Category Archives: But what can I do?

Three Alternatives to the Tory Cuts

Given that the three major causes of the crisis are 1. A Failure of government to regulate the finance sector 2. Finance Capitalists (Bankers) having too much power and 3. Capitalism – or at least neoliberal forms of Capitalism – it would seem sensible to tackle these three. Now I’m not saying some form of cuts to public services should be ruled out – but I think tackling these three fundamental problems are absolutely crucial if we are to sort out future crises, so ultimately joining a movement that aims for radical social change should be on anyone’s list of things to do as an alternative to letting the government cut our services…. But we’ll come back to that later, first of all a few concrete alternatives to the cuts[1]

1.   Tax Reform – There are plenty of things we can do as a country –

Firstly we can cut down on Tax Avoidance£25 billion is lost annually in tax avoidance and a further £70 billion in tax evasion by large companies and wealthy individuals. An additional £26 billion is going uncollected. The total annual tax gap is estimated to stand at over £120 billion (more than three-quarters of the annual deficit!). This is a great visual research tool from the Guardian that allows you to discover how much tax companies in the FTSE 100 declared in recent years compared to what it nominally should have paid. It is currently much too easy for rich companies and individuals to set up trust funds etc. to avoid tax – as George Monbiot points out we effectively have a situation in which there is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor  

Secondly, we could apply a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ to financial transactions – If we applied a modest Robin Hood tax – a 0.05% tax on global financial transactions –to UK financial institutions it would raise an estimated £20–30bn per year. This alone would reduce the annual deficit by between 12.5% and 20%. It would also discourage the kind of financial speculation that helped to cause the economic crisis in the first place

And there are plenty of other ideas about how tax can save us from the cuts are outlined in this excellent document – The Great Tax Parachute – below are some examples – there are many more…

  • 50 per cent tax on all income over £100,000 £2.3 billion
  • Prevent anyone earning more than £100,000 a year claiming more than £5,000 a year in tax reliefs above their personal allowance £14.9 billion
  • An additional 10 per cent tax on bank profits

 

NB – The argument for taxing the rich more is basically that they (the 1%) have got disproportionately richer than the rest of us (the 99%) over the last 30 years – and this redistribution of wealth has carried on even with the contraction in the world economy in the last couple of years!
The world’s richest 1% has gotten $5.5 trillion richer since 2009 – Their wealth now totals $47.4 trillion in investible wealth, up from $41.8 trillion in 2009. This means the richest 1% control 39% of the world’s wealth – What’s especially unjust about this is the fact that world GDP contracted by about $4 trillion in 2009, and is predicted to have grown by roughly the same amount in 2010 (couldn’t find the actual figures for 2010 – not enough time!) – meaning that the above figures represents a straightforward $5.5 trillion transfer of wealth upwards!

Recent research has found that the wages of the FTSE 100 bosses have risen 4000% in the last 30 years. FTSE 100 bosses are paid now 145 times the average wage. Our Corporate leaders have seen their pay quadruple in the past 10 years, while average earnings increased at just 0.1 per cent a year. On current trends, this would rise to 214 times by 2020 and the top 0.1 per cent of earners will take home 10 per cent of national income by 2025 and 14 per cent by 2030 on the present trajectory. What’s especially unjust about this is the fact that the economy has now effectively stopped growing, the last decade of growth was largely debt fuelled and thus fictitious and the people running these Corporations are not especially talented, they are mostly just lucky and powerful enough to claim large wage packets.

 

2. We should adopt most, if not all, of the policy proposals suggested by a recent report by compass and the New Political Economy Network – entitled ‘Plan B: A Good Economy for a Good Society’ which attempts to outline where the left should be on economic reform – and offers some useful alternatives to the current Conservative government’s programme of public sector cuts etc. Some examples of proposed reforms include…

