Čas za bolj aktivno levico

Moderna zahodna levica se je zadnja desetletja večinoma abdicirala od levičarske ideologije, namesto med robatimi sindikalnimi voditelji in njihovo vse bolj usihajočočo bazo je volilce iskala med visokoizobraženo družbeno elito in koketirala s kapitalom. V tej preobrazbi je v iskanju “tretje poti” postala proaktivna zagovornica neomejene globalizacije in deregulacije trga dela ter mižala pred izginjanjem tradicionalnih delovnih mest in srednjega sloja. Po domače, moderna levica se je prelevila v moderno zmerno stranko kapitala.

Toda ta preobrazba je šla predaleč, saj je tradicionalna baza levice ob izgubljanju materialne osnove izgubila tudi svoje politične zastopnika in se je bila na določeni točki prisiljena poistovetiti s parolami populističnih politikov na obeh skrajnih polih političnega spektra. Zdaj je, kot pravi Dani Rodrik, čas, da se levica vrne k svojim temeljem, preoblikuje svoje programe in spet začne zastopati interese najšibkejših. Vendar ne s populističnimi parolami, pač pa s politikami, ki bodo pomagale najšibkejšim slojem. Te politike pa gredo onstran davčnih in socialnih ukrepov, ki zgolj prerazdeljujejo ustvarjeno, pač pa v proaktivno smer. V smeri politik dela, ki bodo ojačale pogajalsko moč zaposlenih in zagotavljale večji delež v razdelitvi ustvarjenega. V smer industrijskih politik, ki bodo namesto offshoringa spodbujale reintegracijo domače industrijske baze na lokalni in tegionalni ravni. V smer spodbujanja tehnološkega razvoja, ki ne bo le nadomeščal delovne sile, pač pa bo kreiral neto več delovnih mest.

To je priložnost za moderno levico – da s tem, ko pomaga okrepiti položaj svoje tradicionalne baze, omogoči politično preživeti tudi sebi.

The left and progressive groups have been largely . The left’s relative weakness partly reflects the decline of unions and organized labor groups, which have historically formed the backbone of leftist and socialist movements. But ideological abdication has also played an important role. As parties of the left became more dependent on educated elites instead of the working class, their policy ideas aligned more closely with financial and corporate interests.

The remedies on offer from mainstream leftist parties remained correspondingly limited: more spending on education, improved social-welfare policies, a bit more progressivity in taxation, and little else. The left’s program was more about sugarcoating the prevailing system than addressing the fundamental sources of economic, social, and political inequities.

There is now growing recognition that tax-and-transfer policies can go only so far. While there is much room for improving social insurance and tax regimes, especially in the US, deeper reforms are needed to help level playing fields in favor of ordinary workers and families across a broad range of domains. That means focusing on product, labor, and financial markets, on technology policies, and on the rules of the political game.

Inclusive prosperity cannot be achieved by simply redistributing income from the rich to the poor, or from the most productive parts of the economy to less productive sectors. It requires less-skilled workers, smaller firms, and lagging regions to be more fully integrated with the most advanced parts of the economy.

In other words, we must start with productive re-integration of the domestic economy. Large and productive firms have a critical role to play here. They must recognize that their success depends on the public goods that their national and sub-national governments supply – everything from law and order and intellectual property rules to infrastructure and public investment in skills and research and development. In exchange, they must invest in their local communities, suppliers, and workforce – not as corporate social responsibility, but as a mainline activity.

Labor markets, too, need rebalancing. The weakening of unions and protections for workers has eroded traditional sources of countervailing power. Recent research has shown that firms retain significant bargaining leverage over employees, depressing wages and working conditions. Reversing these trends will require a range of pro-labor policies, including the promotion of unionization, higher minimum wages, and adequate regulatory standards for workers in the “gig economy.”

Vir: Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate

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