/ Economics

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doz 05 Oct 2019

 I don't pretend to really understand economics nor am I particularly clever though I did go to the university a very long time ago so I'm probably not more stupid than average. but I'll attempt to explain things how I see it.

So, I am a joiner/carpenter and builder. We make things folk need - you know, like a house or a kitchen table they can sit at with their family; or we fix stuff like a leaky roof or someone's boat. We graft hard but I love my job. Sometimes I employ people - they work hard and I pay them a decent wage - nothing silly but way above any political notion of a "living wage". Not as much as I pay myself, but I have a lot of expenses so we can do the work - a van and loads of tools and a workshop and spend a lot of time organising jobs and talking to folk or picking up the pieces if anything goes wrong.

I often pay other folk to fix stuff for me, like the local garage or the guy that fixes power tools or the blacksmith if I need something mended or made or the brilliant seamstresses who fix and make tough clothing. They all work hard. We get hungry working so go to the local cafes who feed us with lovely food - they work hard too. Last week we fixed some old masonry for a wee charity that grows and sells food working with young adults with learning disabilities -  they all work hard too. Sometimes I need fixing so go down to the local hospital where the nurses who graft ridiculously hard, stitch me back together or glue bits back on. This is free but they get paid out of the taxes we all pay. None of us really own very much money but most of us have a really good standard of living.

Now let's look at "global" or "neoliberal" or "capitalist" economics or whatever you want to call it. Some people control/own/invest in businesses that seem to get really big. They often make stuff nobody really needed - you know, small plastic things or handbags or "specialist" outdoor clothing (ffs we used to climb,ski,play in old corduroys and wooly jumpers - I don't remember it being shit as a consequence). They employ loads of people who work really hard and pay them, sometimes reasonably, but usually as little as they can get away with often by virtue of international financial imbalances. And if the business doesn't work out they take their money away and start a different one - the employees get left behind, often shafted with no pension if they are lucky enough to live that long or not like when the factory blows up or toxic chemicals get spilled everywhere - but that's usually abroad so is deemed ok. The people who run these businesses might work really hard but they pay themselves way, way more than average and often they don't seem to work that hard but have a lot of money they didn't ever earn to invest in making more - that's not really grafting. There seems to be a perception amongst them that because something is "legally" theirs they are entitled to it ( I wonder who makes/influences the law but wont get started on that as I am definitely not a legal expert). So for example one US businessman can legally "buy" and sell the entire oil exploitation concessions to a West African nation and stands to make around twenty billion dollars. He didn't exactly work for that - and oh yeah if I remember right the West African nation gets nothing though the president's brother was employed as a "specialist consultant" so got a few million. More locally, that wee charity I mentioned who grow food, rent an old walled garden off a local estate ( who I am fairly confident will have had it in the family a while thanks to money generated in the good old days of slave-trading and British colonial exploitation). Now that walled garden was abandoned and derelict so really they didn't need to charge rent to a socially important charity who are completely self-funding. But not only that, they are expected to pay all the maintenance costs even though the garden was overgrown, buildings falling apart and are on a six month tenancy so "have to behave". So that family feel entitled to make money by doing nothing because they "legally" own something they weren't even using.

Well, for the few of you left who have read this far, I think I have made my point. I'm not some old die-hard Communist calling for a revolution - they never work and cause a lot of unnecessary bloodshed - but I think what I am saying is it's time to change this world "order" - I don't know how, but we all need to take a long, hard look at how we live and interact with each other and quietly, peacefully and mainly happily turn things around.

I'm going to sign out now cos as I move from middle-age towards old I am discovering that I like being in my boats even more than I like climbing, my kids have all flitted, and my wee cat who I loved far too much got killed so nothing is really holding me back. I haven't found a UKboats and even if there is one I'm  hoping to be out of range. Climb safe folks and stay happy.

1
john arran 05 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

Post of the year.

Stay happy.

1
In reply to doz:

Yes, your post just about sums up the state of things. Very rich people are screwing the system.

I am watching the Thatcher documentary series on iplayer. The woman was a mesmerising extremist. 1979-82 were the pivotal years. It didn't have to be like that. We are now seeing the chickens come home to roost with poorer people in the UK working harder for less and less. 

After 1990, neo liberalism had won. The brakes were off. Unions were bad. Standing on your own two feet a good thing and tough if you can't. The times are summed up by 'The Apprentice'. 

The very powerful in the UK and US have won. They control the airwaves, they have very low or no taxes, and political alternatives are painted as lunatic lefties.

But, things change, they always do. 

2
Shani 05 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

Sounds like you understand economics pretty well.

neilh 05 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

Worth understanding the concept of a limited liability company to see who trade expanded. Also look at banks in Venice to understand how finance got going. 

Not everybody makes tat. 

2
jimtitt 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> Yes, your post just about sums up the state of things. Very rich people are screwing the system.

> I am watching the Thatcher documentary series on iplayer. The woman was a mesmerising extremist. 1979-82 were the pivotal years. It didn't have to be like that. We are now seeing the chickens come home to roost with poorer people in the UK working harder for less and less. 

> After 1990, neo liberalism had won. The brakes were off. Unions were bad. Standing on your own two feet a good thing and tough if you can't. The times are summed up by 'The Apprentice'. 

> The very powerful in the UK and US have won. They control the airwaves, they have very low or no taxes, and political alternatives are painted as lunatic lefties.

> But, things change, they always do. 


Sure, before Thatcherism/Reaganism there were no Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts and the rest.

Capitalism is simple, if doz wants a new van so he can go on grafting someone needs to provide a few billion to build an industry to build his van. To expect someone capable of this to work as a binman as their day job is ludicrous and a waste of their abilities.

9
jethro kiernan 05 Oct 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> Sure, before Thatcherism/Reaganism there were no Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts and the rest.

the thing is we learnt from that briefly, we put quite strict controls on it, America cracked down quite harshly companies were broken up under antitrust laws.

this helped result in the post war boom years which are held up as an ideal because everyone shared in the growth, through a mixture of laws, unions and corporate reserve and stronger government.

Neo liberalism upset that balance and pretended that the Vanderbilt and Rockefeller eras didn’t happen with their made up laffer curves etc. 

2
In reply to jimtitt:

> Sure, before Thatcherism/Reaganism there were no Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts and the rest.

> Capitalism is simple, if doz wants a new van so he can go on grafting someone needs to provide a few billion to build an industry to build his van. To expect someone capable of this to work as a binman as their day job is ludicrous and a waste of their abilities.

Before Thatcherism, there was a social democratic concensus forged after the war and there was a fear of communism. Rich people earnt more than poor people but not as much as they do now. The working man and woman was better off and less stressed in the 1960's and 70's comparitively speaking. 

There is nothing wrong with capitilism. It is good to aspire and get on. What Thatcher failed to understand is that you have to look after and support the losers...and the winners need their wings clipping. 

As we say north of the border 'We are all Jock Tamsin's bairns". 

jimtitt 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

Hmm, I was a working man and shop steward in the 70's during the collapse of the British automotive engineering industry and if you think it wasn't stressfull to the workers in our factories waiting to see if they were going to be made redundant that week you are living in a dreamworld

Eric9Points 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> There is nothing wrong with capitilism. It is good to aspire and get on.

On the contrary, unless capitalism is controlled it can and will wreck the lives of most of the population.

A free market capitalist for example will hate the minimum wage, arguing that all jobs should be remunerated at their market value. While this makes capitalists, the owners, richer it actually makes the rest of us poorer.

Doz needs to vote Labour, sorry for being party political, because as a party they stand for distributing our wealth equitably while avoiding the planned economy and dictatorship of the proletariat which has been shown to serve the interests of most of us less well than the regulated capitalism of Europe and much of the rest of the developed world.

(I spell it Tamson by the way 😉).

6
summo 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

much of Thatchers work was an over reaction, because of years of under reaction in the 60 and 70s, not moving with the times. Just as Corbyn /McDonnell would be another over reaction to the current position. Leaping between extremes.

The answer lies in the tolerant mid ground. Everyone gets enough of the good life, without stifling innovation, motivation, reward and investment. 