  • Maintaining present levels of government expenditure rather than cutting – which is seen as necessary to avoid a ‘double dip’ recession.
  • Quantitative Easing (this basically means the government increases cash flow through issuing bonds) to create a ‘New Green Deal’ – So far since 2009 the government has released £275bn through ‘quantitative easing’ – but this has gone straight to the banks who have in turn invested most of this in international commodity markets rather than lending to UK businesses and stimulating economic growth. Instead – Plan B argues that governments should be raising money to be invested in the two items below
  • Firstly, training a carbon army – to be employed in such things such as making houses more energy efficient – not only will this involve creating more skilled jobs but also have the effect of saving people money on energy bills, which in turn can be ploughed back into the economy. 
  • Secondly money should be used to Cancel out certain Private Finance Initiatives – £50bn spent now can save £200 bn in the long run – a particular favourite of mine
  • Raise the incomes of the poorest – through increasing benefits and tax credits rationale here is that these are the people who will spend money – thus stimulating economic growth

 

3. To bring about all of the above, we should all join a movement that aims to fundamentally change society – and the current occupy movement is, I believe, at the forefront of pushing for positive social change today. Some of the selected core beliefs of(I modified them!) the movement (London Branch) include –

  • We need alternatives to the current system which is unsustainable.
  • We refuse to pay for the banks’ crisis.
  • We do not accept the cuts as either necessary or inevitable.
  • We demand an end to global tax injustice
  • We demand that our democracy represents people instead of Corporations
  • We want regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries they regulate.
  • We want structural change towards authentic global equality.
  • The world’s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich.
  • The present economic system pollutes land, sea and air, is causing massive loss of natural species and environments, and is accelerating humanity towards irreversible climate change. We call for a positive, sustainable economic system that benefits present and future generations. [1]
  • People of all genders, nationalities etc. should come and participate in moving towards a fairer future.

If the above sounds Idealistic – look at what happened in Iceland following its credit crunch 

Following Iceland’s ‘Credit Crunch’ in 2008 – each Icelandic citizen was required to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. The government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, some of the bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money. To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.

It remains to be seen If Iceland will recover faster than other countries who honour their debts to finance capital, but at least in principle they’ve got things more or less spot on!

 



[1] Most of these figures come from the following documents (also see reading list at end) – There is an alternative: The Case against the Cuts (published by PCS)

Head to Occupy #LSX for a real education

Tent city university at the Occupy LSX protest is the most amazingly progressive force for education in Modern Britain – The agenda for tomorrow is like a living, breathing Sociology/ Politics A2 level class…. but probably with a bit more life in it….

As it says on the web site –

This is a space to learn, share knowledge and develop skills through a wide series of workshops, lectures, debates, films, games, praxis and action. As formal education becomes more and more commodified and inaccessible, here we have an opportunity to explore alternatives. Because between us we have all the resources we need.

Anyone can teach, everyone can learn – and the two go hand in hand. Feel free to propose sessions, listen to new ideas and share with others what you know or want to know.

All events are free, open to everyone, and take place in the ‘University Tent’, (next to the ‘Info Tent’), at the OccupyLSX camp, outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the library next door or in the ‘Uni Yurt’ at Occupy Londons second site at Finsbury Square.

 

Just look at the list of events for Friday (tomorrow)

11.00 – poverty in the uk and the debts of the poor – Rev. Paul Licolson –

12.00 Why Anti-Capitalism? Speakers include Selma James, Global Women’s Strike, author of Marx and Feminism and Sex, Race and Class; Sam Weinstein, Assistant to the National President, Utility Workers Union of America, Payday Men’s Network.

14.00 Morality and Finance: A response to the St Paul’s Institute Report – A Panel discusion in response to the recent release of the report by the St Paul’s Institute indicating city professionals feel their wages are out of proportion with those in other employment. Speakers will include James Meadway senior economist at the New Economics Foundation, Richard Murphy, Director of Tax Research LLP and The Tax Gap Limited, one of the report’s author’s Bishop Peter Selby, the retired Bishop of Worcester, as well a members from our own working groups dedicated to exploring matters of economics.

15.00 ‘Offshore finance: a realm beyond the imagination’ – Liam Connell

16.00 – Judith Orr speaking on “Women, work and walk-outs: fighting for liberation today” –  looking at the effect of the global crisis, cuts and austerity on women and what can be done to fight these, drawing in part from past womens struggles but looking in the context of today. Judith has written on these matters and also spent time in Tahrir Square during the revolution in Egypt

Resisting Capitalism – Radical Routes

The recent occupy movement inspired me to go back and look at my PhD (which I never finished!) – it was on the significance of Intentional Communities to the wider green movement – I figure some of this is relevant to what’s going on at Occupy LSX – let’s face it, as well as wanting to change the system,  a second thrust of this movement is to establish alternative structures which resist the mainstream political economy – this raises the interesting question of what alternative lifeworld systems are out there already that LSX could build on?

