cammiltitle…and the mad myopia of the neoliberals is only opposed by the fringe Utopia of the liberal Left. Oh dear.

After years of fat profits and obscene senior bonuses from a bank that avoided almost 100% of 2008 meltdown costs, in April this year thousands of staff at HSBC were told their jobs had been ‘demised’. Easily Britain’s most profitable bank, HSBC introduced a round of redundancies involving more than 3,000 employees.

The bulk of those demised were frontline staff – relative minnows on modest salaries with real live customer contact. For example, 942 retail relationship managers have gone, and notably, a further 178 SME advisers found themselves without a job. Brian Robertson, the boss of HSBC’s retail bank, told the staff victims he “understands that change is always unsettling”. But not if you’re Brian Robertson.

In the Autumn of 2012, Apple retail boss John Browett announced his intention to cut the number of Apple retail store employees. Apple is not, let’s face it, a poor company. The aim of Browett’s move (Apple now admits) was  to increase the chain’s contribution to company profit.

Not only were the firings a direct threat to the chain’s hard-earned reputation for excellent customer service, the Apple profit margin was already a fat 22%. In terms of total contribution the Group fiscal numbers, the retail employees generated over $14.1 billion in sales during fiscal 2011, delivering a profit of $3.1 billion.

These two cases are absolutely typical of the way in which innocent employees, small Corporate customers, and overall service are routinely sacrificed to shareholder benefits under the neoliberal mutation of capitalism from acceptable marketing to execrable dishonesty.

But if you doubt my word on that, look at the quantitative data:

The number of employees across the firms of the broad-based Russell 2000 equity index has collapsed by more than half from its peak. The price of that index, in the same period, has risen 137%. Half of all working people in the unemployment lines so a few thousand shareholders can wind up over twice as well dividended as they were already.

If you have any concept at all of the importance of a well-adjusted, stable and fulfilled society, you have to see that as uniquitous, dangerous, callous, and a great many other words ending in ous. You would have to remark, I suspect, “The People don’t seem to be running things in this country”. Not many thinking Americans, Brits and mainland Europeans would disagree with that view today.

So many of us, on both sides of the Pond, are looking for a political movement that will put more emphasis on social life quality, and less on rich or institutional shareholders constantly looking for instant ROI. Indirectly, some of the motives of short-termists are laudable, because they’re trying to beef up pension plans. But this same system kicked those plans in the balls in the first place. It’s time for all this to stop….for any number of commercial, economic, fiscal, social, and government overhead reasons.

That there is no such movement becomes immediately clear. In the States, a black Democrat President has done nothing at all to remedy the situation – not so much as a sticking plaster applied to the tumour. In the UK, the Labour Party has the tradition to take on the role, but is as usual timid in practice, focus-groupie in policy development, and too distracted by things like same sex marriage in church. To be crude for a second, very worthy but pretty wanky.

Now we can all drivel on (as indeed I do) about what Hunts the pols are, but it’s about time the People latched on to what has really happened here – viz, the takeover of the State by wealth: the wholesale transfer of power from labour to capital….the privatisation of politics I first posted about last January.

Today the Anglo-Saxon governments, tomorrow the World. Like some kind of modern-day Dash for Africa, the multinational globalists are busily engaged in tying up highly secret, extra-legislature trade deals it is claimed “will banish protectionism forever”. That is utter rot: what we are witnessing here is the devilish naissance of a system designed to become the basis of worldwide protectionist profiteering.

Although technically involving some government officials, no legislature of which I’m aware has any serious heavyweight observers at these various negotiating tables. But things are being promised and agreed – as Wikileaks continues to prove – in our name…just without the permission part of the equation. For instance:

‘Each Party may, in formulating or amending its laws and regulations, adopt measures necessary to protect public health and nutrition, and to promote the public interest in sectors of vital importance to its socio-economic and technological development, provided that such measures are consistent with the provisions of this Chapter.’

Hang on a minute here, chummy: protecting the public isn’t your job. If it was, we’d all be dead. But you’re awarding yourselves that role….as long as such measures are consistent with the provisions of this Chapter‘. Excuse me while I shiver.

Here’s another cracker:

‘Each Party shall be free to determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of this Chapter within its own legal system and practice.’

Right. Don’t care whether you do it by hanging all the eco-warriors and rounding up the dissidents – that’s your call. We hereby grant you the inalienable right, devoid of any liberal democratic content, to do WTF you like.


Sometimes, as a seventh decade bloke I find it very hard indeed to hear about, read about, and then do nothing about such third-grade societal thinking. If you had put it into a trashy novel written by Arthur Scargill or Ralph Nader some time around 1982, it would’ve been laughed off the face of the Earth. Now it’s a reality, and these business-dictator lunatics are spitting in the face of the citizens of the Earth.

The pivotal insanity of a system dedicated to consumption organising the systematic destruction of most people’s ability to consume is the bit I can’t really get past. And no, sorry: I can’t and don’t buy all this New World Order Elders of Mammon Programme bollocks. Those who propagate such a fantasy are ridiculously overestimating the ability of loosely affiliated greed to cooperate in conspiracy.