6
David Riley 05 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

Times have changed.  But a lot of people still seem to think that someone doing hard skilled and physical work should deserve a high income compared to an investor that just puts money in and watches the result.  Difficult to argue otherwise you might think.  But consider a business using carpenters to make kitchen tables.  Someone then looks at the latest composite wood 3D printer and sees an opportunity.  After spending a few million on the printer and a building.  A new business is set up making intricate bespoke tables for almost nothing with no labour.  They can be designed and ordered on a website for a fraction of those from the original business, which will eventually have to close and the jobs will be lost.
The many, that now buy cheaper tables, benefit.  The few, carpenters, lose jobs.  The investor uses the profit to update another industry.  But for this process we would be spending our lives standing in water making mud bricks or cutting reeds to thatch roofs.  Carpenters would not be possible since there would be no metal tools.

9
Dax H 05 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

I think you hit the nail right on the head there. A guy I know works for one of my competitor's, no pay rise this year because the company can't afford it yet the MD just got himself a new Aston Martin.

The guy I know as a result handed his notice in and starts work for me in 4 weeks time. Suddenly the existing company have offered him a large raise, more than I can afford to pay but he turned it down and is still coming to me because he likes how I don't take the piss out if my employees. My policy is no one including me gets a raise or a bonus unless everyone can get one. Yes I get more because it's my company, my house and savings on the line etc but everyone benefits if we do well.

Lusk 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

2 dislikes, so far, for hoping for a fairer society.
What can you do?!?!

It's capitalism on speed in my view, yet people keep voting for it.

Naechi 05 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

> Well, for the few of you left who have read this far, I think I have made my point. I'm not some old die-hard Communist calling for a revolution - they never work and cause a lot of unnecessary bloodshed - but I think what I am saying is it's time to change this world "order" - I don't know how, but we all need to take a long, hard look at how we live and interact with each other and quietly, peacefully and mainly happily turn things around.

I often think of a poster that was on the wall in my old dentist surgey - "brush the teeth you want to keep"

It often costs more to support local businesses but you (and/or your community) should somehow get  value from their existance - local bike shops maintaining local trails is good example.  One phrase that always saddens - "I always try to support independents but can you price match [insert large corporation]" 

oldie 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> 2 dislikes, so far, for hoping for a fairer society. What can you do?!?! It's capitalism on speed in my view, yet people keep voting for it. <

Possibly the dislikes are because the post supports the Corbyn-led Labour promises which, rightly or wrongly, many suspect will adversely affect the economy and thus lead to workers becoming poorer, although the aim is to achieve a fairer society.
Personally I'd prefer to live in many of the democratic, capitalist countries rather than the alternatives. However they do need to be regulated by minimum wages etc because largely they are all about maximizing investors'profits, which logically means paying employees as little as they can get away with. Of course globalization makes control of capitalism even more difficult as governments are frightened the greedy fat geese that lay the golden eggs will take flight.

Democracy can at least help to keep exploitation under control.

1
Eric9Points 05 Oct 2019
In reply to oldie:

> Possibly the dislikes are because the post supports the Corbyn-led Labour promises which, rightly or wrongly, many suspect will adversely affect the economy and thus lead to workers becoming poorer, although the aim is to achieve a fairer society.

> Personally I'd prefer to live in many of the democratic, capitalist countries rather than the alternatives. However they do need to be regulated by minimum wages etc because largely they are all about maximizing investors'profits, which logically means paying employees as little as they can get away with.

Yes, you may be right. Doz is clearly dissatisfied with the distribution of wealth in this country and I pointed out that if he wants that to change there is only one mainstream party that is committed to doing that. While the current leadership of the Labour party seem determined to alienate many near the centre of UK politics, there isn't really an alternative.

Personally I think their policy on private education is just wrong and that on climate change is unworkable but I don't see re nationalisation of some service industries as being alarming and the broad thrust of their economic ideology of investing in public projects to grow the economy when it is sluggish then reducing investment when it is growing to pay back what has been spent is a commonly respected view amongst many economists.

I am much more alarmed by the prospect of a coalition of the Brexit party and the Tories with Nigel Farage arguing for a shrinking of the welfare state and tax cuts for the rich. I see those on the right of UK politics as the extremists and possibly causing real damage to the quality if life of ordinary people.

1
jimtitt 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Doz is clearly dissatisfied with the distribution of wealth in this country ......

No, Doz clearly thinks HIS version of capitalism and wealth distribution is correct and others are wrong.

13
BnB 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I am much more alarmed by the prospect of a coalition of the Brexit party and the Tories with Nigel Farage arguing for a shrinking of the welfare state and tax cuts for the rich. I see those on the right of UK politics as the extremists and possibly causing real damage to the quality if life of ordinary people.

How many MPs have UKIP or the Brexit party ever  sent to Westminster? You’re welcome to dislike Tory policy but I wouldn’t expect them to look to  a coalition with a one or two seat party. Rather, the Brexit party is Labour’s best ally in the forthcoming election.

4
Eric9Points 05 Oct 2019
In reply to BnB:

> How many MPs have UKIP or the Brexit party ever  sent to Westminster? You’re welcome to dislike Tory policy but I wouldn’t expect them to look to  a coalition with a one or two seat party. Rather, the Brexit party is Labour’s best ally in the forthcoming election.

I accept of course that Brexit/UKIP have never won a seat in a Parliamentary election but the Brexit party is currently polling 13% and the Tories 32%. The Tories don't have enough for an outright majority, Labour have been weakened over Brexit and the Brexit party intends to target Leave seats with (mainly) Labour Remain voting MPs. I think it a real possibility that the Tories are returned as the largest party but unable to form a government without the help of the Brexit party.

http://britainelects.com

Anyway, this is getting a bit off the original subject of Doz's post, isn't there a better economic model than the one we have, and reverting back to party politics.

wbo2 05 Oct 2019
In reply to BnB: #pray_for_nigel  - but too much as he is pretty nasty

Erik - I am a bit baffled why labours target on emissions is a reason not to vote for them?  It is, at the end of the day aspirational and while it might cost something it's pretty easy to construct scenarios where doing nothing costs you an awful lot more

Bob Kemp 05 Oct 2019
In reply to David Riley:

Not all capitalism works like that. A key problem is rentier capitalism:

"The answer lies, in large part, with the rise of rentier capitalism. In this case “rent” means rewards over and above those required to induce the desired supply of goods, services, land or labour. “Rentier capitalism” means an economy in which market and political power allows privileged individuals and businesses to extract a great deal of such rent from everybody else."

Martin Wolf, FT. 

https://www.ft.com/content/5a8ab27e-d470-11e9-8367-807ebd53ab77

(Usual problems with the FT firewall may occur here... When I pasted the quote it came with a note that I was infringing copyright. I claim fair use...)

Eric9Points 05 Oct 2019
In reply to wbo2:

> Erik - I am a bit baffled why labours target on emissions is a reason not to vote for them?  It is, at the end of the day aspirational and while it might cost something it's pretty easy to construct scenarios where doing nothing costs you an awful lot more

I didn't say you shouldn't vote for them because of one stupid resolution but it is another reason why people might be put off. Another straw on the camel's back.

The problem with aiming for such an ambitious target is that plans must be laid down and money spent or committed years in advance. When it goes wrong, fixing things will likely cost time and a lot of money. I also think that when such an aspiration hits the election hustings it will be ripped to shreds and cost Labour votes.

Wouldn't it have been better to formulate a properly thought through and costed policy and then set a date? It would make Labour look like a a responsible party.

Anyway, sorry to Doz for going off on another tangent.

1
Lord_ash2000 05 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

> So, I am a joiner/carpenter and builder. We make things folk need .....

> I often pay other folk to fix stuff for me, like the local garage or the guy that fixes power tools or the blacksmith if I need something mended or made or the brilliant seamstresses who fix and make tough clothing. .....

Well, that little medieval village idea of lots of individual craftsmen etc all doing their one job to help the village function is all very well, some might even say idealistic. 

