Voice From the Back

It’s All Greek to him
Another statement from the US government to rival that of the famous ‘Most of our imports come from abroad’ surfaced recently. George Bush is reported in the Sunday Times (21 July) as saying, ‘You know the trouble with the French, they don’t even have a word for entrepreneur’. With such a grasp of foreign affairs the fate of the free world is surely in safe hands.

New Labour and old workers
An independent charity, Action on Elder Abuse (AEA), have recently investigated more than 2,400 complaints about abuse suffered by the elderly. It makes sad reading for any worker who was foolish enough to vote for the Labour Party, at the last election. According to the survey, one in three old people suffer some form of psychological abuse; one in five is physically abused and the same number conned out of their savings; more than 10 percent are neglected and 2.4 percent sexually abused. Almost 400,000 old people receive home help from largely untrained carers funded by their local council, and the study’s authors fear the scale of abuse will rise after last week’s revelations that 64,000 places in care homes have been lost since Labour came to power in 1997, with the closure of 827 private and voluntary care homes last year alone. Observer (21 July)

Why we need socialism
During August the sponsor-a-child charity Plan launched a campaign for funds that revealed an appalling picture of world poverty inside capitalism. There are 600 million children who live on less than 70p a day – that’s more than ten times the UK population. In Africa, Latin America and large areas of Asia, acute poverty is depriving children of good health. They are dying needlessly from malnutrition and avoidable infections or diseases spread through contaminated water. So, there we have at least 600 million reasons why we need socialism.

Caring capitalism (1)
Under the headline of Carey to teach business moguls the joys of caring capitalism, we learn from the Sunday Times (4 August) how much the Church of England supports the capitalist system.The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, is to take on a new role teaching world business leaders about ‘caring capitalism’. He has been appointed chairman of the newly created religious leaders’ advisory council to the World Economic Forum (WEF)… He said: ‘I am certainly no enemy of the creation of wealth . . . some of the most caring and committed Christians I know are successful businessmen and women’.

Caring capitalism (2)
New York cops are getting used to handcuffing disgraced executives instead of drug dealers. The surrender of Scott Sullivan and David Nyers, the former financial chiefs at WorldCom, come hard on the heels of two high-profile corporate arrests over recent weeks. Only a fortnight ago, three members of the Rigas family, which founded Adelphia Communications, were arrested on charges of ‘rampant self-dealing’ and ‘brazen theft’. Last month Sam Waksal, founder of ImClone Systems, the biotechnology company, was arrested at his Manhattan loft on charges of insider stock trading Times (2 August)

Caring capitalism (3)
Under the heading Iraq war would be good for markets` the Sunday Times (4 August) reported on an economic forecast by, no doubt caring, capitalists with strong Christian convictions.An American-led war against Iraq could be ‘strongly positive’ for financial markets, a new analysis says. It challenges the view that an attack on Iraq in an attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein, would hit the market and the economy by pushing up oil prices. The report by economists at Credit SuisseFirst Boston (CSFB), suggests the oil market is already discounting a war. The subdued world economy means that demand is weak, so the effect on prices of a conflict would be temporary and minor. The bank also believes that a successful operation against Iraq, or even what is described as a ‘non-disastrous operation, would provide a boost for the markets’.

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