Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My Country, 'Tis of Thee

Professor Robert Reich, of the University of California, writes that global corporations have no allegiance to any country and this is why they wriggle out of paying any taxes.

Isn't it equally true that socialists and even liberals have no allegiance to any country? Marxism long ago damned the nation state as evil and proclaimed that socialism was international. Liberals follow at a discreet distance, identifying nationhood with aggressive nationalist warmongering. Reich himself refers to nationhood as "xenophobia". The whole idea of having any loyalty to your country or to society has been totally jettisoned by trendies and lefties. So why should big corporations stick with it?
Reich accuses UKIP of being an extreme right-wing "xenophobic" party. But he produces no evidence from any part of the UKIP manifesto to justify this. I suspect that, like most of the people who churn out that sort of accusation, he has not even read it. If you want to see a strong nationalistic policy, compare Britain to Thailand. In Thailand, foreigners are not allowed to own property. Any business set up or registered there must be at least 51% owned by Thai citizens. State health care, social security and pensions are strictly limited to Thai citizens and nobody else. They see any attempt to muscle in on it as theft, pure and simple. Foreigners who are unemployed, too poor to pay for their medical care or convicted of any crime are just chucked out. I wonder why Professor Reich is not writing a denunciation of Thailand.
Reich argues that by staying in the European Union, we would be stronger and more able to stand up to the big international corporations. If so, it is strange that after nearly forty years membership, no such outcome has transpired. The big corporations find it very useful that we are all in the EU  so they can operate here freely while based in other EU countries such as Ireland or Luxembourg that have lower corporations taxes. If the EU hasn't solved these problems in the last forty years, why believe it can do so now? I suspect that the more these giant firms pay in corporation tax, the fewer people they will employ, and the less they will pay in salaries which generate income tax, and the result would be that they generate fewer jobs, lowering demand for goods and services from other businesses. There are plenty of reasons to deplore and shun Starbucks and the others, but Google does give a lot of people free e-mails and a free search engine  - also the browser I am using now, Google Chrome, which is better than Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera.
    Professor Reich seems to think that allegiance to a nation is a good thing for corporations but a bad thing for everybody else. I don't quite see how that figures. I don't see why massive corporations should get public subsidies, but that is another matter.


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