land that is owned by the wealthy, but every conceivable form of human capital.
    Every move we attempt to make outside the market forces us against the point of a spear which forces back into it.
    In addition to wholesale appropriation of the necessities of life, capital also developed sophisticated forms of propaganda and indoctrination which, through advertising, film, music, journalism and art, compelled people to put their faith in capitalism, to spurn ‘old-fashioned’ values, to ignore mass-theft and to embrace the work ethic. These had their roots in the earliest religion of Capitalism, Protestantism, but reached new heights of psychological potency with techniques of persuasion developed by the new profession of journalism, designed to manufacture consent, and the new science of psychology, designed to tap into our deepest desires.
    For we are not just compelled into the market by external pressures, but internal addictions. The stick of planned obsolescence (soap that wears out in three days, washing machines that break ten minutes after the warranty runs out, operating systems that must be updated every year) drives us from behind and the carrot of perceived obsolescence beckons us forward (the ‘need’ to have the latest version, the newest style). From the beads, buckets, calico prints, firearms and hooch sold to pre-conquest people to tempt them into producing for the market, to the smartphones, luxury cars, electric blankets and box-sets that compel modern people into a need to earn more; every step the market digs deeper into our addictive fears and desires; every conceivable weakness is exploited by capital, to draw us into the market. Whiskey-addicted speed-freak and closet psychopath? We’ve got just the thing, sir! Loquacious, luxury-addicted bimbo, who needs the constant validation of yearning stares from men? Step this way, madam!
    We are now well out of primitive accumulation and into the ‘silent hand’ (in Adam Smith’s rather creepy imagery) that forces or compels us to consume the products of the market and sell our labour power to it for the credits to do so. Perelman again:

    …wage labor appeared to be a voluntary affair. Once capital no longer had to rely as extensively on the initial extramarket compulsion to create wage labor… contrived measures to undermine the self-sufficient household were unnecessary. With the establishment of an epoch in which ‘‘the silent compulsion of economic relations’’ had become more effective (Marx 1977, 899), capital could pretend that workers were willing partners in a mutually rewarding transaction.

    There is no need for violence or compulsion by nobles. The impersonal market does it all automatically. There are no need for Orwellian techniques of control to keep us in place; the Huxleyan market forces us to keep ourselves in place. The explicit orders of the slave-owner have been replaced by the implicit compulsions of the contract ‘freely made’ between the worker and the employer. You are free to start your own company, grow your own food, walk to work, educate yourself, create free communities of mutual aid, work the land, do whatever you please. You’re free to do all these things! Go on — what’s stopping you?
    The entire process of mass-theft took centuries to carry out in Western Europe and is often difficult to grasp in its entirety. It is instructive to study it though, particularly in England, which, as Marx pointed out, served as something of a model for the rest of the world;

    England developed its strong industrial base precisely because it was so successful in carrying out the process of primitive accumulation. With so many people left dependent on the market for their basic needs, British industry had a far greater mass market at hand than any other country. This advantage was crucial for the success of the Industrial Revolution in England.

    Nowadays of course it all happens much more quickly and efficiently;

    1. Attack a resource-rich country with a level of violence they are unable to comprehend or repel. Decimate the community and establish through ‘foreign aid,’ a westernised elite sufficiently violent and power-hungry to crush resistance.
    2. Force states into massive debt (through warfare, taking advantage of catastrophe, etc.) which are paid to infrastructure-building, resource-depleting corporations and their local clients (dictators, generals, etc.) but paid by the state.
    3. Force states, in order to pay these debts, to privatise all resources and remove all laws that protect local labour, local capital and the local environment, or that tax corporate profit flood local markets with cheap, massively over-subsidised corporate goods, (ruining local producers) steal (i.e. buy up) local resources and local capital, employ locals at the lowest possible rates and turn the local environment into an uninhabitable wasteland.
    4. Finally, after the tax payers at home have helped create an ‘economic miracle,’ and the owners have become hugely rich, level the playing field, which is to say introduce ‘free-trade’ in which the pauper majority are unable to compete, and complain violently when they try to subsidise independent or locally run endeavours.
    5. All the time ensure, at home, that outrage at this approach is pacified. Use the media to avoid all critical issues, to structure those critical issues that do emerge within an acceptable framework, and, for the less educated, whip up a jingoistic sense of moral and racial superiority. As constant plunder results in an unnecessarily large quantity of products, the media must also be used to manufacture desire as well as consent.

    And there you have it, here we all are, living on the free, lawful, peaceful, quiet, level-playing field of global democracy; and who but a communist, or a terrorist, or an enemy of democracy, could possibly challenge this? Who but a madman even?
    For sure there’s always the threat that someone like Corbyn, Iglesias or Sanders make it on to the ballot paper, a prospect which make elites, and their professional lackeys, sick with fear; not just because they know that healthy proles and nationalised public services do not a soaring share-dividend make, but also because socialism gives off a whiff of the most intense source of dread that, as a class, they ever experience; fear of the mass.
    But the owners and managers of capital also know full well that, come what may, even a ‘crisis of democracy’ cannot meaningfully threaten the market system.
    Only nature can do that.

    Read more of Darren’s work at expressive egg

    *

    A few sources:

  • The Invention of Capitalism: Michael Perelman
  • Captains of Consciousness: Stuart Ewen
  • The Racket: Matt Kennard
  • As I Please: George Orwell
  • Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism: David Harvey
  • Capital: Karl Marx
  • Year 501: Noam Chomsky
  • See also, for some examples of mass-theft abroad: Three Crimes of the British Empire. And for how the system works these days: The 5 System Filters. And for the wider context in which this little story is but a chapter: A Truish and Actual History of the World. Finally, a few notes on the inherently flawed system of Democracy.

