Estado e outro tipo de política económica ...

Breve encontro

     A propósito de uma morte que deixa um lugar vago. (...) 
     E (na entrevista) perpassou igualmente uma sensação de dissabor, de frustração, com tudo o que se estava a acontecer, a desmoronar pela Europa naquele ano maldito de 2012. Quatro anos passados, o ambiente mudou um pouco, mas tudo está ainda por fazer.

   Entrevista a  Anthony Atkinson: austeridade tem de passar por mais impostos e menos cortes de despesa     ,

O professor britânico Anthony Atkinson diz que a preocupação europeia de reduzir o fardo das dívidas públicas, em nome dos filhos e netos dos cidadãos, não vê que os cortes nas infra-estruturas públicas não tornarão as suas vidas mais fáceis. E defende que tem de haver outra (forma de) austeridade.

Anthony Atkinson (nascido em 1944) tem um dos mais impressionantes curricula vitae. Foi conselheiro do Parlamento britânico e do primeiro-ministro francês Jospin, é dos mais conceituados especialistas em distribuição do rendimento e, na semana passada, veio a Portugal receber o seu 19.º título de professor honoris causa, concedido pelo ISEG, de Lisboa.Escreve desde os anos 60 sobre a desigualdade na distribuição do rendimento. E o tema continua actual. É um combate perdido para si?

[risos] O que me está dizer é que perdi os últimos 50 anos... [risos] Bem, penso que a resposta é não, porque temos de nos perguntar se as coisas melhoraram ou pioraram. Felizmente, acho que melhoraram. E o mais importante é que o tema está no debate público. No princípio dos anos 60, no Reino Unido, pensava-se que não havia pobreza. Tínhamos Estado-providência, pleno-emprego, crescimento económico e ninguém era pobre. Uma das coisas que me fizeram estudar Economia foi ler um livro intitulado Os Pobres e os Mais Pobres [um livro de Brien Abel-Smith, então ministro do Trabalho, 1965]. Um estudo muito famoso que mostrou que, apesar disso, havia um problema sério, nomeadamente nas famílias com crianças. E desde aí as coisas melhoraram. E pioraram também. Mas penso que as pessoas já estão alertadas e discutem esse problema ao nível europeu.

E como vê o debate actual?

Há três ou quatro anos, em plena crise, pensava-se que a adopção da Estratégia 2020 (pela U.E.) era um sinal de que se estava consciente de que a Agenda de Lisboa [que queria tornar a Europa numa das zonas mais competitivas do mundo] era insuficiente. E, na maioria dos países, fomos particularmente bem-sucedidos, em termos de crescimento do emprego. Afinal, não se estava tão consciente disso. Interessante é notar que, nesse período, o país em que a pobreza se tornou mais importante foi... [Anthony Atkinson cria suspense] Qual pensa que foi?...

A Alemanha.

Exactamente. A Alemanha expandiu o emprego, criando muitos empregos mal pagos.

Como pôde isso acontecer?

Por política deliberada. Cortando nos subsídios de desemprego para encorajar as pessoas a aceitar salários mais baixos. Mas, ao mesmo tempo, criando empregos mal pagos. E também tomando medidas para que a negociação colectiva se tornasse menos importante. E ainda pela privatização de um número considerável de sectores.

Muitas dessas medidas fizeram, nos últimos dez anos, com que subissem os baixos níveis de pobreza da Alemanha. E como se trata de um grande país, isso significa que, no seu todo, o mesmo aconteceu à Europa. E acabou por encobrir as melhorias observadas, por exemplo, em Portugal, Reino Unido e num número considerável de países.

Mas diz-se que essas medidas ajudaram a Alemanha. Há um conflito entre competitividade e coesão social?

Não penso que tenha de haver. Os custos do que foi feito é que não foram tidos em conta. O que se pensou foi que era só necessário criar empregos. Acho que é perfeitamente possível combinar esses dois aspectos. Mas não acho que se consiga reduzindo a protecção social, como fizeram. E essa foi a receita política recomendada pela OCDE noutros países. Mas acho que a própria OCDE já se apercebeu de que não resultou. Há já uma mudança de opinião.

Acha mesmo?

 Sim. Porque a OCDE produziu dois importantes relatórios nos últimos quatro a cinco anos. Um chama-se Divided We Stand, Why Inequality Keeps Raising, sobre a ineficácia em reduzir a protecção social.

Mas em Portugal todas essas medidas estão a ser tomadas.

Talvez o que se tenha de fazer é lembrar aos dirigentes governamentais que há um conjunto de objectivos de longo prazo, para lá da consolidação orçamental. E que já há movimentos a defender ideias novas que o tornam possível.

