Who cares?

Jan 22 2010 by Nicola Hunt Print This Article

After it's self-inflicted near-collapse the financial crisis and massive bail-out by the British taxpayer, it's hard to see how the Royal Bank of Scotland – now 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer - could make itself much more unpopular.

But never one to buck a challenge, RBS has managed to damage its brand in the eyes of the British public still further by agreeing to lend Kraft Foods hundreds of millions of pounds to buy chocolate maker Cadbury – something of a national institution – a move that will almost inevitably lead to job losses and damage the British economy.

As more than one commentator has pointed out, it seems utterly perverse that the UK taxpayer is essentially funding the destruction of an iconic brand and probably thousands of UK jobs in order to profit a US company.

No wonder this particular brand of leveraged capitalism isn't flavour of the month any more.

This comment posted yesterday on the Times Online by Richard Sullivan seems sums up the prevailing sentiment pretty neatly.

Welcome to the capitalism you all wanted so much....Company heritage? Who cares. Quaker traditional values? Who cares. Employee loyalty? Who cares. Local economy? Who cares. The quality product itself? Who cares. UK employment? Who cares. Just as long as the shareholders get a good profit, that's the only thing that counts.


Older Comments

It might also be added that this form of “shareholder capitalism” kills innovation. Profits are a short-term issue as viewed by shareholders who are not part of the company in terms of a long-standing relationship but as the result of someone fiddling in the stock market, and usually, short-term gains translate into long-term, broader losses. Such a perspective on business thus goes against innovation, which is one of the most important characteristics of capitalism itself, because research and development requires a kind of commitment that is very different to what is commonly seen among casual or speculative shareholders.

Pablo Edronkin Argentina