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    Craig
    Reader
    Craig

    Please proofread some of the figures – 30m of wealth and a billion of art ?

    86Addie
    Reader

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    eco-worrier
    Reader
    eco-worrier

    So much intellectual bullshit comment. Can’t we just sum it up as ‘the greatest confidence trick on the planet ever’.

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    I suppose that you can. The question then becomes whether your summing up is for yourself only or being put “out there” for someone other than yourself. To vaguely gesture at a “situation” and to declare it “the greatest confidence trick ever” doesn’t ensure that a nod of agreement from someone means that both you and that someone conceive of the “trick” in the same fashion. Apparent agreement is often only apparent. Or are the mechanics of the “trick” irrelevant? Is it really enough only to sense that something is wrong without being able to say in any great detail… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    As I see it, the UK economy consists of a vastly overinflated debt-filled bubble; with an over-taught microns thin skin displaying bullshit metrics – massaged and optimized to manage our expectations (by the likes of substitutions, hedonics, and weighting); floating on a cloud of consumer and ‘market’ confidence… Confidence is maintained by market expansion: which for us, means Imperial acquisition through warfare and terrorism. Or soft-power neo-colonialism. In other words, our chief export is human misery. Our chief import is other peoples wealth; acquired though actual or threatened violence. Our economy is built on the blood, sweat, and tears of… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi BigB. Actually I was referring to non socialist countries like the secular country of Iran, who on deposing the corrupt US installed Shah back in ’76? made the oil fields and gas reserves the property of the state and it’s people. Iran does not allow usurious banking and worked to eliminate their national debt to foreign countries. So did Putin and for a time so did Assad’s father and so did Sadam Hussein and Gadaffi. How interesting then, that all these countries are targeted by the US and it’s Imperialist poodles. Everything you said was true. Everyone with half… Read more »

    eco-worrier
    Reader
    eco-worrier

    Despite being demonized by US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran is creating an image of stability, dignity and sense. The USA of course, will now attempt to wreck this progress, undo Obama’s achievements. Trump’s whole motivation seems based on dislike of his predecessor. Netanyahu will be pleased.

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    “all money is created out of thin air through the process of money creation that occurs in the lending process. And money is cancelled by the repayment process.” “all money is created out of thin air through the process of money creation that occurs in the lending process. And money is cancelled by the repayment process.” Just one point of clarification (or merely to quibble): it is not true that money is cancelled by the repayment process. In fact, it can’t be. The reason is this: when a loan is issued, the contract is for the repayment of the principle… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    Let’s look at a real case situation. A couple of years ago, I needed a new gas boiler for my house. I arranged a loan from my bank on-line for around £3,500. They set up a repayment schedule based on repaying the sum borrowed plus interest over a 3-year period. The £3,500 loan was credited to my current account, which I then paid over directly to the installer. Within 30 days, my current account was being monthly debited a cash sum to pay back the loan plus interest. As it happened, I paid off the loan in its entirety within… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    On the whole, I agree with what you write, John. My observation, however, I think, is the following about the existing process of “money creation:” a) at any point in time, only so much money is in circulation. Let its magnitude be ‘A;’ b) ‘A’ was put into circulation on the condition that ‘A’ plus interest be repaid. Let the interest portion of that condition be ‘B;’ c) if ‘A’ is to be repaid in full as part of a ‘loan agreement,’ ‘B’ has also to be ponied up; d) but since the principle portion of the loan repayment is… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    ‘B’ comes from my income, which can either be received by me for my immediate labour in the very short-term in the form of wages or paid to me long-term for much earlier labour and work, i.e. in the form of pension pay. Don’t forget that profit in a capitalist society is the reward for taking risk and this element is also factored into calculations of interest rate levels. Not all loans get repaid so there is a need for an element of risk to be included in interest rate calculations. In my case, my bank charged me a very… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    “You keep harping on about the imminent collapse of the financial/monetary system.”
    No. I don’t keep harping about the imminent collapse of that system. I keep harping about the misery it constantly produces and the “fact” that whether deliberately managed to be that way or not, it is structurally prone to instability and recurrent crises.
    As for how long the system will persist, that depends almost exclusively on how long the oligarchies can maintain their influence over the apparatuses of state coercion. That could be for a long, long time yet . . .

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    “‘B’ comes from my income . . .”
    And the money that pays income comes from where if money is debt?

