1. Over-regulation of businesses preventing entrepreneurship.
2. Confiscatory and overburdensome taxation causing businesses to flee.
3. State control over utilities.
4. Government control over the marketplace.
5. Government control of media and technology.
We can't throw the baby of Freedom out with the bathwater of Capitalism.
You certainly have an open mind, Janesix!
There is, janesix.
The solution is simple.
"Eat the rich."
Utilities used to be state owned in the UK.
They were considerably cheaper than privately owned utilities.
Cheaper after including the subsidies from the tax base?
They still receive subsidies.
Subsidies: "a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive" Dictionary
Stop at the word "business" all the rest is wrong.
Subsidies: "a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business.' J.H.
"A subsidy is a form of financial or in kind support extended to an economic sector (or institution, business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting economic and social policy. Although commonly extended from Government, the term subsidy can relate to any type of support - for example from NGOs or implicit subsidies. Subsidies come in various forms including: direct (cash grants, interest-free loans), indirect (tax breaks, insurance, low-interest loans, depreciation write-offs, rent rebates). Furthermore, they can be broad or narrow, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical. The most common forms of subsidies are those to the producer or the consumer. Producer/Production subsidies ensure producers are better off by either supplying market price support, direct support, or payments to factors of production.
Consumer/Consumption subsidies commonly reduce the price of goods and services to the consumer. For example in the US at one time it was cheaper to buy petrol than bottled water." Wikipedia
Kathryn, you are missing the point. Subsidies are not given in the UK to keep prices down, they are given to bolster profits of private corporations at the expense of the tax payer.
If you are not happy with me using the word "subsidy" to describe the transfer of the tax payers money to private enterprise with no advantage to the tax payer then perhaps you would like to supply a more suitable word.
Petrol (gas)is still cheaper in the UK than bottled water but that has nothing to do with subsidies, just market forces and the gullibility of consumers.
Do you mean that without the subsidy the price would remain constant, and profits fall to nothing or negative?
The US is much, much different. Very few products (rent) are subsidized, but when they are it is definitely to lower prices; without the subsidy the price will increase dramatically to maintain profits.
No, profits wouldn't fall away to nothing or negative.
British railways now receive about four times as much in subsidies as when publicly owned.
And they move 4 times as many passengers.
As a percentage of total revenue its actually lower than 1992.
Funny how the little details, so important to the big picture, get lost in the shuffle, isn't it?
So the subsidy per rider remained constant, but private ownership results in a profit for the owners, where public ownership was just a sinkhole for tax dollars. That sounds about right.
50% of total revenue at privatisation, 55.7% in 2006/7, 35% in 2012.
We have the most expensive and inefficient railways in Europe.
When the railways were publicly owned the subsidy meant cheap and affordable travel for all.After privatisation the subsidy meant guaranteed dividends for shareholders and expensive travel for the customers.
Hard to believe there is a more inefficient or worthless railway than our Amtrak - the distances make it impossible to run without enormous subsidies.
But a subsidy raises prices? Hard to understand that one.
I don't dispute the figures John and I think the governments since privatisation have got it very wrong but I do remember that even before privatisation the rail system was not fit for purpose.
I doubt if renationalisation would solve the problems though and the HS2 idea will only bring more unnecessary spending and subsidies.
The point is that whether the subsidy is 50%, 5% or 0.5% we were told that BR had to be sold off so that it was no longer a drain on the taxpayer, this relief has never happened.
The East Coast line is operating profitably though now owned by the Department for Transport, why shouldn't the rest of the system?
HS2 is again the tax payer being shafted to bolster private enterprise. It will focus on and move much more to the capital to the financial detriment of the rest of the country, raping much of the countryside as it passes.
Agreed John, but as I said renationalisation wouldn't be the answer. Maybe the railways should be run as charitable trusts? Although tis could throw up even more problems.
Why would renationalisation not be the answer?
We've been there and it didn't work very well before, time to think of something different.
My personal viewpoint is that the railways would once again become a political bargaining tool and would suffer even more at the hands of whichever party were voted into office or not as the case maybe..
Don't forget that the railways were originally nationalised at the behest of the owners who realised the inefficiency of running so many private companies on such a small island.
The downfall was to view the railways as a profit centre rather than a service for the public.
