Via Larry Gambone at Porcupine Blog
. George Monbiot's got a great article at The Guardian
: "They bleat about the free market, then hold out their begging bowls
In the submission [the Confederation of British Industry] made to the chancellor's pre-budget report, it demanded that the government spend less on everything except business. The state should cut its planned spending on health, social security and local authorities, and use some of the savings to protect and enhance its "support and advisory services for trade and businesses". Our higher-education budget should be used to supply free research for corporations. The regional development agencies should "expand their activities to support more extensive business-to-business networking and collaboration". Further road taxes should be abandoned, and the climate-change levy "should be frozen", but the government should help businesses by building more roads and airports. This is what the CBI means by free enterprise.
....In his book Perverse Subsidies, published in 2001, Professor Norman Myers estimates that when you add the direct payments US corporations receive to the wider costs they oblige society to carry, you come up with a figure of $2.6 trillion, or roughly five times as much as the profits they make. As well as the $362bn the OECD countries were paying for farming when his book was published (or rather, as we have seen, for activities masquerading as farming) they were shelling out about $71bn on fossil fuels and nuclear power and a staggering $1.1 trillion on road transport....
This week the rich countries gathering for the World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong will tell the poor ones to open their economies to the free market. But the free market does not exist. In every nation the corporations hold out their begging bowls and tax-payers line up to fill them. We are the ragged-trousered philanthropists of the 21st century, the comparatively poor obliged to sponsor the rich.