A New Clash of Civilisations – against businesses
You may have heard of the Clash of Civilisations between the West and the East. But what might have slipped you by is that there is far more evidence for a clash between people and business – a global clash, but one that will happen within rather than between countries. In recent years global growth has far outstripped GDP growth. Multinational corporations are gaining more and more power by the year. In fact it’s one of my many ideas for a novel; to implicitly parallel the growth of businesses and power of CEOs with the growth of Roman Legions and power of Generals like Caesar. You can probably guess where the novel would go if I ever get round to writing it. But where will reality go?
We don’t talk about a clash not because it’s not there, but because people are taking this lying down. In the latest budget the UK Coalition announced that it was slashing taxes for businesses, and saving money by taking away benefits for the poor. This is in the people’s interests it is claimed, as businesses bring jobs. But hold on, since the 1970s businesses have shifted from a ‘Retain and Reinvest’ model of corporate governance towards a ‘Downsize and Distribute’ one, which has meant much higher unemployment, declining real incomes, and a growing rich-poor divide. Only Germany that I can think of, insists on its businesses valuing employee wellbeing as well as profits
People are frustrated and feel under-valued all the way around the world. We can see this simply in the fact that the protestor was named 2011’s Times person of the year. And Occupy, the biggest protest movement worldwide, is not really protesting against governments so much as it is against businesses. Governments say they can’t do anything about it. But I say we must. It is not people we need to fight against. It is systems. And today we have made some pretty big systems, which actually fight against the wellbeing of the people!
What are your thoughts?