It may be an obvious point but I find it very irritating how much time and suggested compassion the news gives to failing corporations. These corporations do not provide a public service, they do not survive on welfare funding out of taxes. They are companies designed to offer something in exchange for profit. Now, they either were overly greedy and gambled all their money away or people just don't want to buy their product anymore.
Recently, the US government bailed out the car manufacturer GM. This is an example of a capitalist organisation working under the principles of the 'free market' floundering. Again, they do not offer a service to anyone, they sell cars. People don't want their cars right now so they aren't making profit. They wanted to work under a free market because it means unregulated free-for-all i.e. 'We'll try to make money however we can, independently, we don't need to help anyone and in exchange we don't need any help from anyone'. They have failed at this and that means putting lots of jobs at risk, suddenly someone has to be accountable, so here comes the government bail-out.
In this country, the news reports lament the gradual death of the Pub. A British institution? Not so much. The NHS is a British institution. The Pub is just a shop, like any other, designed to sell you over-priced and ineffective drugs along with the general 'traditional' pub experience. So pubs aren't making profit, how can they survive? They live mostly on nostalgia and social pressure without offering many other services. The ones that will survive will be the ones that offer alternative services, the ones that act as gig venues, or the ones that are aimed at students who like to drink publicly. In a recession people become pragmatic, so the myths of 'going down the pub' or wearing 'high-status' clothing go out the window (the fashion industry is also suffering).
Make the connection between intangible 'myth' and intangible 'brand' and you'll see why the UK is going to suffer in this downturn. In the Thatcher years, many of our manufacturing and exporting companies were shut down or moved overseas. Capitalist organisations put more emphasis on 'branding', 'brand identity', 'brand image' etc. rather than the product which was secondary. Many of the products we now consume were made in sweatshops and factories overseas, this method of production is down-played as poverty and worker-abuse do not do much for one's 'brand image'.
So, with very few exports and few jobs in manufacturing or skilled trades beyond the service industry, the UK has a lot of money in intangible fields, think of the stock market bubble.
There are those who believed that capitalism was the epitome of equal opportunity. That the free market gave everyone a fair shot if you were willing to work hard (conveniently forgetting the underpaid third world workers who made the clothes on their back, also forgetting that currency is finite and to make money is to take it from someone else) but to see the flaw in any system we have to imagine its ultimate manifestation or its extreme incarnation. People existing purely for profit, organisations fuelled by growth eventually leaves no room for human compassion, no room for failure, no room for sick days, no room for anything unless it is profitable.
So where do we draw the line or, more importantly, who draws the line? In the free market there is, in theory, no one to draw the line, the government does not regulate a corporation's activity so it can technically do anything it deems to be profitable. The other force here is the consumer. A believer in the free market may have previously said that the organisations are regulated by consumer interest, they offer products and they rely on the consumers to buy them. There is truth in this, so if we follow this logic, if consumers are not interested in keeping a corporation afloat by buying its products, why should the consumer still have to bail the company out through taxes when they fail?
We can only conclude that the free market doesn't work unless its ideals are followed through. Meaning: no government regulation and no government handouts, if you fail then you fail if that's how you want to play it. But we know that wouldn't work, and we can see that it isn't working, things like pubs will suffer and no amount of mourning will ever be as important as profit. When profit is put before people, you have to expect that Sipson Village will be tarmacked over to make way for a profitable third runway you also have to expect that corporations will continue to pollute the planet undeterred while it is profitable to do so.