Common Front for Social Justice

 

 

Economic growth and poverty...

 

"Fear is built into their work histories". That is the observation of Richard Sennett in his study of work in the United States [1]. It was not always so.

After the second War

After 1945, under the influence of Keynes, the memory of the Great Depression and the horrors of the war, capitalist countries abandoned "deflationary competition" (pressure on the cost of labour to allow exports) that had, from the economic war, led them to war.

It was then the period that economists refer to as the "Glorious Thirties". Taxes on high income and corporations were high (more than 70% was the marginal income tax). Economic growth was strong, jobs created, wages increased.

Neo-liberal Ideology Takes Power

At the end of the 80's, governments adopted the American neo-liberal ideology (Examples: McKenna and Lord in New Brunswick, Mulroney, Chrétien, Martin in Canada). Lowering income tax rates (initiated by Mulroney), continued reducing taxes for corporations, reducing the social security net, all of these were there to render us "competitive", that is, ready to work more for less... to the benefit of big business.

That is the beginning of the period of great blackmail and latent unemployment. If you want jobs, give us subsidies, assistance, easy fiscal terms (non-payment of taxes due, etc.), businesses told governments [2].

Since then we live with fear in out hearts for our professional life, for economic growth is not translated by growth for all.

The Gross National Product (in millions of constant dollars, therefore protected against inflation) increased in the 90's. The very rich profited, the middle class live in deep fear, and poverty is always with us.

 

This economic growth without sharing is without a future, but it is heavy with threats for poor humans that we are. States are not without power. On the contrary. Let us make it known to our government.

 

[1].  Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character. The Personnal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, W.W. Norton, New York, 1998, p.19

[2].  That is how our Prime Minister Paul Martin justifies the transfer of his business, Canadian Steamship International to Barbados, with the loss of 100 million dollars in revenue to the state and therefore a personal gain of 100 million dollars.



Your questions and comments are welcome.