The Scavenger: These Foolish Things: All capitalists now?
All capitalists now?
The controversial Welsh water and electricity company Hyder wants to flush out 50,000 small shareholders because they are too expensive to deal with. The company is spending £150,000 on Project Shrink to persuade the investors to sell their shares. It hopes to save £40,000 a year on printing and distributing annual reports and dealing with dividend payments . . . Other water and electricity companies are understood to be planning to follow Hyder’s example and purge share registers of small but expensive shareholders.
(Financial Mail on Sunday. 23 February.)
Competition? Not likely!
After 18 months of haggling, the giant De Beers organisation is about to reassert its iron grip on the $50 billion world diamond market . . . For nearly two years Russia has been trying to circumvent De Beers’ near monopoly on the market. Producers in Australia, Angola, and possibly from the nascent Canadian diamond industry are already doing so. But now Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin is poised to sign a new agreement to sell the bulk of its diamond production exclusively through De Beers’ Central Selling Organisation. Two-thirds of the world’s diamonds reach the market through the controversial cartel . . . De Beers spends $200 million annually reinforcing the image of diamonds around the world.
(Financial Mail on Sunday, 23 February.)
When George Soros speaks, the world’s markets listen. This time, though, they may not believe what they hear. Mr Soros is proclaiming that capitalism and its system of speculative trading — the same system that has brought him billions — has supplanted Communism as the principle threat to freedom . . . “I have made a study of the international Financial markets, and yet I now feel that the untrammelled intensification of laissez-faire capitalism and the spread of market values into all areas of life is endangering our open and democratic society.”
(Independent, 17 January.)
Wealth versus ecology
Kuwait, Iran and other oil producing countries are demanding financial compensation from the industrialised world for loss of revenue if any new action is taken to curb global warming.
(Guardian, 20 February.)
In an article co-written by Professor Andrew Haines of the Royal Free Hospital. Dr Smith [editor of the British Medical Journal] said wealth was the single most important driver of health world wide, even more important than smoking. The authors said: “We are beginning to understand that, for developed countries, relative poverty — having an income substantially below the mean for that society — is a more important influence on health than absolute poverty (lacking the basic means to live).” They said things are getting worse, not better, with the gap between rich and poor tending to widen between and within countries — with inevitable effects on health.
(Herald, 21 February.)
Business is war!
Letting your colleagues train with the Reserve Forces doesn’t just contribute to the country’s defence. It also develops qualities of leadership, motivation and initiative in your staff that are vital in helping to drive business forward . . .THE VOLUNTEER RESERVE FORCES. BRITAIN’S BEST KNOWN BUSINESS SECRET. Issued by the National Employers Liaison Committee on behalf of the Territorial Army and the Volunteer Reserves of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force.