Thursday, February 07, 2008

Brother, can you spare a billion?

Just a quick list:

MacDonald Wealth at death
£21,501 18s. 5d.: confirmation, 12 March 1938

Attlee Wealth at death
£7295: probate, 4 Jan 1968

Wilson Wealth at death
£490,992: probate, 17 Oct 1995

Callaghan died to recently for me to find him, but the list, I think, makes the point. MacDonald was directly corrupted (being loaned a Roller, being taken to country houses, etc.) and yet he died with a relatively modest estate for a former Prime Minister. Attlee must have worn hair shirts all his life, or something.

Tony Blair has made £5 million (alleged) from his memoirs, and its gettign Millions of Dollars per year for consultancies with multinational firms such as Zurich and JP Morgan.

The genius of this is that in capitalist terms it is't corruption, not quid pro quo payments for services rendered. It is indirect corruption, the implicit statement that any Prime Minister will find a place in the trough, if they keep their nose suitably clean first.

The vast inequality in wealth and access to wealth implicitly corrupts the entire political system. There is no way of fixing this, only social equality can deliver genuine democracy.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Daniel Owen said...

Well, capitalism is a bitch...

6:15 PM  
Anonymous a very public sociologist said...

Nice little list that. Be interesting to see how Blair's fortune measures up to that of his Tory predecessors as well. And when Brown finds himself out of office, is he going to coin it too?

3:02 PM  

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