|Speech to Congress (U.S)
“…So far, so good. He now spoke out on climate change: ‘I believe that you, the nation that had the vision to put a man on the moon, are also the nation with the vision to protect and preserve our planet earth.’ Some Republicans refused to applaud.
More audaciously still, he raised the banner of free trade, telling a sceptical audience that, ‘history tells us that, in the end’, protectionism ‘protects no one’.”
“He knew his praise of Roosevelt and his New Deal and his extolling Obama for pursing similarly expansionary policies, would not receive universal applause. Nor did they. None the less, the speech was Brown at his oratorical best, and he knew at once that he had struck the right note.”
“In London his team in Downing street were glued to the television screen in the horseshoe. Watching it they felt a huge sense of pride and admiration for him. It was one of his very best moments as Prime Minister.”
|Government – PM||Brown at 10 – Anthony Seldon|
|The government may have been united about the need to stimulate the economy, but it was less clear about how it should respond to the rapidly deteriorating state of the public finances. Britain’s comparatively narrow tax base saw the deficit soar when revenue from the City collapsed. From at least the spring 2008, the Treasury had become alarmed about this. ‘We were continually surprised by just how big it was becoming,’ says senior official. They had good grounds to be worried.||Tax revenue – UK||Brown at 10 – Anthony Seldon|
|The communist think they have found the way to redeem mankind from evil. Man is unequivocally good and well disposed to his neighbour, but his nature has been corrupted by the institution of private property. Ownership of property gives the individual the power and so the temptation, to mistreat his neighbour; whoever is excluded from ownership is bound to be hostile to the oppressor and rebel against him. When private property is abolished, when goods are held in common and enjoyed by all, ill will and enmity among human beings will cease. Because all needs will be satisfied, no one will have any reason to see another person as his enemy; everyone will be glad to undertake whatever work is necessary. I am not concerned with economic criticisms of the communist system; I have no way of knowing whether the abolition of private property is expedient and beneficial.* But I can recognise the psychological presumption behind it as baseless illusion. With the abolition of private property the human love of aggression is robbed of one of its tools, a strong one no doubt, but certainly not the strongest. No change has been made in the disparities of power and influence that aggression exploits in pursuit of its end, or in nature. Aggression was not created by property; it prevailed with almost no restriction in primitive times, when property was very scanty.
[* – Anyone who tasted the misery of poverty in his youth and experienced the indifference and arrogance of propertied people, should be safe from the suspicion that he has no sympathy with current efforts to combat inequalities of wealth and all that flows from them. Of course, if this struggle seeks to appeal to the abstract demand, made in name of justice, for equality among all men, the objection is all too obvious: nature, by her highly unequal endowment of individuals with physical attributes and mental abilities, has introduced injustices that cannot be remedied.]
|Communist Economics – Society||Civilisation and its discontents – Sigmund Freud|
|We must turn the power and resources of our private enterprise system to the underdeveloped nation within our midst. This should be done by bringing into the ghettos themselves productive and profitable private industry – creating dignified jobs, not welfare handouts, for the men and youth who now languish in idleness.||Make gentle the life of this world|
|The jobs have fled to the suburbs, or have been replaced by machines, or have moved beyond the reach of those with limited education and skills …
The fact is, if we want to change these conditions – those of us here in this room, those of us who are in the establishment, whether it be business, or labour, or government – we must act. The fact is that we can act. And the fact is also that we are not acting.
|Make gentle the life of this world|
|Our society – all our values, our views of each other, and our own self-esteem; the contribution we can make to ourselves, our families, and the community around us – all these things are built on the work we do. But too many of the inhabitants of these areas are without the purpose, the satisfaction, or the dignity that we find in our work.||Make gentle the life of this world|
|And there are others: on the back roads of Mississippi, where thousands of children slowly starve their lives away, their minds damaged beyond repair by the age of four or five; in the camps of the migrant workers, a half million nomads virtually unprotected by collective bargaining or social security, minimum wage or workmen’s compensation, exposed to the caprice of fate and the cruelty of their fellow man alike; and on Indian reservations where the unemployment rate is 80 percent, and where suicide is not a philosopher’s question but the leading cause of death among young people.||Make gentle the life of this world|
|And the effects of the shortage of meaningful employment are reinforced by a welfare structure which is frequently destructive both of individuals and of the community in which they live.
More basically, welfare itself had done much to divide our people, to alienate us one from the other. Partly this separation comes from the understandable resentment of the taxpayer, helplessly watching your welfare rolls and your property tax rise. But there is greater resentment among the poor, the recipient s of our charity. Some of it comes from the brutality of the welfare system itself: from the prying bureaucrat, an all powerful administrator deciding at his desk who is deserving
|Make gentle the life of this world|
|“On this generation of Americans falls the full burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created equal before the law. All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.
