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In Praise Of Vulture Capitalism



The Telegraph seems a little confused over how the world works.

It’s classic vulture capitalism: cynical and self-interested. The pair can put away their red capes.

So, what is it they’re doing? Slipping the odd granny into the horses they’re boiling up for glue?

Well, no. They’re noting that the world has changed and then adapting to that changed world:

The structure of the buyout mirrors the one that enabled Simpson to take over Bonmarché, Ponden Home and Edinburgh Woollen Mill in January. Three hundred stores were kept open, but not before 270 were closed for good. And Day may not be pulling the strings at head office any more but he remains involved, again as a senior creditor.

This isn’t some act of corporate altruism from the tycoon and his right-hand man. Quite the opposite. Management have picked over the carcass again, selected the best bits for themselves, and are jettisoning the rest so they can start afresh.

Hmm, OK, so what’s wrong with this idea?

Start from where we are. Much shopping has moved online. There’s a certain oversupply of physical retail services therefore. We need some system of sorting through what is still required as is and what needs to become something else.

Any system of economic management is going to face the same problem. Some hundreds of those clothes shops are not required as clothes shops. Any system of economic management is also going to come to the same conclusions – keep those which, by their sales, cover their costs of operation, do not keep those that don’t. There is nothing capitalist about this – John Lewis, a workers cooperative, is doing the same thing.

A rational and central planner would do the same thing. Close the shops that sell one scarf a week and keep open those that ship a containerload of schmutter in an afternoon.

That is, there’s nothing capitalist about this in the slightest. So, why’s the Telegraph complaining there is?



  1. ‘That is, there’s nothing capitalist about this in the slightest. So, why’s the Telegraph complaining there is?’

    Presumably so the necessary reorganisation can be blamed on wicked capitalists rather than benevolent bureaucrats.

  2. Also standard operating procedures in the Building Societies sectors. If a society went under, other societies would gather around the corpse, extract the viable bits to protect the membership, and jettison the poison.

  3. The Telegraph has really gone right down the pan if its chief city commentator either a) has zero understanding of business or b) is a frothing lefty who is quite happy to misrepresent standard business practice to his readers.


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expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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