In what way didn't the railways work very well while still nationalised?
Can't really speak for the UK, but in the US the railways (passenger) are used by a very few, just a handful, of people. So the giant subsidies go towards a luxury for a tenth of a percent of the population - inefficient in the extreme (don't take the number as gospel - it is a grab from the sky).
Now freight is another story, and has no need of subsidy as it IS a profit center. Thousands of them throughout the US - if the UK is having trouble there, it might look to the US for guidance.
In the UK, despite being expensive, the railways are heavily used by passengers. I ascribe that partly to the high cost of road fuel and to the overcrowded roads. A man on a two hour train journey can work whilst travelling, a man on a three hour drive can't work.
There is quite a bit of freight moved by rail in the UK (mainly stone and liquids, little general freight) but freight haulage by rail in the UK is not politically popular for various reasons-the structure of the privatised railways makes it rather expensive, when sending a locomotive several hundred miles for service it is often cheaper to send it by road than rail! With the Conservative government's fear of the working man comes the worry that 20 engine drivers going on strike could cripple the country whereas they believe that the same number of lorry drivers going on strike would go almost unnoticed.
That was the impression I got - that rail was a valid way to travel in the UK. It really isn't here - the distances are just too great and few people want to put that much time into actual travel. Airplanes are preferred by nearly everyone, plus rail travel is very expensive.
But of course the people should be afraid if 20 people can shut down the country (a train engineer has a little more tonnage under his control than a truck driver, at least here. The difference would be a factor of at least 100 and perhaps 1000). It is madness to allow unions such control over a business they don't own.
We saw it here once (although more than 20 people) when the air controllers went on strike. Didn't last long until the president fired them all and hired others that were willing to work. A nasty piece of business, but we simply cannot have the nation closed down because of the actions of a few hundred. Too many people depend on airlines for too much of their livelihood and lives.
An alternative to sacking everybody or living in fear of a strike would be to give workers no reason to strike.
Your image of striking workers being greedy and rapacious does not hold up in 99.9% of cases.
Sorry, John, but air traffic controllers in the US are NOT in the "needy" category.
Yet they went on strike. Why?
Because they, like every other soul in the world, wanted more than they have? And thought they had the power to bring a nation to it's knees, forcing it to pay whatever they wanted? Yeah, that's pretty much the way it went down, all right.
During college, I worked on road construction - each year we went on strike, getting a big enough raise to recover what we had lost by not working during the strike. We were already paid some 5+ times minimum wage, a very good salary for unskilled labor in that area - what was the point of the strike then? It's called greed; greed and stupidity all rolled into one. Talk all you want about not going on strike for greed, but it isn't true. People having a hard time making it don't strike; they work! Only those that can afford to go without an income go on strike; the ones that already have enough to live on but want more. It's called greed - the same greed you so complain about in the business owners.
Bottom line is it is virtually impossible to give workers no reason to strike. Pay them $1,000 per hour and they'll want more time off. Give them that and they'll want free daycare for their kids. Provide it and they'll cry for a gym on site or free lunches. It's part of being human - to want more than we have.
Or, in recognition of the stressful nature of their work they wanted more pay, shorter working hours and a shorter working life. or any one of the three, or part of several of those.
Not agreeing some or even all their demands cost far more than meeting them would have.
Whilst I agree that they were hardly in the needy category, is that your only parameter for folk wanting to better themselves?
I'm sure they did want fewer hours, or enough pay to retire earlier than anyone else. We all do, we just don't shut down a whole country to try and force the issue. You don't want the stress, don't take a stressful job, regardless of the high pay. And specifically don't take that high paying but stressful job and then demand even more pay, with the nations throat at risk - that isn't taken kindly at all.
Nope - everybody wants to "improve" their station in life. That's what I've been saying, while you quietly ignored it. We all want more money, we just don't want the additional work load or training that goes with it. And if the term is "greed" for some at the top, the term is "greed" for all that engage in the practice. ie very nearly everybody.
Isn't capitalism wonderful!
Actually, yes. The idea that people, not a committee of faceless bureaucrats somewhere, will play the major role in determining value and writing "contracts" is refreshing. We already have far, far too much government interference in our lives; we don't need it taking the last vestiges of our freedom to deny or accept a purchase/sale as we see fit.
