The recent election has elicited much bile and vitriol on the evils of capitalism and how the Tories are just out to line their pockets and oppress the poor and the workers, while the saintly Labour party just want to help “hard-working families”.
Well, the thing is, I’m an Evil Capitalist. There, I admit it. I operate a privately-owned business for profit, therefore I am, by definition, a capitalist. I even have a sweat shop, where the poor downtrodden workers, who include child labour, have to work long hours in uncomfortable conditions for very little pay to meet the demands of my business. They don’t even have a Union to help stop their capitalist overlord oppressing them. See? Evil! It’s horrifying, but there you have it.
I should, perhaps, at this point out that I’m not a very successful capitalist, as fat cats go. This is evident by the absence of a jet, yachts, fast cars and far more money than you could shake an armful of sticks at, but I don’t much care about that kind of thing, so I don’t mind. There’s no huge mansion or Mayfair pied-à-terre either, and as for Monte Carlo, well, the jet set will just have to survive without me hanging out with them regularly if, indeed, ever.
In truth, there’s just a smallish house desperately in need of a new kitchen and bathroom. It does have its own sweat shop though, otherwise known as the conservatory (and occasionally the dining room when the work gets tidied away at Christmas). It is south facing and gets extremely hot on even moderately sunny days so justifies its title. The poor downtrodden workers are me, and sometimes my daughter (when she feels like it or when I press-gang her to pull her finger out to make her own stock). She gets to keep all the profits from her particular enterprises, while using materials that I supply and even gets paid commission for helping at events.
Well, there you are, the reality of small-time capitalism. I don’t make enough to pay tax, but I don’t claim any benefits either. Mostly, my own contributions to the State were made when I was a higher rate tax payer in the employ of other Evil Capitalists. They were really just trying to do much the same thing as I do now, but on a much larger scale and much, much more successfully, to the benefit of their company, their numerous and well-paid staff and their shareholders, all of whom contribute the majority of the vast amount of tax which goes to fund the Welfare State, the NHS, the education system and the spongers*.
*I refer, of course, to the overpaid MPs and bureaucrats, who mostly seem to exist to make our lives hell in some small way.
As a family, we do contribute quite a lot to the State. My DH pays higher rate tax and in return, we benefit from free State education for our children (as does everyone else). We’ve been fortunate enough to require fairly minimal contact with the NHS thus far (and you can’t get an NHS dentist round here for love nor money, so we have to pay for that privately). On balance and over a lifetime so far, the system has done rather better out of us that we have from it.
So, am I a capitalist or just a poor downtrodden worker? Maybe I’m both but, shock newsflash here, capitalists work hard for their money too and they usually have hard-working families as well. They are also the people who make the largest contribution to the State. So, if you are of a bent to bash the rich and successful, you might want to bear in mind that they pay most of the bills.
Of course, not being an entirely successful capitalist doesn’t stop me from being Evil! Bwahahahahaha!
You can make your contribution to ease the plight of the downtrodden workers (in exchange for quality goods) here. And if this does not appeal sufficiently to your social conscience, you might like to consider donating to the Nepal Earthquake Appeal: http://www.dec.org.uk