Monday, March 7, 2022

Voice from the Back: A Wasteful Society (2009)

The Voice From The Back Column from the March 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

A Wasteful Society

Capitalism is a very wasteful society that spends millions of potentially useful labour time and ingenuity in protecting private property. All over the world men and women spent their time in organisations like armies and police forces. Here is a small example of the stupidity of a private property society, in this case the border between Mexico and the USA. “18,000 – the number of Border Patrol agents assigned to it in 2008 (up from 4,000 in 1993) 705,000 – the number of people caught trying to cross it illegally in 2007/2008, down from 1.6 million in 2000. That’s the equivalent to 2,000 people a day. 1,954 – the number of people who died crossing it between 1998 and 2004, mainly of exposure, drowning or car crashes.” (Times, 16 January) Inside world socialism there will be no countries and no national borders. Everyone on Earth will be free to roam the whole world without passports or visas. There will be no border patrols, people will be free to engage in useful work.

Alternative Life Styles

Two pieces of literature came through many workers letter boxes recently. Here is one from the Observer, 8 February – “Prince Edward spent last week on an official visit involving lots of good works to Barbados, including lunch yesterday at the Sandy Lane hotel (favoured by Michael Winner and Simon Cowell, with rooms costing around £3,000 per person per night) and an afternoon at the resort’s golf course.” Here is another from the charity WaterAid “Every 17 seconds, a child in the developing world dies from water-related diseases, in around the time it takes you to read this paragraph, someone, somewhere, will die. Everyday, people in the world’s poorest countries face the dilemma of having to trust their health and that of their children to the consequence of drinking water that could kill them. It’s a gamble that often carries a high price – seeing children needlessly dying is simply heartbreaking.” WaterAid suggest that the answer is to send them £2 a month. Socialists suggest that we get rid of this insane society even though it might interfere with Prince Edward’s £3,000 a day golfing trip.

Capitalist Priorities

As unemployment soars and re-possessions increase it speaks volumes for the priorities of capitalism that military expenditure keeps on rising. “The cost of Britain’s military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq this financial year has soared to more than £4.5bn, an annual increase of more than 50%, figures released yesterday reveal. Operations in southern Afghanistan accounted for a little over half, nearly £2.6bn, compared with £1.5bn last year. Most of the money was spent on providing tougher armoured vehicles for soldiers who face a growing threat of roadside bombs. Surprisingly, as the government prepares to withdraw from Basra, the cost of Britain’s military presence in southern Iraq this year increased to nearly £2bn, compared with less than £1.5bn last year, according to the figures released by the Ministry of Defence. …The defence budget will be increased by more than £500m to reach a total of just over £38bn this year, the MoD said yesterday.” (Guardian, 13 February)


On Monday 2 February heavy snow fell in many places in Britain, and some workers failed to get to work.   The British “Federation of Small Businesses estimated that continuing bad weather on Tuesday could cost the British economy more than one billion pounds”, said Reuters (2 February). This is the usual news item which appears on those rare days when the weather stops industry operating normally. It just makes you wonder why, on all those ordinary, typical days throughout the year when industry is operating normally, there is nothing in the papers about the tremendous contributions to “the British economy” the workers have obviously made.

Pathfinders: "We won’t be back" (2009)

The Pathfinders Column from the March 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

"We won’t be back"

Browsing through the science pages of any newspaper or online journal is to take an entertaining flight of fancy through the world of journalistic prediction. That is not to say, wild stories dreamed up by journalists and fed to a credulous public, but wild stories dreamed up by scientists and fed to a credulous press.

Some of these are just harmless fun, like the evergreen notion of life on other planets, (Galaxy has billions of Earths, BBC Online, 15 February). Harmless fun, and like as not hopeless fantasy, based as it is on the formulation known as the Drake Equation, a well-known exercise in piling unknown suppositions upon each other and arriving at a number. With just over 300 exoplanets now discovered, and all of them gas giants that could kick sand in Jupiter’s face, there is no particular reason to predict thousands of intelligent civilisations in our galaxy, but that doesn’t stop scientists with one eye on the telescope and the other eye on the tabloids. (Our advice, by the way, if there happen to be any alien civilisations reading this column, is to stay the fuck away from this planet until we’ve sorted ourselves out, or we’re likely to be a very bad neighbour.)

