BBC BLOGS - Peston's Picks
« Previous | Main | Next »

Leahy's exit: A big event

Robert Peston | 11:02 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Terry Leahy would be identified by most of his peers as the outstanding British public-company boss of his generation.

Terry LeahyIn his 14 years as chief executive of Tesco, and in his previous post as marketing director of the supermarket group, he - more than any other executive - was responsible for giving Tesco an apparently unassailable lead over competitors.

Today it may seem incredible that Tesco lagged well behind Sainsbury's some 20 years ago.

But Leahy and his predecessor, Ian Maclaurin, had the simple but devastating insight that Sainsbury had become too fixated on widening profit margins, and not sufficiently committed to minimising prices for customers.

Tesco aimed to maximise sales by creating an image of offering better value - "every little helps" as it repeated incessantly - and combined that with a far-sighted commercial policy of buying up as much development property as possible.

The result delighted Tesco's owners - with strong growth in sales, which of course meant that it wasn't long before it massively outstripped Sainsbury in respect of profit too.

In the process, of course, "Tescopoly" was also born - or the charge that the spread of Tesco outlets of all sizes all over the country was wreaking havoc to small shops, the traditional high street and the environment.

Leahy did not ignore the allegations. And took steps to reduce Tesco's carbon footprint - even while consistently claiming that it was misplaced to criticise Tesco for delivering what its millions of customers so obviously wanted.

For him, however, the rise to dominance in the UK was only a small part of the story.

The company was also unusual for a retailer and for a British outfit in successfully managing a huge expansion across the globe, from Eastern Europe, to Asia to North America.

And if there is something of a puzzle about the timing of his departure, it is that Tesco's establishment of an operation in the US - its Fresh 'n' Easy chain - is work in progress and remains a long way from profit.

Since Fresh 'n' Easy was widely seen as a personal initiative by Leahy, some may feel his exit is premature.

Even so, when he goes next year he'll have run this enormous show for some 15 years - much longer than is the norm for British public companies.

What will he do next? Well he says he wants to concentrate on private investment - which seems curiously unambitious for an intensely driven man.

The previous government made a number of attempts to enlist him to help improve the efficiency of the public sector.

It would be odd if the new coalition didn't woo him too - since a touch of Tesco productivity in certain state services would probably be no bad thing at a time when money is rather tighter for the Treasury than it is for Tesco.

He said this morning however that he had no wish to go into politics. Which was not quite a "no, nay, never" - though my personal experience of him is that he can be an immovable object, so it is possible that he will opt for anonymous retirement.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Robert,

    You failed to mention Leahy's/Tesco's previous ambitions to enter the banking sector!

    Any particular reason why?

  • Comment number 2.

    It's funny how so many 'successful' CEO's are retiring at the moment - I don't suppose you think they know something bad is coming down the tracks.....

    Read people by their actions - not their words.

  • Comment number 3.

    As a shareholder I would wish him a happy retirement and hope that like many great companies a culture of success has been created at Tesco which means that the success of the last two heads did not rest their individual talent alone.
    I do think that is thr case.

  • Comment number 4.

    Maybe he just wants to show them his best asset...

    "In 2006, Leahy came 3rd place in the annual 'Rear of the Year' competition."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Leahy

    Tesco's share price down 2.35% already today :o(

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Most of the staff in every Tesco supermarket from the Store Assistant Manager down is subsidised by other taxpayers such is the low wage rate in retail, it's easy to make money when only half of the costs are included.

    Tesco is not the cheapest (compare prices in a Metro or Express to see just how expensive the Tesco brand can be) nor are they the best quality.

    'and combined that with a far-sighted commercial policy of buying up as much development property as possible.'

    Given the huge rise in commercial property value over the last 15 years then surely that is where a lot of the growth in the value of Tesco has come from, growth that is unlikely to continue from here on in.

    '...Tesco's establishment of an operation in the US - its Fresh 'n' Easy chain - is work in progress and remains a long way from profit.'

    Given the economic situation in the US and the fact that the largest established player (Walmart) doesn't take competition on its' home turf lightly, further expansion into that market could be seen as increasingly risky.


    Perhaps Mr. Leahy understands what is likely to happen to commercial property values in the not too distant future and the difficulties that the US operation might be facing and is jumping ship now before the proverbial hits the fan.

    Should he be a government advisor ? No the guy is a retailer, look what happened when a retailer was put in charge of a bank.


  • Comment number 7.

    Ideally he should be enlisted to teach public and private sector future managers about people, application of ICT and innovation.

  • Comment number 8.

    To all those on Peston's previous blog requesting Peston to expose the fraudulant ponzi scheme that is the FRB system....

    I and many others requested this well over 2 years ago (look back in Peston's archives) but to no avail....you're all just wasting your time!

    I guess it must be all about keeping the establishment's dirty little secret :o(

  • Comment number 9.

    2. At 11:33am on 08 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall

    My thoughts too! He's getting out with his image the way he wants it, making a good story for the great great grandchildren rather than hanging around to deal with the stress and possible nightmares looming on the horizon.

  • Comment number 10.

    Tesco is a fantastic British success story. It amazes me how much people knock it. In an age where British companies are being gobbled up or going under, its great to see them doing well.

    They will soon be the last great flag bearer once Barack has his way with BP.

    I hate the way people say "Tesco kills town centres". No it doesn't, shoppers who turn their back on the high street do. Tesco is often the easy one to blame for the problem. Just like people blame MacDonalds for obesity.

    I hope that Dave and Nick convince someone like Terry Leahy to help sort the country out. When Gerry tried to save the NHS, he said someone like Terry should be brought in.

    Terry will spot the problems, the low productivity, the wastage and the missed opportunities. Then we could have a fit modern NHS that doesn't milk us to pay for its own failures.

    Come on Terry, your country needs you!

  • Comment number 11.

    > it is possible that he will opt for anonymous retirement.

    Yes. He wishes to spend more time with his money.


  • Comment number 12.

    Didn’t he do well, certainly not affected by inflation / redundancy / pension pitfalls that affect tens of thousands in this and other countries! And just where does this gentleman have his money banked? I'm guessing the bulk of it is well out of reach. And all this under a pseudo socialist government. Can you imgaine the rewards that will come to those under the present coalition? If ever anyone needed an incentive then here I give you one! But an incentive for what? Mr Moderator would be down on me like a ton of bricks should I eleborate!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Interesting contrast between the success of promoting from within against parachuting in a "board hopper" from another company.

  • Comment number 14.

    3. At 11:36am on 08 Jun 2010, Anthony_analyst wrote:

    "As a shareholder I would wish him a happy retirement and hope that like many great companies a culture of success has been created at Tesco which means that the success of the last two heads did not rest their individual talent alone."

    7. At 11:50am on 08 Jun 2010, watriler wrote:

    "Ideally he should be enlisted to teach public and private sector future managers about people, application of ICT and innovation. "

    ...or as one of the 'great exploiters' of this world he should receive a knightood - or maybe he already got one for that.

    Tesco make 'profits' from exploiting the farmers, exploiting the consumer and exploiting the workforce.

    ....or is there any value in produce other that labour value? - still waiting for an explanation of this - I mean it's only been nearly 2 years and not one Capitalist has been able to offer a credible alternative.

    The time has come to stop honouring the wealthy and recognise their wealth for what it is.

    Exploitation.

    (and don't start off with that nonsense about a 'willing workforce' who 'make and agreement of exchange of labour for monetary reward' - because I had the misfortune of catching the tube this morning and there wasn't a single person on there who looked like they had entered a 'free exchange of labour with their employer' - but rather a lot of people who had no choice but to sell their labour - otherwise it was homelessness and starvation)

    You see folks, that's the crunch - the Capitalist believes we're all at work through our own free will - well I'd rather not be here and I'm sure most of you have better things to be doing. I'm only here to pay the mortgage and bills - a need created out of the same money system which has enslaved me to it since birth (for my parents were in debt when I was born).

    ...and that legacy for our children just became a whole lot more 'binding'.
    Slaves - each and every one of us. Don;t believe me - walk out fo your job now - can't do it? - then you are a slave like me.

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm quite sure all the slightly above minimum wage fellow employees will be glad to see they have a personal target of ambition in which to achieve!

  • Comment number 16.

    Interesting move. Best wishes to the man.

    Fortunately he's not about to witness the mess that will be the Tesco Bank launch. Why anyone thought that the same Exec and set of consultants that failed with the Intelligent Finance startup would be a good bet for another new Bank launch is anyone's guess.

    To pick up another comment, the tail end of the recession is a lot longer than the Govt is making out. Having spoken to Angel Investors and some VCs they are saying around 5 out of 7 companies on their portfolios are struggling right now. We're a long way off from recovery believe me.

  • Comment number 17.

    Good luck Terry... and I hope your early retirement isn't an oman of doom and gloom ahead!

    I worked many years for Tesco and was proud to say I was a Tesco employee. The money wasn't that bad and the tesco share scheme gave staff a chance to feel that they were actually part of the company.

    For all those who claim Tesco are blighting the high street I have one thing to say... what people say to your face and do are two completely different things.

    I have relatives who live in small villages who have argued that Tesco would destroy their local shops and that "they would never shop there" only to see them the first through the doors on the day it opened.

    Let's give Tesco its fair dues and celebrate a success for once!

  • Comment number 18.

    Robert,

    When are you going to do a follow up piece on your 'nationalised banks in profit again' piece - because since you ran it we've been falling further and further from it.

    Care to open the debate on why writingsonthewall said this would happen and yet you claimed 'profit' as soon as there was a technical one?

    Lloyds and RBS are falling again today - more worryingly there is a growing consensus that the RBS shares are overvalued and their target price is below 40p - partly because they are more exposed to sovereign crisis than others.

