By Bob Clarke
The political impact of the economic crisis in Europe has entered a new phase. When the economy was contracting virtually all parties implementing austerity policies were thrown out of office or at least experienced a large drop in their support. In the more recent period of economic stagnation, the same economic policies have the effect of shifting the burden of the crisis onto workers and the poor while capital benefits, boosting the incomes of the very rich and allied layers.
Discussion about the trends in the world economy emerging from the 2008 financial crisis is dominated by the relative growth rates of the US and China – the world's two largest economies.
The media discussion has been focusing on concerns about China's slowdown and its global impact, while the US is portrayed a recovering well. In fact both major economies are slowing in the context of continued global economic weakness, but the US is slowing much more than China.
The following article, by John Ross, looks at these facts in detail and points out that the key question is not 'why is China slowing?', but why has the US slowed much more dramatically than China in the last year?
By Nicky Dempsey
Repeated claims that the European crisis is over are entirely false. Among the countries whose creditors have been bailed out the Greek economy is expected to contract sharply again in 2013, the Portuguese centre-right coalition government has threatened to fall apart and Ireland, long touted as the model for a bail-out, has officially gone back into recession.
By Nicky Dempsey and Jane West
The announcement by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls that the Tories’ spending plans would be the ‘starting point’ for Labour’s own budget post-2015, and Ed Miliband’s endorsement of a continuing ‘benefit cap’, clarify the nature of the coming Labour government.
The growing recognition that the 2015 election is Labour’s to lose has led to increasing rightwing pressures on the Labour leadership to maintain the essential thrust of ‘austerity’ policy.
The overwhelmingly Tory press focuses on the demand that Ed Miliband in particular commits to maintaining Tory spending plans.
By Jane West
The death of Margaret Thatcher is being shamelessly exploited by her Tory successors, including by awarding her an entirely inappropriate national funeral. This is all in the service of presenting the most divisive British Prime Minister of the 20th century as the most successful post-Churchill Tory leader, an electoral wizard, a paragon of statesmanship, the flame-bearer of liberty and ‘freedom’, a feminist icon and an innovative policy maker.
None are true.
The Financial Times has reported that the government’s plans to boost spending on infrastructure have effectively been blocked by the leading banks and investment funds (Infrastructure hopes hit by City stand-off, November 18).
By Paul Roberts
Since this summer a renewed wave of mobilisations has emerged across the Middle East and North Africa. The unrest has included big and often violent protests against the US in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Turkey.
In addition to demonstrations against US-inspired Islamophobia, protests have been sparked off by a wide range of other issues – examples of which include the following.
As the Euro-crisis unfolds and Greece heads to new elections, the left party, Syriza is capturing the support of most of those in Greece who want to reject the austerity programme imposed by the EU.
It is striking that the impact of the world developments, and particularly the growth of the left in Latin America, has clearly interacted with this political leadership of resistance to austerity in Greece. It was recently reported in the Guardian, of Syriza's leader, Alexis Tsipras: 'one of his heroes is Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, with whom he shares the same birthday.'
By Stephen MacAvoy
George Osborne’s latest budget launched another assault on living standards of millions of people whilst defending narrow interests and further entrenched the policies that are creating economic stagnation. Only a clear break with these policies will prevent a detrimental impact on the living standards of the majority and years of slow growth.
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