Could be, could be

Leaving Europe would be bad for British business

But that ain\’t the point is it?

Allowing cartels, monopolies and manipulative oilgopolies would be just great for British business too. We don\’t allow them because they screw over the consumer though.

Which is back to our old point. The aim of this whole economy thing is to improve the conditions of the consumers not the producers.

24 thoughts on “Could be, could be”

  1. Surely a more apt slogan would be: Leaving Europe would be (or might be) bad for *big* British business.

    I notice Cridland says: — There are some who say that we could retain access to the single market without being a member of the EU; that the UK could withdraw and have a relationship more akin to Norways or Switzerlands. Id urge them to really look at the detail. —

    Well, Richard North has looked at this issue in detail. Yet where is the detail in Cridlands article? A few paras, one quote from a politican, and thats it.

  2. The article on Amazon is interesting. There is however an assumption in it that at some point Amazon will want to make a much higher profit.

    But I can’t help wondering whether Bezos has actually taken economic theory to heart and is running the company as an idealised free market enterprise, and thus never expecting a high “rate of profit”. That is, he’s genuinely not being a Greedy Capitalist because economics tells us that high rates of profit are long term unsustainable. He’s acting as if he has competition he doesn’t really have; and he doesn’t have that competition because he’s acting that way.

    A company creaming a high rate of profit (e.g. Apple) can do well for a while, then get hit by competitors undercutting by taking lower profits. That company- with a high profit culture- now becomes highly vulnerable. Shareholders panic. Customers see it as being in trouble as it starts price slashing to stay in business.

    If you’ve got no high profit rate to put you in that position, you’re not vulnerable in that way.

    Just a thought.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Steve – “The Guardian cares about British business?”

    I think that question answers itself. This must be one of the most unprincipled claims ever made by that rag. Can anyone else think of a single issue where the Guardian would argue for what is good for business?

    They are hypocrites as well as vipers.

  4. I fear Tim seems to take this argument, perhaps for rhetorical purposes rather than in defence of what he really thinks, to an extreme business vs. consumer position. Since the overwhelming majority of us consumers draw a salary from a business (so that we may consume), and the quantity and security of said salary is highly dependent on the profitability of the business we work for (and to a lesser extent other competing and collaborating businesses), we have a huge overlap of interest with the health of business in general.

    As with most relationships there are both commonalities as well as conflicts of interest. As a labourer/consumer I wish to secure the highest price for my labour and lowest price for everything I buy, whereas capital would have things the other way around. But this really isn’t to the exclusion of our common interests.

  5. Ian B,

    You’re not the first person to make the observation.

    Thing is, a lot of the dot-com companies are a bit irregular. Google and Facebook are far more interested in what they can do, than how they can make money. Zuckerberg even wrote to potential investors explaining Facebook’s “social mission” (personally I’d stick my money on a nag running at Kempton than in a social network).

  6. We don’t allow cartels? Are you having a fucking laugh, what about the *big six* energy providers FFS!!?

  7. JamesV;

    I recommend reading Bastiat. It’s always better to prefer the consumer interest, because the consumers are the end users of economic production. Always. There is no conflict of interest between consumer and producer. The producer part of you is trying to hurt the consumer part of you, and it’s the consumer part that enjoys the fruits of your labour, not the producer.

  8. What Ian’s said there has had me wondering.
    Start a company worth x producing y net profit.
    Expand until you’re a company worth 100x but still producing y net profit. It’s a better outcome than being a company worth bugger all producing no profit because you’ve been outcompeted. You do still get the y net profit & if all the growth comes from reinvestment, it hasn’t cost anything to secure it.
    It’s not a bad tactic.

  9. I don’t know about that. It’s in my interests as consumer to maximise my income as a producer. This great market thing recognises that, and assumes that we are all as producers trying to game the system in our favour, limiting our success in so doing through competition or banning the doing of certain nasty things to hurt our consumers. How nice I have to be to my consumers is determined mostly by how nice my competitors are to them.

    I certainly agree that when governments get involved they should consider consumer interests first and foremost. But considering the health of business is a key part of that – if not to the extent today where we have effective regulatory capture by (big) business interests.

