Thrifty Dave, Darling Alistair & the G20 by Lucy Pedler
It pains me to say this and even more to write it down but ‘Thrifty Dave’ (aka David Cameron) is correct in that the way forward through the economic gloom is to become more thrifty, although quite how the Tories intend to achieve this is not clear, least of all to themselves. We cannot ‘grow our way out of a recession’ as darling Alistair stated last week in the Budget report and at the G20 meeting held in London a few weeks ago our great leaders went even further by closing their eyes and throwing inconceivable amounts of money at the problem, perhaps hoping that the sheer number of bank notes would patch up the gaping hole in the economy.
I do not for one minute claim to be any sort of expert in economics but those ‘experts’ we have been relying on to manage the economy have proved themselves to be incapable of doing this rather important job. As a non-expert, it seems to me that any long term solution to the problem has to take into account that the environment and the economy are inextricably linked. In the last few decades our experts have reassured us that making money from money, selling even just the idea of a loan or mortgage is a worthwhile venture and that it is fine to work on the principle that virtual money will make the world go round. No surprises then that this has proved not to work because at the root of any economy is stuff, real stuff – making, buying and selling ‘stuff’ is actually what makes the world go round and when the ‘stuff’ runs out, as it is all over the planet, the current way we run our economies breaks down. Going back to business as usual will not work any longer because there is not enough ‘stuff’ to support this way of living.
In the short term this is obviously a very bad thing-millions of people around the world will suffer through house repossessions, job losses and the social and geo-political turmoil that this type of collapse results in. But and this is a very, very, big but… if we can get through and past this mountainous problem and not return to the ‘consume your way to a green tomorrow’ approach, then we have a hope of adjusting our collective lifestyles so that we can create a sustainable future.
I quote George Monbiot below from his article in the Guardian the day after the G20 summit where he paraphrases the G20 communiqué:
“We, the leaders of the Group G20, will use every cent we don’t possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back on to the path of unsustainable growth.
“We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth’s living systems. Now we’re going to spend another $1.1 trillion.
“As an exemplary punishment for their long record of promoting crises, we will give the IMF and the World Bank even more of your money. These actions constitute the greatest mobilisation of resources to support global financial flows in modern times.
“Oh – and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don’t have any definite plans as yet, but we’ll think of something in due course.”