Austerity’s utter failure

    Dave Griffiths, West Midlands Socialist Party

    Tory Chancellor Gideon Osborne still tells us austerity is working, but the government managed to take economic growth below 0% not once, not twice but now into a ‘triple dip’.

    The Con-Dems claim more are working than ever. This hides the brutal reality of low-paid, precarious and insufficient work.

    But if – as the latest figures say – the economy shrank by 0.3%, then more people must be making less.

    The productivity fall that this indicates reflects the parlous state of British capitalism.

    ‘Oops’ said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, ‘perhaps we should have invested earlier.’ But instead the Con-Dems launched an orgy of attacks on wages, jobs and working people’s benefits – but not benefits for banks.

    Even their International Monetary Fund mates tell them it isn’t working and other pals in the markets threaten their ‘Triple A’ rating.

    While misery is piled on to the vast majority of people, in 2012 the world’s richest 100 people ‘earned’ $240 billion. Oxfam says this is enough to end extreme poverty four times over.

    In 30 years, the top 1% saw their share of wealth triple from 5.7% to 15.4% while the obscene wealth of the top 0.1% – 60,000 people – rose five times to 6.1%.

    The big divide in the UK is between a small group of the super-rich and nearly everyone else.

    This new ‘corporate feudalism’, brought to us by the free market Tory, Liberal and Labour parties alike, is strangling the economy.

    Stuart Lansley of Bristol University says: “Britain has been building a new form of inequality, close to the searing gap of the Victorian era…

    “Most of the rich’s income surge has come not from… building a more robust economy triggered by an entrepreneurial leap forward but the very opposite – a clever process of wealth and income transfer from the bulk of the working population.

    “Until this gap begins to close… the economy is likely to remain locked in crisis.”

    In other words, the free market has contributed to a structural economic crisis, not a temporary one. The ‘new normal’ offers frightening prospects for most of us.

    Punishing the poor for the actions of the richest isn’t working. We must fight attacks on our living standards and services and fight for a change to a democratically planned socialist system.