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Source: (consider it) Thread: The future of socialism in the UK
Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
What I think would help is more widespread recognition that it is not, in fact, the primary purpose of business to produce a profit.

I don't quite understand that. I mean, all the employees of a company are only there because they're being paid - in order to make a profit, in other words - but it's wrong for the owners of the company to be running it for the same reason?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There was certainly a drop in quality in the railways when they were privatised.

Utter rubbish. The improvements since privatisation have been immense.
Since privatisation passenger numbers have doubled but capacity hasn't. Given that doubling passenger numbers should double the pot of revenue out of which capacity increases can be funded - even before above-inflation fare rises - this suggests to me that money is leeching out of the system somewhere.

Contrary to popular opinion, I don't think this is primarily because of shareholders' dividends, but because of the inefficiency of the franchise system.

Having said that, I do think the franchise model is so idiosyncratic that it doesn't tell us much about the merits of state or private ownership. It is a weird misbegotten hybrid between state control and free markets.

(IIRC the best performing operators are Merseyrail, which works more closely with the local authorities than most of its kin, and the Open Access operators, which fend for themselves with minimal government involvement. If I am right about this, that suggests that being neither fish nor fowl is one of the franchise system's many failings.)

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
What I think would help is more widespread recognition that it is not, in fact, the primary purpose of business to produce a profit.

I don't quite understand that. I mean, all the employees of a company are only there because they're being paid - in order to make a profit, in other words - but it's wrong for the owners of the company to be running it for the same reason?
Some parties have more to lose. The owners (shareholders for plcs etc) stand only to lose a limited amount of wealth. The workers often stand to lose their entire income and with that their house, car and, thanks to government policy over the last 35 years or so, any dignity they may once have had.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There was certainly a drop in quality in the railways when they were privatised.

Utter rubbish. The improvements since privatisation have been immense.
The cost of those improvements was immense too, way more than was ever done under British Railways.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I mean, all the employees of a company are only there because they're being paid - in order to make a profit, in other words - but it's wrong for the owners of the company to be running it for the same reason?

Being paid a salary is not the same as making a profit. Making a profit is when you invest x amount of money and get x+y amount out. A salary is when you turn your time and hard work into money.

People earn a salary because they need the money. People earn a profit because they've got money they don't need.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There was certainly a drop in quality in the railways when they were privatised.

Utter rubbish. The improvements since privatisation have been immense.
That's not actually contradicting what I said.

The railways immediately post-privatisation in the late nineties were in no way an immense improvement on the railways pre-privatisation. Since then, Railtrack has been taken back under public control and there have been huge injections of public money.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Some parties have more to lose. The owners (shareholders for plcs etc) stand only to lose a limited amount of wealth. The workers often stand to lose their entire income and with that their house, car and, thanks to government policy over the last 35 years or so, any dignity they may once have had.

Unless there is a very severe unemployment problem in the area, the workers can find other jobs. Once the employer loses his capital, it's gone. If he had not lost it, he could have used it to create more jobs.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
What I think would help is more widespread recognition that it is not, in fact, the primary purpose of business to produce a profit.

I don't quite understand that. I mean, all the employees of a company are only there because they're being paid - in order to make a profit, in other words - but it's wrong for the owners of the company to be running it for the same reason?
It's not hard to find people who choose lower paid work because it's something they believe in, and it's quite hard to find people who go to work only because of the money.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:

Which would then include: utilities, post, railways, health services, roads, justice services, bus services, tube service

Utility supply (but not necessarily power generation).

The post I'll let you have - the requirement for a monopoly is largely driven by the cross-subsidy / universal service requirement.

Railways and roads certainly. The tube is a railway.

Justice, certainly: Legal systems, courts and police services are a necessary geographic monopoly. I'll add in the fire brigade.

Bus service: It's less obvious that this is a natural monopoly. To the extent that it is, it's generated by cross-subsidy and universal service requirements. It's quite possibly better off as a monopoly, but it's not in quite the same category of obviousness as roads and railways.

Health services: Again, this one's more up for debate. For emergency services, there is a de facto natural monopoly: if you are in an accident, you're going to the closest hospital with the appropriate facilities, and not shopping around for a deal.

For routine medical care, scheduled surgery etc., there isn't the same natural monopoly.

