How free enterprise and innovation cut austerity

 

Free enterprise capitalism is the parent of higher living standards and better lives for the many. The luxuries of the few of the previous generation can become the norm for most in the next. Today we can enjoy service and facilities that we could not even dream about twenty years ago.

In the 1950s, many homes  had no tv, no fridge, no car, no telephone.  These middle class luxuries arrived gradually in the 1960s as people  got pay rises and as these luxury products became cheaper relative to wages. The financial system also found new ways to help people of modest means to buy them. Many tvs were rented. Car finance took some of the waiting out of wanting. More mortgages became available, so  many  could buy their first home.

The progress of many in the UK from blue collar to white collar work, from working for someone else to running your own business, from renting to owning a home,from living without phone or tv or fridge to having those former luxuries which became necessities reminds us just how much free enterprise has delivered. It also reminds us that sensible borrowing by individuals and families was an important part of the road to owning property and having better equipped homes.

Today many take for granted the fridge and tv. Most expect a mobile phone and a home or hand held computer with more power than many company computers enjoyed in  the last century. These advances are good news. As technology expands, so our idea of the good life and of what is possible expands. The world I wish to live in recognises that allowing sensible borrowing in the private sector,cutting taxes to allow people to spend more of what they earn, and always making it worthwhile to work are the central policies to banish austerity. There is a new generation to help into home  and car ownership. There has been too much private austerity thanks to the banking crash. We now need a stable banking system capable of allowing and financing growth, and a tax system which leaves people with enough money to buy goods and services from each other in a growing economy.

 

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49 Comments

  1. alan jutson
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    In a word JR, Progress !

    But has it come at a cost:

    People now seemed glued to a screen (even when sitting in a group) rather than being able to just simply talk to each other.

    With all of these communication devices available now, we seem to be losing the art of simple Communication and conversation, and the worst offenders are the actual communication Companies themselves, who’s customer service is usually completely unfit for purpose, until you get lucky and can talk to a human being usually after listening to music (which perhaps you do not like) for what seems like hours.

    In addition we now have ever more complication and confusion with regards to simple consumer contracts and invoices (bills) many with almost hidden charges or terms and conditions, which are usually printed so small a magnifying glass is required just to make out the letters.

    We now have Benefits and Tax Laws, which few but the trained expert can decipher.

    We have Employment laws which are again so complicated, that few but the brave want to take on staff.

    We have utility, train and air fares now so complicated, you need a degree in patience to understand them.

    We now have a huge variety in types of Banking, where you need either a computer and whole range of so called passwords to access it.
    That or you pay the Bank to look after your own money if you prefer the high street.
    The days of the simple savings account book where at a glance you could see the current state of your finances has long since passed, instead we now get sent a whole range of loose thin paper statements, combined with Junk mail offers.

    We have a huge selection of food with a choice like never before, but ever more seems to have been mucked about with, and/or manufactured with the addition of a range of chemicals, or are contained within impossible to un open packaging.

    Do not get me wrong, I am not wishing we go back to the 1950’s, or 1970’s but life was rather much more simple, and far less complicated when compared to now.

    Perhaps I am just getting old !.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      oops, should have said “with near impossible to open packaging”.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 7, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        A knife or scissors are usually the answer, and often I don’t even bother trying to open it by hand and reach for a suitable sharp implement.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Good morning, & great post.

      I too disrepair at all the technology. I am not a technophobe, obviously, but I refuse to be sucked in into buying the latest gizmo of fad.

      One thing you forgot to mention, was cars. Cars could be fixed with simple hand tools by the home mechanic. Not any more. Now you need computers and special software to access the little black-box which controls everything.

      Another thing which is supposed to make my life easier but does not, is the Contact / Cashless Cards they are now introducing. Many people have been caught out by paying for things they did not want, myself included. That is why I demanded and non-contact payment card. I was not offered a choice, it was thrust upon me. I like cash, because I do not trust Big Government. Once they can control and monitor my money, they can control and monitor both the amount and what I spend.

      Medical advancements are a great and often under reported subject. Leading people to live better and longer lives than they would many years previously. As we have seen recently, people with HIV / AIDS can now be treated successfully with expensive drugs for FREE !! Before the war, that would be an impossibility. As would MASS transport and MASS communication. All good things but not without their own downside. I think you can see where I am going with this.

      So it is important to keep up with changes and it is just as important that when things change, government, laws and treaties must also change. But if one side has made it clear that the only change is ever forward, then you have to ask yourself is there another alternative ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Indeed the entirely artificial and pointless complexity of tax, employment and other laws is hugely damaging to productivity. A huge distraction to productive activities and a huge cost overhead burden on everyone.

