TOWARDS A NEW ECONOMIC NARRATIVE – Michael Taft at the Irish Left Review… November 26, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
Writing at the Irish Left Review today Michael Taft argues for A New Economic Narrative. Here is the introductory part of the document which you can read in full here….
Crisis? It’s baby-crunching time. We no longer have the luxury of attacking others’ prescriptions – those issued by the Government, employers’ spokespersons and stockbroker economists. The proverbial punter at the bar is impatient: ‘So what’s your big idea?’ It’s a fair question.
Let’s be under no illusion. The right is driving this debate. And the main ‘opposition’ in all this has been Fine Gael who wants more of the same. A debate? You need two sides to have a debate. All we have is the sound of one hand slapping us about.
So far, the Left, with some exceptions, has staked out a small ground. It opposes cutbacks, proposes infrastructural projects and more training places, and suggests alternative revenue streams such as cutting tax reliefs. Some good ideas but, to date, they do not cohere into a programme of expansion and renewal. They do not, as yet, constitute a new narrative.
And neither will this. It is, instead, an invitation to progressives to draft up their own programmes and proposals, to put forward their own contributions; to do better than what’s contained here. But the foundational principles must be to:
• Expand fiscally – junk the cutback vs. tax increase trap. We need money, lots of it, to put back into the economy.
• Expand demand – more spending, not less, is what the economy needs to maintain and expand business activity
• Expand indigenous enterprise: Lay the structural foundations for a new enterprise base – public and private; this will take time, so we have to start soon, tomorrow, this evening
That’s the ticket – expand, expand, expand. For illustrative purposes I have come up with a 10-point programme but no single programme can address all issues. For instance, I have not addressed recapitalising our banking system, educational investment, reducing poverty and labour market issues. In a fully-blown progressive project, these will take centre-stage.
But paramount in all this: the Left must become audacious. It must put forward its vision with courage and confidence. For the Left is right and the Right is wrong. We must defend our programme against all nay-sayers, pessimists, neo-liberals and shills for vested interests: on the doorstep, at community meetings, on RTE panels, in the Dail. No fear, no capitulation.
In short, we have to go on the offensive, all economic guns blazing. So let’s start…