    Still - why would the media want to comment on the lies they backed up previously? I mean all I heard from all media outlets is "how we could make a profit out of this" - when the reality was the chances of making profit were incredibly slim (we would have needed pre-bust growth within a year of the credit crisis)

    Folks, take it from me, that money will be written off in some way or another - we're never getting it back

    ...when they discover the BBC server room in 2080 they might find this post and realise not all of us were as stupid as the mainstream media were in repeating the press releases of Government without question.

  • Comment number 19.

    10. At 12:16pm on 08 Jun 2010, ioioos wrote:

    "Tesco is a fantastic British success story. It amazes me how much people knock it. In an age where British companies are being gobbled up or going under, its great to see them doing well."

    oh dear - been drinking at lunchtime?

    "I hate the way people say "Tesco kills town centres". No it doesn't, shoppers who turn their back on the high street do. Tesco is often the easy one to blame for the problem. Just like people blame MacDonalds for obesity."

    Now that's an interesting point of view - so how does a local greengrocer manage when he has to pay more for his stock than Tesco's as they enslave farmers to supply their stores - and when the greengrocers rental is far in excess of his income?
    If giant corporations are selling food below what the realistic cost is then they will a) destroy all the competition and b) reduce the choice for consumers
    McDonalds do contribute to obesity - I mean how many other burger bars offer a selection of food for less than £1? - a totally unrealistic cost.
    They achieve this by reducing the wages and overheads most companies have to endure - not through efficiency - but through abuse of their market position.

    "I hope that Dave and Nick convince someone like Terry Leahy to help sort the country out. When Gerry tried to save the NHS, he said someone like Terry should be brought in."

    Gerry, Terry, nick and Dave - you speak as if their old mates of yours. Well I can assure you that the chances are they don't give a monkeys about you - in fact they aren't even aware you exist, let alone 'sort out your problems'.

    "Terry will spot the problems, the low productivity, the wastage and the missed opportunities. Then we could have a fit modern NHS that doesn't milk us to pay for its own failures."

    Unfortunately he cannot - simply because the NHS is a public service and cannot abuse it's market position. Only private sector companies can do this within the law.

    "Come on Terry, your country needs you!"

    I'm sure he'll be thinking of you when he flies out for his retirement in some far off land.

    ...one born every minute in the UK.

  • Comment number 20.

    8. At 12:01pm on 08 Jun 2010, DebtJuggler wrote:

    "To all those on Peston's previous blog requesting Peston to expose the fraudulant ponzi scheme that is the FRB system....

    I and many others requested this well over 2 years ago (look back in Peston's archives) but to no avail....you're all just wasting your time!"

    Robert - you can see people have little faith in you - you can rectify this by explaining FRB to all of us.

    Otherwise we'll just assume your like all the other 'reporters' who only print what they're told to by the PR sections of corporations or Government.

  • Comment number 21.

    maybe BobRocket should check his facts before commenting about wages in Tesco, if he was to check he would find that every member of staff from customer assistants, store managers, store directors and even operations directors are well paid and have one the best benefits packages in the public sector

  • Comment number 22.

    Maybe Sir Terry who is a business advisor to Everton FC will be bringing his business expertise to the club he supports?

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 12. At 12:23pm on 08 Jun 2010, redrobb wrote:

    > Didn’t he do well, certainly not affected by inflation /
    > redundancy / pension pitfalls that affect tens of thousands
    > in this and other countries!

    Indeed. He's had his head stuck in the feeding trough for years, along with all the others. And what has he "achieved" - of yes,there are some shops. My advice - tune in, turn on and drop out, else you'll end up feeding the pigs yourselves.

  • Comment number 24.

    I don't care how much he made or the company he runs, the food is APPALLING by any standards!

  • Comment number 25.

    To echo the thoughts of #8 Debt Juggler above and lots of posts on previous blog I too would like to see a Peston or Steph blog on Fractional Reserve banking.

    However surely if this was discussed and legislated against then the journey back to needing a pound to lend a pound would cause the whole system to implode completely - we would be in a credit desert.

    Also thanks to David Brent and WOTW yesterday for providing the info re the account. WOTW I think the get out clauses once you have held for 12 months probably mitigate against the risk of interest rates rising suddenly - you can just withdraw your money.

  • Comment number 26.

    Bobrocket #6 - Your comments on commercial property values are not entirely correct.

    1) Tesco's portfolio of freehold properties have probably decreased in value over the past few years, like the rest of the commercial property market values have taken a big hit. I will admit that due to the Tesco's covenant, their values haven't probably decreased as much as others though.

    2) A majority of Tesco's properties are actually rented - and therefore not generating "value" to the accounts. They do undertake sales of their properties (and rent them back), which releases capital, but with a turnover of £57bn, the capital released is pretty insignificant.

    I would concede however that they do have a significant land holding but again land values have been hit just as much as commercial property values, but they have the ability to make money out of those sites going forward - however, in comparison to the £57bn turnover, it will be small.

    Finally, totally in agreement with ioioos #10 comments - I do love the constant chat about Tesco's being the big bad monster (you know, the whole "Tesco's ruin our local communities etc")- they are good, because they give you and I exactly want we want - whatever is it and whenever you want it. If one resent's Tesco's so much, you know what to do - go and shop somewhere else.

  • Comment number 27.

    #14 WOTW

    'Slaves - each and every one of us. Don;t believe me - walk out fo your job now - can't do it? - then you are a slave like me.'

    -----------------------------

    Reginald Perrin did it!

    The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Perrin

  • Comment number 28.

    17. At 12:48pm on 08 Jun 2010, Shazzy wrote:

    "I worked many years for Tesco and was proud to say I was a Tesco employee. The money wasn't that bad and the tesco share scheme gave staff a chance to feel that they were actually part of the company."

    note: a chance to feel that they were actually part of the company.

    All share schemes are frauds designed to bouy the share price of firms and allow the 'much larger shareholders' (usually the directors) to make even more money from the back of the workforce.

    I have worked in several companies with shre schemes, or option schemes and every single one is tantemount to fraudulent activity (but within the law - of course!)

    "For all those who claim Tesco are blighting the high street I have one thing to say... what people say to your face and do are two completely different things."

    never heard of a 'loss leader'? - never seen a big supermarket squeeze out the small retailer because they cannot compete with the bulk discounts?

    It seems one thing tesco are excellent at - brainwashing their staff - or maybe they are simply excellent at PR and have employed you to say all these great things about your previous employer.

  • Comment number 29.

    There's another interesting aspect to Sir Terry's retirement and that is, love them or hate them, Tesco's great skill at management succession. Not only is this a planned retirement with a substantial handover period, but the named successor has been named already and is a Tesco insider - chosen not for charisma, but retailing competence. Effective succession planning is often overlooked, but it is important - I spend a lot of time researching what makes companies successful (and not so successful) - many other companies would do well to watch and learn from Tesco's practice in this area.

  • Comment number 30.

    # 2/9

    Personally, if I'd just spent the last 2 years fighting hideous global conditions in charge of a business, I'd probably be little bit fatigued right now, and looking to retire.

  • Comment number 31.

    #18 ...or is this how they intend to 'pay us back'

    You see by 'slimming down' the workforce NR can reduce their costs. Then the burden of this is borne by the state in the guise of unemployment related benefits.

    Then NR can 'return to profit' and be 'resold' to the market and pay back the Government - even though in reality the Government is paying itself back from Northern rock by paying out more in benefits.

    Is this how 'wealth it created' then? - wow that's so clever - it's like fraud - and yet it's completely legal.

    No wonder I'm just a minion in this world of Capitalist geniuses.

  • Comment number 32.

    WOTW

    "well I'd rather not be here and I'm sure most of you have better things to be doing"

    I'd like to be in bed now - under what system can we ALL stay in bed ALL of the time yet still get the things we need to survive??

    "Slaves - each and every one of us. Don;t believe me - walk out fo your job now - can't do it? - then you are a slave like me"

    No you are not you are at best lazy and at worst a coward - do it, along with some like minded comrades set yourself up on a farm in Wales, produce only what you need - divide up the work, you should do the most so you are not exploiting others. If they want to stay in bed all day let them, you'll do the work.

    But don't come on here saying you are a slave - think about it!

  • Comment number 33.

    re comment 14
    err no. Slaves (sadly) don't have choices. No-one reading this blog is a slave.
    Also, appearances can be deceptive. Asking people whether enjoy their work is normally better than assuming that they do or don't.

  • Comment number 34.

    18. At 12:56pm on 08 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Folks, take it from me, that money will be written off in some way or another - we're never getting it back
    ----------------------

    That was the whole idea of the bail-out. Да го духат бедните!

  • Comment number 35.

    #14 writings...

    "
    The time has come to stop honouring the wealthy and recognise their wealth for what it is.

    Exploitation."


    This entire argument rests on an equivocation; your description of 'explotation' is either question-begging, or unhelpful to your argument. Either you're using the term in a moralised, normative sense (i.e. where to exploit something or someone is inherently morally problematic) or you're not, in which case talk of exploitation is morally neutral (i.e in the sense of a chess player exploiting a weakness in his opponent's position.) If the former is the case, you're circularly defining exploitation in terms of exploitation, implicitly helping yourself to a notion which has been discredited by almost everyone for almost a century (the LTV). If the latter is the case, as it might be, your argument still doesn't get off the ground because precisely nothing follows, morally speaking, from some activity being correctly described as 'exploitation' in the second sense.

    More substantively, your position is also mistaken for the simple reason that your analysis stops at capitalism. You think you have demonstrated that capitalism is inherently exploitative (which, don't forget, most people dispute) and then you fallaciously infer from this that there must be some alternative that is somehow better. Not so; I think you'll find that quite a lot of socialist and Marxist regimes fit the description of "a system which allows the accumulation of finite resources producing structured advantages for some which are then exploited to the disadvantage of the many" just as well as capitalism does. How can you just assume that there is a better option? Why does your analysis stop there? You never seem to address this. In fact, there is very good reason to think that private property and free markets are more conducive to establishing a state of affairs where exploitation is eradicated. All of your examples of exploitation are of monopolies - but the irony of the fact that you are advocating the establishment of the biggest monopoly yet (and one with access to the coercive resources of society and no checks on its power too!) seems to elude you. Private property and free markets allow for the dispersion of economic power, and, through that, less coercion (and yes, even exploitation) than other systems. I think a quote from Trotsky sums it up, really: "The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat."

