Tuesday, October 04, 2011

OK, Wall St is occupied - Now for the 10 Point Plan

Wall Street is occupied by protestors. After trying to ignore it for two weeks, the corporate media are forced to report on this fact. Police use mace on non-violent demonstrators,  kettle and arrest them, possibly after enticing them into an arrestable position.

The protesters' basic position is that  "We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%". 

Critics of the protesters assert that they have no coherent program. This is only partially true.

The Declaration of the Occupation says:
  • that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members
  • that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors
  • a democratic government derives its just power from the people 
  •  corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth 
  • no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. 
  • corporations,  place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality,
  • Corporations run our governments. 
  • We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They go on to detail the many injustices of the economic system that exists in the US, and they end with this call:

Create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

The US protest is not alone. One year ago, the UK Coalition of Resistance was set up in response to the UK Government's austerity programme. You can sign their declaration here, and it sums up the basic injustice of the situation, where the banks foul up, and the people have to bail them out and then get punished because the nation is in debt.

The activists have a correct diagnosis on the problem; the system is rotten. It is unreasonable to expect them to have a detailed, definitive treatment plan. But we do need such a plan. 

Indeed, George Soros is doing the same with his Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) which was created to "broaden and accelerate the development of new economic thinking that can lead to solutions for the great challenges of the 21st century".

The global economic system is manifestly sick. It is overburdened with debt.
There are several reasons for this.

  1. Governments overspend on useless and destructive things like arms and wars, as well as necessary things like administration,  health and welfare.
  2. Even in necessary spending, Government tends to be inefficient. This can be addressed by the Suggestion Box* System.
  3. Crucially, money is created through debt, so as money increases, debt must also increase. Bank loans are not the only way to create new money.
  4. Wealth is haemorrhaging out of national economies as the rich 1% avoid tax by exploiting loopholes and using tax havens. This can and must be stopped on a global basis.
There are four headings for economic reformers to get their teeth into.

Clearly there are an endless numbers of other reforms that are necessary. The Green Party's Policies for a Sustainable Society has been in formation over the last 30 years, built essentially on crowd sourcing from a ordinary people united in the knowledge that our lives depend on ecology.

 I hope that #Occupywallst does not settle down to trying to re-invent the wheel in exquisite detail. At this stage we need just the headlines, and clearly, these are:

  1. Tax the rich. 
  2. Close all tax havens & loopholes, worldwide. 
  3. Quantitative Easing to go preferentially  to the Green Bank. 
  4. End the private banks' monopoly on issuing money through debt. 
  5. Rein in the corporations. 
  6. Regulate the money markets. 
  7. Impose a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, and earmark it for poverty projects.
  8. Question the credit ratings agencies. 
  9. Cap donations to political parties
  10. Impose limits on salary ratio of lowest/highest remuneration.
  11. Introduce a Green Wage Subsidy
  12. Cancel Trident and reduce military spending worldwide.
  13. Provide enough affordable housing
There we have it - a coherent 10 point plan. Not difficult was it?

*workers at the sharp end can put forward suggestions to improve efficiency, said workers to be incentivised by receiving a percentage of the money saved by their improvement. This would increase their health too, asMarmot finds that disempowerment is the cause of much illness in his long-term study of the health of the civil service.

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