2017: Time for a new economic model or back to 1917?
There can be no doubt that the economic model currently in practice in most countries, namely the market-oriented monetarist capitalist model is far from perfect and is close to social terrorism. Alternatives are derided as unworkable, followed by campaigns of demonology and lies. But what is the alternative?
The underlying purpose of the market-oriented monetarist capitalist model is not to provide public services but rather, to control and sell resources, even the most basic life-giving substance, water - and provide a profit for the few who gained control of the said resources.
Governance and public services
This is the situation today. Over the years, as the State apparatus developed, so did the accountability of governments to provide governance, as social predominance was wrested from the hands of the Church/Established Classes/Aristocracy and won by the merchants, the genesis of the model under discussion. With the latter group empowered in Parliaments, with the Word of the Church questioned by the ability of the common (wo)man to read the Bible (the word of God) in the vernacular and with the diktat of the Aristocracy to rule absolutely diminished, governance became synonymous with public services.
As these were provided, they developed and at the same time the fiscal network widened and tightened around all economically active citizens, who were encouraged and free to set up businesses, engage in trade, employ other people, pay their duties, tariffs and taxes to the governing bodies. At that time charity and community spirit were very much present in society as people wished to buy their place in Paradise by erecting a church with the highest steeple, to get closer to God or by building a hospice or hospital. This incipient capitalism, as a model, was promising.
However, there were some sinister sharks lurking beneath the surface of the system's waters. One of these was the idea that governments could contract sovereign debt, which would have a direct impact on the people due to the weight of this vector and its servicing in the provision of public services; also the ability of large public and private corporations to gamble away assets in speculative games, turning the economy into a roulette wheel in a casino.
Along comes a time when the bubble bursts - when the markets crash in the inevitable set of waves of a boom-and-bust economy and with them, billions are erased, these billions being pension funds, municipal savings accounts, hospital management funds, bank deposits and the like, and then who foots the bill?
The citizen is increasingly isolated
This model allows a market to dictate the whims of economies based upon supply and demand but because of the forces outlined above, the economies are less and less able to intervene with a social umbrella and therefore leave the citizen increasingly isolated, unless (s)he pays for the services.
The result is what we see today. Investment in education has decreased to the level at which finding a good state school is a lottery, in which to guarantee a quality education you have to pay for it; University education saw the tuition fees introduced and in many cases tripled within three years, now there is a trend to sky-rocket. Further education is a business. Getting a master degree or a doctorate costs tens of thousands of dollars.
There is an inadequate link between the education system and the work market, meaning that insufficient numbers of skilled workers are produced, alongside too many graduates and because of a liberalization in wage policies, these imbalances can be culminated with mass immigration which challenge the structure of a society. Tensions are created, violence ensues.
Globalization and outsourcing
Among its many caprices and quirks, this system acts with increasing irresponsibility as corporations warp from providers for communities to platforms to sustain the few (its shareholders), the visible example of this being globalization and outsourcing. Globalization has destroyed whole communities at the expense of cutting costs, but increasing the social burden, depriving people of jobs, increasing the payment of benefit from the state budget, as production facilities are moved into areas where wages are lower and working conditions worsen. Outsourcing frees the corporation from responsibilities, and the result of this is in too many cases shoddy workmanship provided by an invisible entity which renders services but which is not accountable.
The longer this rusting economic and social contraption is kept alive on its iron lung, the worse conditions become as it rachets upwards to full social terrorism mode. Right from the very beginning there were clear indications that the model was mortally flawed.
The education system, such as it is, has been outlined above. Rather than catering for excellence, policies are drawn up based on the bottom line approach, the box where profits are registered for Excel sheet management policymakers. University courses have become shortened, masters' courses have amalgamated with bachelor courses in a tidy five-year package to satisfy bureaucrats that all is well on the western front. Research contracts keep a few out of the unemployment statistics if they can tailor together a cosmetic resumé which pleases those who decide who gets what. Full-time researchers find themselves in the middle of a nightmare, waiting for an extension to their project every 12, 24 or 36 months, not knowing whether they will have a job 4 years hence.
After education, real life
And after education, real life. Getting a foot on the first rung of the housing ladder is increasingly difficult in a system controlled by banks which are supposed to lend but these days complain they are losing money with negative interest rates, passing the buck on to what today they call their customers, not clients. In clear English, this means the entire banking system has failed and so they cannot afford to provide loans covering over 60 per cent of a property. So who, at 25 years of age, has 60.000 USD in the bank to put up as collateral?
Rentals are supposed to provide an alternative, but nowadays act in a converse and perverse way, unregulated, following market trends and forcing the price of a rented house way beyond the reach of a first salary.
So how are young couples supposed to settle down, build a home and have families when prices are beyond their reach, when they have little or no job security, when the education system has not prepared them for the workplace, when payment of public utilities is costing more and more? Who can afford dental care, who has access to immediate and quality healthcare, who has an indexed pension which keeps up with inflation?
Do governments provide affordable public services? Do governments provide security of the state or safety on the street? Are people free to walk around anywhere at any time of day or night?
Or is policy controlled by a super-elite political class of Parliamentarians or unelected bureaucrats, a dictatorship of a clique of a few hundred people, who make the decisions to conduct dangerous foreign policies which are bound to have collateral effects?
In short, today people pay more, receive less and are brainwashed by a lying media which tells them everything is perfect and manipulates them by fear, using an "us and them" approach. At the same time it covers up the crimes of its paymasters.
There is an alternative model, which works, which creates full employment, which provides free public services, which provides free housing, education, healthcare, safety and security, indexed pensions, staple foodstuffs, social mobility, which provides leisure time activities, sports facilities, musical training. It cannot coexist well with the proponents of social terrorism who spend trillions trying to sabotage this model because it will take the control of wealth and resources from the hands of the greedy corporate elitists who feed on their system like parasites.
It tries to defend itself through increased internal security as the social terrorists commit murder, acts of sabotage and vandalism, then when saboteurs and agents provocateurs are caught, complain that the social model is a police state. One hundred years after 1917, we have seen the whole picture and the broader story.
This time around, we shall not be duped.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
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