Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Vince is wrong and so is Digby

Its been an interesting day with Vince Cable launching an attack on capitalism at the LibDem conference. According to Vince, who's speech is worth reading:

"On banks, I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than Bob Crow [general secretary of the RMT union] could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer."

He also went on to talk about capitalism "killing competition". Well, its good to see a government minister having a go at the fat cats and telling a few home truths, though I take exception to the stuff about Bob Crow fantasising about harming the economy. I don't believe this is true and just shows Vince's anti-trade union bias.

The point about Vince is that he's no tiger, he is a pussycat. The speech was purely political and designed to appease the LibDem conference and make the government look less slavish to big business ahead of the savage cuts in the public sector. The speech is symptomatic of the government's nervousness now that the 'fairness' of the cuts has been rumbled - otherwise Cameron would never have approved it. Vince is just as slavish in his admiration for capitalism as Gordon was - he's just a more astute politician - capturing the mood of the times. And Vince proved that he is committed to capitalism in his speech by announcing the privatisation of the Royal Mail with a mere 10% of the shares going to postal workers. If Vince had been a real revolutionary he would have mutualised instead of privatised.

But Vince did upset Digby Jones, the self-appointed spokesman for capitalism UK. Digby was gnashing his teeth on the Today programme this morning, and no wonder, because he is so used to government ministers doing what he tells them to.

So Vince's speech had its desired effect but was anyone really fooled? The fact is that Vince and Digby have both got it wrong, capitalism doesn't create wealth - working people do. Capitalists expropriate that wealth for themselves, creating poverty in the process and dumping costs onto society and the environment. We need an alternative economy to get us out of this mire, one which doesn't depend upon the 'free' market. The way to do this is by putting the 'means of production' into the hands of employees by mutualising corporations, thereby creating wealth for workers and the communities they live in. Co-operatives have a better record than privately owned businesses, they are rooted in the communities they serve. Vince had the chance to do that with the Royal Mail and he blew it.

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