January 29, 2015 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Let Us Face the Future - "All parties pay lip service to the idea of jobs for all. All parties are ready to promise to achieve that end by keeping up the national purchasing power and controlling changes in the national expenditure through Government action. Where agreement ceases is in the degree of control of private industry that is necessary to achieve the desired end. In hard fact, the success of a full employment programme will certainly turn upon the firmness and success with which the Government fits into that programme the investment and development policies of private as well as public industry."

viz. Labour campaign from the 1945 UK general election
cf. Beatrice Webb & the Fabians [1,2,3]

Back to the Future
  • Green campaign for the 2015 UK general election - "The Green Party aims to create a just, equitable and sustainable society. We focus our efforts primarily, though not exclusively, through the electoral system."
  • OUR PRINCIPLES: The Green Party has a short statement of our Core Values, and a longer explanation, called the Philosophical Basis, of the underlying thinking and motives behind our policies.
  • George Monbiot: Follow your convictions – this could be the end of the politics of fear
  • Let me give you a flavour of the political transformation the Green party seeks. There would be no prime minister of the kind we have today, no secretaries of state. Instead, parliament would elect policy committees which in turn would appoint convenors. It would also elect a first minister, to chair the convenors’ committee. Parliament, in other words, would be sovereign rather than subject to the royal prerogative that prime ministers abuse. Leaders would be elected by the whole parliament, and its various political parties would be obliged to work together rather than engage in perennial willy-waving.

    Local authorities would set the taxes they chose. Local currencies, which have proved elsewhere to have transformative effects in depressed areas (see Bernard Lietaer’s book The Future of Money), would become legal tender. Private banks would no longer be permitted to create money (at the moment they issue 97% of our money supply, in the form of debt). Workers in limited companies would have the legal right, after a successful ballot, to buy them out and create cooperatives, with help from a national investment bank.

    The hideously unfair council tax system would be replaced by land value taxation, through which everyone would benefit from the speculative gains now monopolised by a few. All citizens would receive, unconditionally, a basic income, putting an end to insecurity and fear and to the punitive conditions attached to benefits, which have reduced recipients almost to the status of slaves.
  • Greens plan to shake up City of London and drop reliance on growth - "Gross national product statistics would be relegated in favour of indicators that 'measure progress towards sustainability, equity and devolution'. GNP figures ignore 'damage done to the environment, count much expenditure on bad things as positive, and take no account of distribution', Natalie Bennett, Green party leader, said."
  • Britain's Greens venture towards pastures new - "Green party values have been gaining support because beneath the morass of policy detail they are remarkably clear. They unashamedly favour the environment over economic growth. They evince manifest hostility to global business and the City of London, and believe in companies paying far more tax. Their fiscal policies are described as 'anti-austerity' and are intended at least to be radically redistributive. Communal ownership is favoured over the capitalist sort, and local organisation over anything wider."
  • Greens contemplate life beyond the fringe - "Roughly a tenth of the electorate tell pollsters they will vote Green at the general election in May, which would constitute a tenfold improvement on the party’s last score. At 45,000, it now has more members than the Liberal Democrats, a party of government, and the UK Independence party, which, until recently, faced no competition as the most successful outsider in politics."
posted by kliuless (10 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
A solid majority of economists is now of the opinion that, even in a capitalist system, full employment may be secured by a government spending programme, provided there is in existence adequate plan to employ all existing labour power, and provided adequate supplies of necessary foreign raw-materials may be obtained in exchange for exports.

If the government undertakes public investment (e.g. builds schools, hospitals, and highways) or subsidizes mass consumption (by family allowances, reduction of indirect taxation, or subsidies to keep down the prices of necessities), and if, moreover, this expenditure is financed by borrowing and not by taxation (which could affect adversely private investment and consumption), the effective demand for goods and services may be increased up to a point where full employment is achieved. Such government expenditure increases employment, be it noted, not only directly but indirectly as well, since the higher incomes caused by it result in a secondary increase in demand for consumer and investment goods...

We have considered the political reasons for the opposition to the policy of creating employment by government spending. But even if this opposition were overcome -- as it may well be under the pressure of the masses -- the maintenance of full employment would cause social and political changes which would give a new impetus to the opposition of the business leaders. Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the 'sack' would cease to play its role as a 'disciplinary measure. The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire, and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests. But 'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability' are more appreciated than profits by business leaders. Their class instinct tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the 'normal' capitalist system.

- Political Aspects of Full Employment
posted by phrontist at 11:21 AM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

As a point of information, the Green Party of England & Wales is now claiming more than 50,000 members, with total UK GP membership over 60,000.

I am fascinated by the emerging definitions of 'full employment' which apparently does not mean enough jobs for everyone, or enough jobs for everyone who wants one or anything like that. The Chancellor (UK equivalent to the Secretary of the Treasury) apparently takes it to mean highest employment in the G7, while others take it to mean the level of employment at which the economy is most efficient.
posted by biffa at 11:50 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was really starting to get grossed out by that "full employment" article you linked, biffa, but then I looked at the URL and it made perfect sense why.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:55 AM on January 29, 2015

Want to keep people happy and not consider open revolt? Keep them gainfully employed and well fed. Anything else is just feeding the class system so that the "upper class" can feel smug and superior.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:08 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Old'n'Busted: "Want to keep people happy and not consider open revolt? Keep them gainfully employed and well fed. Anything else is just feeding the class system so that the "upper class" can feel smug and superior."

Well, not quite. As the Kalecki article nicely summarizes, if employers can't compel employee subordination by the threat of firing, which is what a job guarantee policy or its equivalents ("full employment") accomplish by definition, they are given quite a lot of latitude to increase their wages and suppress profits. A resolute full employment policy would undermine the class system, and has never been successfully pursued for exactly this reason. Implementing it in only one part of the world would additionally run up against capital flight issues.
posted by phrontist at 3:11 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Naturally, and as usual, great post, kliuless. Thanks.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:33 PM on January 29, 2015

Awesome, super post, thanks! Been toying with the idea of joining the Greens. Labour unfortunately are right of center these days (not that I have a choice in Northern Ireland. Tends to be between Bigot A , Bigot B, NI Lib Dems (Alliance, who have usually had my vote until my own councillor voted against Gay Marriage, so fuck them).

I doubt the Green Party will do anything in Northern Ireland at the Westminster elections but I really hope they get somewhere in the Local elections and up the MLA count from 1.
posted by twistedonion at 4:18 AM on January 30, 2015

I joined the GP last week. I have criticisms but felt the more members the more chance of some policies I want to see might get more national coverage, especially with debates coming up.

Basically I was a disenchanted Labour voter up to 2010 so experimented with LD, seriously disenchanted with them pretty quickly and felt there was nowhere to go. It looks like my three way La/LD/Con marginal, which became a LD/Con marginal in 2010 after border changes is now looking Con with a small UKIP threat for 2015 so I figure I might as well vote for some things I want to see.
posted by biffa at 4:57 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Its £31 pa if you fancy joining twistedonion, I think there was some deal if you join as part of a couple if that's any help. And a fiver if you're a student IIRC.
posted by biffa at 8:48 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Pathology of The Super Rich by Chris Hedges
posted by jeffburdges at 12:09 AM on February 23, 2015

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