Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A poser

This the lot went cock-a-hoop about the AA deal.

This lot didn't.


Are the reactions of the latter merely the result of short-sighted cake grabbing while that of the former relate to a pride that they are furthering the interests of all?

In a recent pub debate, DK asked me why I was so pissed off at the rich making money. My slurred reply was that the gains to the rich give them increased power to develop institutional structures which prevent those at the bottom making a better life for themselves. In the present case, we don't have to go far to obtain evidence for this claim.

It is heartening to see that an early day motion on private equity will be tabled later this week. The argument that private equity increases the benefits for all seems to be aptly dealt with by the best Galbraith quote I have read all week: If you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows.

2 comments:

Danny said...

I have a bit of knowledge of the AA as some of my family members work in one of their call centres. So 2 points.

1- GMB are no longer the Union at the AA, so I guess their complaint could partly be out of pique.

2- From what I know many AA staff are demoralised by the short-termism under Permira where quality of service has deteriorated and there is far more pressure than before to sell on every call (eg. those inconvenient roadside recovery calls are left queueing while inbound sales calls are answered).

Long-term it is probably better (and more cost effective) to concentrate on good customer service and retaining members rather than throwing money at getting new customers while increasing the churn rate due to customer dissatisfaction, but the problem is that the long-term is of no interest to the current owners. The attitude of the people I know at the AA is to hang on in there until they are floated and then try to pick up the pieces of their debt-laden (albeit temporarily more profitable) shell of a company.

My fist of flounce said...

Thanks Danny,
Interesting to hear the views of insiders. I've argued before that private equity is dragging the economy further and further away from the social need. It seems here, however, that it's not even meeting an economic one.

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