However, we have a single purchaser. Once we decide that we want a tax-funded health system, you automatically pull in government regulated service levels, licensing, and all the rest of it. It's still not quite a natural monopoly though - it's sensible to talk about individual people having a choice of doctor in a way that doesn't make sense about roads.

Education is in a similar position. "Everybody" agrees that educating the nation's children is a public good, and should be paid for out of taxation. There's some disagreement over exactly when the free stuff should start and end, but those are details. It does not automatically follow that schools should be run by the government, or that individual pupils should be forced to attend a particular school. Those things are possible, of course, but they are choices.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Utility supply (but not necessarily power generation).

Yes, to a point. Though it tends to depend - again - on the type of powerstation, and the kind of demand. In many cases power production itself can end up being a natural monopoly as this piece explores:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n17/james-meek/how-we-happened-to-sell-off-our-electricity

Furthermore, in the UK at least we are in an interesting position - where it apparently makes sense for German and French taxpayers to invest in British power companies, but not for British taxpayers to do the same.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:


Bus service: It's less obvious that this is a natural monopoly. To the extent that it is, it's generated by cross-subsidy and universal service requirements. It's quite possibly better off as a monopoly, but it's not in quite the same category of obviousness as roads and railways.


When the bus services were deregulated back in the 1980's there was an outbreak of "cherry-picking" such that there were plenty of bus services on some routes but none on others. It was chaotic: buses from different operators would operate at the same time, race each other to pick up customers and, of course, they wouldn't recognise each others tickets. Cross-subsidy only works when the income from one route, running at a profit can be used for another. All this of course is academic if one doesn't rely on public transport.

The comedian Mark Steel suggested that "Public transport should be paid for by those who do not use it" and he has a very good point.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Baptist Trainfan
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Like schools - it's not just parents of school-age children who pay for them, but all taxpayers.

And, in effect, parents who send their children to private schools could almost be considered public benefactors, since they're paying for State provision but not using it [Devil] .

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Yes, to a point. Though it tends to depend - again - on the type of powerstation, and the kind of demand.

When one company owns all the power stations in an area, that is an actual monopoly. It doesn't mean that it is a necessary monopoly, though. The article you quote describes the transition between a highly inefficient state-operated monopoly (the CEGB) to a more efficient state-regulated array of private monopolists. It points out that, because of the regulatory structure that was set up, the vary significant efficiency savings largely accrued to the private monopolists and not to the customers.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Yes, to a point. Though it tends to depend - again - on the type of powerstation, and the kind of demand.

When one company owns all the power stations in an area, that is an actual monopoly. It doesn't mean that it is a necessary monopoly, though.
The issue is that it's hard to create a regime where you actually get a successful competitive market for base-load. So whether or not a monopoly is 'natural' or not - it may in fact make more sense to regulate a single company than multiple ones.
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Enoch
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On that argument, I'm also a public benefactor because my children left school nearly 20 years ago, but I still pay taxes.


Sioni Sais, I don't agree with you about bus deregulation. The services are poor. Round here they are expensive. However, the situation before they were deregulated was indefensible.

The operators got blanket subsidies, but there was no real accountability. Indeed, nobody knew, or could have found out, what connection there was between the subsidies and the buses that ran. Even the operators wouldn't have known. They were complacent fossils that ran services to suit their own or their unions' convenience rather than to provide anything the public might want. The routes were frozen, in many cases as they had been in the 1930s. That's fifty years previously. The mechanism for changing them was so byzantine and obstructive that no one in their right mind ever tried. There were frequent examples of two routes running on the same road, with one of them forbidden to pick up or set down passengers for fear it might prove a pirate bus to the other.

The old system was a cosy network of mutually back-scratching vested interests from which the poor benighted passenger got very little.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Arethosemyfeet
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Thing is, with a regulated system you can always improve regulation, and it's very much noticeable how much better public transport is in those areas, like London, where there is still significant regulation. If you leave things to the market, you're stuck with what the market serves up, and it's often rotten.
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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
So whether or not a monopoly is 'natural' or not - it may in fact make more sense to regulate a single company than multiple ones.

Sure. That's certainly possible. I'm not arguing that the only reason to have a state-run service is that it is a natural monopoly, but that for those things which are natural monopolies, you need to have either state ownership or tight state regulation of the monopolist.
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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
On that argument, I'm also a public benefactor because my children left school nearly 20 years ago, but I still pay taxes.

