Social and Economic Policy

Covid-19: Bernie Sanders' six point plan

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 10:29
Author

Eric Lee

Bernie Sanders has drafted a six point plan for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the looming economic crisis – and the strange thing is that he doesn’t mention the presidential election nor the name of America’s current president, Donald Trump.

While Joe Biden tries to make his voice heard from his basement studio in Delaware, Sanders remains an active member of the US Senate, fighting to get things done without waiting for the Democratic party primary season to end – and without waiting for Trump to be replaced in office either.

“Congress must pass, in the very near future, the

The economics of "war"

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 08:08
Author

Martin Thomas

Schools were shut down and requisitioned for other purposes. 140,000 patients were sent home from hospitals to “clear the decks” for a dramatic new influx.

Millions of people were taken out of their ordinary jobs and sustained meagrely at government expense while not contributing to production.

Alongside them, large numbers were unemployed, about 9% of the workforce. For the first six months unemployment rose because of the closing-down of many small businesses and the disruption of trade patterns.

Other industries and services were run at emergency speed. The usual criteria of market

The politics of "war"

Published on: Mon, 30/03/2020 - 21:41
Author

Martin Thomas

Since 12 March, so for two and a half weeks now as we write on 30 March, the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths has been increasing exponentially both worldwide and in the UK.

Worldwide the numbers of cases and deaths are both doubling about every week. In the UK, the number of cases is doubling about every three and a half days, the number of deaths about every three days.

The neatness of the pattern is probably coincidental. Country case-counts vary widely with the width of testing, and if the figures were accurate the death graph would lag behind the cases graph rather than tracking it.

Bu

Keynesianism and COVID-19

Published on: Mon, 23/03/2020 - 15:56
Author

By Natalia Cassidy

With every major crisis capitalism has faced since the Second World War, we have seen Keynesianism rear its head. Either in the form of actual policy enacted or in the realm of ideas that come to the fore at these times. Our current situation with COVID-19 is no different. It is as the American monetarist economist Robert Lucas Jr. succinctly put it: “I guess everyone’s a Keynesian in a foxhole”, when capital sees itself in major crisis, Keynesianism reemerges in order to offer a solution. However, there is a widespread ignorance about what Keynesianism actually means.

In lay terms the term

Covid-19 and capitalism

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 10:38
Author

Angela Driver

Despite many predictions over the years by the World Health Organisation that a new pandemic was fairly certain, fairly soon, capitalist governments and businesses failed to do the research and development in advance that could have provided us with medical capacity to limit its effect, or environmental measures which might even have prevented the outbreak.

The Covid 19 pandemic has laid bare the lie that the welfare of the population can be “left to the market”. Only now, very late, have the ruling classes recognised that the destruction mandates coordinated, collective, market-flouting

Strength and audacity we have never before known

Published on: Tue, 10/03/2020 - 16:45
Author

Jill Mountford

“…the Ford women have definitely shaken the women of the country.” (Rose Boland, one of the leading women in the Equal Pay Strike at Ford Dagenham,1968)

“We have achieved more in six weeks than the politicians and trade unions have in years.” (Mary Denness, one of ‘Headscarf Revolutionaries’ who changed health and safety laws for fishermen working on the trawler ships, Hull, 1968 )

“It felt like the culmination of something. It didn’t feel like the absolute beginning.” (Sally Alexander, in an interview 20 years on from the first Women’s Liberation Conference in 1970. Sally was one the two

Covid-19: the case for public spending and public ownership

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 11:58

Covid-19 is spreading. Spreading even faster, in the last week of February, was financial panic.

The Dow Jones share-price index in the USA went down 12% in the week ending 27 February, its biggest drop since 2008.

The first economic effects from a pandemic are in some ways the opposite of the usual beginning of a capitalist slump.

That usually begins with "overproduction" - when capitalists, vying each to outstrip the other in a boom, find they've increased capacity way beyond available market demand, and suddenly cut back on new investment.

With a pandemic there is instead a "supply shock",

Letters: HS2, Democrats' history

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 11:18

No strong case for HS2

There is a lot to agree with in Mark Catterall’s letter in Solidarity 536 - but I am less optimistic about the capacity argument for HS2.

High speed direct rail services between major cities could help to free up congestion, but at this rate the second stage of HS2 could be completed somewhere between 2035 and 2040, far too late to have significant impact on carbon emissions and reduce the amount of freight and commuters moved by road.

And where will capacity will be freed up? As I read it HS2’s congestion relief to the WCML is compromised by the failure to provide

Letters: HS2 debate; Labour Party suspensions

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 12:18

While there is much to agree with in Simon Nelson’s article (Solidarity 534) I believe that Simon is wrong in opposing HS2.

If the line was just about allowing Northerners to get to London in a shorter time, maybe he would have a point. However probably the main reason for constructing HS2 is the limited capacity of the existing network.

There is a limit on how many more longer or more frequent services can be carried on the current network. HS2 (should we call it Congestion Line 1?) will take away large numbers of express trains from the current overcrowded lines, allowing more commuter and

More rail yes, HS2 maybe not

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 10:15
Author

Simon Nelson

More railway lines? Yes. HS2 in particular? Not really.

There are higher priorities: electrification of the railways, many of which are still running diesel trains; increasing capacity on intercity services; improving existing connections; reinvestment in branch lines; newer trains.

A well-staffed and free or cheap integrated rail and bus network is the sort of large-scale infrastructure project that should come before HS2.

Some of the arguments used against HS2 are weak. But there is also good reason to question the arguments made for HS2 as a way to create good jobs, as a way to help the

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