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.
Alex Schafran, Matthew Noah Smith, and Stephen Hall
conversations that directly revolve around reliance systems in some ways. These examples – universal basic income and the GreenNewDeal – involve different systems, different political lines, and vary in terms of their global reach. We purposely chose a more global example and a more regional (North Atlantic) example to highlight the scalability of this framework.
The spatial contract framework in practice: universal basic income
The idea of providing no-strings-attached money to all citizens or residents – a basic income, or universal basic
unless we confront the reality that the vast majority of
the major threats to our environment are currently
produced and controlled by profit-making corporations. Yet in the international treaties, and in many of
the radical proposals to transform our economy, corporations are either envisaged as a solution to the crisis,
or are ignored completely.
We can make a similar observation about the
agenda that has emerged to promote a “greennewdeal” and a “green industrial revolution”. Take, for
example, the proposal presented by the US politician Alexandria Ocasio
This book explains the direct link between the structure of the corporation and its limitless capacity for ecological destruction. It argues that we need to find the most effective means of ending the corporation’s death grip over us. The corporation is a problem, not merely because it devours natural resources, pollutes and accelerates the carbon economy. As this book argues, the constitutional structure of the corporation eradicates the possibility that we can put the protection of the planet before profit. A fight to get rid of the corporations that have brought us to this point may seem an impossible task at the moment, but it is necessary for our survival. It is hardly radical to suggest that if something is killing us, we should over-power it and make it stop. We need to kill the corporation before it kills us.
environmental crisis requires an interventionist Keynesian response. There have been influential calls for a GreenNewDeal or simply green Keynesianism. There is a constituency for change in economic interests and a powerful social movement, but there are also dangers in a lowest-common-denominator approach which ‘greenwashes’ insufficiently radical reform, which can be undone by the dynamics of capitalist and inter-state rivalry.
The final section argues that reining in capital in more consistently Keynesian ways would require a leap of political faith which probably goes
it is only a piecemeal solution. As long as they
remain the principal organisations responsible for
making, consuming and distributing things, corporations remain in control of industrial processes and the
way they are financed. The fix to the mess we are in
cannot possibly be provided by organisations that are
programmed to devour nature, with no regard for the
human and ecological consequences. The fix must be
A green industrial revolution?
The introduction to this book noted that in most of
the political proposals for a “greennewdeal” and a
The immigration debate and common anger in dangerous times
This narrative ignores the racial injustice entailed in the far greater
damage being done by climate change to livelihoods in the Global
South.13 In contrast to the internationalism of some advocates of a
‘greennewdeal’,14 it represents the emergence of a white supremacist
approach to the question of who should be allowed to survive ecological
catastrophe, a kind of eco-fascism.15
Following in the footsteps of other authors,16 I have tried to debunk
some key myths about immigration and about the notion of a pure,17
native, ‘white’ working-class to whom
about the crowding out effects of tax on investment or the deservingness of the mega-wealthy. The state has intervened through furloughing and other measures, and the old justifications for meritocracy are worn out. The Patriotic Millionaire movement – where rich individuals club together to encourage greater taxation of the wealthy – highlights the direction of travel in this regard.
This kind of revenue could help fund a GreenNewDeal in the style of President Biden's American Rescue Plan and American Jobs Plan
Organisational and programmatic developments among left-of-centre
Richard Dunphy and Luke March
greater intervention of the TNP in their policy-making. This includes EP party manifestos that explicitly mention the EGP and have common policies (e.g. the ‘GreenNewDeal’ in 2009 and 2014). In 2012, the EGP started an audit of member parties, including checking their membership and financial status, and confirming that their programmes and statutes accord with the EGP's own (Emmott, 2012 ). In addition, the EGP is capable of applying disciplinary measures to parties that ‘fail to meet the specified membership criteria or other obligations’ (European Green Party
Alex Schafran, Matthew Noah Smith, and Stephen Hall
planetary boundaries, but many fewer capacities are produced. 23
Every reliance system processes energy and matter at different rates. Provisioning human freedoms while respecting planetary boundaries is extremely difficult. It is systemspecific, so to think about ecological solutions in terms of an abstract, broad, ‘new social contract’ is extremely difficult. Calls for a ‘new social contract’ are searching for a generalized politics which replicates a settlement between capital and labour but with ecological sensibilities, a ‘greennewdeal’. 24 The