Em parte, é reconhecer que se queremos baixar o nível da dívida nacional – porque é um fardo para os filhos e netos - ter-se-á de reconhecer que também não é bom para eles caso se corte em infra-estruturas públicas, hospitais, estradas, escolas, etc. E que, se o fizerem, será muito gravoso para a educação. As crianças são quem mais vai sentir esse esforço de ajustamento. É desonesto reduzir a dívida nacional para ajudar os nossos filhos e netos e, ao mesmo tempo, passar-lhes um país sem bons hospitais, escolas ou estradas e onde não lhes são dadas oportunidades para trabalhar. As suas vidas serão afectadas para sempre. Há que reconhecer que, se estamos a alterar as regras orçamentais, as despesas de capital não deveriam fazer parte do cálculo do défice orçamental. Tal como, em certos países, as despesas em educação por criança. Seria uma forma de encorajar esses países a não cortar nas escolas, etc. Isso fará com que tenham mais crianças e ajudará, no futuro, esses países. E isso é também uma forma de olhar para o futuro da Europa.

Há uma visão curta na forma como se combate o défice?

Uma visão curta e socialmente injusta. Porque, como no meu país, os mais velhos têm sido protegidos. Tirámos vantagens do crescimento anterior e os nossos filhos estão a confrontar-se com dificuldades crescentes. Exemplo disso são as mudanças climáticas que, no futuro, trarão problemas consideráveis. Há uma questão muito séria em que é preciso pensar: não é apenas como introduzir austeridade, mas igualmente quem a paga. E o aumento de impostos é uma parte importante dessa questão. Começa-se já a reconhecer – pelo menos no Reino Unido – que os impostos são motivo de discussão moral. Nomeadamente, sobre quem evita a tributação. O primeiro-ministro já veio dizer que isso até pode ser legal, mas não é correcto. Todos devem pagar impostos. Pelo menos os mais ricos.

Mas a Estratégia 2020 ainda está no papel.

Está no papel, mas acho que... As pessoas acham que se trata de conversa barata. Não é inteiramente verdade. Acho que é um desafio para os nossos cidadãos também. “Vocês assinaram isto, querem reduzir a pobreza e exclusão social na Europa em 20 milhões de pessoas, como o vão fazer? Como o vão conseguir se cortam aquilo e ali?”

É possível combinar essa estratégia com a austeridade?

Penso que sim. O que é preciso é um pacto intergeracional ou algo parecido. Temos de lidar com finanças públicas, sim; mas isso significa aumento de impostos, mais do que cortes orçamentais. Temos de mudar a forma como a austeridade está a ser feita, tendo em conta quem é que a está a pagar. Ou seja, cobrar os impostos às pessoas que não estão a pagar. Fico chocado quando há tanto dinheiro envolvido em esquemas [de planeamento fiscal, evasão fiscal]. São literalmente milhares de milhões de euros que desaparecem. Mas os objectivos da Estratégia 2020 são bastante prospectivos. Por exemplo, expandir o número de postos de educação universitária. Mas isso não se pode fazer aumentando as propinas. Temos de encorajar as pessoas. Ter-se-á de desenhar um pacote de austeridade que ajude esse esforço, e não o inverso. Pode ser feito, por exemplo, com impostos na área ambiental. Ou com impostos sobre rendimentos mais elevados.

Mas isso não afectará a competitividade da economia?

Há poucas provas que sugiram esse efeito. Muito poucas.

E tributar a propriedade?

Essa é uma boa questão que geralmente é deixada de fora. Se olharmos para a riqueza não apenas como propriedade de terras ou imóveis, mas também como acções e outras formas, nos últimos 10/20 anos a quantidade dessa riqueza duplicou face ao rendimento nacional. Aconteceu no Reino Unido e nos Estados Unidos. Isto sem contar com as pensões. A riqueza tornou-se muito mais importante do que nos anos 80. Por isso, temos de voltar a olhar para como se tributa a riqueza. Mas, mais importante ainda, como se faz a transferência dessa riqueza, através dos herdeiros. Em França ou no Reino Unido, essa riqueza tem aumentado nos últimos 10-15 anos. As pessoas recebem somas consideráveis de dinheiro sem ter de trabalhar mais.

Tributar a “morte”?
Quais as suas previsões sobre a desigualdade na Europa?

