21 Sep 2016

Crash predictor Ann Pettifor: 'We're no longer citizens, we're customers'

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 21 September 2016

One of the few analysts to correctly predict the 2008 global financial crash says we need to start worrying about the economic attempts to turn citizens into consumers.

UK economist Ann Pettifor was also one of the leaders of the Jubilee 2000 debt campaign that successfully pushed to cancel $100 billion worth of debt owed by some of the world's poorest nations.

Ms Pettifor, the director of left-wing economic think tank Policy Research in Macroeconomics, has been in New Zealand to deliver public lectures on the current state of the financial world.

Speaking to Nine to Noon today, she said many of the current issues facing the world came from attempts by economists and the finance sector to 'marketise' society and to "turn us all into customers for everything".

Ann Pettifor

Ann Pettifor Photo: Supplied

"We're no longer citizens, we're no longer workers, we're customers, all along the line. And all of our relationships must, they argue, be marketised.

"They're also turning us into 'rentiers', so when we rent out our house as part of Airbnb, or we rent out our car as part of Uber, we are learning that with the ownership of an asset, it becomes possible, almost effortlessly, to earn rent."

She said the global economy was increasingly about earning rent from money, property and any other assets people owned.

"We are using up everything we have to earn a bit more money, and that is partly because the way the system is geared, and those who do have assets are able to earn rent on those assets, whether it's interest rates or whatever, and those without assets are poor, and those people are cross, they are very cross."

Ms Pettifor said people were feeling increasingly desperate due to low wages and salaries.

"I'm not against people using Airbnb, and I understand why they are doing it, and the reason they are doing it is because they are getting poorer, because they cannot live on their existing income, because we don't pay wages or salaries that allow people to live a decent life. So they have to supplement that, with all of these additional marginal activities.

"That's what's wrong with the way we have allowed the markets to take control of our economies and for the invisible hand to decide who gets what, is those who are left behind - and the left-behinders voted for Brexit, the left-behinders are voting for Trump, and they're voting for Le Pen, the fascist in France - we need to worry about that."


  • .radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201809104/why-are-working-class-americans-supporting-donald-trump