But back in the good old real-world things are done on a slightly larger scale and need more than the skills of just a few men. For example, when you want a new phone, you don't pop down the street to see your mate Dave who makes iphones at his little workshop and ask him to knock something up for you. You go and buy one from a multi-billion pound global company who employs many 1000's of people all across the world. Because you need something of that scale to research, and develop, build, distribute and sell it to you for a reasonable price. Not to mention a host of other firms which all make materials or contribute to the development in some way. When you think about it for a while, the amount of work and knowledge required from across the world required to supply you with a smartphone from scratch is mind-boggling.


Or think of it this way, you say you sometimes employ people to help on jobs. Supposing you did a really big job to renovate a large building, you'd need a few joiners, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, roofers maybe an architect too. It would soon get to the point where the percentage of the job your personal labour amounts to is tiny, in fact, eventually, it won't even be worthwhile to do any manual work because you'll be most useful making sure everyone else knows what they need to do and when. Maybe then as you collect your nice fat pay packet as the huge contract is completed one of your workmen will think to himself "I'm a joiner, I make things etc etc... " and wonder why things are more simple 

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colinakmc 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Well, that little medieval village idea of lots of individual craftsmen etc all doing their one job to help the village function is all very well, some might even say idealistic. 

>Maybe then as you collect your nice fat pay packet as the huge contract is completed one of your workmen will think to himself "I'm a joiner, I make things etc etc... " and wonder why things are more simple 

Could you be missing the OP’s point, that property confers entitlement at the expense of others. Also that the current fashion for mega bonuses that are unrelated to performance, removes money from circulation and therefore impacts twice over on the common good. 

With the climate crisis where it is, we need a zero growth economic model that still meets the majority’s needs, not a continued reliance on a morally-bankrupt system that promotes a discredited trickle-down model of prosperity.

Jon Stewart 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> when you want a new phone, you don't pop down the street to see your mate Dave who makes iphones at his little workshop and ask him to knock something up for you. You go and buy one from a multi-billion pound global company who employs many 1000's of people all across the world

Yes, and it's bollocks. I don't need to carry a computer on me at all times, it's just piece of unnecessary consumerist junk I've been told I need, and now I do, because everyone has got one. I do like the internet, but all I need is a computer at home (connected to a reasonable size screen and an amp and some decent speakers of course, but ones which are 20-odd years old are perfectly fine). Out and about, I could read a book if I was bored, and if I was lost I could look at a map.

F*cking neoliberalism! Get everyone addicted to pointless crap, so everyone volunteers to spend their whole lives either working to pay for pointless crap, or out shopping for pointless crap, or thinking and talking about the next piece of pointless crap they're going to shop for. What a load of pointless crap!

Post edited at 22:41
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seankenny 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Jon, you need to change your phone contract because mine is about £400 a year and it’s not as if I’m spending my whole life working to pay for it. But if you are, maybe you need to shop around a bit?

summo 06 Oct 2019
In reply to colinakmc:

The problem is most countries have borrowed so much over the last 20 years, they need that growth to out pace inflation and interest rates to avoid economic collapse. Of course if this happened it may or may not benefit the climate, but climate change would be the last thing on folks mind. 

Jon Stewart 06 Oct 2019
In reply to seankenny:

> Jon, you need to change your phone contract because mine is about £400 a year and it’s not as if I’m spending my whole life working to pay for it. But if you are, maybe you need to shop around a bit?

I think it's telling that your response is a facetious little joke. 

F*cking neoliberalism makes us richer and richer, and yet we seem to be getting more and more depressed and anxious. (And, we're then buying more and more drugs for our depression and anxiety, so that actually locks us further into the stranglehold of f*cking neoliberalism). We're signed up to a system whose purpose has nothing to do with increasing wellbeing - the generation of profit has taken on a life of its own and is running the show on our behalf. I don't even believe that the people with absurd amounts of wealth at the top of the chain are getting much out of it - they're probably all feeling as dead inside as I am, wondering whether alcohol, prozac or heroin provides the best solution.

I don't think changing my phone contract is going to help that, is it?

3
Eric9Points 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think it's telling that your response is a facetious little joke. 

> F*cking neoliberalism makes us richer and richer, and yet we seem to be getting more and more depressed and anxious.

Actually, the world is a happier, safer place than it has ever been, but nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

That doesn't mean it couldn't be better of course but I'm not sure how, realistically, we can bring the living standards of the poorest 20% of the world up to the standard of the richest 20% without further economic growth.

1
Lord_ash2000 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think it's telling that your response is a facetious little joke. 

> F*cking neoliberalism makes us richer and richer, and yet we seem to be getting more and more depressed and anxious.

Then you're doing it wrong. Use wealth to buy freedom and security, not stuff. It's all about balance. 

colinakmc 06 Oct 2019
In reply to summo:

> The problem is most countries have borrowed so much over the last 20 years, they need that growth to out pace inflation and interest rates to avoid economic collapse. Of course if this happened it may or may not benefit the climate, but climate change would be the last thing on folks mind. 

I’d agree, but one of the magic things about international economics is the potential for international agreements. So if there was a genuine will, all those debts could be reset either to zero or to some agreed sustainable level.

eat your heart out, Lewis Carroll.....

wbo2 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:well youd get it closer if you adopt more redistribution 

.I wonder why were not happier considering so many large threats are removed.   I sometimes look at another forum and two things stand out - there are a lot of shopping threads - 'which expensive, fashion led  bike shall I buy ?', look at the piece of tat i bought today.  The other is how many threads that are basically i hate my job, life, wife and I'm on antidepressants.... dismal reading. 

  Two thoughts - remove big problems and the small ones grow.  And if you really have a consumer society where buying is winning,  then being less than very rich is defined as losing,  and losing is bad

Lusk 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Actually, the world is a happier, safer place than it has ever been, but nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

Here's one source that suggests otherwise:

http://www.bris.ac.uk/alspac/news/2019/depression-on-the-rise-in-teens.html 

Stichtplate 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> Here's one source that suggests otherwise:

You've replied to a post suggesting that the world is happier with a study suggesting that a small portion of a small country's population has got a bit more miserable.

1
seankenny 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think it's telling that your response is a facetious little joke.

Like you, I believe there are deep structural problems with our current political and economic set up. I'm really committed to understanding what those problems are, in the hope that I can do a small bit to alleviate them.

However, it's probably good to try to understand our situation as well as we can, and the point of my joke was that comments like "Get everyone addicted to pointless crap, so everyone volunteers to spend their whole lives either working to pay for pointless crap," are actually off the mark. They're as daft as some of Jim Titt's comments above, but tbh I was typing on my phone and yours were easier to take the mickey out of. My apologies - but I don't like it when my own side are silly!

Anyhow, if anyone wants a good list of suggestions to cure the neoliberal malaise, check this out:

https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/status/1180151670744834053

Eric9Points 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Lusk:

As Stitchplate says it's a small segment of the world's population. Skimming the report I wonder if they'd be less depressed if they'd had the odd fag and a few cans of cider 😊.

Seriously though, you should read Hans Rosling's book, Factfulness. Most of us, at least in the first world, have a wrong and pessimistic view of the world. There are proportionally far fewer of the poorest now than at any point in time we know about. We live longer, we're less likely to die as a result of violence, our children don't die in infancy, we're better educated and we're unlikely to starve to death.

None of this happened by accident. It's just a bit boring and a bit gradual. We hear about schoolgirls being kidnapped in Nigeria but don't realise that a generation ago few girls in the countryside would have received much of an education at all for example. The phones that Jon regards as unnecessary are being used in Kenya as a parallel banking system, allowing villagers to finance their small businesses effectively, earning them more money so they can afford decent health care and an education for their kids which will result in those kids having smaller families thus putting less pressure on the earth's resources.

Realistically the first world is not going to give away its wealth but economic growth spurred by education, better governance and technology all originating in the first world will allow the rest of the world to catch up with us.

Villagers in India, Guatemala, Bangladesh don't want us to be as poor as them. They want to be as rich as we are.

End of epistle.

