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Monday, 13 May 2019

'Standard Oil' time for the Global Corporates?

Blogs such as this are more often than not a good indicator of coming swings in political consciousness. For years we've banged on about the growing dangers to democracy and the need for Big Bang Localism, the malign influence of the global corporates, the disconnect between the powerful and the disenfranchised, the dangers of a patrician political class. Well, such things are by no means all mainstream, but it's astonishing just how frequently they are now popping up in the mainstream, particularly over the past year. 

Liam Halligan's piece in the Telegraph today is yet another that gives us a warm feeling of validation. It warns of the malign effects of the global corporates. In the Telegraph.
Doubts are being raised, more widely and loudly than at any time since the end of the Cold War, about the future of capitalism. With British youngsters struggling to attain living standards enjoyed by their parents, and after years of real-terms pay cuts, faith in market economics is slipping. Swathes of voters now view the UK not so much as capitalist, but corporatist or even “cronyist” – with good reason.
Liam covers familiar ground - our children poorer than their parents, excluded from the housing market, laden with debt, subject to the market dominance of oligopolistic service providers. Firms obese with QA cash, inflated assets, stock bubbles, the wealth of the 1% and the disadvantage of the 99% are all listed. He even recognises the Elephant.
But while inequality between countries has narrowed, inequality within countries, certainly the post-industrial West, has got worse That’s why, across much of the UK, stagnant living standards and escalating corporate profits are fuelling a sense that capitalism is skewed, with the benefits accruing to an elite few at the expense of the many. Our natural sense of opportunity and fair play has meanwhile been reversed. A recent government study found “an increasingly stark social mobility postcode lottery across Britain”, with life chances increased bound to who your parents are and where you live. That’s why, for millions, Corbyn’s dangerous rhetoric about aggressive renationalisation, punitive taxation and class war holds appeal.
For the Right of the political spectrum, that raises a challenge we must meet. It's simply no good parping like sheep that Corbyn is wrong; we must recognise our failure to regulate the effects of globalism and the power of corporatism, the failures of managerialism and the bleeding of the benefits of capitalism away from the vast majority of people in this country. In short we must take democratic action that reboots capitalism, and not allow Corbyn to destroy it.

Now Liam isn't quite as radical as we are - he recommends limited competition action against the oligopolies most disbenefitting the young
Very few policymakers I know acknowledge or even understand the issues I’ve just described. One who does is Andrew Tyrie, the former Tory MP who is now chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority. Last week, Tyrie gave an important speech pointing to “fragile public confidence in the benefits of market competition”. UK competition law currently “falls short of what consumers are entitled to expect”, he told the Social Market Foundation. Tyrie talked of “price discrimination against the vulnerable in energy, insurance and other essential services”.....

Every now and then, if capitalism is to survive, its supporters must overhaul the rules to tip the balance of power away from overbearing, all-powerful corporate lobbies and back towards ordinary people.

Today is such a time.
It's a decent start. 


DeeDee99 said...

"It's a decent start" ..... but at least ten years too late.

If Cameron had been a real Conservative - in the Thatcher mould - things would be very different for both the country and the Conservative Party.

Cheerful Edward said...

No, Cameron was not a Conservative. He was, as PM, an economic neoliberal, and an overt social progressive.

Thatcher, was also an economic neoliberal, but socially laissez-faire, pretty neutral.

Localism is nothing new. Most civilised countries have far more of it than does the UK. Switzerland is far from alone, but you have Thatcher's governments to thank for smashing local democracy here.

Raedwald said...

Edward, are you well?

I find I cannot disagree with any of your three points.

Something's wrong.

Cheerful Edward said...

Raedwald, like most people, if only we took the time to run through our views of most material matters, then I'm sure that there would be far more on which we agreed than the contrary.

I often find myself in complete agreement with Peter Hitchens too, but he will insist on sliding into propagandist mode, as and when those paying him require.

He describes himself as a social democrat, incidentally, which is not incompatible with traditional British Conservatism.

I particularly concur with his views on policing.

DiscoveredJoys said...

"ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." ~ John F Kennedy

Which is fine for a while until you realise we now need to reset:

"Ask not what global businesses want, ask what your country can do for you." ~ DiscoveredJoys

Sobers said...

I don't disagree that these global mega-corps need to be broken up, if nothing other than to reduce their unelected power, but the fact remains - will doing so actually make an iota of difference to the lives of the masses beneath? If Amazon is split up, will the stuff we buy from it be any cheaper? Will it pay any more tax than today? Ditto Google etc. I cannot see a mechanism whereby increased competition can either drive down prices further (in the case of many of these companies we don't actually pay for their services in cash anyway) or allow the authorities to extract any more tax from them than they do today. Indeed if increased competition did reduce their profits then there would be less profit to tax.

Given all these companies have arisen precisely because of offering something people want at a very good price (or for free), and its been entirely voluntary (there are alternative to Google available at the click of a button) one wonders how splitting them up will make people's lives better? I'm not arguing against it, just wondering what will be the actual effect?

Raedwald said...

Sobers -

Forget Amazon, Google and Netflix for the mo. they don't own our water, utility, telecoms and train companies, work hand in glove with the EU to legislate for designed-in consumer goods obsolescence, run pricing cartels for essential goods and services, grow fat on our taxes and imposts or foment political corruption.

