The rise of the robots brings threats and opportunities
Monday27th November 2017
• Your editorial on productivity and robots repeated the cliche that automation does cost jobs, but more are created. The problem with this is that the new jobs are frequently in different places from where they are lost and require very different skills, hence exacerbating the problems for the “left behind”. Also unmentioned was that just as this automation is starting to really bite, the world faces a strong possibility of another serious credit-induced economic downturn, from China to the UK. Thus we have the potential of the prefect storm of domestic unemployment soaring and export markets falling as happened after the 2008 economic slump.
The answer to these problems has to be a shift of emphasis to rebuilding the local economy by prioritising labour-intensive sectors that are difficult to automate and impossible to relocate abroad. Two sectors are key: face-to-face caring from medicine, education and elderly care through to carbon-reducing national infrastructural renewal. This should range from making the UK’s 30m buildings energy efficient, constructing new low-carbon dwellings and rebuilding local public transport links. Funding could come from fairer taxes, the availability for savers of investments in local authority bonds and green Isas and a massive new green infrastructure QE programme. The reason this approach must become central to all political parties and their next election manifestos is the crucial vote winning mantra of “jobs in absolutely every constituency”.
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group https://www.greennewdealgroup.org/
Reverse EU free movement AND Brexit: Guardian Letter, Brave New Europe, brilliant Deborah Orr piece
Free movement of people raises real concerns
Wednesday 15 November 2017
What those who want to remain in a reformed EU that lessens people’s insecurity must grasp is that Brexit voters don’t want an apology, they want policies to deal with their desire for managed migration. What is still inadequately understood is that the one Continue reading
Wednesday 18 October 2017
• Gary Younge’s dystopian view of a world with no curbs on migration will increase the rise of the anti-immigrant right, as was seen on Sunday in Austria (Austrian elections won by conservative accused of playing the far right’s game, 16 October). It is time to stop always seeing migration just in terms
of the rights of generally more affluent migrants. The rights of the original host country not to lose permanently their brightest and best must also warrant consideration, as should the views of the majority in the recipient counties who want less migration. The major cause of population growth in most rich countries is now immigration. This has led to well-founded public concerns about uncontrolled mass migration. A Gallup poll showed that about 630 million of the world’s adults would like to leave their country and move somewhere else permanently, with 42 million expressing a preference for the UK, a destination second only to the US.
If net migration continues at about recent levels, then the UK population is expected to rise by nearly 8 million people in 15 years, almost the equivalent of the population of Greater London (8.7 million). Population growth is projected to approach 80 million in 25 years and keep rising. Younge is right that nation states are a recent phenomena and mass migration is as old as humanity. But because of domestic pressures, the nation state will increasingly make large-scale permanent migration a thing of the past. The question will be: will their governments inevitably be rightwing or will progressive politicians grasp this rational political inevitability.
(Author of Progressive Protectionism), London
It’s a great pity that Nick Clegg didn’t mention the one issue that could make MPs from both remain and leave constituencies vote against a Brexit deal (or no deal), ie allowing immigration controls in the EU. Continue reading
A £50bn-a-year green infrastructure quantitative easing programme is feasible, say Prof Richard Murphy and Colin Hines
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has opened the way to a possible Green New Deal, write Richard Murphy and Colin Hines. alt=”Bank of England governor Mark Carney,” itemprop=contentUrl v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>
Tuesday 5th September 2017
Zoe Williams is right: another credit crunch-induced “crash” is likely and the only affordable rescue package will be some form of quantitative easing (With Britain’s addition to debt, another crash is certain, 4 September). This time it must generate jobs for the “left behind” and others, rather than today’s beneficiaries – the property- and share-owning rich. The Green New Deal group showed the potential of such an approach in its proposal for a £50bn-a-year green infrastructure QE programme.
This would pay to make the UK’s 28m dwellings and 2m commercial and public sector buildings super energy efficient, dramatically reducing energy bills, fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. It could also tackle the housing crisis by building affordable, highly insulated homes, predominantly on brownfield sites. This form of QE would provide job security and local business opportunities in every constituency, since its infrastructure improvements would take place across the UK.
Such an approach is feasible, since the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, in responding to questions from Green New Deal group member Caroline Lucas MP, is on record as saying that if the government requested it, QE could be used to buy assets other than government debt. He and the government should work on this jobs-everywhere approach. If they don’t, Labour could be on to a winner with its “peoples QE” proposal to fund economic improvements nationwide.
Prof Richard Murphy
City University, London
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group
Monday 24 July 2017
• The EU itself is under enormous internal pressure to renounce neoliberalism, as anti-austerity sentiment grows across the continent, along with the questioning of the free flow of people. Such shifts could make a call for managed migration within the EU more plausible, hence addressing the major reason for Brexit. “Remain and reform” would keep us part of a continent powerful enough to stand up to international capital, compared to a Brexit Britain, battered and bullied into submission by such forces. Continue reading
Time for Labour to champion a ‘No Brexit’ position
Wednesday 13 July 2017
Tempting as it is for Labour to let the Tories dangle on a noose of their own hubristic making (May appeals to Labour for policy ideas, 10 July), they should instead use Theresa May’s call for policy ideas as an impetus to sort out their own Brexit vulnerability. Promising to protect jobs while having managed migration was a successful election wheeze and minimised the Continue reading
Before next election Labour must replace its ‘cake and eat it’ Brexit for ‘No Brexit’
New Statesman Correspondence
23-29 JUNE 2017
Jason Cowley (Editor’s Note, 16th June) is right to call for someone to say “No Brexit”. That someone should be the Labour Party. During the election, Labour was able to get away with a Boris-like “cake and eat it” approach by saying it wanted to have managed migration and have all the advantages of access to the Single Market without membership. That probably succeeded in ensuring that the flow of voters who had shifted from Labour to Ukip did not vote Tory. Instead they liked Labour’s manifesto and it sounded like the party was anyway going to do something about controlling immigration.
This studied ambiguity won’t survive a new election and to strengthen its position it should take note of Michael Heseltine recent suggestion that Macron and Merkel might team up to offer a deal on immigration such that the UK could stay in the EU. Were Labour to champion such an approach, the party could show its support for internationalism by bringing to an end the permanent theft of the brightest and the best from generally poorer European countries.
There are internationalist ways to manage immigration and still stay in the EU
Colin Hines argues for an amendment of the treaty of Rome
Thursday 22nd June
What a relief to read the letters from Dick Taverne and others saying that Brexit should be fought rather than meekly accepted as inevitable (Letters, 19 June). However, I’m afraid that none of your correspondents mentioned the key change required before a “remain and reform” package has a cat’s chance in hell of succeeding in a second referendum. That is the need for the EU to amend the treaty of Rome to allow member states to decide how many people they want to come into their countries. The Continue reading
To win next election Labour needs to promote the ‘People’s QE money tree’ and intergenerational solidarity
Tuesday 13 June 2017
• Sorry Brenda from Bristol, but another election looms, and this time a progressive alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid and the Greens need to get their policy ducks in a row to win it. Firstly, these must provide hope, not just for the young, but for every community in the country. To do this Jeremy Corbyn must revisit and vigorously shake his people’s QE “money tree”. Continue reading