Iain Dale supports Cameron's call for "capitalism with a conscience" over on his blog.
To be honest, I've not read either the Cameron speech or the blog entry, but the mere post title drives me into one of my rants. Capitalism with a conscience? It doesn't fucking exist, sunshine.
Capitalism is NOT nor has it ever been a political ideology. It is an economic system based on supply and demand, managed within markets and which performs best with light regulation. It is an economic system which is widely used by liberal western democracies, oppressive dictatorial regimes and totalitarian governments regardless of political ideology. Stop confusing capitalism with conservatism or any other political ideology - it isn't one and it sure has hell doesn't have a conscience!
This is how it works. Country A has an industry making trainers. It has a dozen or so companies all competing for business in country A and as they all have to comply with the same employment laws and regulations the production costs of their products are all within a few pounds of each other - say £30 - and a retail of around £40.
Country B has an industry making trainers, but few employment laws, a low wage economy and no qualms about either using child labour or making them work 80 hours a week. They have a dozen or so companies making trainers and as they all work within the same regulation the costs are within a few pence of each other - say £3 - retailing at £4.
For years and years country A refuses to allow country B to flog their trainers in country A and both nations have decent industries. Then along comes "free trade" and fuckwits like Cameron.
Country A removes trade barriers and cheap imports from country B start flooding in. Instead of selling them for just a quid profit they can now sell them at a £20 profit. Country B's training shoe industry thrives - country A's dies.
Country B now has a hundred companies making cheap trainers, still has bugger all employment law and still doesn't give a toss that 8 year olds are working 80 hours a week for tuppence an hour because it is earning shed loads of money from flogging trainers to stupid western nations. Capitalism doesn't have a conscience - it really is beggar thy neighbour if you let it. In fact, that is the whole fucking point of capitalism! When was the last time a BMW dealer suggested you check out the local Audi dealership instead of buying one of their motors?
That's capitalism for you. The whole point is to get an advantage over your competitors - whether that is in business or as a nation. It's great as long as you keep it inside your borders, but once you start trying make it work globally it really fucks your economy up big time - as we're discovering.
If we want a conscience with anything it is with our government - a conscience that demands that they govern according to the needs of their own people rather than anybody elses. Yes, that means British jobs for British workers and protectionism - because that means we stop importing dirt cheap products from foreign countries where they don't give a toss about employment law, child labour, human rights and oppressive government.
Anyone think Cameron is prepared to do it?