You can find a better list on the membership pages of the ERT or within the FTSE100.

And yes, breaking some of those globals and cartels up really WOULD benefit consumers.

Cheerful Edward said...

Google etc. got away with paying little tax, because they were big enough to be able to bully small economies, such as Eire, into favourable bespoke deals.

It took the power of something bigger, the EU, to put a stop to that.

For this reason among others, I don't accept the trope, that the EU is pro-global capitalism in the way that these firms would want.

Anonymous said...

The Tories boast about being 'pro business'. This in effect means they determine which businesses succeed or fail through tax, subsidies and regulation etc. I would much rather they were 'pro free market'- the difference being that the people decide which businesses succeed or fail through individual choice and a level playing field.

Wessexboy said...

"Forget Amazon, Google and Netflix for the mo. they don't own our water, utility, telecoms and train companies..."
Well, privatised water companies are gradually replacing our Victorian mains;gas and electricity companies are many and price competitive; telecoms? which of our young people doesn't have a sophisticated package with access to the world of knowledge the interweb provides? and at a reasonable price; and train companies dependent on a nationalised Railtrack?
I do see that the EUs restrictive policies make it harder for small companies to compete. That is easily sorted...just leave!
The case for free trade is easily stated. Small government is an obvious part of the solution.

Cheerful Edward said...

Anon, worst still, by those to whom they award lucrative, sinecure contracts, viz. Carillion, Interserve, Seaborne etc.

Mr Ecks said...

The globo corps are only a small part of the situation and are acting under the influence of the political and bureaucratic shite.

Typical that you would find yourself in agreement of the decades old rancid Gorgonzolapuke of Cheesy Edward.

It is mostly state backed cartels so far has the state takeover of business gone. Those the polipigs don't control directly are run by young snot marx-shite who have sucked socialist cockrot in through their every orifice since they were foetuses.

If the free market ends then MadMax world followed by the return of the middle ages is ALL that will happen.

PS The fucking state has fucked up house prices so to Hell with young dummies who think the cause of the problem--polipork--are going to solve it for them. Fuckwit juvo shite.

Domo said...

"Liam covers familiar ground - our children poorer than their parents, excluded from the housing market, laden with debt, subject to the market dominance of oligopolistic service providers."

People say that a lot,
But Children really arent poorer than their parents,

As a poor child of the 80s, I remember hiding under a duvet because the gas meter was out of credit, living on beans and toast and a CRT tv with real buttons for Channels 1-8, only 1-3 actually showed anything, it couldn't pick up C4 or C5.
But even I never went to bed hungry and my house might have been cold sometimes, but there was never ice on the windows like poor kids of the 50's faced.

I bought my first house, on my own, in 2007, at 23.
Me and my ex saved up for her first house in a year.

The "average" wage in the UK is £27,560, £1850 a month after tax
Or £3,700 for a couple
£500pcm for a modest room in a flat share, £100x2 for travel, £300 food budget.

£2,700 savings per month
£32,400 saved in a year

Deposit, surveys, moving, all saved up in a year.

Can a single young adult buy a 4 bed detached, no, but when could they ever?
Can a couple rent a full house, maintain 2 cars, go on a long haul holiday and three city breaks a year, weat out 4 nights a week and save up for a house? Of course not.

The EU might want to break Netflix's monopoly, but they sure as shit don't want to do so Daves Independent News can stand a chance, they want to crush Netlfix because they want the European Unions Broadcasting Service to cotrol 95% of the media, and that cant happen if Netflix and Prime and Apple Video and Sky and HayU and Hulu and whoever else.

"Google etc. got away with paying little tax, because they were big enough to be able to bully small economies, such as Eire, into favourable bespoke deals."
Google pays its perfectly legitimate tax bill.
Google International doesnt pay UK taxes on its international operations for much the same reason that Saudi Aramco doesnt. They arent owed.

Dont get me wrong, it could solve all sorts of problems if Australians and Brazilians and Chinese would pay UK income taxes, but they wont, and foreign companies wont pay tax on their foreign operations.

The reason its come in to such stark relief is that the EU has hollowed out, Facebook UK buys $99 of advertising space from Facebook.Com and resells it for $100 to UK advertisers, the $1, minus costs, is all the taxable value in the UK.

Elby the Beserk said...

Cameron? In his own words - heir to Blair.

Dave_G said...

Imagine everyone got all their white goods, gifts and hardware etc from Amazon and everyone got all their food from Tesco.

.gov would therefore only need to tax TWO sources for their income instead of the countless millions of individuals that can 'defer' all sorts of earned income.

It's part of the banks' drive to go to digital currencies - total control.

Mark The Skint Sailor said...

The problem is/are the gatekeepers: the political class.

They need to go.

Without their removal and replacement by a set of people more representative of the 99%, the 1% will always get their way.

While the 1% can corrupt and control our political class we cannot hope to regain the loss in equity we as the 99% have suffered over the past 40 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Those that sacrifice the least say the most.
Ha, the spectrum of the insects come to pass.
Stay well my friend.
Old Benny Franky aint far wrong.