One such structure is Radical Routes – NB I wrote this 6 years ago, and haven’t updated it… although I have checked that

The Radical Routes Network exists to assist  “co-operatives which are opposed to the destruction of the environment, committed to a positive ecological outlook and which support grass roots resistance to injustice”. Radical Routes has 30 member housing co-ops, 5 worker co-operatives and 3 social centres  (Radical Routes Website, 2002)

 The current representatives of this network explicitly state that Radical Routes

 “supports the idea of people controlling their housing and their work through co-operatives but specifically supports RADICAL CO-OPERATIVES – those opposed to capitalist systems of hierarchy, exploitation and money as power. [They] support cooperatives which are opposed to the destruction of the environment, committed to a positive ecological outlook and which support grass roots resistance to injustice.” (Radical Routes 2005)

 More specifically, Radical Routes stands for:

  • Setting up housing and workers co-operatives with the same aims as existing member co-operatives (it thus has an explicitly defined instrumental, material purpose)
  • Participatory education, and skill sharing (thus they are committed to egalitarianism as regards knowledge)
  • Raising finance to allow for control over resources, and the economic interlocking of co-operatives (thus concerned to create a new economic base)
  • To support like-minded projects (a commitment to outreach)   (Radical Routes 2005)

 It is evident from the above that radical routes is committed to supporting member communities dedicated to putting some effort into transforming the material basis of society. Support is given to those communities who wish to construct a society that is organised along the lines of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” (Radical Routes: an introduction) and to those communities aiming to “create bases from which to resist and challenge dominant structures in society” (Brambles housing Co-operative, 2002).

Radical Routes explicitly links its activities at the local level to the broader system level purpose of assisting member co-operatives to “create bases from which to resist and challenge dominant structures in society and aim to develop an alternative economy and way of living” and to the broad Green Principles of co-operation, egalitarianism (through, for example, an imposed maximum disposable income of £100), participatory decision making, a consideration of regional dissolution at the secondary co-operative level, diverse aims, an emphasis on Doing it Yourself, and a strong emphasis on education.

If yer interested, then check out their video channel too! This actually looks like a really nice place to live – Equinox housing co-op in Manchester – nice to see younger people there – suggesting this model is being reproduced!

Equinox Housing Co-op from Patrick Nicholson on Vimeo.

A few views on occupy wall street etc.

So its day 39 of occupy wall street and day something or other of occupy LSX – these are definitely the the most significant movements to have emerged since the anti-globalisation movement of the late 90s/ early 2000s, and possibly the most important movements for change ever – they have a global reach, unlike the anti-globalisation movement, they are now rooted, rather than transitory, and in the wake of the extreme nature of the legitimation crisis facing the (I won’t say ‘our’) corporate-states these movements have popular and growing support, even in spite of the best efforts of the mainstream press. The links above will take you to the livestreams of the Wall Street and St Pauls sites (although the later is not working as of 11.00 a.m. Tue 25th Oct) and the later to the global stream hub… they all seem to have chat rooms where you can engage in conversation with whoever else is online.

So what’s the movement about?

Well of course it’s going to be difficult to give an easy answer to this because the occupy movement is a grass roots movement, based in several hundred cities around the world. This is also a movement that’s evolving all the time – due to its radically democratic in nature, this means that it is subject to the ‘will of the assembly’ – all of which means that it’s hard to ascertain exactly where this is going!

So I’m going to give you my interpretation of what I understand the movement to be about – people will of course disagree with this – some present at LSX no doubt think, for example, that poetry, face painting and drum circles have a much more significant role to play in ‘realising utopia’ than I do. (For the record I quite like resistance poetry, I can tolerate face painting, but I think all Djembe drums should drums on site should be rounded up and used as cooking fuel.)

