Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Profiteering from other people's misery: the immorality of modern capitalism
Jacking up prices to make an even greater profit from people’s hardship is one of the most inhumane elements of modern neoliberalism. While the closure of Europe’s skies has been terrible news for stranded travellers, for some greedy companies, it‘s been a chance to make a quick buck.
Today’s Daily Express reports:
Stranded Britons last night told how they had been held to ransom as they battled to get home.
Travellers returning through English ports complained of being forced to pay exorbitant fees for car hire, hotels and train fares.
Teacher Steve Hancock, from Gloucester, said: “We have been ripped off by everyone.”
Mr Hancock, 51, and wife Karen, 49, were in southern Italy when their Flybe flight to Birmingham was cancelled last Thursday.
On Saturday, we tried to hire a car. Europcar said we could return a rental to Germany. But we had to pay 570 euros (£501) to drive their car back to Frankfurt. From there we got trains to Paris, Lille and Calais.
“We were charged 65 euros (£59)each as foot passengers.”
Eurostar is charging £223 for a single train ticket from Paris to London over the next two days, more than three times the £69 for a similar journey in two weeks’ time.
Don’t you just love ‘market-based’ pricing?
It doesn’t have to be like this. When asked to name his ‘Grand National Legend’ in this year’s Grand National race card, the jockey Mick Fitzgerald, didn’t name a horse or a fellow jockey- but ‘the people of Liverpool'.
‘I would love to nominate the people of Liverpool as legends for opening their doors to the world the year the National was put back to the Monday (because of a bomb scare) in 1997. I am confident it would not have been possible in any other city, for the people of Liverpool were amazing. They opened their doors to everybody- pauper, jockey, trainer, all were welcome- and it made restaging he race on Monday a possibility'.
By 1997, the people of Liverpool had already had to put up with 18 years of selfish neoliberalism- which they‘d never voted for. But by opening their doors to all- comers, and helping those stranded in the city, people like the wonderful ‘Auntie’ Edie Roche, showed that they rejected the tenets of a heartless creed that says that profits should always come before people.