  • Comment number 36.

    Robert,

    When are you going to do a follow up piece on your 'nationalised banks in profit again' piece - because since you ran it we've been falling further and further from it.

    Care to open the debate on why writingsonthewall said this would happen and yet you claimed 'profit' as soon as there was a technical one?

    Lloyds and RBS are falling again today - more worryingly there is a growing consensus that the RBS shares are overvalued and their target price is below 40p - partly because they are more exposed to sovereign crisis than others.

    Still - why would the media want to comment on the lies they backed up previously? I mean all I heard from all media outlets is "how we could make a profit out of this" - when the reality was the chances of making profit were incredibly slim (we would have needed pre-bust growth within a year of the credit crisis)

    Folks, take it from me, that money will be written off in some way or another - we're never getting it back

    ...when they discover the BBC server room in 2080 they might find this post and realise not all of us were as stupid as the mainstream media were in repeating the press releases of Government without question.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    I am thinking you should remove the alu foil from you head and start getting out in the real world more often!

  • Comment number 37.

    When you think about it, all of life is just a ponzi scheme

  • Comment number 38.

    24. At 1:45pm on 08 Jun 2010, plamski wrote:

    "I don't care how much he made or the company he runs, the food is APPALLING by any standards!"

    I agree, that 'Tesco value chicken' is 1 part chicken, 4 parts water.

    All legal and above board of course - at least it clarifies the eternal wrangle with 'free goods' Economists keep tripping over - Tesco are managing to charge for it no problem!

    Still, better get used to it - Tesco value chicken is still marginally better than rat, pigeon, fox or stray dog.

  • Comment number 39.

    21. At 1:22pm on 08 Jun 2010, Big Paw Bear wrote:

    "maybe BobRocket should check his facts before commenting about wages in Tesco, if he was to check he would find that every member of staff from customer assistants, store managers, store directors and even operations directors are well paid and have one the best benefits packages in the public sector"

    Did you mean 'private sector'

    Nevertheless - your point is adequately proven by the fact that Tesco always have vacancies - such is the clamber for working there.

    I'm not going to say too much however, I might be asking for a shelf stacking job one day soon - best not to burn your bridges before you've even crossed!

  • Comment number 40.

    With reference to those wanting Mr Peston to explain the fractional reserve system and what might, perhaps accurately, be described as its 'ponzi like' features, have you seen his account of the banking system on BBC iPlayer (originally on BBC3) 'On the Money with Robert Peston'. Its the program he talked about in yesterdays blog.

    Any comments about the accuracy, or perhaps I should say full transparency of the description or its implications about who is to blame when a bank gets into trouble?

  • Comment number 41.

    Nice move get out at the top of the wave, bit like a surfer the trick is knowing when to jump off!
    He knows the austerity belt tightening measures will hit food sales as people cut back on their consumption. So sales revenue will start falling and hence profitability will start to fall. Along with a probable investigation into how the gang of five control the food industry.
    Everybody knows they operate a cartel on food prices, every farmer knows that there business is being squeezed by the ever growing power of the supermarkets. If a little operation threatens them they buy it out and shut it down, does that sound like a free competitive market to you?
    No its not the likes of Tesco, Walmart,Safeway, Sainsbury etc control how we get access to the food now, they control the supply. The discount stores like Netto (just been swallowed up) Aldi, Lidl have been carving a nice slice of the market for a while.
    But good old British snob appeal will keep them hooked on buying food from the big five, god knows why they have been fleecing the British consumer for years.

  • Comment number 42.

    anybody else notice that WOTW or RP hasn't mentioned the latest retail figures in a retail story, could it be because they are positive, It seems WOTW always mentions them when they are down!.

    However do agree that Loss Leaders have played there part in the almost complete decline of UK's butchers, fishmonger and greengrocers shops

    Other less favourable alledged aspects during the tenure is that in 2005 Tesco together with unilever were labled as the two most unethical companies in the UK. in 2006 it was aledged that factories supplying it in Bangladesh used child labour, paid as little as 5 pence per hour and staff were required to work 80+ hours per week. In 2009 it was accused of breaking promises by still demanding 80+ hour weeks at 7 pence per hour pay.
    Milk suppliers regularly claim they are forced to sell milk at a loss, of the retail price of milk over the last 15 years, the farmers share have been reduced from 60% to 35% while at the same time the retailers share has increased tenfold to 30% . Another example is in 1991 potatoes were bought from the supplier at 9p per kg and reatiled at 21p per k, by 2000 the supplier price was still 9p but the retail price rose to 47p.
    The company also charges an admin fee to staff wishing to donate to charity.

  • Comment number 43.

    32. At 2:20pm on 08 Jun 2010, StartAgain wrote:

    "I'd like to be in bed now - under what system can we ALL stay in bed ALL of the time yet still get the things we need to survive??"

    Well if the Government got rid of Capitalism they could replace it with a fully automated public provision of everything. Then we could all stay in bed, or maybe read some books, or maybe build our own houses, fix our own cars etc.
    If it weren't for the 'profit' we're working for the working week would be over by Tuesday afternoon.

    "No you are not you are at best lazy and at worst a coward - do it, along with some like minded comrades set yourself up on a farm in Wales, produce only what you need - divide up the work, you should do the most so you are not exploiting others.
    If they want to stay in bed all day let them, you'll do the work.
    But don't come on here saying you are a slave - think about it!"

    Maybe if you weren't a slave yourself then you would realise that people outside of Capitalism don't need to look at whose doing the most - that's called competition and it's a feature of Capitalism. Shared ownership means shared responsibility and shared benefits.
    People who do not participate do not receive the benefit - unlike our current system where you can take the countries biggest bank to near collapse and still keep your knighthood.

    So back in your box fellow slave.

  • Comment number 44.

    33. At 2:23pm on 08 Jun 2010, eddy5050 wrote:

    "re comment 14
    err no. Slaves (sadly) don't have choices. No-one reading this blog is a slave."

    ...anyone who is still working to pay off debt is a slave. I know you can't see your physical chains, but you try walking out on your job and see how long you keep a roof over your head and food in your belly.

    "Also, appearances can be deceptive. Asking people whether enjoy their work is normally better than assuming that they do or don't. "

    Who 'enjoys' their work? - lets see, to receieve 'enjoyment' there must be some reward.
    Monetary reward is merely to pay for debts, or sustinance - so that's no rewards.
    ...so how about 'job satisfaction' - that feeling when you did a good thing at work - the feeling that would make you do the job for nothing.

    I think Nurses, Teachers, Social workers and other general public sector workers all get this feeling from time to time.
    ...which is why they get such poor pay.

    I can assure you that despite being superb at my job, despite being highly productive (yes, even wasting hours on this blog I'm still hugely productive) and despite earning fair sized rewards for doing so.....I would much rather not be doing it.

    Therefore I am a slave - and so are you my friend, anyone who sells their labour in this country is a slave. If you think you have a choise then quit your job and let me know how you get on.

    ...for starters you won't have access to the internet anymore....

  • Comment number 45.

    28. At 2:06pm on 08 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    "It seems one thing tesco are excellent at - brainwashing their staff - or maybe they are simply excellent at PR and have employed you to say all these great things about your previous employer."

    WOTW I have met people who are 'the glass half full' type. I have met people who are 'the glass half empty'. Never met your type, 'the glass is totally empty'.

    An employee tells you he liked working at Tesco because they were looked after and all you do is sneer.

    Tesco are good not because, as you assert, they bulk buy and screw the High St. grocers etc. They are good because they do all aspects of Retailing well. High Street Grocers have gone because they were usually abysmal with poor pricing, poor stock control and inadequate service.

    Their Supply Chain systems are superb - they hold I believe an average of less than one weeks stock. They pioneered, in this country Loyalty Cards, (I know Sainsbury didn't take Loyalty Systems seriously till Tesco did it).

    Their prices in their Superstores are very sharp and their Metros are usefully located for people without transport.

    In an age when the UK is unable to compete in many fields, partly because of Jeremiahs like yourself - Share Option schemes do engender loyalty - we should applaud their achievements and encourage other sectors to become successful like Tesco - or would that be against your creed?

  • Comment number 46.

    35. At 3:27pm on 08 Jun 2010, Tromperie

    Who said anything about socialism? - I refer to Marx in his critique of Capitalism.

    "implicitly helping yourself to a notion which has been discredited by almost everyone for almost a century"

    Who, when, how - show me who has discredited the notion that profit comes from surplus value and that surplus value represents the exploitation of the workforce? Are we talking friedman and his idea that the 'symptom' is the 'cause'?

    "You think you have demonstrated that capitalism is inherently exploitative (which, don't forget, most people dispute) "

    Actually 'most people' don't think about it at all - so how do you conclude that 'most people dispute' this fact?

    "You never seem to address this. In fact, there is very good reason to think that private property and free markets are more conducive to establishing a state of affairs where exploitation is eradicated."

    Again, can you show me how the accumulation of capital (which has, does and will result in greater imbalances of wealth) is going to produce 'freedom for all' - I think you're confusing 'our' freedom with 'your' freedom. The path of self fulfillment through selfish acts is not one I believe will bring us to a world where we are all free.

