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Guardian - Will Hutton - Argentina's oil grab is timely retort to rampaging capitalism

For too long, companies and the rich worldwide, egged on by American Republicans and British Tories, have shamelessly exploited the proposition that there is only one proper relationship between them and society: they do what they want on their own terms. And society must accept this because it is the sole route to "wealth generation". Capital exists above state and society.

Fernández's actions, however clumsy and unfair in their execution, are part of a growing worldwide reaction to the excesses that this proposition has brought. Repsol does not, and did not, have a God-given right to sell control in YPF to whomever it pleases while Argentina's interests can go hang. It exists in a symbiotic relationship with the society in which it trades. The right to trade and to own are privileges that come with reciprocal obligations as the Ownership Commission, which I chaired, argued earlier this year. They cannot exist in a vacuum because companies' actions have profound effects.

Moreover, companies, especially energy companies, need public agencies to help mitigate the risk of undertaking huge investments in a world where the future is unknowable. Across the globe, business and the rich insist on denying these elementary truths. Now they are reaping the whirlwind as a hostile reaction gathers pace worldwide. Capitalism's self-appointed custodians have become its worst enemies.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 at 05:33:32 AM EST
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