Capitalism is in crisis. And we cannot get out of it by carrying on as before | Michael Jacobs | Opinion
Even capitalists agree our economic model is broken, says Michael Jacobs of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute. General elections are rarely epoch-defining events. Though the parties pretend that their political differences are large, in economic terms they rarely are. But this one could be different.
Of course, elections lead to change. Labour’s victory in 1997 marked a decisive break with the Thatcher-Major years in terms of public spending and welfare policy. Yet New Labour didn’t fundamentally challenge the dominant model of economic policy that it had inherited from the Tories: a globalised and declining manufacturing sector, and deregulated financial and labour markets. In 2010 the coalition brought in austerity . But Labour would have done so too, continuing the fiscal orthodoxy. Even at elections, economic policy is usually largely consensual.
The beauty of a Green New Deal is that it would pay for itself | Ann Pettifor Read more
There are exceptions. The two epochal elections of modern times were those of 1945 and 1979. Both followed crises in the formerly dominant model of capitalism. And both led to what social scientists call a paradigm shift in economic thinking and policy.
By 1945 it was clear that the laissez-faire economics of the prewar period was dead. It had failed to prevent, and could not solve, the mass unemployment of the Great Depression , and offered nothing to the troops returning from the war. The election won by Clement Attlee marked the start of a new era of Keynesian economics: active government to maintain full employment, and a welfare state to support universal living standards.
The new economic model lasted 30 (golden) years, but eventually it too collapsed in crisis. When President Nixon ended the Bretton Woods system of managed exchange rates in 1971, and the oil-producing nations quadrupled oil prices two years later, the UK lurched into stagflation – simultaneous recession and high inflation. The Keynesian model seemed to have run out of solutions. The election of 1979 saw Margaret Thatcher enter Downing Street armed with a new economic orthodoxy: that of free markets, deregulation and privatisation. The rest is history.
Except that the free market model has also now collapsed. The financial crash of 2008 marked the decisive moment, but the last decade of earnings stagnation, rising inequality and climate breakdown has made it clear.
Just as in the 1930s and 1970s, the orthodox policy prescriptions have failed. After almost 10 years of austerity, the economy remains on the life support of near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing. Investment remains low, productivity stagnant and trade in deficit. The revival of the metropolitan economies of London and some major cities has merely exposed a widening gulf with the rest of the country. As most people’s living standards have stalled, the wealth of the top 1% has soared. Loaded with student debt, facing a future of precarious work and expensive rented housing, young people may be the first generation in modern times poorer than their parents . If people are angry at the elite, it is no wonder.
The free-market model has managed to generate a triple crisis for capitalism: it is financially unstable, environmentally unsustainable and politically unpopular.
This is why 2019 needs to become another of those epoch-defining elections. For just as in 1945 and 1979, we cannot get out of this crisis by carrying on as before.
This is not a view held only on the left of the political spectrum. Read the Economist and the Financial Times , or listen to business leaders in the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses, and it is apparent that even capitalists think the current model of capitalism is in trouble. Their anxiety is not just that it has lost public support. It is that the core engine of private sector growth is no longer working. In almost every field of economic policy it is becoming clear that tinkering at the edges of the current economic system is not going to be enough. A much more fundamental transformation is required.
There is a gathering consensus on what this requires. It must start by putting the economy on an ecological footing. A comprehensive set of environmental targets and policies are required to drive down carbon emissions, pollution and biodiversity loss: a new Sustainable Economy Act combined with a Green New Deal .
This will need higher levels of investment. With the government currently able to borrow at negative real interest rates, raising capital spending – particularly for green infrastructure such as renewable energy, home insulation and public transport – is economically highly rational. A more active industrial strategy would then guide private investment into the innovation and export-oriented sectors, which can create jobs across the country.
The labour market needs to be rebalanced. For wages to rise, workers need to take home a larger share of national income – through a higher minimum wage, more security for workers in the “gig economy” and a higher proportion of sectors in which trade unions engage in collective bargaining. As other European countries show, this helps, not hinders, productivity improvement.
And governments must provide decent public services, if necessary paid for through higher taxes. Public services are what makes modern societies civilised, and many of them – education, health, childcare – raise productivity too.
There must be other elements: financial reform, controls on the digital monopolies, the fairer distribution of wealth, including housing. The key point is that such proposals represent structural reform of the way the economy works. It is no longer enough to let the private sector determine the path of the economy and then add a bit of ameliorative social and environmental policy on afterwards.