    "but the irony of the fact that you are advocating the establishment of the biggest monopoly yet"

    Ah, I see where you're getting this from, well I think you need to verify your definition of 'state' before you enter this discussion. Ever heard of the state 'withering away' as it no longer has a use - well when will that happen in a free market where it's clear regulation and rules will need to be created, maintained and enforced (as the free market has proven it is unable to do so)

    "Private property and free markets allow for the dispersion of economic power, and, through that, less coercion (and yes, even exploitation) than other systems."

    Oh - so you mean all that regulation from Government is totally uneccessary and I am imagining the balance of wealth moving upwards under Capitalism? What you have is just words - words which are now being proven as incorrect.

    "I think a quote from Trotsky sums it up, really: "The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat."

    Maybe it's because trotsky came from a world where he assumed there would be scarcity - whereas technology has since shown that the solution will be "everyone eats, regardless of whether they work or obey"

    For all your big words - the content is dramatically thin, a bit like some of the 'theories' which have supposedly discredited Marxist theory. I can see you're not a stupid person, but seriously, is that the best criticism you can muster?

    Show me something to back up what you say - otherwise your argument can be summed up in much less words.
    "Capitalism is the best, everything else is rubbish, so says Tromperie"

  • Comment number 47.

    36. At 3:42pm on 08 Jun 2010, David George wrote:

    "I am thinking you should remove the alu foil from you head and start getting out in the real world more often!"

    I do live in the real world - the real world of finance.

    If you dispute what i say - then by all means, demonstrate why you think this is untrue. I'm always open to suggestions!

  • Comment number 48.

    Totally right No 6. If the minimum wage was increased to £10 per hour (or more) the tax payer would not have to subsidise Tesco's profits via Tax Credits.

    If the consumer wants over all value for money they should go to a combination of Lidl's/Aldi's AND there local butcher's etc, etc - best of both worlds.

    Tesco's gross margins (the highest in the world of grocers)prove they are poor value for money!

  • Comment number 49.

    First, I worked for Tesco for 11 years and met Terry and Phil Clarke many times (I used to sit across from Phil's office) and they're both very capable execs who get the job done. Terry has more than earned his retirement and Phil deserves a crack at the top job.

    Now that I live in North America, I realise just how well Tesco is run and how universally it is held in the highest esteem in the business world (not just retailing). People will always be critical of it - as they should, it keeps them honest - but by and large, its a fantastic British success story. They'd be the first to admit that they're not perfect, that they make mistakes here and there and that some employees (like any huge organisation) aren't a perfect fit. Its not a popularity contest so yes, Tesco have made decisions that can come across as unpopular but at least they're thought through and highly reasoned.

    But by and large, Tesco have done really good things for UK retailing, customers and 'ordinary' staff alike. And lets face it, if 30% of UK groceries are bought there, they must be doing a lot of things right.

  • Comment number 50.

    44. At 4:21pm on 08 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    .........Therefore I am a slave - and so are you my friend, anyone who sells their labour in this country is a slave. If you think you have a choise then quit your job and let me know how you get on.

    ...for starters you won't have access to the internet anymore....

    ..........................................

    Sorry WOTW, this is all poppycock (again). I ceased work nearly 10 years ago (I think) in my own personal protest over the Iraq war. Not worked since, not drawn any benifits and still have a roof over my head, access to internet etc. It's called planning and courage of conviction.

  • Comment number 51.

    #2 writingsonthewall wrote:
    "It's funny how so many 'successful' CEO's are retiring at the moment..."
    Bad News on the way Huh ? Small fury animal leaving the ship you say ? :
    In 2008 UK Company's reduced their
    Fixed Assets and Stock by £71,100 Million
    Consumer Debt went up by £431,800 Million
    Government Debt went up by £76,400 Million
    And Foreigners Debt went up by £373,500 Million (More like our Net debt to them went down by this amount)
    In the same year the Net retained profits of 'Corporate UK' was £810,600
    Notice anything funny about the numbers ? - they add up ! :
    £-71,100 + £431,800 + £76,400 + £373,500 = £810,600
    This is essentially casued by double entry bookkeeping and is an example of the Sisyphus Equation
    in action : Net Retained Profits of the Corporate World = Corporate Fixed Assets + Financial Debt of non-Corporate World.
    So what's the latest numbers ?
    Q3 to Sept 2009 told us this :
    Fixed Assets Increase : Unknown - but take a guess - say £zero
    Household Debt went down by £435,300 Million
    Government Debt went up by £88,300 Million
    and Foreigner Debt went down by £209,100 Million (i.e our debt to them went up)
    So, bunging these numbers in the equation leaves ...
    £0 - £435,300 +£88,300 - £209,100 = - £556,100 i.e. we are looking at a half a Trillion loss over the UK Corporate World
    and that's just for Q3 2009.
    Reducing Government debt (or any debt) would make this worse as ignoring Fixed Assets for a mo, Profit = Debt
    and no Debt, No Profit.

  • Comment number 52.

    45. At 5:16pm on 08 Jun 2010, dontmakeawave wrote:

    WOTW I have met people who are 'the glass half full' type. I have met people who are 'the glass half empty'. Never met your type, 'the glass is totally empty'.

    .................................

    I can only presume you are to young to remember the TV program 'Citizen Smith'. Here, let me introduce you to Wolfie.

  • Comment number 53.

    Perhaps his successor may have better 'green credentials?

    - import less food produce to the UK
    - ensure that Tesco stores by the bulk of their produce locally to help the UK economy
    - introduce seasonal vegetable purchasing and assist British farmers and growers
    - take more interest in Britain rather than just taking our money
    - introduce more healthy food with vegetable packs
    - a bit more imagination for using less packaging
    - apply 'fair trade' criteria i.e. British farmers and growers come first
    with fair dealing

    Quite a bit to do?

  • Comment number 54.

    Tesco has a reputation for manipulating customers. For example, the lowest priced goods are available for a few weeks then mysteriously disappear for long periods. You go in looking for something in particular, then either switch to something else or leave empty handed, which is uncomfortable for many people. The end result is you are weaned onto more expensive goods. The Tesco/ASDA/Walmart/Netto war might be fun to watch, it's going to be hugely "competitive", but it isn't going to make grocery shopping better value for customers.

    Quit while you're ahead. Mr Leahy has an untarnished reputation, lots of money and with luck plenty of good healthy years to look forward to. Heaven on earth. Enjoy. Assuming he's been paying his taxes of course.

  • Comment number 55.

    "52. At 6:41pm on 08 Jun 2010, Uphios wrote:
    45. At 5:16pm on 08 Jun 2010, dontmakeawave wrote:

    WOTW I have met people who are 'the glass half full' type. I have met people who are 'the glass half empty'. Never met your type, 'the glass is totally empty'.

    .................................

    I can only presume you are to young to remember the TV program 'Citizen Smith'. Here, let me introduce you to Wolfie.
    "
    Ah, the usual, if I cant win the argument result to insults approach. I think WOTW is more glass is full. He can see, like myself, a range of alternative options for the future which are a lot better than the current broken system. You must be glass half full. Happy with a sham of a system, as opposed to the half empty, not happy with the sham of a system but cant believe any alternative could be better.

  • Comment number 56.

    52. At 6:41pm on 08 Jun 2010, Uphios wrote:
    "I can only presume you are to young to remember the TV program 'Citizen Smith'. Here, let me introduce you to Wolfie."

    Sadly I do remember Wolfie! Never made the connection before. Is WOTW the only remaining member of the Tooting Popular Front? Now there's a thought! It does explain everything.

  • Comment number 57.

    Although I agree with posters about WOTW talking a load of twaddle, there's an underlying issue that perplexes me. With our fields being harvested using huge machines, our factories filled with robots and computer controlled machines, with the internet, science and all that, how come we need two breadwinners per family working longer hours than ever barely able to put a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and spend time rearing our children, let alone caring for our neighbours, the environment and our fellow man who is suffering the most vile deprivations across the globe. We haven't created the "land fit for heroes", nor the "fairer society" that so many of us aspired to. Something is definitely, seriously, systemically going wrong. So although WOTW is spouting a lot of garbage about us being "slaves", I'm afraid it's not complete nonsense. Which is disappointing.

  • Comment number 58.

    46. At 5:35pm on 08 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall

    "Who said anything about socialism? - I refer to Marx in his critique of Capitalism."

    I am aware of your ideological bent, but much of the economic aspects of socialism remain derived from Marx.

    "Who, when, how - show me who has discredited the notion that profit comes from surplus value and that surplus value represents the exploitation of the workforce? Are we talking friedman and his idea that the 'symptom' is the 'cause'?"

    The notion of the Marxian LTV was largely discredited by Menger in 1871; at a time when Marx himself was still alive! (People such as Bohm-Bawerk and The crux of the argument is thus: labour has no inherent value in itself, just like goods have no inherent value. The only value we can associate with something is a subjective value, its worth to an individual.

    And this is where Marxism is totally off the mark - it assumes that there is some sort of real, inherent value of labour which is not being given to the workers, and they are thus being exploited. When you realise, however, that the only value of labour is the value people put on it, we see that the whole Marxist notion of exploitation is meaningless.

    "Again, can you show me how the accumulation of capital (which has, does and will result in greater imbalances of wealth) is going to produce 'freedom for all' - I think you're confusing 'our' freedom with 'your' freedom. The path of self fulfillment through selfish acts is not one I believe will bring us to a world where we are all free."

    I don't see how imbalances of wealth are undesirable in themselves. If all the wealth in the world was destroyed overnight, then everyone would have an equal amount of wealth, ie, none. If that's not enough to dissuade you of the notion that wealth imbalances are the be-all and end-all, I don't know what will.


    Even Analytical Marxists such as G.A Cohen have abandoned the whole program of criticising capitalism based on the notion of exploitation. The reason? Because the Marxist notion of exploitation rests on an unarticulated premise that people are entitled to the fruits of their labour, and such a premise is plainly inconsistent with Marxist conclusions. (For example, the recipients of redistributive taxation would count as exploiting the taxed. Which is, perhaps, the right conclusion, but one which certainly doesn't support Marxism.)

