Tons of reaction to the Budget that confines itself to who got what and who missed out, and why that is a bad or good thing. Have you noticed that it’s all about the distribution of income as fair or unfair, but no mention of who produces the wealth in the first place, only bland unspoken assumptions that we all do, more or less?
So while there is lots of congratulations and/or disappointment it’s all a load of hot air in the end because the problem is not that capitalism is stuffed by some ruling elite or lobby, or big power state like China, that is disrupting what should and could be a better, different, or changed distribution of income.
The truth is that capitalism is stuffed because it won’t invest in production while it cannot guarantee a profit as a result. It cannot cut down on the costs of labour enough to restore the rate of profit. It gets further and further into debt, as bailout after bailout creates $trillions of paper currency that will have to be paid for by this, and future generations, of workers.
But nobody is saying this! Why is nobody pointing out that the whole rotten capitalist system is running on debt and that’s why workers are being made to pay for it with their lives?
Obviously, the bosses deny this reality claiming that business is rewarded with profits for its efforts in providing jobs. And that for this to work it must cut costs to make reasonable profits. The neoliberal right is constantly whinging that its wage costs, environmental costs, welfare costs blah blah are cutting into profits. The National Opposition is an orchestrated whinge about bosses’ needing more subsidies to restore profits.
The centrist coalition between the liberal Labour Party, liberal Green party and populist NZ First, agree with the neoliberals in practice whatever their dreary purple rhetoric to the contrary. That is why the 2020 Budget delivers a life-saving bailout to bosses and almost nothing to workers in general. Even the wage subsidies go to the bosses’, and nothing substantial for benefits and support of families.
The ‘left’ such as it exists, whinges, sorry critiques, the Budget for failing to live up to their own expectations.
What are they? That the Govt should match its rhetoric and practice with a Keynesian solution. Reboot the economy sustainably, bailout the workers, boost wages, benefits and create jobs. This will create demand that stimulates investment in production to meet this demand. The problem is that such solutions have failed in the past as increased demand does not create new supply unless production is profitable. If not, it leads to hyperinflation.
Which takes us back to the imperative of cutting labour costs to ‘stimulate’ profitable investment. Fortunately none of the various modern versions of Keynesian economics (like Modern Monetary Theory- MMT) that advertise a miracle cure against inflation can force workers to agree to solve the crisis by allowing bosses to drive up the level of exploitation.
So here we have the right, centre and left, all engaged in the parliamentary practice of the ‘pork barrel’ – all lobbying for a bigger share of the pie while ignoring who bakes the pie in the first place.
The working class which is around 80% of the population is the elephant in the parliamentary debating chamber. It is the labour power of the mass of workers which creates the value that drives the whole system. They get part back as the value of the wage, but the rest is expropriated by the employers as surplus value.
The value of everything hinges on this hidden social relation, and the whinging about ‘fair shares’ in the Budget is just parliamentary hot air over the distribution of this expropriated surplus-value.
A workers’ budget would result from a democratic process based on communes of free citizens that would expropriate back the surplus-value extracted over generations. This would then be spent as social investment in the planned production of goods that would be distributed on the basis of need not greed.
The democratic principle would not be that of the bourgeois free citizen to live under a bridge, but of the free citizen of the socialist republic working in harmony with nature to produce according to their ability, and consume according to their need.
How we get there is another story, about real, not delusory, transformation.
Dave Brownz is TDBs guest Marxist Blogger because ever left wing blog needs a Marxist.