Ray Kursweil is another respectable scientist with a penchant for grandstanding, and his prediction that humanity is approaching a technological singularity figures prominently on his site and is regularly dredged up by newshounds on a sensation-hunt. A singularity is a point beyond which it is not possible to make any prediction whatsoever, and according to him, this event horizon will be reached when artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence, perhaps 30 years from now.

Since human intelligence has got us where we are today, some might see this as a pretty good thing. However one can’t really blame hacks like Ed Howker of the Independent (4 February) for instinctively conjuring up images of Skynet, Cyberdyne Systems, and all the rest of the paraphernalia of the box-office hit Terminator. After all, the work is being developed today and as the director of Michigan’s AI laboratory frankly admits “Our noses are too firmly pressed into our work for us to ask, to really ask, should we be doing what we’re doing?”

One only has to watch state-of-the-art robots whizzing round the lab floor trying not to bang into things to realise that the Terminator isn’t going to kick our front door in just yet. The concept of inorganic evolution – your toaster will inherit the earth – is a pretty old and abused notion. It’s not that we could never build something which could destroy us. After all, look at the weapons industry, or even the car industry. It’s just that, when it comes to Terminating ourselves, we don’t need artificial intelligence to do it for us. We’ve got capitalism. That’s all the prediction you’ll ever need.

Fancy a round of proton smashing?

You have to feel sorry for the nerds at CERN. Not only were their confident predictions about discovering the fabled Higgs Boson drowned last year in a media frenzy about high-energy particle physics being the death of us all.

When they turned the damn thing on, it broke. And now, months and millions later, they still haven’t got it off the starting blocks, and their rivals at the Chicago Fermilab Accelerator are laughing up their labcoat sleeves, predicting that they’re going to find the Higgs first (Race for ‘God particle’ heats up, BBC Online, 17 February).

It’s all getting rather competitive, but then, it’s a nice kind of competition, the kind we’d want to encourage in socialism, rival scientific teams racing to the truth. After all, there’s no money in the Higgs. It won’t change anything. It won’t even prove anything, apart from showing that the standard model of physics still holds up. If the nerds at Fermilab pull it off, CERN will be red-faced, but science will benefit either way. There is such a thing as healthy competition. The mistake of capitalism is to apply it where it does damage.

Socialism would cooperate over what mattered, like world production and distribution, and keep the competition for the fun things, like football and particle physics.

How wasps got their sting.

Curious that David Attenborough, who is to natural history TV what David Dimbleby is not to politics, should agree to produce the recent BBC programme Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, just around the same time that New Scientist led with a cover-story specifically refuting the notion of a Tree, and to the rage of Dawkins, Dennett and others, proclaiming that ‘Darwin Was Wrong’ (24 January).

Work in genomics has revolutionised the understanding of evolution, and has called into question what is meant by the word ‘species’. Up to fifty  percent of genes, it is estimated, are not passed along any linear tree of descent at all. They pass horizontally between related and sometimes unrelated hosts, usually in the form of a virus. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is now thought to account not only for some of the most bizarre biological hybrids, but also for such commonplaces as a wasp’s toxic sting. This constant ‘viral rain’ may also account for anything up to ninety percent of the human genome and some of our most basic biological functions,such as placental development, immune-response and gene expression (New Scientist, 28 August 2008). Thus many if not most evolutionary biologists now think the idea of a family ‘tree’ is obsolete. If there are any structures that look like a tree, they are local outgrowths of a general evolutionary ‘web’. But does that make Darwin wrong? Maybe, maybe not. New Scientist, with an apparently airy disregard for the slavering orcs of the Discovery Institute over in creationist Mordor, has gone for the controversial sell.