It’s also clear from looking at recent events that there are some differences between movements in different countries – most notably for me (because this is what I’m interested in) the passion, turnout, and organisation of the #occupywallstreet movement appears to be much greater than the LSX movement – this is probably due to the fact that the American government really has been bought out by the Corporate sector, while in Britain, all we really have to complain about is the trillion dollar bail out of the city and the ensuing cuts to public services, rather than the wholesale Corporate takeover of our system – there are some politicians remain relatively untainted.

I’m going to treat occupy Wall Street and occupy LSX separately – and look at grievances and proposals/ demands separately – there will be overlap so I’m not gonna repeat myself.

 

Occupy Wall Street…

As I said above, different people have different reasons for being at either event, but a sensible starting point for anyone wishing to understand more would be to check out the adbusters site – this is where I first saw the original Occupy idea being promoted back in July. I’d also recommend going here and looking at Naomi Klein’s take on the movement – which she roots back to the anti-globalisation movements of a decade ago – the one line that stands outThe point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy.

I’d also recommend watching some of these videos –

Video 1 – A stupid person’s guide to Occupy Wall Street – A young woman, clearly affecting a ‘ditsy persona’ does a nice job of giving an introductory summary of the movement

  

My summary – Occupy Wall Street – It’s basically about the 99% – which is ordinary American citizens – using their democratic right to assemble in order to raise awareness of economic injustice – particularly the fact that the 1% – or Corporate America is profiting off of the misery of the 99% – and a bit more too!

Charts like this also do quite a lot to explain one of the basic gripes of the movement – increasing inequality

 

 

Video 2  – A Business Man occupies wall street – this is more a conservative take on why even conservatives should support the 99%

 

My Summary – In this video – ‘David Instrator points out that Transnational Corporations are by definition un-American – they do not owe their allegiance to any one country. The wall street protest is by ordinary American people against Corporatism – in other words it is against the takeover of the American government by Transnational Corporate interests .

He also argues that occupy Wall Street is a conservative movement – it is about the interests of the country over the interests of the market, and it is about us acting as citizens rather than as consumers. He also argues that this movement might actually be pro-Capitalism – in that capitalism would not have allowed the bailing out of the banks (insert too big to fail) and the socialising of losses while gains are privatised (insert income chart or wealth charts).

He finishes by imploring people – if you are a conservative, come join us, this is your movement.  

 

Video 3 – A very impassioned account of why politics as usual is not working! As #anonymous tweeted – this is a core value of the movement – money in politics is the root cause of all political evil

 

My Summary – Transnational Corporations have been extracting wealth from the US for 20 years, the political system has facilitated this and is incapable of stopping it – the speaker calls on Obama to stand up to congress and enact economic policy for the people rather than for the Corporations – but given that he’s not doing it – I see this speech as justification for why a movement such as the occupy movement outside of mainstream American Politics is necessary

 

Video 4 – Why Noam Chomsky supports Occupy Wall Street

 

 

Wall Street is just short hand for the financial institutions – the banks are richer and bigger than ever before, and corporate profits are soaring while real unemployment is similar to that of the great depression. At the same time as enormous wealth being generated, fiscal policies (tax cuts and spending reductions) have lead to massive poverty and the collapse of social infrastructure. Cycle

In the next election year, Campaign spending will exceed one billion dollars – where does it come from? – if we look at 2008, Obama mainly got his money from financial intuitions. Also in terms of the day to day running of the parliament – committees are bought – increasing the influence of concentrated capital. 2/3rds of the public think most of congress should be thrown out.

All of these things are signs that the system is not working – the system is not functioning. NB – this isn’t new – but there are degrees and this is now extreme, it’s time for protest….

 

Video 5 – Wall streeters mocking protestors

My summary – The claims that the #occupywallstreet movement have no clear message is totally blow away by this video – As protestors march past a load of wealthy individuals quaffing Champaign on a balcony chanting ‘we are the 99% – at about 33 seconds in someone walks past the camera sporting a ‘commodity inflation causes starvation’ placard. I think the message here is at its most obvious – The money that bought you that Champaign – it comes at the expense of the many.

Personally, I want to see the people on the balcony getting even closer to the produces their immorality has bought them – maybe by shoving those Champaign glasses in their faces?  But that’s just me, as I understand it the movement is peaceful – it’s the system that’s violent.

