This was prepared for elsewhere and then not used, overcome by the media cycle:
The move of Arcadia into administration is a glorious victory of free market capitalism. We, or perhaps the younger among us, used to like buying our clothing from high street stores. Now we, they, don’t, preferring the internet instead. Some combination of technological change and consumer tastes differing has meant the old retail services are no longer desired. Societally we require some manner of clearing out that dead wood and repurposing the productive assets off to something we do value. Bankruptcy, widely defined, is that method. We could even say that the need is for the new to feast upon the rotting corpse of the old just as nature intended.
There are problems and costs associated with the process of course. The establishment glee at the downfall of the bumptious schmutter boy is unseemly in a country dealing with those claims of a racist past. We’ll be regaled with stories of pensions and greed without being told of the Bank of England’s part in this. An entirely righteous and just part of course, quantitative easing had to happen, but lower interest rates have eviscerated pensions schemes. The transition itself isn’t going to be enjoyable for the staff and other stakeholders, such interregnums never are.
And yet this is exactly the point of the system. What we can do, how we can do it, changes over time. What people want done does so ditto. We need a system that allows, encourages, enforces, change. For the move of economic assets – land, buildings, human labour – from lower to higher value uses is the very definition of wealth creation.
Free markets allow anyone with an idea to have a go. Some will succeed as boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Amazon, are. Older methods will at times fail as Arcadia has. The capitalism part provides the incentive for the attempts both at the new and the avoidance of the corporate death – those who get it right enjoy hot and cold running superyachts.
Places which have been this roughly free market and roughly capitalist for some time are rich. Those places which have become so recently are getting richer. Those places which have never tried it are still as poor as we all were before we did. It’s us that really benefit from the system which is why we use it.
Two decades back Sir Philip Green was the aggressor, the scavenger, in this scene. Soon enough there will be those that eat the carcasses of the internet usurpers, all to our benefit.
We consumers, us out here, have decided that we no longer want Arcadia. Arcadia is to disappear – why wouldn’t we want a system that did this?