Some interesting poll results have just been released, investigating what the British public think about our economy and the ways to fix it. The poll, by YouGov for the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, strongly suggests we're giving up on capitalism and want the state to run more of the economy.
The pollsters find that 45 per cent of the public think the government should have the power to set private rents, compared to 43 per cent who don't. For setting energy prices it was 74-18. For public transport it was 72-19.
Strong opinions from us Brits so far, but these firm feelings extend further.
Beyond a majority disagreeing with the sale of Royal Mail 35 per cent of the electorate support price controls on food and groceries, even if 55 per cent don't. We also responded in support of nationalising of the energy companies, where the counts came in at 68-21.
It seems modern Brits really don't think our economy is run fairly and we are making our voices heard.
No wonder we're angry
I'm not surprised British people feel this way given we're still recovering from the biggest financial crisis in living memory, witnessing bailouts and massive support for sectors that had privately enjoyed the good times.
We're also struggling under a rising cost of living, energy bills and inflation. (I personally find my cost of living going up rather a lot more than the official CPI estimates suggest).
To top it all off we see a small, super-wealthy elite, collecting more and more of the wealth in society.
It really doesn't feel fair.
As renegade economist, Max Keiser quipped on Have I Got News For You last week, 'And you wonder why people feel like they're getting shafted!'
Err... I'm confused
The confusing thing amongst this all is that we've witnessed what happens when the state takes complete control of an economy. The Soviet's command-and-control economy didn't exactly deliver great service, choice or competition for ordinary people.
Yet, the majority of us think we need more state involvement.
There are indeed heated debates about this subject. The FT had a series last year called the 'Crisis of capitalism', whilst some are calling for socialist responses to our problems.
All I know is that the sector in the economy that I think serves me best is the market for food and groceries. There are many corner shops for me to use in London, then there are Tesco and Sainsburys Metros and if I want to do a large shop I can also get down to a huge ASDA or Sainsburys a bit further out of town.
Plenty of competition in this sector gives me lots of choice and good prices.
The thought of half of these supermarkets being bailed out by the government seems madness and immoral. If Sainsburys and ASDA were failing because their customers didn't like them anymore, that's their own fault and they should pay the price. I also don't think a bureaucracy could deliver these services as well. The food stores that serve us best should be the ones to thrive the most.
So what are we to do?
Amongst all the voices and opinions, I've been nodding my head more and more to what this Max Keiser guy has been saying recently.
He thinks this is a dirty, immoral problem of crony-capitalism.
What is crony-capitalism then?
Crony-capitalism is essentially where the state's intervention favours some market participants over others and where consumers suffer the effects of protected cartels, high prices and bad services.
It's where some insiders receive special favours and where powerful, lobbying interests get their noses in the trough. Most importantly it's where friends of the state get protected from failure. All this is financed by us taxpayers and consumers.
I don't know about you, but this sounds rather a lot like the economy today.
Whilst I'm sure we've not got it right as things stand, I wonder if socialism and more government involvement is really the way forward.
Maybe it's a problem of crony-capitalism after all.Suggest a correction