Monday, October 31, 2011

Those Occupy Demands in Full

The media know - or should now - what the #Occupy movement is against: Poverty, cuts, inequality, the lack of opportunity, the scandalous bonuses and immunity from prosecution for the banksters who wrecked the economy, the overweening power of the corporations, environmental degradation and 1001 other gripes.

The media want to know what solutions the protest wants. The protesters say they are working on it. The media want answers now - despite the fact that it is blatantly obvious that the Governments do not have any answers.

I offer here my own solutions, derived mainly from Green Party policy. The Green Party has been working for the past 30 years on the precise problems that move the protesters.

So here are my personal solutions. I cannot claim to speak on behalf of the #Occupy movemnt, nor even fully for the Green Party, but believe that the measures here capture the aims and aspirations of both. They do not claim to be complete, but they are a reasonable start, and hopefully will form the nucleus of an emergent Manifesto for the Occupy movement.

The aim of these changes is (a) to fill the hole in the finances not just of the UK, but of all nations, (b) to pull the economy out of recession in a Green way, and (c) to bring about more equal and sustainably prosperous economic and social conditions.

1. Close all tax havens & loopholes, globally.

We live in a globalised economy, and if follows that therefore should be a global tax structure. This will not be uniform, to allow countries to adjust rates to suit local conditions, within set limits.

The aim here is to stop the perennial threat made by big corporations in response to taxation by one country to relocate to a country with a more lax tax regime.This will enable us to roll out change #2:

2. Tax the rich

The richest 1% are taxed at far lower rates than the lowest 99%. They siphon the wealth out of the nations in which they operate into tax havens and offshore accounts. Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK estimates that in the UK these total £120 billion lost from the economy, and the Compass report In Place of Cuts proposes specific changes that will net £40 million a year - enough to pay off the interest payments on the National Debt.

Greg Philo proposes a one-off 20% wealth tax on the richest UK citizens which could offset the National Debt entirely. Radical, but radical problems ask for radical solutions.

Note that taxing the rich solves two problems: the deficit and national Debt, and also inequality, which causes many expensive social problems, as shown in Spirit Level.

3. Future Quantitative Easing to go preferentially to the Green Bank.

QE is necessary when banks are failing to make loans, but the first two bouts of QE have been ineffective in their aim of getting banks to lend again, because they have been paid into the banks, who have used it to try to fill the enormous vacuum in their accounts caused by the credit crunch and sovereign debt crisis, and to pay themselves bonuses.

By directing QE to the green investment bank, the new money will stimulate energy conservation and renewable energy generation through the Green New Deal.

the effect will be:
  1. job creation 
  2. taking households out of fuel poverty 
  3. reducing our energy imports, thus reducing the budget deficit 
  4. assist in achieving our CO2 reduction targets 

4. Introduce a Green Wage Subsidy

This allows organisations operating in the green sector of the economy (i.e. those whose effect is to benefit society or environment) to take on new employees from the Job Centres without those new employees losing their benefit. It transforms the benefit into a subsidy for the green sector. This stimulus to the economy comes cost-free, because the benefits would have been paid in any case. It acts as a precursor to the introduction of Citizen's Income.

. End private banking's monopoly on issuing money through debt.

It is no wonder that the UK and the world is drowning in debt, since money is created through debt.

Positive Money has set out a plan to remove this monopoly from private corporations and make money creation work to the benefit of the people. They even provide a draft Parliamentary Bill to bring this about.

6. Rein in the multi-national corporations.

Multinationals have more economic pswer and influence than many countries. At present they have many privileges in law, including legal personhood and limited liability for shareholders. This post shows how their wings can be clipped.

7. Regulate the money markets.

The present crisis can be traced to the deregulation of the financial markets, and the growth of a totally unregulated and uncontrolled derivatives market, parts of which are nothing more than Ponzi schemes according to the economist Minsky.

The first change is to separate retail and investment banking.

A comprehensive review of the derivatives market is required.

8. Impose a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, and earmark it for poverty projects.

Tobin, Robin Hood, or Financial Transaction tax is a tiny levy on each currency transaction that will both put a brake on destabilising currency transactions, and also generate huge sums in revenue that should be directed to poverty reducing schemes.

9. Cap donations to political parties

Since it is by massive donations that wealthy corporations buy influence with political parties and distort the democratic process by having more influence on elected politicians than the people who elected them. Instead, parties whose aims are consistent with law and open democracy must be funded out of general taxation in respect of their service to democracy

10. Impose limits on salary ratio of lowest/highest remuneration.
This ratio represents an immediate measure of income inequality. It can be controlled, and the Coalition Government has taken steps to introduce it in the public, but not the private sector.

11 Reform the credit ratings agencies.

These tiny organisations have a disproportionate influence on the economy. They failed to spot the causes of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and some of their operatives appear to have indulged in insider dealing during the US downgrade.

12. Cancel Trident and reduce military spending worldwide.
In a global economic recession, there is an increased risk of war, as happened in the Great Depression of the 1930's. At the same time, all governments need to reduce spending. There is a choice available to avoid the risk of war, and to save money.

13. Provide enough affordable housing
Housing is a basic human need, and in providing housing, the government is relieving stress and ill-health in a more cost-effective way than putting homeless families in temporary accomodation. In doing so, it will be stimulating the building industry.

14. Stimulate local economies and communities.
In practicing community living and co-operation, the #Occupy movement is pioneering local community living and - dare I say it - realising Cameron's Big Society. Many organisations, notably the Transition movement, are working to the same end.

15 Stimulate the formation of Co-operative enterprises.

I repeat that these 12 measures are not complete, nor can they ever be complete. But these are a few necessary changes to bring about a more healthy, happy and equitable society and economy.


Anonymous said...

Trident is a necessary part of our national defence. It just seems silly to me to be glad to give up nuclear weapons while other countries stockpile theirs.

DocRichard said...

Read this and get back to me please: