Well, this deserves marks for the brazenness of it at least. The utilities – water, electricity etc – should not be private for profit companies. This is taken as a given. But to renationalise them would cost lots of money and that would be bad. That would limit what a new Labour government could spend on other things. Like indoor jobs, no heavy lifting, for the dimmer members of the haute bourgeois and that would be bad, wouldn’t it?
So, a new solution is needed:
Rather than abandon its ideals, Labour needs to be more imaginative in explaining how these promises can be fulfilled. The water companies, energy networks, and Royal Mail should be reincorporated as public benefit corporations, required to place the public good ahead of profits. The state could hold a “golden share” that would enable it to appoint the non-executive directors who would be tasked with securing the public interest. The corporations would be privately owned but their purpose would be the public good.
Such an approach would promote economic justice better than nationalisation. Shareholders’ equity would be stranded in companies that would no longer pay out excessive dividends funded by debt rather than profit. The value of their shares would inevitably drop as public benefit, rather than profit maximisation, became the primary purpose. It would be a fitting price to pay for so many years of exploitation. And it would cost the public purse next to nothing.
So, instead, let’s jus’ steal ’em from the people who own them.
No, that is what is being said. Destroy the income from those shares, destroy the value of those shares and don’t compensate them in any manner at all. Steal it all in short.
Tom Kibasi is a writer and researcher on politics and economics
So, what should we go steal from Mr. Kibasi then?