Where has all the talk of recovery gone? David Cameron says “red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy”.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney even paraphrased Karl Marx’s opening to the Communist Manifesto to signal his sense of gloom.
He said, “A spectre is now haunting Europe—the spectre of economic stagnation, with growth disappointing again and confidence falling back.”
The Tories are just two weeks away from chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn statement—the last before the general election.
Cameron wants to balance between his desire to claim the Tories’ harsh austerity medicine has cured the economic crisis, and justifying yet more cuts.
The Financial Times has predicted the Tories will cut public spending by £48 billion in the next five years. That’s more than double what they have so far claimed is necessary.
On the surface Britain could appear to be in better economic shape than the rest of Europe and beyond. Italy has just gone back into recession. Europe’s strongest economy, Germany, only narrowly missed doing the same.
Japan, the world’s third largest economy, has gone into recession and even China has seen its growth slowing down.
So Cameron is keen to point to figures that show Britain’s economy is growing—slightly— and the claim wages are ahead of prices.
But the reality behind the numbers is very different.
Whatever the spin and number crunching of politicians, millions of ordinary people know they are worse off.
Austerity has made the rich richer, and they are hanging onto more of their wealth than ever.
The richest half of the country has increased its disposable income by 1 or 2 percent after four years of austerity, new research by the University of Essex revealed.
In contrast, the poorest in Britain lost 3 percent of what they would have earned had Tory cuts not been implemented.
We are always told that bosses deserve the profits they make from exploiting workers because they take “risks” when they invest their money.
But when wealthy bosses really feel there is a risk to their loot, they simply don’t invest in new factories or businesses.
Instead they hoard the cash.
That’s happening today. This only intensifies the danger of a new slump and contradicts the ministers’ rosy predictions of growth ahead.
But whatever the politicians here and across the globe claim, they are not in control of their own system. Cameron may be looking at a dashboard flashing red but he is not in the driving seat.
Threats of a deeper crisis should not be an excuse to attack the living standards of the majority.
They should be a warning that capitalism, in boom or slump, will not deliver for ordinary people.