The word ‘redistribution’ needs to come back into our everyday vocabulary.
An outlawed concept?
Redistribution is a dirty word in Labour circles nowadays – we’re supposed to talk about ‘predistribution’ instead. ‘Redistribution’ plays to Tory prejudices about ‘scroungers’ getting something they don’t 'deserve', whereas ‘predistribution’ carries the idea of people being able to earn – and thus pay – their own way.
But what do these rich boys who form policy think neoliberal capitalism does if not ‘redistribute’ wealth?
How capitalism redistributes wealth
We have sat back and allowed our government to move us steadily to a situation where not only the high street, but then our public utilities, and now our public services have been/are being hived off to the so-called ‘wealth-creators’ (who are in reality the wealth-thieves).
Indeed, the word ‘public’ has ceased to be applicable to any of the above. The ‘Welfare State’ is all but dead – we are now living in the ‘Marketised State’.
So we now have to buy everything from the capitalists - if not out of our pockets direct, via our taxes through public procurement exercises.
And it is in those transactions that the capitalists make their profits.
So the reality is that – hundreds of times (perhaps thousands of times) faster than taxation is ever redistributing the wealth of the wealthy down to us ‘scroungers’ at the bottom – the neoliberal capitalist economy is redistributing it up to the wealthy … indeed, out of the country into tax havens, or the overseas bank accounts of the super-rich, or the profits of faceless mega-corporations.
In this, our government has been fully complicit. Not just the Tories – whose close ties to, for example, Google were exposed in the Daily Mail (no less!) this week – but New Labour too.
And thus we have got ourselves into the situation where there is – not a continuous ‘undeserved’ flow of money into the pockets of the poor – but a continually decreasing back-flow of wealth to the poor … whilst the terms of trade (=cost of living) increasingly strip more and more out into the pockets of the rich.
Redistribution is going on apace … it is just that it is WE who are at the wrong end of the process!
And how is it, you ask, that money can continuously flow from the poor to the rich?
In a word: Wonga!
The rich have been inventing easy ways for us to borrow to buy their goods since the 1920s – from house mortgages, to hire purchase for cars and white goods … to the pay-day loans of today, where the poor are reassured that it is fine and dandy to take out loans at extortionate rates of interest just to pay the ordinary bills of everyday life.
We have been conned … and mugged.
The argument for a 'Living Income'
I refuse to believe that the gross national income of this nation is inadequate to provide a decent standard of living for all its citizens.
Labour needs to stop twittering on about ‘predistribution’ and simply promise everyone a ‘living income’.
YES! ‘Income’ … because there will always be those amongst us who will never (for a variety of reasons) be able to support themselves. So a ‘living wage’ promise does not do it.
And the word ‘redistribution’ needs to come back into our everyday vocabulary.