Susan George, author and member of Transnational Institute, has attacked the great con that has seen the promulgation of austerity as a means to increase the flow of wealth from the poor to the rich.
Addressing the General Federation of Trade Unions conference in Leicester, George pointed out that a crisis is something that happens and is over one way or the other – win or lose.”You don’t stay in a crisis from 2008 to 2015 – austerity has prolonged the crisis,” said George, who underlined how well those in the financial markets have been doing with the rise in foreign exchange contracts from 3.3 to 5.3 trillion between 2007 and 2013. Derivatives rose from 508 trillion in 2007 to 693 trillion in 2010.
She quoted the Tax Justice network figures suggesting there are between £21 and £32 trillion stuffed away in tax havens.”If we could tax some of this at a small rate it would clear up most of the problems in the world,” said George.
George criticised the transfer of wealth from labour to capital over the past 35 years, from the moment Margaret Thatcher came to power. The ratios have gone from 70% going to labour and 30% to capital in the 1970s to 60% versus 40% today.
George suggested that the concentration and interdependency of huge corporations at the centre of capitalism make another financial crisis of 2008 proportions more likely, indeed it will probably be worse.
The academic explained how the neo-liberal economic system made no sense in capitalist or socialist terms. The ideas have been sold as a result of an intellectual offensive by the apostles of the neo-liberal creed who have infiltrated media worldwide with the orthodoxy.
George called for unions to look outward to build broad coalitions with others involved in the anti-capital movement, whether grass root or non-governmental organisations like Friends of the Earth. “I dream of a European general strike,” said George. “We need a coalition of the willing. Unless what is left of the left get together it will be a sad future for all of us.”