Fair enough - but at least you did make use of the system for your children. Those who send their children to private schools pay twice; those without children pay for a service they do not require - because it's for the common good.


quote:
I don't agree with you about bus deregulation. The services are poor. Round here they are expensive. However, the situation before they were deregulated was indefensible.

I think one's experience of pre-regulation bus services may have depended on one's location. I suspect that some Council-run operations were good, and others awful. The situation in the early 70s generally was pretty bad.

I'm inclined to think that the best system is the one currently in operation in London, with an overall authority co-ordinating services and setting standards for contracted operators. That ensures a coherent system but means that the operators are kept up to scratch. My experiences of Edinburgh a couple of years ago were also good.

Round here we have a local bus company which is wholly-owned by the local authority. In theory that should be good as they don't need to pay a dividend to shareholders. However (and quite apart from having been dragged into a "bus war" with another operator) politics have intervened. Some Councillors apparently see it as a "cash cow" to raise revenue, while there are rumours of buses serving some areas better according to their political allegiances.

There is also the issue of subsidised services. The Borough Council, who own the company, can't subsidise it because that would be seen as unfair competition. The County Council on the other hand won't subsidise it, preferring other operators, because they are always at loggerheads with the Borough Council. And so it goes on ...

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
On that argument, I'm also a public benefactor because my children left school nearly 20 years ago, but I still pay taxes.

Fair enough - but at least you did make use of the system for your children. Those who send their children to private schools pay twice; those without children pay for a service they do not require - because it's for the common good.
This is a common, but massively wrong-headed, argument.

Of course those who send their children to fee-paying schools use the state sector. They rely on it to provide an educated workforce, including many of the teachers and ancillary staff at their own school, their employees, their contractors, tradesmen, drivers, shopworkers, police, army, health service - virtually the entire fucking workforce has been educated in state schools.

Unless you honestly think that the few percent of privately-educated people could manage to live while never interacting in any way with the vast lumpen masses. I know they pretend it's true sometimes, but in reality, they benefit far more than they ever pay.

--------------------
Forward the New Republic

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

The railways immediately post-privatisation in the late nineties were in no way an immense improvement on the railways pre-privatisation. Since then, Railtrack has been taken back under public control and there have been huge injections of public money.

Railtrack is one of the most horrifying creations of privatisation. A fatigued rail killed four people and the board admitted there might be 1200 other dodgy rails on the network requiring speed restrictions at the least. In China people are executed for that.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
On that argument, I'm also a public benefactor because my children left school nearly 20 years ago, but I still pay taxes.

We'll benefit from your children, my children and those of others when we retire. They after all will comprise most of the workforce which provide the taxes from which our state pensions and health care will be paid from.
quote:


Sioni Sais, I don't agree with you about bus deregulation. The services are poor. Round here they are expensive. However, the situation before they were deregulated was indefensible.

The operators got blanket subsidies, but there was no real accountability. Indeed, nobody knew, or could have found out, what connection there was between the subsidies and the buses that ran. Even the operators wouldn't have known. They were complacent fossils that ran services to suit their own or their unions' convenience rather than to provide anything the public might want. The routes were frozen, in many cases as they had been in the 1930s. That's fifty years previously. The mechanism for changing them was so byzantine and obstructive that no one in their right mind ever tried. There were frequent examples of two routes running on the same road, with one of them forbidden to pick up or set down passengers for fear it might prove a pirate bus to the other.

The old system was a cosy network of mutually back-scratching vested interests from which the poor benighted passenger got very little.

It was poor before, but the outcome was that a half-baked system serving a muddle-headed ideology was replaced by another. The concept of matching provision to need has never caught on.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Of course those who send their children to fee-paying schools use the state sector. They rely on it to provide an educated workforce, including many of the teachers and ancillary staff at their own school, their employees, their contractors, tradesmen, drivers, shopworkers, police, army, health service - virtually the entire fucking workforce has been educated in state schools.

I agree totally, but you are working with a larger canvas than I am. I simply meant that those who choose to spend their money on private education are also paying the direct costs of the state provision which they're not using.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Sure. That's certainly possible. I'm not arguing that the only reason to have a state-run service is that it is a natural monopoly, but that for those things which are natural monopolies, you need to have either state ownership or tight state regulation of the monopolist.

