Stratagem TV: 3 The Economy…

Possibly the best yet (yeah, I know that I feature in this episode), but this time the focus is on the economy, stupid. Corporation tax, public land sell offs, water rates, FDI versus indigenous enterprise… Nice resource for the incoming administration…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • More of the same old failed ideas, cut tax for big business and create a low wage economy. In this video there is not a single thought given as to what to type of society we wish to create, let alone the need to taylor social and economic policy to fit it.

    When I here young people like some in this video, talking about the private sector as if only pure gold flows from it; I fear for their grip on reality, it is as if they never look beyond their own life styles, let alone look out the window and take note of just where unregulated capitalism can lead, and the collateral damage it leaves in its wake. People cry unthinkingly cut so called red tape, planning laws, societal and environmental regulations which help protect the weak against the powerful, without any thought as to the consequences.

    If multi nationals are only attracted by low corporation tax, these same companies will not be prepared to pay a decent wage. Is the UK to become the EU’s far east, where people toil from dawn to dusk, ever fearful of management, and the only role politicians have is to smooth the way for big business. Tesco’s good, Mr Patel’s corner shop bad, as to is Mr Clarke the draper and Mr Robins the butcher.

    As to local small manufacturers, etc, well at best the multi nationals may throw them a few scraps and they should be grateful for that.

    You cannot debate economic matters without factoring in societal issues, the fact Germany never fails to do this is the main reason why they, unlike the UK, were able to avoid the worst of the 2008 crash etc. Of course this is not an accident, it is because they understand better than most what can occur when politicians take their societal eye of the ball.

  • “the focus is on the economy”

    I’d like to have heard views from manufacturers and trades unionists who each have key roles in the state of the economy.

  • Greenflag

    Mickhall ,

    For what it’s worth I share some of your concerns stated above re the ‘failed ideas’ aspect of the ‘economic debate’ in this NI election. What I did detect was the hesitation and doubt in many of the comments being made . They all accept -who doesn’t ? that the NI economy needs restructuring and generally they seem to accept that a lower corporation tax has to be a part of that -but by how much ?and then as Mick stated the UK is moving to reduce anyway from 28% to 23% over a five year period. The SDLP view that it will take a 25 year adjustment period -not necessarily absurd -but I would just add that before one sets out on a 25 year journey one had better be certain that the ‘destination’ ends up being desirable . And therein lies another even greater uncertainty which underscores this particular issue not just for NI but for the the Republic and the UK and indeed the world economy. Every state (there are about 200 in the world ) can’t have the lowest corporate tax rate. The world is abundantly supplied however with off shore tax havens where corporations can move their profits garnered from one low tax location in one part of the world to another without concerning themselves in the least with the local social or political ramifications of such decisions .Fully half of world trade is processed financially through tax havens . Most of these tax havens have a link with the UK from colonial times ranging all the way from almost independent to total dependency for defence etc etc. Germany and France and the other EU countries have been using Switzerland and Liechtenstein as off shore ‘outlets’ for generations nay centuries. We see the Irish politicians under attack by the EU for having too low a corporation tax ( they have a point in the longer term ) but yet they expect to see the Irish taxpayer pay for the overweening greed of their (German & French ) banks . Remember the German financial sector was able to execute transactions in the Dublin Financial Sector which were illegal on German territory . One could probably make the same claim about UK companies and or banks doing similar in the Cayman islands no doubt. When you add it all up as Nicholas Shaxon does in his ‘Treasure Islands ‘ it seems that the ‘elected’ politicians not just of NI or the Republic but even of the USA , UK and Germany are in thrall -call it servitude if you like to the world’s bankers .

    I believe Mick Fealty’s comment at the end said it all as regards expectations from the new Assembly Government. Ironically given the content of Nicholas Shaxon’s thesis Mick’s comment can be extrapolated to cover virtually every government in the west at this time bar perhaps Sweden , Norway and maybe Canada . The world’s economic experts are still out farting around in ideologyville – while the whole of North Africa is on the verge of revolution and a coup in Syria will probably lead to turmoil in Iran soon enough . The Iranian revolution which was bloodily put down a year or more ago has not been defeated entirely.

    Where will the ‘tax ‘ loss be paid for and who will pay for it ? ? From more dynamic growing economies in the anarchistic capitalist world or from further reductions in the social safety net and ever more cutbacks in hospitals , schools and public services ?

    The whole debate about corporation tax is worth reconsidering in the light of Shaxon’s ‘revelations’ .I won’t say discoveries because everybody has always known that the world’s wealthiest are always off to Switzerland and or the Bermudas and it’s not just to ski or lie in the sun as any Mexican drug lord will tell you 🙁

  • Greenflag,

    Very interesting stuff with which I agree, the political and economic elites are not prepared to look at any alternative economic strategy as it works well for the them, as we have recently witnessed, even when it goes belly up. As you write all lowering corporation tax will achieve is a rush to the bottom as nations outbid each other in an attempt to attract big business.

    This may have some substances when it paid dividends, even if they were only short term, but if multi nationals pay less and less tax surly people will ask, what is the state for.
    By and large tax is the one thing which makes life bearable and civilised for the overwhelming majority of citizens. We need only look to parts of Africa to understand the alternative, a low tax, rich wont pay economy, Nigeria, other west and central african sink holes so beloved by big oil.

    But if government cannot provide peace overseas, decent healthcare for all, education etc, let alone full employment, (Something few in the mainstream even talk about these days, which says it all about who they serve)

    When companies move on, as they will, a section of society will undoubtedly resist, others will turn to crime, then what?

    If a human form of democratic socialism or christian democracy fails, only barbarism beckons.

    PS just a thought.

    If big business will not act responsibly then it is for the EU to place regulations on it by restricting the sale of goods in its borders which are not manufactured within the EU. (Or some such, you could get around some of the obvious problems with this by issuing special licences for emerging nations etc) Why should a company like Apple be able to manufacture its computers in China when millions of US workers are unemployed. This has less to do with the selling price than it does Apples level of profits. For a single company to make more profit than a small nation is ridiculous and plain wrong.

    Trade wars are not great, but hot wars are worse and that seems to be the road the elites are heading in. For these blind cretins it is as if the 20th century never occurred.