Quote from Friedman
" there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engage in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
The only problem with the above is that large corporations have consistently lobbied government ( particularly in the UK ) to change the rules. The rot probably first set in after Dennis Healey took out the IMF loan in the mid 1970s. Ever since science and engineering has been increasingly infiltrated in order to produce the most profitable outcome from research in order to generate false economic growth on the stock market.
My personal business ideology was formed as I was brought up in a village corner shop which made its own ice cream. Also before leaving school I worked part time at a local small haulage contractor, dropped out of tech when they tried to indoctrinate me with corporate business theory but stayed long enough to get the general idea.
My first real exposure to the corporate world was whilst working as a HGV driver delivering metal pressings to Ford plants in the mid 1980s. I was on friendly terms with the owner of said engineering business who would openly admit that he would make far more money if he had his capital investment in a building society. He had to buy all the steel from Ford at their price ( they could probably justify this on quality control grounds ) but when one really bad quality batch went rusty as soon as it was pressed, he had to pay to try to clean it up. Said engineering company arranged all their transport but then Ford demanded that they use Ford's own corporate haulage sub contractor at extra expense and inconvenience. We lost the job but it was said later that Ford had sent in a team of managers to run said engineering works which then soon went into administration. Although we technically lost our jobs due to Ford transport policy the union did nothing to help us even though our replacements were in foreign vehicles and consistently breaking the drivers hours regulations.
In between hauling metal pressings we did muti drop chemicals throughout the UK. You could tell how a company treated its workforce by the way they dealt with you as far as getting quickly unloaded. It was always a pleasure to visit ICI sites, but that was in the days before most of the company was sold off and then virtually asset stripped for instant profit. Large companies like ICI always managed to retain their share price whilst providing decent working conditions and terms for their workforce, at least until the 1987 stock market crash. I can't remember whether the following is in strict chronological order, but I was informed first hand that when Guinness took over Distillers ( in a dodgy deal ) the rent of small arable farmers in west Lancashire was doubled overnight, a pattern which was to become all too familiar in the 1990s.
On the politics side, it would appear that Thatcher would not play their false economic growth to plug the black hole in the stock market game and so they tricked her into introducing the Poll Tax after which she was compelled to resign. Just as soon as Major got elected in his own right the false economic growth regulations were trotted out regularly. As far as personal experience was concerned we were hit by new sheeting regulations at the quarries, Tilcon must have know it was in the pipeline as they had sold the majority of their road haulage sector to Fewston, a company set up by the banks and profit based on sub letting haulage work to smaller haulage contractors. Tilcon had always bought several new British built Foden eight-wheelers every year but Fewston switched to Swedish Scania, the haulage rates never went up to cover the costs of sheeting, many experience drivers left due to the health implications ( including myself with back problems ). The net result was the Sowerby Bridge Disaster in which several people lost their lives after a Fewston wagon ran away down the steep hill, caused by an inexperienced incompetent ex-police just passed HGV test driver " pumping " the air brakes. Of course Tilcon escaped any vicarious liability at the time but the ministry of transport came in and got the haulage rates increased, after which Tilcon was subsequently taken over. All to prevent a bit of harmless dust getting onto the yuppies who had moved into the Dales new BMW's.
Then came Traffic Calming, and it in not simple coincidence that Hyndburn ( the first local authority to introduce widespread traffic calming ) was one of the first local authorities forced to sell its corporation bus fleet. One first rate coachbuilder I knew left ( Stagecoach ) Ribble Blackburn depot to become top man at Hyndburn Transport, only to leave after a couple of weeks later because the urgent repair workload ( due to running over traffic calmed streets ) was impossible to keep up with, he was such a good man that Ribble instantly gave him his old job back. Corporate Stagecoach picked up Hyndburn Transport on the cheap in a bent deal arranged with the bent Labour leader of the council who pushed the traffic calming in the first place, the first class engineering depot ( on a prime site ) was asset striped and sold. Other corporation transport operations have fallen to the corporates since due to being unable to even break even, and not being able to access new investment for more modern vehicles. Another false economic growth investment scam was " disabled access to public transport ", the corporates were all for it after sorting a bent deal with the minister in charge who's son was employed in a top management position by one of them. Just for the extra interest payments alone it would have been possible to provide a 24/7 dial up free taxi service to anywhere in the UK for anybody claiming DLA. Perhaps this prime example of politically correct lunacy is the main reason why its far cheaper per mile to run your car than use public transport because the fares are so high now in many areas. We have now reached a point where local authorities are forced to subsidise the majority of bus services using the council tax, the corporate bus operators taking the angle that if they can't turn a fat profit they wont run the service. Thatcher's bus privatisation plan has been amply proven an abject failure, short of total re-nationalisation the way forward now is efficient regulation with the bus operators turned into virtual road haulage contractors to the local council, who would collect all the fares and organise all the timetables.
