Tuesday 16 October 2012

Smaller States = Smaller Economies

Who knew a few lines on a page could stand for so much pain. This much-circulated piece from Monday's Graun provides an at-a-glance summary of what the Tories and LibDems are trying to do.

This programme for "shrinking the state", as our neoliberal friends euphemistically put it is nothing less than a wholesale redistribution of wealth from the least well-off to the affluent and wealthy. But if you're a regular reader of this blog, chances are you already have the government pegged as a narrow spectrum of well-heeled interests. A committee for the management of the common affairs of the bourgeoisie this lot ain't.

Their experiment, for that is what it is, shows the violence inflicted when you wind the historical film of social development backwards. There is the misery people forced to depend on benefits face as tougher thresholds and sanctions are introduced in return for less money. There are the lengthening queues outside hospitals and the dole office, the schools being left to collapse into dilapidation and much-loved public services that helped support community life decimated and left to seed.

Quite apart from the pain and suffering, there is the damage inflicted on British capitalism itself by going against the grain of social progress. The various social democratic and Labourist reforms of the post-war settlement made life better for millions of working people. Capital benefited too. From this point of view, it put more money in their pockets that could be spent on things. It therefore stands to reason that if you take money out of the economy it's not going to grow.

If you want a small state, you'll end up with a small economy. It's that simple.

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