Dax H 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes, and it's bollocks. I don't need to carry a computer on me at all times, it's just piece of unnecessary consumerist junk I've been told I need, and now I do, because everyone has got one. 

There is a big difference between need and desire. 

For 50 weeks of the year I need my phone. The only time it is ever more that 1 meter away from me is if I'm working in a explosive area where I can't take it. I run my buisines from my phone out in the field and being able to do admin tasks between jobs means I don't have to do them at night after a day's work. For 2 weeks of the year though my phone is off and it is bliss. Its still with me because my office can ring the wife in a genuine only I can deal with it situation but it is turned off and left in a draw in the hotel / apartment for the duration of the holiday. 

TheDrunkenBakers 06 Oct 2019
In reply to colinakmc:

> >Maybe then as you collect your nice fat pay packet as the huge contract is completed one of your workmen will think to himself "I'm a joiner, I make things etc etc... " and wonder why things are more simple 

> Could you be missing the OP’s point, that property confers entitlement at the expense of others. Also that the current fashion for mega bonuses that are unrelated to performance, removes money from circulation and therefore impacts twice over on the common good. 

Im a fan of capitalism, where effort, skills and risk = good pay. I'm even more of a fan where wealth is created and shared by others who also work hard in the employment of talented risk takers, all the while providing for the greater good of society. 

How on earth did bankers get away with risking everything on dodgy investments with no public good other than bonuses being paid to the bankers? Then when the fan was hit, suffering nothing. Tax payers foot the bill.

More up to date is the Thomas Cook situation. 1000s of people lose jobs, countless more stranded. Directors pick up millions in bonuses and salaries whilst taking no personal risk and failing to adapt the business to meet today's demand so arguably no talent too.

neilh 06 Oct 2019
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

And there are still plenty of other travel companies who take up the slack. Thomas cook illustrated the benefits. It was poorly run and failed. 

Lusk 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Dax H:

Strange how countless businesses over several hundreds of years seemed to manage and prosper without them

1
goatee 06 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

My dear man you are a long long way from heading towards old. Your love for the all things natural and real will help sustain you. Get in the boat and point it southwest. I have lots to show you over here.

seankenny 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> Strange how countless businesses over several hundreds of years seemed to manage and prosper without them

“Our guild worked just fine for centuries without this new fangled printing business. Or this double entry bookkeeping malarkey.”

Why do so many people fetishise the past?! Jumpers for f*cking goalposts.

1
petenebo 06 Oct 2019
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

> Im a fan of capitalism, where effort, skills and risk = good pay. I'm even more of a fan ........

I think you're missing the point, too (you're not alone)

Your position requires wilful myopia regarding the system's victims (they are many and are necessary for the functioning of the system)  - of neo-liberal programmes: war, austerity, IMF / World Bank strong-arming of poor and developing countries, and so on.

It's depressing how effective such an oppressive, inhuman system is at persuading an awful lot of ordinary folk to bang the drum in its favour.

"...Though I sang in my chains like the sea"

Another Joiner

Dax H 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Lusk:

As I said I could run my business without a smart phone but I would either have to employ someone to do the physical work whilst I do the management stuff or do my management stuff after hours.

Back before mobile phones if my office needed me they would ring the company I was working at to get a message to me, also anyone who needed compressed air for their factory had backup machines.

24/7 communication has lead to more and more companies reducing their backup capacity because they know they can get me or my competition very quickly.

elsewhere 06 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

Economics - take it with a pinch of salt as you would any theory for the behaviour of a few billion people.

seankenny 06 Oct 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

You must know something about the world that governments and firms don’t, because they all seem to employ economists... 

Have you studied the subject in any depth at all, or is this a common sense take?

3
Eric9Points 06 Oct 2019
In reply to petenebo:

What DB describes, being rewarded for the work you do does not depend on the bad things you describe.

elsewhere 06 Oct 2019
In reply to seankenny:

It's common sense to assume economics is incomplete and fallible. I doubt many employers of economists think otherwise.

The alternative is to think economics is uniquely complete and infallible amongst all areas of human knowledge. Do you think that?

1
seankenny 06 Oct 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> It's common sense to assume economics is incomplete and fallible. I doubt many employers of economists think otherwise.

> The alternative is to think economics is uniquely complete and infallible amongst all areas of human knowledge. Do you think that?

There is a big big gap between thinking it’s fallible and between “taking it with a pinch of salt”, as you full well know. 

1
wintertree 06 Oct 2019
In reply to seankenny:

> Jumpers for f*cking goalposts.

Come on now.  The Fast Show was from the golden age of TV comedy where they didn’t have to swear to be funny or edgy.  They don’t make them like that any more.

elsewhere 06 Oct 2019
In reply to seankenny:

Economics needs a big pinch of salt. I doubt the objectivity of the Enron and Lehman professors for deregulation, there are strands in academia (Chicago, Keynesian whatever) and every political party has a tame one.

It's not like a proper science where   an experiment settles the argument.

Timmd 06 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

You sound like a decent guy, I'm sorry for the loss of your cat. Happy trails.

Timmd 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes, and it's bollocks. I don't need to carry a computer on me at all times, it's just piece of unnecessary consumerist junk I've been told I need, and now I do, because everyone has got one. I do like the internet, but all I need is a computer at home (connected to a reasonable size screen and an amp and some decent speakers of course, but ones which are 20-odd years old are perfectly fine). Out and about, I could read a book if I was bored, and if I was lost I could look at a map.

> F*cking neoliberalism! Get everyone addicted to pointless crap, so everyone volunteers to spend their whole lives either working to pay for pointless crap, or out shopping for pointless crap, or thinking and talking about the next piece of pointless crap they're going to shop for. What a load of pointless crap!

I think there's some kind of human quirk which makes us want to acquire things, too, which has been cottoned onto and exploited by marketers ever since (whenever it was). Clothes seem to be something I can find a reasonable feeling reason for pretty easily, but for other things I more readily try and sit and think about whether it's need or desire, and why. 

Post edited at 23:49
Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Actually, the world is a happier, safer place than it has ever been, but nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

And that's accounted for by people with very low incomes reaching the minimum to get by, not by people who are already rich getting richer. My complaint is not about capitalism and the improvements to living standards trade can bring to less developed economies, it's about f*cking neoliberalism. The beef is with dismantling the structures that distribute resources to those who need them most, and keeping the economy working by creating new needs for pointless crap, while making it at the lowest possible cost regardless of the consequences for people (either through poverty wages, unsafe conditions or just meaningless soul destroying drudgery; or environmental degradation for our kids to deal with later).

Which is why I used the words "f*cking neoliberalism" and not "capitalism". 

1
redjerry 07 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

Based on the actual results of the actual policies that have arisen from using a neoliberal framework to think about politics and the economy over the last 40 years,  it would long ago have been discarded.
However it provides a convenient, simple minded, easily regurgitated (plenty of examples in these forums)  rationale for the policies that economic elites would want anyway, regardless of the consequences to the rest of us.
It's also worth pointing out that (here in the US at least) the academic field of economics has been poisoned to a significant degree.
The good news for english conservatives is that the you may soon get to experience real "economic freedom". I look forward to hearing how you feel about the wonders of free enterprise after you've been given a healthy reaming out by our great american health care corporations.
 

Duncan Bourne 07 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

Excellent post.

I would add that I have heard a few people say to me that the market will sort everything out (seriously from hospitals and schools to climate change). Usually they point to the US and Europe as examples of how neoliberal capitalism works.

This is all bollocks.

Captialism is not an infrastructure or system of government. Capitalism works where there is infrastructure and a system of goverment.

All successful civilised countries offer free education and other social services paid for through taxation.

The aim for continuous growth and maximum profits enevitably leads to exploitation, be it of people or resources. Hence out sourcing of industires to countries with lower wages and H&S records.

Capitalism has pushed up standards of living but only by working alongside social policies to ensure that decent basic standard is met. (for the majority I know many fall through the net and will alays do so)

felt 07 Oct 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> The Fast Show was from the golden age of TV comedy where they didn’t have to swear to be funny or edgy.

"Bugger".

