Letters to the Editor - 06/11 - Save capitalism, Best of Twitter

Save capitalism

[Re: There is sadly mass support for nationalisation and price controls, yesterday]
I read the poll findings with concern, but without surprise. For my part, I do not believe that the British public has become enamoured of socialist solutions, let alone has developed an enthusiasm for some of the half-baked schemes (such as freezing energy prices) that some politicians have canvassed recently.

Rather, the public has become thoroughly disgusted with a system of economics (and governance) which they feel is increasingly loaded against them. I am a strong believer in the market economy, but even I would not lift a finger to defend the system that we have now. Continuation of the status quo would indeed lead to socialist solutions, not through ideological conviction but through sheer mass frustration.

What we have now is not capitalism. It is corporatism, and it is a private sector equivalent of a system of governance that likewise favours the entrenched few. In many of our most important industries - including energy, water services, telecoms, banking and food retailing – we have succumbed to the perils of excessive market concentration.

The most important characteristic of capitalism is competition, because it is competition which best protects the interests of
consumer and employee alike. Wherever concentration is allowed to weaken competition, prices rise, quality of service worsens, wages and conditions of service deteriorate, inequalities increase and arrogance prevails.

That is where we are now, and those who believe in a free market economy need to reform the system, not defend it. Obviously, a first step must involve breaking up excessively concentrated sectors. But in order to redress excesses, we need to go further. We need to legislate for increased transparency, for enhanced consumer protection, and for a law which can overturn one-sided “terms and conditions”. We also need to end an anomaly whereby shareholders, rather than executives, are penalised for corporate misbehaviour.

Those who really believe in socialist solutions need only wait for anger to reach boiling point. Those of us who believe in a market economy, on the other hand, need to embrace radical reform.

Tim Morgan

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