Plus, of course, it has produced the highest average standard of living this ball of dirt has ever seen. That's quite a plus, at least to me - being a mountain man somewhere off in a cave doesn't have too much appeal.
But people don't have any say in determining value in a capitalist society do they? Otherwise why do people have to resort to strike action to get their voices heard?
People have virtually total say in determining value in a capitalistic society. That's largely the point of capitalism.
So what value have you ever determined?
In conjunction with a seller/buyer, I have determined the value of my work in various jobs, the value of a dozen massive, expensive pieces of machinery called "cars", the value of various pieces of electronics, tons of food, etc.
Pretty much the same as you.
Only in relation to the supplier.
No, in relation to me. If the price, for instance, for that new car is more than I value the car there is no sale. If it is less than the seller values it, there is no sale. As both generally have a range of figures in mind, not one specific number, things get sold.
But if you don't operate this way, setting what you value things and looking for a seller that agrees, how DO you get the things you need/want? Beg government for it? Steal it? Build everything yourself and do without the cars and computers you cannot make?
Or just accept the narrow price range that suppliers are willing to grant you!
I determine whether or not I want to be employed for the wage offered. If I don't like it, I can go elsewhere.
I determine whether or not I want to pay for goods that seem to be overpriced. If I don't like it, I can go elsewhere.
The consumer and the employee have quite a bit of power in a capitalistic economy.
It must be wonderful to have such comforting illusions.
So? Who held the gun to YOUR head when you accepted an employment position? Or bought a loaf of bread?
I got neither the opportunity to negotiate the rate for employment nor the price of a loaf of bread.
In either case it was take it or leave it.
So you DID have the opportunity to buy or not. And you bought/sold, obviously agreeing with the assessment of the other party as to value. If it were not so you would have walked away.
Or were you brain damaged somehow at that time, accepting anything that anyone proposed?
Not brain damaged but desiring of a life, which involves getting money to buy loaves of bread.
You keep saying things like that, but have been buying loaves for many years. At the agreed upon price, and with money gained from selling your labor at an agreed upon price.
So the problem is...what? You want more for your labor that even you think it is worth?
In the UK the average wage since 1999 has increased 41%, the average cost of a loaf of sliced white bread has increased by 143%.
Do you really expect me to believe that we all agreed on that?
Did you continue to sell your labor? Did you continue to buy bread?
Then you agreed with the price. It's really very simple once you get over the idea that you are not the sole person involved; the buyer/seller is as well and has the same veto power you do. You do not get to unilaterally set pricing, using only your greed to do it with.
I have accepted many things in my life, that does not mean that I agree with them all.
Now you're splitting hairs. If you didn't agree with the price you would not have bought/sold. You may not like it - the transaction may not be in your favor as much as you would like it to be - but you agreed to the price.
My mother died, I accepted that but there is no way that I agreed with that.
Nor did you voluntarily play a part in the action.
You're twisting violently in wind, but not accomplishing anything, John. You bought = you agreed to pay the price. Really, it IS that simple.
But I didn't agree the price, I accepted that if I wanted that loaf of bread I paid that price. That isn't the same as agreeing.
You have a funny concept of the meaning of "agree". If you don't agree with the price you won't pay it, at least not voluntarily. In this case, "accept" = "agree", and both mean you agree to accept the price.
I think an agreement would mean he would have some form of control over the situation. Accepting the price that you have no control over is just "giving in" because the only other option is to not buy at all, or buy somewhere else.
Exactly! Both buyer and seller, in every transaction, have the same option - either negotiate a deal more in their favor or walk away. It doesn't matter whether it is the buyer of a loaf of bread or the bakery selling it - either one can only walk away in the final push. Neither can arbitrarily set the price, not without the agreement from the other half of the transaction.
And competition only adds to that in a capitalistic society - there is always someone else selling/buying the same product. Now a strong socialist or communistic society will set the pricing according to some arbitrary guideline that has nothing to do with value, and there is no real choice (in food) as there is no one else that might have a different price.
