Vivienne Westwood calls for an end to "vulture capitalism"

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has urged more people to speak out against irresponsible corporates with unethical supply chains at an event in London this weekend.

The environmental activist and Green Party supporter said that public debate must “grow, accelerate and intensify” in order to “make politicians, corporations and banks” do more to stop the harmful effects of “vulture capitalism”, where businesses are increasingly exploiting the world’s natural resources and population without considering the long-term effects.

Westwood made the comments at FutureFest, a two day festival of talks, debates and interactive workshops focussed on the future of the planet, the global economy and democracy. The event was created by Nesta and a range of partners including the British Council and Transport for London.

Joining Westwood at the event via a Skype call from where he is currently based in Moscow was whistleblower Edward Snowden to talk about the future of democracy, surveillance and open debate. 

Snowden said: “If we go along with the status quo, we are going towards a mass surveillance world.”

He told the audience in London that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) programmes “are not public safety programmes, they’re spying programmes” and urged for there to be an honest debate about the issue.

“We cannot simply scare people into giving up their rights,” he said. 

Ironically at an event focussed on the future, Snowden spoke about how since he released classified NSA files to international media outlets including the Guardian in the summer of 2013, he has a new perspective which enables him to focus more on the present.

“Before any of this happened I had a much more forward looking perspective – you think about retirement, vacations and where you want to go next. 

“One of the unexpectedly liberating things I’ve found is that you don’t worry so much about tomorrow because you think more about today. Unexpectedly, I like that very much,” he said before signing out of the virtual conversation, which he had praised for being able to take place without interception from the authorities.


Photo credit: FutureFest