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    @Norm: you pretty much nailed it, except you are only looking at one side of the balance sheet. When a bank loans money, it is not only a liability, but an asset too (via the magic of double-entry book keeping.) As assets must equal liabilities: as the money is repaid, the banks assets decrease (offset against interest): and the financialised economy contracts. The UK Tories are obsessed with “balancing the books”; but austerity doesn’t work. All those cuts depress the economy; as they try to “pay off the deficit” (balance expenditure against tax revenue) the tax revenue decreases and the… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Agree: in an economy where money is debt, paying down or paying off debt takes money out of circulation and thereby must contract the economy as the wherewithal for all transactions shrinks or dries up. And so you are correct about the wrongheadedness, under the circumstances, of “wanting to balance the books,” whether private or public. We aren’t really saying anything different. When a debt has been paid off, the initial principle amount that the debt injected as money into circulation is taken out of circulation. But in order for that debt to have been retired “with interest,” the interest… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    While what you say about paying down debt during austerity seems logical, I am not sure that explains it. My belief is that the Tories are deliberately driving the economy down so they can create a cheap labour UK. By slashing welfare benefits and cutting public services at an unprecedented level, they are privatising the UK. By eliminating large amounts of effective demand within the economy, they ensure the economy goes down. All this is designed to ensure the UK is ready for Brexit – a cheap workshop/workforce off of Europe. Their STP policy – “Slash, Trash & Privatise” –… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    @John: sure, that is part of it – you are right about the policy; except that the EU and world market already has enough cheap labour and manufacturing capacity in China and Asia Pacific. Skilled manufacture is limited and competitive. Take the Ukraine as an example: the IMF sponsored oligarchs deliberately destroyed a highly skilled manufacturing sector in aerospace; aluminium smelting; the Antonov plant; etc. – not only to deprive Russia, but to prevent competition with Germany. And there’s a limit to how many Uber drivers , baristas, and cleaners a service economy can sustain. We don’t have a real… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    Holy Moley! I just read this: the end of cheap credit. This is the BIS – the central banks central bank – admitting what we are saying… We’ve hit a debt ceiling… Their solution: a ten year cycle of austerity and the return to “normalcy” of banking (increased interest rates to encourage saving.) Reading the subtext: cushion the banks from the failure of 40 years of degenerate and obscene policy failure: prepare for the ‘bail-in.’ Don’t get me wrong, the people are not wholly innocent. Ordinary folk and the ‘me’ generation wannabe social climbers were not forced into extending lines… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Most certainly, the effects or consequences are as you describe them, John. Given that the rich benefit at every turn, if the resulting austerity is motivated by simple ignorance of the relation between ‘money’ and ‘debt,’ then it’s all a happy, most highly improbable coincidence. To quote Ian Fleming: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.” I think that the post war economic miracle of Japan and subsequent restructuring under American diktat into a state of permanent stagflation proves intent (pace Richard Werner). In some respects the system does breed ideological blindness and intent is moot;… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    I would go one step further: “Poverty breeds wealth while austerity works to supplement property.” Poverty ensures the conditions by which wealth can be accrued exponentially via exploitation while austerity works to secure the means by which wealth can attract further wealth at the expense of all protections against limiting the procurement of that wealth. The more poverty we have, the greater power we give to those with wealth to subjugate us beyond our means to defend ourselves from their onslaught. Under austerity we have seen all hurdles to enslavement removed laying the groundwork for complete breaking of the social… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    “Honestly – we’re fucked.” Yes. For people alive today and in this historical epoch, it’s already a foregone conclusion. But when in the midst of a catastrophe, it is already too late to panic, and so why panic? The catastrophe unfolds for us and in a sense has already happened. Yet we remain alive and able and can still strive to emerge as future generations out of the wreckage of our immediate disaster. What is needed is a cool headed appraisal of what has already happened in terms of what has already crystallized into our epoch so as to try… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi Norman. I take it you rumbled the fact that I was plunging into a dark depression. I was reading and following links and returning to the conversation and wanted to scream at every one “stop arguing about what won’t work, when we haven’t even got a centrist, let a lone a socialist into power, agree on a basic strategy that will set us on a path to where we want to go!” There are so many positive things we can do, like adopting a stop gap policy that will get people into work, build houses to home the thousands… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    Hi Susan: Steve Keen and Michael Hudson are two of the economists I follow; precisely because of their willingness to validate the money creation process – that most economists are at pains to obfuscate. Keen poses the question: “Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis” as the title of his latest book. His answer is NO! 40% of our country is one month away from financial ruin: the so called ‘precariat’; or JAMS. More nefariously, we are one Sorosite minion’s or algobot’s ‘fat finger’ trade away from oblivion. We are all precariats now. One of Keens solutions is a debt jubilee;… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    BigB. I’m with you on the points you mentioned. I don’t see any way we can reboot the system in the near future so I’m flailing around trying to find any piece of wreckage to hang on to while the country drowns in debt. If I were 20 years younger I would have cast off my mortgage and joined a commune, just to be out of what I considered to be a rat race. Now with my home paid for, I’ve grown accustomed to my security, however humble it is and would find it difficult to integrate into a small… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    Read Keen’s book (ISBN: 9781509513734): it’s less than 150 pages. Central tenets: debt matters; mainstream economists ignore debt and so can’t accurately model or predict economics???; ergo, they can’t and won’t predict a crash. When I say about “tweaking”; our “Zombie economy” needs a fundamental reboot, that neo-classical economists can’t give. McDonnell knows this, but his draft proposals were neoliberalized at the committee stage. The Manifesto proposals are not nearly so effective, IMHO, given the perilousness of our situation. For instance, the housing market is stagnant as prices have already outstripped people’s ability to afford to pay (aside from foreign… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi BigB.
    Thanks for the link, I get Global Research in my mail but might have missed this one, so will follow it for a read.
    Just written a comment in response to my mate Norman which will probably result in me getting a lot of down votes. It follows your thinking to some degree, but takes it to a whole new level. One which even you might think extreme. (does that make me an extremist?)
    🙂

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    Hi Susan: I don’t think your comment is extremist at all: though it would be to a neoliberal! First, we would have to re-establish a real economy. Bastardized neoliberalized capitalism has done a historic write around of Marx. As Max (Keiser) and Stacey say “do we even exist at all?” The stock market doesn’t seem to respond to real world shocks (I’m not nearly as confident as Max that is immune!) The economy is cushioned (to a degree) by being far removed from manufacture and labour. That’s the thrust of my argument: we capitalize and re-capitalize and re-re-capitalize foreign materials… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Reblogged this on Worldtruth.

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Reblogged this on Taking Sides.

