This Labour Party poster from 1930 illustrates that we are in exactly the same situation today as we were after the Wall Street crash of 1929. Then as now, the collapse in the capitalist system led to an era of ‘austerity’ justified on the basis of “we’re all in this together” style “equality of sacrifice”. Then as now, the rapid withdrawal of government spending led to recession, which in turn led to depression and ultimately to World War II. The great Keynsian economic revelation that emerged from this sequence of tragedies was that in a crisis of capitalism a managed economy with extensive and targeted public spending is the only to way back to growth.
Indeed, it is possible to argue that the Western world did not recover from the Wall Street crash until the outbreak of WWII impelled governments to take absolute control of the economy and directly manage industrial production and distribution.
In any event the history of the 1930’s demonstrate that expecting the “private sector” to be the saviour of the Western economic system (as Cameron’s Conservatives currently do) is ideological and economic nonsense. To use the near fatal crisis in freemarket corporate capitalism to justify pursuing the ideological aims of freemarket corporate capitalism, such as dismantling the Welfare State, is historically blind, economically inept, morally bankrupt and most of all mind-numbingly STUPID!
Of course this fabulous poster comes from a time when the Labour Party actually had Socialist aspirations rather than simply being the slightly left of centre wing of a centre-right, corporate-capitalist political class.