Scotland Needs an Economic Alternative

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  1. Mark Crawford says:

    We need a system of fully-automated luxury communism and a new Red Army to protect it.

  2. willie says:

    Oh dear. Vote Cat Boyd and tommorow there will be an alternative Scotland. Nirvana is their in waiting, Westminster is ready and waiting, all we need to do is vote RISE – it Solidarity, or Respect or SSP orceven Green. With a few votes cast here and there, we’ll change things. Westminster will sit up listen. Rise will deliver us from evil. Westminster will bow. Me, I’ll vote SNP 1 and 2. Sorry Cat.

    1. Flower of Scotland says:

      I agree Willie. Why can’t Cat just join the SNP and work with the rest of us ( all political persuasions) to get an Independent Scotland.
      Vote SNP X 2

      1. “Why can’t Cat just join the SNP?”. Indeed – why doesn’t everyone? Why have parties or a parliament at all?

  3. Shane Fraser says:

    i will not be censored by Cat Boyd .. I HAVE reported this under censorship propaganda !!

  4. Mitchie says:

    Ian Wood employs 20 000 people+, and that s without all the subsidiaries. How many people has Trotsksy ego maniac Cat Boyd employed?

  5. Mark Crawford says:

    We need a system of fully automated luxury communism and a new Red Army to protect it.

  6. Mitchie says:

    TBF to Cat there are some good ideas here, but they aren’t remotely new and the problem is they are very difficult to implement. Reducing the working week, greater redistribution for better social protection are all tenets of mainstream social democratic parties (was all in the Miliband Labour manifesto if anyone had bothered to read it), but the trouble is when push comes to shove no one wants to vote for them (and yes that includes socialist Scots). And it irritates me when ‘neuveau politicos’ of all backgrounds, not just Cat Boyd, ‘project’ in their appeals to the electorate in a patronising way.

    We need to start thinking about an alternative economic model. Righteo Cat, why hasn’t anyone else thought of that? mmmmmm? Some actual policy details would be nice rather than simply pointing fingers.

    1) Some of us plebs understand economics also and were not ‘tricked’ by anyone into thinking that it was public spending that caused the economic crash – It was the over exposure of the finance industry to complicated products (originally introduced to provide safe returns by balancing risk through the spreading of investments on high risk loans) derivatives, futures and options, swaps etc. But instead of balancing risk by parcelling up ‘sub prime’ loans into bigger more diffuse blocks, it actually made those collected stocks more dangerous as they were all entirely predicated on a massive housing bubble. All fine if prices are going up and up but if they fall… Hence when the house of cards collapsed the UK lost nearly 5% of it’s economy – this is where public spending is linked and the reasons argued for austerity, as it meant a large increase in the budget deficit (you can run a large national debt but you can’t run a large budget deficit without ending up like Greece.) So there are two options 1) Keynes – govt spending (which seems to be Cat’s position) 2) Letting prices work – a bit of Hayek.

    Osborne and the especially the evil capitalist US contrary to what Cat says have actually implemented the 1st, some cuts to services but with targeted public spending on infrastructure. It hasn’t worked. So now Osborne has gone the full Hayek. Frankly I don’t think he has a clue what he’s doing. However these cuts could be mitigated by an increase in income taxation and business rates in Scotland (yet the Scot govt follows exactly the same econ as Osborne, with cuts and targeted investment in certain infrastructure projects).

    As for the second crash, if it comes it will be primarily due to China’s slowing growth that has been fueling the world econ for 20 + years now. And all that ready cash made from manufacturing and cheap exports was invested in exactly the same way in infrastructure and building and yep loans. This is dangerous on a number of levels, but there has actually been a lot of reform in the banking sector (not enough) that means certain financial products cannot be sold by non investment banks (This was also in the Miliband manifesto – the further division between savings banks where people keep their pensions. Miliband also had a national investment fund/ loans system for small businesses with safe low rates of interest.)

    But I wouldn’t worry as if the China bubble bursts dramatically, they will probably ramp up things over the South China sea route and cause a standoff with the US and Taiwan/ Japan/ Philipines and that will be the start of ww3. Ho hum.

  7. Chris Downie says:

    The same tired old Soviet Socialist Solutions… tax the rich, give jobs to everyone, handouts for all citizens… is this serious politics?!

    1. Alan Findlay says:

      The capitalist economy, in all it’s variants, is heading for oblivion, so what is our options here in Scotland?

      The most obvious is for us to organise our factors of production( land labour and capital) to produce the goods and services we need( food, shelter etc and minimum waste. What could be more simple

      What is our next best option?

      1. Mitchie says:

        yeah, state organised labour capital and resources. That s kind of been tried. wasn’t overly successful. See the twentieth century. And every era thinks they are heading for oblivion.

