Free Market Thinking: Privatise the Profit, Nationalise the Losses
Do you feel poorer today? You should because each an every one of us is poorer to the tune of £25,000. That is how much it will cost the taxpayer to bail out the financial train wreck that is Northern Rock. Dont panic, because nobody is going to come knocking on your door asking you to stump up or Lefty and the boys might have to get rough. Think of it this way though, £25,000,000 taken out of the community chest (well its only monopoly money isnt it) is a big chunk out of the funds that should be available to pay for your kids education, your health needs, dental care or you Dear Old Mums hip replacement is ten new Private Finance Initiative hospitals (or a hundred new hospitals paid for directly out of public funds.
Put in that perspective, it makes all this talk of free markets, trickle down theories and entrepreneurial skills look rather wan. Free market economics is for idiots, even Bozo the effing Clown could see the flaw in the logic. The pie is only so big and if the most powerful people demand bigger slices it means a lot of people will be left to fight over the crumbs.
This in itself would be fair enough if the Free Enterprise people were prepared to stand or fall by their own efforts. But they never have been and never will be. They want freedom to get rich while remaining attached to the umbilical cord of the state so they are fed by a bottomless stream of taxpayers money. And so long as we have governments led by weak, self serving politicians the Free-Marketeers will never have to face the consequences of their short sightedness, greed and incompetence.
The current crisis is part of a pattern repeated since the South Sea Bubble which occurred in the first burst of Free Market Mania after the totalitarian rule of the Stewart monarchy was overthrown. Then as now people had invested heavily in largely imaginary financial vehicles. Then it was stocks in the South Sea Trading Company, now it is dotcom startups and house prices inflated beyond reason by the greed of the finance system.
This time we might learn the lesson, but I doubt it. The next time some shyster comes along promising that we can all get rich buying and selling things that do not exist, enough greedy little people will fall for it to kick off the whole process again.
Little Nicky Machiavelli does have a solution to the problem though. The next time somebody tells you that capitalism works, that Free Markets are the only way out of our problems or that what this country needs is someone like Margaret Thatcher…..KILL THEM.
UPDATED 13 Feb 2009:
Labour are consistent at least, they are extending their Privatise The Profit, Nationalise The Loss policy from finance to other areas. In Transport the new super trains will be funded by private finance but built by Japanese firms, with appropriate government guarantees handed out all round. Read Fast Train To Failure and Real British Enginerring, Real Japanese Jobs to find out more about this pernicious scheme.