    John
    Reader
    John

    In response to a number of responses made to me, I would simply say that if we want to see the system being used to the benefit of the many and not just the few, we need to get substantial investment being made. Right now, interest rates are at an historic low. I constructed a spreadsheet to calculate the average Bank of England bank rate over a time series of 307 years, which yielded an average bank rate of around 5.25%. Right now, the bank rate is just 0.25%. If ever there is a time to borrow cheaply, it is… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    John. The more we borrow and place in a NIB, the more we can invest in PQE. Osborne printed billions as QE and squandered it on paying off his mistakes and lack of investment. Shovel ready projects would see employment rise and small businesses able to employ and hopefully, with incentives, take youngsters(currently the hardest hit) out of unemployment and into apprenticeships and vocational study. The NIB could fund housing and infrastructure projects etc. the resultant growth would see the Treasury in a position of greater buoyancy. Don’t want to turn this into a discussion on the merits of Corbyn’s… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    @John: Valid points were raised below that you haven’t engaged with, in order to come back with the same points. Labour hasn’t said it will borrow directly from the BoE: it will use “private capital finance”. It is they that will benefit from the 0.25% rate. Until the policy is fleshed out, it reads as an PPP or PFI deal: whereby private consortia or private equity funds and owns the infrastructure: and the cost to the public will be considerably higher than 0.25%pa. In other words, a rehash of a previous failed policy. The jobs and fiscal stimulus will not… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    Have you read FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW – FUNDING BRITAIN’S FUTURE ? In it, John McDonnell states – inter alia – ‘A Labour government will give local government £1.5 billion of extra funding for next year (2018/19) and initiate a review into reforming council tax and business rates and consider new options, such as a land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term.’ Also, ‘NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION FUND A £250 billion fund for investment in infrastructure – transport, energy systems, communications – scientific research, and housing fit for the 21st century. Our country… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    Yes John, I have. The same wording was included in the leaked Draft Manifesto: as was this passage – “Labour will establish a National Investment Bank financed with an injection of initial public capital which will be leveraged using additional private sector finance…” However, by the finalized Manifesto, this proposal had been neoliberalized to “we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power.” See the difference? I labour to make this point because “people” – neither from the CLP; or PLP; not even Corbyn or McDonnell – make… Read more »

    Alan
    Reader
    Alan

    Informative article. Indeed the British system is most callous, it’s people have always been considered chattel. Most of us are measured by what can be stolen from us. Their system isn’t worth saving.

    Johnny
    Reader
    Johnny

    Thanks Darren, good article,
    History proves that only when Soviet Union was a functional state, then labour’s welfare in the west was improving. Once the threat was removed, the welfare is being rolled back….

    leruscino
    Reader

    Reblogged this on leruscino.

    John
    Reader
    John

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Grosvenor,_7th_Duke_of_Westminster.
    Inherited billions – and still under 30 years of age.
    I am sure he worked real hard for every penny!

    JJA
    Reader
    JJA

    And he paid a pittance in inheritance tax as well, thanks to ‘creative accounting’, the other brothers in arms of lawyers in protecting such riches.

    John
    Reader
    John

    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
    ― Karl Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach.
    The same could be said of this article.
    Like Marx, Darren Allen offers us only analysis of the current system but no viable alternative.
    Like Marx, Darren Allen is unable to offer any strategy for creating and achieving a better world.
    Why waste time on description when realistic prescription is so vitally needed?

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi John. Whilst I fully endorse the theory of Socialism, I have yet to see an economic model showing how the reality would work. The ideology behind Socialism is commendable and something I can endorse, but the actual practicability of the economic process is not achievable in the context of various nations, most notably (at least for me) Britain, in the current public perception of reality. John McDonnell seems to have backtracked on the original plan to use PQE and helicopter drops of money against government bonds, with some small tax increases spread more fairly than they currently are, with… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    John McDonnell’s general election document FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW – FUNDING BRITAIN’S FUTURE contained the statement ‘A Labour government will give local government £1.5 billion of extra funding for next year (2018/19) and initiate a review into reforming council tax and business rates and consider new options, such as a land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term.’ I thought this provided a pointer towards different sources of taxable revenue, particularly the reference to a land value tax. This is in the Henry George tradition, under which the Henry George Foundation has… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    At least it’s a plan, anybody else got a better one? I thought not.

    flaxgirl
    Reader

    I think this is a great article and not a waste of time at all, although, as you say, strategies to deal with it are needed. Knowledge is power – it’s just that most of us don’t have the knowledge in the first place. We’re kept too busy chasing our tails to figure out what’s really going on. I’ve been living frugally on my savings for the last five months, with plenty of time to figure out what’s really going on (although, of course, I still only know a minute amount – but enough) and I’m so reluctant to get… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    Yet again, all that is on offer here is description and not prescription.
    Most of us already know how the hegemonic system works.
    The point is to change it – not just talk about it.
    Who is working on how to change it all?
    No one – as far as I can ascertain.

