This is a four part series I crowdfunded the research time for, and wrote for Pieria. What I wanted to do with these articles, was to begin looking at inequality in an institutional framework. I took some time to read Minsky, Hayek, Beveridge, Keynes, and to consider how our benefits system had been devised.
How an underclass was created, and I looked at the relationship of economics and politics and media, with this system, to try and explain how we have ended up with the situation we have now.
There is no doubt that a) we are in the middle of quite a serious crisis and b) this crisis will eventually result in careful examination of how institutions within our economy have developed. The relationship of institutions like media, finance and politics with social policy institutions like our benefits system, health system and education system, is at some point going to be carefully examined. That point is probably not now.
I look back at the hostility and poor behaviour that defined the Labour commentariat, when they wanted a to prevent discussion of austerity outside a Labour focused anti-cuts movement and understand it clear as day, abhorrent as it was. They have never had to function outside their world and expected to be able to prevent discussion of austerity without challenge.
The financialisation of our economy, justified by austerity, has been undiscussed and there is good reason for that. The institutions of media, finance and politics, and their relationship with the rest of the institutions in our economy are at the core of the discussion of inequality and why austerity not challenged or discussed at all. At the core of questions about what happened to democracy.
I draw on the work of Hyman Minsky, who is a very important economist to read right now, Thomas Piketty, and Keynes himself, who really was not responsible for the actions of policy makers and economists who named themselves after him.
Inequality could never be discussed on a left/right axis. Left and right need that inequality so they can function to deliver the financialisation of our economy and undermine democracy. And they need to be completely ignorant about the role they play in that to be effective.
Post 1. Institutions, instability and inequality. This includes the creation of a new class of institutions and the post war period and the creation of an underclass.
Post 2. Looks at the way obsession with unemployment and inflation shaped our benefits system.
Post 4. Examines what a post crisis benefits institution will have to do. I am assuming that when the time comes, there will be little to work with, outside redefining our existing institutions and we will have serious problems to address.
I thank Pieria very much for running them, but they are not really for now. You cannot impact a crisis while it is ongoing, only identify what is at its root and prepare for afterwards. These posts are an attempt to begin doing that. Inequality is as cyclical as the market economy, there is no doubt about that as we near the end of another cycle.