Vice President, Theory, Research and Policy & Executive Director, Next System Project
Don't believe the Corbyn bashers - the economic case against public ownership is mostly fantasy
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, Jeremy Corbyn is putting public ownership back on the political agenda. Joe Guinan and Thomas Hanna of the Democracy Collaborative come together to examine frequent claims that public ownership is inherently bureaucratic and inefficient.
E.P. Thompson, the great historian of the English working class, famously warned of the need to rescue our labour movement forebears from “the enormous condescension of posterity.” Today, with Jeremy Corbyn poised to take over the leadership of the Labour Party on a wave of popular acclaim, we can appreciate Thompson’s injunction all the more. Virtually the entirety of the Westminster political class and their hangers-on in the house-trained media have lined up to denounce Corbyn – and the economic ideas he represents – as a ridiculous throwback, a ghost or revenant from Labour’s troubled past who must be exorcized in order that the party may again, as a famous manifesto once put it, face the future. Centrist technocrats always fetishize the future – “our comfort zone,” as Tony Blair has proclaimed it – not least because, unlike the past, it holds no dangerous lessons. “History teaches,” Gramsci wrote, “but it has no pupils.”