- Monday, 30 April 2012
- Written by Socialist Appeal
‘The combined wealth of the 1,000 richest men and women in Britain has reached Olympian heights in the past year, setting a Rich List record of more than £414 billion. The figure represents a 4.7% rise on the 2011 total of £395.8 billion and surpasses the previous high of £412.8 billion recorded in 2008, months before the financial crash from which the rest of the British economy is yet to recover.’
How can this be explained? The UK has just officially re-entered Recession although it could be asked, did we ever leave? Things are certainly not good for those on low pay and benefits. The government has just demanded another 5% be shaved off ministerial budgets. Yet things have never looked better for the super-rich. The truth is that capitalism has made it perfectly clear that they have no intention of taking the hit for the crisis they caused.
Most of the biggest rises are to be found amongst the ranks of the speculators rather than those in industry and retail who are obliged to gain wealth by producing – or more to the point getting their workers to produce – stuff. So we see the likes of David and Simon Reuben upping their wealth by £907 million on the back of property deals and internet operations. John Fredrikson has pocked another £400 million despite problems with his shipping empire by virtue of oil speculation and property holdings. Joseph Lau gained another £200 million thanks to property; the Duke of Westminster did even better with his property holdings with £350 million being added last year to his overall holdings of £7,350 million. Speculation, finance, wheeling and dealing, and so on… The most parasitic sections of capitalism have not so much weathered the storm as totally avoided it.
Of course, this is the section of capitalism that most captivates the thoughts of the Tory party. It is also the section of capitalism most keen in the introduction of austerity cuts by the government. Industry and production have tended towards the US option of throwing money at big business to fund growth rather than the other option of ruthless cutting supported by Osborne and Cameron – in reality a choice between defeat and losing. Both options appeal to different sections of the ruling class but neither have the advantage of actually working even from the point of view of capitalism. Industry thinks they will do better with the funding option but finance capital thinks not. Either way, the working class is the loser.For decades now, finance and speculation have dominated the ranks of British capitalism. They are nothing more than casino capitalists gambling at our expense. This continued gross pocketing of wealth at a time of cuts reveals just how rotten the system is and why we need socialism