Produced by Josh de la Mare. Edited by Gregory Bobillot.
Capitalism is broken, apparently. So Jonathan, various members of the great and the good, at the FT's request, were commenting on the state of capitalism. And they seem to think that we need somewhat of a new model. Do you agree?
Well, I think the old-- there's nothing wrong with the old model in the first place. And if we actually seriously pursued it, it would be a good thing. So the complaints really were, I think, occasioned by the success of Jeremy Corbyn and the threat he poses to British business, the sense that British business is not friendly enough to people. My feeling is that you need a much tougher form of capitalism in Great Britain that's a lot less consensual and far tougher on large vested interests and oligopolies.
So that sort of red in tooth and claw version of capitalism-- I mean, does that extend to sort of letting more companies fail and sort of not intervening as much to sort of help out when things go bad?
I think that's right. And the great strength of capitalism isn't really just in its ability to allow innovative ideas to flourish, it's also its ability to allow bad ideas to disappear and their assets to be recycled. The public sector cannot do that.
So it would have let more companies fail after the Great Recession, for instance. Well, I think there would have been a severe economic shock if you had been as completely hands off as that. But certainly, my feeling is that a lot of zombie businesses were able to continue operating. And they've tied up a lot of assets and a lot of talent which would otherwise have been released.
But what about this idea of sort of preventing oligopolies? I mean, because that sounds like more government intervention, doesn't it?
Well, that is the paradox. If you're serious about capitalism, then you enforce the rules very fiercely. And that's what you see to a greater extent in the United States where they're pretty tough on things like securities fraud. They have a tougher antitrust framework in many respects.
Here in the UK, people become successful. They run big businesses. We tend to feel automatically sympathetic to them, and we let them get on with it. And I think that should stop.
And that also extends to, say, making it harder for big companies to buy their smaller competitors.
Indeed so, but the problem with our system is it only really intervenes at the point of takeovers. It doesn't intervene when market share rises to dangerous levels.
So it's a sort of more structuralist approach to some of these competition issues.
Tougher policing, but more red in tooth and claw capitalism.