 

So there are some of the key ideas of occupy wall street – in a future post, hopefully tomorrow, I’ll look at Occupy LSX and some of the proposals that are being put forwards to make our world a more just place in which to live…

From Haribo cravings to an anti-neoliberal lesson plan…

Haribo - Damn their delicious, fizzy sweetness - I will have my revenge...

Since I’ve been back at work I promised myself I’d do pithier, shorter posts, instead I just spent the last hour cogitating over this – still I think it’s worth putting out there.. one for the teachers really…

On noting my cravings for sugar over two consecutive days at about 15.00 hours – cravings which I don’t get while I’m on holiday – this depressing thought occurred to me – ‘If I wasn’t in work I wouldn’t want Haribo, and if Haribo wasn’t on sale in the college I wouldn’t buy it’.

What’s depressing about this is that I’m reminded of just how far my unconscious desires are shaped by my environment – I want to eat healthily – I don’t want the ‘sugar rush-then-low’ – I don’t actually want to eat Haribo ever, yet simply being at work makes me want to eat junk, and the presence of junk food at work makes me more likely to buy it – I’ve succumbed two days in a row and the students aren’t even back yet!

Now, the confluence of these three factors (being at work, work making it easy to buy junk, yet my not wanting to eat junk) puts me in a situation of having to resist buying junk food – which is a problem, because I am put in the situation of constantly having to say ‘no’ to my desire to eat Haribo – once a day at about 15.00… Now according to some research I can’t remember the details of (just trust me on this – I’m not a politician) this kind of resistance will eventually wear me down….constantly having to say no to things is bad for one’s mental health, you know (although Buddhist Monks don’t seem to do too badly out of it – but then again Buddhist monastaries don’t having Haribo vending machines).

To make things worse – The Ethical Consumer magazine gave Haribo the worst possible rating for both supply chain management and environmental responsibsility. So, given the harm resisting this evil product does to me and the harm purchsing this evil product does to people and planet, it strikes me that removing the option of buying all Haribo from college – and replacing said Haribo with a healthier and preferably more ethical choice – strikes me as an ethical broader goal for the coming term, but the problem is it’s wildly unpragmatic – My problems are as follows – (assuming I rule out smashing up the vending machine)

  • The canteen at college is run by a profit making company – and income is everything to the college… so there’s barrier 1
  • I actually quite like the canteen staff – and getting them to change might offend them as it implies what they’re doing is unsatisfactory (actually with a bit of sensistivity I think this can be negotiated fairly easily.
  • The college hosts 200 staff and 1900 students – many of whom probably want to eat Haribo – and here is the biggest challenge – if I want to get my own way – what I know to be right – If I wanted to remove the Haribo I would have to mount some kind of education and mobilisation campaign just to get Haribo removed, sort out some clear arguements for its removal and probably suggest some reasonable alternatives…

Now a man alone may well balk at this, giving up in the face of all of this effort for such a small victory. But herein lies the joy of working in education – I can generalise this out, and when we’re focussing on fairtrade and ethical consumption at some point in early 2012 I can turn it into an ‘educational project’ – all I need to do now is think up a few aims and objectives….Making The College Healthy and Fairtrade…or something like that’ll do …  

Then all I need to do is email Jamie, maybe a Buddhist Monk (to remind us what an uncolonised lifeworld is about, and the robes are cool) and, of course, the lovely Stacey Dooley – she could motivate anyone to do just about anything – and Bobs yer uncle, fanny’s yer aunt and Karl’s yer Sociology teacher – I’ve got myself an easy week’s ‘teaching’ – all in the name of helping me overcome my sugar addiction – brought on by my work environment.  

For those of you that think manipulating students in this way is somewhat unethical – obviously it isn’t because –

1. It is in their long term health interests to make if difficult to eat sugary foods

2. They can still get Haribo off campus anyways, even if it gets banned

3. Students can of course choose to mount a campaign to ‘save the junk food vending machines’ (I can imagine this being very popular as an option)

4. Students are already being manipulated by the very existence of machines full of junk, as are the relationships between students and staff – I know of many staff members who use sweets as teaching aids – thus life-world interaction is mediated through the medium of sugar – this isn’t necessarily a good thing ya know!