      Engineers & Scientists have made many things hugely more efficient (often millions of times more efficient). Yet the legal systems, government, bureaucracy and similar activities have become far less efficient over the same period of time – this despite having access to computers, word processors, IT and all this hugely enabling technology.

      The reason is they are largely monopolies or over protected professions and it is in their interests to generate more inefficiency and pointless complexity, so that is exactly what happens. Just why do we need 13 times more lawyers per head than Japan and three times as many as France? The USA even has three times as many as the UK.

      Scientists, builders, engineers the the productive generate the wealth only for lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians, green loons and lots of Oxford PPE graduates to largely destroy, misdirect and waste it all.

      Judges have no incentive to make judgements that decrease the number of cases coming forwards and make it more efficient quite the reverse.

      The clients want clear, decisive, quick and inexpensive decisions but the courts deliver the compete opposite. Ambiguity, multilevel courts, very slow, very complex and very expensive. Designed to benefit lawyers rather than clients every time.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Are judges and other establishment figures still exempt from Osborne’s £1M pension cap muggings?

        • majorfrustration
          Posted April 7, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          and MPs

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      I agree with John’s wise words, and I’m sympathetic to your own observations too Alan, but I would add one of my own – the huge if not unsustainable levels of personal debt.

      It is also the case that some people demand those rewards as a right, and the incentive to work to get them has been diminished.

      The opportunity for advancement must always be there, but the acquisition of material goods is just part of the equation and doesn’t necessarily make the full, complete person. The opportunity for intelligent enlightenment is equally important, and the internet is a most helpful development in that enabling process. People who plan to vote Labour or Lib Dem should try it some time.

      Tad

    • Bob
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      “Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. – Henry David Thoreau”

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Well said! And it is all true.
    The Labour answer to this is that everyone ought to have equal prosperity, so the rich have to be brought down to the level of the rest of us and that we (yes that’s us) should get a lot of help from the government who must level society off. It is a great message for everyone: licence to take the riches of the rich and spend them ourselves, whether as beneficiaries or as very highly paid bureaucrats. If that is allowed to happen, we can kiss the current prosperity good bye as any Frenchman will tell you.
    The Green position seems to be that all these innovations are wrecking the planet so they should all be banned. (Except for people who are Green because they are Good.)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      In short the Labour answer is to remove all the incentives and all the benefits of hard work and of behaving sensibly. All moral hazard is removed with the obvious results we see in abundance.

      The Ken Clark/Cameron wing of the Tories are essentially just the same, though the Green party is perhaps the ultimate lefty, anti-progress, anti-science, religion. Complete and utter lunacy in almost every sentence they utter.

  3. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “There has been too much private austerity thanks to the banking crash.” that sort of comment I would expect from an MP that has never had a proper job. You can hardly expect people not to be pulling their horns in. If you leave university now you will be doing so with a load of debt and doing a job that probably did not require a degree in the first place. While anyone a little older who needs to change jobs, in the private sector, will be receiving an inferior pay package i.e. no DB pension. While if you are retired I bet your pension is keeping pace with the real increase in the cost of living. My council tax has just gone up by 2% for the next year.

    Off topic but the “The Guardian” website has an interesting article as to how the muslim state of Malaysia deals firmly with its citizens coming from and going to Syria. No apologies from the chief of police over there.

    • David Murfin
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      “that sort of comment I would expect from an MP that has never had a proper job.”
      Be fair. Rothschilds thought him worth paying.

      Reply I left Rothschilds in 1989! I have also run industrial businesses.

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      In fact, Dame Rita, a member of the audience at the Great Debate said much the same thing. She opined that this generation would be the first generation for ages which would be worse off than the previous one. Instead of treating this question with the contempt it deserved, all the politicians nodded in approval and said how they would manfully help the young pull through.

      I have the impression that John Redwood is just considering the history of the UK since World War Two. I would go further and say that, taking any 25 year period over the last 200 years in the UK, the general population were better off at the end of it than at the beginning. Sometimes the economic advance has been small. For instance, the period between 1925 and 1950 saw a major economic slump, a world war and a savage dose of state socialism. I guess that people were not massively better off in 1950 than they were 25 years earlier. But sometimes the advance has been considerable, as in the periods between 1950-1975 and 1975-2000.

      Modern capitalism is a tremendous engine for growth and the crash of 2008 is not going to derail it. The UK has seen economic growth resume and already output has exceeded the high previous to the crash.