“You have made a lot of extra, unpleasant work for the scientists whose work you should be explaining to the general public”, fumes Dawkins et al (New Scientist Letters, 21 February), concerned that this ‘goof’ gives the god squad useful ammunition. Let’s not use the creationists as an excuse to make programmes so science-lite that they misrepresent the state of knowledge. If we, the general public, can cope with hierarchical trees, we can surely cope with HGT and webs. Socialists never had much use for hierarchies anyway.
Paddy Shannon

Cooking the Books: Thieves fall out (2009)

The Cooking The Books column from the March 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard

When we talk about the capitalist class of a particular country, we sometimes refer to them as “they”. But this can give the impression that they are a monolithic bloc with the same interest. Of course they all share a common interest in maintaining capitalist property rights and the general conditions for capitalist production, such as a working class dependent on working for them to obtain the money to buy things. Beyond that, however, the interests of the different sections diverge.
“American exporters in last-ditch attempt to stop Obama raising the trade barriers” read a headline in the Times (26 January):

“A coalition of leading American exporters, including Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric, is trying to stop a ‘Buy America’ clause being included in President Obama’s $825 billion stimulus package. The American Steel First Act would ensure that only US-made steel was used in $64 billion of federally funded infrastructure projects. The money, earmarked for roads, bridges and waterways, is aimed at kickstarting the economy, but the initiative by steelmakers, which secured support last week in the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, is opposed by American exporters, who fear retaliation by foreign governments.”
This represents a clash of interests between capitalists producing for the home market such as, in the US, those with investments in steel production, and those producing for outside markets. The former favour protection, the latter free trade. At the moment the governments of most countries favour free trade as they are haunted by their perception of what happened in the 1930s.

Then, governments put up tariff barriers against each other’s goods, thereby further reducing world trade and so exacerbating the depression. These “trade wars” can even be seen as a precursor of  the real war that broke out in 1939 when the countries that lost out in them, Germany in particular, decided that war was the only way to solve their problem of access to key raw materials and outside markets.

It remains to be seen whether governments will be able to resist pressure for protectionism from capitalist corporations producing for the home market, often backed by the unions organising their workers (Obama did get the proposal watered down). The Daily Mirror is running (yet another) “Buy British” campaign while construction site workers took up the populist slogan Gordon Brown raised at the 2007 TUC Conference of “British Jobs for British Workers”. Dismayed (as he knows very well that as a mainly exporting country most British capitalist firms would lose out if protectionism catches on), Brown tried to back-peddle on his demagoguery, and the BNP was delighted to be able to reclaim the slogan he had stolen from them.

Another division within the capitalist class is between those with investments in actual production and those engaged in various financial dealings. To judge by one incident at the annual Davos meeting of the world’s top capitalists and politicians, these two sections have fallen out big time, with one industrialist calling for some bankers to be jailed:
“John Neill, chief executive of Unipart, was given one of the day’s biggest rounds of applause when he declared that bankers who were involved in developing toxic products that caused massive damage to the global economy should be punished. If you knowingly make other kinds of toxic products, you go to jail. Why should bankers be different, he asked” (Times, 29 January).
Socialists look on at these arguments from outside as hostile observers. We don’t take sides. We don’t support either protection or free trade and we don’t oppose just the banking section of the capitalist class. In the words of William Shakespeare, we say: “A plague on both your houses”.

Back to no work (2009)

From the March 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard
As unemployment spreads more workers will experience the harsh new regime at their local Job Centre.
“British jobs for British workers” was certainly a catchy phrase for Gordon Brown to use, even if he did use it without thinking first. He has done this on a number of occasions now, using unguarded words that in the end have come back to haunt him, such as his oft-repeated claim to have ended the boom-bust cycle.

Our Gordon views protectionism as “the greatest danger the world now faces”. For sure, his British worker remark was never meant to offer a jobs guarantee. But as unemployment soars towards three million and beyond, so understandably workers will want to take this Prime Minister’s words at face value when many are becoming fearful of joining the ever growing and overflowing reservoir of unemployment.

What started off as a trickle following the much spoken about and on the face of it a new addition to the international vocabulary and language of economists, ‘The Credit Crunch’, has now evolved into a fast flowing river that around the world is sweeping millions into an ocean of uncertainty.

Rising unemployment in China has seen 26 million internal migrant workers from the countryside lose their jobs due to the economic slowdown, and in an almost a copycat move this state capitalist government announced a 4 trillion Yuan stimulus last November to prop up the weakening economy and spur on domestic consumption as the demand for its goods flags in Western countries. By focusing on the country’s 700 million rural residents with a campaign to persuade them to spend more, along with other measures announced such as state subsidies for farmers to buy electrical appliances, the government hopes these efforts will help rejuvenate flagging economic growth at a time when increasing unemployment has raised concerns about potential social unrest.  
In a clear manifestation that the economic crisis is rapidly heading into a severe global clinical depression, US employers purged 598,000 jobs in January, the most job losses in a single month since 1974. January’s firings in the US raised the unemployment rate there to 7.6 percent, the highest level since 1992. Unemployment rose in Germany by an additional 387,000 in January compared to the previous month, for a total of 3.49 million without work. This pushed up the jobless rate by 0.9 percent, to 8.3 percent. Unemployment in the former East Germany, with a rate of 13.9 percent, is still twice as high as in the West, which stands at 6.9 percent.

