If you are part of the 99% – and there is a 99% chance that you are – then you are one of the first generation in living memory who can expect to be poorer than your parents, even as the economy continues to grow.
This is the premise behind Mark Thomas’ new book, and he uses this theory in the discussion to explore how we can build a better world post-COVID-19.
Reviewing the current economic impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on the UK economy, Mark outlines the various scenarios around how we can deal with this. This includes cuts to public spending at one end of the scale, to an increase in investment for public services, people and businesses at the other.
In terms of the question about how you achieve this when the country is already in debt, Mark goes back over 300 years of debt to GDP in the UK, and finds that despite current speculations, we are in fact running at about average in terms of debt in this country
“There are lots of people telling us that is a problem, that it is at a ruinous level and we need to prepare now for another round of austerity. But actually that is not what the rest of the data shows us. 100% is not staggering high by historical terms and nor is it in terms of national comparison. It’s not even rather high, in fact it is almost exactly the average level of debt we have seen for the last 300 years. Therefore there is no factual no basis for debt hysteria.”
Time to change
Mark believes we are at a crucial point of change, not only in terms of the economy, but also regarding climate change. We can chose to fail to tackle mass impoverishment and fail to tackle climate change. Or we can aim for a fairer, greener future, which is more prosperous for all and will prevent our children being the first generation to be poorer than their parents. “This is our chance to choose a positive future for our children by choosing a new deal style world, over austerity.”
The 99% Organisation is an inclusive grass-roots movement, inspired by the Occupy movement, of people who want to end mass impoverishment using peaceful means.
Mark has spent most of his career in business and for many years he ran the Strategy practice at PA Consulting Group.
You can watch the full discussion and Q&A here. Please note, the first few minutes of the presentation are missing due to a technical error.