A feeling has developed that something’s fundamentally wrong with the way economies are being run.
Consequent upon amazing government expenditures since the arrival of the coronavirus, we’re beginning to see that taxation isn’t simply a pot of ‘revenue’ from which the government spends: and that nations having their own currency may spend directly with impunity; without borrowing. Therefore, it seems taxes are simply monies to be withdrawn from the economy in order to curb inflation of the currency. “Really?” Yup! Think about it.
But inflation’s also surely a result of “budgetary deficits” and “excessive government spending”? Nope. CPI data doesn’t include the fundamental generator of monetary inflation, namely, escalating land prices and the taxing of productivity – and their attendant enormous deadweight losses.
What if economists also have the national debt wrong? Could it be the ‘national debt’ is simply a matter of double-entry accounting, as the (misnamed?) modern monetary theorists claim—the other side of the ledger being extensive public assets? Wow! Not a millstone around the neck of future generations to repay? That’s looking pretty credible, too, as once it was in the days of American ‘greenbackers’. What if it’s mainly the extent of private debt that’s causing economies to stall? Wouldn’t a universal basic income/citizens’ dividend help fix that?
You neoclassical economists would be holding your heads, maybe tearing your hair out, and reeling about in your seats now? There’s more to come, guys! Sorry, we can’t keep paying you respect for your ‘authority’. The heterodox crew seem to have more going for them.
OK, so we’ve been witnessing first-hand that it’s really the productivity of workers that generates our wealth, not parasitic banking CEOs being paid millions, nor the big corporate monopoly drones.
So why are workers’ wages tending to a minimum, barely providing a living for themselves? What’s wrong?
Could it be that both wages and business profits have fallen, together? Except for the aforementioned rent-seeking leeches, that is. It’s obvious that the parasites are doing exceptionally well – and at great cost to their hosts!
So now that “industrial relations reform” is in the air again with one side of politics, let’s get another thing right: labour and capital are not opponents; their interests are complementary. It’s the financialising rent-seeking leeches who’ve reversed prosperity and increased poverty. It’s pointless to blame “business” or capitalism as a whole without making this distinction. It’s banks and other rent-seeking monopolies who’ve delivered us into economic history’s sorry pass. Central banks bailing out banks’ excesses, and the criminality of share buybacks has acted to exacerbate the issue of impossible private debt.
About now, we should be seeing clearly that the privatisation of our natural resource rents has diminished wages, employment and business profits – just as it has escalated land prices, debt, and the ‘super-profits’ of banking and other rent-seeking monopolies.
John Maynard Keynes may have got some things wrong, but his call for the “euthanasia of the rentier” was spot on! Keynes actually assumed it would happen naturally, but our rent-seeking ‘betters’ have the wherewithal and the media’s ear to ensure that it’s not going to happen without a very BIG fight!