Yes, and I think we are largely agreement. Re the post above, the other point I was trying to make was that whilst the CEGB may have been massively inefficient - that wasn't a necessary consequence of them being state run (as the German and French examples show us).
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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
What I think would help is more widespread recognition that it is not, in fact, the primary purpose of business to produce a profit.

I don't quite understand that. I mean, all the employees of a company are only there because they're being paid - in order to make a profit, in other words - but it's wrong for the owners of the company to be running it for the same reason?
Profit is a crude indicator rather than an end in itself. The purpose of businesses are the provision of products/services and the provision of livelihoods. In exchange for this, we - as a society - provide large amounts of social and practical infrastructure. By organising corporate law such that profits must be maximised we, in effect, program businesses to act as a whole rather like psychopaths. This is not healthy.

During the recession, some commentators wanted to kill off so called zombie businesses - because they were operating at breakeven and servicing their debt but not decreasing it. This was seen as entirely negative - with no apparent recognition that maintaining their function of providing livelihoods and services was in fact useful.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

Unless you honestly think that the few percent of privately-educated people could manage to live while never interacting in any way with the vast lumpen masses. I know they pretend it's true sometimes, but in reality, they benefit far more than they ever pay.

There are two benefits to education. One is the benefit that accrues to the individual being educated, and the other is the benefit that accrues to society as a whole from having educated people.

As Doc Tor points out, the second benefit accrues to us whether or not we have children, and whether our children are educated in the state system or privately.

I think it's obvious that the benefits of an educated populace exceed the costs in general. There are plenty of arguments around how much this is true for a university education (with the current result that that's not free), and there are other arguments around free preschool.

As a general philosophical position, I don't think governments should prefer one reasonable choice I might make over another reasonable choice. This philosophical position leads me to be attracted to school voucher-like systems, but there are a number of practical issues with that that may be difficult to manage.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

As a general philosophical position, I don't think governments should prefer one reasonable choice I might make over another reasonable choice. This philosophical position leads me to be attracted to school voucher-like systems, but there are a number of practical issues with that that may be difficult to manage.

The biggest one being that most parents are in no way qualified to judge the quality of a school, and are liable to let their kids be screwed out of a decent education by slick marketing. It's bad enough in England as it is with the pseudo-competition in the state sector, particularly at 6th form level. Allow the private sector access to public cash and things will get far worse. You only have to look at Sweden to see what a disaster vouchers are.
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lowlands_boy
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I recall reading the autobiography of Sir John Harvey Jones, industrialist and one time chairman of ICI. He mentioned that profit and employment where often wrongly assumed to be the purpose of industry (or business). The actual point was to generate wealth.

Wealth presumably being for the benefit of all concerned...

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I thought I should update my signature line....

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by lowlands_boy:
I recall reading the autobiography of Sir John Harvey Jones, industrialist and one time chairman of ICI. He mentioned that profit and employment where often wrongly assumed to be the purpose of industry (or business). The actual point was to generate wealth.

Wealth presumably being for the benefit of all concerned...

Some presumption! There must be a few shareholders/stockholders on board. I wonder how they feel about not receiving the full proceeds of their investment.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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lowlands_boy
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# 12497

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Well, a successful business can make employees better off through their salary, customers and suppliers better off through trade, shareholders better off through dividends, government better off through tax receipts...

Of course, it can also crap on suppliers, employees and others, and dodge taxes...

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I thought I should update my signature line....

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
There must be a few shareholders/stockholders on board. I wonder how they feel about not receiving the full proceeds of their investment.

There's a problem with the philosophy that a business' job is to earn as high returns for its shareholders as it can, which is that it ends up prioritising short term profits that aren't sustainable, earned for instance by cutting staff and selling off assets. The shareholders can then move their money to another business leaving the old business no longer sustainable. This is not much good for the wider economy.

If a business issues shares it is within its rights to stipulate that it is not aiming to maximise the short term return on those shares.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
There must be a few shareholders/stockholders on board. I wonder how they feel about not receiving the full proceeds of their investment.

