As I hear the Chancellor repeating the familiar narrative of the necessity to balance the books and the PM talking of “delivering on the expectations of international markets”, I find myself wondering if the members of the government are capable of governing in the interests of their citizens rather than kow-towing to the financial sector given that so many of them made the financial markets their chosen career path.
Could they conceive of ditching the negative mantra “There Is No Alternative” (TINA) and embrace a positive one like “There Are Many Alternatives Readily Available” (TAMARA)?
The economy is not a natural phenomenon. It is designed by human beings. Our current economy is built on the shifting sands of the financial sector. Surely it is in our power to design it to be better, so that it’s our servant not our master
Three word slogans seem to be appreciated so here’s one – “Foster Firm Foundations”. I see that as meaning building an economy which:
- Values all citizens and ensures they have the conditions to thrive;
- Focuses not on balanced budgets but on investing in people;
- Provides an education system that caters for the full range of our talents, creative, technical and practical not just the academic;
- Gives us a health system that keeps us as fit as possible and it is not there just to mend us when we break;
- Supports communities to develop housing, energy, transport and other solutions which suit them rather than dictates of the corporate sector;
- Sustains our future, not in terms of the artificial construct of financial debt, but the real physical state of our fragile earth;
- Allows for those who wish to come and contribute to our society to have immigration routes which do not involve lining the pockets of exploiters;
- Does not allow the country’s wealth to just “trickle down”, but shares it more widely in the first place so that everyone can live a life of fulfilment and contribution.
These are just some of the alternatives which adopting TAMARA rather than TINA allows us to consider. Is it possible for our leaders to think about valuing human beings and accepting that the role of money should be to enrich lives, not to concentrate power? They might even find that by prioritising wellbeing and sharing the fruits of all our contributions more widely they actually achieve the productivity and GDP gains they seek.
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