Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism, inaugurates his new column at Open Democracy with a history of the collapse of neoliberal capitalism and a path for a Labour victory in the next General Election, which, at this rate, could come any day.
Mason starts from the observation that, as more capital accrues to investors, demand can only be fueled by debt, which inevitably produces bubbles and collapses; and that all the economic gains of the neoliberal era were not driven by productivity gains from automation, but from "catch-up growth" when poor countries electrified and modernized, and those gains are coming to an end.
Neoliberalism was posed as an answer to the problems of the Keynesianism of the post-WWII era, but it has been revealed as a fuggly work-around, accruing both literal and policy debts, both of which have come due.
From this, he concludes that Labour and Corbyn can't just tinker in capitalism's margins; it's not enough to promise "people over 50 a return to the economics of their childhood" — it will have to fuse a new politics made from ""tools and techniques borrowed both from the Keynesian era and from the neoliberal era" that uses "modelling over planning; mixed ownership models rather than straight nationalisation, massive decarbonisation, and the proactive creation of a collaborative sector – using open source software and non-profit production."
A Labour government led by Corbyn, and committed to measures similar to those of the 2017 manifesto, would take its first steps amid resistance. It would come from an almost totally hostile press – whose job would be continuous de-stabilisation through misinformation; from those parts of the London finance sector that have made the City a playground for every crook and tax dodger in the world; and from a small but viscerally reactionary section of the population influenced by the international far right, from which Jo Cox's murderer, the alleged Finsbury Mosque attacker and the five soldiers accused of neo-Nazism were all drawn.
Against each of these adversaries, a left-wing Labour government has to deploy the powerful weapon of hope. Not long-term hope, but the short-term promise and delivery cycle that saw my Dad's pit nationalised and healthcare made free within two years of Labour's election victory.
The aim of a radical left government in Britain should, over a five- to ten-year period, establish a new dynamic to drive economic growth, which replaces the broken dynamic of neoliberalism.
Neoliberalism has destroyed social mobility. Together we must rebuild it [Paul Mason/Open Democracy]
(Image: Jacqui Brown, CC BY-SA 2.0)