Council of Europe: Market economy must be restrained

28 April 2010

Council of Europe: Market economy must be restrained

In a remarkable show of unity, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on Tuesday for restraints to be put on the market economy. SP Senator Tiny Kox, Chair of the United Left group in the Assembly, described himself as 'delighted' by the result of the vote: "The consequences of the financial and economic crisis can be noticed throughout Europe," he said, "and interference with economic freedom is unavoidable. Now deeds have to match words, and that remains a tough task."

Tiny KoxSenator Kox was pleased with the remarkable unity of standpoint shown today in Strasbourg by parliamentarians from forty-seven European countries. “The idea is gradually gaining ground that after all the celebration of neoliberalism in recent years, the left was correct in its view that capitalism was completely out of kilter," he said ."Capitalism turns out to be a volcano, one we know sometimes erupts. We just don't know when, how, or how much damage the eruption will do. But it's no secret that capitalism is built upon enormous contradictions. Between labour and capital, between poor and rich, between the short-term interests of the powerful and the long-term interests of the people. Marx said it in the 19th Century, Keynes told is in the 20th Century, Paul Krugman is telling us now. And we see it now too in all the horror that surrounds us. The eruption of the crisis is costing the economy hundreds of billions, costing millions of people their jobs and their income, and amongst the very poorest is costing countless children their very lives through lack of food.

“When a volcano erupts, we can't blame the volcano. It does what it has to do. But capitalism is a volcano which we have made for ourselves. This means that we can can also change it ourselves. Today we saw broad support for measures which we on the left have long proposed, but which not only liberals and conservatives failed to see the value of, but also social democrats and greens. Now there seems to be growing support for an effective regulation of the market economy and of the relations between market and state. The time of more market and less government is hopefully behind us. Good public services, protection of wages and pensions, and suitable social protection for everyone - today everyone voted in favour of these.”

In his contribution to the debate Kox complimented the different rapporteurs for their radical proposals for economic restraints and protection of solidarity. "And to those social democrats and greens who have now joined us in our critique of capitalism and assert with us that capitalism is a volcano which can erupt at any moment, I say – 'welcome home!'"

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