If You See Sid
by CJ Stone
British Gas: profits set to rise again this year So how’s that privatisation thing working out for you now? You know: the one where they sold companies we already owned back to us on the basis that it would create a “stakeholder economy” and that competition was going to keep prices low. “Competition”. That’s not really the word. It has actually had the opposite effect. Once one energy company puts up its prices, all the others follow suit. A better word would be “cartel”. It’s not as if these companies are starved for profit either. British Gas increased its margins by 24% to £742 million last year. Other companies showed a similar rise. Meanwhile the regulator accused them of profiteering, suggesting that they had increased their profits for duel-fuel customers by an astounding 733% between June and October 2011 through a slew of complex price hikes. It then went on to call for simpler tariffs and clearer bills, a suggestion that was later repeated by David Cameron. Not that it has made any difference.
According to Which, the consumer magazine, profits are set to rise even more this winter, from around £40 per customer to £65 over the last three months of 2012. That’s profit not price. It’s what they are intending to take directly from our pockets, to pay their shareholders, over and above costs. A few weeks ago David Cameron promised to force the energy companies to offer customers their lowest tariffs. The following day the energy secretary contradicted him. It’s not that energy companies will be forced to give their lowest tariffs, he said, it’s that the government will legislate to “help” customers get the best deal. It makes you wonder what the point of democracy is, doesn’t it, when the government seemingly has no control over energy prices in the country it purports to rule?
British Gas was privatised in 1986 amidst great public fanfare. It is now owned by Centrica which has interests in Norway, the Netherlands, North America and Nigeria. How many of you who bought shares back then are still doing OK from the sale? Do your dividends cover your increased energy costs? If you see Sid, tell him he was conned.
Thomas Edison had his laboratory burned to the ground. Not much is said of this event but he was working on a ‘personal powerplant’ made specifically for the home or small business. Through out history, power was the domain of the home or home business. Such as using fire to cook and heat the home.
The Robber Barons of the 19th Century were determined to use Edison’s and Tesla’s DC and AC electrical systems respectivly against each other and to empower themselves. AC would work for the Robber Baron’s consolidation and monopolization of power as it could be transmitted over long distances. Edison knew that DC was better especially if you created it at home, which would empower democracy, and was working on a home powerplant when Menlo Park was burned down. Tesla knew this too with his Tesla Engine and soon abandoned his work on his Tesla Engine to be bought out and join the cabal with his AC design.
The main problem with our Modern Space Age is monopolistic powers suppressing such things as Thorium reactors, Water Engines, Solar power, Polyface Farming, Hemp fuels, etc. All these industries are democratizing and not in the interest of the Powerful Elite. “Privatizing” is a take over of what not only should be government controlled but maintaining centralization of power by and for the most powerful Robber Barons. Fortunately, nature is benign and always seeks a balance and one way or another, there dynastic reign is reaching it’s sunset. Only question is how long or when will the tide turn in democracies favour.
Iceland is a world leader as they have thrown off the yoke of usury perpetrated by the High Priests of Finance. When will the rest of the world catch up?
Great comment Ken.. spot on! I was also thinking of the more recent suppression of electric cars in favour of petrol engines. I hadn’t realised the significance of manufacturers going with AC.. I thought it was just bad luck. Makes me wonder about advantages of beta-max.
Thanks Syzygysue, in fact, most pioneers have their good ideas stolen and watered down for profit, Beta max format is case in point. Thomas Edison, amongst others, didn’t believe in patents for this very reason. Competitors around the world steal idea through patents. It only requires a small change in a patent to allow you to ‘re-patent’ your own reversed engineered product.
It is actually more profitable to just invent your product, market it like crazy and reap the rewards before the reverse engineers take over. In the case of the electric cars and other such wonderful technologies, great monopolies and oligarchies suppress such inventions because of our modern financial systems, basically nothing more than usury.
The moneyed elite are not of an inventive nature, political intrigue, psychopathy and greed are their best inbred attributes. ALL inventions and pioneers are born out of the nature of necessity which seems to always be from the middling classes. Good Ol’ Ben Franklin would be one good example. Jethro Tull, the English farmer that is, would be another good example and rare in the fact that they became well known with little money to start with.
Absolutely fascinating Ken 🙂 What you’ve written already would make a great post. If you ever feel like putting it together Think Left would love to post it. You give such strong challenge to the nonsense about the role of capitalism in seeding innovation. In fact, I believe that even Silicon Valley was initially hugely dependent on government money.
A particular area of concern for me, is the fantastically profitable Pharmaceutical industry. Little R&D is taking place into the development of new antibiotics to replace those to which bacterial strains have evolved resistance. Since these new antibiotics would be held back and used sparingly in order to avoid new resistance evolving, big Pharma has little interest. They simply would not be profitable. This is equally true of developing treatments for diseases which are limited to under-developed countries but which are nonetheless devastating. For example Tropical River Blindness and various leishmanias. We, therefore, face a return to the pre-WW2 era of not being able to treat diseases like Tuberculosis but will be over-treated with the myriad of hypertensive drugs. Complete madness!
Excellent post, Chris. I can remember working class people thinking that this was a way that they would have a greater share of wealth. Now they can’t afford the gas bills.
The same applies to water, electricity, telecommunications, shortly to be the NHS, education, prisons – and now the BBC.
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