Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Progressives should be aiming to strengthen the middle class

In Middle-Out Economics And Bottom-up Politics Matt Browne writes about the challenges facing progressive parties.
[T]the challenges now facing progressives across the developed economies and mature democracies are remarkably similar. The crash of 2008 not only changed the shape of our societies and our politics, it also fundamentally challenged the underlying assumptions about the nature of economic growth. Today, concerns with rising inequality are now an essential part of elite policy discussions, a pre-occupations of “Main Street” as well as mainstream politics. This new state of affairs is perhaps best illustrated by the global success of French economist Thomas Piketty’s work on inequality. Similarly, restoring trust in politics and a sense of connection between voters and parliamentarians is now a prerequisite for many political movements.
This new economic vision implies that progressives need to work harder to support, strengthen and grow the middle classes. And, as global competition grows ever more intense, we need to ensure our agenda for economic growth and our competitive edge is based on the creation of high-wage and high-skilled jobs, not low-wages and low skills.
The challenge for all progressives, whether in Europe or the US, will be to generate new a new policy agenda and a new approach to doing politics that is able to attract, engage and retain new cohorts of voters while retaining their history, values and the support of their traditional voters. Those that succeed, will help build a movement for the future. Those that fail will become monuments to the past.

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