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi John. There are plenty of people trying to fit socialist policy(the square peg) into the existing monetary policies(the round hole). What they must achieve is not possible in one fell swoop, it has to be introduced in bite size chunks that people can become knowledgeable about and swallow. As someone once said “the root of all evil is money” and it has been proven to be the case, the problem is how do we move away from “money based” economies? We don’t, at least not at first. Such an upheaval would only be possible if a catastrophic event were… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    I believe the saying – in full – is “The root of all evil is the love of money”.
    There is a difference.

    mohandeer
    Reader

    I think the original was a quote from the Bible in which “greed” was the root of all evil and was then put in the King James as the love of money and then rendered down to simply money….. Another way of expressing it is the love and need for wealth, great or small and the accumulation thereof. In certain circles there is accumulation that is staggering, but what is worse is that even that is not enough and never could be, hence the love of money. Money is just the visible treasure which for so many translates into acquisition… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    I have come to the conclusion that money represents power. It is power – not money – that our elites seek. Their satisfactions are subject to the theory of diminishing marginal returns. A thousand today becomes ten thousand the day after, followed by one hundred thousand the day after, a million after a year, a billion after 5 years and a trillion after 10 years. Essentially, “When is enough ever enough?” gains the response “Never” from those sick individuals for who there can never be enough power for them to exercise. In a way, it becomes a form of addiction,… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    I am an advocate of Ernst Becker: money and power equal ersatz immortality. Acquisition fetish, egoism, extended egoism of the ingroup, vilification of the outgroup – are fundamentally driven by the irrational fear of death.
    “The basic motivation for human behavior is our biological need to control our basic anxiety, to deny the terror of death.” (Becker: The Denial of Death)

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    @John: the most fundamental and radical change one can make comes from within. Be peace.
    Beyond that: John McMurtry’s “The Cancer Stage of Capitalism; From Crisis to Cure” [ISBN-13: 978-0745333137] is an example of a whole system overview that is both descriptive and corrective.
    “Knowledge Wins in the End, but Not Until It is Known”; is how Professor McMurtry puts it.

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    . . . or rather, be peace if you can be peace, but fight if you must and are in an organized position to do so effectively . . . don’t be stupid and suicidal, either in “being the peace” or in “being the fight.” An excerpt from something I re-read yesterday, on the so-called issue of “extremism and moderation,” a quote from Malcom X: Quote begins: “But most people usually think [laughs to himself], in terms of extremism, as something that is relative, related to someone they know or something that they’ve heard of, I don’t think they look… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi Norman,
    A very good expression of oppression and how it is misrepresented and “sold” as the good guys fighting the bad guys and accuse your enemy (the victim) of your own evil.
    Makes me shudder that people could actually fall for this, but they have and they do.

    Lumpy Gravy
    Reader
    Lumpy Gravy

    P.S.: I’m not at all d’accord with Derrick Jensen’s “philosophy”. I think his intellectual output doesn’t merit this term. Yet, he once said something about violence and the power relations in our hierarchical class societies that really nails it: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with… Read more »

    Lumpy Gravy
    Reader
    Lumpy Gravy

    … or, as Walter Rodney put it:
    Violence aimed at the recovery of human dignity and at equality cannot be judged by the same yardstick as violence aimed at maintenance of discrimination and oppression.

    leruscino
    Reader

    Only by knowing the problem can a solution be found. It seems you did not read Marx deeply as solutions are there although era applicable in some cases. “Give enough monkeys a typewriter & eventually you will find a Shakespeare” – so we need EVERYBODY to talk about it, read about it & sooner or later the viable solution you mention will appear. My solution of targetted assassination will not be deemed acceptable & we live in hope that one day with the essential awakening of Sheep that we might avoid a bloody revolution & transition peacefully into a better… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    First, John, “capital” and the process that gave birth to it and that continues to perpetuate it needed to be “theorized.” That is to say, if you don’t understand what needs changing and why, then you are not likely to have any great success changing it, are you? That was Marx’s and Engels’ contribution, that part of the exercise in changing the world where “we” struggle to arrive at an understanding and formulation of “what” needs to be changed and “why.” But Marx and Engels died before they could address in detail the question of “how” to proceed to change… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    The eventual point we all have to realise is that action is needed. That means engaging in political activity. That is why I re-joined the democratic socialist Labour Party. We should all be working to achieve a Corbyn-led Labour Government in the UK. I am not advocating a cult of the personality. However, if we are to achieve meaningful change of any kind peaceably, political activity is needed. Of course, the neo-liberals within Labour will resist us but we just have to gain the ascendancy. Particularly in terms of gaining the ideological high ground in terms of political thinking. Historically,… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    @John: I laud your personal philosophy and actions. However, self-multiplying private money streams are the lifeblood of the very criminal system we want to change. From the Manifesto: “we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power”??? Toxic and criminal derivatives and financialisation are gambling with our wealth and inheritance. We have a weak ‘ring-fence’ at the moment: will Labour bring these life-destructive activities to a halt with a ‘firm’ ring-fence??? Progressive Taxation: where does the money come from? Debt and usury??? PFI contracts will remain in place… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Much as I support Corbyn’s rhetoric, he has, recently, started back pedaling on much of what made him such an attraction for so many. Whilst I may have lost faith(and to a degree “respect”) in him, he is still the face of socialism. We lost Nye Bevan, we lost Wedgy Benn, all we have in the way of charismatic socialists is Corbyn. I’ll help get him into power, but the ultimate goal, for me at least, is to slowly introduce the broader picture of socialism in terms that don’t send the listeners running for them thar far off hills! We… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Norm’s note: two things were at the back of my mind while I watched this documentary: The first was Lenin’s The State and Revolution, which you can read simply by following the link incorporated in the foregoing highlighted title. The second thing which I had in mind (as a caveat to Lenin’s thesis) was an essay by Daniel Guérin, titled “Three Problems of the Revolution,” and in particular this paragraph from that essay: “But, though class instinct impels them to break their chains, the masses of the people lack education and consciousness. And as they surge with redoubtable energy, but… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Thanks for the Iceland link. Couldn’t hear what was being said and no sub titles(as a deaf old bat I like S.titles.