So will the 2019 election mark the beginning of a new economic era along these lines? It is clear that if Labour won it would seek a decisive move in this direction. But how far it could go might depend on whether it had an overall majority or had to govern with the support of other parties. So this raises a critical question for the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens. Their positions on Brexit are well known. But on the economy, are they in favour of a transformative “paradigm shift”, or simply more of the same? If the former, will they enable this to become one of those epoch-making elections? If the latter, why do they believe this will resolve any of the deep-rooted problems that now confront our 40-year-old economic model?
• Michael Jacobs is a professorial fellow at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute and co-editor of Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth
Topics Economic policy Opinion General election 2019 Austerity Economics comment
Aldi is selling a churro maker for less than £15 so you can make your own sweet treats at home
Share By Rachel Pugh Money-Saving & Consumer Writer 15:29, 9 NOV 2019 What’s On Aldi is selling a churro maker (Image: Aldi) Get the biggest What’s On Supermarket Aldi is well-known for its special buys, and shoppers are often left delighted with some of the limited-edition bargains on offer.
And the brand's latest offering is no exception, as it's got the whole nation excited with news it will be selling a churro maker for £14.99.
Aldi's official on-site description reads: “Prepare a special treat for friends and family in minutes with this easy-to-use Churro Maker.
“It makes 4 delicious but healthy churros at once. Instead of frying them, this device will bake them fat-free. For especially even results turn your churro maker around during baking.
“The non-stick cooking surface ensures hassle-free cleaning after each use. Simply store it upright to save space.”
When news of the churro makers was announced, social media quickly became saturated with comments from shoppers excited to get their hands on one.
The churro maker comes in three different colours (Image: Aldi) Posting on Facebook, one keen customer said: “Love Churros! May have to investigate this!”
“I know we don't have an Aldi but I never thought of getting a churro maker before! Could have them whenever we want!” wrote somebody else.
A third Aldi fan exclaimed: “Merry Christmas me! Perfect size for a stocking.”
Shopping news, deals and money-saving tips For all the latest shopping news, deals, beauty tips and fashion trends, and the best money-saving tips from our shopping, money-saving and consumer writer Rachel Pugh, who you can follow here .
You can also join our Manchester Money-Saving Facebook group here .
The churro makers are currently out of stock online, but they're hitting stores on Sunday 10 November, so if you want one you're advised to hit your local branch then as they're set to sell out quickly.
Read More Related Articles People have spotted a funny 'blunder' in Aldi's Kevin the Carrot Christmas advert Read More Related Articles Iceland unveils its Christmas 2019 food range – and it includes a full turkey dinner in a pie Read More Related Articles Aldi unveils its Christmas food and drink range for 2019
Champions League football could return to ITV for the 2021-22 season as BT Sport’s £1.18BILLION deal expires
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE football could return to ITV for the 2021-22 season – as BT Sport’s £1.18BILLION deal will expire in 19 months’ time.
BT have had exclusive rights to Europe’s premier football competition since 2015 when they agreed their record deal with Uefa. 1 ITV are hoping to reclaim rights to the Champions League from 2021
ITV have submitted several packages ahead of the deadline for a new deal which will be decided on Monday.
They do not want exclusive rights.
Regardless of this, Uefa are looking into breaking up packages between 2021 and 2024 to enable more TV companies to broadcast matches.
They also plan to sell the final separately as a stand-alone event for the first time ever.
Champions League matches were shown live on terrestrial TV until 2015.
ITV had a package for highlights after that but the Champions League has exclusively been on pay TV since the 2016-17 season.
If BT do not improve their offer they will lose their exclusive rights next season with their present deal scheduled to end in June 2021.
Sky Sports, which also used to show live matches, have also submitted fresh offers to Uefa to get live coverage back on their channels.
The DAZN Group, a London-based sports subscription streaming service, are also very keen to show live Champions League games for the first time ever and have submitted an attractive offer to Uefa.
Amazon Prime successfully won the rights to broadcast live Premier League matches this season.
But they will not be bidding for Champions League matches.
The fear for punters is that, although some matches could be free on ITV, they will also be divided up to be shown on other pay TV channels or streaming services.
That means subscribers may need to buy more than one package, as has happened with the Premier League games this season.
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Subscribers pay an average of £15 a month.
The deadline for new TV bids to be received is 10.30am Monday.
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BBC – Culture – The men who Leonardo da Vinci loved
Classical music The men who Leonardo da Vinci loved Leonardo is the world’s most famous artist. But a new opera is shining fresh light on his private passions – by depicting his intense relationships with two of his assistants. By Hettie Judah 8 November 2019
We know a great deal about Leonardo da Vinci’s interests in botany and human anatomy; about his explorations of flight, of war machines and the flow of water; of his skills as a painter, and even his reputation for leaving projects unfinished. But what do we know of the man, of his passions, of Leonardo in love? Leonardo left nothing that could be read directly as a diary or journal: his interest was in the outer, rather than the inner, world. Nevertheless, writers, from the 16th-Century biographer Giorgio Vasari to Sigmund Freud, have scoured the thousands of pages of written notes left by Leonardo for clues.
