Saturday, 26 July 2008

Punishing the poor

On 21st July 2008, the Government unveiled its latest plans for welfare reform in a new Green Paper, announced by Work & Pensions Secretary James Purnell.

The Conservatives welcomed the proposals, claiming Labour had stolen their ideas. So what are they. An article on Comment is Free by Professor Gregor Gall explains exactly what is being proposed and why we should oppose it. Rather than being stolen from the Tories, these policies trace their ancestry back to the workhouse and the 'work for dole' schemes in Wisconsin.

John McDonnell MP said, “At a time of increasing unemployment such draconian measures will not only prove counter-productive, but the requirement for forced labour and the greater harassment of disabled people is a moral disgrace.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP said, “The whole history of the Labour Party has been supporting a comprehensive welfare state to ensure that no-one ended up either homeless or destitute. The green paper does not seem to bare any resemblance to the principles of the Labour Party”

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary, said. “These proposals are regressive and draconian, going further than even Thatcher dared in the 1980s. The government should be working with people to get them back into employment rather penalising and threatening them”

This proposals are the neoliberalisation of welfare.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Credit Crunch

In LEAP's publication on the Credit Crunch published in May, Graham Turner wrote "There is no doubt the authorities have badly underestimated the advent of 'peak oil'. Bio-fuels, by far the predominant cause of the rise in food prices, have been a disastrous response to the looming energy shortage".

In July, The Guardian revealed that "biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75%", according to a leaked World Bank report. Graham Turner reported the effect of biofuels for LEAP two months before.

It's little wonder that BBC Economics Editor Evan Davis describes Graham Turner as "one of the economists I rate most highly". Graham now appears regularly on BBC Newsnight commenting on the credit crunch and bringing insights others miss, obscure, or want hidden.

Graham Turner's new book, The Credit Crunch, has just been published by Pluto Press. Subtitled 'Housing Bubbles, Globalisation and the Worldwide Economic Crisis', the book traces the roots of the credit crunch back to the aggressive globalisation of the neoliberal era.

Northern Rock is no aberration, as the latest bank collapse in the US proves. As Graham Turner writes, "There is systemic failure, one born of a failed economic policy that gave too much power to corporates".

To understand why this system is now unravelling, and how it got to this, there is not a better book.