    John
    Reader
    John

    I don’t have the time to watch the whole of the video on Iceland.
    What I do know is that a referendum was held as to whether or not the people of Iceland should bale out banks.
    Their – very clear – answer was “No”!
    If only we had been given the same choice here in the UK!
    One Icelandic bank which did survive the financial meltdown was different to all the other banks.
    It was run wholly by women.
    Maybe we all ought to try listening to the fairer sex more often?!!

    mohandeer
    Reader

    I struggle with videos so I didn’t catch what was being said, but thanks for filling me on the important bit!
    Women rock!
    🙂
    Well some of us do, I just tend to fall over.

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    “Get a hearing aid!” as an old curmudgeon once backed back at someone in an audience before who he was speaking, who complained about not being able to hear . . . . . . but all kidding aside, there are no subtitles because everyone interviewed is speaking English, albetit in admittedly Icelandic accents . . . The point of the documentary is that the “revolution” failed though it potentially did send a message to ordinary Icelanders: popular protests and votes will not be enough to bring about substantial change. Consequently, education and organization should perhaps be the immediate priority… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    And here is a link to Daniel Guérin’s essay: Three Problems of the Revolution

    John
    Reader
    John

    Iceland – the country, not the store? I agree with everything you say. People who describe themselves as being progressive or progressively left have abandoned the debate. We have to construct a new intellectual climate; one which challenges the uncertainties of neo-liberalism. In the past, organisations like the Fabian Society might have done this – but not today. They have fallen under the spell or the thrall of neo-liberal thinking and cannot find their way out. It is our responsibility to provide the lone voices that may one day swell into an over-powering choir. The essential argument is very simple:… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    “do we all want a humane, tolerant, empathetic…” society: that ends at the national borders? Or “do we all want a humane, tolerant, empathetic…” society that extends globally? If the latter, we need a new vehicle into which we channel our energy: not one that supports Imperialism and child murder. If the answer is that no one in the Labour Party knew that channelling money to the White Helmets would indirectly fund the Rashideen Massacre of Innocence: the answer is – why not? The information is here, on this site, and many others, for anyone to be informed. If we… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    It is a complete disappointment to me that so many of the supposed socialist left, who know the realities and have access to the truth, are in fact pseudo leftists supporting the right wing militarist and imperialist agenda. I have sent emails with links to various left wing Labour Party contacts and there is no response, utter silence as if the matter were to be swept under the carpet(and it has been). If Corbyn and McDonald come clean about the propagandist lies being spouted by the MSM in relation to Syria’s Assad and who really used the CW attacks as… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    @ John, BigB, and Jen, Money under a capitalist system can be issued in a number of ways, but all of them will be a variation on essentially two themes: “debt-issued currency” or “debt-free-issued currency.” Both categories of currency can be public or private and yet be perfectly consistent with an economy that privileges “for-profit” production over human welfare. Everybody is more or less conversant with debt-issued currency: money is put into circulation on the promise that the “principal” will be paid back at “interest.” What most people don’t know is that private banks issue money, or loans, without “consideration,”… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi Norman. “there is a constant propensity and drive to subjugate and integrate by military or other means peripheral regions where resources and peoples have yet to be incorporated into the system and thus represent means and opportunities as yet unexploited to further the pursuit of profit…” Gandhi would certainly have agreed with this critical paragraph. I’m all for Market economies on the home market where the devolved capitalist approach were replaced with an evolved socialist scheme was thriving. It can be done small scale as were the co-operatives vision. However, the only way any “government” (there would have to… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    One “solution” is already coming into view. The financial powers that be want to move towards a cash-free economy, relying on card technology instead. Over time, one can imagine all newborns being microchipped at birth. this would remove the need to carry personal ID of any kind or cash or cards. However, such an economy would still remain cash-based. Why? Money is a means of transfer, an economic store of value (highly questionable) and a comparator. Post-capitalism, there is no need for cash or money of any kind. Everyone’s needs can be met by allocating societal resources to everyone. It… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi John,
    I’d totally forgotten about Allende – thanks for the reminder. Actually I remember reading this skynet thing and what worried me was how it resembled a big brother system in which people became only statistics. Think, when I have time, I might check out the Wiki leak you gave.
    Thanks, Susan

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Hi Susan, You are going to have to give me some time to formulate a reply. There is a lot to “unpack,” so to speak, in what you’ve written . . . At any rate, I really need to re-read what you’ve written carefully so as not to misinterpret it too badly . . . although, of course, you will correct me where I go wrong if I do go wrong . . . In the meantime, this bit did wrench an involuntary chuckle from me: ” . . . Marx’s ancient but still recognizable breakdown of production of a… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Again, merely as an “example” of thinking that remains deeply ensconced within the horizon of the “commodity fetish,” examine John’s most recent reply to you about Robert Owen’s Labour Exchanges: the basis of the “value” of the “commodities” to be “exchanged” is the “quantity” of “labour.” Question: how many “tooth extractions” are “equal” to, in terms of the “quantity” of “labour” involved, 1000 nails hammered into the framing timber of a barn? The question is rhetorical though capitalism has a ready answer in terms of “clock increments” as the unit measure of “labour.” The point is that nothing anyone does… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    My secondary point essentially being that it is almost impossible to create a socialised society within an existing capitalist framework, as Lenin and the early Communists soon recognised. The fact that private traders completely undermined the existence of Labour Exchanges is unsurprising as it is in the essential fabric of capitalist society to undermine anything it can exploit. The traders need not have had malign intentions – though some probably did – to behave the way they did. They could not help themselves or others by behaving any differently. There is a whole debate to be had about about how… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    “However, this forum provides neither the time nor the space for that highly complex debate.”
    I don’t think OffG is enforcing a word limit on comments or on how much time you want to devote to any of your comments. 😉
    You can also “submit” a piece, John.
    Other than that, I agree with every word in your reply. And my reply to Susan had less to do with you than with Owens . . . just to be clear . . .