Eric9Points 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

You know Jon, I've never quite been able to figure out what "neo liberalism" actually is. I rather get the impression it's a description lefty sort of people use to disparage whatever aspect of economic policy they don't like at that particular moment in time. If you have a rigorous definition though, I'd be very interested in reading it.

Regarding dismantling structures. Which ones did you have in mind. I can't really think of any. People are screwed over when capitalism is allowed free rein. When the "free market" is allowed to set peoples wages and supply essential services. The reason a garment worker in Bangladesh gets paid $2.80 * a day* is because there is no restriction on the "free market" in Bangladesh while at the same time there us a surplus of labour. That's simply capitalism.

The reason we no longer gets screwed over in the developed world, well one of the reasons, is that workers spent 200 years fighting to put controls in place that have restricted what capitalism is able to do.

1
jethro kiernan 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> The reason we no longer gets screwed over in the developed world, well one of the reasons, is that workers spent 200 years fighting to put controls in place that have restricted what capitalism is able to do.

Bloody lefties! 😏

wbo2 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric- the wikipedia definition of neoliberalism is pretty decent - a lassez faire attitude to market control and regulation.  Think Reagenomics, Thatcherism and so on.  David Cameron claimed not to be , but austerity fits right in. 

  Theres also a US neoliberal foreign policy but that's a very different thing

summo 07 Oct 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

> Bloody lefties! 😏

That's the thing they weren't lefties... they were fighting for workers rights, not the need to bring the cotton mills etc under state ownership. Most were against communism, the far left, socialism etc just as much as they disliked the greed of their fat cat bosses of the 19th or 20th century. 

It's only the absence in the UK of a far left socialist political party meaning that occasionally the Labour party or at least it's leader lurches in that direction. 

That's how you get numpties like Corbyn turning up at the Durham miners gala claiming it feels like coming home in his speech. 

Or last month, £100k plus earning union boss declares £100k plus earning pilots are coming out on strike. Yeah fighting for the rights of the average worker my ar....

Post edited at 11:29
4
Toerag 07 Oct 2019
In reply to David Riley:

>  The many, that now buy cheaper tables, benefit.  The few, carpenters, lose jobs.  The investor uses the profit to update another industry.

Correction - the investor hoards the profit, taking advantage of taxation loopholes people with less money are unable to access.

Eric9Points 07 Oct 2019
In reply to wbo2:

> In reply to Eric- the wikipedia definition of neoliberalism is pretty decent - a lassez faire attitude to market control and regulation.  Think Reagenomics, Thatcherism and so on.  David Cameron claimed not to be , but austerity fits right in. 

>   Theres also a US neoliberal foreign policy but that's a very different thing


How is that any different from capitalism, or laissez faire or free market capitalism?

David Riley 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Toerag:

> Correction - the investor hoards the profit, taking advantage of taxation loopholes people with less money are unable to access.

The investor will pay/collect 20% vat on sales, pay business rates on the building, and income tax on the profit.  They have put a lot of money into the economy, buying the machine, materials, and building.  The taxed profit is rightfully theirs and in cash form is a cheque from the Treasury.  I promise to pay the bearer on demand.  If hoarded the cheque is never used and the value remains in the hands of the government (hoarding or burning your money is good for the government).  Only if it is invested, or  exchanged for goods or services do we get any benefit from it.

1
BnB 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Toerag:

> >  The many, that now buy cheaper tables, benefit.  The few, carpenters, lose jobs.  The investor uses the profit to update another industry.

> Correction - the investor hoards the profit, taking advantage of taxation loopholes people with less money are unable to access.

As a business investor multiple times I'd be grateful if you could explain what loopholes are available to me to mitigate my tax. Are you thinking of the tax incentives to invest in research and development? The tax incentives for entrepreneurship? Do please make a case for not encouraging those economically useful activities.

Or have wild assumptions about the tax regime led you to a poorly-informed aversion to people who risk their own hard-earned money building careers, opportunities and often wealth for their employees, not to mention paying a shed-load of tax on their profits for the benefit of the state?

Post edited at 13:10
3
Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> You know Jon, I've never quite been able to figure out what "neo liberalism" actually is.

Its the form of capitalism promoted by thatcher and Reagan, laissez-faire non-unionised low reg. Make what you like for as cheap as you can, and we the government will not stand in your way by keeping your shitty sweat-shop produced environmentally disastrous products out of our markets. Because the market is always right, and if that means people are dying then meh, f*ck it, I'm alright Jack. And we'll rig the rules of our so-called free markets to the benefit of those who already occupy the advantaged positions and to the detriment of those who don't. 

In contrast to "embedded" free markets where govt calls the shots and redistrubtes a larger portion of profits to providing highquality quality public for everyone. 

If you'd like something more rigorous, Google is your oyster. 

> Regarding dismantling structures. Which ones did you have in mind.

That's a fair point. I can't give you the detail on the specific deregulation policies of thatcher/Reagan, and perhaps more pertinent are the structures that were never put in place to protect workers overseas from exploitation. 

> The reason we no longer gets screwed over in the developed world, well one of the reasons, is that workers spent 200 years fighting to put controls in place that have restricted what capitalism is able to do.

And we displace all that to poorer countries. We'll done us. 

This isn't really a policy problem, but a major beef with f*cking neoliberalism is advertising: creating needs and desires for pointless crap so we'll buy it no matter how much havoc its production has wreaked on soneone else's community. 

2
Eric9Points 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Toerag:

> >  The many, that now buy cheaper tables, benefit.  The few, carpenters, lose jobs.  The investor uses the profit to update another industry.

> Correction - the investor hoards the profit, taking advantage of taxation loopholes people with less money are unable to access.


If the investor is a pension scheme then most of the profit it gets from its investment goes back out to people like you and me. If it's a bank then it likely to go out in loans to other businesses or to people like you or me who want to buy a house.

Sure some of it goes on yatchs, the fourth Lambourgini and a Picasso to hang in the second penthouse in Manhattan but I'm not sure what proportion that is. Maybe you have a link that could inform me?

David Riley 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  a major beef with f*cking neoliberalism is advertising: creating needs and desires for pointless crap so we'll buy it no matter how much havoc its production has wreaked on soneone else's community. 

So which is best for freedom.  Ban all advertising,  a committee to decide what can be advertised (no pointless crap), or leave things as they are ? 

Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to David Riley:

> So which is best for freedom.  Ban all advertising,  a committee to decide what can be advertised (no pointless crap), or leave things as they are ? 

Well, since I said "this isn't a policy problem" I have already answered your question: I'm not proposing a policy of banning advertising. I really don't know what the solution is though, I suspect it's alcohol, prozac or heroin. 

David Riley 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Okay, didn't get that bit.  Surely people are not controlled by advertising and useless products will lose out to better products.  Advertising is often wasted money.

1
Duncan Bourne 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Lusk:

I've got no dislikes.

I turned them off ;-)

1
neilh 07 Oct 2019
In reply to David Riley:

Not if you want to actually sell your product. I use advertising to sell my machines globally. Hardly tat. 

Marketing is often misunderstood. 

David Riley 07 Oct 2019
In reply to neilh:

often wasted

Post edited at 14:42
jethro kiernan 07 Oct 2019
In reply to summo:

From the 19th century onwards the fight for workers rights, universal suffrage and a welfare state have been almost an entirely left wing phenomenon, the right have conceded ground but never forwarded the rights of the working class. Thats why the labour party came about, and your right they chose that instead of the communist party but I'm pretty sure labour is left wing. 

Post edited at 14:47
neilh 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Your view does not stand upto scrutiny. Rights for employees have strengthened here. Products have safety  controls on them. 

summo 07 Oct 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

There is a lot of ground left from where the current Tories sit, or the government's of a 100 plus years ago. A worker wanting better conditions or wages in a privately run factory, isn't really the same as a person demanding the state should take back assets, shares, land... efc from those who have been successful.

Most Labour leader's of last 30 years have been more central than the current shadow cabinet. The term left is a little  meaningless, there isn't much room right of Boris or farage. 

In reply to Jon Stewart:

I really don't know what the solution is though, I suspect it's alcohol, prozac or heroin. 

