Now look; I don’t think anyone is really surprised to hear a self-described Marxist political party complain about the dastardly executive fat cats and their huge salaries.
That’s part of the job description of a Communist politician at the end of the day. In fact, it would be weird if they didn’t complain about “the 1%,” to borrow a phrase from comrade Bernie Sanders – it’d be like going to an AC/DC concert and they don’t play Thunderstruck. It would almost feel like a letdown.
The socialist holiday of May Day is coming up soon, and in a way you want to hear the oldies and the greatest hits from our radical left pals. It’s almost a tradition at this stage.
And to be honest, in a certain sense, they do have a kernel of a valid point.
It comes after it emerged that the median pay earned by eight of the country’s top ten CEOs is now almost double what it was before the pandemic.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, People Before Profit CEO Richard Boyd Barrett said the salaries highlight the inequalities inherent in the system.
Now, the problem with this is not even necessarily that People Before Profit are wrong. The Covid period absolutely did massively increase financial inequality across Irish society and the world more broadly, and that’s clearly a bad thing.
The problem is when we start to consider what caused this growth of inequality in the first place.
It’s no secret that parties like People Before Profit were the biggest cheerleaders of the lockdown, constantly calling for even more restrictions than the government was willing to implement. They fought bitterly to maintain Covid regulations at basically every turn.
In fact, they wanted “Zero Covid,” which still hasn’t been achieved to this day. If they had their way, we’d still be under restrictions right now as you read this.
And yet it’s widely agreed by financial experts that the Covid lockdown period was one of the greatest wealth transfers in human history – although you wouldn’t have to be an expert to figure out why this might be.
With hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of so-called “non-essential” businesses forcibly shut down across the world under government lockdown rules, it stands to reason that the only businesses which could survive such an onslaught were the ones that were already astonishingly wealthy and could ride out the storm.
For example, just to give one such case, as of October last year hundreds of pubs the length and breadth of Ireland had shut down, unable to survive being closed by the State for so long. Who knows how many will shut down in the near future due to delayed long-term damage to their business.
And yet last June, British pub chain Wetherspoon announced a €50 million rollout of new pubs across Ireland, planning new venues in Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
British pub group JD Wetherspoon is to begin the roll-out of its €50m expansion drive in Ireland next month by opening a huge hotel and bar development in Dublinhttps://t.co/PgGFHxOrcy | Via: @ExaminerBiz
— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) July 27, 2021
While everyone small in the industry was struggling to survive the State-imposed restrictions, bigger companies were actively expanding, and will no doubt reap the rewards of less competition.
Of course streaming companies like Netflix, Spotify and DisneyPlus did very well with the whole arrangement – with everyone forced to stay home, people had nothing to do but binge watch movies, programs and listen to music.
Food delivery companies like Deliveroo saw their orders double as people got used to not being able to leave their homes.
Companies like Amazon saw an explosion in profits, with people unable to physically go out to shops and purchase necessary items.
— Chris Brogan/Chief of Staff (@chrisbrogan) April 29, 2021
And what all of this amounts to is the State, directly or indirectly, flattening small business owners and enterprises to the massive gain of the wealthiest mega corporations on earth. And People Before Profit cheered it on every step of the way, and were on the news bemoaning the restrictions being lifted.
No doubt if you pointed this out to Boyd-Barrett or Paul Murphy, they’d tell you that they’re opposed to this. They’d say they think it’s wrong for Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to see their fortunes skyrocketing. And no doubt they’d mean it.
But whether it was their intention or not, the policies of parties like PBP directly contributed to this situation. The lockdown was the greatest thing that ever happened to “the 1%,” and the socialist Left couldn’t get enough of it.
If PBP is concerned about growing financial inequality in the world, they may want to take a long look in the mirror.