OK so it seems pretty clear that a recession is on it's way soon. The collapse of the fourth biggest investment bank Lehman Brothers in the US and the forced sale of Merrill Lynch - plus of course Northern Rock, Bear Stearns, HBOS and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) threatens a wider recession (see here and a piece on the end of American capitalism here).
Last time things were rough in the 1980s, high unemployment, poverty and increased crime made life tough in many parts of Gloucestershire. So what can be done to lessen this?
Well in fact lots. Back in the depression of the early 1930s, it was President Roosevelt's New Deal that got people back to work with a massive investment in infrastructure. Today we face a triple crisis – credit-fuelled financial meltdown, accelerating climate change, and soaring energy prices.
Greens have called for a Green New Deal in response.
Recently released is the "Green New Deal" report, co-authored with a panel including Green party Leader and MEP Dr Caroline Lucas, SolarCentury boss Jeremy Leggett, Guardian Economic Editor Larry Elliot, and former Friends of the Earth chief Tony Juniper. They call for public investment in green-collar jobs in areas including renewable energy - a 21st century project to make the nation's buildings truly energy efficient, with local authority bonds being issued to raise the necessary funds for a major investment in insulation, efficiency and renewables, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. Plus a windfall tax on energy profits that would kick start the New Green Deal.
Let us not forget that just three companies – BP, Centrica, and Shell – together made £1000 profit every second over the first 6 months of this year. As our Glos Green party news release today says (here), 'these corporations are robbing from the poor to give to the rich and they know it.' This has got to change. You can see more about this report on the New Economics Foundation website: www.neweconomics.org/gen/greennewdealneededforuk210708.aspx
This is all inspiring stuff - and is well thought out - many of the national papers have covered it but will the grey politicians listen?
Avaaz has set up a petition that has already reached 91,000 calling for the fundamental causes of this crisis to be addressed - like tough rules to stop the financiers’ folly, and a new framework that better serves the public interest. See more and sign here:
It is also worth copying below a letter from Stroud resident Martin Large that appeared in The Guardian - spot on!
Capitalism is imploding with the credit crunch, just as Communism fell with the Berlin Wall in 1989, with both systems morally bankrupt. Successive British governments have sold off public assets and utilities at knock down prices, leaving us defenceless against massive energy price increases. Politicians have engineered a disastrous housing boom and bust, with Parliament allowing Blair/Brown and Bush their murderous $5 trillion Iraq war. And now corporate socialism is being extended by P.M. Brown at vast taxpayer expense to the predatory city bankers whose only value is that 'greed is good' , even whilst the same bankers are destroying HBOS through speculative short selling. This is a defining historic moment with the collapse of light touch, laissez faire turbo capitalism.
So how can we the people reassert democratic power over our elitist Parliamentary shamocracy? Reclaim a people's banking sector that serves society? And will your newspaper give space to inspiring and practical solutions that will help revision our democracy, economy and way of life?
Chair, Stroud Common Wealth