My recent letters

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January 6

In the letters in the last two issues of the Costa Blanca News, three people have been critical of my socialist position. There isn’t much point in me simply arguing for socialism because they will still maintain their right wing positions and this argument will never find a resolution. So, in response to their criticisms of my socialist ideology, I would like to raise some issues relating to their capitalist ideas.
Firstly, what is the meaning of the term “democracy”? Surely, it means more than merely freedom of speech. It also means that a country’s elected representatives should have the power to run the country in the way the majority of the people want. But, they cannot do so because the international corporations and the billionaires will take their resources elsewhere if the elected governments do not comply with what they want. That would result in major economic problems.
Thus, it is the unelected big corporations and the ultra-wealthy that really have control – not our elected governments. Here is an example: the Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is still being negotiated, includes legislation that will make it illegal for any government to take action that will affect a company’s profits. If a government does so, the company would be able to sue that government in an international court, which would be run by international corporations and not by national, or UN courts of justice. Under this agreement, if a government wanted to take action to dissuade people from smoking, they could be sued for reducing the profits of tobacco companies
Capitalism is about making profit for selfish reasons and not about using profit for the benefit of the community. It is about greed and exploitation. OK, there are a few philanthropic wealthy people who donate to charities, but that doesn’t mean that the system is right. Working people in the UK now have to accept zero hour contracts, and trade unions do not have the power that they used to have to fight for what they want. When I was a young man, my union organised a strike in which I took part. We won and our salaries went up.
Previous Labour governments have not been socialist. They have been middle-of-the-road liberal. I hope the next one will be radically left wing and will give power back to the people – i.e. the working population.
According to Credit Suisse’s global wealth report published in November 2017, 1% of the planet’s richest people own 50% of the world’s wealth. Is that fair? The recent Paradise Papers’ revelations laid bare one of the main drivers of inequality – tax dodging by rich individuals and multinational corporations. Governments cannot act to tackle extreme inequality which is dividing societies and making it harder than ever for the poorest to improve their lives because, as I have already said (above), if they tried to do so this would result in major economic problems unless, of course, all their physical resources were to be taken into public ownership – but let’s not go there now – let’s stay with the exploitation and total unfairness of the capitalist system.
The analysis by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the High Pay Centre in the UK shows that the chief executives of FTSE100 companies each earn an average of £3.45m a year, which works out at 120 times the £28,758 average pay of full-time UK workers.
In the UK, the welfare state was originally created from the understanding of our basic needs, which are food (including water), shelter, clothing, health care and education. Capitalism is about the belief that every individual should have to be personally responsible for all of these things and, if they can’t, then let them be homeless, let them starve, let them continue to be ill and even die, etc.
Sure, there are some people who will always take advantage of a welfare system. But what that will cost would be peanuts compared with what the international corporations and the ultra-rich are allowed to get away with.
Finally, we have all heard the point of view that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This is true not just about wealthy and influential capitalists. It would also happen if we had a permanent socialist society in which capitalism was banned, i.e. all major companies would be owned and run by the work force or would be state-owned. If the people in government were allowed to remain in power indefinitely, they too would be likely to become corrupt.
Therefore, although I believe that capitalism should be banned, I also believe that nobody should be allowed to remain in power and control for more than a few years. There should be regular elections to vote in new socialist members of parliament who would have a similar standard of living as the rest of us and who would ensure the continuation of a fair and just society. The idealistic socialist system, which I have described, is probably never going to happen because people are so much influenced by the news corporations that exist primarily to make a profit rather than to provide news and are therefore almost all right wing. So, since it is unlikely to happen, I will continue to relax and enjoy my wonderful retired life here on the Costa Blanca.

Mike Lawson

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