Diagio, Pfizer and some slave master in Iran agrees with you ;-)

jethro kiernan 07 Oct 2019
In reply to summo:

I don’t think any one has been demanding that we take things of successful people, 

Having shared resources such as rail, water, nuclear generation etc taken back into public control is not particularly radical or even communist, socialy democratic.

Its a little bit American of you to jump from left wing to communism with those commies taking the hard earned shirt off your back 😏

At it stands there is a lot off right wing territory to the left of the tory’s 😏

Post edited at 16:44
RomTheBear 07 Oct 2019
In reply to David Riley:

> The investor will pay/collect 20% vat on sales, pay business rates on the building, and income tax on the profit.  They have put a lot of money into the economy, buying the machine, materials, and building.  

The investor does not pay VAT or business rates, the company does. Big difference.

However he/she will pay indeed income tax on the any profit distributed to him/her in the forms of dividends.

Note that the tax regime for dividends is far more advantageous than what it is for salaries.

David Riley 07 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

It was my example, and there was no company.  So the investor does pay vat, rates, and own the building.

BnB 07 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Note that the tax regime for dividends is far more advantageous than what it is for salaries.

You'd be forgiven for thinking so and that used to be the case but not any more it isn't. At least not for the kind of wealthy investor conceived of in various posts on this thread. Although it probably still pays off for one-man bands earning under £100k whose opportunities for tax avoidance isn't the matter under discussion.

Once you're talking "real" money, and unable to claim the CT tax credit that lay at the heart of the decades-old loophole*, there simply isn't any incentive to distinguish between dividends or salary as a means of conveying earnings. Once all the various taxes (CT, income, NI) are balanced against each other, the differential is about 2%. And that isn't worth all the hassle of changing remuneration strategy for, especially given the volatility of tax policy, which might swing 2% in favour of the alternative the following year.

* removed by none other than the supposedly neo-liberal George Osborne

BnB 07 Oct 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

> I don’t think any one has been demanding that we take things of successful people, 

I think Summo was probably referring to Labour's pledge to confiscate 10% of the ownership from any UK company with more than 250 staff. The screen for this action is to share the profits with workers, which I applaud, but it turns out that the cap Labour is placing on individual employee distributions means that over 90% of the shares confiscated will go to the government, not the workers. Not to mention the lack of any discretion in situations where the more enlightened business owner might already have taken measures to endow ownership upon his or her staff, via a share option scheme for example.

If taking 10% of an entrepreneur's life's work isn't "taking things off successful people" I'd like to hear where you set the bar. 

Does that sound like a bunch of cuddly social democrats to you?

1
RomTheBear 07 Oct 2019
In reply to BnB:

> You'd be forgiven for thinking so and that used to be the case but not any more it isn't. At least not for the kind of wealthy investor conceived of in various posts on this thread. Although it probably still pays off for one-man bands earning under £100k whose opportunities for tax avoidance isn't the matter under discussion.

> Once you're talking "real" money, and unable to claim the CT tax credit that lay at the heart of the decades-old loophole*, there simply isn't any incentive to distinguish between dividends or salary as a means of conveying earnings. Once all the various taxes (CT, income, NI) are balanced against each other, the differential is about 2%. 

As I have pointed out, Corporation tax isn’t paid by the owners. It’s a tax burden that falls on the company, not on its owners. I appreciate it can dent their potential dividend - but so does any other costs the business incurs.

Post edited at 18:54
1
RomTheBear 07 Oct 2019
In reply to David Riley:

> It was my example, and there was no company.  So the investor does pay vat, rates, and own the building.

That’s not possible.

1
BnB 07 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> As I have pointed out, Corporation tax isn’t paid by the owners. It’s a tax burden that falls on the company, not on its owners. I appreciate it can dent their potential dividend - but so does any other costs the business incurs.

As you rightly say, the dent that CT puts in the dividend might cancel out the advantages bestowed by the preferential tax rate due on the dividend relative to the alternative of taking salary. It's sophistry to argue otherwise in the context of your statement that "the tax regime for dividends is far more advantageous than what it is for salaries".

Let's not get into a technical discussion since you freely acknowledge that trade-off. I wasn't seeking to correct or question your understanding.  But I'm sick of myths about tax avoidance being perpetuated on here and when you make a statement that could inadvertently serve to perpetuate one of those myths, especially when you are regarded by many as one of the best-informed contributors here, I wanted to do my bit to allay that misapprehension amongst the participants.

Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to neilh:

> Your view does not stand upto scrutiny.

What scrutiny?

> Rights for employees have strengthened here. Products have safety  controls on them. 

They're not the problems I highlighted here. These were:

1. Those who "succeed" under the system - well-off people in developed countries - don't seem to gain anything worth having. Prescriptions for anti-depressants doubled in the UK from 2006-2016, where the hell are we going?

2. We have workers rights, but we also have shitty, soul-destroying jobs that drive us towards a prescription for anti-depressants. I can't demonstrate this causal chain, but I can certainly elaborate the argument with some compelling cases.

3. At the bottom end of the income scale, people don't earn enough to eat (see foodbanks). That's obviously a labour market that's successfully distributing resources, isn't it? Where the supply and demand curves intersect, the price is right and bob's your uncle, is he not? FFS. And if it's not in-work poverty, then you're on benefits, and they're not sufficient to provide enough to eat, so presumably the tax that's being collected won't pay out enough to provide an acceptable minimum safety net. Aren't low taxes brilliant? Oh yeah, we've got to tighten our belts since that catastrophic economic crash of 2008, which was a product of...of yeah, deregulation of the finance system according to the principles of...f*cking neoliberalism. It's bullshit.

And I haven't expanded on the problems overseas with the exploitation of labour so we can by our shitty plastic trinkets and throw-away tracky b's. Or the environmental degradation which governments are "powerless" to anything about. 

The principles of trade and the incentive of being able to grow a business, providing employment and generating wealth, making the economy turn do not require this absolutely bullshit version of capitalism. It's pathetic, and it makes me embarrassed to call myself a member of the human race.

Post edited at 19:42
David Riley 07 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> That’s not possible.

Of course it is.

jimtitt 07 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> That’s not possible.


Of course it is, I invested in my company, own the building and pay everything.

Rob Exile Ward 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Oh for goodness sake ... When I took my eldest to university 20 years ago the car was laden With TVs, stereos, computers, cD players, CDs... My daughter, on the other hand, just needs her (3 year old) phone.

In the last two weeks I've used my phone to share photos of someone's mother who died 20 years ago; take photos of my eldest's 40th; downloaded os maps; booked any number of train tickets and hotels; listened  to any amount of music, (some of which I haven't heard for 50 years); and tracked vessels  approaching Athens marina when I was delivering a yacht there.  I've also skyped my daughter in Germany and even made phone calls!

You can be a luddite if you wish but this is awesome stuff, it uses LESS resources than the previous technologies, let's distribute it more fairly, reduce the impact further - but not try and throw the baby out with the bathwater.

RomTheBear 07 Oct 2019
In reply to BnB:

> As you rightly say, the dent that CT puts in the dividend might cancel out the advantages bestowed by the preferential tax rate due on the dividend relative to the alternative of taking salary. It's sophistry to argue otherwise in the context of your statement that "the tax regime for dividends is far more advantageous than what it is for salaries".

No. It’s not at all a sophistry. It’s fundamental. Attributing the cost of CT to the shareholders is wrong, not only technically, but also practically and conceptually.

To illustrate my point, if the government increased CT by say, 10%, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that the owner would see their dividends reduced by 10% - in fact in most businesses this is the least likely thing to happen, this would usually simply be passed down to the customer, for example.

However if they increased income tax by 10%, this would definitely do so.

RomTheBear 07 Oct 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> Of course it is, I invested in my company, own the building and pay everything.

Presumably the building is owned by the aforementioned company. But as an individual it is not you paying business rates and collects VAT, it’s the company.

Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think you're missing the point. I love the internet, and for some people, it might be worth having a portable computer, depending on your needs. But the idea that all of us should want to have - or even feel that we need -the latest iphone (which is what apple spend billions on trying to achieve) is a massive, stinking crock of shit.

