The Deadly Consequences of VW’s Scandal

As VW’s emissions scandal just begins, Professor Jim Saker’s first-person article explains why he has “sympathy for the VW dealers who could potentially be some of the biggest losers” (September 26, Leicester Mercury). He explains that the “damage to the brand could potentially last longer than Martin Winterkorn’s 28 million euro pension pot.”

However, although I agree on these points, Professor Saker fails to say why one of the biggest and wealthiest car manufacturers in the world should not be forced to compensate VW car dealers’ for any losses in business.

But arguably it is not just VW dealers alone who deserve compensation: what about the other branded vehicles produced within the Volkswagen Group’s now untrusted stable, like Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, or Scania which produce our trusted fire engines.

Corporate greed has always been a serious issue, but one that is rarely punished in the courts of law. Yet it is precisely because personal profits are always prioritized before human need that Britain’s public services are currently being driven into the ground.

It is no coincidence that at the same time that “to big to fail” corporations actively minimise their tax contributions, we are told, here in Leicestershire, that our fire services must cut the number of VW-made Scania fire engines by a third — an action that will endanger thousands of lives.

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Corporate welfare, not excessive benefit payments, is the major problem facing the public purse. Author of Corporate Welfare Versus Social Welfare, Professor Kevin Farnsworth, understands this only too well, even if the mainstream media and our politicians refuse to report on his research.

His book demonstrates why capitalism is fundamentally incompatible with democracy and must be replaced with a socialist planned economy.

For example, in 1980 corporation tax was 52%, now it is just 18%. Meanwhile the UK National Audit Office have pointed out that 220 of the 700 largest firms in the UK paid no UK corporation tax at all in 2005/06: and this refers only to ‘legal’ tax avoidance, not illegal tax evasion.

We must also remember that financial improprieties are not new to the Volkswagen Group. Recent VW board member and former Porsche CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking, already stands accused of market manipulation, in what has been described as one of the “biggest alleged trading scandals outside of the banking industry” (27 August 2014, The Independent).

Ironically Matthias Müller, the man who succeeded Wiedeking as Porsche’s CEO (in 2010) has now just become VW’s new CEO following the resignation of Martin Winterkorn. Rather than being an anomaly, criminality seems to be a central part of VW’s DNA, much like it is in the rest of the corporate world.

Without replacing our current economic system with a humane alternative, the working-class will continue to pay for the continuing crises of capitalism with their lives.  A tragic example being provided by a local who has just been imprisoned for 26 weeks because he stole a few hundred pounds worth of food from a number of multi-national supermarkets (September 26, Mercury).

This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on 27th September.

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