We can dream a better dream than debt

The Browning Column

by Leah Browning

Leah Browning

We can dream a better dream than debt

But what real alternative do we develop to replace it with? What is the safe potentially radical change?

The Tories have spoken of “fixing the roof while the sun is shining”, likening the economy to a household budget, if we can’t afford it we need to cutback right?
Wrong, and for many the sun simply isn’t shining in the growing wait at the foodbank.
Between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017, The Trussell Trust’s Foodbank Network provided 1,182,954 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis compared to 1,109,309 in 2015-16. Of this number,436,938 went to children.
The economy can be better described as a business, a business that in order to thrive and prosper requires innovation, bold investment and commitment, a business that chooses not to invest will deteriorate, perish and die.
Who would not invest in their business?
The current Webp.net-resizeimage (65).jpgthrives & relies heavily on debt.
Nationally evidence has shown universal credit has dramatically increased not only foodbank use, but homelessness to record highs, up 134% from 2010, also increasing household debt.
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Universal credit is a mechanism for forcing damaging lifestyle ideology and implementing the coldhearted political choice of austerity.
A massive 79% of Universal credit claimants have priority debts such as rent arrears, families and individuals who had previously managed their finances well also found themselves driven into debt with 40% falling into rent arrears following the switch to Universal credit, according to a recent report from Citizens Advice.
Could the mass increase of household debt be a mere thoughtless side effect of the Tory flagship, or perhaps an intentional, ideological and necessary effect driving the failing economy to keep going?
“Conservative economic models predict and rely on us getting into more and more debt forever, that’s not an economic plan that’s a time bomb” Rich Clarke,  Torpoint & Rame Labour
Repeating the mistakes of history is a collective choice, through ignorance, inaction and rigid opinion.
For some, time has come for a lesson in history, a wake up call to become active in the promotion of change and for others the cold realisation of where their misguided beliefs are dragging us.
Prior to war breaking out in 1939 there was a global financial crash in 1929, not dissimilar to the one seen in 2008. Global unrest followed echoing in recent years, the rise of fear and hate seems too fierce to be ignored.
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In 1945 as we welcomed the end of World War 2, a Labour government stood up to re-build the country, despite being in a similar financial state to modern Britain, with a large deficit, Labour whole heartedly invested in the future.
The creation of the NHS, the welfare state and necessary infrastructure, reducing the national debt, offering training, decent wages and an improvement in the living standards of the majority of British people.
Britain and Europe united to come together in peace with the creation and membership of the EU.
What followed was a period of peace, stability and economic calm til 1973, when inflation increased faster than wages.
We saw the ugly rise of the Neoliberal capitalist economy, identified by low taxes for the rich, deregulation of the financial sector, privatisation of industries, public services and the dissolve of workers rights.
An economic model that now sees our financial security reliant on mass debt, needs to be brought to it’s knees, and a revolutionary change to steer us away from the inevitable fall it’s heading towards.
So what and how could we change the broken economic model, global uncertainty and turmoil we currently face? How do we step away from what we are essentially on the brink of?
The answer is simple:  end Neoliberalism, which brought us here.
But what real alternative do we develop to replace it with? What is the safe potentially radical change?
To some “microwaved keynesianism”, to others simply whatever worked between 1945 and 1973 and to Rick Clarke who has been delivering talks on the economy in South East Cornwall and a growing number of supporters, it is simply known as Labour party policy.
They are all one of the same beautiful thing.
Beginning with the strong investment in our country’s future, not unlike that laid out by Jeremy Corbyn and the game changing Labour manifesto.
Keynesian economics rely on low inflation and is characterised by direct taxation, taxation of the rich, regulation of the financial sector, publicly owned and run services and workers rights.
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Rich Clarke, (at the back) out campigning
At his recent talk in Liskeard Rich Clarke said:
“The Tories have failed because neoliberalism’s dead, austerity doesn’t work, It makes us poorer, at best it’s just ramping up the debt, at worst again building to a crash.
Assuming the current trends toward mecansisation continue we are moving from a capitalist to a distopian neo feudal economy where the rich have almost all the wealth and rest of us scrub around or steal to make a living. But we can dream a better dream than that.”
In the UK there has been a rise in hate crime, social mobility and quality of life  reduced, we find ourselves with ever growing inequality, poverty and deprivation.
Money has and continues to be transfered from those with little, directly to the rich, while families on low incomes bare the unrelenting brunt of austerity and so called ‘efficiency savings’ forcing some into destitution.
We have a fighting chance to resuscitate the “Zombie economy” and transform it to a vivid, empowering, more equal future for our loved ones, our friends, neighbours and our beautifully diverse communities.
Cornwall needs to stop voting in the interests of the elite and start voting not only in their own interest but in the interests of us all.
We CAN dream a better dream.