Both the above false economic growth generating scams come via the EU but more recently motor industry funded alleged charities have been set up to demand legislation on the grounds of " road safety ", but their impact has been nothing compared to the influence of environmental NGO's on government policy. Perhaps their first major victory was when Ken Clarke introduced the Road Fuel Tax Escalator, of course big business said nothing perhaps because they were prepared to run with anything which could prevent the top rate of income tax being increased and the resultant drop in funds to their " stock market parasites ", hedge funds and the like. It didn't have any real impact at first but Labour was favourite to win the 1997 election and if there was a working brain between them they must have realised the RFTE made particularly northern manufacturing industry uncompetitive. However, Brown just carried on with it and by 1998 I can recall that hundreds of once well secure " household name " manufacturing jobs were being lost every week. This continued until the Farmers For Action fuel protests and ending of the RTFE in 2000, but by this time the " stock market parasites " had got it into their DNA that asset stripping British industry was far more profitable in the short term than actually trying to run it efficiently. By this time global big business had organised itself into a virtual Corporate Multinational Cartel ( CMC ) which prevented any real competition in an alleged " free market ", with direct services to the public contracted out to franchise holders in many cases. I suspect that the general public have no idea what the vast majority of FTSE listed companies actually do anymore, and therefore it is impossible for members of the public to take any direct action against them by withholding their trade. Take the toxic waste dumping in Africa more recently, it is impossible to decipher which major company was actually responsible, almost everyone in the chain escapes vicarious liability with the investment in the " shell company " which probably goes bust to pay the fines being insured by credit default swaps. The sting in the tail is that if it was not for alleged environmental groups bleating about non existent toxic pollution with the latest technology we could have created well paid sustainable jobs in the UK.
That neatly brings us onto the next eco scam, household / industrial waste incineration or lack of it as far as the UK is concerned. Eco groups have bleated so loud over the last 20 years about toxic emission that most brain dead politicians ( at least where engineering or science is concerned ) have done everything they can to appease them. Many councils are now contracted to mega expensive " waste treatment plants ", which probably cause anyone local far more noxious smell than any incinerator could ever do. The most logical way to dispose of waste is to incinerate and generate electricity, in rural areas where the potential smell is well away from residential areas but also to allow the construction of glasshouses in order to use any waste heat in order to grow the exotic fruit and vegetables currently imported by environmentally damaging air freight. Of course the UK is not allowed to do this because it hits the CMC in two areas, the energy sector ( electricity from incineration could reduce market prices ) and the airlines which indirectly hits the oil section of the cartel. Environmentalists have made a big noise about disposable carrier bags and other alleged excess packaging but if they were burnt to generate electricity we could reduce demand on other fuels. The UK has 300 years supply of good quality coal in the ground yet the environmentalists say we should not use it because there would appear to be doubts about the practicality of the most expensive option for capture of CO2. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel plants can be significantly reduced growing Chlorella, a fast growing Chinese pond slime which itself can be used as fuel, yet no UK research as I believe Shell hold the rights and they would prefer investment in gas ?
Despite all the environmentalist's rhetoric about standing up against big business it would appear that most of the policy they promote is in actual fact increasing the influence of the CMC over the UK economy, oil companies want an alleged low carbon economy in order to force up the market price of gas. Similarly the alleged environmentalists pushed for the introduction of traffic calming in towns which probably increases road transport pollution emissions by at least 10% on a national basis. The main question is how have the alleged environmentalists managed to get Carbon Dioxide classed as a pollutant in the first instance, the man made global warming theory is based on dubious science to say the least, but like most science I expect that research is skewed to reflect the interest of the CMC. Meanwhile its likely that implementing the Climate Change Act will result in the mass asset stripping of UK manufacturing industry on a scale not seen since the RFTE before 2000, it doesn't help that foreign aid money is allegedly being used to buy up mothballed UK machine tools on the cheap for export via third world countries.
Meanwhile UK citizen stakeholders are being sold short by the politicians for the benefit of the " stock market parasites " and false economic growth which continually increases the " financial apartheid " between rich and poor. Within the next 10 years the energy industry will fall to the same fate as Railtrack after the Hatfield crash in 2000, wind farms are a pointless waste of scarce investment. Evidence from Denmark and Germany shows that they have not closed a single fossil fuel plant, in fact Germany has had to open new fossil fuel plants to prevent power cuts. ( probably not helped by the fact that Germany also backs up Denmark ) The UK faces the real possibility of regular power cuts which could precipitate total anarchy in our larger towns and cities, the situation is not helped by the fact that if anyone dare open a new power station or gas storage facility the alleged environmentalists are round there quick sharp with a fleet of corporate lawyers demanding a public enquiry. It would appear that the primary focus of mainstream alleged environmental groups has nothing to do with protecting the ecology of our planet ( export pollution to China and India ) and everything to do with inflating the cost of living in the UK, false economic growth which can be expressed as an increasing number on stock market indices.