Monday, 26 January 2015

Arrogance and hubris explain inequality

How typical of this wealth-obsessed society of ours that, when a company`s "collapse in profitability" occurs, the " former chief executive" blames the "failure of leadership under his successor". (Leahy blames successor for Tesco`s woes,20/01/15)  Also nothing to do with Leahy, of course, was the huge reputation Tesco gained for its use of aggressive tactics in acquiring land and/or planning permission, its apparent lack of concern for the thousands of local small companies it put out of business, its bullying of farmers and suppliers, shareholder revolts over the obscene levels of executive pay, and the company`s failure to pay a living wage to its employees. Then there`s the small matter of how Leahy, for the majority of his tenure, did not have the stiff competition of discount supermarkets waging a price war against his company.
     Such arrogance and hubris clearly underscore our business system today,and explain, too, the glaring inequality in society. Polly Toynbee and Aditya Chakrabortty both stressed the problem of pay which is so low it leads to tax receipts falling, and increased reliance on in-work benefits.(Inside the National Gallery, a portrait of modern equality,Ghost jobs,half lives. How shadow workers get by in today`s Britain,20/01/15) Toynbee suggests "restoring power to unions", but why not go further and follow the German example of co-determination, which involves workers` representatives in the running of companies, including the determinimg of pay levels? In Germany, despite unemployment levels similar to our own, tax receipts have increased so much, government borrowing is down, and the federal budget has been balanced.(Tax revenues help balance federal budget,14/01/15)

    Is there not, too, a need for a Fair Pay Commission to replace the Low Pay one which has allowed the minimum wage to "fall £1000 in real value since 2008", and an immediate increase in the minimum wage, sufficiently high as to  enable working families to enjoy life without having to resort to taxpayers` supplements? There is also the requirement for an efficient system whereby employers are properly punished for failing to pay this increased minimum wage, instead of measly fines like the £1400 imposed on H&M and other prosperous firms, recently. With higher rates of pay, there would be much less need for the austerity-inspired cuts which most of our political parties have in store for us, especially if allied to these proposals was the restoration of all jobs lost at HMRC under the present government, and the addition of  a thousand more to tackle what Margaret Hodge describes as the tax avoidance "industry", currently costing the country around £35bn a year.

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