      Keynes wrote a little essay around 1930 in which he forecast correctly that in 75-100 years people in the UK could expect to be eight times wealthier than they were at the time he wrote. Let’s take this a step further. If we assume that UK economy is going to continue to grow on average at two per cent a year, we can expect it to double in size every 25 years or so. The average wage is around £25,000 at the moment. In the year 2100 I confidently expect the average wage in the UK to be around £200,000 a year in today’s money. And that’s a conservative estimate. The young and future generations have nothing at all to worry about and should belt up.

  4. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    It is the trend for people to not do it unless they can make a profit out of it.This also includes benefits.It is this mindset I find worrying.There are some things in life where the effort is the improvement in itself.

    The greens have many good points , but I do admit that wind turbines do not provide sufficient energy, but if there was a choice and prioritisation between energy to keep a child alive in hospital or no energy at all I know which I would choose.

    Today is the second morning where morning mists are rising indicating a warming of the ground in readiness for summer. The wood pigeons are relentlessly cooing and calling and I am grateful for the grounded things in life. Do we measure our lives by consumables and squash as many houses into our green and pleasant land or do we say stop and conserve .We need to remember that we are part of nature not above it.

  5. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    As the progress was made, so expectation expanded. Now if those on benefits can not afford Sky, a top of the range mobile phone, all the gadgets you referred to above, nice clothes and a car they are in relative poverty and need more money. This then allows them to compete with those who earn more money through their own endeavours whose cost of living is then unfairly increased (government paid for childcare being another distorted market that earners have to bear).

    Progress is good but the spoils should be earned and not paid for through never repaid credit.

  6. mickc
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    But we don’t have free enterprise capitalism. We have corporatism, which has been encouraged and supported by the Conservative party. It is unsurprising the party is seen as the party of the rich.

    We have money printing to support the banks and the “financial services” industry which has ruined the country.

    Any socialist would sensibly ask, if money can be printed to support the banks, why can it not be printed to support the people?

    Cameron has been catastrophic in his leadership both of the country and the Party, it is past time he was gone, and we had a true Conservative as leader.

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    But of course all this progress would come to an abrupt end if we left the EU, so we are supposed to believe. In fact it would be reversed, even the progress we made before we joined the EEC would be reversed, and we would be back to living in caves and wearing animal skins and surviving on grass!

    Oh, hang on, even then back in the Neolithic we were trading with the continent:

    http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue34/2/2.html

    “During the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition the resources necessary for Neolithic farming must have been transported across the English Channel by boat … ”

    So maybe it wouldn’t be quite so bad as some suggest.

  8. formula57
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Whilst you and I are for ” allowing sensible borrowing in the private sector” that is not a view apparently shared by Chancellor Osborne for the OBR says: –

    “Strong growth of residential investment and ongoing growth in house prices and property transactions leave households’ gross debt to income ratio rising back towards its pre-crisis peak by the forecast horizon. That seems consistent with supportive monetary policy and other interventions (such as Help to Buy and further support for first-time buyers announced in this Budget), but it could pose risks to the sustainability of the recovery over the medium term.”

    And per Frances Coppola who offers that OBR quote on her blog, “This concern is well-founded. Despite all his rhetoric about encouraging saving, the Chancellor’s fiscal plans actually depend on blowing up a household debt bubble of larger proportions than that which burst disastrously in 2008, and using various forms of government support to delay its inevitable implosion. Why do we have to repeat the errors of the past?”

    Why? To get re-elected I suspect.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Science and technology has indeed advanced hugely. Things they would have cost over a years wages or were not even available can not be bought for an hours wage. Engineers, scientists, free trade, production technology and the likes have made everyone far better off.
    Computer memory space today costs less that 1/100,000,000,000 of what it used to just 30 years ago.

    Alas many governments have grabbed so much of this wealth and chosen to waste most of it (on pointless bureaucracy, green lunacy, hs2, grand pointless projects, over priced government building, pointless damaging wars) or they have just stolen it for themselves and their mates – while providing virtually nothing little of any real value to the public.

  10. JoeSoap
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    This is just progress and has little to do with banks or politics. Arguing for human nature, which is the root of all progress, is like arguing for Uncle Sam or apple pie. It’s there, and can only be hindered by politics and is only helped by banks in their current form if the banks rake off their own, often unwarranted, commission.