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Five hundred years after his death – with exhibitions around Europe celebrating his art, engineering, science and ideas – a new opera celebrates a more private side of the Renaissance master. The work of composer Alex Mills and librettist Brian Mullin, Leonardo focuses on the relationship between the great artist and two of his assistants.
Gian Giacomo Caprotti – known by Da Vinci as Salaí aka ‘Little Devil’– was a boy from a poor background who entered the workshop aged 10 in 1490, when the master was in his late 30s. He immediately made an impression as a troublemaker: Mullin found frequent references to Salaí stealing from him and his guests, or eating more than his master thought respectable. “He [was] a young working-class boy, and evidently very hard to handle, but he ended up staying with Leonardo for 25 years,” says Mullin. View image of (Credit: World History Archive/The Picture Art Collection/Alamy)
Francesco Melzi came into Leonardo’s life in around 1505. This young man, by contrast, was from a noble Milanese family, and developed a role in the workshop akin to private secretary. He and Leonardo soon developed a closer intimacy that Mills and Mullin liken to father and son. Melzi was, as Mullin notes, “completely different from Salaí in his social standing and his demeanour.” No cheeky nicknames for the aristocratic Melzi: he was addressed by Leonardo as ‘Master Francesco’.
While Mills’s music for Leonardo is of course contemporary, it has been scored for a viol consort – that is, an ensemble of players of the viol, a stringed instrument evocative of the early 16th Century. Mullin’s libretto is drawn almost entirely from historical sources, most important of which were Leonardo’s own notebooks, which the left-handed artist wrote in mirror script.
The opera charts the “shifting triangle that Leonardo had with these two young men,” says Mullin. “Leonardo moves from one relationship to the other, and Salaí gets a bit pushed out.” Late in life Leonardo moved to France, with both male companions in attendance, but Salaí returned to Milan, and was not there at the master’s bedside when he died in 1519. “Leonardo leaves him very little: he’s left only half a vineyard, which is odd,” says Mullin. Melzi, by contrast, inherited Leonardo’s notebooks and many of his paintings. “It seems there was a private drama that had been playing out from one figure to another.”
His male muse
As historic characters, Salaí and Melzi come down to us through Leonardo’s depictions of them in word and image – both men were noted for their beauty, and Salaí is thought to be the model for the paintings Bacchus and Saint John the Baptist . To both composer and librettist, the relationships appear to have been more intense and profound than simply artist and assistants. “Leonardo draws Salaí so much, it’s not hard to say he was a muse as well,” says Mills. “Everyone considers him to have been Leonardo’s companion – he buys him expensive clothes, they travel together, everyone talks about how beautiful he was.” View image of (Credit: Dennis Hallinan / Alamy)
In negotiating their way through the hard facts of Da Vinci’s life – and the gaps between them – Mills and Mullin enlisted the help of leading scholars Martin Kemp and Martin Clayton. “We wanted the conclusions we were drawing to be as likely as possible and as historically accurate as possible,” says Mills. “Leonardo scholars and academics conclude he very likely was gay, everything points toward that – the opera gives us a chance to explore that part of him in a year when everything else is being explored.”
Speculation as to Leonardo’s sexuality is a centuries-old pastime. Writing in the 1560s, artist Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo concocted an imagined dialogue between Leonardo and the Greek sculptor Phidias, in which the latter quizzes him on the nature of his relationship with Salaí: “Did you perhaps play with him that ‘backside game’ that Florentines love so much?” Leonardo replies enthusiastically in the affirmative. In 1910, Sigmund Freud speculated that despite surrounding himself with beautiful young men, Leonardo’s homosexuality was latent rather than acted upon.
A recent biography by Walter Isaacson is more blithe in its summation of Leonardo as “illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical.” It is this vision of the artist in his younger days that will be brought to life in a TV drama staring Aidan Turner, scheduled for broadcast next year.
Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, first met with Mills and Mullin at an early stage of the opera’s development. “They presented this idea of Melzi and Saraí being the twin [aspects] of Leonardo’s character which I thought was a very intelligent approach,” says Clayton. “What they have done – in presenting Salaí as the dark, reprobate side and Melzi as the solid workmanlike side – says something very true of Leonardo’s character.” View image of (Credit: Getty Images)
For Clayton, Leonardo’s decision to leave Melzi his intellectual legacy – in the form of paintings, drawings and notebooks – is testament to his steadfastness. He judged Melzi capable of protecting his legacy, and of such wealth and character that he would not be tempted to exploit it. Salaí by contrast ended up in possession of more paintings than Leonardo left him, which suggests that he either stole or faked them. “He had a reputation as a chancer and a scammer,” says Mullin. “He ends up dying in a duel with a crossbow.”
A residue of shame
While Da Vinci was a man ahead of his time in many ways, the nature of his companionship with Salaí was very much of its day. “Relationships like this between adult men and teenage boys were actually quite common in the world Leonardo moved in,” says Mullin. In the period Leonardo lived in Florence early in his career, homosexual relationships were so prevalent that the term ‘Florenzer’ became German slang for same-sex relationships. However in an attempt to control the practice, the city government encouraged citizens to denounce it. Aged 23, Leonardo was among four artists publicly accused of sodomy following an anonymous tip-off. “It is not known for certain if he went to jail,” says Mullin. “But that public shaming may have encouraged Leonardo to turn in on himself.”
The result of this inward gaze, Mills explains, is that “we don’t know much about Leonardo the man. In some ways it doesn’t matter what his sexuality was, but of course in trying to get into his mind it goes with the territory.” It is the particular quality of opera as an art form that it allows for much to be evoked while remaining unsaid. “That’s what opera is so good at doing: it speaks to the unconscious.”
For Clayton, who this year curated a series of exhibitions based on the Royal Collection’s outstanding holding of Leonardo drawings, the opera takes us into territory that is often beyond the scope of a museum. “It presents the true Leonardo in the way art exhibitions often don’t,” he says. An exhibition will naturally privilege drawings, paintings and diagrams over the 4,000 folios of written material left by Leonardo after his death. “There’s a great deal going on in Leonardo that is hard to put across to an audience, and I think that is what this opera will succeed in doing.”
Leonardo is being performed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, on 8 and 9 November (8 November performance includes a panel discussion)
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Top Boy season 4 script officially in the works as Ashley Walters gushes over ‘dope’ Netflix return
THE script for Top Boy season four is officially in the works, according to lead actor Ashley Walters.
Netflix’s revival of the Channel 4 show – taking place six years after the original two seasons – was a hit with audiences, becoming the most streamed show on Netflix upon its launch. 3 Top Boy was a hit with viewers after it’s revival earlier this year Credit: Netflix
While the streaming service hasn’t officially commissioned a new season, Ashley (who plays Dushane) says it’s looking “promising” – and that they’ve already begun working on scripts.
“Fingers crossed, we haven’t had the actual green light yet but it’s looking promising,” he told Metro .
“In preparation for that we’ve already been working out storylines and writing so it’s looking good. 3 While it’s not been officially commissioned, fans can get their hopes up about a new season Credit: Netflix Top Boy bosses reveal junkies Lee and Sarah’s true identities
“Obviously I won’t give anything away but it’s looking dope and we’re all looking forward to going again with the show.”
However, he warns fans that the next season won’t be out for awhile.
The show – which follows Dushane and Sully (Kane Robinson) as they fight for dominance of the drug market in the estates of London – was revived by Drake after it was cancelled in 2013, something Ashley labels as “dope”.
Ashley appeared on Sunday Brunch last month to speak about Drake’s reaction to the show’s cancellation at the time. 3 Drake was a huge fan of the first season of the show Credit: Channel 4
He said: “It was put on Netflix after it was cancelled, a couple of years later, and we started to get a lot of interest Stateside. MOST READ IN TV AND SHOWBIZ Spoiler Hollyoaks reveals first look at Warren’s return after Jamie undergoes makeover VENGEANCE Corrie viewers in tears as Paul takes revenge on rapist Josh to free David natural beauty Carol Vorderman, 58, is fresh-faced as she wraps up her famous curves Exclusive Dan Osborne & Jaqueline Jossa ‘hoping I’m A Celeb will save their marriage’ NEO LOVE Keanu Reeves, 55, goes public with his first girlfriend in DECADES Exclusive MUM’S THE WORD Coronation Street’s Maria will fall pregnant with serial killer Gary’s baby
“And then Drake watched it, which was weird, and we woke up one day, saw all this press over it [as] he’d posted.
“He had a picture of me and said, ‘When’s the show coming back?’ and I said it’s been cancelled and he said, ‘Well, we’ll see about that’.
“Cut to about a year-and-a-half later and he came back to the table with a deal and that was it, we went from there.” Topics