Monday, 16 December 2013

I agree with Boris...

…well, up to a point, anyway.  London’s mayor was recently castigated by some for saying that we need greedy people.  But he’s right of course – in context.  Given that a capitalist economy is based on competition, greed and inequality, saying that such an economy needs greedy people in order to operate effectively is simply a truism.
It what he didn’t say that is more important.
In the first place, greed isn’t the acquisition of excess wealth in itself – it’s the desire to require that excess wealth.  Most people – whether they desire to acquire excess wealth or not – will fail to do so.  Those who succeed will do so at the expense of others.  Under such an economic regime, most people – including most of those greedy people whom Boris says we need – will be losers in the wealth acquisition stakes.
More importantly, however, whatever the capitalists and their apologists never tell us is that competition, greed and inequality are not the only basis on which to build an economy.  One of the tragedies of modern politics is that the assumption that they are is so rarely challenged.

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