Stunning new finding!

Business leaders’ support for Tories is a threat to democracy

That is, citizens expressing their views is a threat to democracy.

Discuss.

38 thoughts on “Stunning new finding!”

  1. Well Tim, as you’ve said yourself, companies can’t pay tax. Therefore business leaders are in charge of non-taxpaying entities. Therefore they aren’t good honest citizens and don’t have a right to a voice.

    QED.

  2. Can see where this is coming from. There is more than one political party and people show support for one of the wrong parties. For that writer it is obvious people should not be able t support the wrong party.
    Roll on a one party system, avoids problems of choice?

  3. I don’t think any of you quite understand, democracy is that system under which the views of socially just accountants is the only one of influence. “Citizens expressing their view” is neoliberal sophistry intended to justify tax injustice. By trolls.

  4. Ian, you’re so right. Democracy is all about making socially just choices. All other choices are by definition antidemocratic.

  5. Most successful companies are supported by government action – contracting, subsidies, tariffs, the granting of monopolies through IP law, financial policy to support the banks…

    It is undemocratic if those companies then use their wealth to influence the choice of government.

    This has already gone much too far in the USA, and somewhat too far in the UK.

  6. Ritchie is a very busy man, so I’ve tried to help him by constructing a universal reply to all the neoliberal sophistry written by the rent-seeking non-dom tax-avoiding exploitative oligarch trolls. It should save him time in future. And as he says “time has a value”.

    I’ve only used genuine quotes here, but I think it can be applied to any subject matter.

    “I really have difficult with you right wing Stalinists”

    “I accept you hold your opinion”

    “Perhaps you live in your own little bubble?”

    “Do you have an argument?

    Or just prejudice?”

    “Shall we deal in facts?”

    “Over a long time I have dealt with the issues you raise”

    “I live in the real world and seek to change it at a macro level”

    “Democracy gives us an element of control but it is not ours, per se. That is wjhy exercising control is so important or it can cease to be benign.”

    “everything I said is right”

    “I assure you, quite a lot of academic economists do seem to think I have a very good grasp of it”

    “I discuss such issues with them”

    “Now stop wasting my time

    I will feel free to delete your nonsense in future”

    “Come back when you have learned something”

  7. ‘Everything I said is right’ – hee hee the man’s mad.

    Glad to read that Paul B now believes in rowing back the state.

  8. @ PaulB
    I should agree if you said “a few successful companies out of the 3.1m active companies in the UK …”, but most businessmen I meet don’t get a brass farthing from the government inb return for their taxes and business rates.
    It is just as undemocratic for companies benefitting from government subsidies to try to influence government policies and elections as it is for unions and newspapers benefitting from government subsidies (e.g. full-time union officials paid by the LEA or NHS or civil service, The Guardian’s job page, the BBC and Channel4) and it undoubtedly has gone too far in the USA.

  9. Surreptitious Evil

    PaulB,

    Ban the protections for IPR and see how well the economy does.

    I’m totally convinced that our IPR protections are too solid for computer stuff and large block Democrat voters (ie the movie industry).

    However, they are clearly insufficient to encourage innovation (because of the effects of over government regulations) in the pharmaceutical industry, as an example.

    Can we accept, not having a First Amendment over here, that company bosses can be banned from speaking in the same bill that bans Union leaders? I’d prefer both allowed to speak, obviously, but you seem to be a bit strident on the matter?

  10. But union leaders, without exception, just speak as the mouthpiece of the downtrodden, so are part of civil society and are thus democratic.

    Any allegation that union leaders may have been Stalinists trying to bring about a Communist revolution in the UK and/or to enrich themselves is just discusting neoliberal heresy.

  11. Bloke in Costa RIca

    I’ve often thought that a bit of ju-jitsu the Conservatives could have done—if they were not a) almost comically retarded and b) pusillanimous drips—would have been to ban all donations to political parties that were not directly from individuals. Sure, you’d lose the corporate donations but Labour would lose the unions and that would kill it stone dead. I think it would have been doable, although not terribly liberal.

