Britain opted to ‘take back control” from Europe, but Vassal State shows how the nation’s paymasters are on a different continent entirely: America.
Britain’s leaders have long boasted how they share cultural, diplomatic and political interests with the US, but Vassal State charges them with total ignorance of the profound economic consequences of the ‘special relationship’. It unveils, for the first time, how much of the UK economy is US-owned, laying bare the extent of US corporate control over pay, conditions, what you buy, and how you buy it. It exposes the secret rents British consumers and workers send to America from the moment they wake until they sleep. In the Vassal State, festivals like Black Friday and Prime Day travel east across the Atlantic whilst intellectual property, expertise and profits flow west.
How this economic domination began and its consequences are principal themes of the book. Vassal State shows how policymakers, from Whitehall mandarins to NHS chiefs, are shaping their choices to fit the needs of the 1,000-plus US multinationals which have the whip hand over the daily lives of the Brits.
Features of this increasing dominance are:
● US companies have either expanded or taken over the most profitable businesses, usually in high-growth sectors and often with monopoly power
● American methods have killed cash and US corporations take a cut of every transaction
● Through internet platforms, US companies charge UK consumers simply to do business with each other, owning the “bridges” and “pipes” through which the economy operates
● Private Equity is a fast lane for US control and sidelining British public companies
● Two million Brits work directly for US companies in the UK, twice the number assumed
● US companies pay tiny UK tax, often using British tax havens, and send profits “home”
● The UK’s Foreign Direct Investment policy has perversely been to welcome US companies with open arms allowing them to buy up and asset-strip UK companies
● US corporations want Brits to rent from them and never own, reshaping the economy.
● Washington’s power is used mercilessly to deliver for US businesses
● The UK acts as a bridgehead for the US to go into Europe and the UK’s former colonies
● British military capability has not only become a branch of US power, but the UK defence industry has been largely taken over and the UK buys arms of all kinds from the US
● Westminster politicians and officials will not acknowledge that these issues exist.
● Growing poverty: if the UK were the 51st US State it would be the poorest one
Angus Hanton admits to being a business economist by both training and instinct, having started two businesses in his teens, well before studying economics at Oxford University. Now he’s tethered to South London where he runs his companies, often working with American firms.
Angus has spent ten years writing about British public policy for the Intergenerational Foundation which lobbies the government to leave a better world for younger people and those who are yet unborn. This has led him into the murky world of Think-Tanks: many don’t do what their names suggest; inste...
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