There’s a good comment piece in The Guardian about the legacy of Thatcherite/New Labour economic thinking that dominates today. Among other things, it says
Over the last 30 years the share of the nation’s wealth owned by the bottom half of the population has fallen from 8% to 5%.
In 1978 there were 7.1 million employed in manufacturing, by 2008 that had fallen to 3 million.
George Osborne, last week said his solution to the problems of the UK economy is to unleash “the forces of enterprise” in the economy – i.e remove the state and hope the private sector blossoms.
All of which is classic Tory/New Labour rhetoric, tied into guff about ‘personal responsibility’ and the inherent ‘efficiency of the private sector’. Thatcher closed down state enterprise because she felt state investment ‘crowded out’ private investment but research from CRESC in Manchester University, suggests this isn’t the case.
Since 1998 state and state-related industries make up more than half of the job creation nationally and in ex-industrialised areas (where Tory reforms were felt most) this figure is much higher. It sounds a casual observation but it’s completely fundamental to how we think about the UK political economy.