  • Comment number 59.

    Its hilarious to see all the doom mongers and anti-capitalists on here deriding Tesco - yes its a massive company but by virtue of its strategic thinking (a.k.a land bank) and its sharp business operations. If people didn't want to shop at Tesco then there ARE alternatives but I suspect the marxist brigade on here would ramble on how they are merely deluded in the consumerist ethic.

    Its good to see a Uk company that is actually achieving things in the outside world but we will have to see how long it continues before it cracks show in it (if at all).

  • Comment number 60.

    55. At 8:04pm on 08 Jun 2010, Averagejoe wrote:
    "Ah, the usual, if I cant win the argument result to insults approach."

    You clearly didn't read my blog entry 45 - Tesco are a good British Company with a number of tributes from former employees all trashed by "wolfie".

    ".. WOTW is more glass is full."

    WOTW makes Marvin the Miserable Robot in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy sound like a barrel of laughs - glass full, you cannot be serious, he makes no constructive comments - glass empty, mate!


    "He can see, like myself, a range of alternative options for the future which are a lot better than the current broken system."

    The system is broken as you put it by poor economic management by the previous incumbent government. There are plenty of examples of well run economies we should seek to emulate.

    Sure, I know you'd say the Bankers caused it all - let me ask you this, if you drive a car do you not use your seat belt and have air bags to protect you in the event of an accident. Well the previous encumbent goverment did neither (in economic terms) and neither did they have brakes (on spending). The broken system will be fixed but it should not have been like this!

  • Comment number 61.

    The most two most disturbing aspects of Tesco 'corporate' behaviour in recent years is:

    Tesco express 'invasion' of high streets causing destruction of independents, while operating their huge bases just outside of those same towns. How far does any successful predator's territory need to be before it's hunger satiated?

    Tesco persistent, and presumably expensive use, of 'celebrity' voices in it's 'every little helps' campaigns. Deeply patronising and unspeakably insulting to those with no power under the relentless progress of domination of our food supply? Who knows, what do little ant-like ordinary people know?

    The biggest turn-off is 'celebrity' voice or appearance - it only means more cost - somewhere on the check-out bill or a farmer or other supplier going bust?



  • Comment number 62.

    55. At 8:04pm on 08 Jun 2010, Averagejoe wrote:

    ..... He can see, like myself, a range of alternative options for the future which are a lot better than the current broken system.

    ....................................

    O.K. benifit of the doubt and all that. So elaberate, which range of alternate options for the future do you see?

    Now whenever Wolfie is asked that he always goes all coy. Talks about Marx but then defends any attack with 'well it's never been tried'.
    Lately he seems to be into the Venus project, which is in fact full of holes but again his defence is 'it could be good'.

    To me what he proposes, when he is not simply throwing insults at a previous poster, is a handful of half baked ideas that are totally unporoven. And for that he want to throw away a sytem that has survived hundreds of years, albeit with faults.

    Anyway, here's your chance. Elaberate on these options.

  • Comment number 63.

    I don't like Tesco very much though it has improved a bit. Whether I am on not, I always feel I am being deceived... by the deeply cut wine offers... I remind myself that if its £4.99 that's actually just about what its worth..... and the BOGOFS which are not half price all but actually what they say... two for today's price, and the big jars of coffee offers which are often at a unit price dearer than the smaller jars. Caveat Emptor as the Romans said. All this makes me suspicious of the company. I'm being 'done'. And I hate being asked for my 'Club Card'. Why should Mr Leary want to know the brand of contraceptives I prefer? And then you have to spend £250.00 a week to get enough back to buy a bottle of Tesco Ale

    I once worked a long time ago for a big grocer who was truly loved, so much so that my undergraduate assistant and I were almost mobbed by admiring ladies when taking lunch in a first class dining car on the way back from Birmingham. There is only one of those left today, and it is not Tesco.

    According to many commenters here, Tesco's customers like all of this and more... well as they say there is one born every minute.

  • Comment number 64.

    #46 ref critique of Marx's LTV. "Marx after Sraffa" author Ian Steedman.


    Sadly out of print and Google books isn't any help either.

    I'll summarise the points as follows:

    1) The conditions of production and the real wage paid to workers, both specified in terms of physical quantities of commodities , suffice to determine the rate of profit.

    2) Therefore the quantities of labour embodies in the various commodities play no essential role on the determination of the rate of profit.

    3)Marx's solution to the transformation problem is incorrect. S/(C+V) is not generally equal to the rate of profit.

    4) There is no basis for establishing any expectation concerning the long-run movement of the rate of profit.


    Fortunately an alternative structure has been devised using a surplus approach derived from Piero Sraffa's "Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities". For Instance Michio Morishima in "Marx from a von Neumann Viewpoint" in "Essays in Modern Capital Theory" shows that positive exploitation is necessary and sufficient for the economic system to guarantee positive profits.

  • Comment number 65.

    #58

    No.

    The notion of exploitation in Marxist theory is not meaningless. At its base is a notion of the essence of human beings as creatures who consciously act upon their environment to change it and to sustain life. That process we can call work to produce things that are useful (use values).

    Work within capitalist society is controlled to produce use values for exchange for privately owned and appropriated profit, ie for their exchange value. That requires control of the pace of work and the length of the working day within the production process (the relations of production). It has nothing to do with distribution or redistribution through taxation or some other mechanism. Within the production process the outcome of ones work is taken in exchange for wages, i.e. work is no longer for use values as such. Workers are alienated from the things they produce and the process in which this occurs is one in which they feel no control.

    It is important that the time taken to produce the real wage basket of goods for the worker is minimised. This is the re-working of the rate of Marx's rate of exploitation by Michio Morishima.

    All of the main economic concepts which we use today are derived from the period of the nineteenth century when 1) the widespread use of the factory process was a phenomenon which needed to be grappled with as something quite new. 2) where technological backwardness meant there was widespread scarcity.

    In the early 21st century the productive capacity of modern technology combined with the natural resources of the globe is such that scarcity of energy and food can be abolished, and on that basis the scarcity of anything.

    There are three schools of thought:

    1) The majority view: scarcity is a given.
    2) The application of technology free from the money economy provides the means of revolutionising human life in no less a way than industrialisation, and for the better.
    3) The further application of technology brings its user ever more under its control and is impoverishing of what it is to be human.

    Turning to Bohm Bawerk. Under this system the equilibirum wage and rate of profit are determined by two conditions: 1) the condition that the supply of labour be equal to the demand for labour. 2) The processes in which labour is employed are assumed to maximise profits.

    This implies that the wage rate is inversely related to the rate of interest and therefore the rate of profit. Within Bohm Bawerk's system the degree of "roundaboutness", by which he meant (simplified) the degree of capital intensity of the production process was inversely related to the rate of profit. However Piero Sraffa in "Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities" showed that the same system of production (combination of labour and capital) could be the most profitable at more than one rate of profit.

    Therefore Bohm Bawerk has nothing to offer regarding a theory of value.





  • Comment number 66.

    Apparently, the scary cartoon picture of Robert Peston at the side of this page has sent stock markets around the world tumbling [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 67.

    #65 SeanBroseley wrote :
    "At Marxism's base is a notion of the essence of human beings as creatures who consciously act upon their environment to change it and to sustain life. That process we can call work to produce things that are useful (use values)"
    This is the old trick of pre-loading your premise with your desired conclusions "That process we can call ‘work’ to produce things that are useful (use values)" 'em no, we can call it, in modern day, and for the past hundred years even, ‘pressing a button on a machine’.
    For those bookish theoretics that have never seen the inside of a factory, think of the photocopier in the corridor.
    It can make 1 copy or 10,000 copies of something and no extra 'process we can call work" is involved in the difference, 'machine activity' is what the difference is. In the world of Marx this is not Labour and hence is not a "use value", Our financial system has pretty much the
    same assumption - whereas in reality, something both Marx and the Financial system are miles away from 'machine activity' produces loads of real value.
    The machines are our new slaves - yet because we use a financial system designed in pre-machine age it, the financial system not reality
    demands "full labour employment".
    The rules of our financial system are artificial, not very good and in dire need of change.
    I've worked out a new system called NEFS Net Export Financial Simulation as a starter for ten.
    But you could work one out yourself by thinking something like "If Aliens on planet Zod were so advanced that their machines could do everything
    - what financial system must they be using so that their 100% unemployment caused by machines isn't a problem ? "

  • Comment number 68.

    28. At 2:06pm on 08 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    17. At 12:48pm on 08 Jun 2010, Shazzy wrote:

    'All share schemes are frauds designed to bouy the share price of firms and allow the 'much larger shareholders' (usually the directors) to make even more money from the back of the workforce.

    I have worked in several companies with shre schemes, or option schemes and every single one is tantemount to fraudulent activity (but within the law - of course!)'
    ------------------------

    Bet you wouldn't be so grumpy today if you had worked at Microsoft in its early years and been given shares, note GIVEN, as a bonus, from the diluted, note DILUTED, share capital of the company!

    WotW! What are you on about? Giving workers shares in a business is spreading ownership of the company to the employees who have helped to build it. In my more more Socialist and Capitalist moments, that is a dream I have for any business that I might create, if it should grow big enough through its success. And then, when I fell off my twig in due course, there would be scope for shareholding employees with the necessary skills, who had been encouraged to stay with the business, to do a Terry Leahy with it.

    Get back to your Waitrose cornflakes! Oh, no, you wouldn't buy Waitrose cornflakes would you? The business is a partnership. Where do you get your cornflakes? ASDA? Capitalist, American owned! Sainsbury's? Oh, family owned, inherited wealth! Even worse! The Co-op? Yes, that's it! But you benefit from a dividend at the Co-op! You don't like shares and dividends, do you?

    Do tell us where you buy your food, WotW.

