Make it here
WORKERS, MARCH 2009 ISSUE
Capitalism’s absolute decline is hitting Britain hardest, because Britain’s capitalist class is the most in thrall to finance capital.
Banks lent recklessly. The system of regulation, set up by Brown, failed. He gave its key body, the Financial Services Authority, a constitution which says that it exists to promote (not regulate) financial services and the City.
Eighty per cent of the money that Brown has given to the banks has already gone abroad. Any money given to car manufacturers has only gone to pay off their debts, not into investing in new equipment or training. With great fanfare, Brown set up a £1 billion fund to help small businesses - how much has it paid out so far? £20 million.
Most of the world’s tax havens are members of the Commonwealth, under British state influence if not control. Why not use the £255 billion in these tax havens to fund our rebuilding? But Brown prefers tax havens to industry. We need to make finance serve industry, not itself.
In March last year, the IMF estimated the world’s total amount of toxic debt at $1 trillion; in October, it revised this to $3 trillion. Now a secret European Commission report estimates that the toxic debt held by just the banks in the EU totals £16.3 trillion. These “impaired assets” may amount to 44 per cent of EU bank balance sheets, so government attempts to buy up or underwrite the assets could plunge the EU into even deeper crisis.
The 25 per cent fall in the pound has not led to a rise in the volume of exports or to a fall in imports. Britain’s manufacturing production fell by more than 5 per cent in the last quarter of 2008, by 10.1 per cent over the whole year. We need to cut back on imports, to defend our manufacturing industries.
We can’t rely on exports to save us when our markets abroad are also in steep decline. But exports are, after all, only a small share of our gross national product; they are not the driving force of the economy. So we have to expand domestic demand to sustain production: we need more people in work, at higher wages, spend more on buying British-made goods, invest here to build here.
As for unemployment, any firm sacking workers, or investing abroad, should be barred from paying out dividends.
All these problems cannot and will not be solved globally, at lush international conferences – that is to evade responsibility. Our class must solve these problems nationally, here at home, or not at all.
Make it in Britain, sell it in Britain, buy it in Britain.