    The new forms of credit online like crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending show the way forward- early days, but in the long term the RBS s and Lloyds of this world will prove to currently be in their “dinosaur” stage.
    We can only hope that politics is changing too – the bright showing of the non-mainstream non-LibLabCon parties here again presages a one-way trip to a more open and democratic future, even if these dinosaurs do put up a fight right now.

  11. agricola
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Cannot argue with your entry today as a statement of fact. It is generally true but brings too much undesirable baggage with it that government has been slow to curb, if at all.

    When the best one can achieve is about 3% on ones savings within the financial sector, why are the charges for loans so much higher, and why are the pay day loan companies, with APRs of 49% to 3000% allowed to exist. They are a source of even greater social problems than first existed.

    Why are large companies allowed to delay payment of invoices for up to six months, using small businesses as their bankers.

    I predict that we are on the edge of a pension crisis, with every shark in the financial pond waiting to pounce on the hard earned freed up capital of millions of people. Government in facilitating this have been remarkably laissez faire in anticipating the consequences. Possibly because those who thought it a good idea have easy access to good financial advice when the majority do not.

    Why is big business allowed to lobby at first hand in Westminster, when they should be kept at arms length. Their interests are not necessarily the interests of the electorate. An electorate who have to get 100,000 signatures to be heard or ignored as government think fit.

    Why is the food industry allowed to push grossly unhealthy product via the supermarkets that has resulted in the second most obese population in the World. The cost of this is offloaded onto an already fighting to cope NHS.

    Why is the BBCs political and climate agenda not curbed. They have become the third party in politics in the UK without any form of constraint. They can spend what they wish of our money on whatever agenda they choose to push. As what most of what the BBC do in terms of drama and the David Attenborough type of programme is very worthy it should not suffer due to the agenda of news and current affairs. There is a growing argument for the total separation of the two. News and current affairs would be better hived off into the same commercial world as ITV and be allowed to sink or swim minus any contribution from the general public.

    Government has got to begin acting on behalf of the people who put them there, before people in desperation begin looking for even less democratic alternatives.

  12. oldtimer
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I agree with your headline and your analysis. But I would also add the benefits that come from globalisation. That also presents a huge challenge for older developed countries like the UK because of the shifts in competitiveness that go with globalisation and the impact it has on many traditional industries that no longer remain competitive. They need to go through the gut wrenching process of re-inventing themselves or else they go under. This has, as we have seen time and time again, a huge impact on employment and the job market.

    An open, relatively lightly taxed economy is the best recipe for making the needed transitions. What we have is an over taxed economy and too much state direction. In these respects the Conservative party is a better bet than the Labour party. But taxes remain too high and the wheezes in place to try to herd those with capital to reinvest in new start ups and the like are complex and too contrived. More tax freedom and more simplification is needed.

  13. Bert Young
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    (Someone I know ed) has huge debts . She has a new car every 2 years , cannot resist shopping for the latest fashion , receives benefits . She believes that living like this is normal and , for the brief periods she has had a job , she thinks she is “overstretched”. Her boy-friend who lives with her and her 12 year old son , says that he is unable to go on supporting her and his savings have disappeared . What can society do to make her face reality ? . Her credit card company ought to make the first step !!

  14. Richard1
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Guy Hands, CEO of private equity firm Terra Firma, has helpfully pointed out that a Labour-SNP govt would be better for his fund investments in the wind farm industry. Indeed I am sure it would be, as the wind industry depends on extensive govt subsidy for economic viability. Those of us who object to public subsidy for wind power, because wind is expensive, intermittent, incapable of providing anything like the amount of power needed, and because wind farms despoil the landscape, have been reminded by Mr Hands of another reason to ensure a Conservative govt (now the Conservatives seem finally to be backing away from green crap).

  15. They Work for Us.
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    All of this is good stuff but a key problem is your phrase “it has taken the wanting out of waiting” . Unfortunately there is a whole credit and debt selling industry out there coupled with a lack of responsibility in acquiring debt because “I want it all and I want it now”. I fondly remember a colleague, fond of conspiracy theories, that asserted that the encouragement of this lifestyle was the modern political equivalent of the Roman “cakes and circuses” ploy to keep the citizen happy.