There's a problem with the philosophy that a business' job is to earn as high returns for its shareholders as it can, which is that it ends up prioritising short term profits that aren't sustainable, earned for instance by cutting staff and selling off assets. The shareholders can then move their money to another business leaving the old business no longer sustainable. This is not much good for the wider economy.

If a business issues shares it is within its rights to stipulate that it is not aiming to maximise the short term return on those shares.

AFAIK that kind of clause would have to be written into the Articles of Association. Many investors would be discouraged by that. In any event, the shareholders could vote to change them. Look what happened to the building societies - 95% of them demutualised to the long-term benefit of no one.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

Posts: 24276 | From: Newport, Wales | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
it's quite hard to find people who go to work only because of the money.

You just found one *waves*

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Profit is a crude indicator rather than an end in itself. The purpose of businesses are the provision of products/services and the provision of livelihoods.

I cannot agree. When Messrs Sainsbury, Woolworth, Smith et al first opened their stores I find it far more likely that they were motivated by a need to earn money than by a desire to provide other people with the ability to purchase goods. And frankly I find both more believable than the idea that they were motivated by a desire to provide employment to others.

That ability to earn money is the driving force behind business, not a pleasant side-effect of whatever it is the business does. And employing staff is a necessary consequence of the business becoming too large for the owner to run single-handedly, rather than an end in itself.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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I think for a lot of people who start their own business it's about being able to make a living doing something they enjoy. I also think that for some business owners they are proud to be able to pay people a decent wage and look after them well.
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Ricardus
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# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:

That ability to earn money is the driving force behind business, not a pleasant side-effect of whatever it is the business does.

I take it you have never tried to start your own business.

Neither have I, but I used to be an employee of a startup, and saw what hours the owner worked. If you just want to make money, there are much better options that don't involve eighteen-hour days and risking your entire capital, and which more crucially give some kind of guarantee that you will actually receive some money ...

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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lowlands_boy
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# 12497

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Getting back to Corbyn for a moment, the Unison union (second largest in Britain) have now joined Unite (the largest) in endorsing Corbyn as the leadership candidate. Union members are still free to vote as they choose, but Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper were apparently both hoping for and expecting this endorsement. Corbyn is bookmakers favourite with some bookies.

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I thought I should update my signature line....

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Profit is a crude indicator rather than an end in itself. The purpose of businesses are the provision of products/services and the provision of livelihoods.

I cannot agree. When Messrs Sainsbury, Woolworth, Smith et al first opened their stores I find it far more likely that they were motivated by a need to earn money than by a desire to provide other people with the ability to purchase goods. And frankly I find both more believable than the idea that they were motivated by a desire to provide employment to others.

That ability to earn money is the driving force behind business, not a pleasant side-effect of whatever it is the business does. And employing staff is a necessary consequence of the business becoming too large for the owner to run single-handedly, rather than an end in itself.

I wasn't stating why a person might start a business, I was stating what a business is for - its function in society.

A very small business might have only one person in it, the owner, it would still be trying to provide a livelihood to that person - and by definition it would be doing something - otherwise it would simply be a person standing around rather than business.

As a society we facilitate the operation of businesses, in order that they should perform these functions.

[ 29. July 2015, 21:50: Message edited by: Doublethink. ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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It's all about the ends and the means.

I believe that the ends of a business are to provide income to the owner(s). The actual service provided and employment of others are means by which this end is achieved.

You, on the other hand, believe that providing a service and employing people are ends in themselves, regardless of profitability.

Is that a fair summary?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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ChastMastr
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# 716

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Haven't been on the Ship in a bit, but I agree with Doublethink here regarding the purpose of businesses, work, etc. -- though I hasten to mention that I mean ontologically, rather than the ideas in the minds of the people who might start a business. The shoemaker makes shoes so that people might be shod; the baker bakes bread so that people might eat; the house-builder makes homes so that people might have a roof over their heads; and they are all paid money so that the shoemaker can eat and have a home, the baker can have shoes, etc.

Obviously, the desire for money (for shoes, food, housing, entertainment and so on) is part of what helps us get up in the morning and go to work, but I think that we should never lose sight of what that work is actually for, both in society and (at least for those of us who believe in God) in (so far as we can discern such matters) the eyes of God.