  10. JamesV-

    Simplest way to put it maybe is this; if your producer income rises, it means your output in goods per money unit has fallen. So any preference for the producer interest causes a net fall in goods available to consumers; i.e. net economic contraction.

  11. When Britain joined, nearly everyone worked for big business so clearly big business’ interests were pretty closely aligned with consumer interests. That is no longer true. A huge proportion of us work for small firms, who are hammered by single market regulations.

  12. So monopolies would be great for business (as King Gillette said)?Then lets have some democratically run monopolies keeping basic prices down for the consumers so they’ve got money over to buy more consumerist crap. Like we had in the 50’s.

  13. What gets me about those who think we should not withdraw from the EU, is that they always seem to say we will be outside a free-trade area and face various barriers. Doesn’t that mean that our European partners, with whom they think we should get ever closer, are actually bastards, who are only nice to us if we pay them protection money?

  14. ‘Blue Eyes’ (#13)

    Got it in one – The CBI functions as those ‘Front organizations’ purporting to represent trades did in the Soviet Union (probably the nearest entity in structure to the EU)- to tamely accept whatever absurdity the system throws forth – the FSB (representing Small businesses at least ostensibly) was always strongly Eurosceptic although I don’t know if that is the case now.

    As Tank (#1) points out, Richard North, co-author of the definitive work on the EU, ‘The Castle of Lies’ has shredded the canards put forth in this article (which is actually less objectionable than the usual rubbish) in some detail. Like most CBI communiques, this one is light on specifics, and makes light of the crushing burden of overregulation which in the intervening years between the Castle of Lies (published 1997) and today has got far,far worse!!

  15. @DBC Reed

    what consumerist crap were you buying in the 1950s? When did bread come off the ration?

  16. Bread came off the ration in 1948.It was n’t rationed in the war but in 1946 when there was a wash-out harvest. Of course ,under a laissez faire system you would n ‘t have bad weather.

  17. @nautical nick

    Exactly, it’s like saying Canada should join the US otherwise it will be isolated and nobody will want to deal with them. Except when Canada decided to impose visas on the Czechs it was the EU who got hissy and was told to get screwed.

  18. Yes, the “EU is good for British business” argument is hopeless. It’s arguments like that which stop us from adopting unilateral free trade with the rest of the world.

    HOWEVER, there is a better, free-market, case for Britain staying in the EU: if we leave, then the big players will be Germany, Italy and France. Countries like Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Poland, who would prefer a less centralising EU with multiple speeds, would be in deep trouble.

    It would be in Britain’s best interests to leave the EU, abolish more or less all trade barriers with the rest of the world, deregulate, and enjoy a higher standard of living. On the other hand, it is our responsibility as the largest non-federalist country in the EU to push the case against the federalists, socialists and eurocrats, because there’s a different type of European who benefits from us being in.

    British (wo)man’s burden?

  19. My comment @ #18 is 80% content while your two comments # 17 & 20 are unsullied by any facts; the first was a question which I answered ; the second was a flip comment to cover your basic ignorance of the historical context.

  20. @ DBC
    That post war rationing period was the making of a member of our family. His grey/black market dealings allowed him to amass best part of 5 million in the days that was very serious money indeed. Stretched to buying a stately home in Sussex. Cash, of course
    So, in the interests of reviving the traditional family enterprise, I can only give your suggestion my wholehearted support.

  21. Don’t get why some of the usual suspects are banging on about rationing: I did n’t mention it. But since we’re on the subject: the flaws of laissez faire are writ large when we become reliant on imports of cheap food from abroad and then there is some interruption as other fuckwits, seeking their own lebensraum,
    torpedo our cargoes .Of course laissez faire makes war impossible. yok yok.
    Actually I was thinking more of nationalising things to ensure cheap rail travel, cheap council housing etc but I know you will be shocked so will go and wash my mouth out ( with expensive wine. Toast to LVT ,RPM, State Creation of money and a Socialist Europe. I’m sure you’ll all join me in that!)

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