As a society, we decide what we value. Where do we want our work to generate value? Do we value our transport infrastructure, do we value our children’s education, do we value our police force, our armed forces, caring for the elderly, the weak and the sick? If we do, then our work has to be generating value in those areas.
Every hour we work generates more value than we receive as pay. But who decides where the value that we create goes? Clearly we can decide where we spend the value that we earn, but the extra value is retained by our employer, often private sector companies.
Businesses are responsible to their owners (shareholders) and have the responsibility to maximise income for the owners. Their goal is to channel the value that we create to the owners. Businesses do not have souls. Businesses are only interested in caring for the sick if it generates more income for the owners. They are purely financially driven. That is not a criticism but a fact. It keeps things simple, and can produce very efficient and focussed activities.
In order to create the nation that the people want, we need a regulatory environment that directs value where we want it and allows the businesses to operate within that environment. That is the role of government, through the tax and regulatory systems.
There is plenty of value generated in this country, we just need to see it allocated to the right areas. At the moment, too much is allocated to a small number of people. The activities that benefit us all are not valued enough by the few who decide where to ‘spend’ the value that they acquire.
As a society, we have the right to decide what we value and a right to ensure that our work creates value in areas that are important to us. If we want to be cared for when we are old, we need people working to care for us. If we want safe streets we need our police force. If we want our children taught well we need teachers.
If more people work in these areas, it may mean less people working in other areas. We may have to accept less people working in the finance industry, or the retail industry for example. But surely a civilised society values caring for its people higher than moving money around, or selling more stuff?
So, we need a taxation system that allows the society that we deserve to be funded. That is why it is important to regain more control of the allocation of value. Government needs to take back control from businesses, and from the top 5% of earners.
But what about the argument that ‘they will just go somewhere else’. The value that is currently channelled to the wealthy is being created here. It will still be created here. All that will happen if the owner of a company decides to emigrate is that they will be harvesting the value created in the country that they go to. The value created in our country will stay here for the benefit of our citizens.
So on June 8th, let’s vote for the society that we deserve. Let’s grasp our future with excitement and hope, and not shrink from the opportunity to make this nation great.