We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy

Cormac Hollingsworth details how shareholders of big business can be the left's greatest ally when it comes to promoting responsible capitalism


The shareholder revolt against Bob Diamond’s £20 million bonus is so important for those who really believe a change is needed in our system. If we’re serious about a new responsible we need to start supporting and showing solidarity to the people who own the companies we’d like to change.

Those who’d rather sit in an igloo and watch the market collapse, as if that would cathartic (£) might scoff, but that option is irresponsible, impoverishing millions around the world including here in the UK.

The global market system is worth saving. It’s taken the most people out of poverty ever in history in the last ten years: one hundred million people. And the power of the state is unquestioned: its coordinated intervention globally in 2009 stopped a free-fall in global employment, output and stock prices.

The problem is, politicians lack the legitimacy to intervene in a sliding global economy because they’ve been unable to change the behavior of the bankers. But executive pay is an issue for shareholder.

Many shareholders, as owners who benefit from the success of the private sector have learnt the lesson that the collapse of the private sector since 2007 was partly their responsibility, and they’re not prepared to sit back and let poor management continue.

In the vote against Murdoch’s directorship, Standard Life stood forward in the belief that it’s duty to its pensioners was for BSkyB to be better run without Murdoch.

Aviva has been a leading light in the UN’s organisation of $30 trillion of investor power, the UN’s Principles of Responsible Investment. Paul Abberley CEO of Aviva Investors has been crystal clear about the new responsibility of shareholders to make sure our economy provides jobs, inclusive growth, and stability.

With $30 trillion behind them, the left has many allies for a responsible investment. And yet they are silent.

But to support is obvious. Those wanting global taxation must see that one of the biggest supporters of the lobby against it, the Institute of International Finance, is Barclays. That funding is signed off by the CEO.

The Tories would rather have a fight about nine hundred thousand pounds than see themselves exposed as craven supporters of the IIF-lobbied bankers’ status quo. They’d like you not to know that the City is actually split, and if we don’t support the shareholders who are looking for a new owner-driven market economy, we might as well all start building igloos, because the liquidation will be horrible.

It’s time for progressives to stand with Barclays shareholders.

See also:

The government has the power to stop Hester’s bonus, they just don’t want to – Ben Fox, January 27th 2012

How bankers’ bonuses are contributing to the new credit crunch – Cormac Hollingsworth, December 6th 2011

Expecting Tories to regulate bonuses is like Turkeys voting for Christmas – Rachel Reeves MP, January 12th 2011

Top Lib Dem: Bankers’ bonuses are “moment of truth for coalition” – Will Straw, January 12th 2011

Bankers’ bonuses under fire as Barclays chief faces Parliament – Claire French, January 11th 2011

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24 Responses to “We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy”

  1. Anonymous

    he problem is, politicians lack the legitimacy to intervene in a sliding global economy because they’ve been unable to change the behavior of the bankers


    You have no legitimacy because.

    1. Politicians have been committing mass expenses fraud. Would you give a fraudster control over anything?

    2. Politicians track record is awful. Labour went on about investment. Where are the returns? Where are the savings. There are no returns. There are no savings. If there were you would be triumphing the cuts as a sign of success.

    3. The state of government finances. 7,000 bn in debt.

  2. Cormac Hollingsworth

    We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy, writes @cormacholly:: http://t.co/N8OjnNmA

  3. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy http://t.co/xoyFhXCp

  4. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy http://t.co/am0oXMoS

  5. One Society

    A progressive case for not assuming all investors are part of the problem on excessive pay http://t.co/c4fmYlFs by @cormacholly

  6. theeconomysucks

    We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy http://t.co/zAx0qyjS

  7. Cormac Hollingsworth

    A progressive case for not assuming all investors are part of the problem on excessive pay http://t.co/c4fmYlFs by @cormacholly

  8. David Taylor

    RT @leftfootfwd / @cormacholly: We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy http://t.co/dtb7zxHV

  9. abi ramanan

    RT @leftfootfwd / @cormacholly: We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy http://t.co/dtb7zxHV

  10. Patrick

    “The global market system has taken the most people out of poverty in the last ten years: one hundred million people.”

    You said it. That’s a darn site more than socialism ever did, or will.

  11. Darren Sharma

    We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy, writes @cormacholly:: http://t.co/N8OjnNmA

  12. Blarg1987

    But on the flip side how many people’s lives are less well off then they would be if there was less bonuses at the top and moral capitalism was used?

    WOuld fuel prices be as high as their would be no speculation on oil
    Would food prices be so high as their would be no speculation on food
    Would we have the ficiancial crisis and the tax payer have to bail out the banks as banks would be morally more responsible.
    Would the people at woolworths be in employement as the debt recovery company asset stripped the company to line their pockets when management had proposed a buy out covering all the money owed?

    I admit I can keep going but you see the point I am making Capatalism on average has also cost peoples lives and standards of living.