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with a capitalistic society. It's more natural than socialism. Competition is in our human nature, and so is a pecking order. The problem lies with people not regulating themselves (behaving). On both sides. There is the greed factor on both sides, with some wanting more "stuff" than they can reasonably use, and others wanting to be lazy and with a sense of entitlement (wanting more than they "deserve"). Then there is the more responsible middle class (in a general sense, I think I would include the working class) They seem to have a better sense of responsibility and moderation than either the super rich, or the entitlement contingent. I'm thinking a capitalistic society works the best when there is a large middle class, to kind of "regulate" the two other extremes.
This just popped into my head (probably due in part to reading your posts on the subject:). What do you think? Is that a reasonable analysis?
I'm thinking you have it down to a T. But others, like John, will disagree. A socialist society, with little to no freedom to set your own pricing according to market values, is superior. In theory, the people setting prices will do so "fairly" and everyone wins. The entitlement crowd gets more, the workers get more and the rich...well the rich shouldn't be there anyway.
No, nothing to do with socialism at all, but all to do with your strange idea that you have any sort of control over prices at all under a capitalist regime.
...because if grocer A sells his avocados at 3 dollars a-piece, and grocer B sells his at half that price, grocer B sells more avocados. Grocer A must now compete for customers and so lowers the price of his avocados. So, due to the aspect of competition which is fostered through the process of capitalism we the people have more say, and therefore more control over the prices.
We say so with our purses on our arms or wallets in our pant-pockets.
So? If grocer B doesn't come along what chance have you of getting grocer A to reduce his price?
but fortunately capitalism usually fosters more than one grocer.
However, If the avocados from Sacramento, CA become pricey due to a lack of water, Mexico will be overjoyed to sell us avocados … of course, their avocados will be priced higher than usual due to the higher prices of the competition. But at least we will have avocados. Of course, the option of not buying them is also there... besides we might get tired of them after awhile.
So what you are agreeing is that the consumer has no say in the pricing?
I would say, only in the sense of the "law of supply and demand". Unless you're good at haggling, and the seller allows haggling.
No, not directly and that is how it should be. What if I, Kathryn L Hill, walked up to my local vegetable stand and told the owner "I will not buy your avocados unless they are only a dollar a-peice. Here take my dollar." He might say "Okay, but it took a dollar more to grow that avocado. This avocado is worth two dollars because that is how much it cost me to grow it. On top of that, I must make a profit of 50 cents per avocado or else I can't even set up my stand or maintain my farm. If I sell you that avocado you are insisting I go broke. Thanks for nothing." And then he will shed a tear and I will give him his rightfully earned $2.50.
You're agreeing with me that the consumer has no say in pricing.
That's just haggling/bargaining. The normal practice that's been going on for millennia before things got "too big" to make it effective anymore. Too cumbersome, that's probably why money was invented in the first place.
...and why they want to make it obsolete. Don't worry. Be happy. There is ALWAYS the barter system!
Ask anyone who lives in a socialist country.
Sorry. The *powers that be* want to take away concrete cash. They want us to just use our cards / set up a system where actual money is not being exchanged. Thats what I have heard. You, JS, are not in agreement as far as conspiracy theories. Well, I am very suspicious. I think that whoever put Obama in place is pretty much controlling the US behind the scenes. The next presidential race will be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Then we will have a pretend election where Jeb wins and afterwards runs the country very badly.
Then, when it counts, the left will move back into power…. slowly moving us toward socialism. We will fall for it, We will crumble.
But, then we might bounce back into position once we know for sure what is actually going on. Right when China and Russia and whoever else thinks they have us, we will fight back. The statue of liberty's arm will indeed raise up out of the sea... and we will win the third world war.
Sorry, I am feeling way too creative today. I should be painting picture of flowers in a vase.
Oh. I assume you mean socialists want to make money obsolete. Would be nice, but a little bit impractical. Because people are people, and you know how that goes.
I would love to see socialism, but it doesn't work. But you know that already. Actually, what I's LOVE to see is people just "getting along and working together" but THAT'S not going to happen.
Doesn't bother me. Although it would have it's own problems. Too easily manipulated/fraud/not good in emergencies if there is no power. Things like that.
What, the barter system where seller and buyer stand face to face and agree a price unaffected by anything other than their individual needs?
Isn't that how it works in Russia? I will give you this Cuban cigar in exchange for that pint of Russian vodka.
As Jane said, is there anything wrong with that?