The management of the economic crisis has had devastating consequences for our country, as well as for the eurozone as a whole. The fiscal austerity and wage reduction policies imposed over the last few years have unnecessarily prolonged the recession across the continent and generated deep social fractures by increasing economic and social inequalities.
Fiscal austerity and wage reduction policies have led us to a lost decade. Across the Eurozone, we haven’t yet regained pre-crisis level of per capita income, and in Spain this indicator is still 5% below its 2007 level. In our country, only one in three jobs lost during the crisis has been recovered, job precariousness has aggravated, and 29% of the population lives at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
New cuts in social spending and public investment such as those promised by the Partido Popular Government to Brussels, would have an extremely high economic and social cost. Growth would slow down, which in turn would heavily impact job creation and aggravate the situation of those most affected by the crisis. We need a turn in economic policies: we must end fiscal austerity and wage reduction policies to encourage a way out of the crisis that doesn’t leave anybody behind. This is crucial for Spain, as well as an opportunity to open up a new time in Europe.
Many voices at the international level are asking for a change in the Eurozone’s fiscal policy. The governor of the ECB has insistently called for an expansive fiscal policy for Eurozone countries, along with a monetary policy that avoids the risk of deflation. The OECD has also recently called for a relaxation in the Eurozone’s public deficit reduction goals in order to develop public investment plans that promote job creation and focus on productive priorities.
Genuinely boosting job creation, investing to modernise the productive fabric of our country, and tacking social fractures will require renegotiating with Brussels our country’s public deficit reduction rates. Making these objectives sustainable over time will also require a commitment from the next Spanish government to undertake a deep reform of the Pact for Stability and Growth that guarantees its flexibility to adapt to the economic cycle.
It is possible and necessary to reverse the cuts imposed over the last few years in healthcare, education, disability, and research; in order to bring Spain closer to European levels. Only by doing so, the benefits of economic growth will reach society as a whole and inequality will be reduced.
Additionally, it’s not enough to create new jobs, they must be quality and stable ones. This means repealing the last two labour reforms, not to go back to the previous situation, but to create a new, more democratic, and balanced framework of labour relations that guarantees living wages and discourages the fraudulent use of temporary contracts. Equality between men and women, especially in the job market, is also an essential condition to reinforce our democracy and wellbeing.
Furthermore, a new economic agenda for our country and the Eurozone cannot ignore the enormous environmental challenges ahead. Reconciling growth, job creation, and sustainability will require putting public investment programs at the service of the necessary process of decarbonisation of our industrial infrastructure and of an energetic transition based on efficiency and the use of renewable energies, thus guaranteeing an occupational alternative for those currently working in the affected sectors.
We also denounce the so-called free trade and investment treaties, such as TTIP, CETA, and TISA, negotiated in secrecy, which represent a serious threat to sovereignty and the environment, as they put the needs of transnational corporations before workers rights, health and environmental controls, and the democratic laws of countries.
Europe changes when its societies and governments change. For that reason, we think a change in the government of Spain is a first and fundamental step to initiate a wider change in the Eurozone. The change in economic policies that Spain needs is the same required by Europe, and vice-versa.
For all these reasons, we publicly back Unidos Podemos’ candidacy for the next general elections that will take place in Spain on June 26th. We believe their economic program is capable of tackling with credibility and rigour the challenges of the present and the future. We believe their program will serve to put an end to austerity policies in Spain, thereby also opening a new time in Europe.
List of signatures:
Vicenç Navarro, Catedrático de Políticas Públicas, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
Thomas Piketty. EHESS & Ecole d’Economie de Paris/Paris School of Economics.
Ann Pettifor, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics and a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party economic advisory panel.
James Galbraith. The University of Texas at Austin.
Victoria Chick. Emeritus Professor of Economics. University College London.
Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo Llorente. Catedrático de Economía Aplicada. Universidad de Salamanca.
Marina Subirats. Catedrática emérita, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.
Ozlem Onaran, Professor of Economics, Director of Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre, University of Greenwich.
Bruno Estrada. Economista. CCOO y Junta Directiva de Economistas Frente a la Crisis.
Bibiana Medialdea, Profesora de Economía, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts-Amherst. (EEUU)
Republica (2016)Casi 180 economistas avalan el programa de Unidos Podemos en un manifiesto. http://www.republica.com/2016/06/20/unidos-podemos-contrarresta-las-criticas-a-sus-politicas-con-un-manifiesto-de-180-economistas/