Há um relatório muito interessante sobre diversos países, sobre o período a seguir à crise de 2008. Nos primeiros dois/três anos, houve alguma quebra nos rendimentos mais altos na maioria dos países. Em parte, isso deveu-se ao que foi feito pelos Governos em todo o mundo – China, Estados Unidos, G20 – que, em 2009, aprovaram o pacote de estímulo, como forma de manter os rendimentos familiares e os rendimentos mais baixos. E foi um sucesso. Nunca percebi por que isso nunca foi sublinhado. Então o PIB caiu ao redor dos 5%, mas até 2011 os rendimentos familiares não caíram tanto. Agora estão a cair. O pacote de estímulo está a chegar ao fim e começam a cortar nos subsídios. Haverá um renascimento da pobreza e acho que as coisas tenderão a piorar. Portanto, a minha previsão não é muito boa. No longo prazo, depende de como se pretende atingir os objectivos.

 --[veja-se a desgraça e problemas causados pelo «neoliberalismo»/ defensores/ apoiantes e políticos neoliberais, ...https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot]

----- Essencialmente, a dívida pública não pára de aumentar desde… sempre?

divida-publica-nov-16-2-768x342

Fonte: Banco de Portugal, via Jornal Económico

      Realidade pura e dura: o crescimento da dívida pública tem sido constante, tanto no anterior governo PSD/CDS, como no actual governo PS. É um indicador que continua mau, mesmo com aquele solavanco para baixo em Novembro passado.

A PAF lá vai procurando malhar na Geringonça com os números que ainda não se endireitaram, esperando que os portugueses se tenham esquecido que:

  1. A dívida pública não parou de subir com a PAF;
  2. E que, apesar dos vários aumentos (brutais) de impostos, não conseguiram uma única vez chegar aos resultados positivos que Costa conseguiu, como por exemplo controlar o défice.

Este crescimento da dívida é insustentável. Era-o no tempo de Passos Coelho e é-o agora com Costa – alguma coisa terá que mudar. Mas, para variar, nem tudo é negativo. Não precisamos de optimismo saltitante, pois a situação não dá para tanto, mas, sinceramente, está claríssimo que o rumo que a direita escolheu no passado não nos levaria, como não levou, a lado algum.



Publicado por Xa2 às 07:41 de 05.01.17 | link do post | comentar |

6 comentários:
De Neoliberal: Crises para impor políticas a 5 de Janeiro de 2017 às 09:20
It was the Democrats' embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump. (Naomi Klein)


«People have lost their sense of security, status and even identity. This result is the scream of an America desperate for radical change.» --- https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/rise-of-the-davos-class-sealed-americas-fate
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Neoliberalism turned our world into a business. And there are two big winners


Fearmongering Donald Trump and optimistic Silicon Valley seem to epitomize opposing ideologies. But the two have far more in common than you think

--------------------
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot


Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

Naomi Klein documented that neoliberals advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted.


De NeoLiberalismo a 5 de Janeiro de 2017 às 09:29

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

‘No alternative’ … Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher

---George Monbiot, 15/4/2016 e 20/9/2016

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

«Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve. »

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

« Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us » -
Paul Verhaeghe

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.

***

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.
Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazis


De Neoliberalismo, Hayek, Mises, ... a 5 de Janeiro de 2017 às 10:08
...
***
...In "The Road to Serfdom", published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book "Bureaucracy", The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax.
When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as
“a kind of neoliberal international”:
a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists.
The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”. With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

«
It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative' »

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.”

***
It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”. But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – “my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from ...
...


De Neoliberal "iberdade" ...e crise"oportun a 5 de Janeiro de 2017 às 10:18
...
***
... mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine,
neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted:
for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet’s coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system” in New Orleans.

Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating “investor-state dispute settlement”: offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes, protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.

«
Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one.»

Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich. Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income. When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel.

Those who own and run the UK’s privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world’s richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, has had a similar impact. “Like rent,” he argues, “interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort”. As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with ...


De Neoliberal p.bancos e gr.empresas privad a 5 de Janeiro de 2017 às 10:25
...
...Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land, Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatise remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens. The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector.

Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.

Chris Hedges remarks that “fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”. When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power. The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to “cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them”.

***
Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement. We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that “in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised”.

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. “The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What “the market wants” tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. “Investment”, as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

...


De Neoliberal, franchise, offshore secrecy, a 5 de Janeiro de 2017 às 10:39
...
... The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively. But they offer us no substitute.
Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom, Bureaucracy or Friedman’s classic work, Capitalism and Freedom.

***

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.

«
Neoliberalism, Locke and the Green party
Letters: For neoliberals to claim that their view supports the current distribution of property and power is almost as bonkers as the Lockean theory of property itself . »


Neoliberalism’s triumph also reflects the failure of the left.
When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it.
When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready.
But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing.
This is why the zombie walks.
The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems.
It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas;
the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away;
and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis.
Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth.
Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system.
A coherent alternative has to be proposed.
For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.


--------
• George Monbiot’s "How Did We Get into This Mess?"
is published this month by Verso. To order a copy for £12.99 (RRP £16.99) ) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.


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