Economics, by and for lay people

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury of the United Kingdom, boasted recently about his nation’s modest economic growth. If expansion continues, Britain will soon have an economy equal to the size it was in 2008, although population growth leaves the GDP per person about 7% less than in pre-crash days.

English comic Marcus Brigstocke appeared on BBC’s The Now Show and he expressed atypical views about economic growth. With wage suppression and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program current issues in Canada, these amusing words from England are worth a listen:

On the same Now Show episode, British comedy writer and actor John Finnemore reshaped an ancient folktale to provide a lay person’s explanation of the Royal Mail privatization. Although government denies it sold the 500-year-old public service too cheaply, private shares traded well above the sale price from day one until now. Do you imagine that ordinary investors profited from the price rise? Well, that is not how the financial system works.

When Prime Minister Cameron’s government privatized the Royal Mail eight months ago, it allocated huge share blocks to priority investors. More than half of the global bankers, vulture capitalists and friends of government given special treatment quickly flipped shares and profited tens of millions of pounds.

The British public learned this story slowly because transparency is never high on the agenda when dirty dealers do dirty deals. According to an April 29 article by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism,

“Until now, the identity of the priority investors was one of the City’s most closely guarded secrets. The government, in fact, blocked freedom of interest requests on the grounds that disclosing who they are would breach commercial confidentiality even though it is clear the majority of these firms have profited handsomely from a public asset.”

The need to protect commercial confidentiality is a statement much repeated but it is often only covering reluctance to be honest about transactions hidden from public view. Finnemore provides a concise account of deceit that cost British taxpayers more than a billion dollars.

Do not think for a moment that we have no frogs and scorpions in British Columbia. We do.

Categories: Economics, Privatization

4 replies »

  1. Our various governments are run by gangsters, collaborationists, Quislings, spies, footpads, seditionists, and a host of other people who are not working for the people of Canada, but their private benefactors, who have paid handsomely for their political puppets to be elected.

    Canada can no longer be called a democracy as the old Soviet style democracy of an election every four years is now in play. The public have democracy for only one day every four years. Lies, deception and fraud are the hallmark of Canadian politics and politicians.


  2. Great piece, though scary, as usual. It seems ironically ominous that Chopra here is setting up the demise of our own public post office. News out of Paris this morning that the top 1% in Canada capture 23% of all the wealth, just slightly behind the abject figure out of the US. Just finished reading Flash Boys (also read Liar's Poker, The Big Short and Boomerang for good measure) and the underlying message is clearly that there are still decent folks around, but that they are most often overwhelmed by the misdeeds of the greedy, and that whatever changes are made in the interest of honesty will quickly be circumvented by those who can thereby benefit at the expense of others. Next up is Carolyn Bakers Collapsing Consciously.


  3. Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner in the House of Commons;

    “Half the Tories opposite are crooks.”

    Mr Speaker; “Please retract.”

    Mr Skinner; “OK. Half the Tories opposite aren't crooks.”


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