Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Marie Antoinette moment

"Marie Antoinette's infamous response to the news of bread riots prior to the French Revolution, "Let them eat cake", may be apocryphal but it contains an essential truth about the unwillingness of the powerful to accept responsibility for a crisis. Neither is there any attempt to offer a solution that might involve some change to the privileges of the mighty". Click here to read the rest of Michael Burke's piece for the Guardian's Comment is Free site, in which he notes that "Belying any notion of "austerity", which implies all sectors of society must reduce their standards of living in a common cause, the lrish employers' organisation Ibec is pressing for lower wages among some of the lowest-paid workers in sectors such as fast food and hospitality. It is attempting to override the decisions of the joint labour committees and, emboldened by the favourable response it is getting from the new Fine Gael/Labour coalition government, Ibec is now also arguing for the abolition of the JLCs altogether. These proposals follow the policies of both the current and previous Dublin governments in implementing cuts in the pay of public sector workers and imposing a pensions levy, in effect a tax increase". Michael also references the statement by 36 economists, economic analysts and social scientists released by TASC yesterday, of which he was one of the signatories.

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