So in the meantime until this glorious age of the sugar free enlightenment – I’ll just have to rely on my Zen Mind to help me resist my sugar lust amidst the evil Haribo vending machines.

It’s business as usual at the Bankers’ annual party

Check out this wonderful piece of research – I guess it’s overt non-participant observation and semi-structured interviews – where members of the Robin-Hood Tax crew sneak into a city-bankers’ party to see what’s going on –

 

Apparantly the mood is somewhat more subdued than in previous years but the filmakers still conclude that despite the fact that bankers have received billions of tax payers money the following is still the case –

1. Bankers are still making a lot of money

2. The same people as caused the last financial crisis are still at the helm of the banking industry – and it’s business as usual

3. The government apparantly has no power to control the financial sector whatsoever!

 

The Robin Hood Tax is a proposed 0.05 tax on all financial transactions – that would reportedly raise over £100 billion a year to help pay for – well – whatever Nation States wanted – education, povery relief, combatting climate change…. It’s explained in the video below

 

I mean it’s hardly smashing Capitalism – but it is something you can support if you want to make the world ever so slightly less unequal!

How to raise £5000 for charity with a 67 word text message

New form of crowdsourced microfinance – has the feelgood factor, sort of, although I’m left feeling slightly uncomfortable about the totally uncritical nature of it – also by the naked truth of the human pysche in late capitalist society – i.e. do we really only give because we feel good and get recognised for it? Still, it’s a nice idea for all you doers out there – and certainly an interesting counterpoint to ODA…


 

Personally I’d innovate the idea by linking it into criticisms of the EU and World Trade Organisation!

Anti-terror police hassle schoolboy over picket of Cameron’s office

Nicky Wishart was recently pulled out of his class at school to be questioned by anti-terror police.

Nicky, aged 12, a pupil at Bartholomew School, Eynsham, Oxfordshire, organised a picket of David Cameron’s office through Facebook to highlight the plight of his youth centre, which is due to close in March next year due to budget cuts.

The protest, which was due to take place on Friday, had attracted over 130 people on Facebook, most of whom are children who use youth centres in Cameron’s constituency, Witney.

Wishart said that after the school was contacted by anti-terrorist officers, he was taken out of his English class on Tuesday afternoon and interviewed by a Thames Valley officer at the school in the presence of his head of year. During the interview, Wishart says that the officer told him that if any public disorder took place at the event he would be held responsible and arrested.

So how does one interpret this?? Surveillance society – monitoring protest groups on Facebook… police using coercive measures to put off children from expressing their right to protest.

Nick should have cited the UN convention on the rights of the child to them

Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.

Article 13 (Freedom of expression):Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others. In exercising the right to freedom of expression, children have the responsibility to also respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others. The freedom of expression includes the right to share information in any way they choose, including by talking, drawing or writing.

 Incidentally, I checked out the Facebook group – which is now closed

The cost of the financial crisis – £4000 per year per household

That’s an overall loss to the taxpayer of about £90 billion at a conservative estimate!

Just a brief summary from the WDM on the costs of the current financial crisis – yet more evidence of how the average guy on the street ends up paying  for the greed of the capitalist class (the bankers who destabilised our economy and their government apologists who let them).

Keep in mind what I said in this post about David Harvey who pointed out that the world’s leading hedge fund managers in 2009 took home  £15 billion in bonuses between them. – http://realsociology.edublogs.org/2010/08/11/why-any-sane-person-should-join-an-anti-capitalist-movement/

According to the article –

”The Treasury’s total net cash outlay for purchases of shares in banks and lending to the banking sector, including Northern Rock, amounted to around £117 billion by 2010. The Treasury’s additional potential exposure to banking losses totals (through insurance of bank assets and Bank of England lending) totals over £1 trillion.’

‘The crisis has had a huge impact on the public finances. UK households will have to pay around £3,900 per year more in taxes – or public spending per household will have to be reduced by £3,900 per year, or some combination – to balance the books. Households are also likely to face a one-off cost of £1,500 each (on average) for the banking bailout itself.’

The figures above may not quite add up because there are numerous different ways of caclulating (estimating most of the time) costs and potential costs!