  16. English Pensioner
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Can you imagine us having the present mobile phone system if telephones had remained the monopoly of the old “Post Office Telephones”? Innovation comes far faster in the private sector as much of the public sector believes in “we have always done it that way, why change”.
    The NHS is possibly the worse offender, I believe that every innovation that they have made has been forced on them from outside, and rather than being leaders they are reluctant followers.
    The case of the boy with cancer who’s parents took him to Prague for proton treatment against the NHS wishes is typical. At the time they said this treatment was no better, but I note in the media this week that the NHS is now buying some proton machines. Would they have done this but for the publicity of this case?
    Private buyers are more likely to try out new ideas than the state and if there is demand the suppliers make more innovations. The state reluctantly follows.
    All the more reason for low taxes; the country will move forward far faster if individuals can spend their own money.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 7, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      “Can you imagine us having the present mobile phone system if telephones had remained the monopoly of the old “Post Office Telephones”?”

      Well, I can imagine something like the present mobile communications system having emerged from the GPO, but that would have depended on the kind of people who had been put in charge of it. While Colossus was largely based on Alan Turing’s ideas it was actually designed and built by Tommy Flowers who worked at the GPO research station at Dollis Hill:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Flowers

      But while it says there:

      “Flowers gained full backing for his project from the director of Dollis Hill”,

      it also says that previously:

      “The Bletchley Park management were not convinced, however, and merely encouraged Flowers to proceed on his own. He did so, providing much of the funds for the project himself.”

  17. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    There’s an easy way to make banks more stable. Split the industry in two. The lending half is funded just by, or largely by shares. The deposit accepting half does no lending.

    Beautifully simple.

    That system was/is advocated by Milton Friedman, Prof Laurence Kotlikoff, Positive Money, Prof Richard Werner, Prof John Cochrane, Prof Adam Levitin, the New Economics Foundation. I could go on.

  18. Bazman
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    During the boom wages stagnated for many whilst prices rose rapidly in particular housing costs. Expansion of the market whilst being only of benefit for a small minority is not the way forward in a demand led economy and tax cuts for the rich does not help the majority in any way who are often the ones funding them by higher indirect taxes and worse services. Trickle down nonsense.
    Work does often not pay. In the area where a not bad job would pay about £1400pm out of this rent for a 3 bedroom house would be £700+, council tax and bills £230+ Childcare for one child £300+. Not leaving much for clothes, travel, food and entertainment.
    Anyone care to tell me where they will find the extra money for private healthcare and the like? We are already seeing some people resorting to DIY dentistry.
    The conclusion for many is that they are getting more poor than previous generations and under the Tories we have seen tax rises for most of the population and cuts to tax credits whilst the richest get more for having more. In my case I have only avoided a drop in living standards by buying a house at the bottom of the market and paying off the mortgage without this I would have taken a real hit.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Your figure of £1400 is I presume nett take home pay.
      After sizeable dollops of income tax and NI are deducted.
      With a Labour government hey would leave you with even less than £1400.

      Ref your question on private health care costs. They would be affordable if tax and NI were reduced as a result of you and millions of others having opted out, as they should be.
      Also its been proposed that to encourage take up of private health care insurance that it be made tax deductable making it even more affordable.

      • Bazman
        Posted April 7, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Private healthcare would not be affordable for most if tax and NI was reduced this is just wrong. The premiums would be far to high for most and especially if you already had some pre conditions or had made a large claim previously. The family would also have to be insured.
        Tax credits have been cut in may case by £160 a month and VAT has been increased by the Tories so no Labour tax rises nonsense please. I’m feeling the Tory rises now.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 7, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          Yes it would if the reductions in tax and NI were similar to costs of premiums.

          But those that can afford should be encouraged to be covered.
          Why should the rich have free NHS care?

        • Bazman
          Posted April 9, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          what if the premiums where more expensive than average tax and NI per month? Which they would be for most and why should it be like this? Private healthcare is better than public and more efficient ,says who and what if you cannot pay?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 10, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

            I would refer you to my last paragraph.

          • Bazman
            Posted April 10, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            Because we live in a democracy edward and as the rich pay the most they should benefit the NHS. Not real and you would not be rich for long if you could not work at least for most.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 13, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            It might come as surprise to you Baz but there are already millions of people covered by private health insurance.

  19. Gina Dean
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    We lived with in our means in those days, if we wanted something we saved for it. If you managed to get your own house you had the bare basics donated by family. All that you bought on your own was treasured as you built your home. Now a days they have to have everything all at once, with no thought as to how to pay for it.
    Goverments give out to much to people on benifits, it is not appreciated as they have not had to work for it. It is demanded as their right.
    In the 50s the first child did not get child benifit, it should be capped to a certain level.

  20. forthurst
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “Free enterprise capitalism is the parent of higher living standards and better lives for the many.”

    …whereas non-free enterprise capitalism i.e. corporatism, is the parent of undeservedly high living standards for the few with corresponding poverty and worse for the many.

