From the TUC

CBI boss gets shirty with playwright

18 Jan 2010, by in Economics

CBI Director General Richard Lambert has a hissy fit in the Financial Times today complaining that Sir David Hare’s theatrical summary of business is unfair, stupid and just plain wrong. All Hare said was that the aim of business was to make money, which seems pretty uncontentious. But Lambert takes umbrage – in a thinly veiled alternative to the recent and widely lampooned “doing God’s work” remark, he complains that business just isn’t that simple (because it’s difficult to make money, see?

Er, actually, Richard. I think Sir David only meant conceptually simple, I don’t think he was impugning the fact that you work jolly hard), and that the good outcomes of business are the objective (peace, freedom, happiness, all that stuff that only results from making widgets and leveraging mergers and acquisitions. Er, not!).

What Lambert seems to ignore is that the bad stuff that results from business can’t be dismissed as irrelevant or accidental – it’s as much a product of the free market as all the good stuff. Indeed, he concedes Hare’s main argument, that “markets have failed throughout history and they usually [sic, surely?] need regulating.” But that’s not what the Masters of the Universe told us during the boom years, nor is it the guiding spirit of the deregulatory, liberalising neo-liberal political world we lived in until Lehman Bros collapsed.

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