But all our great cooperative efforts will come to little if they do not succeed in restoring importance to the lives of individual men. Long ago the Greeks defined happiness as ‘the exercise of vital powers along line of excellence in a life affording them scope.’ The fulfilment of that objective is increasingly difficult in the face of the giant organisations and massive bureaucracies of the age. Still it is what we must seek, helping men and communities to mark off a corner of the word in which to move, to stretch mind and body in the effort ‘not only to equal or resemble, but to excel,’ which John Adams told us would forever be ‘the great spring of human action’ – and which was our goal for ourselves and one another in our compact two short centuries ago.”
|Make gentle the life of this world|
|“Think how our world would look to a visitor from another planet as he crossed the continents. He would find great cities and knowledge able to create enormous abundance from the materials of nature. He would witness exploration into understanding of the entire physical universe, from the particles of the atom to the secrets of life. He would see billions of people separated by only a few hours of flight, communicating with the speed of light, sharing a common dependence on a thin layer of soil and covering of air. Yet he would also observe that most of mankind was living in misery and hunger, that some of the inhabitant of this tiny, crowded globe were killing others, and that a few patches of land were pointing huge instruments of death and war at others. Since what he was seeing proved our intelligence, he would only wonder at our sanity”||Make gentle the life of this world|
|“My personal opinion is that those methods are preferable which respect existing traditions and habits so far as that is in any way compatible with the end in view. Nor do I believe that a sudden transference of the control of industry to the hands of the public would be beneficial from the point of view of production; private enterprise should be left its sphere of activity, in so far as is has not already been eliminated by industry itself in the form of cartelization.
There are, however, two respects in which this economic freedom ought to be limited. In each branch of industry the number of working hours per week ought so to be reduced by law that unemployment is systematically abolished. At the same time minimum wages must be fixed in such a way that purchasing power of the workers keeps pace with production.
Further, in those industries which have become monopolistic in character through organisation on the part of the producers, prices must be controlled by the state in order to keep the creation of new capital with reasonable bounds and prevent the artificial strangling of production and consumption. In this way it might perhaps be possible to establish a proper balance between production and consumption without too great a limitation of free enterprise, and at the same time to stop the intolerable tyranny of the owners of the means of production (land, machinery) over wage-earners, in the widest sense of the term”
|The world as I see it|
|“The free play of economic forces will not by itself automatically overcome these difficulties. Regulative measures by the community are needed to bring about a sound distribution of labour and consumption goods among mankind; without them even the people of the richest countries will suffocate. The fact is that since the amount of work needed to supply everybody’s needs has been reduced through the improvement of technical methods, the free play of economic forces no longer produces a state of affairs in which all the available labour can find employment. Deliberate regulation and organisation are becoming necessary to make the results of technical progress beneficial to all.”||The world as I see it|
|“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”
John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”
Inequality hurts economic growth, finds OECD research
9/12/2014 – Reducing income inequality would boost economic growth, according to new OECD analysis. This work finds that countries where income inequality is decreasing grow faster than those with rising inequality.
The single biggest impact on growth is the widening gap between the lower middle class and poor households compared to the rest of society. Education is the key: a lack of investment in education by the poor is the main factor behind inequality hurting growth.
“This compelling evidence proves that addressing high and growing inequality is critical to promote strong and sustained growth and needs to be at the centre of the policy debate,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Countries that promote equal opportunity for all from an early age are those that will grow and prosper.”
Rising inequality is estimated to have knocked more than 10 percentage points off growth in Mexico and New Zealand over the past two decades up to the Great Recession. In Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, the cumulative growth rate would have been six to nine percentage points higher had income disparities not widened, but also in Sweden, Finland and Norway, although from low levels. On the other hand, greater equality helped increase GDP per capita in Spain, France and Ireland prior to the crisis.
The paper finds new evidence that the main mechanism through which inequality affects growth is by undermining education opportunities for children from poor socio-economic backgrounds, lowering social mobility and hampering skills development.
People whose parents have low levels of education see their educational outcomes deteriorate as income inequality rises. By contrast, there is little or no effect on people with middle or high levels of parental educational background.
The impact of inequality on growth stems from the gap between the bottom 40 percent with the rest of society, not just the poorest 10 percent. Anti-poverty programmes will not be enough, says the OECD. Cash transfers and increasing access to public services, such as high-quality education, training and healthcare, are an essential social investment to create greater equality of opportunities in the long run.
The paper also finds no evidence that redistributive policies, such as taxes and social benefits, harm economic growth, provided these policies are well designed, targeted and implemented.