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42

Don't Look Back

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Monbiot, G. (2017). Don't Look Back. In Monbiot, G. Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics in the Age of Crisis. Verso, pp. 42-53

44

In 2009, in the hope of boosting the economy in the wake of the financial crash, the British government spent £300 million on stimulating sales of new cars. Under its scrappage scheme, if car owners traded in their old vehicles for new ones, the government, with the help of manufacturers, knocked £2,000 off the price. This lavish programme was partly justified as an environmental measure, though it was clear from the outset that it would lead to a rise in environmental impacts, as the materials and energy used in manufacturing new cars outweighted any likely savings from better fuel economy. Its primary purpose was to boost British car assembly plants and protect the jobs of their workers.

just another marketing tactic innit, unplanned obsolescence

like sending people coupons or wholesale lowering the price after people have been somehow deprived of the ability to use their existing cars

—p.44 by George Monbiot 6 years, 6 months ago

In 2009, in the hope of boosting the economy in the wake of the financial crash, the British government spent £300 million on stimulating sales of new cars. Under its scrappage scheme, if car owners traded in their old vehicles for new ones, the government, with the help of manufacturers, knocked £2,000 off the price. This lavish programme was partly justified as an environmental measure, though it was clear from the outset that it would lead to a rise in environmental impacts, as the materials and energy used in manufacturing new cars outweighted any likely savings from better fuel economy. Its primary purpose was to boost British car assembly plants and protect the jobs of their workers.

just another marketing tactic innit, unplanned obsolescence

like sending people coupons or wholesale lowering the price after people have been somehow deprived of the ability to use their existing cars

—p.44 by George Monbiot 6 years, 6 months ago
45

Another issue is that the troubles that beset the Keynesian model in the 1970s have not disappeared. While the oil embargo in 1973 was the immediate trigger for the lethal combination of high inflation and high unemployment ('stagflation') that Keynesian policies were almost powerless to counteract, problems with the system had been mounting for years. Falling productivity and rising cost-push inflation (wages and prices pursuing each other upwards) were already beginning to erode support for Keynesian economics. Most importantly, perhaps, the programme had buckled in response to the political demands of capital.

Strong financial regulations and controls on the movement of money began to weaken in the 1950s, as governments started to liberalise financial markets. Richard Nixon's decision in 1971 to suspend the convertibility of dollars into gold destroyed the success of fixed exchange rates on which much of the success of Keynes's policies depended. The capital controls introduced to prevent financiers and speculators from sucking money out of balanced, Keynesian economies collapsed. [...]

—p.45 by George Monbiot 6 years, 6 months ago

Another issue is that the troubles that beset the Keynesian model in the 1970s have not disappeared. While the oil embargo in 1973 was the immediate trigger for the lethal combination of high inflation and high unemployment ('stagflation') that Keynesian policies were almost powerless to counteract, problems with the system had been mounting for years. Falling productivity and rising cost-push inflation (wages and prices pursuing each other upwards) were already beginning to erode support for Keynesian economics. Most importantly, perhaps, the programme had buckled in response to the political demands of capital.

Strong financial regulations and controls on the movement of money began to weaken in the 1950s, as governments started to liberalise financial markets. Richard Nixon's decision in 1971 to suspend the convertibility of dollars into gold destroyed the success of fixed exchange rates on which much of the success of Keynes's policies depended. The capital controls introduced to prevent financiers and speculators from sucking money out of balanced, Keynesian economies collapsed. [...]

—p.45 by George Monbiot 6 years, 6 months ago