I am a bit late to the party – as I have only just heard of Greg Philo after watching today’s Daily Politics (no wonder when half the media, according to Glasgow Media Group, refused to cover it). There has been a progressive movement, when it comes to constructing a counter narrative to the current economic policies. But, there hasn’t really been a very detailed plan of how. Furthermore, there has often been the argument that the public wouldn’t support an alternative, and that they are largely behind the current economic deficit plans. That to consider an alternative is arrogant to ‘truth’.
But, there is one man who seems to have a little more than soundings when it comes to creating a counter narrative. And no, I am not talking about Balls. Balls has been great on the deficit, but he has still got all on trying to win over his party. It is the professor Greg Philo that has caught my eye, after his report on the Daily Politics this morning.
So what’s the idea then?
Well, the idea rests on the premise that as a nation we have a lot of stored up wealth. Greg Philo, in a recent Guardian article, refers to how the personal wealth in the UK is £9.000 BN, and that it is mainly concentrated at the top, as the richest 10% own £4,000 BN. Whereas, the bottom half of society, only own 9% of the wealth. The wealth at the top of society is largely kept within properties and pensions, for example.
So using this, Philo proposers a one-off tax of 20% on the super rich, which would eradicate debt and reduce the deficit as interest payments would decline, for example. This would raise £800 BN. This is a very popular policy as well, as a commissioned YouGov poll found that only 10% disapproved. And this isn’t only a working class proposal, apparently their research found that support came more from the wealthiest than the poorest groups.
But what after?
Well, taking a green eco-socialist economic position, I think the answer would lie within green economics and Zero Growth theory. For once, we could get our economy and environment in tune, and we could prevent the boom and busts from continuously occurring due to the current neo-liberal economic structure that we find ourselves within.
As well, there needs to be a redistribution of our tax system. We can’t just let the economy get out of hand again, just to have to do it all again. No, there would need to be a proper redistribution, such as with a Land Value Tax and a Tobin Tax being initiated to bring social justice into the heart of our economic polices. For example, No Shock Doctrine proclaim:
Government income could be increased by nearly £40 billion through overhauling the tax system to make it fairer, with no negative effects for ordinary working people.
Other polices in line with Zero Growth economics, such as a shorter working week (New Economic Foundation recommended 21 hours a week) and a living wage would also help address the problems of un-sustainability and the relating capitalist structure. Having new forms of ownership, so cooperatives, workers councils – the type of organisations that Chomsky talks quite well about; these are other ways to help promote a Zero Growth economy.
As I have mentioned before, the Green’s economic policies re debt need to be addressed anyway. Our signing up to Labour’s plan of cutting the deficit in half by end of next parliament isn’t sustainable, even if it does weight more on the tax side. Maybe, the ideas talked about in this blog re Philo are ones we can positively embrace as part of a larger campaign to change the current economic narrative?
Oh, and enjoy this rather nice video summing it all up:)