Err, Yes?

The government is determined that the state ceases to run forests directly – an approach shaped by ideology

The idea that the state should run forests directly is also an ideological position.

And said ideological position, that the state should run things directly, proved something of a failure in the 20th century. We\’re only 11 years into the 21 st century: bit early to be abandoning the lessons so expensively learnt isn\’t it?

20 comments on “Err, Yes?

  1. Do you think that editorial was written purely so they could use the opening line “Britain’s forests are not yet out of the woods”?

  2. At it’s heart free Market capatism is centre on the concept of individual.

     In short:  people know what’s best for themselves, not the state, with it’s one size fits all solutions.

    But if you truly believe this, then by definition you do not believe in the concept of the common good.

    As, how can there be a common good if we as individuals all know what’s best for ourselves.

    Yet as well all know the free Market functions by combining individual economic freedom with the collective responsibly of the state.

    Now the real question is who can be best trusted to act in our common good (I.e. Safeguard our forests and protect our natural heritage). 

    The state or the private sector?

    In recent years the private sector has proven particularly inept at managing to run key institutions that our important to our economic and social welfare. 
    One has only to look at the banking system. 

    Further more the private sector will only buy forests to generate a profit be generated. 

    And it’s fair to say that profiting  from the protection of habitat, like a forest is not possible without a sizeable government handout.

    Which begs the question why should the state (the taxpayer) subsides the profit of private sector. 

    Shouldn’t the private sector be using their capital in a more economically sustainable ways which create new growth in the economy. Not simply replaces one public service for a private one.

    In fact I can only think of three other ways to generate profit from a forest:-

    1. timber, a low profit, slow growth method of getting a return on investment.

    2. Development of land, clearly the most profitable, as property is still a high yield actively. 

    3. Inheritance tax avoidance, 
    forests are exempt from this tax and easy way pass on money from one generation to another with out contributing your fair share to society. 

  3. It’s one of those irregular verbs:

    I have a clear and pragmatic vision,
    Your views are shaped by ideology,
    He is a crazed zealot.

  4. Pavel Lopez

    “In recent years the private sector has proven particularly inept at managing to run key institutions that our important to our economic and social welfare. ”

    And in the meantime the governments around the world have proven their competence how?

    “Shouldn’t the private sector be using their capital in a more economically sustainable ways which create new growth in the economy.”

    Who decides what is economically sustainable?

  5. Pavel Lopez,

    In recent years the private sector has proven particularly inept at managing to run key institutions that our important to our economic and social welfare.
    One has only to look at the banking system.

    The banking system? The one that has a large part of it underwritten by the state, and is heavily regulated by the state to the point that we haven’t had a new retail bank in decades?

    Ironically, and despite what the left thinks, it’s actually the private sector that cares more about the long term than government does, because they’re spending their own money, so they care about things like asset value and running costs. You won’t see the sort of cock-up you had at the Thermae Bath Spa at Hilton.

    A guy who produces a vat of 60 year old Cognac is never going to sell a bottle of it. But it’s still an asset. Even though it still can’t be drunk 5 years later, it’s still worth more than it was 5 years ago.

  6. “The government is determined that the state ceases to run forests directly – an approach shaped by ideology”

    That pesky old liberty, freedom and right to own property and wealth ideology.

  7. The key question here is surely: will it cost us more in subsidies if the private sector manages/provides X than if the state manages/provides X? As for forestry, the rather sketchy figures I’ve seen suggest that in this case the state might be the cheaper option.

  8. “In recent years the private sector has proven particularly inept at managing to run key institutions that our important to our economic and social welfare.
    One has only to look at the banking system. ”

    You mean like, airlines, telecoms, TV, docks, utilities, engineering, shipbuilding, iron and steel production, electronics, car manufacture, food production and distribution, insurance and finance, etc?

    The banking system is in fine fettle and it is not a social institution it is to make money available for economic growth and make money out of the process.

    The sub-prime crisis was caused by the direct intervention of the Carter then Clinton administrations into the free market system that otherwise would not take on risks of low/no income individuals with low/no worth property.

    These high risk loans were underwritten by the US Federal Government to become low risk loans which the banks repackaged and sold on as such.

    Greedy Governments interested only in raking in taxes to spend on self-masterbating their ideological hobby horses and buying votes, encouraged the banks to make hay and turned a blind eye to those who had reduced the capital to loan ratio.

    Only a few badly managed banks got into difficulty. Lloyds got into the clarts by the direct intervention of Gordon Brown urging it to take on RBS instead of letting it fail, becasue that would have meant Scottish workers out of work, in Broon’s back yard. Ditto Northern Wreck which would have put all those Labour voters out of work in Labour constituencies up North.

    As for State run social systems – I presume the NHS is a glowing example?

    You might want to take a look at the health service in France provided in large part by private institutions and part funded by private insurers.

  9. “…easy way pass on money from one generation to another with out contributing your fair share to society.”

    Anything said prior to such a statement should be immediately deleted from any consideration.

  10. Pavel Lopez: In fact I can only think of three other ways to generate profit from a forest

    I can think of an easy fourth: using the forest as a venue for leisure activities. There are probably more than either you or I can think of.

  11. Ownership by the state or profit making business are not the only two options. If local residents really like an area they could club together and buy it and then either run it themselves or donate it to some existing trust or charity. For example the local residents near to Pentire and the Rumps bought it off the landowner and donated it to the National Trust in order to prevent furture development there.