    And hey, let's be careful out there today ...

  • Comment number 69.

    60. At 9:13pm on 08 Jun 2010, dontmakeawave wrote:
    55. At 8:04pm on 08 Jun 2010, Averagejoe wrote:
    "Ah, the usual, if I cant win the argument result to insults approach."

    You clearly didn't read my blog entry 45 - Tesco are a good British Company with a number of tributes from former employees all trashed by "wolfie".

    ".. WOTW is more glass is full."

    WOTW makes Marvin the Miserable Robot in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy sound like a barrel of laughs - glass full, you cannot be serious, he makes no constructive comments - glass empty, mate!


    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Today WotW is being like kevinb in a really bad mood on a very wet dull day! But your description, dontmakeawave, is even better and made me laugh out loud and cheered me up! Ta!

    42 ... !

  • Comment number 70.

    61. At 9:58pm on 08 Jun 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    The most two most disturbing aspects of Tesco 'corporate' behaviour in recent years is:

    Tesco express 'invasion' of high streets causing destruction of independents, while operating their huge bases just outside of those same towns. How far does any successful predator's territory need to be before it's hunger satiated?

    Tesco persistent, and presumably expensive use, of 'celebrity' voices in it's 'every little helps' campaigns. Deeply patronising and unspeakably insulting to those with no power under the relentless progress of domination of our food supply? Who knows, what do little ant-like ordinary people know?

    The biggest turn-off is 'celebrity' voice or appearance - it only means more cost - somewhere on the check-out bill or a farmer or other supplier going bust?
    ----------------------
    I hold no particular brief for Tesco although I do shop there a lot now. There is a lot of rubbish being written on this Blog and I am moved to respond.

    Tesco's 'Invasion of the High Street' does sound like a horror movie but in a free open market society there is nothing to stop anyone else doing exactly the same. More usually, Tesco's detractors complain about their out of town stores. Go to any place of any size and I think you will find other supermarkets have done exactly the same thing - in high streets or out of town.

    'Tesco persistent, and presumably expensive use, of 'celebrity' voices' - well, really! I am a bit out of touch with what is on TV today, but do I recall Jamie Oliver being 'used' by Sainsbury's? And getting a lot of money for it? And is not the Tesco campaign a very long running campaign using the same two actresses, who although extremely good (both briliant, in my view) are not the highest earners in or outside Hollywood!

  • Comment number 71.

    Re #28 writingsonthewall wrote
    "I have worked in several companies with share schemes, or option schemes and every single one is tantemount to fraudulent activity"
    So have I, it has an incredible effect on the workforce. I highly recommend it.
    There is a genuine 'I'll do a bit extra, or I want to do this well and it's not just the bosses who will benefit from my extra effort - it's me" thing going on.
    If the share price drops it's not just The City the managers have to worry about, they get funny looks from the staff.
    It's a terrific idea.

  • Comment number 72.

    Glenis I think you will have to agree that I did say in post 65 that the economic concepts we use a mainly grounded in the industrial era where it is quite clear that control of the pace of work and the length of the working day were seen to be important in generating profits. The attention to this given by economists was because this was in sharp contrast to the organisation of production that it was replacing. A new phenomenon attracted attention because it required explanation.

    If your starting point is that the production process is "press the big red button and then do something else" then you are going to arrive at different conclusions. But I would say that if pressing the big red button and walking away was a generally applicable model then people wouldn't be committing suicide at the Foxcomm factory.

  • Comment number 73.

    re #29
    Good post. Getting some good business sense posted on this Blog. Thanks!

  • Comment number 74.

    12. At 12:23pm on 08 Jun 2010, redrobb wrote:
    Didn’t he do well, certainly not affected by inflation / redundancy / pension pitfalls that affect tens of thousands in this and other countries! And just where does this gentleman have his money banked? I'm guessing the bulk of it is well out of reach. And all this under a pseudo socialist government. Can you imgaine the rewards that will come to those under the present coalition? If ever anyone needed an incentive then here I give you one! But an incentive for what? Mr Moderator would be down on me like a ton of bricks should I eleborate!!

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Terry Leahy worked hard for it and earned it and paid tax on it. He could have paid a bit more tax, but that was the choice of the pseudo-socialist government - they set the rates in their Budgets.

    And that same pseudo-socialist government, who made a lot of noise about unemployment when in opposition, would have looked a bit more sick with a lot more out of work for thirteen years without Sir Terry and Tesco creating more jobs!

  • Comment number 75.

    At times I do think that people do fuss about food a little too much. As the philosopher of our times Karl Pilkington states "I just shove it down".

  • Comment number 76.

    63. At 11:18pm on 08 Jun 2010, cping500 wrote:

    "I don't like Tesco very much ..., I always feel I am being deceived... by the deeply cut wine offers... I remind myself that if its £4.99 that's actually just about what its worth.....the big jars of coffee offers which are often at a unit price dearer than the smaller jars. Caveat Emptor as the Romans said. All this makes me suspicious of the company. I'm being 'done'. ...."

    cping500 you are obviously a canny shopper but why are you being done? You can make the choice, accept the offer on the basis if it is good enough value for you or not accept the offer.

    As to wine offers - if they are Oz wines, the Aussie Dollar has greatly appreciated against Sterling so some of these wines at £4.99 are good value, assuming you like the wine!

    As to your comment on coffee value, yes, the big jars are not always good value but you can tell from the shelf pricelabels what the unit cost per kilo is. So you make the choice. Why are you being done?

    My wife always shops at another chain on Friday at around 5pm when the shop marks down fresh produce at the sell buy date. She isn't being done if she buys on other days, but is being canny knowing the produce is fine even if marked down. Canny emptor?

  • Comment number 77.

    Quit whilst your ahead !

  • Comment number 78.

    SWill even Tesco survive a protracted Depression ?

  • Comment number 79.

    I believe there is such a thing as a debt slave but then I need to define 'slave'. Let me put it this way:

    In medieval times, the majority of the population were serfs. They were tied to the land and the owners of that land. They were forced to work on the land to produce income for, and fight for, their owners when required. I regard serfs as slaves.

    OK, as a debt slave, you don't have to go to war for your masters (ermm at least I dont this you do). The remaining criteria are not dissimilar however.

  • Comment number 80.

    68. At 07:49am on 09 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote:
    .......Do tell us where you buy your food, WotW

    .......................................................

    Probably has it delivered by Fortnum and Mason, he is a banker after all.

  • Comment number 81.

    Shopping in my local Tesco store is the worst shopping experience I've ever had anywhere! It really is hell on earth. The most senior members of the company may pay themselves huge bonuses for increasing profits, but what they have produced is simply appalling. It's not the staff; despite their reportedly low wages, they are generally very good. It's the experience of wheeling a trolley down the aisles with too many other shoppers plus the seemingly increasing number of "home shopping" trolleys along with a constant flow of larger trolleys to keep the shelves stacked, then queuing to get out.
    I now find Sainsburys a much more calming environment in which to shop, so that's where I go for the main shop, along with Marks & Spencer and Waitrose for what I consider better quality food.
    I wonder if the board members shop anonymously in their local stores along with everyone else.

  • Comment number 82.

    80. At 09:39am on 09 Jun 2010, Uphios wrote:
    68. At 07:49am on 09 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote:
    ".......Do tell us where you buy your food, WotW

    .......................................................

    Probably has it delivered by Fortnum and Mason, he is a banker after all."

    Jealousy will get you nowhere - and inaccurately calling me a 'banker' is not going to help - especially as I made it clear I work in finance

    ...I could be the cleaner for all you know.

  • Comment number 83.

    74. At 08:30am on 09 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote:

    "And that same pseudo-socialist government, who made a lot of noise about unemployment when in opposition, would have looked a bit more sick with a lot more out of work for thirteen years without Sir Terry and Tesco creating more jobs!"


    ...and how exactly do you 'create a job' - surely demand creates the job, not the employer.
    For every job 'created' at Tesco there is another one lost elsewhere.

  • Comment number 84.

    71. At 08:20am on 09 Jun 2010, Glenis wrote:

    "So have I, it has an incredible effect on the workforce. I highly recommend it.
    There is a genuine 'I'll do a bit extra, or I want to do this well and it's not just the bosses who will benefit from my extra effort - it's me" thing going on."

    ....then you clearly don't understand the point of a share scheme. Most companies who offer them are so large the individual (or even groups of individuals) cannot make any effect to the share price, no matter how much effort they put in.

    You will also notice that for every 1 share option you're given, your CEO is given about 200 (on top of his / her salary) - so if the share price rises through collective hard work - the top end benefit exponentially greater than you will over time. This pushes the disparity of wages within a company further and further apart.

    The idea of share schemes are to fool the worker into thinking his / her prosperity is in line with that of the companies.

    ...just like the people who ring up X-factor or BGT to influence the vote - thanks for your contribution, but ultimately the result will be unnaffected by your call.

  • Comment number 85.

    42. At 4:12pm on 08 Jun 2010, Kudospeter wrote:

    "anybody else notice that WOTW or RP hasn't mentioned the latest retail figures in a retail story, could it be because they are positive, It seems WOTW always mentions them when they are down!."

    I try not to talk about daily, weekly of monthly fluctuations in figures in times when consumption tax has been played with - it can be misleading. This would be the same if the figures were up or down.

    45. At 5:16pm on 08 Jun 2010, dontmakeawave wrote:

    "WOTW I have met people who are 'the glass half full' type. I have met people who are 'the glass half empty'. Never met your type, 'the glass is totally empty'."

    Why don't you return your head into the sand and hope it all goes away. I have said it before, I am only pessimistic about our contradictory economic system which is going to fail - everything else I am wildly optimistic about. You can tell yourself "there's no place like home" all you want, but it don't mean you're off to Kansas.

    "An employee tells you he liked working at Tesco because they were looked after and all you do is sneer."

