State Capitalism in Britain

James Heartfield, Mute magazine
Despite the State being the main investor in the UK’s national economy, the official rhetoric of private sector productivity is alive and well. James Heartfield takes a look at Labour’s failed strategy of privatising public services and the rise of ‘corporate welfare’

Two very contradictory stories about British capitalism are told today. The first is that the State is eating up more and more of the private sector. The sudden increase of public shares in the major banks and the falling of the railways into receivership is evidence of a return to the nationalisations of the 1970s. Some on the left even take heart from this, and urge the government to go the whole way and nationalise the banks. The Sunday Times runs stories warning of ‘Soviet Britain’, to show that in many towns in Britain (and especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland) state spending is a majority of output.

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