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi Norman, Recognised much of what you replied as being from your archives of “ancient” text by Marx. You are about to find my next sentence outrageous and nonsensical, but don’t get angry, think about it in terms of how Marx’s many writings could be assimilated by the majority of the masses – they wouldn’t unless we change the rules. I want to reset the bar by which all goods and chattel are available, by making their value a labour based consideration, not just the hours devoted to it’s production, but the type of work involved. All trading of such… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    You need to study the history of Robert Owen’s Labour Exchanges. See – inter alia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-based_currency. Owen’s Labour Exchanges failed ultimately for two reasons:- 1) While they were based on the quantity of labour in any goods produced, they did not take into account what the quality of labour – and, therefore, goods and services – produced. This mean that the Labour Warehouses became filled to the top with useless items – like poorly made boots and shoes – while all the really valuable stuff was hard to come by. 2) Exacerbating problem (1) was the tendency of local… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Hi Suzan, I don’t know how you might have thought that I could find your next “sentence” nonsensical or literally outrageous. Under the circumstances in which we live, I agree with everything you write. Given that people are in fact “remunerated” on the “basis” of “time” and not on the “basis” of the intensity of the toil and risks to their welfare involved in their work, there is in “that” a profound injustice and an insult to human dignity, and I very much agree that if there must be a “basis” for “remuneration,” the cost in discomfort, in effort, in… Read more »

    mohandeer
    Reader

    I was reading a copy of a typewritten manuscript.That and the reference to pounds. shillings and pence was why I described it as ancient. Mind you with the introduction of coptic unicode in the clay tablets of Egyptian shopping lists and invoicing, you get a clue as to how business was done back then in the pre Cambrian and carboniferous era!
    If you can make sense of what I was trying to convey in my post, your a better man than me Gunga Din.

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Hi Susan, Merely to keep this discussion alive while I find the time to cobble together an appropriate reply to you, see these soliloquies that I once had with myself on how I fancy that Marx “breaks down” a) the manner in which the “capitalist mindset” conceptualizes and came to conceptualize “value” and b) how “labour” is also “conceived” and “commodified” : This first; this second For Marx, “capitalist” reality is first and foremost a “cultural” paradigm. As such, it is invisible to itself as a “mode of perception” informing “modes of behavior” or “ways of organizing” collective behavior. The… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    @Jen: well said!
    @Norm: completely agree. I view debt and interest free money purely in transitional terms: not as an end game paradigm. I also would like to see ‘Clause IV’ privatization of not just public services; but of all of the means of production. That, world peace and an equitable share in prosperity and resources for absolutely everyone globally…
    In the meantime, I would like to find a way out of the death spiral we are in… First job: get people to realize we are in a death spiral!

    Jen
    Reader
    Jen

    Oh shit … I thought my first comment had been lost so I retyped it again. Off-Guardian, you can eliminate either one.

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Hi Norman, I live in a capitalist world and it’s all I’ve known for over fifty years. As a child I knew poverty and didn’t like to very much. I’m still a pauper but a lot better off than so many others. I cannot see where we begin to equate what someone does whether toil or time cannot have some value. If I’m growing potatoes, I can harvest 1st earlies, 2nd earlies and main crop. It’s taken me the same effort to plant, but come harvest I want my time spent toiling to have value or worth, by the time… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    When you refer to a marginally progressive amelioration of a broken, dysfunctional, and fundamentally evil system, you are absolutely right. This current system took 40 years to achieve on a steadily rightward ratcheted basis from 1979 onwards. You cannot simply reverse all of that overnight. We have to oversee a change of regime of power – and maintain it under a system of 5-yearly re-elections. The best we can currently hope for is a form of social democratic gradualism which the people will accept. Over time, we can change the hegemonic consensus such that higher levels of investment become acceptable.… Read more »

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    Couldn’t agree more: a centralized “command” economy (we’d have to do something about the name) would be a baby step toward the reversal. Correct me if I am wrong, but four of China’s major banks are state owned. Germany also has a decentralized network of public banks. It will take a fair bit of ‘suasion to get our private criminal banking institutions to reverse the habit of a lifetime: and act in anything other than their own self-interest – “for the betterment of society”? Another hitch: we don’t have 40 years. We appear to be at the limits of growth… Read more »

    John
    Reader
    John

    One benefit of leaving the EU is that it will allow the UK to adopt a far more independent line.
    This will extend to the field of finance capitalism too.
    Instead of QE for Banks, we will be able – under a Labour Government – to have QE for People.
    Without public investment, Britain will not be able to pay off its debts.
    Without public investment, the essential infrastructure for future generations will not be in place.
    Without investment, productivity gains and real wealth increases will not happen.
    Without investment, achieving greater societal equality can never happen.
    Not investing is not an option.

