Economists back Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity policies

41 economists, including a former adviser to the Bank of England, have said they support Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies.

The Islington North MP’s economic policies, which have been called Corbynomics, have come under attack in recent days.

Jeremy Corbyn

In a letter the 41 economics write: “The accusation is widely made that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have moved to the extreme left on economic policy. But this is not supported by the candidate’s statements or policies. His opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF. He aims to boost growth and prosperity.”

David Blanchflower, former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is among the signatories.

This comes as Corbyn’s campaign have announced that they would reserve the right to renationalise Royal Bank of Scotland and other public assets, “with either no compensation or with any undervaluation deducted from any compensation for renationalisation” if they are sold at too cheaply by the Conservative government.

Leadership contender Andy Burnham has warned against Corbyn’s economic policies. Burnham has said Labour must regain economic credibility before anything else: “Economic credibility is all and unless you have got that you haven’t got a basis for winning an election. So Labour can’t unlearn that lesson three months away from the general election. That was the thing that told against us in the end and we have to be serious about that.”

Corbyn also defended his policies in an article in the Observer.

“Parliament can feel like living in a time warp at the best of times, but this government is not just replaying 2010, but taking us back to 1979: ideologically committed to rolling back the state, attacking workers’ rights and trade union protection, selling off public assets, and extending the sell off to social housing.

“This agenda militates against everything the Chancellor says he wants to achieve. If you want to revive manufacturing and rebalance the economy, you need a strategic state leading the way,” he writes.

Corbyn’s campaign agent, John McDonnell MP has also defended Corbyn’s renationalisation plan, saying the British people have been robbed by privatisation over the last four decades.

“Under a Corbyn Labour government this shameful era of governments and ministers colluding in the picking of the taxpayers’ pockets will be brought to an abrupt end.

“Let’s also make it absolutely clear to any speculators in the City looking to make a fast buck at the taxpayers’ expense that if any of these assets are sold by Osborne under their value, a future Corbyn-led Labour government will reserve the right to bring them back into public ownership with either no compensation or with any undervaluation deducted from any compensation for renationalisation,” he said.

Update:

Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed this intervention, saying

“This is a demonstration that there is not only an alternative to austerity but that it is actually mainstream economics.

“As I have said from the start of this campaign, we are going to talk about policies, because that is what matters most.

“The central choice in this leadership election and for the country is whether we continue with austerity that stifles recovery or whether we seek to build a successful modern economy based on investment, growth and innovation.”

Here’s the full text of the letter:

The accusation is widely made that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have moved to the extreme left on economic policy. But this is not supported by the candidate’s statements or policies.

His opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF. He aims to boost growth and prosperity. He voted against the shameful £12 billion in cuts in the Welfare Bill.

Despite the barrage of media coverage to the contrary, it is the current government’s policy and its objectives which are extreme. The attempt to produce a balanced public sector budget primarily through cuts to spending failed in the previous parliament. Increasing child poverty and cutting support for the most vulnerable is unjustifiable. Cutting government investment in the name of prudence is wrong because it prevents growth, innovation and productivity increases which are all much needed by our economy, and so over time increases the debt due to lower tax receipts.

We the undersigned are not all supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. But we hope to clarify just where the ‘extremism’ lies in the current economic debate.

Yours,

David Blanchflower Bruce V, Rauner Professor of Economics Dartmouth and Stirling, Ex-member of the MPC
Mariana Mazzucato, Professor, Sussex
Grazia Ietto-Gillies, Emeritus Professor, London South Bank University
Malcolm Walker, Emeritus Professor, Leeds
Robert Wade, Professor, LSE
Michael Burke, economist
Steve Keen, Professor, Kingston
Victoria Chick, emeritus professor, UCL
Anna Coote, NEF personal capacity
Ozlem Onaran, Professor, Greenwich
Andrew Cumbers, Professor, Glasgow

Tina Roberts, economist
Dr Suzanne J. Konzelmann, Birkbeck,
Tanweer Ali, lecturer, New York
John Weeks, Professor, SOAS
Marco Veronese Passarella, lecturer, Leeds

Dr Judith Heyer, Emeritus Fellow, Somerville College, Oxford

Dr Jerome De-Henau, Senior Lecturer, Open University.

Stefano Lucarelli, Professor, Bergamo

Paul Hudson, Formerly Universität Wissemburg-Halle

Mario Seccareccia, Professor, Ottawa

Dr Pritam Singh, Professor, Oxford Brookes

Arturo Hermann, Senior research fellow at Istat, Rome
Dr John Roberts, Brunel
Cyrus Bina, Professor, Minnesota
Alan Freeman, retired former economist
George Irvin, Professor, SOAS
Susan Pashkoff, economist
Radhika Desai, Professor, Manitoba
Diego Sánchez-Ancochea. Associate Professor, Oxford
Guglielmo Forges Davanzati, Associate Professor, Salento

Jeanette Findlay, Senior Lecturer, Glasgow

Raphael Kaplinsky, Emeritus Professor, Open University

John Ross, Socialist Economic Bulletin

Steven Hail, Adjunct Lecturer, Adelaide

Louis-Philippe Rochon, Associate Professor, Laurentian

Hilary Wainwright, editor, Red Pepper

Arturo Hermann, senior researcher, ISAE, Rome

Joshua Ryan-Collins, NEF personal capacity

James Medway, lecturer City University

Alberto Paloni, professor, Glasgow

Dr Mary Roberton, Leeds

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