Posts Tagged ‘ideological austerity’

Only Greece (out of developed nations) has seen a wage collapse as dramatic as the UK

While most of the rest of Europe have experienced some wage growth since 2007, including crisis devastated economies like Spain (+2.8%) Ireland (+1.6%) and Italy (+0.9%), UK workers have seen a catastrophic decline in earning power only matched by workers in the economic catastrophe zone that is Greece (-10.4%).

Ordinary British workers have seen the deliberate decimation of their wages since the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010. Meanwhile the super wealthy minority have literally doubled their wealth since the economic crisis. 

Aside from overseeing the longest sustained decline in wages in economic history, a reduction in earning power only matched by the crisis stricken Greek economy, a huge upwards redistribution of wealth, and the slowest economic recovery on record, the Tories have also been savagely attacking working rights too.

Just look at the furious way the French have reacted to attacks on their employment rights with continued riots (mostly unreported by UK MSM), and consider that they’ve enjoyed a 10% increase in their earning power since the pre-crisis period.

In Britain we’ve had a 10.4% decrease in our earning power and most people have sat back compliantly as the Tories have repeatedly snatched our employment rights away.

What will it take for the Sheeple of the UK to wake up from their torpor?

 


Credit to the TUC report below: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2016/07/uk-real-wages-decline-10-severe-oecd-equal-greece/

UK real wages decline of over 10% is the most severe in the OECD (equal to Greece)

27 Jul 2016, by  in Economics

The decline in UK real wages since the pre-crisis peak is the most severe in the OECD, equal only to Greece. Both countries saw declines of 10.4% per cent between 2007 Q4 and 2015Q4. Apart from Portugal, all other OECD countries saw real wage increases, albeit mostly modest ones.

oecd_w_jul16

(NB strictly the Greek decline is 10.41% and the UK 10.37%, but no way are the figures accurate beyond one decimal place.)

These results are derived from figures in the 2016 edition of the OECD’s Employment Outlook (released a couple of weeks ago, but it has taken me some time to get hold of the figures – see endnote for details of calculation). Even though most countries have seen real wages rise, growth rates are generally disappointing – under normal condition you might expect around 2% a year, and so 16% over eight years.

At the time their UK release contrasted a strong employment performance with weak earnings growth. The employment rate is at a record level, some 5 percentage points above the OECD average. On the other hand real wages “fell by more than 10% after 2007”. See the left and rightmost charts below:

oecd_report_jul16

The comparison of figures for individual countries therefore gives a fuller context for the wage decline shown on the OECD chart. To be balanced, the same should be done for employment – the OECD also provides figures for the ‘employment gap’ – defined at the top of the next chart:

oecd_e_jul16

(The figures are extracted from chart 1.2 in the Employment Outlook.)

The government’s argument is that flexibility on wages has permitted the employment gains. Whatever your view of the theory, the data show this is not obviously the case. In spite of the largest falls in wages, the UK ranks sixteenth (of 42) in terms of job gains (though the employment chart includes some non-OECD countries that have performed well). Any flexibility in Greece was completely pointless. Moreover the countries with the highest gains in real wages were also among those with the highest employment gains.

Plainly the relationship between wages and employment is not as straightforward as notions of flexibility might suggest. The following chart compares outcomes on employment with those on wages (the underlying data by country is in the annex).

The UK is very much an outlier – the only country where a good jobs performance is associated with a bad (terrible) real wages performance.

Employment v earnings, change over 2007Q4 to 2015Q4

oecd_scatter_jul16

Thankfully the UK is not Greece or Portugal in the bottom left quadrant. Taking the low wage road may have helped to keep jobs afloat in the UK; in contrast, in the majority of countries (in this sample) the employment gap was still negative but wages rose (bottom right quadrant). It is possible to think that economies/policymakers face a choice between these two options.  But this would be wrong – other countries have managed to have it both ways (top right quadrant).