    Do you know he is an employee? - how do you know he's not a Tesco PR man?

    50. At 6:13pm on 08 Jun 2010, Uphios wrote:

    "Sorry WOTW, this is all poppycock (again). I ceased work nearly 10 years ago (I think) in my own personal protest over the Iraq war. Not worked since, not drawn any benifits and still have a roof over my head, access to internet etc. It's called planning and courage of conviction."

    ....or living of accumulated capital perhaps. How can you consume in a society in which you (seem to admit) you do not contribute towards? Seems to me you're not much better than our previous Government who consumed more than it produced. Don't tell me - you worked 10 times as hard as everyone else and therefore you deserve your freedom...

    52. At 6:41pm on 08 Jun 2010, Uphios wrote:

    "I can only presume you are to young to remember the TV program 'Citizen Smith'. Here, let me introduce you to Wolfie."

    So anyone who doesn't 'tow the line' is deemed a fruit, a loon, or some sort of derisory figure? - now when has that happened in the past I wonder....

    Average Joe summed it up best @ 55

    "Ah, the usual, if I cant win the argument result to insults approach. I think WOTW is more glass is full. He can see, like myself, a range of alternative options for the future which are a lot better than the current broken system. You must be glass half full. Happy with a sham of a system, as opposed to the half empty, not happy with the sham of a system but cant believe any alternative could be better."

    ...at least some people actually read my posts rather than throwing childish insults around the place...

    57. At 8:12pm on 08 Jun 2010, PacketRat wrote:

    "Although I agree with posters about WOTW talking a load of twaddle, there's an underlying issue that perplexes me."

    What you actually mean is "I don't really understand everything WOTW is saying, and what I do understand scares me - so I'll go along with the 'majority' as that's always safest"

    ...and there folks - we have the reason for our corrupt, useless and waste of a political system.
    The rest of your post shows that you are now considering 'self though out logic' over 'popular belief'. I don't want you to believe what I say, I just want you to think about it independently - which you have - and clearly your logic is coming into conflict with what you've been taught to believe. Just keep thinking for yourself and take no-one at their word - especially those who have been proven to lie to you before.

    59. At 8:24pm on 08 Jun 2010, EmKay wrote:

    "If people didn't want to shop at Tesco then there ARE alternatives but I suspect the marxist brigade on here would ramble on how they are merely deluded in the consumerist ethic."

    My nearest 3 supermarkets are all Tesco - I don't have a local shop anymore - it's out of business. I do have 1 alternative option - and ASDA - so what were you saying about choice again? Maybe I should drive across to the other side of London to do my shopping to prove my principles to you? That would be undermining another principle of mine which is to not create uneccessary waste. I can walk to the nearest 2 Tesco's, I would have to drive to ASDA.

    60. At 9:13pm on 08 Jun 2010, dontmakeawave wrote:
    "The system is broken as you put it by poor economic management by the previous incumbent government. There are plenty of examples of well run economies we should seek to emulate."

    Oh don't make me laugh - so this is all down to the last Government, well what has happened in previous times - or does you historical knowledge only go back as far as your age?
    Just because you can't see it's the same problem caused by the same root cause, doesn't mean it's not the case.
    ...or can you explain why 5x lending and the Miras tax relief are 'different' to the causes of this current crisis (excessive lending)????

    62. At 9:59pm on 08 Jun 2010, Uphios wrote:

    "To me what he proposes, when he is not simply throwing insults at a previous poster, is a handful of half baked ideas that are totally unporoven. And for that he want to throw away a sytem that has survived hundreds of years, albeit with faults."

    ...so it has faults then? well dontmakeawave say's there's nothing wrong with it. It doesn't really matter what solutions I discuss, if you are all convinced there's nothing wrong with Capitalism then what do alternaitves matter?
    I shall watch Capitalism continue until a point where it's totally unreviveable - and then you'll start panicking looking for an alternative - and probably end up with fascism. It doesn't matter to me whether you believe in the system or not - it's going to fail, no matter how much faith you put in it.

    Clearly there are many people on this blog who still have faith in Capitalism, but like all good irresponsible people you choose to blame Government interference as the cause - rather than look into the system which booms and busts with tremendous regularity - anyone with any sense knows that no government is ever that consistent.

    Still, only time will tell, and I don't need to convince anyone about anything. I am merely trying to tell people to get prepared - because there are always people who won't believe - just like those on the Titanic who perished because they simply could not accept that the ship would sink.

    We must learn from history - not simply repeat the mistakes of the past.

  • Comment number 86.

    I always prefered Jack Cohen: ruthless, irrascible, local hero but unlike Tescos today he piled it high and sold it cheap.

    I don't like Tesco's current pricing policies. I call them highly manipulative. Others might call it well dodgy. The offer is not as good as it used to be but then it doesn't have to be any more, does it?

  • Comment number 87.

    82. At 10:04am on 09 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    - and inaccurately calling me a 'banker' is not going to help - especially as I made it clear I work in finance
    ...I could be the cleaner for all you know.
    .......................................................

    Just taken a leaf out of your book, never let someones clearly stated position get in the way of how you reply.

    Cleaner eh? Have you put your desk back together yet.

  • Comment number 88.

    58. At 8:19pm on 08 Jun 2010, Tromperie wrote:

    46. At 5:35pm on 08 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall

    "Who said anything about socialism? - I refer to Marx in his critique of Capitalism."

    "I am aware of your ideological bent, but much of the economic aspects of socialism remain derived from Marx."

    Well clearly not - as I was not promoting socialism, I was criticising Capitalism and I don't suggest this is anything but Marx.


    "The notion of the Marxian LTV was largely discredited by Menger in 1871; at a time when Marx himself was still alive!
    (People such as Bohm-Bawerk and The crux of the argument is thus: labour has no inherent value in itself, just like goods have no inherent value.
    The only value we can associate with something is a subjective value, its worth to an individual."

    If Labour has no inherent value - then you have no value on your life then? For in order to survive in this world you must apply Labour (to build shelter, to feed yourself etc.) - are you saying any value is merely from the 'eye of the beholder'?
    Menger was from the Austrian school, an ideology which admits that 'booms and busts will occur - but they must be tolerated and allowed' - as I believe Mises suggested.
    Maybe then the Austrian school genuinely has no sanctity for human life then (as I suggested above) - if they think the history of Economic crisis is tolerable.
    The Austrian school has 2 problems, firstly it's insistance on blaming the Government for 'causing' the economic problems we have - despite the fact that most Government interference came as a result of previous crises - a fact they choose to overlook.
    secondly the utilitarians are somewhat confused, for in the theory of utility - how can you assess a 'use value' for something which you have not used before. The idea that people will be able to make this accurate assessment on untried products is insane. Never mind the elephant in the room where the 'marginal utility of houses' seems to be somewhat nonsense in this country
    (as I have said before, how much 'use' is a second home - and yet people have them - under utilitarian theory they wouldn't be leaving them empty for 40 weeks a year and using it as a holiday home)


    "And this is where Marxism is totally off the mark - it assumes that there is some sort of real, inherent value of labour which is not being given to the workers, and they are thus being exploited. When you realise, however, that the only value of labour is the value people put on it, we see that the whole Marxist notion of exploitation is meaningless."

    ...you have to assume that labour has no inherent value - but if labour has no inherent value then nor does anything in society (as everything is derived from labour - even natural resources need labour to be extracted) i.e. everything becomes a 'free good' - which means profit must be coming from the restriction of supply of that good (profiteering I think they call it)
    I agree that Labour value is negotitated - it's not a fixed amount, but the problem is in order to maintain the profits (which diminish through competition) Labour value must be driven down (percieved or not) - and as the worker is also the customer - it's obvious why this spirals downwards.

    "I don't see how imbalances of wealth are undesirable in themselves. If all the wealth in the world was destroyed overnight, then everyone would have an equal amount of wealth, ie, none. If that's not enough to dissuade you of the notion that wealth imbalances are the be-all and end-all, I don't know what will."
    So the only way to balance out wealth is for everyone to have nothing? - is this even an argument?
    I wouldn't have a problem with wealth imbalance in a meritocracy - but as we've just witnessed the best paid people in Britain - fail in their primary task (banks = allocating resources afficiently) - then I would say this is certainly not one.

    "Even Analytical Marxists such as G.A Cohen have abandoned the whole program of criticising capitalism based on the notion of exploitation.
    The reason? Because the Marxist notion of exploitation rests on an unarticulated premise that people are entitled to the fruits of their labour,
    and such a premise is plainly inconsistent with Marxist conclusions. (For example, the recipients of redistributive taxation would count as exploiting the taxed. Which is, perhaps, the right conclusion, but one which certainly doesn't support Marxism.)"

    "people are entitled to the fruits of their labour" - exactly, Labour, not 'un-earned income'. People can benefit from the fruits of their labour without receiving payment.
    I helped build my old man's shed a few weekends ago - we sat back with a cup of tea at the end and 'enjoyed the fruits of our labour' - no money changed hands and nobody was exploited - we willingly engaged in labour.
    There is a difference between recipients of taxation and labour force - namely that recipients of taxation would (hopefully) be receiving it for a reason - maybe infirm, maybe unable to work.
    However the owner of production is neither infirm, nor needy and therefore does not need such a handout.

    At first I thought you were a true challenger - and to be fair you have raised points not raised before - sadly though your ideology has let you down as whilst I agree with some aspects of the Austrian school, it fails to recognise the root cause of Capitalism's contradictions.
    Adam Smith identified it, Marx expanded it, Mises et all then tried to claim it's a 'survival of the fittest' system which promotes efficiency (if left to it's own devices) - but the last time I
    checked we left that callous attitude behind years ago - otherwise we would still be employing children of 6 in factories.

