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If market failures exist, what are the others?

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If market failures exist, what are the others?

An excellent and striking full page ad in Tuesday’s FT, not the first we have noticed lately.

Aviva, the insurer, begins: “Climate change is the biggest market failure in history.”

Wow. What next? Banks admitting they are little more than an unnecessary tax on the public?

For a giant company like Aviva to make this statement is quite something.

Because it means the corporate world is conceding that market failures exist, which means we can ask, what are the other ones?

How about CEO pay, for a start.

For decades, the business world has flapped back our objections to, well, anything, by insisting they were simply a result of market forces.

Nothing could be done to resist these tides, and since market forces are the most efficient system going, why would you even want to?

There are some other tough words from Aviva demanding stuff on carbon pricing, the Paris Agreement and climate finance. All of which is good, because they sound sincere.

But I’m going to keep this advert tucked away for the next time the insurer presents something that is plainly not in the interests of most people as an inevitable consequence of things outside its control.

The Aviva ad signals a shift in how corporations communicate about themselves, and perhaps how they think about themselves.

It’s a result.

Press release of the day

UK households will pay £1.9 billion more in interest if the Bank of England puts rates up by 0.5% points tomorrow, says this from tax firm Mazars.

They are presently paying £17.5 billion on mortgages, credit cards and other loans.

An increase of 0.25% is more likely – I bet they do nothing – but still it’s good, accessible maths.


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