The baby in the bathwater is the internet. It's not the latest iphone - that's pointless consumerist tat. I don't need one, and having one will not make my life better. It's bollocks.

1
Rob Exile Ward 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think we're agreeing more than you realise. All the stuff I suggested was internet based; but you need a device to access it. 

Eric9Points 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Jon, people do want phones and 4K TVs and stuff like that. Of course they do, it's brilliant stuff that pretty much sells itself. We're not all brain washed into buying it.

Re your other point about people not being any happier. Yes your right, it's a genetic thing, either you're the kind of person that's happy with your lot in life or you're not. Stephen fry is a perfect example, a man that is loved by the nation, never had to worry about money and still an unhappy character as testified to in his book and by a friend of mine who spent a day with him.

1
jimtitt 07 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Presumably the building is owned by the aforementioned company. But as an individual it is not you paying business rates and collects VAT, it’s the company.


No.

jethro kiernan 07 Oct 2019
In reply to BnB:

A corporation isn’t an individual, I believe it’s 1 % a year and until a solution to the massive increase in the pay gap between directors and Workers that exists in many larger companies  then I’m not sure, I haven’t looked at labours proposal, it surly is fair to say that once a company reaches a certain size then it becomes to a certain extent a collective endeavour and some mechanism should be in place to recognise this whilst at the same time acknowledging the initial ideas, time and investment of founders.

Post edited at 21:56
Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Jon, people do want phones and 4K TVs and stuff like that. Of course they do, it's brilliant stuff that pretty much sells itself. We're not all brain washed into buying it.

> Re your other point about people not being any happier.

They're the same point. People believe, whether they're brainwashed into it or not, that if they consume more tat, then they will be happier. That's what will give meaning to the work that in itself feels meaningless - for example working in a call centre trying to trick someone into signing up for a more expensive phone package. Then they turn up at the GP's surgery saying that they can't stop crying every day and being sold (in a roundabout way) some tablets that might make it stop (but probably won't).

> Yes your right, it's a genetic thing, either you're the kind of person that's happy with your lot in life or you're not. 

That's an incredible strong, and obviously false, assertion. Yes, there is a genetic component to depression, but *obviously* if your life is shit because your work is meaningless and fails to pay the bills, then you feel sad, when with a job you enjoy that did pay the bills you'd be fine. Depression isn't a genetic condition: it's a psychological condition that has some genetic influence; plus developmental/early experience components; plus situational components that make a tendency towards depression either expressed or not. Then, in my view, there are many cases of people diagnosed with depression as a medical condition when in fact they're just miserable because their lives are unduly difficult and don't offer any kind of satisfaction. These people may not have any genetic predisposition to depression, nor any early developmental influences, they may just work in a shit job and have nothing good in their lives to make up for it.

Post edited at 21:51
Lord_ash2000 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I do wonder how all the third world countries cope with what must be the majority of their populations in deep crippling depression due to not living a life comparable to the top 20% or so of people in the UK which is the minimum level of comfort required for an average person to maintain mental health. 

It's of course a relative thing. If your life isn't as good as (you perceive) your neighbours is then you feel people believe they are failing. It's a common but stupid way of looking at things. I know people who are poorer than me and I know people who are significantly richer than me and I can honestly say I wish all of them as much success as they wish to gain. If a friend of similar wealth to me is successful and overtakes what I've got then in my view it's great to see people I know getting on in the world. I'm comfortable now, if my friend gets richer good for them but I'm still just as comfortable as I was before. All this pressure to keep up with the people next door is just nonsense.  

Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> I do wonder how all the third world countries cope with what must be the majority of their populations in deep crippling depression due to not living a life comparable to the top 20% or so of people in the UK which is the minimum level of comfort required for an average person to maintain mental health. 

What's well-understood is money *does* make you happy, but it's the amount to take away the stress of being unable to meet basic needs that matters far and away the most. So in a developing country you need x amount to pay the bills for your home, food, etc; and that's a totally different amount to meeting these basic needs in the west. The difference in happiness is whether you're stressed trying to meet these needs. Once all these needs are met, more and more money does less and less to your happiness (but we generally still feel the urge to try to make it).

> It's of course a relative thing. If your life isn't as good as (you perceive) your neighbours is then you feel people believe they are failing. It's a common but stupid way of looking at things.

I think it's a natural way to look at things - money or stuff is symbolic of status (especially watches and cars of course) and there are good evolutionary reasons to care about status.

> All this pressure to keep up with the people next door is just nonsense.  

Yes it is. I think it's a natural urge that under f*cking neoliberalism is leveraged against us. Rather than identifying the things that really do make us happy and structuring the economic system so that it delivers those things to as many as possible, we have built a system that exploits this natural desire to keep up with those next door and concentrates useless amounts of wealth in small pockets while others can't afford to feed their kids. 

It really isn't a very good system.

Jon Stewart 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I think we're agreeing more than you realise. All the stuff I suggested was internet based; but you need a device to access it. 

Yes fair enough. I get pretty much all the value from the internet from my home computer plugged into the TV and stereo, because what I'm into is music and films and TV shows and lectures and all that sort of thing, which are useless on a phone. I couldn't give a stuff about pictures of weddings, it's just not my bag (I don't use any kind of a camera at all, ever) so my internet device of choice isn't the phone. But I agree that having an internet device that gives you access to the online stuff you like does actually make life better.

RomTheBear 07 Oct 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> No.

You’re funny.

RomTheBear 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes it is. I think it's a natural urge that under f*cking neoliberalism is leveraged against us. Rather than identifying the things that really do make us happy and structuring the economic system so that it delivers those things to as many as possible.

I am not entirely sure that we should try to engineer the economy to make people “happy”. 

The notion of happiness seems a bit fuzzy and I am not sure I want politicians or the state telling me how to be happy.

Moreover is maximising human happiness such a noble goal ?

4
Gordon Stainforth 07 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

To be Aristotelian, you can increase people's pleasure, not their happiness.

Lord_ash2000 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart: 

I think you're right that most people want status within their local group. Some people crave it, most of them don't really have it but at least want to look like they do to validate themselves. So they get a big mortgage, a new Audi on a 3 year lease deal and buy crap they don't need on credit cards, take out a loan to go on an expensive but ultimately shit holiday etc. Then Joe Blogs idiot sees all his peers living a certain lifestyle and feels inadequate until he does the same even though objectively speaking his life is already fine. 

I see people like this all the time driving around in their new cars etc thinking they are it, little do they know when I pull up in my tatty 55 plate Toyota and scruffy climbing clothes that I've probably got 5 to 10 times their net worth but I simply don't feel the need to go around advertising it to the general public on a daily basis. 

The reality is they are probably in significant debt and have hardly anything left to spend at the end of the month, any unplanned expenses just dig them deeper into debt. As such they are slaves to their jobs because they know they are one pay packet away from their whole world collapsing around them, so can't ever challenge thier bosses, have to take all the extra work and get super stressed about it because they have to succeed at their jobs because they have to maintain this veneer of status they show to the world at any cost. I have no sympathy for those who live beyond thier means for no good reason.

So if you're ever feeling down because you don't think you can keep up with the family next door then sit back and think for a while. Firstly is their life really as good as it looks? Is it really worth the stress and effort for a few pointless shiny toys? Is life really that bad with what you have now? 

It's the thing with this so called "Neo liberalisum", it only holds power over the weak minded. You can show me all the adverts you like, it's good to know what's available. But it's not going to make me buy something I don't want to buy or more importantly something I can't afford to buy because I know the value of freedom and security and that is what I use my money for. I wake up in the morning and work when I'm ready, I answer to no one and I've put measures in place to protect myself from political or economic ups and downs. To me that is way more valuable than a new car that'll be worthless in 5 years anyway. Debt is control, if you owe money to someone they own you.

