RECOVERY ECONOMIC MYTH DECONSTRUCTED BY OCCUPY
Employment in London’s financial and related professional services industry has reached a record high, according to TheCityUK. This proclamation of good news needs to be considered in the context of the City’s unique role in shaping the economic landscape, recent history and the wider economy, both nationally and globally.
TheCityUK is part of the extensive lobbying machine for the City. In 2011, the City spent £93 million pressing for favourable treatment by legislators and regulators. TheCityUK is a key player in the negotiation of TTIP, CETA, TiSA and other so called “free trade agreements urging deregulation at every opportunity.
One of the major weaknesses cited in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis was the UK’s excessive reliance on financial services which has driven out real, wealth creating, economy activity. Yet the banks have got bigger and these employment figures demonstrate that reliance on the illusory benefits of the finance industry is greater than before the crisis.
Financialisation of the global economy has facilitated a dramatic widening of the gap between rich and poor, in the UK and beyond. The latest figures show that only 67 individuals hold as much wealth has half the global population (some 3.5 billion people). Income inequality is now greater than immediately before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 – this rising inequality is a function of the economic system. Such tensions cannot be sustained indefinitely and the current hubris, like the chimera of recovery, will evaporate.
TheCityUK crows about the City’s competitiveness versus other financial centres but we all know that self-imposed deregulation and lower taxes are a “race to the bottom” while voluntarily applying the Shock Doctrine, even more vigorously, to the economy. That way madness and chaos lie.