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

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ChastMastr
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# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Profit is a crude indicator rather than an end in itself. The purpose of businesses are the provision of products/services and the provision of livelihoods. In exchange for this, we - as a society - provide large amounts of social and practical infrastructure. By organising corporate law such that profits must be maximised we, in effect, program businesses to act as a whole rather like psychopaths. This is not healthy.

[Overused] [Overused] [Overused]

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

Posts: 14068 | From: Clearwater, Florida | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by ChastMastr:
Obviously, the desire for money (for shoes, food, housing, entertainment and so on) is part of what helps us get up in the morning and go to work, but I think that we should never lose sight of what that work is actually for, both in society and (at least for those of us who believe in God) in (so far as we can discern such matters) the eyes of God.

If I didn't need the money, I wouldn't work. You seem to be suggesting that's wrong in some way.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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chris stiles
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# 12641

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:

I believe that the ends of a business are to provide income to the owner(s). The actual service provided and employment of others are means by which this end is achieved.

You, on the other hand, believe that providing a service and employing people are ends in themselves, regardless of profitability.

Is that a fair summary?

I think Doublethink is viewing this from the perspective of wider society, whereas you are viewing it from the perspective of the individual business owner.

There are a bunch of societal costs to providing the infrastructure and institutions within which a business can flourish - society agrees to provide these because it is assumed that the benefits to society from those businesses will outweigh the costs.

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
If I didn't need the money, I wouldn't work. You seem to be suggesting that's wrong in some way.

While many people work for the money, many who don't need the money still work, and more still who do need the money don't work.

Your motivation is not everyone's, by any stretch.

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Forward the New Republic

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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I think that both sides are important and equally valid.

A business owner seeks to earn an income to at least cover living costs to house, feed, clothe, educate his family. He does this by running a business that a) fits his talents, abilities and (possibly) interests and b) meets a need in society.

Society needs businesses that meet the needs of society.

From the perspective of society, the question is how do we collectively ensure that the businesses we need to meet our needs exist? And, part of that also includes cost - the business needs to be their, and the product needs to be affordable.

In many situations, businesses are able to supply the needs of society at an affordable price. That's true of things like clothing, food, consumer goods - although there may need to be provision to support the extreme poor to enable them to afford essentials, and there may be additional regulation to cover (for example) health and safety of employees or fair wages.

The question comes when we address high cost items that most individuals would not be able to afford. It costs a lot of money to run a modern hospital, schools, public transport etc. How does society ensure that those who need, but can't personally afford, these goods and services access them? There are a range of models, including:

1. Philanthropy where the wealthy individuals in society pay for these on behalf of the poor
2. For rarely used services, insurance schemes allow everyone to pay a small (hopefully affordable by all) amount to pay for services that they may need.
3. Loans or grants paid by society to individuals who use these services - eg: loans for students to go to university
4. Direct government payments for these services on behalf of society - which is, more or less, how the NHS is funded
5. Direct government ownership of providers of these goods and services

Generally, left-wingers prefer options 3 or 4 and right-wingers options 2 or 3. I tend to think that those who state option 1 is the prefered approach are on a political axis normal to the left-right.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
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# 14322

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There are a number of flaws in the arguments about motivation.

For a start, the high-minded are saying that because some people are not motivated to work by their pay packets, nobody should be. Perhaps all should be as the best are. Most of us are not. Designing society round the illusion that we will all be as the best should be is lethal.

Second, for a person who makes a profit rather than earns a wage, i.e. works on their own account rather than for someone else, that profit is their wage.

Third lots of fairly poor people are in that position. There are quite a lot of people who earn salaries (i.e. wages) that are high, much higher than the net profits a lot of small businesses are making.

Fourth, people do things for lots of different motives. It is not our job to tell them their motives are inferior than ours unless they really are. That is rarely the case.

Fifth, some jobs give back more than others. A person can be more emotionally committed to being, say, a doctor or a monumental mason (to make an odder choice) than they are likely to be to working on an assembly line. I used to ask professional educators who grumbled that accountants earned more than they did, whether they'd rather be an accountant. They'd answer, 'No - I like my job; I'd hate to be an accountant'. To which the next question is, 'don't you think, then, that if you were an accountant, you ought to be paid more to make up for doing it?'.

Sixth, if you put your own money, credit, inheritance or house at risk, it's reasonable that you should get a good recompense for doing so.

