John McDonnell: The People’s Chancellor

John McDonnell, The People’s Chancellor, a breath of fresh air compared with Ed Balls or Alistair Darling. Unlike economic illiterate chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, John McDonnell has some understanding of economics.

Once upon a time students had free university education (now £9,000 per annum with Tories wishing to hike the fees), and students got a grant, ie they were paid to study and go to university.

Students not wishing to be at university full-time, could do a part-time course or a sandwich course and study over a longer period, and be in employment.

Now students on a full-time course, are having to put in the hours at work as though on a part-time or sandwich course, not only that, it will be dreary, precarious McJobs, on low wages, often on zero hours.

Apple is relocating its factories to the US. These new factories will not employ American workers, they will employ robots.

Robots will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they do not need to be watered and fed, they do not need to be paid.

The price of stuff is tending to zero.

There is a growing mismatch between GDP and percentage going on wages.

Where we once had well-paid skilled workers with money jingling in their pockets to spend on the High Street we now have precarious workers on low wages, often below the minimum wage, robots on no wages.

This creates a downward spiral. Decimated town centres, slum housing estates.

With tax dodging, low corporation tax, corporations are amassing huge cash mountains, money that is not being invested in the economy.

The polices pursued by George Osborne in cutting money to the poor, are not only morally indefensible, they are also economic illiteracy. The poor spend money in the local economy.

Does society benefit by closing libraries, cutting to a bare minimum social services, the NHS, by privatising these public services?

We need investment, in education, in infrastructure, in green technologies.

We need alternative forms of ownership, democratisation of he workplace, open co-ops, collaborative commons.

Apple is not a good model to follow. A high-tech death star, like Uber, like Airbnb, that is creating a monopoly, control of intellectual property rights (to benefit the few not the many), serfs working for apps, where once unions negotiated for better working conditions and pay, we have atomised workers bidding against each other in a negative auction to force wages and working conditions ever downwards on a race to the bottom.

John McDonnell two years ago.

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