As long as government rules vast parts of our lives and our businesses, with nannying and interfering and market distorting measures left, right, and centre, some will try to pull the duvet towards them, leaving others out in the cold. This weekend's cash for access story is just another in a long line of similar cases.
The allegation of cronyism exposed over the weekend illustrates the absence of a free market capitalist society in 2012 Britain. A free market is neutral. It treats every individual equally, without privileges: you work, you thrive.
Since time immemorial people have spotted that there is a faster route to prosperity: to take it away from others. Once, this was merely the preserve of common thieves. The clever ones identified a more efficient device, called government. And if this government calls itself “democratic” new heights of refinement are achieved: take away from some to give to others under the guise of “fairness”, “equality”, and morality.
Sometimes it is called redistribution, as in: rob Peter to pay Paul, in the hope that Paul will vote for the robber. Sometimes it is called crony capitalism, as in: privatise company’s gains, but socialise the losses. Sometimes it is called fairness, as in: do all of the above, but hide it under the moral high ground.
There is a whiff of zero sum thinking about political favours. It is the logic of the Genghis Khan and his hordes from the steppes, who pillaged and murdered their way through large parts of Europe to enrich themselves. The idea that there is only so much to go around, and that it is therefore essential to take from others to enrich yourself. Redistributing the pie, instead of making the pie grow for all. Redistributing by taking away property, granting privileges, and ordering people about; instead of creating wealth by way of property rights, equality before the law, and leaving people free to pursue their dreams and aspirations as they see fit.
Trade unions are at it. Employers’ organisations are at it. Businesses are at it. Collectives are at it. And you? You pay. Cash for no access. Not that most people, notice, of course: a large chunk of the financing system for the redistribution of favours by politicians is carefully hidden in inclusive taxes such as VAT or stealth tax such as PAYE which take the loot away without you even touching it.
Want to stop cash for access? Take away the cause. Prevent government from looting the nameless. Reduce the size of government.