The capricious ambition of Kings and Ministers has not, during the present and the preceding century, been more fatal to the repose of Europe, than the impertinent jealousy of merchants and manufacturers. The violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind is an ancient evil, for which20 perhaps the nature of human affairs can scarce admit of a remedy. But the mean rapacity, the monopolizing... spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are nor ought to be the rulers of mankind, though it cannot perhaps be corrected, may very easily be prevented from disturbing the tranquillity of any body but themselves.
“The public corporation in the US is now unnecessary for production, unsuited for stable employment and the provision of social welfare services, and incapable of securing reliable long-term return on investment,”
Large numbers of MPs – more than 10 per cent – are factory owners; many more have financial interests in the industry, as do some government officials. It’s therefore fair to ask whether political influence has led to the lax enforcement of rules and regulations in the sector, including safety standards.
melting the icecaps, bravely sending generations into debt servitude, wisely turning rainforests into landfills, humanely employing hundreds of millions to spend 100 hour weeks on stuff even more pointlessly trivial than a Super Big Gulp: those are just a few of the accomplishments corporations can boast justify the historic, record profits they’re earning. If you think there’s something wrong with that picture, that’s because, well, there is.
Here we are in the realm of unicorns and phlogiston. Ironically, like the search for the Holy Grail, the fact that the goal is so mysterious and elusive ironically drove executives onward to continue the quest. Hype, spin, impenetrable prose and abstruse mathematics, along with talk of “rigorous analysis”, “tough-minded decisions” and “hard choices” all combined to hide the fact that there was no evidence that sustainable competitive advantage could be created in advance by studying the structure of an industry.
Market economies succeed when they advance through disciplined pluralism – the process that gives maximum scope for experiment and innovation, while ensuring that when experiments and innovations fail they are terminated, and that when occasionally they succeed they are imitated.
How is it possible for the world’s most powerful country and its oldest continuous democracy to exhibit a state of political discourse that is more reminiscent of a failed African state? Illustration by Chris Van Es CommentsMaybe that is too harsh an assessment of Africa’s nascent democracies. If you think I exaggerate, you have not been paying close attention. The pandering to extremist groups,... the rejection of science, the outright lies and distortions, and the evasion of the real issues that characterized the most recent election cycle set a new low for democratic politics.
And yet authoritarian corporate regimes continue to suppress initiative and new ideas, driving bright people away while preserving a sterile (and doomed) status quo. We had been warned, but we were not listening carefully enough.
For 2001-2010, 459 companies in the S&P 500 Index in January 2011 distributed $1.9 trillion in dividends, equivalent to 40 percent of their combined net income, and $2.6 trillion in buybacks, equal to another 54 percent of their net income. After all that, what was left over for investments in innovation, including upgrading the capabilities of their workforces? Not much.
when our politics becomes simply a eulogy to choice as it seems all politics is nowadays, it suggests that the foundational and moral act of our society is simply that of willing and acting –rather than saying what one should will or what one should act for. The consequences of a malign liberalism are all about us - if one only believes in individuals then in the resulting competition a few individuals will win and everybody else will lose very badly – creating the need for state welfarism to pick up the pieces.
it is a binary world, where everything is forward or back, progress or decline, sink or swim, good or bad. They do not appear to see the world as a complex place. The choice is between regulation and dynamism: their ideal worker is one prepared to work long hours, commute long distances and expect no employment protection and low pay.
An escape from what Keynes called ‘the tunnel of economic necessity’ is still open to us. Yet it will require radical changes in the economic structures that drive the chase for money and in the attitudes shaped by a culture of consumption. After decades of finance-driven capitalism, it takes an effort to recall that such changes ever seemed possible.
Movement 18 wants to unite people who believe that growth is one thing and prosperity another, that the natural and cultural characteristics of our country are our only true asset, that they never lose their value and that we ourselves have devalued it, but it is now time to protect them.
If one generation asserts for itself a higher relative standard of living than it offers to those before or after it, the social contract between generations is threatened. If life expectancy rises, that social contract can be sustained only if working lives and the length of retirement move in parallel. The rising cost of medical care, largely consumed by the elderly, is a problem everywhere. But... these issues are the product of economic fundamentals, not the particular social and institutional arrangements used to handle them. They would be problems even if those improbable villains Otto von Bismarck and William Beveridge had never invented the welfare state.
The west used to have a self-sacrificing elite that believed in common values where everyone was important and had a role to play. Now we have a self-serving echelon that believes in nothing except itself and the results are all around us