Friday, October 5, 2012

Richard Branson's "Plan B" for Capitalism

By, Chris Rossini
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Not so long ago, Richard Branson was deserving of some cheers. The high profile businessman wrote that it's time to end the War on Drugs.

But alas, the excitement turns out to be short-lived.

The Economist tells us about:
Richard Branson’s big idea for building a better version of capitalism.
Ok...A couple of things right off the bat.

First, this implies that what we have now is capitalism. We do not. Sure, there are small pockets that exist, but for the most part, government has its hands involved down to the amount of water allowed in each toilet bowl.

Second, a capitalistic world is not "built". In fact, the exact opposite is true. When you remove the "builders," the "coercive regulators," the "bureaucrats," what you're left with is liberty and capitalism.

Markets, prices, exchanges, and contracts are made voluntarily. The only thing that the "builders" do is interfere (while lining their pockets in the process).

Branson likes that idea, and he'll have some crony "builders" help him along:
The idea is to form a small group of business leaders who will campaign for reforms to make capitalism more oriented to the long term and socially more responsible...
A consultation exercise is already under way to find which reforms are ripe to be pushed through. Proper accounting for environmental impact, an end to quarterly reporting of results and the phasing-out of fossil-fuel subsidies are likely to be near the top of the list.
Ah yes, you're a chump if you're not in the "environmental impact" game.

Private property? Markets & prices? Supply & Demand? Those are fringe concepts. You're not going to get a photo-op with Al Gore, or a posh fundraiser by talking about "private property".
One reason to be optimistic is that many of these reforms have strong support from the generation of leaders now rising to the top of the corporate world, who are often deeply unhappy with the practices and norms bequeathed by their elders...
The fact that such thinking is "rising to the top of the corporate world" bodes very badly for the rest of us. No longer is the primary drive a desire to satisfy our most urgent wants as consumers. Instead, resources are allocated to the wishes and values of elitists.

This is not a Plan B for Capitalism.

It's a Plan A for Fascism.


  1. Richard Branson has learned the 'game,' namely crony capitalism, or have the public pay for your stadiums, spaceports, what have you, and certainly socialize any losses.

    Welcome to the world's first spaceport! Richard Branson opens $209m terminal where tourists will blast into orbit
    By Associated Press
    05:41 EST, 18 October 2011
    It is the luxury terminal where wealthy tourists will blast into orbit for $200,000 per return trip.
    And Virigin's new space terminal in the New Mexico desert looked suitably futuristic as it was unveieled yesterday
    The $209million taxpayer-financed spaceport will be a launch station for people and payloads on the rocket ships being developed for Virgin Galactic.
    Branson was joined by Governor Susana Martinez, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and scores of would-be space travellers at the terminal-hangar for the dedication.

    With custom metal panelling and massive panes of glass, the state-of-the-art terminal rises from the desert floor to face the nearly 2-mile(3.2-kilometer) concrete runway.

  2. "The idea is to form a small group of business leaders who will campaign for reforms to make capitalism more oriented to the long term and socially more responsible..."

    "Campaign", huh? So that's what they're calling crony capitalism, political patronage, and influence peddling these days? What could possibly go wrong? Bob's right, the elite definitely have their own lingo.

    1. EPJ: "First, this implies that what we have now is capitalism. We do not."

      I've been thinking the same thing myself lately, er, more-so anyway. For instance, I pull up to the pharmacy drive-thru and there's a sign which says the "law" requires the pharmasits to explain the perscription. Then there's the tobbacco shop which has a sign on the door saying no one under eighteen is allowed into the store due to zFed Agriculture Department dictate. And of course there's the signs on every door to a gasoline station saying state law requires everyone to wear shoes and shirts or no service.

      This all got me to wondering, wHAt percentage of decisions are made by the business owner vs. those made by the state/fedgov.?

      I'll bet it's close to 1:99.

      I wonder if anyone has ever calculated this percentage?

      "... to make capitalism more oriented to the long term and socially more responsible..." Reminds me of this:

      - Insert video of Communist Party memeber walking out of a store in China saying, "If anything happens to that tree growing by your store entrance you're going to be in BIG trouble!" -

      I used to think that China example was over the top, but now...

      - clark

  3. "more orientated to the long term and socially more responsible"

    Whose time preference does "long term" apply to? Whose subjective notion is "socially more responsible" derived from? Let me guess, the rent-seeking cronies who want the present coercive-extractionist apparatus to distribute wealth and resources in their direction...

  4. I can't believe Branson is that stupid. What did the Central Bank Terrorists promise him? Capitalism is free-people in free-markets and not something built and controlled by murdering psychotic political terrorists. Branson has to know that.

  5. "Knighthood" means you carry out what Our Owners want....

  6. Haven't we heard this type of talk a million times before? It always boils down to more government control and more crony capitalism. Also, I don't get how withholding a company's quarterly performance from investors and the public can with a straight face be called "reform". This isn't "plan B" capitalism. This is a bunch of economic oligarchs doing PR and scheming to enrich themselves.

  7. Carlyle's David Rubenstein pushed this meme at Davos earlier this year.

    I'm sure it was big at the recent Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

  8. Plan B is just another name for fascism. Owners and operators of large businesses like fascism because it means government protection of their business, namely from competition. In the business world the biggest thing that creates value in a business is what is referred to as barrier to entry. Branson and his type know the higher the barrier, the less competition which then allows him to experiment with all his loony ideas he thinks are important without worrying about having his nuts cut off by a competitor that is giving customers what they really want. He also knows that since he's already implemented a lot of these things, that probably haven't paid off the way he expected, he can up their value by forcing all of his competitors to do the same thing. Sadly this is how a lot of business leaders think and is what really needs to be changed.