  8. Mitchie says:

    And on the China thing cat. A planed food economy? You mean Mao tried with the great leap forward? Hate to burst your bubble but it wasn’t exactly a success given that 40 million plus ended up starving to death.

    See the thing is about strictly planned economies, although some planning is needed, is that they are illogical (counter intuitive this may seem as a planned econ seems the smartest way to do things). There is the problem of information. Any complex system, be that an econ, a human body, a garden, an eco system, has to have a reactive element – a bit of the invisible hand/ nerve endings/ rain fall etc – for it to work.

    e.g) you want to feed everyone in Scotland on the basis of strict planning? To do this you need to have perfect information at the center and know ‘everything’ about the economy you are planning. But unfortunately this is impossible and simply not how complex systems work. Otherwise after very fast growth you end up with massive distortions as happened in EVERY planned economy every tried. This is why the Soviet Union collapsed, after massive growth (while liberal econs were flailing around in the depression) they thought everything was hunky dory. But soon. little by little the information they need to centrally plan simply wasn’t true. They ended up planning a completely imaginary economy while the black market (the real reactive econ) flourished. Vladimir in Vladivostok working in the tractor tyre factory was not producing his 30 tyres a day as written on the plan back in Moscow, but producing 10 a day and supping back the vodka in the afternoon. This meant an imaginary 20 tyres were sent to the tractor factory, where 50 tractors (far too many) were being produced. Hence only 10 tractors worked. But on paper in Moscow there are 50 on the books. etc etc etc…until collapse.

    Tired old state socialism aint gonna solve anyones problems (unfortunately).

    1. Mitchie says:

      Oh and the way the state tried to make Vlad in Vladivostok stick to the plan and not skive off from his 30 tyres a day was through absolute repression and totalitarianism and terror.

      ” Even the striving for equality by means of a directed economy can result only in an officially enforced inequality – an authoritarian determination of the status of each individual in the new hierarchical order.”

      “If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion.”

      Hayek (Perspectives gained in Vienna during the Anschluss after Weimar tried to plan their way out of depression by flooding the economy with money through public works which led to hyper inflation and well…)

      Try reading the other side for once (even if you disagree). It isn’t all about being nasty capitalists but has a sound ethical and historical basis also.

  9. Alf Baird says:

    I also initially thought of Cat’s perspective here as being in some sense amateur, but a closer analysis is required.

    Cat says: Another economic crash/crisis is close. I think most of us here and many commentators agree this is the case. UK debt is spiralling, balance of trade is worsening, we have lower demand and virtual deflation, and stock market all over the place, plus the banks and former privatised monopoly utilities remain poorly regulated in the UK. So, we start off with the fact Britain is an economic basket case. In other words, UK orthodox economic policy has failed, for a very long time.

    Cat says: Who benefits from ‘growth’? The rich do. Growth is marginal in UK overall. But for sure, any even marginal growth does not benefit the majority, at the moment. While interest rates for the masses (those with any savings) are effectively zero, the very rich still enjoy good returns via investing in private equity ‘funds’ who buy and sell ex privatised utility monopolies that generate high profits thanks to charging consumers high prices for energy etc, which in large part explains why the riche get richer and the poor get poorer. The latter bubble will burst again soon, in part due to inflated asset sales from leveraged transactions, and slower demand/weaker revenues – this time the money men (and politicians) should be jailed, not bailed.

    Cat says: Alternative economic model is needed, based on socio-environmental needs. Who can argue with a focus on all of our society and the environment? Nothing wrong with these aims.

    Cat says: reduce working hours + give a payrise. On the surface this may seem implausible, however that is not to say it is impossible. It is also an attractive option for many, especially the poorest in society having to work longer hours just to get by?

    Cat says: redistribute wealth – and give a ‘citizens income’. Our Westminster masters (and their corporate masters) have never seriously tried to redistribute wealth. That does not mean it cannot be done. Rise want to make the maximum salary £100k/year. Even in the public sector in Scotland there are several thousand senior people each on over £100k (some on much more, e.g. Head of Scottish Water and Principal of Glasgow Uni each on c. £400k remuneration). This £100k salary ceiling would save several hundred million a year in the public sector alone and, added to higher taxes for private sector big earners, this would raise enough money (perhaps over £1bn) to redistribute wealth to the lowest paid in Scotland. Many also favour Land Value Tax as a way for further wealth redistribution and to generate new economic growth potential. So there are different ways to achieve redistribution, and economic growth, and Cat is not wrong to highlight redistribution as an option, despite the failure of Westminster to ever achieve much in this area, and any public scepticism.

