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Nation needs those billions, not the bankers
And they say Communism was bad! Give me a system that at least provides a roof over the heads of its people and food and transport and jobs.
Eastern Europe may not have been the most exciting place to live with queues, boring TV and grey surroundings and outlooks on life - and under some regimes it could be positively dangerous as the state apparatus tightly controlled people's activities - but at least the poorest in society were looked after.
However, in the West market capitalism is the game in town with the strong getting stronger and the weak going to the wall. It's a no-holds-barred man's game with commerce red in tooth and claw.
And that's the trouble we have seen in the last couple of weeks. Having sweetened and cajoled Governments to lighten regulatory regimes over the past half a century or more, there was nothing to rein in the excesses of brokers and traders making their money. They and their bosses were incentivised to make more and more profits and used their ingenuity to come up with cleverer and cleverer ways to get round what rules there were. But greed was not good and, when things started unravelling, the value that appeared on paper has vanished and ripples of the collapses have destabilised others around the globe.
And what's worse is that after their companies have gone bellies up, with shareholders and executives having pocketed billions and millions respectively, these free market capitalists come running to the Government and taxpayers to bail them out - to the tune of $700,000,000,000 in the American.
With banks and insurance companies folding, nationalisation is back - though, to keep the pretence that markets rule, it isn't called that. We've become so dependant on these financial institutions that we cannot afford to see them fail and the City bosses know that. They get off Scot free - where are the prosecutions or the offers to repay some of the seven-figure bonuses they pocketed over the years?
Capitalism has brought us many advances in things like health, science and knowledge and kept the human race striving forward but unfettered progress has brought environmental ruin, suffering and ruin across the world.
What's needed is capitalism with a social conscience like they have in Scandinavia. People there are happy and well-off with a clean environment and very good health and education systems. They pay more tax but rich and poor are more equal with less of a class division.
Great Britain has been through the Empire-building, steam-rollering-other-nations-under-us era. Why can't we settle for a quieter life with fairness for all and everyone looked after instead?
We've already got a great welfare state thanks to the NHS and universal education. Why risk all of that for a few huge get-rich-quick schemes that could beggar us all for a generation as happened in the 1930s Great Depression?
After a long-necessary adjustment to the housing bubble hits, the time would be right to adopt a more socially-responsible model of society with sustainable growth at the centre of a policy that uncouples the country from the worst excesses of the global economy.
If the Bank of England can afford to spend billions propping up the markets, adding to our national debt, then surely it can afford to spend money investing in our nation, taking people out of poverty, improving our infrastructure and bettering all our lives instead of just supporting the get-rich-quick few?
In this section
- Budgeting for environmental disaster
- Battling the forces of blandness and uniformity
- There's more than one side to an argument
- Climate action now on agenda
- Energy bill rises could have been avoided
- Borrow to beat climate change
- Fuel price rises can't be insulated
- Scuttle this coal commitment
- Live and let live
- Paying the price for oil addiction