There is good business and there is bad business. It is not all the same. The economic model we have been following for the last forty years is in great danger of ‘going too far’. Greed is grinding itself into the ground. The super-rich are taking too much for themselves. Prime Minister Theresa May admitted all this at the recent summit in Davos. She said, ‘we risk losing the social consensus’ if we carry on this way much longer.
The guardians of the economic system are pleading for less greed! This amounts to an admission that the economy is working in the interest of the few and not the many. The slave economies of old were good business for the slave owners too! There was capital inflow, low taxation, high employment, rapid growth and huge profitability, but it all went to a tiny sector of the society, the few and not the many.
A few outside the capitalist class did well enough for themselves to ensure the masters could ‘divide and rule’ over the entire population, creating the illusion that there was ‘opportunity for all’. Meanwhile there was a repressive level of punishment, long working hours, poor health and education, low productivity and low life expectancy for workers, along with a lack of long-term, diversified economic development and poor levels of investment in human capital to raise productivity. Low productivity is not a problem for the owners of capital as long as wages are low enough.
High profits were extracted from the economy and taken overseas, or reinvested purely in the interests of the owners of capital, not in the wider economic interest of the hard-working families.
Is all this starting to sound familiar?
It is only when the workers rejected the capital of the gaffas, taking over the use of their own resources for themselves, making themselves responsible for their own economic development strategy, that the benefits of growth filtered down to all people, creating a dynamic economic growth pattern based on good health and education, developing a national infrastructure and generating a better life expectancy for the entire nation, not just a narrow slice of it.
A note of caution: getting rid of such unequal systems is socially and economically disruptive. Vested interests are powerful and they are full of resistance to radical change. Corruption is rife. The opposition is split. History tells us that things often get worse before they get better. This is why we have to hope that peaceful transition can take place with a broad-based democratic consensus. Those who care for the country, the true patriots, support not vainglorious posturing or the repressive symbolism of militaristic displays, but the welfare of the people and long-term, peaceful prosperity for all.