Capitalism all about self-interest

IN response to D Croft’s letter, I wonder if readers can spot the common thread running through this collection of statistics.

The combined wealth of the richest 85 people on the planet is greater than that enjoyed by over half of the global population, 3.5 billion approx. Put another way, each has a worth 42 million times that of the poorest individual.

Britain’s big six water companies have pocketed £11bn in dividends in the past decade while increasing bills by 55 per cent. Last year they generated £1.75 billion in combined profits but handed over only £45 million in corporation tax to the exchequer. This amount came entirely from Southern and United Utilities while none of the other four, Thames, Anglian, Severn Trent and Yorkshire paid a bean.

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Top players in the sainted Premier League earn more in a week than the average worker is paid for 6.5 years of effort.

Eighty per cent of private sector jobs created by this coalition are in London, the next nine biggest cities created only 10pc. For every two public sector jobs lost in cities up and down the country, one has now been created in the capital. Not that the description ‘created’ comes even close to being accurate. Fifty per cent of the total are individual self-employed start ups by those made redundant, 25pc are part-time and 10pc have become estate agents along with 600,000 others. In the past three years more has been invested in London than in the rest of the UK, money always follows the money.

Okay, it is that unfettered capitalism, given enough leeway, invariably begets greed on a grand scale. The beast is simply unable to resist temptation, a consequence which is truly regrettable because no other option is available with the clout to repair the damage it has done. Not that you would notice any eating of humble pie on that score; even as I write the bars, clubs, car showrooms and tailors in the city are reporting a huge surge of activity as our banker friends indulge themselves all over again.

As for the 50p tax, Balls is morally spot on but naive in the extreme. Those with money are paranoid about keeping it and they don’t pay taxes if they can avoid it. Nasty capitalists Mr Croft? I reckon determinedly self-interested would be a better description.

Ian Hoyle, Broom Valley Road, Rotherham