Ed Miliband certainly doesn’t lack ambition.
In his speech to the Labour faithful in Liverpool, he promised a new economic system in which rewards go to those who behave in an ethical manner.
It’s already true that firms are likely to benefit if they treat staff fairly, train their employees and treat communities in the areas they operate with respect.
But there’s no iron rule which guarantees it. A firm may train its staff, but still fail to make a profit.
How will Mr Miliband create a new society in which virtue is rewarded and “predatory” firms are punished?
The answer is surely that he won’t. To some extent, the market already rewards “good” behaviour, but when “bad” employers make money, there’s little that Government can do about it.
Many in the business community will no doubt be asking how we decide who the “good” and “bad” businesses are in the first place. It’s certainly a fair question.
Businesses which create and sustain jobs, and provide the Treasury with taxes – and, naturally, which obey the many laws which exist to govern their behaviour – are good businesses.
Government should support them. There’s nothing virtuous about attempting to pick winners based on whether they meet arbitrary ethical standards laid down by politicians.