  12. I haven’t seen much mention of the experiences of one country which has privatised its forests: New Zealand. It did this 1987-96: it was part of “Rogernomics”, the radical economic policies carried out by Roger Douglas and continued by his successor (surprisingly, under the aegis of a Labour government). Details are here http://www.fao.org/docrep/x8227e/x8227e06.htm.

    The latest quarterly figures for NZ forestry trade and export can be downloaded here:

    http://www.maf.govt.nz/news-resources/news/forestry-production-and-trade-september-2010-quart.aspx

    Guess what? The forests are better maintained, better harvested and are earning more than when they did when they were in state hands.

    Note that NZ runs a system of national parks, maintained by the Department of Conservation, where logging is strictly controlled, if it is allowed at all.

  13. Wow I didn’t realise i has this effect on people.

    Before I reply I have to say that I am ideologically opposed to the concept of capitalism 

    In fact the Private sector is very good at undertaking many former state owned  actives such rubbish collection, telecoms and steel works 

    Essentially industries where output can be measured in units, number of bin collect, sheets of steel produced etc…

    However, in industries where output is hard to quantify , for instances in care of the elderly, the private sector has proven track record of struggle to provide a quality service and a create profit.

    I mean there is a reason why no one has try to privatives the running of an orphanage.       

    Essentially what I am saying is there are limits to what the private sector can do well.
    And I think this is fair comment

    Secondly, there is deeper philosophical Point.

    Should the tax payer be directly responsible for creating profits for the private sector.

    Take the railway system in the uk. The trains and rail network it’s is completely dependent on government subsidy for it’s existence.

    Privatisation has not create a vast improvement in quality, in fact it has made rail travel more expensive and less reliable and yet most rail operators recorded a profit last year.

    This hardly seems like a good deal for us the public.

    There has been for past 30 year this unending mantra that the private sector is more efficient and effective all else. 

    If you believe this then you are true believer, and nothing anyone will say will disprove you.

    But the fundamental point I making is there is a limit to what capitalism can do well.

    Surely right now investors should be looking to make money through proper commercial endeavours, rather than merely aping the state.

    As the movement of tax payer money from one public organisation to private is not going to generate any sustainable and real economic growth.

  14. Further more in response to 

    John B, 

    ‘The banking system is in fine fettle and it is not a social institution’

    As we live in a freer Market economy, the apex institutions that facilitate the entire running of free Market system, the large banks actually do have a wider responsibility to public.

    As without a viable and sustainable banking system proving credit, for things like business growth, consumer spending, house buying government investment and innovation, we would not be live in a first world economy.

    Their role in maintaining the fabric of our society is vital, for instanc most employers are reliant on some for of credit for their very existence.

    Right now you have the current government engaged in ‘Project Merlin’ to convince the banks to lead more.

    As for fine fettle

    Let’s not forget that every single Wall street bank had to be bailed through tarp scheme and most against their wishes.

    This was done to ensure they had enough capital to continue to trade. Citti group being a good example.

    So while a few may of collapsed most were damn close it.

    It is this disconnection between the world in which most people live and high finance which in part was response for the crises which we are living through. 

    The free Market is not free it does not happen through chance or human nature it is entirely constructed and organised.
    Just like any economic system.

    And therefore those at the apex of this organsiation do have a social function.

  15. On the railways system – the first railways were built by the private sector, including the first underground lines.

    And do you recognise the concept of government failure?

    The free Market is not free it does not happen through chance or human nature it is entirely constructed and organised.

    I don’t know what this means, but I know that, despite the active opposition of the government, illegal drugs are still widely available.

    And therefore those at the apex of this organsiation do have a social function.

    This is of course the classic argument for free markets – that if the property rights are right, then you can best make money by supplying what other people want.

  16. Pavel Lopez @13
    “Before I reply I have to say that I am ideologically opposed to the concept of capitalism”

    But should have added ” However I will continue to enjoy the benefits it produces including the freedom to make the above remark on a forum totally provided by the capitalist system.

  17. Despite the greenie, touchy feely propaganda it puts out, the FC was established in 1919 for one simple reason – national defence.

    After WWI the Liberal government felt that private landowners had failed to provide Britain’s war effort with enough timber at a cheap enough price. Their answer? A nationally run organisation that would grow trees “scientifically” on a massive scale. That way, Britain would never again have to import Canadian trees to shore up miles and miles of trenches in France.

    Personally, given the pressures landowners were under to produce not just trees but food and training areas for the massive armies being raised, I doubt the origfinal hypothesis. But even if it were true, could the creation of a massive bureaucracy run acccording to the dictates of fickle politicians and ill-informed civil servants really be the answer?

  18. IIRC, the forests were ‘nationalised’ – that is taken from their owners for non-negotiable compensation by legislation backed up by courts and police – in order to ensure the continued supply of pit-props to the coal mines after the 1914-18 war. The war has been over a long time, and the remaining coal-mines don’t use wooden props, so what exactly is the point of that nationalisation ? The answer is so that dog-walkers living in close proximity to forest land can exercise the privileges of landowners while carrying none of the responsibilities.

    I’m not impressed.

  19. Pete your comment is a bit moronic

    The classic example of how brilliant free market can be is cappuccino, iPhone, advanced medical drugs etc…But that’s this system is beyond criticism  

    And my central point still stands.

    Should the private sector be looking to make profits by aping the public sector at tax payers expense 

    Or invest it’s money in the creation of hot drinks, smart phones, life saving drugs etc…

  20. Pavel,

    Perhaps we should reverse that thinking.

    Should the public sector be looking to make profits by aping the private sector at tax payers expense

    Given the record of public enterprises I think the answer will be a resounding “no!”.

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