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How To Revive The UK Economy After COVID-19 - Education - Nairaland

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How To Revive The UK Economy After COVID-19 by dk58(m): 10:33pm On Sep 01
The Covid-19 (a mutation of the SAARS family of viruses) virus pandemic made its way across the borders of the United Kingdom, from Far East Asia, during January 2020. In response to this public health crisis, following the advice given to the Conservative UK government headed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson; by Epidemiologists, Medical Scientists, and other Medical Academics; The UK initiated a lockdown and containment strategy for the purpose of controlling and eradicating the Covid-19 virus. This involved the legal enforcement of self-isolation and social distancing protocols, which entailed a shutdown of the majority of the UK economy.

As of May 7th 2020, the UK is amidst its 7th week of Covid-19 restrictions, with little sign of these restrictions either being scaled back or coming to an end. Thus, by self-evidence and implication, the economic situation that the UK now finds itself in is nothing short of dire and catastrophic. After, according to the Bank of England, the first 3 weeks of Covid-19 restrictions yielded a -35% drop in GDP, it follows logically, that the UK economy will find itself in a severe economic depression after the Covid-19 restrictions have ended, the likes of which it has never experienced before. With less tax revenue to accrue as a result of business closures and job cuts, conjoined with an inability to borrow enough due to a degrading of the UK’s credit rating by Fitch and others, this is clearly the time for new thinking and new ideas when it comes to governmental procurement of resources and finance.

Henceforth, in this paper I will argue for the direction in which feel I feel The United Kingdom ought to be headed in after these Covid-19 restrictions have ended.

Now it has been reported by various sources in the media that national debt will exceed well over 100% of GDP over the coming year. Of course, this provides incontrovertible proof that economic austerity as a mid-long-term fiscal strategy has been a catastrophic failure for the UK economy. From this, of course, it must be concluded already that, the successive Conservative governments led by Theresa May and Boris Johnson have both let this country down badly with respect to economic policy.

Consider that the UK economy is already going to be around 40% over budget in terms of public spending due to the Covid-19 economic measures, and that is before increased spending on the NHS, Policing and other public sector commitments are taken into account. This should push public spending up to; possibly well above; 100% over budget if the crisis continues into mid-late 2020. What this implies then, is that there has been a 25% increase in public spending attributable to each of the four years which have passed since the EU Referendum. There’s a name for that – it’s called “kamikaze economics.” The failure to invest in our safety has turned austerity into its opposite and put our country and its people under existential threat.

The correct strategy, I ascertain, would have been a Keynesian type model where the UK increased public spending in order to invest in vital infrastructure projects, such as the HS2 High Speed Rail Network, a third runway at Heathrow Airport, building new towns in Mid and North Wales, in order to ease the pressure on the M4 corridor in South Wales, and, redeveloping other economically underperforming areas of the UK such as the North West and North East of England.

It has long been pointed out that the UK economy is characterised by an unhealthy asymmetry in terms of GDP, given that London and the South East of England economically outperforms the rest of the UK in some cases, by approximately 25-50% - possibly more in some cases due to the structural abnormalities outlined above. Of course, we have all been idiots to have tolerated this for so long. Henceforth, it needs to be pointed out right now, in the following paragraph, that this is not just a problem pertinent to the political right.

To elaborate, it’s just a simple case of having to spend money in order to make money. There has never been anyway round this. It’s the same old rule for any economic entity – system, organisation, or business etc -- looking to market itself as a brand offering services for consumption. Thus, it is necessarily the case, that upgrading and developing what is produced is absolutely essential, for anyone, or anything, to remain economically competitive. Our country is not exempt from this rule, though it is as if we have been trying to pretend that it is throughout the entirety of its existence.

Of course, taxation and borrowing alone would not have been the solution to this problem – lest we would surely be levelling the kamikaze economics critique mentioned above at Labour and the political left instead. To put things bluntly, the problem with our state, The United Kingdom, is that our state takes money, but it doesn’t make money.

Occam’s razor, of course, obviates the solution to this, that by implication, the UK has to acquire revenue from other sources, and by other means, for the purpose of making itself economically viable again. To not only rescue itself from this current economic mire, but also to use this catastrophe as an opportunity, as a springboard, to rebalance the UK economy in order to make it strong and resolute for future generations. Specifically, what I’m broadly proposing here is the following tri-conceptual plan:

The Establishment of a “Corporate State”
*The “Corporate State” argued for in the following, needs to be distinguished from the Corporate Sate (or “Corporate Statism” ) from the pre-2nd World War era of the 20th century. In clarification, this Corporate State has nothing to do with the political ideology of fascism, and does not entail the corporate economic community as a whole partaking in governmental policy making for its own benefit. Additionally, it does not imply “State Capitalism” either. To elaborate, the Corporate State argued for here does not own nor seek to own, either the entirety, or majority part of the economic system of which it tasked with administering.

Conversely, this Corporate State concept implies, that the Post-Covid-19 restricted State of The United Kingdom should effectively bail out capitalism, in order to go into business (i.e. hedge-funding, stock market, shareholding etc.) as a fully functioning, competitive economic entity operating within its own economic system. This for the purpose of making money for itself, and by entailment, for the people of The United Kingdom, for the purpose of building the type of society that we all want to live in – one that is safe, secure and prosperous. A society that not only prioritises reproducing itself monetarily and economically, but more importantly, prioritises its own survivability; above anything else.