  12. PaulB

    Most successful companies are supported by government action – contracting, subsidies, tariffs, the granting of monopolies through IP law, financial policy to support the banks…

    Or in many cases simply hindered by a myriad of pointless regulations, stifling bureaucracy, costly taxes, political uncertainty and much more…

  13. I can imagine unions attempting a workaround by collecting a “voluntary” “indivitual” donation on the behalf of all their members…

  14. You lot may criticise Murphy but today he said this (and I quote)

    “Only a deeply unconventional macro economist can argue money is fairly irrelevant

    They gave said as such for a king time and mist if their models ignore it

    No wonder they had no answer forr the Queen

    And as is clear, you remain deeply confused by it
    Or anyone else”

    You lot have no answer to that do you?

  15. Incidentally, I am disappointed no one pointed out to Murphy on ‘rent seeking’ that a classical example of rent seeking in the labour market is where trade unions operate a ‘closed shop’ or otherwise act to restrict free market employment. Take driving a tube train which requires the ability to stand up and remain awake and leaning on something. Bob Crowe used union muscle power to elevate such a job to £40k+ at basic with bonuses for being bothered to do their job on any days that the public wanted to use the underground.

    I’m sue Ritchie could have had a go at explaining why that wasn’t rent seeking but if would have been fun watching him do it.

  16. It’s not rent-seeking when unions do it. Because they are reprentatives of civil society. And social justice and stuff.

  17. Ian, they aren’t exclusive.

    If what you regularly right is incoherent wibble, as it is with Ritchie, how could you reasonably determine that he was writing under the influence?

  18. PaulB

    I’ve noticed a group that has been given a monopoly to vote in Parliament, I think they’re called MPs. AND I ‘ve noticed they are ALWAYS trying to use that monopoly to try to influence public policy. They must be stopped.

  19. PaulB
    If companies are to be banned, I expect to see a ban on union funding as well. Given that unions benefit from government spending far more directly, the case for banning unions influencing government choice is far stronger than the one for banning companies. If you cannot stomach this – then the US has it right.

  20. “If you cannot stomach this – then the US has it right”

    Have you followed the stories the last few years over public-sector unions in the US?

    In some states it was like the 70s – compulsory public sector union membership, with public sector unions donating millions to the Dems.

    Crazy. And retrograde.

  21. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Costa RIca – “I’ve often thought that a bit of ju-jitsu the Conservatives could have done—if they were not a) almost comically retarded and b) pusillanimous drips—would have been to ban all donations to political parties that were not directly from individuals.”

    They should ban donations from anyone but individuals. But they should also ban giving donations to anyone but individuals. They won’t because they are centralisers who want individual members answerable to the central Party. But they should. That way Labour members could vote according to their conscience and who the hell would vote for any Labour Party policy?

    We had a debate with seven people because the two main parties are now so narrow they can only just support one person.

  22. Bloke in North Dorset

    There was a graphic a few years ago, when Labour was in office, that showed that the Govt was giving the Unions £x for reform or modernisation and funnily enough the Unions just happened to donate £x to Labour. IIRC x was in the order of £10m.

    Sadly I can’t find it now.

  23. His publication of this comment shows that he is for fairness and balance:

    “Sue Queef says:
    April 5 2015 at 7:04 pm
    I remember back in the 1970s that the late and saintly Tony Benn wanted to nationalise the Times, which was then a Paper of Record and not the rightwing rag it has become under the unpopular and undemocratic Murdoch Terror.
    Maybe now is the time to nationalise the BBC properly (and maybe the Times too) to ensure their genuine integrity as impartial agents of a Courageous State.”

  24. Sue Queen is the authentic voice of the Left. Richard Murphy will always give her uncritical coverage.

  25. The translation is ‘Business Leaders supporting the Tories mean my ideas might be sidelined and my influence reduced – ergo it is undemocratic’ – what a torturous blowhard……

  26. I should agree if you said “a few successful companies out of the 3.1m active companies in the UK …”
    Fairish comment. I should really have said “Most successful large companies…”

    Ban the protections for IPR and see how well the economy does.

