Tony Garnett • Blog Posts

Steve Hilton Today

Steve Hilton’s defence of capitalism on Today was the mirror image of those Stalinists defending socialism in my youth.  He should read Adam Smith:

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”. – Wealth of Nations, 1776

When was his serving-the-public-interest capitalism ever supposed to exist? He omitted to say. He admits corporations ignore the public interest, are above the law and inhibit innovation. But if they finance and own governments, how can it change? Politicians are merely their clients. They serve capital in office and are directly and lucratively employed by it afterwards.

Is the manipulation of next quarter’s results to keep the share price up and the bonuses generous the best way to invest long term in our economic future?Why doesn’t he mention that the very industries he admires in the digital economy only exist as a result of tax payers money, which created the internet in the first place?

Public investment, co-operatives, social ownership, workers’ power in the work place are presumably rejected by this worshipper of the great god of capitalism.What he bemoans as lacking in contemporary capitalism is built into that system, just as liberating democratic socialism was lacking in Stalinism.

Most of us want what he wants, and he is clearly sincere and articulate, but his ideology will never deliver – it hates and rejects its own fundamental principles: competition, innovation and its own creative destruction. Why plan for suicide when you can have a cosy quasi monopoly? Or are monopolies only inefficient if they are publicly owned ones?

But he wasn’t challenged on any of this.

Of course. It was the Today programme.



One Response so far.

  1. John Manix says:
    Well spoken. So much is unchallenged.