Apologies for the headline but as the polemical war rages, even left-wing bloggers sometimes have to resort to cheap journalistic tactics in order to gain attention in a very crowded blogosphere. But behind this tacky tabloid heading is a very serious point. Corbyn was quickly lambasted for having a male dominated top table. All the so-called big hitters in Corbyn's shadow cabinet were men. It was something the Tory press immediately jumped upon hoping to wrong foot JC at the earliest moment. But what the Tory press and Corbyn's own detractors within the Labour Party did not pick up on was the highly competent female academics that have been invited onto John McDonnell's economic advisory committee. Alongside Thomas Piketty, David Blanchflower and Joseph Stiglitz comes Ann Pettifor, Marianna Muzzucato and Anastasia Nesuetalova, all of whom have made their mark by critiquing the politics of austerity and advocating something a darn sight more human. Here are their credentials.


Anne Pettifor has a most impressive academic record. She is Honorary Research Fellow at the Political Economy Research Centre at City University and a fellow of the New Economics Foundation in London. And, according to her slot on Wikipedia, she is celebrated for having correctly predicted the Global Financial Crisis way back in 2006. She was also, it transpires, one of the leading lights in the Jubilee 2000 debt campaign which succeeded in writing off $100 billion of debts owed by the 35 poorest countries. And there's more. She is also Executive Director of a consultancy Advocacy International, which advises governments and organisations on matters relating to international finance and sustainable development. She has recently published 'Just Money: How Society Can Break The Despotic Power of Finance.' Just the sort of person John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn need on their team I would think. IN 2013 she produced a paper: 'A National Plan For the UK: From Austerity to the Age of the Green New Deal. If there is one certainty in life, it is that you won't be reading extracts of that document in the Daily Mail!

Next up comes Marianna Mazzucato an economist with a duel Italian American citizenship. At present she is RM Phillips Professor in the Economics of Innovation at the University of Sussex and she is the author of 'The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public versus private sector myths.' From Wikipedia we learn that this work argues that, the idea of the state as a static bureaucratic organisation only needed to fix market failures, leaving dynamic entrepreneurship and innovation to the private sector, is wrong. It is precisely these carefully constructed myths that the Corbyn administration with have to wrestle with and ultimately debunk if it is to radically alter the way the British economy functions. 'You can't buck the market' was Thatcher's refrain, echoing the Chicago School of neo-liberalism. But we have seen all too clearly where the unregulated market leads corruption, short-termism, destructive financial speculation and a never ending cycle of boom and bust. And when it does go bust, the corporates get the bailouts and the world's working class just get shafted. Yes, we definitely need the likes of MM in and around the Corbyn inner circle.

Finally, JC and McDonnell have recruited Professor Anastasia Nesuetalova, Director at the City Political Economy Research Centre where she specialises in international political economy, financial crises, globalisation and governance. Her second major monograph, 'Financial Alchemy in Crisis: The Great Liquidity Illusion', focuses on the elusive concept of liquidity in global finance and specifically, in the global financial crisis of 2007 -  2009. If JC is to have any hope of presenting a creditable alternative to Osborneomics he will definitely need the sort of expertise that Professor Nesuetalova has to offer.

I must confess that I have read nothing of these three academics and even if I had I very much doubt that I would grasp very much of the detail. But their direction of travel is clear enough. Economists are queuing up to discredit the politics of austerity, which we all know by now is nothing but a fig-leaf for the ideological standpoint of diminishing the role of the state and replacing it with unregulated private corporations. History has pronounced clearly enough where an all-powerful unregulated, unaccountable state leads, and I doubt there is much value in revisiting that particular variant of social ownership. We are now witnessing in vibrant technicolour the criminal folly of an unregulated, undemocratic corporate world of which the latest VW revelations are just the tip of a giant criminal corporate empire. If the three abovementioned women can navigate a productive path between these two patently flawed socio-economic models, they will have truly contributed to the greater good in a way that their male counterparts have singularly failed to do. So it's all power to the sisters and may they spread light where there is darkness, spread reason where there is ignorance and spread equality where there is rampant inequality.

End JPK Copyright 16/10/15

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 May 2018 17:25 )