Rather, this is the penultimate act of instant gratification monopolism prior to mayhem and collapse. The people in control now are unreal in their ability to destroy everything in order to keep the money coming in now. They pull back from customer contact and expect no loss of brand warmth. They destroy any credible concept of trust in after-sales service and expect no loss of loyalty. They make shoddy goods to keep the repurchase volume up and expect no consequences in terms of long term premium-price justification.

There is only one explanation for this level of myopia about the road ahead: the Swinging Dicks aren’t shortsighted, they’re blind to reality: they cannot discern what’s real any more. Their own Gods and demons will destroy them, and thus they have first of all been made mad.

But along the way to this inevitable, suicidal destruction, power-crazed and corrupt legislators have convinced themselves that politics is just a simple process of buying and selling: they get bought by the big combines, and then sell us down the river.

So FFS, stop expecting anything from them. We are going to have to do it ourselves, people, and the only way we are going to achieve it is by screwing up the businesses of those who pay the pipers. They’re outnumbered, blind and bonkers. If we can’t beat them, then it’s a sorry business altogether.

Earlier at The Slog: Boris hunts bikes, but this time with wheels


  1. Pingback: John Ward – Nihilsm Incorporated Is Taking Over The World – 11 December 2013 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  2. The Chapter context is IPR and only IPR and harmonising it is no bad thing. You’d be the first to complain if your hard won writings, inventions, creations or whatever were ripped off by the Russians or Chinese. Or anyone else who doesn’t recognise the Berne Convention.


  3. Is that why all the not so great & not so good were all falling over themselves to go pay homage at the funeral of a man who has done nothing for anybody’s country except his own? Was it an unofficial meeting of a certain group whose name begins with B?


  4. Being able to lay loads of people off is only possible if you can exaggerate the number of vacancies out there.
    If they truly reported the number of vacancies out there the ability for a company to lay people off becomes more difficult.
    With increasing profits potentially a customer backlash unless the price falls.
    Can see why now from the psychological point of view why my government must inflate the number of job vacancies.
    Really turn the screw and even government outsourcing of IT to other countries becomes difficult with all the backroom jobs.

    This is O/T for the spooks “reckon I got a good router here :-)” Whatever you are doing may mean I have to reset into that great IP pool in the sky but access is denied.


  5. I’m sure Mr Robertson and Browett were well rewarded for improving margins. Things always go tits up when the bean counters move in and start cutting staff to panda to the scum in the City. You see, you cannot add customer goodwill to the balance sheet and we have this years bonuses to consider. I agree with Prof Steve Keen in that you cannot have real growth until you shrink the parasitic banking sector.

    If I was a trader, I’d short any stock long term when a bean counter moves in and cuts customer-focused staffing numbers. Now remained me how Apple and Tesco shares have done recently?


  6. Jon
    Do you REALLY think that this is about protecting the creative copyright of we small blokes….or about dragging close competitors off to the Chateau D’If.
    But yes, you’re right: I find I’m usually the first to complain.


  7. As I come up to my annual xmas eve watching of Frank Kapra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” it seems that we have more or less lost Bedford Falls and gained Pottersville. I have watched this film most xmas eves since my first VHS edition in 1983. Its hard to believe just how quickly they have managed to turn us towards the Pottersville version of the world. The tragedy is that we will not reverse the situation as easily as Jimmy Stewart did in the film.


  8. “….. the systematic destruction of most people’s ability to consume is the bit I can’t really get past.” I quite agree John, however just because we cannot see their rationale does not mean ‘they’re blind to reality: they cannot discern what’s real any more’, it simply means we do not know what their ultimate aim is and that is truly frightening.


  9. John,

    Great article and should be read in conjunction with an article by Francis Coppola I will link to. The problem links to political influence but, above all, to a micro or macro view of the economy. Take house prices, do you see inflation or deflation in FLS and HtB? A micro analysis would say inflation as prices are going up. The macro view is deflation as money that would have been spent elsewhere goes into housing. I believe your word for this is indeflation, although I would call it by it’s old name stagflation, essentials up and luxuries down.

    The trouble we currently face is twofold. If you are one of those that benefits from deflation you will vote to keep it that way. If you have an interest in property you will use your wealth to lobby politically to maintain your advantage, who wouldn’t? If your one of the plebs you’re just left staring as a bunch of greedy sociopaths look down at you, cut your wages and then insult you when your job gets “demised”. Scrounging scum paying for our cock ups starve the blighters! Oh, and don’t even think of trying to vote your way out of this mess they’re our politicians not yours. No conspiracy here just self interest.

    At the heart of all these problems lies the old division between capital and labour. Capitalism evolved to allocate scarce resources to the most efficient use. Yet today we have a constant over supply vs demand, no wonder the current system cannot cope as it has become inverted. It isn’t the “dole scroungers” we should be panning, it is the rentier class that should be taxed and regulated to within an inch of their sorry existence.