    I’m totally convinced that our IPR protections are too solid for computer stuff and large block Democrat voters (ie the movie industry).

    However, they are clearly insufficient to encourage innovation (because of the effects of over government regulations) in the pharmaceutical industry, as an example.

    IP protections are fine in principle. The problem in practice is that they’ve been extended far beyond what’s beneficial. Copyright protection for lifetime plus 70 years is madness, software patents are harmful…

    The question of the appropriate degree of regulation of pharmaceuticals is independent of the question of how best to fund their development. Funding development by granting monopolies over drug supply is bad. (I explain my thinking on this at some length here.)

    Can we accept, not having a First Amendment over here, that company bosses can be banned from speaking in the same bill that bans Union leaders? I’d prefer both allowed to speak, obviously, but you seem to be a bit strident on the matter?

    I don’t think anyone should be banned from speaking. Recipients of corporate welfare are entitled to say what’s in the best interests of themselves and their company’s shareholders. Union leaders are entitled to say what’s in the best interests of themselves and their members.

    I do however favour tight restrictions on financial support, along the lines of the Kelly report.

  27. PaulB

    The Kelly report is wrong on the opt-in. If large donations are to be banned, they should certainly be banned from trade unions in any form, which are far more pernicious in terms of their influence over government spending than corporations.

    Spending by corporations which are agglomerations of individuals (via shareholdings and via stakeholder interests) should certainly be protected to the same degree as union spending.

    That they have negative side effects is undoubtedly true, because they represent a large interest group and their spending distorts matters substantially. But this applies far more to trade unions with their substantial membership in the public sector. To pretend otherwise is simply ridiculous.

  28. I don’t begin to understand your objection to people being allowed to opt into making political donations.

    It makes no difference whether the donations are via a sports club, sewing circle, joint stock company, or trade union, so long as they can be assigned back to the individual donors, so that restrictions on individual donations can work. In practice, there may be insuperable difficulties in doing this in the case of a joint stock company.

    I disagree that trade union influence is more distorting than corporate influence. I can’t see what policies labour governments have pursued in the last 30 years which suggest that they’ve been bought by the unions. Perhaps this is because, unlike with corporate donations, there’s no real competition between the parties to get the unions’ money.

  29. PaulB

    The desire not to allow “unqualified” teachers to teach in free schools is a perfect example in the UK. in the US, the damage to the US education system of the teaching unions. The absurd amount of facilities time that was given to union members who then used it to campaign for Labour is another. The overly generous pay settlements (and inability to tackle the pension underfunding) of the Labour years in office, which subsequently had to be brought under control by the Tories.

    It is clearly far more damaging for democracy that the unions with public sector employees should have the ability to influence policy. The phrase willful blindness comes to mind.

    In the case of a joint stock company on the basis of your individual donations, we could simply have a shareholder vote. (with subsidiary votes within pension funds and mutual funds). I don’t like this either because it doesnt solve the problem that policies can be bought if one has a large block of money.

    I’m less worried about the so-called individuality of contributions and far more about the distortionary effect of a block of money.

  30. @ PaulB
    “I can’t see what policies labour governments have pursued in the last 30 years which suggest that they’ve been bought by the unions.”
    Almost all the economic policies of the only Labour Government in the last 30 years: NMW, systematically overpaying the unionised publioc sector, tax credits, subsidising council houses instead of tenants, wanting union representatives instead of employee representatives on almost anything, paying full-time union workers out of public funds, etc etc

  31. john77: it’s the “Labour” party, it doesn’t have to be bought to introduce policies such as the minimum wage. And the minimum wage has been enthusiastically adopted by the conservative party. Are the tories in the pockets of the unions too?

  32. PaulB

    I note that you only rebutted one of John77’s points. Or any of my points. I take this to mean that you admit that Labour do follow pro-union policies and thus their influence is as (if not more) pernicious than that of companies.

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