Panama Papers: An Opportunity to Think Radically

‘The structures of society that have been in place for years are not working, we need to now think radically about wealth redistribution, welfare and how we provide state help.’ 

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When are we going to admit to ourselves that trickledown economics just doesn’t work? The Panama Papers leak is the perfect example of this.

We are told to believe that when people or businesses accrue wealth, this will create more jobs, increasing employment or workers’ pay. However we know now that is not the case.

There are two screaming examples that prove that we need a radical change in how we look at the economic structures of the UK and the redistribution of wealth. Look at the evidence: huge companies turning millions of pounds worth of profit still refusing to pay their staff the living wage or, worse, forcing their workforce to sign up for zero hours contracts.

What’s worse is that we have a PR culture surrounding these big businesses that attempts to make us believe they care. Corporate social responsibility or CRS is now a booming industry in place sugaring our capitalist’s structures making them easier to swallow.

The second example is linked to personal wealth which brings me to the Panama Papers leak. You can apply it to your own income, when your income increases exponentially your expenditure doesn’t mirror this. At some point your expenditure levels out and you start saving and when we start saving that money stagnates. Money in the bank is worth nothing to our economy, our society, it benefits no one but the owner.

The Panama Papers leak is only the tip of the iceberg, this is one leak, from one company, from one country associated with tax avoidance. In our Prime Minister, David Cameron’s case the money held in these accounts for 13 years, 1997 – 2010, increased by 152% and during that time it benefited no one, it increased in value but had no worth to anyone but the Cameron family.

And these two examples are evident of the structures currently in place. In January this year Oxfam released data showing that the richest 1% now have as much wealth as the 99% that is left combined. But the breakdown of these figures is even more damning. Cash and assets worth £48,300 would get you into the top 10% and £533,000 to get you into the top 1%.

If you are living and working in the UK and if you own property, you are probably in the top 10% or even the top 1%. The United Kingdom has become a network of the world’s super-rich. The structures of society that have been in place for years are not working, we need to now think radically about wealth redistribution, welfare and how we provide state help. While the super-rich keep getting richer, whilst big businesses continue to drive capitalist consumerist culture, we need to stop demonising the poorest of our society and cast our eyes on the few that have gained so much.

Rhiannon Spear, SNP Youth Convenor

@RhiannonV

Rhiannon Spear

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Author: SNP Youth

Young Scots For Independence