i don't generally blog about economics but the occupy movement was such a breath of fresh air with it's dream that another world is possible, and trying to create spaces for conversation about how. well i guess it's a year on or something from that and we still badly need that conversation to keep happening, the dream to be kept alive, and for that dream to shift into some political will and decision making.
my completely naive opinion on how to change the country's economics last november was to put a cap on wages at around £150,000 (i don't care that much actually what the figure is). that's it - simple. sure tweak it around and enable those generating big money to have a say on surplus earnings in its investment in education, arts, charity, social entrepreneurship or whatever if it helps. if they don't like it let them move to another country...
while it's not sophisticated economics the point is that the issue is what we do about the ridiculous wealth in the top few percent of earners rather than focus on the bottom end. i am sick of the government's targetting of those on welfare, benefits, the poor. what the hell is their problem?! most people i know working in charities are struggling to raise enough funds at the same time more help is being needed in our society. the so called big society is one huge joke. it's a small indicator but there was a programme on food shortages and food banks last night - i think 5 of our pioneers at cms are involved in some way in food banks which is brilliant (the church is always on the front edge of this sort of thing) - but how has it got to this?
in today's guardian there are two pieces on this that are really worth a read.
the first is a roll call of corporate rogues who are milking the country - the taxation avoidance of big companies has to be addressed politically so that is simply not legal - end of story. this alone would more than cover the cuts in the year. in this article it's pointed out that the richest 1000 people have seen their wealth increase by £155bn in the crisis.
the second is an editorial that one of the best financiers in the country is saying that occupy were right and should be paid attention to - the biggest problem is still growing inequality. it concludes by asking when we will get a political solution to this?!
so i am happy to nuance my initial top salary view of economics with a second policy - companies must be enforced to pay tax on business in our lands. change the laws that enable avoidance and come down hard on fraud. this is also very simple to understand!
i actually have a third idea but it would be a lot more complicated - build in the equivalent of the biblical year of jubilee where every 50 years land and wealth is redistributed so no one can accumulate in the way that we see happening. but i can't see anyone taking that on any time right now...
how do we generate the political will for this?