Progressive Governance Conference

Chile ’09

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After the financial crisis – James Purnell

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

James Purnell, UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

(live notes, not verbatim)

Kevin Rudd said – we are at another moment where the progressives have to save capitalism from itself again

We must come neither to praise capitalism nor to bury it – need to make capitalism more egalitarian

People are spooked by a long boom being followed so quickly by such a sharp global recession

Progressives can’t promise more than we can deliver, but we can promise that we are the best people to respond

three key points

1 progressive government starts with investment in human capital UK has done more redistribution than any other nation (OECD).

2 From childcare to universities supportive welfare state equips people for the present – people losing livelihoods today do not deserve their fate – they are victims of global instability. The right will use crisis as argument to reduce generosity of welfare state. Progressives know welfare state is part of solution.

3 Rapidly expanding spending on public services is over. Forced to get more for each pound – so debate on reform is a necessity need to have courage to reform public services. Progressives cannot promise people a quiet life.

We may see revolution against the arbitrary power of capitalism. A fairer, egalitarian capitalism will lead to more economic growth. The  greatest injustice is when people cannot achieve their goals because someone in power stops them.

Credit crunch was a power failure – too much power in financial markets, too little in political systems. Need to disperse the power, get power down to the lowest possible level – don’t let too much power gather anywhere. Power needs to flow. People need to have power over public services – let them choose if their public services don’t deliver what they want.

Need to get power in the right places with the right nations around the table to fix supra national problems.  We want power to be spread and to be spread equally.   Capitalism spreads power, but it does so unequally. Government’s role is to ensure an even distribution of that power.

The left in taking power must release  it.

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Progressive politics after the financial crisis

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Senator and Former President of Chile

(live notes, not verbatim)

proud of the Chilean response to crisis by Bachelet government

the state will have a role in absorbing impact on people and families – in time of crisis countries with fragile social security mechanisms will come under strain requiring extra measures

must prevent protectionism, economic nationalism – must not make trade scapegoat of crisis – trade is vital. Cannot make international order more unequal as a result of crisis.

Emerging economies must have a role in the global financial governance systems – with power to vote and express an opinion. Emerging economies have a role now that they did not do in previous crises

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Plenary Session I – Progressive politics after the financial crisis

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

Robert Reich

(notes – not verbatim)

social equity and economic growth should not be traded off against each other – social equity is a pre condition for economic growth

rarely has a policy failed as clearly as trickle down economics – progressives should now be calling for trickle up economics

lack of attention to the structural issue of the environment has led to problems with food production, natural disasters increasing, costs and uncertainties for national and global economies imposing increasingly costly burdens on economic growth – to take a structural rather than a cyclical view  – we must consider a carbon tax – using thew proceeds for investment in alternative and renewable enrgy sources in all our nations

this is a progressive moment – the economic crisis has a silver lining – that lining could be a political resurgence of progressive thought and action – can only be the case if we have laid foundation of educating the public about necessity for structural reform – making peopel understand that this is not a cyclical crisis but that it has deep structural origins

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Opening session

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

Minister Carolina Tohá – Chile

(abbreviated live notes – not verbatim)

political crisis – any errors we make will have very touch consequences, with impact falling on on the most vulnerable –

easy to lose sight of big picture and create new inequalities – Latin America has learned this lesson the hard way through sufferingof its peoples  – in the past the few benefited at the expense of the many

now with stable democracies Latin America wants to show that we have learned these lessons – Bachelet government determined to do so

policy decisions today to shape response to crisis will shape legacy of  our govenrments

neo liberal pardigm being questioned – it has shown its worst impact

now we progressives can put into practice what we have been thinking for a long time: markets need to be regulated, balance must replace dogmatism, environment cannot be adjustment variable for decisions but a priority.

uncertainty and anger in populace are a fertile ground for populism – have to reist populistic temptation to give in to people’s short term frustration – especially given latin america’s history

the progressive governance conferences were created to exchange experiences and viewpoints on challenges facing the planet – they provide a timely space to find shared responsoses amongst leaders

progressive leaders muct offer solutions handling failure for neo liberalism but also provide new futures, not just repsonding to problems

in particular we have to ignore excuses to remove a focus on global warming

what we discuss today will enrich and inspire work of progressive summit tonight.  I hope Vina del Mar 2009 will become a new milestone in history of progressive ideas.

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