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12 Dec, 2020 07:03

Poverty is rising fast, but it’s part of a decades-long project which the lockdowns of 2020 will only accelerate

Poverty is rising fast, but it’s part of a decades-long project which the lockdowns of 2020 will only accelerate

A new study highlights worrying levels of destitution in Britain, with the situation worsening. But it’s no accident: lockdowns and The Great Reset are the latest stage in an elite-friendly project shovelling wealth ever upwards.

Don’t say you weren’t warned. While ‘centrist’ neo-liberals and faux-progressives lauded turbo-globalisation in the nineties, one ‘insider’ Sir James ‘Jimmy’ Goldsmith – a billionaire financier who never indulged in groupthink – told us that it wouldn't end well.

In his books The Trap and The Response, Goldsmith predicted that GATT and global free trade would create unemployment and poverty in the industrialised world, while ravaging the third world. His thesis was that the ability of the world’s biggest companies to go anywhere in search of increased profits, and employ anyone from a greatly expanded world labour market –which had increased due to political changes by 4 billion, soon to rise to 6.5 billion – was bound to have a downwards impact on living standards. 

And, of course, that’s exactly what's happened. A new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that around 2.4 million people experienced destitution in Britain in 2019, a 54 percent increase from 2017. The report cites “inadequate benefit levels and debt deductions” as the “key drivers” of destitution, but it’s important to see the bigger picture. We never had these poverty levels in the sixties and seventies, when we operated under a very different economic model.   

Also on rt.com Covid pandemic could push more than a BILLION people worldwide into extreme poverty, UN warns

What’s pushed millions into poverty – in Britain, and in many other countries too – is a shift from a majoritarian economic system to a minoritarian one. 

This shift began in the late seventies and early eighties and accelerated greatly following the fall of communism and socialism in eastern Europe, which meant there was no competing system to the rule of money power.  

The World Bank – which has promoted turbo-globalisation – claims that the number of people living under extreme poverty fell by around 25 percent between 1981 and 2005, but in fact, as the Professor of Political Economy Robert Hunter Wade has pointed out, if we exclude the special case of China, the number in extreme poverty has actually increased.

“Still more bad news is the sheer number of people living on the scarcely generous PPP $2.50 a day, almost 3 billion by 2010, more than 40% of the world’s population,” Hunter Wade continues in the essay Growth, Inequality and Poverty in Global Political Economy. He distinguishes between the first two waves of globalization, in the late 19th century and the 20th century post-war decades up to around 1980, and the waves of globalization which followed. 

The first two waves constituted relatively benign ‘trade globalisation’ with ‘immobile production.’ These waves, taken in tandem with government policies which favoured the majority of people, helped to reduce inequalities and poverty. In fact, by the mid-1970s inequality had fallen to historically low levels.

Also on rt.com 2mn UK families at risk of plunging into poverty with lockdowns projected to DOUBLE ‘destitution levels’, study finds

But the third wave, ‘production globalisation,’ in which Western multinationals moved their production to lower-cost countries, saw inequalities – both between countries and within them – sharply rise. Since then the wealth gap has got even wider following the financial crash of 2008, which saw the roll-out of austerity policies.  

An absolutely damning 2018 report by the United Nations’ Poverty Envoy Philip Alston found that 1.5 million Britons were destitute and “unable to afford basic essentials.” It declared, “For almost one in every two children to be poor in the twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.”

But even the austerity cuts from David Cameron and George Osborne – which caused great hardship to many households up and down the land – pale into insignificance compared to the economic impact of lockdowns. The UK economy contracted by more than a fifth in the first month of lockdown. In November, official forecasts predicted the biggest economic decline in Britain in 300 years. The government deficit is at a record high.  

And here’s the irony. Much of the Left, who quite rightly opposed Tory-Lib Dem austerity in the 2010s, have been cheerleaders for the business-closing economic measures of 2020, which are part of the same elite-friendly, shovel-the-wealth upwards agenda. Who were the big financial winners of the ‘Year of Covid’? The richest people on the planet, who saw their wealth increase by 27.5 percent. Who were the biggest losers? The poor. 

Also on rt.com 80 percent of low-income UK families worse off amid lockdown-induced economic nosedive – survey

Rather than something that’s come from nowhere, The World Economic Forum’s ‘Great Reset/Fourth Industrial Revolution’, currently being implemented under the guise of fighting a coronavirus, is the culmination of a minoritarian project which began decades ago. ‘Build Back Better’? To build back you first have to destroy, and what we are witnessing is a controlled demolition of the last ‘good bits’ of the old economy.  

The WEF, lest we forget, is backed by the world’s richest corporations and the world’s richest individuals. Globalisation has made today’s super-rich far richer than any previous plutocrats in history. And far richer means far more political influence. 

“You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy,” said a recent WEF video predicting what the world will look like in 2030 told us. The message is clear: we will own nothing, because they – the transnational power elites who meet each year in Davos – will own everything. But I doubt very much that we will be happy in our new impoverished servitude. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.