    A particular characteristic of corporatism is not the superiority or even safety, never mind beneficial utility of its products, but a desire to obtain monopoly market access without normal safeguards or penalties, via the lobbying and purchasing of corrupt politicians or, without being specific, corrupt legislatures.

    The anti-market activities of corporatists can be detected when organic farms are closed down (in the USA) in favour of highly unorganic corporate agriculture, when windmills and biomass replace food production, when dangerous herbicides are declared safe and tested on humans without their permission, when banksters sell toxic derivatives, wrecking the world economy without going to prison, when the profits of arms manufacturers are considered more important than the lives of non-adversarial nations.

    Let’s get back to free enterprise capitalism, by all means. It’s given us a lot in the past in terms of innovation and higher living standards; vote out corrupt politicians who prefer to improve their own living standards at our expense.

  21. Aatif Ahmad
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The world has done the opposite with Basel III and its demanding capital and liquidity standards. We have hard wired private sector austerity for a long time by blindly adopting Basel III. Even emerging markets such as India have adopted it and this will constrain credit creation and the banking system’s ability to finance growth.

  22. Dennis
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    That view may be all very well but Mr Redwood has not outlined how he will tackle the concomitant ecodeficit that will arise.

    I don’t think he has just forgotten to mention it – he hasn’t even thought of it. Until he has a solution to this his desires are useless and dangerous to boot.

  23. ian
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    If you look into wet&mad forward budgets you will see that tax spending, that public spending is to go up by over 20 billion a year in the next parliament, to round 840 billion a year by 2020 with borrowing to be well over 1.8 billion pounds without pfi and tax cuts all round with household borrowing going right up with business lending, that means the banks will be lending like there no tomorrow, for all that john wants to see take place. Housing association to be selling property to the banks so people can buy them with housing benefits and roll out of council taking over their own budget from the government like in Manchester, no point in voting in the GE because 70% of laws made in EU and council taking over the rest. Can not wait to see how it all works out, no wonder doctors are taking early retirement and leaving the country.

  24. ian wragg
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    All this innovation and progress despite governments efforts to hobble mankind.
    People who invent, produce or otherwise contribute to our society ensure we continue to progress.
    Half the public sector and 90% of politicians are parasites doing no measure of good and in many cases interfering with our progress.
    Less government equals more prosperity.

  25. Jerry
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Much sense in what you say Mr Redwood, I doubt many could possibly argue with the thrust of it, the only fly in the ointment is when such enterprise, innovation and free market consumerism becomes an expectation and not a privilege, either by those who wish to own or those who wish to sell “the dream” because that road can only ever end first in a economic bubble and a then an economic and/or personal lifestyle crash as accumulated debt causes it to pop when the markets become over heated – a trait that both Tory and Labour post war governments allowed and suffered from.

  26. Dennis
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Was my post too critical of you?

    Reply I cut one because it was a UKIP party political broadcast

  27. Jon
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Yes certainly so. Standing back one area that has taken a hit is the savings culture. That is where individuals can become better off. Recent governments and in short since the proliferation of regulation have put people off savings.

    If a politician, minister, regulator or “financial commentator” appears on TV in relation to savings and pensions then the words rip off, huge fees or charges follow. Yet we have about the lowest charges in the world for the services purchased.

    Our savings, investment and pensions market is healthy and the consumer is more protected here in the UK than in most areas. Politicians (John Redwood excluded), media and the regulator make this area of individual progression toxic, they “weaponise it for their own career and attention.

    The current government recent changes should make people think more about savings as it increases access to it. There is still much negativity for such a highly regulated area.

  28. Mondeo Man
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    How does free enterprise and innovation even begin to cut our exponentially spiralling national debt ?

    What neither the Tories nor Labour tell us is of the tax rises and cuts yet to come.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Both homes and car ownership have been made very difficult for the young.

      Overcrowding and cash-for-crash.

      £3000 pa insurance is impossible on a young person’s wage. Mortgages are 8 to 10 times average local salary in many cities.

      I wouldn’t swap the easily affordable house and car and sense of space and freedom that I had for even the best of today’s mobile phones.

  29. Lifelogic
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Free enterprise capitalism is indeed the main driving force for higher living standards and better lives for the many. So why does Cameron and the coalition put a straight jacket on it with 299 tax increases, daft employment laws, expensive green crap energy, the EU, absurd planning, licencing and regulation, nonsense like gender neutral annuities and insurance and endless other complete lunacies.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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