‘I am aware that some of these proposals are not very orthodox. So what?’ – Views from the left (1)

Slugger has been providing much commentary on the current economic crisis, I will be linking to some content from left views not given much coverage as yet.

First up is a Declaration from Francis Wurtz, President of the GUE/NGL group at the European Parliament, sourced from the Spectrezrine blog.

He starts by giving his view on the lessons to be learned:

For several weeks now we have been witnessing – against the dizzying backdrop of billions of euros or dollars – planetary confusion and unbearable waste. These have been generated by a system on behalf of which European leaders have, for many years, advocated wage moderation and the rationing of social expenditure, and have allowed inequalities to explode. Those same people have now flown to the assistance of banks to refloat them before handing them back to the private sector, while at the same time announcing a long period of recession and sacrifice for ordinary people. Many people who are following these events cannot help but to see in this a genuine lesson on many things, not on the excesses, but on the very essence of capitalism, in all its injustice and brutality, whatever phenomenal transformations it has experienced over the past decades. I believe that European leaders will be held to account by our fellow-citizens.

He then continues with three immediate concerns. Firstly the protection of small and medium savers:

there should be no scrimping when we reassure small and medium savers, who are legitimately concerned about their modest savings. The announcement made in this connection comes late, is timid and vague. On 15 October, the whole European Council should solemnly assure an absolute guarantee on deposits across the entire territory of the Union.

Then the protection of public investment from privatised profiteering on bailouts:

a basic sense of ethics as well as simple concern for effectiveness should prevent the sorcerers’ apprentices from drawing profits either now or in the future, from the public financial support that the failure of their “irrational exuberance” has provoked. This is why each state should – or in any case should be able to – compensate for assistance contributed to a threatened financial institution through a sustainable nationalisation of its healthy assets, with a view to working towards the constitution of an entirely dedicated public financial pole which would finance socially useful investments, particularly those rich in jobs in future.

Views on the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Central Bank (ECB)

The EIB first of all. It should be made responsible – and given the resources necessary to achieve this mission – to guarantee access by SMEs to all the credit they need to develop their production on condition that they create real, properly paid jobs and that they respect the rights of their employees. In this respect, the decision taken to help SMEs to the tune of 30 billion euros in three years’ time is interesting, but this amount is too low and the deadline too long. In France alone, SMEs need 60 billion a year and the Union includes 27 countries. Moreover, they need oxygen right now. In many cases, later is likely to be too late.

-As for the ECB, is this not the right time to ask it to adapt its mission to the vital needs of the economy and our societies, by redirecting money not towards the financial markets but towards the real economy? It possesses an instrument to do so, and it is incomprehensible why it categorically refuses to use it. This instrument is selective credit – very expensive when intended for financial transactions and, on the other hand, very accessible when it encourages employment, training and all useful investments.

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