Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Capital vices

With all due respect to those two made-up characters Boris™ and Gordon Gekko, it strikes me that greed is getting rather too much attention. After all, if you're going to tell an anecdotal just-so story about how an apparent vice actually leads the best and brightest in our capitalist system to deliver the best of all possible worlds, there are another six, rather less hackneyed, Deadly Sins (AKA Capital Vices) to choose from:

Envy is excellent
BoJo referred to the economically stimulating effect of trying to 'keep up with the Joneses' in his speech, so why not give Envy the proper name-check it deserves, instead of lazily recycling an old '80s movie quote?

Sloth is splendid
Speaking of laziness, proponents of the work ethic might think you can only get out what you put in, but we all know that it's not really hard work that counts, but efficiency. And what is efficiency but using the smallest possible input to create a given amount of output? Working smarter, not harder, is good. The desire to escape from hard work drives innovation, from the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner to the microwave oven and the pre-prepared meal-in-a-minute that it heats up.

Lust is laudable
'There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible' (P.J. O'Rourke). Ergo, economic activity is driven forward by our pursuit of wealth, status and excellence, which in turn is clearly driven by our primal urges which must, therefore, be good - see also envy (above), greed conspicuous consumption, advertising, etc, etc.

 Gluttony is Great
British companies are world leaders in both the processed food sector and the diet industry and make innovative use of the synergy between the two to create shareholder value:
There now exist two clear and separate markets. One is the overweight, many of whom go on endless diets, losing and then regaining the weight, and providing a constant revenue stream for the both the food industry and the diet industry throughout their adult lives.
The UK dieting industry contributes around £2bn a year to the British economy, a success story that ought to make everybody very proud (except a few fanatical Marxist weirdos who still apparently think profit is some kind of dirty word).

Pride is patriotic
And while we're on the subject of pride, did not The Blessed Margaret herself (this was, after all, the Third Margaret Thatcher Lecture) remind us that 'tremendous pride in your country' is one of those Victorian Values to which we should all aspire? And she also told us that we should be really proud of ourselves when we do the right thing, (like, say, breaking a strike):
Yet we can remember that on Monday, nearly a quarter of the members of NUR turned up for work.

Today, we appeal to every train driver to put his family, his comrades, and his country first, by continuing to work tomorrow. That is the true solidarity which can save jobs and which stands in the proud tradition of British railwaymen.*

Wrath is wonderful
And what else do we remember about the Blessed Margaret? Mostly that she was very cross for rather a lot of the time; full of righteous anger with those she held responsible for Britain's national decline, handbag-swingingly irate with Europe, hopping mad with tax-and-spend socialists, exasperated with wets and bleeding-heart liberals who 'just drool and drivel they care.' And she used that anger to change the country, smiting the miners with her wrath, preparing the way for a home-owning, share-owning, free-booting, deregulated enterprise society 'tapestry of men and women and people' [sic] and , by her own estimation, leaving 'the United Kingdom in a very, very much better state than when we came here eleven and a half years ago.' Getting mad clearly drove her to get things done, which has to be A Good Thing, right?

Expect the competing demands of mayoral speech writing to lead to light blogging round these parts in the near future...


*Update - this doesn't actully explain how Pride makes us all rich, but I'm guessing that, if you're a smart cornflake, you've already worked out that Pride was a Victorian Value and Victorian Values make a nation rich, as we all know from the fact that when we were all Victorians, Britain was the Top Nation.