Part 1 of Professor Prem Sikka's review of ''The Courageous State''

Written by Professor Prem Sikka Sunday, 13 November 2011 20:14
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Hard Times call for courageous action and thought leadership to challenge the “there’s no alternative” brigade.

Cometh the hour cometh the man and that man is Richard Murphy. Through his research, analysis and commitment to social justice he has opened up possibilities for forging a just and sustainable society. His policy prescriptions now attract attention in higher echelons.

Murphy’s book “The Courageous State” shows much that is wrong in our society.

All around us there is economic and social decay. The era of managed capitalism has been displaced by the New Right philosophies of leaving it to the market, or preferring private regulation to public regulation, and the state’s primary duty is now to impose cuts, take away jobs, hit the vulnerable, shift taxes away from multinationals corporations and wealthy elites to ordinary, or normal, people, and make the planet fit for the whims of markets, corporations and their controllers. Our jobs, savings, pensions, food supplies and even hospitals are all plugged into financial markets and the resulting volatility is bound to create even more instability.
Such a state is facing a legitimacy crisis as people take to the streets and withdraw from the electoral processes altogether. 

Murphy prefers it to call it ‘the cowardly state’ whilst others may have called it a corrupt state which acts to defend the privileges of the elites but does little to attend the causes of social decay and erosion of communities.

The evidence of decay is not hard to find: MPs fiddle expenses; peers go to prison for fraud but continue to act as lifelong legislators; journalists hack people’s phones and emails; bankers receive mega bonuses for destroying the economy; credit rating agencies publish false credit ratings and continue to thrive; tax dodging companies get public contracts funded by taxpayers and their directors get knighthoods and peerages; banks publish misleading accounts; company auditors give clean bills of health to bank accounts that would easily win the Booker Mann prize for fiction; energy, water and phone companies are ripping consumers off.

Sleaze and corruption has become the order of the day...

Prem Sikka is Professor of Accounting at the University of Essex

Last modified on Sunday, 13 November 2011 20:28

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