The Establishment of a Benign Form of “Neo-Colonialism”
*The “Neo-Colonialism” concept argued for in the following needs to be distinguished from the “Neo-Colonialism” concept postulated by Marxian influenced 20th century Geopolitical and Economic theorists on the political left. According to the Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy their “Neo-Colonialism” can be described as:
“[T]he subtle propagation of socio-economic and political activity by former colonial rulers aimed at reinforcing capitalism, neo-liberal globalization, and cultural subjugation of their former colonies. In a Neo-Colonial state, the former colonial masters ensure that the newly independent colonies remain dependent on them for economic and political direction. The dependency and exploitation of the socio-economic and political lives of the now independent colonies are carried out for the economic, political, ideological, cultural, and military benefits of the colonial masters’ home states. This is usually carried out through indirect control of the economic and political practices of the newly independent states instead of through direct military control as was the case in the colonial era.”

Just to clarify, the benign Neo-Colonialism argued for here exists primarily for the purpose of assisting, and not dominating; nor indirectly controlling, both ex-British Empire and non-British Empire states for the purpose of maximising their economic potential; potentially facilitating the fulfilment of their economic aspirations in the process.

In relation to this, it is contemporarily the case that large subsets of the UK population are constantly bemoaning the ill-effects of inward migration upon the UK’s economy and public sector service commitments. As some form of remedy, perhaps the country could return the favour to the likes of Pakistan, India and Poland et al., by exporting some of its skilled UK citizens in return. This for the purpose of helping to optimise their economies, and their public sectors, whilst releasing some of the burden upon our own economic and public sector commitments.

Consider that an advantageous by-product, might be the facilitation of a shift of public attitudes towards inward migration, in a more positive direction, in turn, facilitating a more blended and harmonised form of multi-culturalism, enabling smoother cooperation, social-cohesion, and more nuanced understandings between different ethnic communities.

Also in support of Benign Neo-Colonialism, consider the fact that in Latin America and Africa there are, on the negative side, constant economic woes, but approaching two billion potential consumers. UK benign neo-colonial intervention within these areas could not only help to fix and optimise these problem economies, but also help to extend global capitalism, and create new markets, by effectively creating new consumers. This of course, implies more money to be made and the generation of extra resources for them, for us, and potentially, for other members of the global economic community.

Instilling a Societal Attitude Change
To intellect, to power and to each other. Firstly, to intellect. As mentioned earlier, UK society needs to shift its primary priority from reproducing itself monetarily and economically, towards facilitating its own survivability. In order to achieve this, there needs to be a change in both the lay public, and academic attitude, towards the scientific method and the quantitative disciplines. More specifically, the focus of attention here needs to be directed towards the humanities, which have become in recent times, stuck-fast within a quagmire of theological and Freudio-Marxist quicksand.

The metaphysical and lexical simplicity of such all explanatory theological and Freudio-Marxist conceptual schemas, and their derivatives, appeals to the lay public in a way that scientific and quantitative explanations cannot. This due mainly to the fact that such conceptual schemas are usually composed of maybe a half-dozen or so concepts, which offer quick and easy, but mainly fallacious, interpretive explanations, of the various economic and socio-existential circumstances that ordinary people usually find themselves in. The epistemic respect that these ideas command within the lay public, only serves to build up unreasonable expectations within the publics minds of what can be achieved both politically and economically. Of course, this negates any effort at instilling any kind of political or economic realism within the public psyche.

Secondly, to power. UK society needs to revise its attitude towards accountability, and to become more system focused, supporting a more engineer-like approach to government and economic management. To elucidate, the command and control model of government needs to be consigned to history, because it is widely accepted, as both a social scientific and axiomatic fact, that the “person in control pulling the levers and steering the ship” idea, is of course, a complete and utter logical fallacy. This needs to be exchanged for something akin to a “circuit-board” type analogy, whereby the engineers (the people in charge) seek to optimise parts of the system (the circuit-board) by systematically repairing and improving its function – via intermittent “piecemeal testing”. The public need to accept this as being closer to reality than either Plato or Descartes, and thus, to accept some measure of political and economic realism in the process.

Thirdly, towards each other. Given the current economic context, it would be profoundly unhealthy for the various members of UK society to keep on killing each other over Jesus Christ and Karl Marx. What UK society collectively needs to kill right now at this very moment, is this toxic ideological dialectic itself, which has in large part, caused a stymying of both economic growth and intellectual progress – hampering the UK’s efforts at maximising its own survivability in the process. The Covid-19 crisis and its existential implications ought to serve as a wake-up call to everybody right now with respect to this.

Of course, then, by logical implication it follows, that the UK simply cannot tolerate members or supporters of any one political party in opposition attempting to cause socio-economic problems for the incumbent government any longer. For this only serves to deprive the country of the vital resources it needs to protect itself from problems like pandemics.

Finally, what also needs to be killed, is the jealousy and antipathy shown towards each other by ordinary members of the public over ideology, theology, economic circumstance and career success etc. What ought to be aimed for, is a shift from jealousy and antipathy towards a culture of self-improvement, where ordinary people can take pleasure in the success of each other. In further support of pushing against such social negativity, the question needs to be asked – “how much economic growth is lost due to individuals sniping and trying to throw a spanner in the works for each other, rather than focussing upon getting the job done?” The answer to this must be, by logical abstraction, well into the negative quantitatively, but obviously in practice it is practically immeasurable.

Of course, overcoming this sort of problem entails facilitating a more equal society characterised by pragmatism and instrumentality rather than ideological or theological fixation. Personally, I would much rather members of the public continue to worship Jesus Christ, and to celebrate Karl Marx and the workers movement in a more moderate and positive fashion, than to cease to exist entirely.

Bibliography...

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