    I hope you’ll give this article a read John and everyone else.


  10. JW,

    I do hope that when a white democrat/republican president is referred to by Radical Realism you will always refer to them as’white dem/rep president’ so that readers can believe in your version of ‘realism’.

    Otherwise very readerable and worthwhile article.


  11. I don’t think you’re wrong, Mo. What possible reason could there be for Karzai to attend? All those old fossils we hoped had dropped dead in the interim. Kissinger, for godsakes. Either it was a not-so-jolly jolly or they were popping into each other’s bedrooms for bi-lateral discussions the night before.


    ……”Panic spreads through the European commission like ferrets in a rabbit warren. Its plans to create a single market incorporating Europe and the United States, progressing so nicely when hardly anyone knew, have been blown wide open. All over Europe people are asking why this is happening; why we were not consulted; for whom it is being done.
    They have good reason to ask. The commission insists that its Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership should include a toxic mechanism called investor-state dispute settlement. Where this has been forced into other trade agreements, it has allowed big corporations to sue governments before secretive arbitration panels composed of corporate lawyers, which bypass domestic courts and override the will of parliaments.
    This mechanism could threaten almost any means by which governments might seek to defend their citizens or protect the natural world. Already it is being used by mining companies to sue governments trying to keep them out of protected areas; by banks fighting financial regulation; by a nuclear company contesting Germany’s decision to switch off atomic power. After a big political fight we’ve now been promised plain packaging for cigarettes. But it could be nixed by an offshore arbitration panel. The tobacco company Philip Morris is currently suing Australia through the same mechanism in another treaty.”


  13. An interesting read, and a fresh perspective never does anyone any harm. The thing that shines through for me is that despite the stylistic differences, the central problems never go away. If you have a world in which central banks and TBTF cartels can manipulate the price of money you have a system in which industrial productivity and innovation always plays second fiddle, this cannot be right.


  14. If you have any concept at all of the importance of a well-adjusted, stable and fulfilled society, you have to see that as uniquitous, dangerous, callous, and a great many other words ending in ous:
    Like curious, furious, injurious and spurious,


  15. Bang on RouterAl. If I could buy you a pint for that intelligent comment, I would.

    The reason why I still come here, is in the hope of getting insight, such as your last comment. To be candid, a blog is a bit like a pub. For example, in my best local, the landlord keeps a good house, and a stunning pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord Bitter. He (the landlord), is a good bloke and understands his craft when it comes to beer, but a bit of a knob (bless him), when it comes to the world outside his pub. But of course, you go into a pub for the beer, the ambience, and hopefully, intelligent conversation on ‘this side of the bar’. If a decent percentage of the conversation is lucid and intelligent, I’m tempted to stay for another pint. But there are days on here when you feel like that ‘lock in’, till 3am was not a particularly good idea.


  16. “Capitalism evolved to allocate scarce resources to the most efficient use. Yet today we have a constant over supply vs demand”
    There is nothing to argue with there. But I would add, that over supply vs demand, which you rightly point to, is in fact, more fragile than most think. There is a process called the Seneca effect, that gives reason to believe that the upswing of consumerism which has lasted some 70 years or so, will descent more quickly, in perhaps 15 to 25 years (not a prediction!, but an estimate).
    As for the rentier class, who I agree should be ‘taxed and regulated to within an inch of their sorry existence’ ; just remember, they are only doing what capital logically does. Which is, use their pension funds to outbid the poor and the young for property, so they can profit with extortionate rents and nail the unfortunates to the wall, with no hope of ever getting off the slave treadmill.
    But of course, thieving selfish old codgers vote, so it will never happen.


  17. Thanks for the link bill40. A quick speed read, tells me that Frances Coppola knows her stuff. And after a quick browse around, I’ve bookmarked it, as one of my must read sites.


  18. Good day Bill40.

    A good article. Ruined only by the closing comment:

    “The unemployment, poverty and inequality of the “desert of plenty” are not a failure of monetary policy. They are, above all, a political failure”. FFC.

    Well that said, who does Mr Coppola believe owns and directs these governments?



  19. Good day Altergoman. I wondered whether some sensitive soul would point out the use of the Black/White qualifier used by Mr Ward, quite innocently, under the impression that readers would discern why he added the qualifier. Very PC.

    I hate the bolshevik tool of PC. It is an insidious weapon. Here:

    A man or woman have the right to speak freely. If, as sometimes happens there is a perceived or real offence, the speaker might be challenged and is free to apologise or prove his case. Put up or shut up, I suppose. Censorship is an evil that is grown out of control. Why I wonder did you even bother to make your point? Second thoughts, never mind.


  20. Pingback: You cannot be serious… | The Slog.

  21. Pingback: Slog SATURDAY ESSAY: Why there is no recovery, debt has risen by 40% in 3 years & real liability is 3 times bigger.. #JohnWard -

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