Prosperity for all is possible
‘Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,’
Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations
To me that says it all, it is the basis of how we should live our lives and outlines the tasks for the governments we elect to act on behalf of us all, not just the few.
Though today, nearly 70 years later, the global economic system is creating extreme inequality, causing unnecessary hardship for millions of people. So many have so little, while so few have so much. Where is the progress?
I am frustrated by the lack of action to solve inequality, persistent poverty and slow economic growth. So the action I took was to spend a year researching and writing my latest book, published in 2016 and even more relevant today: From Here to Prosperity, a practical political agenda for a sustainable economy and greater social justice. I did not want to write another analysis of the problem, about how bad it is and how it is getting worse. I wanted practical answers, and I was pretty sure there were simple answers, I like simplicity.
I am inspired by my late father, Dr Ronald Burgess, an economist, who had written several economic papers, as well as a 1993 book: Public Revenue without Taxation. I always thought this seemed like a great idea and it was indeed simple. However my Dad wrote an academic, learned book. I wanted to proposal practical answers written in a more every day language that you did not need to be an economist to understand. I did study economics at school and university so I should know the basics!
Just 20 years later, inequality has worsened, poverty is still endemic and the economy of the world is still fragile. It should be strong, given globalisation, technology and advances in healthcare and communication. There should not have been the Great Recession, but there was, we should have recovered much faster. But we are in danger of making the same mistakes again. While I believe we could raise public revenue without taxation (you will need to read his book to find out how!), we now need some urgent action to bring some strong structural changes to correct our economy and make progress for our society in the 21st century.
With recent developments the world is experiencing political and economic uncertainty which is having a serious impact on all our lives. In future blogs, I will outline this vision and the strategy so we can all move from here to prosperity.