It's not to say I live like a monk though, I do own some nice things and one day I probably will buy a half decent car. But what I own I can well afford, owning it does not cause stress or extra work. If I do want more money though or desire to own something I can't yet afford then the only person responsible is me. If I do a poor job of running my business or managing my property portfolio then I can't have nice things, if I want more long term then I'll take action to earn more. I congratulate myself for my successes and have only myself to blame for my failures. 

summo 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

Totally agree. Death bed regrets. When our time comes I don't think anyone will wish they bought or owned more, they only regret the things they didn't do, not the things they didn't own. 

Cars, if it starts when you turn the key and goes from a to b it's mission accomplished. Anything above that is a non essential bonus.

John2 08 Oct 2019
In reply to BnB:

The corporation tax that is paid on the part of the company's profits represented by any dividend that is paid is in effect negated by the tax credit applied to the dividend when it is paid out. There is a substantial advantage in remunerating via dividends rather than via salary.

BnB 08 Oct 2019
In reply to John2:

> The corporation tax that is paid on the part of the company's profits represented by any dividend that is paid is in effect negated by the tax credit applied to the dividend when it is paid out. There is a substantial advantage in remunerating via dividends rather than via salary.

Sorry John but you're behind the times. The tax credit was removed by George Osborne in his 2015 budget. Some advantage still exists for moderate earners, but for the type of wealthy investor highlighted in this thread, the benefits have been quashed.

RomTheBear 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> To be Aristotelian, you can increase people's pleasure, not their happiness.

That said, I do find that having a modest amount of what I call “f*ck you” money aside does help with general well-being and happiness.

Post edited at 08:48
John2 08 Oct 2019
In reply to BnB:

Well, well. It looks as though I retired at the right time.

cumbria mammoth 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> If the investor is a pension scheme then most of the profit it gets from its investment goes back out to people like you and me. If it's a bank then it likely to go out in loans to other businesses or to people like you or me who want to buy a house.

> Sure some of it goes on yatchs, the fourth Lambourgini and a Picasso to hang in the second penthouse in Manhattan but I'm not sure what proportion that is. Maybe you have a link that could inform me?

Not sure how to work out this as a percentage of profit but this link shows the scale of the unequal distribution of wealth which is what results in a world economy that doesn't meet the needs of its population.

https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2018-01-22/richest-1-percent-bagged-82-percent-wealth-created-last-year

Jon Stewart 08 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> I am not entirely sure that we should try to engineer the economy to make people “happy”. 

> The notion of happiness seems a bit fuzzy and I am not sure I want politicians or the state telling me how to be happy.

> Moreover is maximising human happiness such a noble goal ?

Have you got any better ideas?

"Happiness" isn't really the right word for what should be maximised - "wellbeing" is the term economists normally use. Another way to look at it is minimising suffering. It's a fairly objective matter to understand the kinds of things that cause suffering that should be avoided: war, ill-health, hunger, poverty, fear of violence, etc.  And there's no need to specify the things that an individual might personally do to improve their wellbeing so long as the system gives them the wherewithal to find these things and pursue them (say, relationships, hobbies, personal goals).

I'd expect that we can agree that an economic system should deliver for as many people as possible some obvious things that we know improve wellbeing: good health outcomes, meaningful work, stable family lives, opportunities to pursue personal projects, optimism for the future.

My argument is that in capitalism, and it's extreme bastard son, f*cking neoliberalism, the system is set up to maximise profit regardless of what this does to human wellbeing - which is bonkers. Why should people's lives be subservient to the purpose of maximising profit? It doesn't make any sense.

You might turn your nose up at what is essentially utilitarianism, but I'm yet to hear a convincing argument against it. I have no idea what other purpose there might be for policies other than reducing suffering and maximising wellbeing.

RomTheBear 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> If the investor is a pension scheme then most of the profit it gets from its investment goes back out to people like you and me.

The profit goes back out but so do the losses.

1
Jon Stewart 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> So if you're ever feeling down because you don't think you can keep up with the family next door then sit back and think for a while. Firstly is their life really as good as it looks? Is it really worth the stress and effort for a few pointless shiny toys? Is life really that bad with what you have now? 

That's not really my problem. I'm very fortunate in that if wanted to double my salary and get loads of flash stuff, I could: I just can't be arsed. I don't even work full time.

> It's the thing with this so called "Neo liberalisum", it only holds power over the weak minded.

That's just not true. The advertising part isn't a problem for me - I'm not into pointless consumerist tat. But neoliberalism still has a sickening stranglehold on my life. For example, I work for a huge transnational company who do their best to reduce my job to something more like selling double-glazing than being a healthcare professional. My boss doesn't give a shit whether I'm clinically competent, all they care about is how many expensive products they can sell off the back of my work. And the products are often pseudo-scientific crap where the manufacturer has created a non-existent need for a quasi-medical solution: do you suffer from the pain and misery of "digital eye strain"?

Also, everywhere I look I'm surrounded by consumer choices that make me complicit in the abuse and exploitation of people overseas. And then there's the environmental issues...

The big picture is that we're tied into this system whether we like it or not.

RomTheBear 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Have you got any better ideas?

> "Happiness" isn't really the right word for what should be maximised - "wellbeing" is the term economists normally use. Another way to look at it is minimising suffering. It's a fairly objective matter to understand the kinds of things that cause suffering that should be avoided: war, ill-health, hunger, poverty, fear of violence, etc.  And there's no need to specify the things that an individual might personally do to improve their wellbeing so long as the system gives them the wherewithal to find these things and pursue them (say, relationships, hobbies, personal goals).

> I'd expect that we can agree that an economic system should deliver for as many people as possible some obvious things that we know improve wellbeing: good health outcomes, meaningful work, stable family lives, opportunities to pursue personal projects, optimism for the future.

> My argument is that in capitalism, and it's extreme bastard son, f*cking neoliberalism, the system is set up to maximise profit regardless of what this does to human wellbeing - which is bonkers. Why should people's lives be subservient to the purpose of maximising profit? It doesn't make any sense.

> You might turn your nose up at what is essentially utilitarianism, but I'm yet to hear a convincing argument against it. I have no idea what other purpose there might be for policies other than reducing suffering and maximising wellbeing.

Wellbeing is of course important in our lives, but my suspicion of that if you try to engineer an economic system that maximises wellbeing you’re almost guaranteed to fail completely or produce totally opposite and sometimes catastrophic, results. We simply don’t understand socio-economic system and even less ecosystems.

So wellbeing as a policy objective why not but only on the small scale. Trying to engineer anything beyond that is foolish.

Jon Stewart 08 Oct 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> So wellbeing as a policy objective why not but only on the small scale. Trying to engineer anything beyond that is foolish.

The argument is that the economic system should result in less of the things we know are bad for wellbeing, like war, ill health and poverty; and more of the things that are good for wellbeing, like meaningful work and the ability to raise a family in a safe community.

Are you sure you really disagree with this? I'm not arguing that we should measure wellbeing in units and do sums to make decisions!

Eric9Points 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

According to The Spirit Level the happiest societies are the most equal ones.

The best way of avoiding war us to live in a democracy surrounded by other democracies as they tend not to go to war with each other.

So, live in a democracy with lots of equality.

BTW I suggest you change your job, you sound like you're unhappy in it 😊.

John2 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Some years ago the Dinka people of South Sudan were thought the happiest people in the world. They had few cares other than looking after their cattle. Look at them now.

Jon Stewart 08 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> According to The Spirit Level the happiest societies are the most equal ones.

Indeed, Scandinavian countries. High taxes, high public spending, not a neoliberal model.

> BTW I suggest you change your job, you sound like you're unhappy in it 😊.

I reckon I've got pretty much my ideal job, it's just a shame that has an unfortunate retail twist. I sound like I'm unhappy for other reasons, and thinking about f*cking neoliberalism doesn't tend to help!

Post edited at 21:41
sails_ol 09 Oct 2019
In reply to doz:

> I haven't found a UKboats and even if there is one I'm  hoping to be out of range. Climb safe folks and stay happy.

http://www.ybw.com/forums/index.php

Terrifying bunch of boat owners in this country if the local sailing forum is anything to go by.

wercat 09 Oct 2019
In reply to sails_ol:

running that through Colossus reveals what they are really up to ...


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