In Britain likewise, workers have been sent off to the dole office in their thousands. Since Christmas we have all seen and read the reports of the 27,000 Woolworths workers laid off in the opening weeks of the New Year, and all indicators pointing to things getting far worse. Over the past year more than 3,000 UK firms went into administration – some 1,006 companies in the third quarter alone.

There have been a number of high profile casualties of which the retail chain store Woolworths, with some 800-plus stores nationwide, is the most notable. But it has been followed by the furniture retailer MFI, music chain Zavvi, furniture and home accessories store The Pier, menswear retailer The Officers Club, tea and coffee merchant Whittards of Chelsea, children’s clothing retailer Adams, fashion retailer USC and women’s clothing retailer Viyella. In total, some 40,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk.

As this economic crisis deepens at home and aboard, its human toll becomes even more evident. Thousands are facing job losses or being offered an enforced shorter working week as this malignant disease spreads. Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Tata Steel have all announced job cuts or temporary shutdowns at UK plants. BT has said 10,000 posts are to be slashed – many of those in the firing line will be agency and contract workers, some of whom have worked for BT for years. In Construction, workers in an already battered Industry have been warned to brace themselves for an ‘avalanche of job losses’.

On 6 February, it was widely reported in the Times and other newspapers that Royal Mail intends to shed 16,000 jobs as it strives to cut costs. This new threat to jobs comes despite record profits, the proposed job losses — amounting to almost one in ten of the company’s workforce in a drive to reduce the wage bill by £470 million — come as unions prepare to fight the introduction of a commercial partner to the business.

According to the Independent, “unemployment “could easily reach three million by Christmas next”. The hardest hit will be workers with large mortgages, soaring utility bills and the mountain of debt accumulated during the so-called ‘boom years’ when many of us were pushed and persuasively encouraged by banks and others into using loans and credit cards to maintain a half-decent lifestyle.

And now as unemployment and the fortnightly visit to the local Job-centre-plus looms, it will undoubtedly become a routine and habitual preoccupation for many; the experience may have a profound impact on some who have never as yet sampled the devised arm-twisting of this government service increasingly given over to persuading the unemployed to take up low paid employment. Indeed how the times have changed, and are changing, even for the unemployed, and the way they are treated at the local job centre. If you are one of the unfortunate unemployed you may be familiar with its ambience these days, it’s a far cry from Charlie Drake’s television show The Worker. Most job centres employ uniformed security guards equipped with radios to control clamant progression within the building and some display wall posters forbidding the wearing of baseball caps and hoodies. From day one of a new claim the claimant is forced into signing an agreement that sets out what he/she will do to find work, with the threat of sanctions for any ineffectual claimant’s failure to provide enough evidence of actively seeking work.

Commentators have forecast that young people in particular will be pushed out of the labour market by the global downturn. With many anticipating an increase in youth unemployment—to levels last seen in the early 1980s, when riots swept many inner-city areas—the Guardian reported that “Brown was concerned by the recent youth riots in Greece, and feared something similar could develop in Britain.”

The recent ‘reforms’ introduced by New Labour’s Work and Pensions Secretary, James Purnell, in the last Queens Speech, represent an attack on some of the poorest people and their families in our society. They are more evidence that the poor will be made to suffer for an economic crisis that is not of their making. Purnell claims that the changes will “transform lives”, but it may prove in the long run to be a transformation for the worse. Even the Tory leader David Cameron heaped on praise, saying that he is “thrilled” with the plan.

All those currently on ‘out-of-work benefits’ will be affected, as benefits will be renamed (Employment Support Allowance) and altered. The main aim of the changes is to force at least one million people on out-of-work benefits into low paid jobs.

The draconian measures include forcing people to work for their measly dole money. After one year of unemployment, claimants will have to do four weeks of work. After two years, they will have to work continuously for their benefits, doing work “such as community work”, previously only undertaken by people with criminal convictions.

