Thursday, April 18, 2019

KV - The Failure of Neoliberalism and the Poverty in Britain.

 ITV Report: Pupils ‘have not eaten for two days’ and parents 'too poor' to buy new clothes, teachers say

Britain is one of the richest countries in the world - but only for some!

After the onslaught of Thatcherism, some people in the left gave up on socialism and embraced free markets instead, believing that this freedom would liberate people. They also believed that a true free market would bring down prices when more companies were able to compete with the big corporations, but the left intellectuals just ended up being no different to the Thatcherite right. They had flipped becoming economically right-wing and now some very rich people support their think tanks. 

Some left think tanks, like The Centre of the Stateless Society, believe that corporations and governments work together to keep workers wages low, but there is nothing socialist about neoliberal free markets, and these groups are not on the economic left anymore, if they ever really were, although they may be socially liberal. 

Clair Fox was a member of the of the Revolutionary Communist Party and she embraced libertarianism 20 years ago, saying that a completely privatised economy was Marxist as it gave power to ordinary people. She wanted more Thatcherism, but she still maintained that she was a communist. 

It all sounds very nice:

No 'big bureaucratic government' and only individuals who know what their local society really  needs. Like all propaganda, this is true to a point, but when it leaves a third of the UK population in terrible poverty and causing mass poverty around the world, then you know we've been sold a pup.

It is true that government can be inefficient, but super efficient healthcare can be good at making profits, but lousy at providing healthcare because the motives are all wrong. Providing good health care should over ride profits. 

It is true that governments can get corrupted by the wealthy, but that is not an argument to do away with it, instead we need to improve government. It can be done. 

Some new ideas being used by councils in Britain is to get the public involved more by giving them shares in some of the council run local industries, and so along with providing low cost public services, the public gets a stake in the services too. There are members of the public sitting on the boards of some of these companies who ensure that they are run efficiently and are a benefit to the community. They keep services in house and local where they can, which helps with the employment in the area, but they only do this if it is efficient, otherwise they will outsource, and so this is not 'inefficient socialism', but pragmatism. 

In the book, The Private Abuse of the Public Interest: Market Myths and Policy Muddles, professors Lawrence D. Brown and Lawrence R. Jacobs, show how privatised services cost two to three times more to run than they did as public utilities. One reason is because it takes a lot of government resources to ensure these companies are providing a proper service because left to themselves they will continuously cut back until the service is in danger.

Free markets have their place and can provide terrific goods and services for the public in many areas, but it's about getting the balance right - a mixed economy. 

MMT is about getting the government more involved in public provision, and it makes good economic sense.

Free markets are good at providing things that can be easily judged for their value, like food, cars, Hi-Fi, phones, cameras, etc, but when it comes to schools, pensions, health care, etc, the public can be easily hoodwinked by the private sector. But when you have a team of professionals and academics working on behalf of the government, they can negotiate much better prices for health care, pensions, schools materials and services, etc, and as they will be buying for the whole population, they can also bring prices right down too. Plus, the academics will go through all the small print to make everything is okay, the sort of thing that can overwhelm a lot ordinary people. 

In the book, In Government We Trust: Market Failure and the Delusions of Privatisation, the professors of accountancy, Warwick Funnell, Robert Jupe, and Jane Andrew show how in Britain privatisation has made services more expensive.

ITV report on child poverty. 

Some pupils “have not eaten for two days”, teachers have said, as child poverty concerns continue to rise.

Teachers are reporting a “significant increase” in child poverty, including pupils arriving at school after days without eating or with holes in their shoes.

The findings are part of a UK survey of more than 8,000 teachers, school leaders and support staff ahead of the National Education Union’s (NEU) annual conference in Liverpool this week.

More than half of members said their students had experienced hunger (57%) as a result of poverty.

One teacher reported “most of my class arrive at school hungry and thirsty” and another said “some students have mentioned that they have not had any food for two days, some come without having breakfast and with no dinner money but are not on free school meals”.

Nearly half a million food bank parcels given out in 18 months, figures show
Families need more support in early years to give children ‘best possible start’
UK ‘lagging behind other countries’ on young people’s health
Parents being too poor to buy new clothes or keep them clean was also a big issue, with reports of children coming to school with “holes in their shoes or cheap shoes which are not weather proof… with no coats, no socks and without other essential items of clothing.”

Another added: “Several wear clothing that is ill-fitting or not clean.

“Shoes are often ill-fitting or very worn, coats are often inadequate for weather.”

NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted said the Government was “failing to recognise the human costs of its actions” of austerity policies.

It is truly shaming for the UK, one of the richest countries in the world. A decade of austerity has only served to place more children in poverty, while at the same time destroying the support structures for poor families.

ITV Report on UK Child poverty/

The Independent: Poverty-hit pupils so ashamed of worn-out clothes and lack of equipment they skip school, teachers say

‘It is truly shaming for the UK – one of the richest countries in the world,’ union leader says

Students are avoiding school for fear of being bullied over their worn-out clothes and lack of school equipment as child poverty worsens, teachers warn.
Half of school staff say child poverty and low income is having a significant effect on students’ ability to learn, according to a National Education Union survey of more than 8,600 teachers.
More than half of the teachers say their students had experienced hunger or ill health as result of poverty, and more than a third (35 per cent) said students had been bullied because of it.
One teacher said non-uniform days had become “very sad days” for poorer children who are noticed by their classmates, adding that some pupils are reluctant to attend on those days.   Another teacher added that children are shamed by their fellow pupils for not having “nice clothes or shoes”.
The Independent 
Poverty-hit pupils so ashamed of worn-out clothes and lack of equipment they skip school, teachers say

Center for a Stateless Society: A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center

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