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By Capitalists@Work (Reporter)
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(1) Demise of Wilko; (2) Rise of the subsidy-stuffers

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Evidently undeserving

(1)  So, farewell then, Wilko.  Always seemed a nice store to me.  We’d all welcome BQ’s informed take on What Went Wrong

(2)  The other big business headline on the same day was BMW’s decision to make the new electric Mini in the UK rather than China.  Well, obviously multi-dimensional politics there, but the aspect that interests me for now is the big subsidy from HMG.  That’s evidently the mood of the moment.

Evidently highly deserving

Going back, say, a decade, international trade law in most of the West was broadly agin state support.  Obviously, several countries had a history of mercantilist policies, explicit or under-the-counter, but it was supposed to be on the wane and the EU, to be fair, mostly clamped down on it.[1]  

Well, that’s over and no mistake, ever since Biden’s IRA drove a coach and horses through it, if not before.  Germany is of course screaming to be allowed to do the same, although see this intelligent piece from our old motorbiking friend Yanis Varoufakis which indicates why a number of EU countries won’t be so keen to let them without far-reaching “reforms” in EU treasury governance.  Meaning a lot more “Europe” for all of them.  We shall see.

When push comes to shove, it seems, everyone is a protectionist.  Let it be recorded that in happier times, Free Trade accomplished a very great deal and we may live to regret its passing, imperfectly enforced as it undoubtedly was.  You don’t need to go far in history – even (say) that of ancient Greece (you listening, Yanis, old chap?) – to find tremendous examples of new-found prosperity born of free trade; and its converse, prosperity ended by a collapse in trade.  C@W, right?



[1] Of course, the really big ones, like Hinkley Point C, were always waved through, if only eventually & after a bit of horse-trading at the top in Brussels: “too big to be stopped


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