Friday 10 October 2008

After a Week in the Crisis of Capitalism We Need to focus on Real World Economics

Over the last week most of us have been spectators to the latest crisis of capitalism, barely able to keep up with the hourly developments as markets nose dive, governments come close to panic and financial institutions rock. Debates in the media have focused on either the high economics of the global financial system or on the grubby dealings of the market floors in Wall Street and the City as individual banks and financial institutions are swept away.

Political fortunes of the major players have been on a roller coaster.

On Monday Brown and Darling thought that they could bluff out the first day back in Parliament with only a statement that they were thinking of a plan for the crisis. The market interpreted this as dithering and shares plummeted. By 5 o'clock panic set in and Mervyn King was summoned from the Bank of England only for him to tell the PM and Chancellor that it was for them to take the lead and produce some sort of plan because the Bank couldn't keep on pumping out money forever with no visible effect.

Tuesday morning and the bank bail out plan is produced with a fanfare. Described as daring, innovative, almost revolutionary, by Wednesday Brown is basking in his Falklands moment.

Thursday and all is not going to plan. Despite a small inevitable lift for some banks, understandable with £500 billion of taxpayers money thrown behind them, the plan doesn't seem to be jump starting interaction between banks and restoring credit activities as hoped. Iceland defaults and the various consequences of the crisis are beginning to come out of the woodwork including the large scale potential losses of councils and charities.

Friday comes and the markets worldwide are dropping like stones, recovering a bit and then dropping again. There is a growing feeling that the Brown/Darling quick fix is not going to be sufficient in the face of world wide market slump, the continuing absence of confidence in inter bank trading for fear of default and financial institutions hoarding resources to protect against default. The G7 meeting only serves to demonstrate that the G7 appear to be floundering in the face of the scale of the potential collapse of the world economy.

Brown and Darling may not like to admit it yet but full nationalisation of Britain's financial institutions is beginning to come onto the agenda as the only option left.

Whatever is happening in the stratosphere of high economics it is the real economy of jobs, homes, fuel and food bills and public services that we urgently need to turn to. What action are we going to take through our political parties and groups, through our unions and organisations and within our communities when the recession begins to hit hard and when people start losing their jobs, are repossessed, their services cut and they are unable to pay their fuel and food bills?

We need to start mobilising now the campaigns to support those who will bear the brunt of this recession whether it is workers threatened with the loss of their jobs, public services put at risk by cuts in public expenditure or families losing their homes through repossession. We cannot let our people be forced to pay for this crisis caused in the City board rooms and in ministerial offices.

On Monday at 7.30 in Committee Room 10 in the House of Commons we have organised a meeting to discuss the crisis and how we as a Labour and trade union movement respond. Come along.