Yesterday, it was revealed that Royal Mail – despite announcing slumping profits earlier this year – have paid out £68,000,000 in dividends to private shareholders, shattering previous records for this type of payment.
If Royal Mail was brought back into public ownership, this £68m would have gone back into the public purse, ready to be re-invested in our schools and hospitals.
Instead, because of a Tory-led privatisation frenzy, these profits now go into the pockets of already-wealthy shareholders instead.
Royal Mail is the latest vehicle being used by the moneyed classes to exploit workers’ rights and drain capital from the economy.
This has been happening in the background for years now as our government have allowed publicly owned institutions to be sold to the highest bidder.
However, whilst Royal Mail is clearly a vital service, it rarely makes the headlines as people are justifiably more often than not focused on the ongoing Tory-led stealth privatisation of the NHS.
This latest effort to economically undermine the 99% saw Jeremy Corbyn release this video outlining the issues with privatisation, and how bringing it back into public ownership is not only better for the people, but also the economy as a whole.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 16, 2017
If we were to give the government the benefit of the doubt (which we really shouldn’t, but bear with me), they may well believe that putting these services in the hands of private individuals is more in line with the fundamentals of capitalism, and therefore better for the country and the economy overall.
But – as demonstrated by the Paradise Papers – wealthy people often completely remove capital from the economy, investing it in offshore tax havens in order to exempt it from British tax.
This distortion of economic theory is no accident. For instance, because our national newspapers are owned by the ultra-rich, their interpretation of a struggling economy is based upon the amount of money they can funnel to the top 1% (shareholders) – not the economic well being of everybody else – the 99%.
It’s essential that we create an economy in which corporations can continue to flourish, but one that no longer ignores the fact that workers wages have not increased in decades, despite record breaking profits. If corporations keep exploiting their workforce only to enrich their shareholders, ordinary people will have no disposable income to spend on the products and services created by such corporation – eventually leading to a collapse in the economy. Without ‘the many’, ‘the few’ really cannot survive.
What Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are trying to do is redistribute wealth away from the 1% and into the pockets of ordinary people. The rich – looking out for their own pockets – argue that this is a ridiculous policy and they should not be penalised for being successful and making good investments. But this stance is based entirely on selfish greed.
Germany has one of the most robust economies in the world today, and they also have a far better regulated economy than we do. This is simply because Germany is not ran by a corrupt government that only serves themselves and their donors.
To demonstrate the stark difference between how people view socialist policies, such as higher taxation on the rich, consider the following quote from a German citizen. When asked how they felt about paying a higher percentage of their wage to the state, this was the reply:
‘Yes, it can be disheartening to see this much money leave your pay check, but I owe it to my country and the next generation. My success is not solely down to my efforts. The infrastructure built by generations before me and their tax contributions played a huge part in it – it is my responsibility to repay the favour to future generations’
Not only do German citizens have a different take on taxation, but also the state is actually expanding, rather than selling off publicly owned infrastructure.
This is most evident in the fact that Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s rail service, is still under public ownership, and the company is even expanding its operations overseas. For instance, while it is not at all well publicised, the German state owns quite a lot of vital infrastructure in the UK such as Arriva (which is now the operator of the Northern rail franchise), 50% shareholder in the London Overground Rail Operation, and has applied to operate services under the Great North Western Railway brand.
So in a time when our government is beating the drum for privitisation, we are actually being bought out by other state operators, thereby further removing capital from our already depleted economy.
The Tories argue that they are the party of economic responsibility and Labour would decimate the economy. But, this is demonstrably false.
Time and time again research has found that the best way to stimulate the economy is to stop selling publicly owned infrastructure to the highest bidder and increase the taxes on the rich. This, however, is never going to happen with our current government because many of the Tory donors are greedy elitists (see Lord Ashcroft).
This latest announcement of amoral, nonsensical, capitalist greed by Royal Mail, is becoming all too commonplace. This can only continue for so long before we reach a point of no return.
We need a Labour government now, not because of a deep hatred of the Tories, or because of a ridiculous sense of tribalism, but because the Tories have us on a path towards economic devastation.
Surely the needs of the many matter far outweighs the need to further line the pockets of the few.
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