Toll Booth Economy...

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Toll Booth Economy...

Postby Screw » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:50 am

Toll Booth Economy...

George Monbiot has a good blog on the way our economies are being taken. Often without our knowledge. This is what Johnny and his gang want for NZ.

On Friday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, claimed that business is under political attack on a scale it has not faced since the fall of the Berlin wall(1). He was speaking at the Institute of Directors, where he was introduced with the claim that “we are in a generational struggle to defend the principles of the free market against people who want to undermine it or strip it away.”(2) A few days before, while introducing Osborne at the Conservative party conference, Digby Jones, formerly the head of the Confederation of British Industry, warned that companies are at risk of being killed by “regulation from Big Government” and of drowning “in the mire of anti-business mood music encouraged by vote-seekers.”(3) Where is that government and who are these vote-seekers? They are a figment of his imagination.

Where, with the exception of the Greens and Plaid Cymru, who have four MPs between them, are the political parties calling for greater restraints on corporate power? When David Cameron boasts that he is “rolling out the red carpet” for multinational corporations, “cutting their red tape, cutting their taxes”, promising always to set “the most competitive corporate taxes in the G20: lower than Germany, lower than Japan, lower than the United States”(4), all Labour can say is “us too”.

Its shadow business secretary, Chuka Umanna, once a fierce campaigner against tax avoidance, is now sponsored by a company which delivers “tailored tax solutions to individuals and organisations internationally”(5,6). The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, cannot open his lips without clamping them around the big business boot. There’s no better illustration of the cross-party corporate consensus than the platform the Conservatives gave to Digby Jones to voice his paranoia. Jones was ennobled by Tony Blair and appointed as a minister in the Labour government. Now he rolls up at the Conservative conference to applaud George Osborne as the man who “did what was right for our Country. A personal pat on the back for that.”(7) A pat on the head would have been more appropriate – you can see which way power flows.

And more:

Ours is a toll-booth economy, unchallenged by any major party, in which companies which have captured essential public services – water, energy, trains – charge extraordinary fees we have no choice but to pay(14). If there is a “generational struggle to defend the principles of the free market”, it’s a struggle against the corporations, which have replaced the market with a state-endorsed oligarchy(15).

It’s because of the power of corporations that the minimum wage remains so low, while executives cream off millions. It’s because of this power that most people in poverty are in work(16), and the state must pay billions to supplement their appalling wages. It’s because of this power that, in the midst of a crisis so severe that the world has lost over 50% of its vertebrate wildlife in just 40 years(17), the government is organising a bonfire of environmental protection. It’s because of this power that instead of innovative taxation (such as a financial transactions tax and land value taxation(18)) we have permanent austerity for the poor. It’s because of this power that billions are still pumped into tax havens. It’s because of this power that Britain is becoming a tax haven in its own right(19).


1. Transcript sent by email. The Institute of Directors tells me it will be on their website shortly.

2. Transcript sent by email.

3. ... -2014.html

4. ... full-text/

5. ... 193839.ece


7. ... -2014.html

8. ... -politics/

9. ... -broke-too

10. ... -serco-g4s

11. ... ates-value

12. ... f-rolls-on

13. ... full-text/

14. ... ation-scam

15. ... ical-power


17. ... d-wildlife


19. ... inequality

20. ... chancellor

21. ... chancellor
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