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Against Austerity: Debt

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Against Austerity: Debt

For this new strand on WORLDbytes guest experts with a critical take unpick orthodox ideas which suggest we should all tighten our belts. For this first programme debt is the issue and with us in the studio is Phil Mullan, Business Transformation Director with Easynet Global Services. He is also researching global economic trends and writing a book on ‘The Limits of Fudge: why muddling through can’t work forever’.

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Kim Asher said:

I completely disagree with the person below who assumes we are stupid consumers spending more than we need. This is typical contempt for people on low incomes- I consider myself one of them and yes I want the latest smart phone and technology and I’ll determine my needs thank you very much. Personal debt as Phil Mullan correctly argues is mostly about retaining decent living standards not because we are dumb and fall for adverts. The problem is we need growth throughout society to raise our living standards, ‘going without’ and middleclass anti-consumerism helps no one and advances nothing it’s just trendy austerity argued for by people who are doing alright and like to preach to and want to control ‘the poor’.

diana E said:

For the common man the correct definition of debt won’t mean much. What matters are the consequences. Is life better or worse?

they wanted us to become consumerists and so they brainwashed us with advertisements that created fake needs, like having not just a functional mobile phone but the latest model on the market.
Now even the poor will buy the latest gadgets on the market because they can pay in instalments.
we shouldn’t spend money we don’t have and especially not on things we don’t really need.

society’s real problem is the gap between the rich and the poor and the fact that the rich are always the ones that make all the decisions. This will always mean that no matter what happens to the economy the poor will always be the ones to suffer. this is what happened to poor countries that joined the EU. the Greeks were offered what appeared to be HELP but it turned out to be a much faster way to economical disaster.

our best chance is to turn to comunism and equality. each country should lead an independent economy based on goods produced by them which will then be rationed so that each individual has what he or she needs and not a house full of luxury goods that you ll never use more than once. :D

Mijanur said:

Phil tackles the issue of the ever increasing debt of Britain. He importantly stresses the need, to promote growth rather than just auterity measures. I agree with him in the view that large debts are not an issue, even in the long term. This is because as he mentioned; the United States also took on large debts after the second world war. It allowed them to grow, build a strong economy and therefore manage their debt and its interest rates. The UK may not have a similar economy, however growth of GDP in our service dependant economy is vital so that we can afford to take on austerity measures.

Michelle said:

Great programme-interview but I still don’t quite get what the guy is saying in terms of people with nothing. If he’s pushing for full on restructuring not everyone will suffer the same will they, as those at the top aren’t going to be penniless and jobless. I’m not saying bail outs or anything but I do think people on the sharp end should be properly paid if their job is getting slashed. Otherwise you might as well argue for another big war- that sorted restructuring last time.

Cecile said:

It’s really interesting to raise up a real debate about the debt. The thing is that their is lots of alternative to find out a solution. The problem is that the connivance between mass medias, politics and financial markets establishes the debate in the wrong way : a pessimist way which provide a false solution… You could have a look of this web site : http://atterres.org/. Those are some famous francophone economics, appalled by the mediation of economy in our society. Alter-economy a hope for the future?

Tony said:

Finally, an economist with an explanation other than it is our fault, the global markets fault or bankers fault. Really agree that debt is not the problem here, yes, we can’t keep borrowing but that should tell us that we need create, build, and make more. We all see it, up and down the country, shops closing, what little manufacturing there was is nearly gone, jobs aren’t around, less people around. Can Phil tell us more about what can be done, what we can get behind?

Phillip said:

I do agree that debt in and of itself is no bad thing. I am also very frustrated with being told that wanting to maintain just my previous lifestyle, let alone aspiring for a good life is wrong and greedy. The whole idea these days is about moralising our aspirations away. So, time to let failing services and systems fail, I think many of us would be up for that but what happens to us, what happens to people in Greece, should we suffer more?

Kev Shaw said:

Phil is right that this is a problem dating back 40 years that succesive governments have failed to tackle (probably because it would be unpopular). It’s only dawning on us that not tackling the problem and putting the blame elsewhere (DEBT) is worse than the creative destruction which needs to happen.

Pierre Girault said:

The problem is not pleasant because either austerity hits the have-nots or restructuring, even if it was ‘humane’ would also hit those lower down the social order. We are ‘between a rock and a hard place’ as they say. Perhaps we should elect Mr Mullan chancellor?

Gina Hereford said:

So it seems the government is not really tackling the core problem of industrial underproductivity but hasn’t this been true for a while – after all they’ve been selling us the idea for ages that financial services are going to save the economy?

Alisha P said:

This has really made me think but I am worried about what people are supposed to live on if the government really did start the restructuring needed. Phil Mullan says we should oppose attacks on our living standards but restructuring would involve an even bigger sacrifice wouldn’t it?

Marjan said:

I agree no more bail outs and yes in any society there is no point maintaining unproductive and inefficient industries, so what new industries could Britain be really good at? If this was obvious wouldn’t we see more of an industrail strategy reflected in policy or is the ‘moral decay’ idea that strong.

P Hargreave said:

Very thoughtful interview but Mullan’s major surgery on the economy is not something any politician is going to touch as surely it would be electoral suicide.

Sarah Kelly said:

This is fascinating, debt is obviously a symptom not a cause when you think about it so yes austerity measures make no sense as any kind of cure but what Phil Mullan is suggesting also involves major sacrifices by a lot of us who have nothing, so I’m not sure about this bit.