Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Its advocates idealistically hope that Universal Basic Income (UBI) will change the world, undermining the logic of capitalism. But there are flaws in how possible schemes would operate. Most do not propose to pay an amount of money that people could actually live on with inevitable negative consequences. Some groups would lose out, it would tend to subsidise low-wage employers as people would still have to work and there would be tax increases on low and medium earners along with cuts to welfare spending to finance it. Nor is UBI only an idea of the left. Neo-liberals have proposed it as a way of further cutting and privatising services. To fulfill its utopian ideals UBI would need to be set at the level of a decent wage. To pay this to everyone would be mindbogglingly expensive especially when a progressive government would have many other priorities.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic continues to demonstrate the inability of capitalism to deliver for people. The more neo-liberal and parasitic countries are then the worse they have done. Trump's handling of the crisis has been catastrophic for Americans, but whatever damage it does, the United States remains the world's hegemonic superpower. It is now, however, facing conflicts with other capitalist powers over their different strategic interests. Above all the US has decided to ramp up tensions with China as it seeks to prevent it challenging its global dominance.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
It looks as though the Tories will not carve out an independent international role, with the US demanding it follows its line on Huawei. They are under pressure for their handling of coronavirus and there have been some positive advances. There is increased awareness of the key role of working class people yet, despite that, how their daily lives are precarious; blighted by poverty, inequality and discrimination. Trade Unions have been growing, but this has yet to translate into militant campaigning for working class demands. There have been negative trends as well. Kier Starmer has moved quickly to shift the Labour Party to the right and is attempting to demoralise the left by actions like his provocative sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey. Yet the left still has a strong base and it is important that it stays and fights for principled internationalist and pro-working class positions.
Friday, August 14, 2020
After the financial crash of 2008 some thought that the culpability of the banks would lead to fundamental change - it did not. Nor will it necessarily post-coronavirus, with financial institutions set to benefit from economic support measures put in place by governments and big tech companies and others making big profits in the pandemic. Many hope that the evidence of how workers are key to the creation of wealth and the social solidarity built during the pandemic can lead to change – but that will not happen automatically, change will only occur if it is fought for.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
From the start of the pandemic building workers were in the front line, forced to travel and work in unsafe conditions. Many tried to challenge the employers, however the government failed to act to ensure safety. This might not be unconnected with the fact that big construction companies are major donors to the Tory Party.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Slavery was essential to the development of capitalism and as such the continued power of big companies and financial institutions rest on that legacy. Even if they agree to reparations or token responses to the demands of Black Lives Matter and others, they continue to remain in power, still reaping the benefits of their brutal past.
Monday, August 10, 2020
Cuts imposed under austerity have not just impacted on people's health through cuts to NHS and care services, but also through cuts to other vital services which support physical and mental well-being. This includes access to libraries, culture and creative activities, which have experienced reduced funding. The situation has been made worse by the impact of coronavirus.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Roger Scruton was an academic best known for his advocacy of conservatism. But what does this amount to? Rather than a set of lofty ideals it boils down to a defence of privilege, prejudice and reaction.