Common sense analysis of this, that and the other

Why the surprise?

with 3 comments

Since starting out in business, I have constantly questioned why the stock market exists, and more recently, the other non tactile concept, currency speculation. Before anyone starts thinking “oh hear we go, an anti-capitalist rant”, I am a keen Thatcherite (oh we so need her now!) many of the most successful smaller but viable businesses, such as Dyson and John Lewis (both superb British companies) are private or employee owned, and a lot more ethical and common sense based than the huge lumbering planet destroying public companies out there whose policy and corporate ethics is linked to the nasty laws they have to obey on behalf of their stockholders. Such laws ENCOURAGE them to get up to all sorts of maleficence, from selling sensitive customer data to drilling and spilling oil wherever they can. All because growth (on a non expanding spherical planet) MUST continue – ad infinitum! What a ridiculous concept! I know intellectuals do get annoying by saying this, but we do really allow some very dumb and greedy people into positions of far too much power on this increasingly frustrated planet.

As I type this, unsurprisingly, the global economy is in turmoil, effecting people and organisations who have done little or nothing to contribute to the problems – including many businesses, pensioners and the (already) poor.

When in the USA, (as mentioned elsewhere on this blog or in former pre-blogging broadcast emails to my colleagues in the US ), I highlighted the fact that by owning stock in a company, one creates a conflict of interest in friendships. a) If I am working on a secret project and a friend owns stock in a competitor, that puts said friendship under strain. Yes, friend could work at the competitor itself, but a single individual can own stock in multiple competitors. b) Related, knowing someone with stock in your own company would make it easy to inadvertently provide them insider information – therefore breaking the law.

Like currency trading and other speculative economic concepts, I just find the whole stock market thing a bit like SMS text messaging and Twitter, pointless and achievable using alternative more robust methods. If it is so great, why are so many Scandinavian countries that do not rely on a stock market driven economy so successful, happy, clean and green?

Fight back club: Only invest in the tactile. So hop in the Tardis and buy some gold at 2005 rates!

I have written this post very very quickly and it needs a big edit when time allows. FYI, for the last few years, I have been taking note of how many people I meet, talk to or just observe and concluded that only about 10% of those who read my blog will even agree with it. And I find that very very worrying, not for personal or ego reasons, but because if that is the case, then the West is definitely doomed. Ironically, the increasing number of people (of all classes) taking up allotments to grow their foodstuffs is evidence that subconsciously, those of all opinions sense deep down that something apocalyptic comes this way…


Written by Oflife

August 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm

3 Responses

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  1. It is a shame about Maggie, she could sell off some more publicly run resources? Fuel bills up by 18% after huge profits? They can do this because they are now private companies. When my grandmother freezes to death this winter I’ll be sure to think of Maggie.

    Dyson a hero who has moved his factories abroad to save on tax.


    August 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    • Agreed re the energy companies, but that is something the previous government had plenty of time to rectify but didn’t. The lack of investment by the West in safe renewable energy is a catastrophic mistake that is now coming back to bite us, both due to the fact we’re relying on foreign companies (EON etc) to supply us, and there are no readily available safe renewable energy sourced that would solve many of our problems (political and environmental) in one go. As per a site my employer is developing at, (it is biased towards solar energy), once we are able to power a good 25% of each home’s energy requirements using solar, people’s fuel bills will drop. With regards Dyson, investing in foreign companies is good for global stability, so I support it. Dyson harnesses British engineering expertise, but if other nations (who would otherwise become despotic and destabilise their regions) can focus their energy on manufacturing products for us of high quality at low cost, everyone wins.

      Consider China, we, Russia and/or the US could have been at war with her by now (most political visionaries of the 80s believed that would happen), but she has been given a dignified status in the world and in a few years, will (hopefully!) be like South Korea and Japan, turning out quality goods and employing people globally, just as Toyota and Honda are today. (Honda have a large plant in Swindon, Toyota employ thousands of Americans across the San Francisco bay from where I used to live.)

      Anyway, you didn’t comment on my point about the stock market. That was the focus of my admittedly somewhat rushed post.

      Denis? You’re having me on! He was quite a character, loved his Spitting Image likeness. They should continue the show, many opportunities missed over the last few years.

      Alex B

      August 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm

  2. Hi Alex,

    Nice little blog post you’ve written!

    In terms of the unrest in London and elsewhere around the UK (including my home city of Bristol), I don’t feel that “riot” is the right word… its just plain hooliganism and criminal opportunism, there isn’t a huge amount of politics involved (of course there probably are a few people who do believe that they are doing it for political reasons).

    That said, we do need to recover the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. What you mention about “happy, clean and green” economy/business I completely agree with.

    This is why I believe in Liberalism (in both the classical and modern forms) (but I’m certainly not a Thatcherite – as you know). You are right to mention Dyson (a truly innovative company) and the John Lewis Partnership (a nice form of mutualism). I’d also like to extend that further to other ethical companies: Marks & Spencer (in my opinion leaders in ethical selling of food and clothes), Riverford (organic food franchise, yes its a franchise but they do it fantastically), Triodos Bank (Ethical Banking with its history in the Steiner-Anthroposophy Movement) and Co-Operatives (Food, Bank, Phone Co-op, Software Co-Op, and all those other small and large co-ops around the world).

    We should be applauding the following groups:
    * The co-operative/mutualist movements within Political Parties (ALDCO, The Conservative Co-operative Movement, and The (Labour) Co-Op Party) and outside of politics (e.g. the ICA)
    * The Green movements within Political Parties (including the Green Party itself) and outside of politics
    * The Transition Network ( )

    Happy, Clean and Green. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

    We don’t need violence, hooliganism, criminal-opportunism to achieve this… we just need to work it all out together, collectively, collaboratively and co-operatively.


    Daniel Lewis

    August 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

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