How is the financial crisis of 2008 linked to the election results of 2016? How can economic reform address this systemic malaise? How can people be empowered to determine their own futures? Fred Harrison’s paper addresses issues of land and property cycles, capital formation, land rents, and VAT, as well as migration and the rise of Donald Trump. Harrison argues that two new statistics are needed to enhance the accountability of policy-makers and provide transparency in the administration of the public’s finances. The course of the current contest over the control of power, says Harrison, will depend on access to this information.
The financial crisis of 2008, which exposed how some of the West’s major banks were driven into bankruptcy, ought to have been a historic turning point in western civilisation. For eight years, the political elites managed to maintain a ‘business as usual’ approach by containing the crisis. The protests – notably, the Occupy movement – lacked the conceptual tools with which to inspire a vision of a better future. But then, in 2016, something remarkable happened.
Using the ballot box, people registered a level of discontent that the political elites could no longer ignore. The dispute over the future is now being played out as a contest over the collective consciousness. The fulfilment of people’s aspirations will depend on how language is re-shaped to facilitate the interrogation of the systemic malaise and on the scope for remedial action. The struggle has begun for the control of people’s minds, either to limit the changes to the structure of power or to empower people to determine their future.
To facilitate the optimum outcome, and elevate the quality of geopolitical discourse, two new statistics are needed. This information would improve governance by enhancing the accountability of policy-makers and transparency in the administration of the public’s finances. The willingness of the political elites to provide that information may determine the course of the contest over the control of power.
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