How terribly stupid this complaint is

The World Bank has produced its 2013 list of the best places in the world to start and run a business, ranking the UK in 7th place, below the US in 3rd and Singapore, which retained the number one spot. Germany could only manage 20th place and France secured a lowly berth at number 34 out of 183 countries ranked this week.

Right, OK. A ranking of how easy it is to start and run a business. You can see the rankings here. Property rights, insolvency rules, getting connected to the \’leccie, opening a company, these sorts of things.

More broadly, critics argue the World Bank rankings promote a neo-liberal agenda of privatisations, welfare cuts, limited employment rights and low wages to please and entice foreign multinationals.

Eh? What\’s neoliberal about \”enforcing contracts\”? Or \”resolving insolvency\”?

10 thoughts on “How terribly stupid this complaint is”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    What’s neoliberal about “enforcing contracts”? Or “resolving insolvency”?

    Because the Left does not want contracts enforced? Or at least some of them, they want to violate with impunity. Because they are not resolving insolvency the way the Left would like with mass nationalisation?

    But probably, above all, by valuing the ease of doing business they are implying there are other sets of moral values and judgements they do not like and do not want to see put forward in the public domain. They wish to have a monopoly on what people are told is right or wrong.

  2. Probably half the problem in France or Germany is the lack of English. Getting hooked up to the electricity is probably easy enough if you’re French, but if you can’t understand the application form…

  3. My German friend recently moved from 10 years in the UK to Germany; she found the whole bureaucracy thing to do with *everything* a giant pain in the arse despite being (I assume – I suppose it’s possible she’s forgotten it all) fluent in German.

    Interesting to look at the sub-rankings. I’ve recently started a business (ie ltd company) in Australia, which was a complete and utter piece of piss. So was about to say “well, given Aus is below the UK in the rankings, everyone is talking whining bollocks”.

    But actually, this is the area at which Aus performs amazingly well, whilst the UK lags a bit. Meanwhile Australia sucks at registering property and protecting investors in plcs, neither of which are of the slightest relevance to me.

    The 0dd one where Australia falls down is ease of paying taxes, which is surprising since the ATO makes it really easy as far as I can make out. If business taxes are, as the rankings imply, easier to deal with in the UK than Australia, anyone in the UK complaining about tax complexity should be horsewhipped.

  4. Once again the left shows their true colours.

    Its perfectly acceptable to argue that there are things that are more important than ease of starting a business, but the left doesn’t do that. Instead it wants to stop the comparison being made.

    If people see these comparisons they will realise that the left is full of shit.

    Only the Nordics have any idea from a left point of view. Make life easy for business and then tax the shit out of it.

  5. There are some areas where the UK is dire:

    Getting Connected to Electricity: 62
    (in a house build allow 3-5k – for connections and buggeration)

    Registering Property: 73
    (understandable given fraud)

    Construction Permits: 20

  6. I love that the Imaginary Left are angry. Serf, just, what.

    Matt W: agree. It’s bizarre the electric and the property registry ones (I’m surprised you think “understandable given fraud” is a thing – is there really some giant nicking-people’s land racket occurring?).

    Construction permits, well, yes, they’ll be dodge everywhere you need one. 20th is actually a reasonable placing all things considered.

  7. My own experience here in Canada leads me to suggest that these ratings are complete crap.

    I recently got electricity for a new business. One phone call, no “application” forms, no forms of any sort, the supplier brought the line to where my electrician had a line connect just outside the building. I have done this in the past, just as easily. So do my businessman friends and associates. It is simply not possible for Canada to be 152 in the world for electricity supply.

    Likewise for registering property. I recently bought some property, dropped a bank draft off with the seller’s lawyer, got from him a one page land transfer form signed by his client, drove it into the local land titles office, 15 minutes away, gave them the form and $126.00 for the transfer of a $305K property and 4 days later the post delivered my certificate of title. The titles and title maps are all available online. 54th in the world? Behind Italy? I don’t think so.

    If they got these simple things wrong, what else have they buggered up?

  8. “My own experience here in Canada leads me to suggest that these ratings are complete crap.”

    Which province? They do things very differently in different provinces, and many things we take for granted between EU countries can’t be done between provinces in Canada (e.g. mutual recognition of professional qualifications)

  9. @George Takoma: Sorry, you are in error. I’m in Alberta but have friends, family and associates in all provinces except Quebec, and it’s the same everywhere. Quebec doesn’t count anyway, it’s scarcely part of Canada, and loves to follow the vaguely corrupt, bureaucratic quasi communist Latin model.

    Mutual recognition of professional qualifications between provinces is now mostly, but not entirely, an accomplished fact. But that was not one of the rankings, unless it’s “Trading across Borders”.

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