Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Even More Private Sector Efficiency
The new owners of Royal Mail have stepped up their propaganda today with fresh warnings that they won't be able to deliver your letters after all. Once again they have blamed competition from other mail carriers who, they suggest, have an unfair advantage over them. Apart from the fact that competition is what capitalism is supposed to be all about, why is is that industries taken out of the public sector are such a disaster? We have an energy industry that is so expensive that many OAP's die in Britain from hyperthermia every winter. We have a property rental sector that is so expensive homelessness is now endemic. We have a water industry that is always short of water in a rain-soaked Britain. We have a segmented railway system that is both expensive and unpleasant to travel on. The threadbare arguments that the privatised sector is somehow more efficient and delivers better value for money is patently and obviously untrue. So what has gone wrong? Capitalism as an economic theory has some very compelling arguments and its antithesis - communism - has been left in its dust since 1990. There can be little doubt that capitalism won the central economic argument during the Cold War hands down. After 1990, however, its been pretty much all down hill. The reason for this is not so difficult to find and it lies not with capitalism as such but with the boneheads who run it. Whereas capitalism was once characterised by competition, risk-taking, innovation and a desire to excel, all this has been replaced with a single characteristic - greed. Greed is not usually associated with great intelligence and tends not towards risk-taking but to outright criminality. The capitalist system was once led by great captains of industry, ruthless and often greedy but also men of vision. Now it is being led by the whinging executive who risks none of his own money and bemoans competition while demanding a new form of socialism that protects him from his own stupidity. He demands ludicrously high pay not because he's so good at what he does but because otherwise he'll run away from home. Capitalism has lost its fire and its vigour because it is now being run by a bunch of bean-counters without any real vision and very little real talent. None of this has been helped by a new breed of politician, as greedy as his business counterpart and with as little vision or talent, eager only to trouser the bribes on offer from so-called lobbyists. The system is corrupt and badly needs an overhaul but there are few involved in running it that have enough working brain cells to realise this.