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Published, February 2015
Edited by Michael Meacher, Member of Parliament for Oldham West and Royton since 1997.
The driving force behind this set of contributions on the general theme of a way out of endless austerity and ballooning inequality is the urgency of demonstrating that such a path is necessary, practical and affordable when all the political parties in the UK, and with few exceptions across the Eurozone too, are arguing that there is no alternative to continuing spending cuts into the indefinite future. This has now become the key issue in the Western world, the central canard of our times, and as evidence of secular stagnation grows ever wider, it is high time that this totemic error is challenged and if found grievously wanting, replaced.
The contributors, all well-known and expert in their various fields, offer a range of different dimensions which comprehensively analyse this issue and present both a theoretical and practical alternative to the governing neoliberal ideology. If these ideas and proposals were adopted, they would transform the political landscape across the Western economies.
I believe this set of essays collectively opens up a new vision out of the tired and sterile arguments that have crippled politics over the last decade or more and points, not just to a radical way out of stagnation and inequality, but to a more profound transformation of our society that so many of our people long for. I hope our readers will agree with that verdict too.
David Blanchflower, Michael Burke, John Mills, Mariana Mazzucato, Costas Lapavitsas, Kelvin Hopkins, Ha-Joon Chang, Prem Sikka, Len McCluskey, Austin Mitchell, Richard Murphy, Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett, Alan Simpson, Caroline Lucas
Chapter 1 A growth and jobs strategy as the alternative to the cuts
Chapter 2 Only government investment can end the crisis
Consequences of falling investment
The role of government
Directing increased investment
Chapter 3 How – and how not – to cut the government deficit
Chapter 4 Kicking the Bucket of Austerity
Chapter 5 How to make ‘smart’ innovation-led growth also ‘inclusive’ growth
A dysfunctional eco-system: socialised risk, privatised rewards?
Reaping back a (direct) return
Chapter 6 Europe in crisis – a failed monetary union
A historic failure
The underlying weakness of the eurozone
Conservative architecture of the eurozone
The crisis leads to hardening of the EMU
Is there a radical answer?
Chapter 7 Restoring public ownership Introduction
The post-war social democratic consensus
Hayek and the diminution of the state
The Thatcher revolution
New Labour – continuing the neoliberal programme.
Public opposition to privatisation and the 2008 crisis
A Labour programme for restoring public ownership
Public ownership in other sectors
Chapter 8 End this privatisation dogma: public ownership is better
Chapter 9 Constructing a democratic economy
The convenient fiction of the property owning democracy
The return of public ownership
Creating a democratic and decentred economy
The role of deliberation, tolerance and diversity in economic life
Chapter 10 Reform of the banks and the wider finance sector
Chapter 11 Enhancing the role of the unions
Individual rights at work
Rights for shares
Unions and politics
The Carr Review
Trade union rights are human rights
Trade union presence creates more just and equal workplaces
Collective bargaining is redistributive