    Cat says: have a planned food economy – less waste etc. Many economies in fact are ‘planned’ and regulated much better than in Scotland or the UK. The Asian Tiger economies were and are largely planned, and tightly regulated. And look at China – tightly regulated and planned. For instance, the UK utility monopoly privatisations and thereafter easy risk-free profits exploited by corporations/banks (many offshore) in the UK would not be permitted in many other countries. So ‘national planning’ is not unusual and can be done/is done in many other states. Indeed, a vital function of government (and responsible governance) is to prevent the ‘interception’ of economic rents by vested corporate interests; the UK approach to economic regulation has actually achieved the opposite effect, leaving the consumer powerless and subject to ever higher prices for key services/utilities such as energy, housing, transport etc.

    Cat says: we can have a more stable economy. She is right, this is not impossible. It requires far better regulation and planning, and as she says, redistribution. Government can do this, if it has the willingness to tackle the vested interests (within both private and public sectors).

    1. Mitchie says:

      There is an argument for a proper state industrial policy, but the state corporatist Asian model isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either, with rampant corruption, cronyism and massive exploitation of those outside the party system, or state agencies/ conglomerates – Chaboels in Korea – and predicated on similar voracious growth, greed and strict hierarchy as private capital conglomerates. Simply put, China Petrol, the biggest and most profitable state owned org in the world is no different from Chevron or BP or Shell. And Hyundai is no less voracious than Apple.

      Plus, to work it, you need a fair degree of social control, authoritarianism and enforced social cohesion. Just because a corporation is state owned, thus nominally ‘socialist’ in the sense that the people are the state and vice versa, means it isn’t damaging.

      The real solution IMO is in proper global regulation of corporate operations, anti monopoly legislation and a proper trans national banking system revamping the original goals of the World Bank. A new Bretton Woods basically and a market system that is genuinely free and fair rather than the distorted turbo capitalism we currently have. The German model is the most successful and has it’s roots in the free trade system of the Hansiatic league, where small states and limited capital meant the market actually functioned in a balanced sustainable way without the bubbles caused by the over concentration of capital.

      Incidently this is essentially the idea behind the social democratic elements if the EU.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Nobody is saying we should precisely copy the Chinese or Korean models. Only that better regulation of economic activity within Scotland is possible and desirable. It is not beyond Scots to clean up Scotland’s economy ourselves (how did an individual ‘intercept’ £1 bn from North Sea oil, by the way?). It’s our mess efter aw.

  10. Campbell says:

    Very tired and old slogans going on here.

    Why do socialists think that forcing or coercing people to do something will create a fairer society? Violence creates more violence.

    Forcing someone to give money to your favourite charity is not charity at all. It is called theft!

  11. willie says:

    Interesting comments but why doesn’t Cat Boyd just get behind the SNP to work alongside the others who want to secure change. Voting Rise, or Respect or Solidarity ain’t going to change anything, despite what Cat would try to tell you. Let’s secure full powers for our parliament and then we can indulge in the luxury of esoteric left wing theory. Without these powers everything else is just shooting the breeze.

  12. Douglas says:

    Out of the realm of necessity, into the realm of freedom…

  13. Ian Kirkwood says:

    The economic model you seek is Annual Ground Rent (AGR). See
    It’s enactment will bring what you seek through collecting the country’s socially created rents from all who own land and currently get to keep them tax free. In return, all damaging taxes are cancelled. The net outcome would be that Scotland’s projected 2016-17 deficit of £8.2 billion would immediately be transformed into a £11.7 billion surplus and Scotland’s growth rate would increase by at least 2%, doubling the historic rate. And sustaining that rate. Scotland can become a country with self respect because it at last will be able to pay its way.

    What to do?
    1. Map Scottish sites
    2. Value Scottish sites (minus improvements)
    3. Send annual 5% bills to Scottish site owners
    4. Cancel all damaging taxes

    I urge all to embrace and push for AGR to halt the engineered inequality that was knowingly designed into our devastating tax system.

    1. Campbell says:

      Yes. In my opinion the only morally justifiable tax is a land rental tax.

  14. Frank says:

    I have said it before and I will say it again but this site is making both a strategic and political mistake by becoming the PR wing of Rise. The coverage given to Rise and for some reason Cat Boyd, seems disproportionate to the coverage given to everyone else in the election. I’m not knocking Rise – they have a product to sell and they will no doubt be grateful for the publicity; however instead of giving politicians – whether left, right or centre, a platform to engage in simplistic sloganeering this site should stick to what it does best namely providing some of the sharpest and most critical essays one can find on the internet.

    C’mon Bella you can do better than this.

  15. Broadbield says:

    This is the first time I’ve listened to one of her vlogs. It’s also the last. As Frank says Bella can do better. Trite, simplistic homilies do nothing to advance the discussions we need to have about inequality, fairness, equity, redistribution, taxation and so on and the kind of economic blueprint we want for an independent Scotland.

  16. David says:

    Definitely someone who has been promoted beyond their rank. The left deserves better than this or Sheridan for that matter. Second vote Green!

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