…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.
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.