Incapacity claimants will face harrowing questioning and more frequent tests and a medical check from someone other than their own GP. Single parents will have to seek work when their youngest child is seven. Drug-reported addicts will be required to have treatment.

The proposals originally set alongside plans to increase private sector delivery, consequently reducing jobs in the public sector and ensuring that rich pickings for private enterprise come before all else. The government’s flagship policy to revolutionize welfare by paying private companies to find jobs for the unemployed has since been thrown into crises as firms said there were too many people out of work – and too few vacancies – to make it viable. Responding to warnings that his reforms will not work without major changes, James Purnell, has abandoned plans to announce the preferred bidders for the multi-million-pound contracts. This follows demands from the firms involved for hundreds of millions more in “up-front” cash payments. The government have dressed up the proposals as part of its fight against poverty, sometimes using the slogan ‘work works.’ But over half of children living in poverty are in working households with millions of people on low wages that make them little better off than being on benefits.

The world global economic downturn could see 40 million people lose their jobs by the end of the year with worldwide unemployment hitting between 210 and 230 million, with the inevitable consequences of more of the world’s population cascading down into poverty.

Unemployment is encrusting and besetting the world as workers in every industrialized county are made to pay the price as companies downsize operations in order to survive a crisis of capitalism of its own making. Workers the world over, have more in common with each other than the state frontiers and fostered patriotism of race hatred. It’s a mistake to fall for the theories or racial connotations which capitalism’s apologists use to excuse the many failings of the social system. The only protectionism that needs to be dismantled is that which still denies workers a shortfall of life’s essentials. By removing exploitation and the human suffering arising from both poverty and war socialism will enable men and women to be set free, living lives in the security of world community.

Boom, boom Brown (2009)

From the March 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard
Despite his claim to have stopped the boom-slump cycle being refuted, Gordon Brown still thinks he can stop the depression getting worse.
There was a sketch in “The Two Ronnies” years ago which now comes irresistibly to mind. Ronnie Corbett played the sucker, the na├»ve innocent who had already bought a large black lump of “moon-rock” – from the coalman. The same man had now sold him “an Argentinian racing pigeon”, which was without any question an obvious and unmistakable duck. Ronnie Barker’s character desperately tried to get him to acknowledge the fact, without success. The more the details about the transaction came out, the less doubt there could have been.

 “It’s got webbed feet, and goes quack quack.” – “It’s a duck!”
“No, really – it did escape, but I caught it again.” “Where did you catch it?” “On the duck-pond.” “It’s a duck!”
“No honestly, it’s got a name and everything.” “What’s its name?” “Donald.” “It’s a duck!”

It’s a slump
It’s exactly the same now with the present crash of the economy. It’s a slump!

Politicians and journalists call it a downturn, a credit crunch, a bubble bursting, a few greedy bankers getting it wrong, or a problem with American sub-prime mortgages. It’s a slump!

Lord Myners, the “City Minister” in the present Government (Observer, 25 January), said it was “a correction back towards an equilibrium”. It’s a slump!

Gordon Brown (BBC Ceefax, 26 January) claimed it was “the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order”. It’s a slump!

Gordon Brown again, in an interview on TV’s Today programme (23 January): “It’s a global banking crisis . . . It’s quite different from anything that we’ve dealt with before.” No, it isn’t, it’s a slump!

Boom and bust
It might be worthwhile reminding ourselves of what all this boom and bust actually means. In a capitalist society, the whole power of the state’s propaganda machine – press, radio, television, pulpits, government pronouncements, everything – is geared to one all-encompassing end: that the inescapable fate of the working class is to spend their entire working lives labouring for the benefit of the owning class. When nearly all the work force has knuckled down to this unavoidable destiny, it is called a boom. But every so often problems occur in the smooth functioning of this system; and they have occurred every so often ever since we’ve had capitalism. And when that happens, large numbers of the working class, despite having been brainwashed from early childhood into believing that there is no way to run society other than producing surplus value for the owning class – large numbers of them are then told they will not even be allowed to fulfil this divine decree, to work for the capitalists. On the one side, the work is obviously there to be done – food must be produced, clothing must be made, houses must be built – and all the raw materials are there, ready and waiting, or easily able to be produced. And on the other side, there are people desperately wanting to eat food, and to protect themselves from the weather with clothing and houses and so on: but where the owning class cannot see exactly how to make a profit out of it, then nobody is allowed to grow the food, make the clothes, build the houses, and all the rest of it. And it’s called a slump.

