Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls

Balls’ unwillingness to compromise over economically unsound policies that makes him a prime candidate for the most influential left-wing thinker of the year.

By Nasra Hussein, intern at the Fabian Society

In drawing the appropriate parallels between 1930s depression and today’s economic turmoil Ed Balls has provided a compelling argument against the austerity experiment.

While some within the Labour movement itself have conceded to coalition cuts, it is Balls’ unwillingness to compromise over economically unsound policies that makes him a prime candidate for the most influential left-wing thinker of the year.

If the economic downturn has in fact promoted “the return of the master” in Keynes, in boldly calling for nuanced fiscal reductions, Balls’ resistant stance to public sector cuts will be vindicated. 

Although Osborne may point to falling gilt yields as an appraisal of his austerity dominated policies and a reflection of Britain’s status as a “safe haven”, what they more likely to represent is a fall in investor confidence and hindrance to UK growth – a warning though unheeded, offered by Balls.

As made clear by growth economists such as Robert Solow and Paul Romer, essential for growth is technological advancement and the acquisition of human capital, with investment the channel though which this can be achieved.

However, with business investment falling by 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year, and recent reassessments projecting a fall in overall growth from 2.5 to nearer 2 per cent in 2012, it is self-evident that current economic policy has done little to reassure the private sector.

In these uncertain times fiscal intervention remains an indispensible tool for government, yet it appears that while Balls has always been considerate of the stifling effects of fiscal austerity,  the IMF have only recently conceded to Plan B, and  Osborne is yet to see the light.

While Balls has continually advocated fiscal intervention similar in message to that supported by Nobel Laureates, the likes of Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz – the data suggests that Osborne has instead executed the same reactionary policies that have defined the Great Depression.

For Balls’ foresight into the economic issues of the day he is looked to as a leader of the centre-left movement, and should be considered the most influential left-wing thinker of the year.

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29 Responses to “Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls”

  1. joe soap

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls: http://t.co/zxevUKF : @thefabian 's Nasra Hussein #thelefties

  2. Maria Touramani

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls: http://t.co/zxevUKF : @thefabian 's Nasra Hussein #thelefties

  3. Political Planet

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls: Balls’ unwillingness to compromise over… http://t.co/T6q8jlf

  4. Mark Raven

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls: http://t.co/zxevUKF : @thefabian 's Nasra Hussein #thelefties

  5. Circulator38

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed … http://t.co/SqCN89P http://t.co/hYGBGxP

  6. Chris

    Ed Balls. Ed Miliband. Richard Murphy. The Left has seen better days, hasn’t it?

  7. 45apl

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls: http://t.co/zxevUKF : @thefabian 's Nasra Hussein #thelefties

  8. Trakgalvis

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls: http://t.co/zxevUKF : @thefabian 's Nasra Hussein #thelefties

  9. Will

    The Fabian Society must really be scraping the barrel to be considering Ed Balls as the Left-Wing Thinker of the Year. http://t.co/lxugQFs

  10. David Powell

    The Fabian Society must really be scraping the barrel to be considering Ed Balls as the Left-Wing Thinker of the Year. http://t.co/lxugQFs

  11. DrKMJ

    Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls: http://t.co/zxevUKF : @thefabian 's Nasra Hussein #thelefties

  12. Ed's Talking Balls

    Ed should surely be rewarded for talking Balls.

  13. Dave Citizen

    I accept that Ed Balls has demonstrated courage in calling this one better than the 2 lightweight toffs, despite the clamour of the instinctively ‘Washington Consensus’ finance sector. However, I think he needs to do more to cement his alliance with Ed M to turn clarity of judgement into real influence.

  14. Will

    This is the same Ed Balls who created Labour’s neoliberal economic policy before he was even elected, right?

  15. Nionios

    What about his very well documented views on the deregulation of the banks? Just read this http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100407010852/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/speech_est_111006.htm and weep, if you have lost or are in fear of losing your job

  16. Michael Wieder

    Ed balls is most influential thinker? Surely this is a joke! http://t.co/c51WiBr

  17. Anon E Mouse

    Dave Citizen – With the likes of Bevan, Foot, Clarke and Co can anyone with a straight face actually propose this career politician as a Labour “thinker”?

    If so then the Tories will storm the next election.

    As for “toffs” I think that in view of Harriet Harman, without doubt the biggest “toff” in politics, it isn’t a subject I’d bring up considering her recent outlandish nonsense about the riots….

  18. Billy Blofeld

    There will be no return to Balls and Bust.

  19. Robert

    Balls had his time and sadly if labour did win the next election he would be the first to go. He is a chap looking to be leader another of the Brown type who see’s him self Leader and sadly his eye sight is not that great.

    Balls as a Thinker nope sorry he is a carrerist looking at gaining a place in History, every much like Brown.

  20. Natan Doron

    Great article by @thefabians intern @nasra_h Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls http://t.co/hGIB3BY

  21. Nigel Anthony

    Great article by @thefabians intern @nasra_h Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls http://t.co/hGIB3BY

  22. FutureLeft

    RT @leftfootfwd: Nomination for most influential left-wing thinker of the year: Ed Balls http://t.co/Y5d4QHW

  23. Dave Citizen

    Anon – I certainly wasn’t proposing Balls as a Left-wing thinker – as far as I’ve seen he hasn’t exhibited any deeper economic thinking than one might expect from a career politician. That doesn’t mean I can’t recognise that his position on the economic crisis has been more believable than the two lightweight toffs – I don’t like toffs running my country because they aren’t likely to abolish toffdom, which is what’s needed if we want a civilised, prosperous society.

    Robert I fear you may have called it right.

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Dave Citizen – If you want to stop “toffdom” as you describe it then why would you want Harriet Harman in the Labour Party?

    If you can name a bigger toff in the commons I’d be interested to hear it although I’m surprised you’d judge someone on the choices and lifestyles people grew up with by the choices of their parents…

  25. Simon

    This is a joke surely? It sounds like something that would be printed in a right wing tabloid on 1st April

  26. Dave Citizen

    Anon – you talk of choices but that is precisely what lies behind my take on toffdom – its about a hierarchical straight jacket imposed on our society that systematically denies choice. (that sounds straight out of the communist handbook but never mind!)

    As for Harriet H – what can I say other than it’s nothing personal.

  27. Jane

    Is this the same man who oversaw so much damage to the state education system and has allowed the Condems to go even further in pandering to upper middle class elitism?

  28. Vote in Left Foot Forward’s most influential left-wing thinker of the year 2010/11 | Left Foot Forward

    […] some of the nominations here: Ed Balls, The Disability Rights Community, Maurice Glasman, Owen Jones, Barack Obama, Nick […]

  29. LFF’s most influential left-wing thinker of the year 2010/11 is Owen Jones | Left Foot Forward

    […] of thr original nominations can be read here: Ed Balls, The Disability Rights Community, Maurice Glasman, Owen Jones, Barack Obama, Nick […]

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