The Vile Maxim

The single most important myth about Toryism — that the Tories are the best managers of the economy — needs to be confronted, and destroyed. The Tory party is best identified by its support for an economic system called capitalism, an ancient belief that concentrates wealth, and political power, in the hands of a tiny minority.

Britain’s best-known economists were Adam Smith and JM Keynes. Smith made the following observation about the capitalist model that ruled the world throughout modern history:

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”1

When Smith wrote those words the British Empire was not yet fully formed. Shortly afterwards, during the so-called Industrial Revolution, Smith’s words were truer than ever: although Britain was the wealthiest capitalist country on the planet, British people were dying of starvation.

About a century later Keynes said:

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”2

The Tories continue to promote an economic lie. Today, when Britain is the fifth richest country in the world, we have the obscenity of foodbanks. “There is no alternative,” were Mrs. Thatcher’s infamous words, referring to Tory economic policy. It’s a refrain that’s been repeated by Mr Cameron (4). It’s an obvious lie, because there are always alternatives.

Tories promote a view that socialism (one perfectly good alternative) failed because the Soviet Union, its spiritual home, collapsed in 1991. But socialism didn’t fail in Russia, it was murdered by the powerful western nations whose leaders were so terrified of its inherent humanity and justice they resolved to ensure that socialism would never get a chance to prove itself. So these fine one percenters waged war against it from the very first days of its creation almost a hundred years ago. Capitalism has been around for centuries, and it’s still as monstrous today as it was when the Roman caesers used it. Although socialism lived for less than a century before it was murdered, it still achieved spectacular successes, not least of which was here in Britain. Just after WW2, free university education was suddenly made possible. Good social housing, good state pensions, welfare benefits and our wonderful National Health Service were also born. Essential utilities and some energy sources became public property — all thanks to a mere thirty years of socialism, starting from a bankrupt, war-torn country. Then came Thatcher. Ever since that dark day, Tory capitalism has looted and or wrecked nearly every advance socialism made.

The vicious Tory stranglehold on economic thinking must be opposed and overcome. Almost everything that’s wrong in the world is wrong because of so-called capitalism. Obviously it must go.

  1. Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, p. 525. []
  2. Quoted in Extreme Money by Satyajit Das, p. 128. []
John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.