These are mainly central European countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland along with Japan and Israel. All these countries have benefited from strong aggregate demand in recent years, in particular through exports and/or government spending.

Plainly this is not a decisive measure of performance, if such a thing exists. My sense is that outcomes in the post-crisis period should be assessed alongside a comparison of performance relative to the pre-crisis period (see for example my examination of the effect of spending cuts cross the OECD – here). On this basis of the countries above, those ‘A8’ countries (that joined the EU from 2004) may have performed strongly over the post-crisis period, but have seen a significant reduction since the pre-crisis days.

Nonetheless the above results offer a valuable perspective on labour market outcomes overall.

We knew already that the UK had endured the longest and steepest decline in real wages since at least 1830. We now know that this decline is matched by no other country apart from Greece. Gains in employment are not adequate compensation.

Endnote: the total wage decline is derived from Figure 1.6, by compounding the separate growth rates for 07Q4-09Q1, 09Q1-12Q4 and 12Q4-15Q4. Note that the OECD derive real wages from national accounts information, dividing total wages by hours worked and putting into real terms with the household consumption deflator. These can differ from those based on average weekly earnings and CPI inflation that tend to be used in the UK.

ANNEX: change over 2007Q4 to 2015Q4

oecd_tabler_jul16

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The TORY impoverishment of Student Nurses.

Yesterday was the last day of parliament in a week where the HoC voted with a clear majority to commit to £205BILLION in spending on a Trident weapons of mass annihilation nuclear weapons system, and the new PM used the day, like the coward she is, to announce that bursaries for the education of new student nurses will be cut from 2017. Meaning nurses will face £50,000+ debt for a degree qualification on top of which they already work a 35hr week on top to achieve. Money for Nuclear Bombs / Massive personal DEBT for student nurses!

Tory Bastards, absolute bastards!

This was just one of many “bad news” stories hidden yesterday – The Guardian article:                                          Bursaries for student nurses will end in 2017, government confirms Anger as Department of Health says replacing bursaries with loans will free up £800m a year to create extra nursing roles theguardian.com      

 

This was just one of many “bad news” stories hidden yesterday.

Britain’s new prime minister is seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’, and many of us are yearning for that at a time of massive political turmoil. But, argues Owen Jones, we should still think about what kind of politician she is. From opposing the convention of human rights, to telling illegal immigrants to ‘go home’, there are things we should know about our new prime minister… https://www.facebook.com/theguardian/videos/10154358383056323/

 

Mark McGowan, The Artist Taxi Driver: “Not only does Theresa May want student nurses to work unpaid for 37.5hrs a week they also want to charge them £10,000’s just to be able to work!”

 

May is such an appalling threat to any sort of freedom (except that of fraudsters to evade detection)

This Theresa May government will get away with murder… just like the previous Tory administration did with IDS.

This all happened under David Cameron’s watch.

George Duncan Smith: “I’m improving peoples lives, I’m getting them off benefits and I’m proud of my achievements.”

Below are some of his ‘achievements’;

Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.

Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.

Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.

David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.

Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.

Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.

Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.

Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.

Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.

Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.

Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.

Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.

Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope anymore.

Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.

Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.

Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.

Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.

Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.

David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.

Jan, a lady of unknown age suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

Trevor Drakard, 50 years old, a shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.”

Stephen Lynam, 53 suffered from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, a heart condition and musculo-skeletal problems. Found ‘fit for work’ after a WCA. After 22 weeks his mandatory reconsideration was turned down. Facing eviction, not eating properly and getting even more depressed he died shortly after finding out he was allowed to appeal the departments decision.

Malcolm Burge, 66, was left in despair after finding himself more than £800 in debt because of a cut in his housing benefit, drove himself to the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset where he took his own life by setting himself alight in his Skoda Octavia.

Benjamin Del McDonald, 34 took his own life after his benefits were stopped and he was threatened with eviction from his home.

Mark Harper has insisted the Government is right to ignore these achievements.

David Cameron is “proud” of George Duncan Smith’s achievements!

