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Occupy London celebrates first birthday with launch of The Little Book of Ideas

 

On the first anniversary of the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp just by St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London is pleased to announce the publication of ‘The Little Book of Ideas’, which aims to demystify the financial world and provide possible solutions. The free pocket sized book – written by the Economics Working Group of Occupy London – is now available for download [1] and is also available in print, with a first run of 1,500 copies. A handy fact sheet is included below. [2]

The book is launched one year to the day when thousands of people came together to highlight social and economic injustice in the UK and beyond, as part of a global movement for real democracy. Today’s announcement also follows yesterday’s successful action inside St Paul’s Cathedral, which saw four female protesters chain themselves to the pulpit to put pressure on the leadership of the Cathedral ‘to stop sitting on the fence and join the fight against rising inequality in the UK and beyond’.

Demystifying the jargon – the things they don’t want us to understand!

The language politicians use to discuss the financial crisis is often deliberately complex and misleading, making it impossible for people to understand what is going on. This in turn makes people feel that their view is not valid, or that they don’t have the language to complain about the injustices that they experience. The Little Book of Ideas aims to break down these barriers to participation by clarifying and explaining the jargon in natural language so that people can better understand what is happening and how the ‘economic crisis’ and responses to it are affecting their lives.

“A conversation started at the St Paul’s camp last year bringing Londoners from a multitude of backgrounds together, to talk about our economic system and better ways of doing things,” commented Tom Moriarty, a former City worker and Occupy London supporter. “Over time, it became clear that much economic policy is unfamiliar, and even more so is the language and jargon used – which in turn makes it difficult for people, even those working in the financial sectors, to understand how the financial system came crashing down and how it has negatively affected our lives.”

“This book is the next evolution of that conversation, aiming to bring that discussion out of the Occupy camps into homes around the UK and beyond. Maybe George Osborne should have a read – it seems like he could do with a better understanding of what is really going on.”

The book focuses on terms associated with the economic sector, terms which commonly used yet little-understood by most. Explanations include the meaning, activities and implications of quantitative easing, commodities speculation, derivatives, regressive taxation, tax avoidance, Libor and the financial transaction tax.

“Ordinary people are aware that something is badly wrong with our economic system, but they often feel that economics is too complex and confusing for them to get to grips with exactly what the problems are,” said Occupy London supporter Peter Dombi.

“The reality is that many of the problems are very simple, as are the solutions, but it suits those in charge to maintain this aura of complexity in order to keep people uninvolved and so maintain the status quo for their own benefit. This book intends to demystify some of the terms, the policies currently in existence, and the possible ideas and alternatives, so that people can understand what is going on. Then we together can apply pressure for change, to bring about a more equitable and fairer society.”

 

Notes

[1] The Little Book of Ideas http://issuu.com/occupylondon/docs/occupy_little_book_of_ideas/1 / For hard copies of the book or to join in the debate at the Economics Working Group please contact outreach@occupylsx.org

[2] The Little Book of Ideas – Some key facts and ideas

  • The bank bail out broadly speaking has doubled our national debt, servicing that debt costs about £50bn a year, half the education budget.*  The banks need to pay it back…and fast when the country needs it most.  Introduction of financial transaction tax.
  • Through Quantitative Easing the banks have been given £375bn. Don’t give it to the banks, give it direct to communities
  • Barclays paid 1% in corporation tax, it’s meant to be 24%.  It therefore avoided paying £3.135bn to the exchequer, 3x the amount spent on Pre-primary and primary education for example (http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_education_spending_20.html)  Small companies pay 20%.  Regulatory clamp down on tax avoidance.
  • The value of derivatives being traded globally today is estimated at being between $700-1000 trillion or 19 times total global GDP.  Need to be limited and kept in quarantine from rest of society.  When they lose, they lose, no bail out.
  • Commodities speculation adds 10-20% to the global price of wheat putting pressure on the food system and making it impossible for the food production system to organise itself.   Speculation in food commodities should be banned.
  • Ireland’s debt liability for one of its banks comes to €50bn, 30% of GDP.   The debts must be written off as part of a debt jubilee.
  • The Big six energy cartel has put up energy prices by 30% in the last 5 years whilst disposable income has been squeezed.   They must be controlled.  It amounts to rape and pillage of a ‘conquered’ country.
  • It is estimated that a Financial Transaction Tax would raise £20bn annually, about the same as the UK budget for transport.   Needs to be implemented now when the country most needs it.
  • LIBOR affects the price of more that $250 trillion worth of financial products such as loans, credit card interest and mortgages.  Banking regulation must limit the banks ability to mess up our lives, segregation from society and a return to traditional banking provision, e.g. a people’s bank.
  • Tax avoidance costs the country £70bn per year, the interest on the national debt is £50bn, about half the education budget    Crack down.
  • Austerity is reducing living standards and damaging the economy.  The IMF recently forecast the economy would contract by 0.4%.   Austerity measures are wrong and driving the country back into the dark ages.   Osborne has to go.  Time for a different approach that promotes growth….and gives hope.
  • Banks were playing fast and loose with other people’s money and had been for a long time.  They got it wrong and now they’re using other people’s money to bail them out.   They are the acid in the blood of society.   100s of millions are suffering because of their actions.  They are criminals and anyone who supports them are accomplices to the biggest crime inflicted on humanity since WW2.  They should be tried in an international court of law.  

 

 
© 2012 Occupy London
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