Economist calls Corbyn’s plans ‘an enormous step forward’

Richard D Wolff
Slava Zilber

The 2019 Labour Party manifesto has the backing of numerous economic experts. 163 economists, for example, signed an open letter on 25 November saying the “UK economy needs reform” and that Labour “deserves to form the next government” because it has “serious proposals for dealing with” Britain’s “deep problems”.

Now, US economist Richard D Wolff has spoken to The Canary. And he calls Corbyn’s plans “an enormous step forward”.

“Developing a post-capitalist sector of the British economy”

Speaking about the difference between Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, Wolff says:

Jeremy Corbyn is further along than Bernie, and in one particular way. Corbyn and [John] McDonnell… have committed themselves to developing a post-capitalist sector of the British economy – a worker co-op sector. They have committed to pass a law that says any British company planning to close or to move out of the country or to sell itself to another business would have to first give what is called ‘the right of first refusal’ to the workers in that company to buy the company and convert it into a worker co-op. And furthermore, Corbyn and McDonnell have said that when the question arises ‘Where will the workers get the money to buy the company from the owners?’ – they answer that the British government under a Labour Party would loan that money to the workers.

In other words, they are committed to building a non-capitalist sector – a sector of the British economy where the workers democratically decide – one worker, one vote – what the company produces, what technology it uses, where the production occurs, and what is done with the revenues generated by the enterprise.

A big boost to co-ops

As The Canary previously reported:

Co-operative businesses don’t rely on powerful investors or far-away shareholders; they rely on ordinary people.

Corbyn, for example has stressed that “co-ops are something that’s intrinsic to the British labour movement”. And with this in mind:

A Labour government would fully support a massive increase in “the size of the co-operative sector”. And this would build on excellent work which people in the UK are already doing to create “a new economy”

Why is this so important?

Wolff continues by saying:

And let me explain to you why that is so important. It will give the British people freedom of choice – a freedom of choice that no American has. Because… if the Labour Party sets up a worker co-op sector, everybody in Great Britain will know what it’s like to buy goods and sevices from a worker co-op rather than a capitalist enterprise. [People] will know what it’s like to work in a democratic worker co-op rather than in a top-down, hierarchical, capitalist enterprise.

Only if we have a mass sector that the British people could participate in could they make a genuine free choice as to what kind of economy they want. Maybe they want it to be capitalist. Maybe they want it to be worker co-op. Maybe they want a mixed system. But to have that debate and to have an election where people can vote about what kind of economic system they want, you have to let them know what the alternatives are.

We don’t have that in the United States and you don’t have it in the United Kingdom. But you do have Jeremy Corbyn committed to providing that. And that is an enormous step forward in the transition beyond capitalism.

Featured image via screenshot

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  • Show Comments
    1. I’ve been saying for a while Brexit may be a ruse to foil socialist opposition to neo-liberalism. They couldn’t form another phony political party like New Labour because that abomination is still too fresh; it will take two more generations, our passing and the rewriting of history before they can pull that stunt again. So I think they called the referendum to split the Labour vote, then got the Blairite faction to deny democracy. It doesn’t necessarily mean the vote for Labour was split, but it provided the excuse to rig the election which without Brexit they couldn’t possibly hope to get away with it. Farage played his part well, dividing the opposition to the Tories. And to cap it all off I’m not so sure there will be a Brexit. But it screwed socialism through democracy, well and truly. I think Corbyn won, his support was so big.

      I think we’re headed for massive riots, after which an election will be called and we may get something better then, but I doubt it’ll be anything like the egalite Corbyn would have brought us.

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