The paradox of the superego:
the more you obey what the Other demands of you, the guiltier you are.

The song “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” by the Manic Street Preachers, takes its name from the stark warning of a Republican Ministry of Propaganda poster during the Spanish Civil War, displaying a photograph of a young child killed by the Nationalists under a sky of bombers. It’s essence illustrating the paradox of the superego.

standard

http://www.iwm.org.uk/ Catalogue number Art.IWM PST 8661 Production date 1936 Place made Spain Subject period Second World War Materials medium: lithograph support: paper Dimensions Support: Height 670 mm Support: Width 494 mm Mount: Height 670 mm Mount: Width 495 mm Frame: Height 448 mm Frame: Width 325 mm Frame: Depth 20 mm Alternative Names object category: Poster Creator: Augusto [attributed] (artist) Ministerio de Propaganda (publisher/sponsor) Category posters All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

For if you are willing to tolerate what successive governments and regimes force upon you; from ideological austerity, atrocious policies attacking the Independent Living Allowance of just 18,000 of the most severely disabled in the UK to swingeing local authority cuts such as the removal of hot meal services for our elderly or removal of 7 out of 11 leisure centres in the Rhymney valley CCBC area, or imposition of car parking charges on the sick and disabled at our country parks.

IF YOU STAND FOR THIS, YOU”LL LAY DOWN FOR ANYTHING!


Happy Bastille Day! Vive la republique!

dyn006_original_400_324_jpeg_2553094_bd4b68e345f130bbb292c8fbe808f1d5

Pots and pans protests have spread across the world in recent years, having emerged in South America in the 1970s. Just over a Hundred attended the event in Cardiff, with further protests planned across the UK, particularly the Tory Conference, Manchester, in October.

Previous Pots and Pans Protests include Iceland’s ‘Kitchenware Revolution’ 2008-9.

However, the start of the country’s massive financial crisis pushed Torfason back to action. On October 11, he began standing in front of the Reykjavik parliament with a microphone.

Passersby were invited to talk about their dissatisfaction with the freefall of their country, to speak their minds.
Over the next five months, these sessions turned into open meetings and rallies every Saturday afternoon. Three claims predominated: resignation of the government, resignation of the board of the National Bank, and resignation of the board of monetary authorities.

Torfason spoke about the variety of strategies and tactics used during the protests, from direct, yet respectful, letter-writing and meetings with politicians to what was dubbed the “kitchenware revolution”: banging pots and pans in protest, known as cacerolazo in Argentina.

This culminated in late January 2009 with thousands of people protesting for days on end, resulting in the collapse of the Icelandic government’.

The Cardiff People’s Assembly cacerolazo was a really energising experience to be part of, 90 minutes of cacophonous drumming and anti TORY speeches. My friend has filmed some amazing footage that should be great to see back. Enjoyed the rhythms it was a great way to protest.

Organiser Adam Johannes said:

Thanks everyone who came down to the castle to make some noise about poverty and inequality, and rattle some pots and pans. Hope that the “people’s percussion’ will become a mainstay of all protests from now on!i

While it was a fun evening the wave of austerity coming is serious and we will need to get organised. Please join our facebook group to stay networked, and post any photo’s or footage and/or email cardiffpeoplesassembly@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list.

See you on the streets!

image Ms Charlotte Church and family.

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The People’s Percussion were amazing, totally spontaneous rhythm and all together.

I It will spread the message, guaranteed to get people enthused and energised.
If nothing else, very cathartic smashing the fuck out of something to the ad-Lib rhythm of “No More Tory Cuts”… Or in my mind… GIDEON IS A C*NT!

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weapons of mass percussion

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We were asked by the organisers of the Facebook group to bring a pot, a pan, a ladle, a lid, a spoon, to create an anti-austerity cacophony!

On 8th of July, the Tory government announced an emergency budget. But, We are already in a state of emergency! Last year 10,000 residents of Cardiff were forced to use food banks.

