The Anatomy of Oligarchy, Part 94.

by Elias Blum

According to a recent article in The Telegraph, ATOS and G4S paid no corporation tax last year, despite recieving 2 billion pounds of public money.

The routine use of private companies to provide core public services, and the close and cosy relationship between those companies and the political class, highlights the intrinsically corrupt and oligarchic nature of neo-liberalism.

According to neo-liberal dogma, outsourcing public functions to the private sector, through companies like ATOS and G4S, is supposed to result in efficiency, cost savings, flexibility and better services.

The reality, of course, is often quite different.  In practice, the oligarchic state is a siphon that sucks up money from the working people and redissmall parasitic class of corporate directors and major shareholders. The companies can then use their financial power to lobby the state, inducing the state to divert ever more revenues into their hands.  The result is higher costs, worse service, and a corrupt, unresponsive state strangled by the corporate interests which it serves.

The injustice of this is plain to see. To allow corrupt special interests to triumph over the common good is to replace the democratic ideal of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ with the oligarchic reality of ‘government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich’.

You don’t need to be a tree-hugging hippie or a red flag waving member of the hard left to realise this. Wishing for public resources to be faithfully stewarded for the well-being of the whole community, and prioritising the everyday needs of ordinary people over the maximisation of profit for a small number of leeching companies, should not be a radical position. It should be the moderate, centre-ground, pragmatic mainstream of democratic politics. It should be something that all parties agree on.

Meanwhile, in other news, Alistair Darling (now ‘Lord Darling’, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the highly successful ‘Keep Scotland Poor, Wee and Stupid’ campaign), has been given a lucrative job at Morgan Stanley. Because that’s how oligarchy works: serve mammon, get your pieces of silver.