  • Comment number 89.

    at #63 I wrote about my unease at Tesco's customer facing trading policies. My unease is not eased by aspects of the way they implement their development policies. This link describes how Tesco got planning permission for a large site opposite a district shopping centre in Greater Manchester. I hasten to add that it was certainly within the planning laws and regulations. I am not sure if the Old Trafford Ground will be renamed Tesco. The same meeting of the planning committee rejected without doubt on good grounds, an application for Sainsbury's for a site on another shopping precinct occupied by brown goods type retailers 2 miles away, but very near the cricket ground, which posed no threat to other traders and which I would have patronised.

    http://www.messengernewspapers.co.uk/news/5057691._Death_knell__for_Stretford___say_no_campaigners/

    But is it really a free market?

  • Comment number 90.

    67. At 06:49am on 09 Jun 2010, Glenis wrote:

    "This is the old trick of pre-loading your premise with your desired conclusions "That process we can call ‘work’ to produce things that are useful (use values)" 'em no, we can call it, in modern day, and for the past hundred years even, ‘pressing a button on a machine’."

    ...and what labour went into the invention, design and build of that machine - was that not 'work' - or did it fall out of the sky?
    You see just because the work can no longer be seen, doesn't mean it's not still being exploited. Did John Logie Baird get his 'full dues' for his worldwide invention success? - he may have receieved rewards - but nothing in comparison to the amount of 'profit' which has been made off his invention since then.

    I do agree with the idea that ultimately we are (or rather should be) technologically advanced enough to be able to not have to work at all. The actual number of full time workers is diminishing fast thanks to technology - but the 'need fro work' is not i.e. purchasing food, housing etc.
    The state has many systems to ensure this happens, they have removed the ability of 'self sustainability' from the land by introducing planning laws and reducing the amount of green space available for growing produce (see allotments, see waiting lists) - thereby forcing us to sell our labour (at whatever price is offered).

    I totally agree however that it's the financial system which used to help us - is now restricting us. Who says those who are unemployed today cannot work? - only the financial system is making such dictations.
    However the failure of the financial system is not directly related to the underlying failures of Capitalism - that's just another problem, created by our numerous failed attempts to 'save Capitalism' - which has been going on all our lives.

  • Comment number 91.

    On staffing policies. Tesco staff in my experience are helpful as far as they can be in the larger stores. In the Extras etc they are less so. (Are these stores franchised?) The managers less so. They they recognise trade unions, have a bonus and share option scheme, and have what HR people call employment engagement policies but don't go in the MacDonalds type team building fun days out.

    Actually they seek to minimise staff customer encounters by installing automatic checkouts. Perhaps the NHS could learn from this last.

    Not withstanding this I suspect their staff retention rate is no better than their competitors with most new employees leaving in the first month or so of joining the company. Maybe some one know the facts about this one.

  • Comment number 92.

    What all of the Tesco bashers fail to recognise that if not Tesco it would be someone else - this is the way reatil is and how people want to shop.

    If not Teso then who - ASDA, Aldi, Lidl - all foreign owned?!? So, a good proportion of the profits would leave these shores. Further Tesco is seeing rapid growth in it's overseas operations, this is good for it's predominantly UK based shareholders - and the UK economy in general.

    This is why I continue to be happy to buy and hold Tesco shares.

  • Comment number 93.

    85. At 10:43am on 09 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    ....or living of accumulated capital perhaps.

    Correct, living off savings earned and tax paid in previous years. How are your ISA's going?

    ...............
    60. At 9:13pm on 08 Jun 2010, dontmakeawave wrote:
    "The system is broken as you put it by poor economic management by the previous incumbent government.
    Wolfie at #85 says..
    ...so it has faults then? well dontmakeawave say's there's nothing wrong with it.

    And here we have it, a perfect exaple of Wolfies muddying of the waters by simply ignoreing what a poster has said and misquoting for his own use.

    Shame really because beneath all the rhetoric and spin you do occasionally have something to say that makes me at least search for answers. However, I have to stick by my assertion that you have said little of how you would actually like things to be, more of a constant whinge about how things are.

  • Comment number 94.

    Leahy has probably realised that like other companies such as IBM that to continually increase turnover and profit exponetially means you have to take over the world. He noiw sees that the peak of the sector they operate in has been reached and others will now come in to eat into their marketshare, whilst the bullyboy tactics employed on their suppliers will be countered.

  • Comment number 95.

    Terry Leahy is going where I ask? Most of Tesco is not in the UK and one of the most significant developments in in Asia. The Telegraph last year was well informed about it.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/4782688/Every-little-helps-for-Tesco-in-China.html

    It's different in some ways but Leary still wants to know what brand of contraceptives my Chinese friend uses with a club card. There is little about the 'offer' and nothing on employment policies but there is something on development strategies. City Councils in China are not unlike those in Greater Manchester. But Tesco now wants to build last very are car friendly.

    But will the Chinese partners then eventuall but out the quaint UK outfit wrecked by the Osbourn axe,on their way to world wide domination of retailing?

  • Comment number 96.

    @ 58. At 8:19pm on 08 Jun 2010, Tromperie wrote:

    > Marxism ... assumes that there is some sort of real, inherent value of
    > labour which is not being given to the workers, and they are thus
    > being exploited. When you realise, however, that the only value of
    > labour is the value people put on it, we see that the whole
    > Marxist notion of exploitation is meaningless.

    The flaw with that thinking is that it assumes that no system of exploitation exists. It is irrational to believe that no "system of exploitation" could be arranged. People are always at it, as you well know – look at that Willie Walsh character!

    The value of labour is indeed the value people put on it, but it could be more or less valuable, depending how things are organised.

    One way to make it more valuable is to prevent purchasers from organising and rigging labour markets, Marx-style. Another way is to let labour organise and rig markets itself, in unions, professional bodies, governments and firms etc. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!

  • Comment number 97.

    A story I have often been told is how Tesco periodically gathers all their suppliers and tells them to go away and think about how they can help Tesco become more profitable i.e. how low will they go. If they don't go low enough they're off the list. Obviously everyone looks for the best price from their supplier, but I'm reliably informed that Tesco are especially aggressive and exploitative of their market leading position.

    Also, how many shoppers actually choose their supermarket based on anything other than convenience? I tend to shop there myself half the time because they have a store on my way home, if I take a different bus home then I pop into Sainsbury's and occasionally I find myself near the local Asda. They're all much the same really, I can't honestly see anything special about the Tesco store other than it's convenient location. And Tesco have taken over a lot of the smaller independent stores in and around the local town centre, rebranding them Tesco Metro, and basically forcing people to shop at Tescos if they need groceries at a certain hour.

    So other than allegedly bullying suppliers and monopolising town centre grocery stores I'm really struggling to see where lies the brilliance of this man that warrants such adulation and remuneration.

  • Comment number 98.

    85. At 10:43am on 09 Jun 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    “Oh don't make me laugh”

    I’m disappointed, I thought you were Marvin the Miserable Robot from Hitchhikers Guide!

    “…so this is all down to the last Government, well what has happened in previous times - or does you historical knowledge only go back as far as your age?”

    You see “Wolfie”, that’s you’re problem, you don’t offer a counter argument. The last serious economic fiasco like todays (excluding the recession of the early90’s) was the IMF bailing us out in the 70’s. Same problem – overspending and too little tax coming in. If your talking of the depression see below.

    “Just because you can't see it's the same problem caused by the same root cause, doesn't mean it's not the case.”

    Root causes and risk management are two different things. If you read what I said previously in this blog, this government spent like there was no tomorrow i.e. no risk management – remember our treasured leader’s ‘no more boom or bust’. As to root causes, see my next comment – blimey it shows your non sequential trains of thought. You work in Finance you say?

    “...or can you explain why 5x lending and the Miras tax relief are 'different' to the causes of this current crisis (excessive lending)????”

    As to 5x lending and Miras (I presume you are talking of the 70’s unless your talking of Buy to Let relief today), in the 70’s there were controls on mortgages – you had to prove you had income not just say you had. Not sure of the relevance of 5x and MIRAS to today’s crisis?

    The root causes of this crisis (said many times before) lay in the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, which as you well know was to ensure banks in the US didn’t get too big to fail and separated Casino Banking from Commercial Banking. Also, Clinton encouraged Sub Prime lending to garner support for himself and the rest is history (we don’t need to repeat CDO’s, Securitised Products, Lehman Bros. etc. etc).

    “We must learn from history - not simply repeat the mistakes of the past.”

    Finally we agree! We need son of Glass Steagall, a return to qualified lending and a limit on government borrowing amongst other things.

  • Comment number 99.

    Nice to see a good intellectual debate about the class systems - particularly between WotW and Tromperie. Quite differing styles too - one measured and with plenty of philosophically-sourced back-up, the other emotional, shoot-from-the-hip Socialist Worker's Party style (as in why let facts stand in the way of a good story + adversarial approach) though with some relevant insight. Rather amusing throughout.

    In my view no other system like capitalism within the parliamentary democracy and under universal suffrage (contrasted to feudalism, tyranny, autocracy, communism, "pure" socialism etc.) has delivered so many benefits to such a wide group of population. I think I can speak quite authoritatively from personal experience here as I have lived under two different systems.

    Coming back to the article - well done to Terry Leahy for providing great value to his shareholders throughout his tenure. Along the way Tesco challenged a lot of pre-conceptions and established practices (Sainsbury's profitability before customers attitude, provision of banking services, effective introduction of loyalty cards, move into other retail/service areas etc.) and shook out the industry or two. Well done! Wish we had more business leaders like him. Think about it from another point of view too - if we had more CEOs like Sir Terry Tesco would have never been allowed to become such a dominant force in retailing...

    (Written at lunch time).

  • Comment number 100.

    #93 Uphios So WOTW is merely a "constant whinge about how things are" You however claim not to have worked for about 10 years in protest at the Iraq war. Is not maintaining that stance for such an extended period a "constant whinge"?

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.