not on a religious faith, as with
the Puritans, or on a strict moral code, as with the Victorians, or even on a spirit
of self-discovery such as with Thoreau, but on a new and powerful grounding –
that of the fight for national survival.
The thrift of the British populace during the Second World War is one of the
strongest examples of frugality carried out in the national interest. Between 1940
and 1955 rationing was in place in Britain, gradually easing off as more and more
products became available again following the end of the war in 1945. It was
For a number of decades our economy has failed to work for ordinary citizens. Stagnant wages have been combined with underemployment and rising costs of basic goods like healthcare, education and housing. At the same time, a small minority of the population make obscene profits, while in the background we continue to hurtle headlong into an environmental emergency. However, despite there being no shortage of anger and anti-elite sentiment expressed in what is often referred to as the ‘culture wars’, no significant challenge to the dominant economic model has broken into the mainstream. The pound and the fury argues that behind this failure of imagination are a set of taken-for-granted myths about how the economy works – myths that stifle debate and block change. The book analyses these myths, explores their origin, how they circulate and how they might be dispelled at a time when, away from the public gaze, economic theory is opening up new possibilities of economic action. Possibilities that, as we emerge from the chaos of Covid-19, could lead to the radical structural changes we desperately need.
particularly strong case for seeing him as a product of and spokesperson for his class and nation.
Keynes’s thinking was shaped during times of remarkable social and economic upheaval. Following an age of apparent stability and complacent British imperial hegemony, the period from 1914 to 1945 was one of drastic change. This ‘Thirty Years’ War’ (Dowd 2004 ) saw the end of the belle époque , of ‘liberal’ capitalism and of peace within the imperialist heartlands. Western capitalism descended into the Great Depression and sharpened class struggles. The Russian Revolution
The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.
Systems Ltd (FDSL). Moreover, high interest
payments, losses on other businesses and the need to put aside enormous
sums for exceptional items in the balance sheet, sapped the lifeblood from
Ferranti International, resulting in a litany of asset disposals that made longterm survival increasingly unlikely.
In addition to these challenges, one must also add that Ferranti
International was facing an extremely difficult marketplace: in the first place,
with the end of the Cold War, governments across Western Europe and North
America were reassessing their military budgets
, the post-WWII Bretton Woods system also had strongly anti-Keynesian elements, particularly in the way it disciplined trade-deficit but not trade-surplus countries. The greatest national economic success stories of the period, Japan and West Germany, had anti-Keynesian domestic policies imposed upon them after the war but prospered, not least through export orientations. The third section considers the crisis of the 1970s and the abandonment of the Bretton Woods system. Keynes’s followers are understandably less keen to accept responsibility. Now, for Davidson, the
power of language, and dispelling the myths that support these absurd and vicious assumptions, that we can move beyond them.
Yet, whilst the culture wars have led to, and continue to push for, greater equality in regards to race, gender and sexual orientation, there is one area of society that has been left untouched by this march towards a fairer world. And that is the area, which – as one of the people I spoke to for this book put it – ‘decides what goes where and who gets what’. The economy, and the myths that prop it up
remarkable that Guerin was able to use ISC as a front for
THE RISE OF ISC
his arms dealing that operated under a protective cloak provided by highlevel officials and their political bosses.
2.1 Foundations and growth
Born on a New Jersey farm in the 1930s ‘Great Depression’ and educated at
Roxbury High School, in Succasunna, New Jersey, James Guerin was initially
interested in agriculture, taking a degree in this subject at Rutgers University,
New Jersey. After serving in the US Navy during the Korean War, he was
retrained as an electronics officer while on
enhancement of employment and support of the unemployed, with
unemployment benefit to be increased gradually to 70% of the minimum wage;
the cleaning up of public finances and a ‘war on squander’. The preamble
of the programme stated: ‘We shall immediately put into effect a 100-day
Plan’, through which ‘we shall thus create the framework for the following
necessary step towards green growth, through a radical change of the ways
in which we produce wealth’. The mantra regularly propagated by the leader
of PASOK, George Papandreou, was ‘there is money’. This announcement
Keynes, consumer rights and the new thrifty consumers
depression continued throughout the 1930s, with devastating impacts in both
the United States and abroad, especially Europe, where many countries were
still recovering from the First World War. In the United States, at the depth of
the depression in the early 1930s, one-third of the working population were
unemployed, resulting in widespread hunger and homelessness (Watkins, 2010).
As Smith says, during the Great Depression ‘authorities estimated that between
four hundred thousand and two million Americans became transients, people
who simply drifted from place