One in four parents in Wales have skipped meals for days and gone without food to feed their families.

This emergency budget will hurt communities. This budget will hurt you, and your neighbours.

It includes approx £12 billion cuts in welfare and more austerity. Austerity is IDEOLOGIGAL, a smash and grab raid by the rich on the rest the UK population. The under 25s have especially been targeted by swingeing cuts. Everything from schools to our NHS are being treated as resources to be exploited.

This government was elected by 24% of the population.

This government is continuing to destroy the precious fabric of our communities.

The point is to make a noise about this. This noise represents the 76% who did not vote Tory.

As much as they try to destroy communities, we want to rebuild.

We are the 76%
We are Cardiff People’s Assembly.
We want to create a community of voices.
The weapons of mass percussion!

People power wins.

People have often said; “you can’t just ignore Europe, you can’t just do what you want”.

Well, in desperate times, a sovereign people can indeed do what they damn well want!

61percent of the people of Greece voted “OXI” or No!

What did this mean? Well…

A quick summary of the GREECE issue

Obviously, this is not too dissimilar to what is happening in Britain with the advent of Chancellor Gideon “Cokehead” Osbourne’s austerity budget on Wednesday July 8th, except that UK voters masochistically voted for yet more hammering by the elite bankers propping up the Tories!

Compare the Greek debt (about 370 billion) – which the European Troika and international banks are refusing to write off – with the amounts of money received by those same banks from taxpayers in bailouts:

compare Greek debt to banks

The debt that these banks have accrued have been as a result of repeated Quantitative Easing, in effect the (Rothschild’s) US Federal Reserve Bank creating electronic money out of thin air!

Piling on the hypocrisy (a great word of Greek origin) Germany has never paid its external debt, and is directly profiting from Greece’s woes. – Who says?

Thomas Piketty. The Author of the best selling economics book of the 21st century so far, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the Piketty is considered one of the most influential economists in the world.

I this interview with German newspaper Die Zeit View at Medium.com

translated into English from http://www.zeit.de/2015/26/thomas-piketty-schuldehttp://www.zeit.de/2015/26/thomas-piketty-schulden-griechenland/komplettansichtn-griechenland/komplettansicht Piketty forcefully challenges the German position and calls for an international conference on Debt.

It is estimated that Germany actually OWES Greece 11Billion Euros since in 1943, Germany forced the Bank of Greece to lend it two loans worth 11 billion euros equivalent in today’s money and has never made any reparations. However, this money is not war reparations, which are a separate and much more complex issue. The debt is a straightforward loan from Greece to Germany – albeit a forced one – which the Germans have not bothered to repay.

All kinds of walks of life are being hit by vicious ideological austerity cuts and organisations such as Cardiff’s People’s Assembly have asked to stand in solidarity with the people of Greece at demonstrations on Wednesday timed to coincide with George Osbourne’s emergency budget. Cardiff P.A has organised a “WEAPONS OF MASS PERCUSSION” DEMO where everyone is encouraged to bring pots, pans and something to BANG them with. I intend going. Pictures to follow no doubt.

weapons of mass percussion

In the meantime, look beyond the headlines of the mainstream bullshit media. Solidarity with the people of Greece! #OXI!


The following is a link to a blog exposing the lies we are being told about the situation in Greece.

TRUTH and SATIRE https://truthandsatire.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/greece-the-one-biggest-lie-you-are-being-told-by-the-media/

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, we assembled at the statue of Aneurin Bevan at Queen St, Cardiff at 1pm. The procession ended outside the new Library in the Hayes, Cardiff.

radical workers bloc

anti austerity march

Cardiff’s People’s Assembly group organised Saturday afternoon’s event, which saw up to 1,000 protestors march from Queen Street to Cardiff Library where several speakers addressed the crowd.

Speaking in the shadow of Cardiff Library, Sue Leader of Unite said:

“We face 259 more weeks of the Tories in power and I will not be wasting those weeks away.