Finally, the decision whether one goes for short term or long term returns is a rational one, not a doctrinal one. There are good reasons why a person, family or group of people might prioritise one over the other. Having said that, though, I don't think it's in society's long term interest if people are discouraged from choosing longer rather than shorter term returns by fears that somebody else will change the rules so they don't recover them.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
There are a number of flaws in the arguments about motivation.


I think the problem is that Doublethink's original question about what a business is for has been misinterpreted as a question about the motivation of its owners.

To my mind the motivation of the business owners is irrelevant. Society should encourage businesses that work towards the common good and discourage those that work towards the common detriment.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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PilgrimVagrant
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# 18442

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So, all the unions seem to be coming out for Corbyn. Unite, Unison, etc. These are the guys who chose Ed Milliband, and so lost Labour the last election. Do they want a Labour Government, really? It seems they prefer to pursue petty intra-party politics, instead.

Cheers, PV.

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Omnes Qui Errant Non Pereunt
Not all who wander are lost

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by PilgrimVagrant:
So, all the unions seem to be coming out for Corbyn. Unite, Unison, etc. These are the guys who chose Ed Milliband, and so lost Labour the last election. Do they want a Labour Government, really? It seems they prefer to pursue petty intra-party politics, instead.

Cheers, PV.

You know this how?

The Tor household is, I suppose, reasonably left-wing (considering I'm in it, and I brought up the Torlets). Miss Tor is eligible to vote next time, with Master Tor shortly behind. Neither of them would have voted Labour last time, but are now expressing their support for a Corbyn-led Labour party. I've rarely voted Labour, either - I think I did in 97, just to make sure. If Corbyn was leader, then I'd seriously consider it. I'd seriously consider joining the party, for that matter.

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Forward the New Republic

Posts: 9131 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
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# 14322

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Is the real problem not Corbyn, so much as that none of them - Corbyn included - look remotely like leaders?

We have a Conservative Party that thinks it won the election by pulling a selection of tired old policies from the 1980s out of its back pocket. Now we have a Labour Party that seems to think that doing the same thing is at least better than appearing to have no policies at all.

A bit of straight talking.

When power changes hands in the UK you don't win an election. Somebody else loses. You win by being around at the right time and not being too unelectable to fail to catch the baton when the public decide the last lot have had it long enough.

The Conservatives are not inspiring. They got back into power on only 37% of the vote because just enough of the electorate thought they'd be more of the same thing rather than something different. Next to nobody changed their vote to Conservative because they wanted housing association tenants to have the right to buy.

If the EU referendum doesn't get them first, they're almost bound to foul up over Scotland. However, unless they repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, and turkeys don't vote for Christmas, the next election will not be until 2020. To win it, Labour needs to pick up a substantial tranche of floating voters from somewhere without losing too many of those it has got. Is there anything about any of the choices it appears to be offering at the moment that strikes anyone as likely to do that?

The only place on the left it can take votes from is the Greens, and most people vote Green because they believe in it. The Lib-Dem vote collapsed so markedly that I suspect that's its core 'I'd vote for them if they put up a pig' vote. If they play their cards right, though, they could pick up dissatisfied social democrats from a Corbyn led Labour Party. The only places Labour can get votes from are the unaffiliated, the floating voters who voted Conservatives this time and are fed up with them, and five years worth of new voters less five years of dead ones.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7610 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

The only place on the left it can take votes from is the Greens, and most people vote Green because they believe in it. The Lib-Dem vote collapsed so markedly that I suspect that's its core 'I'd vote for them if they put up a pig' vote. If they play their cards right, though, they could pick up dissatisfied social democrats from a Corbyn led Labour Party. The only places Labour can get votes from are the unaffiliated, the floating voters who voted Conservatives this time and are fed up with them, and five years worth of new voters less five years of dead ones.

Your analysis is partial, because you missed a critical piece of data: turnout.

A third of the electorate didn't vote at all. It wouldn't take many of those 33% to turn up and queer the pitch for any of the main parties.

If Corbyn's presence brings out those who either haven't voted or have got out the habit of voting, even by two or three percent, all bets are off. This happened in spades for the SNP in Scotland.

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Forward the New Republic

Posts: 9131 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged



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