Sunday, November 30, 2008

Are Mandy's state planners any better than the failed Soviet Union's state planners?

This has to be one of the most depressing stories of the recession:

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has outlined plans to draw up a list of industries that could be saved from collapse during the economic downturn.
The thought that Mandy and a bunch of civil servants with zero business experience will start picking winners on which to squander my hard earned money sent a chill through me equal to the one when I heard interest rates were going up to 15%.

"Ah," I hear his supporters say in the beeb and Guardian say, "they will bring in outside experts to advise them". Yeah, right, and having given themselves the power to pick winners and throw even more cash around do you seriously believe politicians will relinquish it someone who else? Unless, of course, they are party hacks or sopperters*.

Let's think about how they might select industries and business to save. They will obviously need to give priorities to their deliberations. I suspect these will form the key criteria for selection:

1. Is it a Labour marginal?
2. Is it highly Unionised?
3. Is it a labour seat?
4. Have they donated to The Party?

If the answer to any of those is yes then it will probably get our money without question.
"He stressed the government was not going to "bail out" every ailing business or "prop up companies that are not viable".
So how will this work then. All business that meet the following criteria will be closed:

1. Is it a Tory seat?

This makes more people reliant on the State and likely to vote Labour.

Cynical, maybe, but I remember the 60's and 70's and how politicians, especially Labour politicians, can't help themselves. They are human after all and not only want to be liked, but they also want to protect their own jobs.

Thatcher fought tooth and nail to get us out of the mentality that politicians and civil servants are somehow omnipotent and can pick winners better than the market and what a painful process it was. It looks like we will have to relearn the lessons and submit ourselves to the pain once again.

1 comment:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Hang about, this is all wild speculation.

But this isn't (see page one of 'Executive summary').