“We have it within our power to challenge this government at every lousy step it makes. I urge you to be Mr and Mrs Angry from Adamsdown, be Mr Peeved from Penarth and Mrs Evil from Ely.

“Cardiff, trust me, we have got the love to see this through.”

Dominic MacAskill, of Unison, added:

“Austerity is robbing us of our collective worth, and selling our public assets, with our libraries and leisure centres closed or privatised.

“We cannot rely on the once-in-every-five-years election, based on the views of 20% of people eligible to vote – it is a broken democracy.

“My one message today is to join a union and use your mass organisation for a better Wales and a better Britain.”

Len Arthur of the People’s Assembly Wales added:

“Another term for austerity politics is class war, but their class war is full of problems – for one, there is the anger that it’s going to make.

“In Wales, we did not vote for a Tory government. We need the Welsh Assembly not to implement these cuts, even if it leads to a constitutional crisis.”

The hundreds of protestors had marched to Cardiff Library via police escort, chanting:

“Tories, Tories, Tories – out, out, out!”

and

“when they say cut back, we say fight back.”

Young and old held banners urging an end to austerity, with one inscribed with the words: “happy community = austerity” and another: “Austerity kills.”

The rally ended with organisers saying they want to take at least five buses full of people from Cardiff to London on June 20 for the UK-wide protest, urging people to sign up for the event.

communist party wales banner

The march ended with poet Patrick Jones reciting an anti austerity poem and speakers from campaigning and trade union movements .

Me talking to Pippa Bartelotti of the Green Party.

Me talking to Pippa Bartelotti of the Green Party.

The message was clear the Resistance starts now!

ANOTHER FANTASTIC MUST READ ARTICLE By George Monbiot!

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/18/corruption-rife-britain

 

It just doesn’t compute. Almost every day the news is filled with stories that look to me like corruption. Yet on Transparency International’s corruption index Britain is ranked 14th out of 177 nations, suggesting that it’s one of the best-run nations on Earth. Either all but 13 countries are spectacularly corrupt or there’s something wrong with the index.

Yes, it’s the index. The definitions of corruption on which it draws are narrow and selective. Common practices in the rich nations that could reasonably be labelled corrupt are excluded; common practices in the poor nations are emphasised.

This week a ground-changing book called How Corrupt is Britain?, edited by David Whyte, is published. It should be read by anyone who believes this country merits its position on the index.
Would there still be commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption? Think of the list of scandals: pensions mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance scam, Libor rigging, insider trading and all the rest. Then ask yourself whether fleecing the public is an aberration – or the business model.

No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis, partly because the laws that should have restrained them were slashed by successive governments. A former minister in this government ran HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.

The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services. It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers. As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”. The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. They are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens. For some reason, though, that doesn’t count.

The Private Finance Initiative has been used by our governments to deceive us about the extent of their borrowing while channelling public money into the hands of corporations. Shrouded in secrecy, stuffed with hidden sweeteners, it has landed hospitals and schools with unpayable debts, while hiding public services from public scrutiny….

State spies have been engaged in mass surveillance. And the police, adopting the identities of dead children, lying in court to assist false convictions and fathering children by activists before disappearing, have infiltrated and sought to destroy peaceful campaign groups. Police forces have protected prolific paedophiles, including Jimmy Savile, and – it is now alleged – a ring of senior politicians who are also suspected of the murder of children.

Savile was shielded too by the NHS and the BBC, which has sacked most of the those who sought to expose him while promoting people who tried to perpetuate the cover-up.

There’s the small matter of our unreformed political funding system, which permits the very rich to buy political parties. There’s the phone-hacking scandal and the payment of police by newspapers, the underselling of Royal Mail, the revolving door allowing corporate executives to draft the laws affecting their businesses, the robbing of the welfare and prison services by private contractors, price-fixing by energy companies, daylight robbery by pharmaceutical firms and dozens more such cases.