    BigB
    Reader
    BigB

    @John: This country has greater than 2007 levels of debt; and a poor economic outlook. Even mainstream economists admit that, as with the recent OBR Report. And it’s all down to Brexit??? Not 40 years of neoliberal gang-rape? We both know that’s a lie. With the country in “austerity fatigue”; even by their own forecast – the Tory strategy leads to a black hole in our finances. Labour’s strategy is to keep inflating the debt bubble and hope??? We are in a death spiral: what Michael Hudson would call ‘debt deflation’. The only thing of any real value in a… Read more »

    Jen
    Reader
    Jen

    The problem with investment, public or private investment, in current capitalist economies is that it takes place within a debt-based financial system, in which banks are in charge of creating money and every time money is created, a debt is incurred. To invest on the scale that you propose, we need to return the control of money creation and its flows back to the people and their communities. New financial institutions would need to be created to create money and handle its flows so these are always transparent and do not end up being wasted in corrupt activities. Your suggestion… Read more »

    Jen
    Reader
    Jen

    The problem with investment – which also explains why in many Western countries governments are pulling back on it – is that it takes place within a monetary framework in which to create money, debt must be created by the institutions that lend it … and expect to be paid back by borrowers with interest. Yes, even governments have to “borrow” money and incur “debt” and pay back “interest” on the “loans”. We need new monetary systems in which the power to create money and control the quantities of it circulating in the economy is restored to the people who… Read more »

    Norman Pilon
    Reader

    Exactly!

    flaxgirl
    Reader

    I’m afraid most of us do not know, especially not in a visceral sense, and, unfortunately, many of us seem to not want to know even when the evidence is planted right in front of us. Some of us resist seeming like mugs – I don’t have a problem with it myself.

    mohandeer
    Reader

    Flaxgirl.
    A very good observation regarding the way so many “opt out” of discussion. Through discussion(and I don’t mind asking others for their thoughts)we learn, if we simply condemn without offering up our own thoughts we are consigning any and all change to a quiet death. Good on yer lass.
    Susan

    Enough is enough
    Reader
    Enough is enough

    The horrors of vulture crapitalism … Oh dear me.

    Dead World Walking
    Reader
    Dead World Walking

    Then there’s the great equaliser.
    Death.
    Justice, after all.

    mohandeer
    Reader

    That depends on whose doing the dying, currently it is the poor, the disabled and the elderly.

    Greg Bacon
    Reader

    Soon, death won’t be the Great Equalizer, as scientists are working on extending life spans, but that will be only available to the rich.
    When that happens, the rich assholes who are looting and plundering the planet and making a killing off killing, will live to be a 150 yo or older and the race to the be the first trilionaire will be one.
    And guess what happens to us peons?

    mitch
    Reader
    mitch

    “…For sure there’s always the threat that someone like Corbyn, Iglesias or Sanders make it on to the ballot paper, a prospect which make elites, and their professional lackeys, sick with fear…” There is no “threat” to the powers that be within THEIR system of Hegelian dialectics, fake left/right paradigm and controlled opposition. I’m not surprised Corbyn was a hit at Glastonbury. If you like being ripped off and living in a tent surrounded by shit, you’ll love Socialism. capitalism/communism = two sides of the same coin. The goal of socialism is communism. Vladimir Lenin The best way to control… Read more »

    Peter
    Reader
    Peter

    So?

    Greg Bacon
    Reader

    Any student of English history knows its one soaked in blood, not of the inbred ‘royals,’ but of the people that worked the land, raised the livestock and tended to the vineyards.
    The current ‘royals’ are descended from brutal thugs who were better at murdering and instilling terror than the ones trying to take over, a real life ‘King of the Hill,’ with the hill made out of corpses.

    Lumpy Gravy
    Reader
    Lumpy Gravy

    Let’s take one example of millions, this guy …

    Let’s take another example of millions … this guy! Fictional, certainly, but instructive and enlightening.

    flaxgirl
    Reader

    Jim Broadbent’s finest acting moment – he wrote the script too and Mike Leigh directed. Absolutely brilliant.

    John
    Reader
    John

    Very amusing – and thought-provoking, in its way.

    physicsandmathsrevision
    Reader

    Effing Noam Chomsky. All the useless truth you can fit in an aircraft hangar.
    When it comes to speaking truths that might actually make a difference he’s on the side you think he isn’t.
    Utterly loathsome fraud.

    mohandeer
    Reader

    @phsychicsandmathsrevision
    Whatever faults Noam Chomsky has, they are his own to bear. What he has given us has been revelation and an informed view of the status quo we all once believed in, but thanks to him, have had our eyes opened to. So many have much to thank him for, I among them, his faults leave him open to criticism, but do not detract from the good he has done – no-one is perfect.

    Roger
    Reader
    Roger

    What a remarkably interesting comment ; you might tell us what you are smoking – or drinking.

    physicsandmathsrevision
    Reader

    Chomsky is the man who, when challenged by a “9/11 truther” that ‘9/11 was an ‘inside job’, replied: “What difference does it make if it was? It is not significant.” Here is someone who sees acceptable political discourse as an argument between Jews from opposing ends of the political spectrum …. a person who, realising that Israel is the prime suspect in this outrageous, world-changing crime, understands that this issue will NEVER be seriously discussed by establishment mouthpieces. Chomsky exists to give the (false) impression that there is real and meaningful opposition to the establishment from within mainstream discourse that… Read more »

    flaxgirl
    Reader

    I debated about 9/11 for a few months on Quora which helped refine my argument (till I got banned on trumped-up breaches of policy). It is just amazing to me now how simple the logic is to prove that 9/11 was an inside job and any “progressive” pundit who will not commit to saying that it definitely was an inside job simply has to be a gatekeeper. This is the very, very simple logic that proves it. At 5.20pm, WTC-7, the unhit-by-a-plane and lesser-known third building to crumble at the World Trade Centre on 9/11, collapsed to the ground in… Read more »

    PsyBorg
    Reader

    Mug shot of Francis Egerton 7th Duke of Sutherland here:
    https://www.geni.com/people/Francis-Egerton-7th-Duke-of-Sutherland/6000000005598912060