    I accept no system is perfect but a combination of capitalism / socilism is the best mix but over there we are more capatalist.

  13. Blarg1987

    That is true and the conservatives asset stripped the state and sat on the board of directors Norman tebbit and BT come to mind, but untill more people vote for new policies that will inspsire new people to join politics the same old 40% of people will dictate the overlal policies we have.

  14. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy http://t.co/DYcCz8FE

  15. Anonymous

    I think the sale of BT was one of the better decisions. Carved out from the Post Office, freeing up BT meant you could get a telephone line when you wanted one, not when they permitted it. Different phones. Mobile phones. All post privatisation.

    A good reason for doing more deregulation.

  16. Blarg1987

    And with regards to the utilites / transport network and energy markets?

    They are all industries which now require heavy state subsidies as BT does now for super fast broadband which the goverment is doing which I thought the idea was that they would fund it themselves not through tax payers.

    A good reason against deregulation, also is that not technically corruption where an MP is on a board that he approved the sell off of while tax payers money was spent brining it up to standard so it could be sold.

  17. Anonymous

    BT only ‘require’ a subsidy, because the government will cough up.

    If I ask you for 100K, and you pay it, who is the idiot? Me for asking, or you for handing over the money?

    With deregulation, with the removal of subsidy, and the removal of forcing future generations to pay, it becomes a lot more transparent.

    For example, I doubt you know what you pay for the NHS. What does the average tax payer pay for their health insurance (None taxpayer’s get it for free, subsidized by others). You can exclude the massive pension costs. That’s the pay later bit.

    The same applies to the rail. Why should non users subsidize the privileged? e.g Huge ticket subsides for years, for people to get too, or more likely away from Birmingham as fast as possible.

  18. Mr. Sensible

    The problem with just relying on shareholders is that anyone who wants to express concerns would probably find themselves outvoted by the majority shareholders, I.E the directors.

  19. Blarg1987

    Part of the reason the goverment will cough up is that if they don’t it will show the system has failed i.e. little or no profit can be generated from it and so it has become one of those things that can not fail as to do so would be ideological suicide.

    I agree the removal of subsidies would make it more transparent and probably show it was better off run not for profit but as I said aboe to do so would be ideological suicide just like the health reform bill is now, it will probabaly end up costing more long term but to admit that would be ideoloogical defeat.

  20. Anonymous

    Global Debt Crisis

    The greatest private fraud of human history.
    Who are the great fraudsters who are becoming the murderers of the human kind? How does the economy “illness” threaten Democracy and the freedom of people?

    By knowing what happened in indebted Greece, where loan sharks created “bubbles” and the current inhuman debt, one can understand the inhuman plan in total …understand where this plan started just to bring all states at the same end …understand how this type of plans are established…


  21. Patrick

    You don’t understand markets.

    Futures markets allow producers to reduce costs (and keep retail prices lower) by locking into the spot price and therefore hedge against possible increases in raw materials costs. These people are speculators. If it wasn’t for futures markets in commodities producers would not be able to do this, and prices would be even higher than they are. Furthermore, for every ‘speculator’ who believers that futures will rise, there are other speculators who believe it will fall. The beliefs of these two together dictate price at any one moment. ‘Speculators’ don’t create prices -only their beliefs about the future do. Those beliefs are based on all sorts of factors -war, weather, global instability, economic factors.

    Finally, if someone shorts a stock or commodity, (i.e is gambling on the price going on down) then that person has a legal obligation to buy back the stock or commodity at some future point. This is regardless of whether he/she has made a profit. In other words, at some future point, all of the shorters MUST BUY, creating an inbuilt balance on the buy side. Speculation does not distort markets -it creates a consensus of value at any one time.

  22. Blarg1987

    I did not say I am against some commodity specualtion, but to say they provide a concensus on the worht or value of something is not necessarily true, as oil and food produces were at a ganeral price and were only increased when the property market collapsed, their was no exrtra demand for these or siupplies just people betting on their futures forcing the priice up forcing all of us to pay.

    Short selling also granted reduces the price of the shares but can also lead to job losses and company collapses, granted the sale of VW caused short sellers to be burned but when the concensus is to fiorce down or up a commodity to make money out of it is this generally a good thing considering some of the problems it can lead to?

  23. Patrick

    Short selling cannot lead to job losses. People short a stock because they expect it to go down in value. They generally expect it to go down in price because the fundamentals of the company are poor. For instance, take HMV. The stock has plummeted because the the prospects (an outdated retail business model) are terrible. If it goes out of business, it is because of that, not short selling. Similarly, a company like Apple has seen it’s share price soar. Why? Did a secret cabal of speculators decide to get together and “‘force its price up to make money”? No. Markets don’t make or break companies -they simply reflect a consensus of fair value.

  24. We’re all economists now, part one | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • We must stand with shareholders that want a better economy – Cormac Hollingsworth, January 31st […]

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