General Article Mind your own business

Topic Selected: Business
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By Patience Wheatcroft

Who will rescue capitalism? As the voices of its critics grow louder, those of us who would defend the moneymakers must not be cowed. But even the most ardent supporters of the profit motive would probably concede that capitalism has been veering in the wrong direction, providing sufficient ammunition for its detractors to raise doubts over the sustainability of the system itself. With public anger over bankers in particular, and ‘fat cats’ in general, politicians ?– of all parties ?– have seen an opportunity to empathise with demonstrators’ banners and the shrieking from the media.
Warm, even occasionally wise, words have flowed, defining how capitalism should be. David Cameron wants it to be ‘fair’; Ed Miliband wants it to be ‘responsible’; and Nick Clegg favours the John Lewis variety. All admirable sentiments, but just try legislating for such ideals ?– let alone policing them. That is why, after almost every minister and backbencher has had their say, all...

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