By waving through BT’s takeover of EE, the government’s competition watchdog has again put corporate interests ahead of the public interest.
Innovation, productivity and growth have slowed down since the 1970s. Our global, free-market economy isn’t as dynamic and entrepreneurial as we’re lead to believe.
The public sector is expected to innovate and reform in response to failure. But however badly or frequently they fail, the basic model for private sector firms has stayed unreformed for 300 years.
Many British firms are just investment vehicles with nothing inside. Maximising profits alone cannot provide businesses or anyone else with a meaningful purpose.
They don’t really “own” firms, they provide a minority of the capital and they don’t care much about what happens to them. So why do shareholders call the shots?
Merger mania may excite senior managers and speculators but it isn’t good news for firms or the economy in the long run. This conflict between individual and collective good is as old as economics itself.