Weak and even falling investment had lowered growth rates and so held down incomes. The answer was a new plan for growth based on public investment.
The conclusion of the day’s conference screamed out to me. The capitalist sector had caused the crash, not the public sector. But the public sector had to pay with increased debt and a reduction in the role of the state as support for growth and as a safety net for those who lost their jobs, homes and incomes.
So instead of trying to “transform capitalism”, Labour needs to develop a programme to replace capitalism by bringing into public ownership the major banks and business sectors under democratic control to be integrated into a plan for investment in people’s needs not profit. Instead, Labour’s advisers and experts offered just some old ideas that had been tried and failed before to direct or regulate capitalism to make it work better. No new economics there.
Over 1000 people packed into a London college to take part in a day of analysis of the state of the British economy. And hundreds had been turned away. This was a conference called by the new left-wing leadership of the opposition Labour party in Britain. The hardworking and dedicated activists within the Labour party that had backed Jeremy Corbyn, the new leftist leader, had turned out in droves to discuss with due intent what is wrong with capitalism in Britain and what to do about it. It was an unprecedented event: the leadership of the Labour party calling a meeting to discuss economics and economic policy and allowing party members to discuss.
Labour’s finance leader, John McDonnell opened the conference by saying the aim of the various sessions was to see how Labour could “transform capitalism” into delivering a “fairer, democratic sustainable prosperity shared by all”. We needed…
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