Then along comes Gordon Brown. Despite all the airy-fairy talk, all the fine-sounding speeches in which he even had the nerve to talk about “socialism”, all the hot air by which he was able to build his career in student politics, then on the back benches of the House of Commons, and finally as a leading member of the Government – despite all this, he then took over the job of running capitalism. Immediately he began to claim that he was bringing in enormous improvements. The working class would still have to devote themselves to producing surplus value for the owners; but at least they would be allowed to do it, without the threat of the sack, and then long months or years on the sidelines, forcibly prevented from doing any of the jobs which obviously need to be done, wasting away in idleness. Gordon Brown was going to stop all these downturns, or recessions, or depressions, or slumps. No more boom and bust!

Basil Brush
For years Brown announced to the House of Commons, to the Labour Party conferences, to anyone who would give him a platform, that he had at last transformed capitalism. From now on, there would be no more slumps: it would be just like Basil Brush, “boom, boom!” and boom again. But capitalism goes on its own sweet way, ignoring the posturings of the politicians and all their promises. Ed Balls, Brown’s close ally, says the economic situation is the worst “for over 100 years”, which is a bit sad for the Labour Government, after nearly twelve years in power. So now the ducking and diving begins. Repeatedly Brown ignored the demands that he recant or apologize for what has now been revealed to be so much empty bombast. Finally, driven into a corner, he produced a lame apology: “I actually said ‘No more Tory boom and bust’ ” (Daily Mail, 11 October 2008).

Well, the statistics are that Brown boasted about ending “boom and bust” some eighteen times since 1997, and once, certainly, he linked this “boom and bust” specifically to the Tory party. He said to the 2000 Labour Party conference: “We will not put hard won economic stability at risk. No return to short-termism. No return to Tory boom and bust. Why did the Tory party give Britain twenty years of stop-go, twenty years of boom and bust? It is Labour that is now the party for stability and growth.”

So there you are – according to this speech it was only “Tory boom and bust” that he was getting rid of. As if Labour boom and bust would satisfy everybody! But over and over again Brown has claimed that it is boom and bust as such that he has ended for ever. If he meant – when he asserted “I actually said ‘No more Tory boom and bust’ ” – that he always said that, then the unfortunate fact is that any such implication is simply untrue. Apparently Brown’s famous “moral compass”, which he “learned from his mother and father”, did not seem to work this time. Let us recall a few of the things which he “actually said”.

A new economic framework
Gordon Brown’s first pre-budget report, 1997: “For over 40 years our economy has an unenviable history, under governments of both parties, of boom and bust. So, against a background of monetary uncertainty and instability in the global economy, we set about establishing a new economic framework to secure long-term economic stability and put an end to the damaging cycle of boom and bust.” So if it was “under governments of both parties”, it wasn’t only “Tory boom and bust”, was it?

Gordon Brown’s speech to the British Chambers of Commerce national conference, April 2000: “The government has created a new economic framework to avoid the historic British problem – the violence of the repeated boom and bust cycles of the past.”

Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference, 2004: “No longer the boom-bust economy”.

Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference, 2005: “Why has it been that at every point since 1997 faced with the Asian crisis, the IT collapse, a stock exchange crash, an American recession, last year a house price bubble, this year rising world oil prices, why has it been that at every point since 1997 Britain uniquely has continued to grow? In any other decade, a house price bubble would have pushed Britain from boom to bust.” So if that would have happened “in any other decade”, Brown was again making the point that it wasn’t only “Tory boom and bust”.

Gordon Brown’s budget speech, 2006: “As I have said before, Mr Deputy Speaker, ‘No return to boom and bust’.”

Gordon Brown’s budget speech, 2007: “We will never return to the old boom and bust.”

So Gordon Brown wasn’t actually being accurate when he said it was only “Tory boom and bust” he had got rid of. Yet at each General Election, many voters solemnly believe the politicians’ assertions that this time, capitalism is going to be run for the benefit of all. But it never does. It can’t.
Alwyn Edgar

The Ire Of The Irate Itinerant (2009)

From the March 2009 issue of the Socialist Standard