Is none of this corruption? Or is it too sophisticated to qualify?

It just doesn’t compute. Almost every day the news is filled with stories that look to me like corruption. Yet on Transparency International’s corruption index Britain is ranked 14th out of 177 nations, suggesting that it’s one of the best-run nations on Earth. Either all but 13 countries are spectacularly corrupt or there’s something wrong with the index.

Yes, it’s the index. The definitions of corruption on which it draws are narrow and selective. Common practices in the rich nations that could reasonably be labelled corrupt are excluded; common practices in the poor nations are emphasised.

This week a ground-changing book called How Corrupt is Britain?, edited by David Whyte, is published. It should be read by anyone who believes this country merits its position on the index.

Would there still be commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption? Think of the list of scandals: pensions mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance scam, Libor rigging, insider trading and all the rest. Then ask yourself whether fleecing the public is an aberration – or the business model.

No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis, partly because the laws that should have restrained them were slashed by successive governments. A former minister in this government ran HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.

The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services. It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers. As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”. The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. They are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens. For some reason, though, that doesn’t count.

The Private Finance Initiative has been used by our governments to deceive us about the extent of their borrowing while channelling public money into the hands of corporations. Shrouded in secrecy, stuffed with hidden sweeteners, it has landed hospitals and schools with unpayable debts, while hiding public services from public scrutiny.

State spies have been engaged in mass surveillance. And the police, adopting the identities of dead children, lying in court to assist false convictions and fathering children by activists before disappearing, have infiltrated and sought to destroy peaceful campaign groups. Police forces have protected prolific paedophiles, including Jimmy Savile, and – it is now alleged – a ring of senior politicians who are also suspected of the murder of children. Savile was shielded too by the NHS and the BBC, which has sacked most of the those who sought to expose him while promoting people who tried to perpetuate the cover-up.

There’s the small matter of our unreformed political funding system, which permits the very rich to buy political parties. There’s the phone-hacking scandal and the payment of police by newspapers, the underselling of Royal Mail, the revolving door a llowing corporate executives to draft the laws affecting their businesses, the robbing of the welfare and prison services by private contractors, price-fixing by energy companies, daylight robbery by pharmaceutical firms and dozens more such cases. Is none of this corruption? Or is it too sophisticated to qualify?

Among the sources used by Transparency International to compile its index are the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. Relying on the World Bank to assess corruption is like asking Vlad the Impaler for an audit of human rights. Run on the principle of one dollar, one vote, controlled by the rich nations while operating in the poor ones, the bank has funded hundreds of white-elephant projects that have greatly enriched corrupt elites and foreign capital while evicting local people from their land and leaving their countries with unpayable debts. To general gasps of astonishment, the World Bank’s definition of corruption is so narrowly drawn that it excludes such practices.

The World Economic Forum establishes its corruption rankings through a survey of global executives: the beneficiaries of the kind of practices I’ve listed in this article.

Its questions are limited to the payment of bribes and the corrupt acquisition of public funds by private interests, excluding the kinds of corruption that prevail in rich nations.

Transparency International’s interviews with ordinary citizens take much the same line: most of its specific questions involve the payment of bribes.

How Corrupt is Britain? argues that such narrow conceptions of corruption are part of a long tradition of portraying the problem as something confined to weak nations, which must be rescued by “reforms” imposed by colonial powers and, more recently, bodies such as the World Bank and the IMF.

These “reforms” mean austerity, privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation.

They tend to suck money out of the hands of the poor and into the hands of national and global oligarchs.

For organisations such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, there is little difference between the public interest and the interests of global corporations.

What might look like corruption from any other perspective looks to them like sound economics. The power of global finance and the immense wealth of the global elite are founded on corruption, and the beneficiaries have an interest in framing the question to excuse themselves.

Yes, many poor nations are plagued by the kind of corruption that involves paying bribes to officials. But the problems plaguing us run deeper. When the system already belongs to the elite, bribes are superfluous.