It would appear that Alexander Stafford, MP, is an idiot

Or, at best woefully uninformed about matters economic:

The UK was in prime position to create a “huge bonanza of jobs” in renewable energy and other green industries, he told the Guardian.

Jobs are a cost, not a benefit.

56 thoughts on “It would appear that Alexander Stafford, MP, is an idiot”

  1. It’s amazing to hear this sort of thing coming from a Conservative MP. There’s very little in his biography to suggest such idiocy: private school, then Oxford; he even worked for Shell (then again, so did Vince Cable). So what prompted him to become so wet?

    Perhaps the only reliable indicator is his age: at 32, he hasn’t yet had the idiocy stamped out of him.

  2. Andrew M, going to a private school does not necessarily imply common sense. How many of the main Extinction Rebellion morons were educated in private schools?

  3. There’s very little in his biography to suggest such idiocy: private school, then Oxford; he even worked for Shell […] So what prompted him to become so wet?

    You’re joking, right? Posh twats have dreamed about imposing the new eco-serfdom for decades. Mustn’t allow frightful people from Sheffield to go on holidays, as the rat-faced former MP for West Dorset opined.

    Much of our politics is just class hate translated into policy.

  4. Stafford went to Oxford (so bound to be another PPE wanker) and, according to the Ealing Conservative website, subsequently worked in Parliament for four years and then ‘communications’. He was a local councillor from 2014 until becoming an MP. We are told he is a “dedicated charity campaigner and advocate”. It is not clear what he advocates.

    So he’s another careerist and politics spod with minimal real world experience, fast-tracked into Parliament to be a nodding dog for the Establishment. His belief in the green scam is not at all surprising. He will believe in all the same shit that the rest of them do.

    Just look at the cunt. Take his blue tie off and he could be easily mistaken for a LibDem or Blairite, just like 90% of ‘Tory’ MPs.

  5. Andrew M,

    This is what the Conservatives are like now. I’m not sure how much they were strongly Thatcherite even in Thatchers day, but the odd Liz Truss can’t do a lot about people who are generally blue Labour.

    When was the last time Conservatives were seriously, ideologically free market capitalists? The party has been run by the Cameron/May bunch since 2005. Cameron, May and Boris are all in the “State Good” camp.

    Almost nothing has been done in 15 years of Conservative government to change things. Leaving the EU has been the biggest event in that time and that was down to UKIP.

  6. This is how the importance of a business is measured nowadays by the receiving end where the business will be located in. How many jobs it creates.

  7. BlokeInNormandyFromTejas

    Whoa!!

    He’s a green-oriented person?

    He should be **celebrating** Thatcher’s closing of the vile, oppressive, polluting coal industry long before the rest of the world realized it was The Right Thing To Do.

  8. Dennis, Climate-Change Denying Fruitcake

    The UK was in prime position to create a “huge bonanza of jobs” in renewable energy and other green industries, he told the Guardian.

    We keep hearing this sort of thing from the Green Weenies, yet when one asks for specifics and details, the conversation ends abruptly.

    Perhaps he’s channeling is inner Prince Charles and thinking about all the fruit and veg that needs picking. If nothing else, channeling Charles would confirm that he is, indeed, an idiot.

  9. Charles… Oh, you mean the Princeling that has Brenda adamant about sitting on the Throne until she outlives him? That Charles?

  10. “Jobs are a cost, not a benefit.”

    Yes but. This is similar to your ‘free trade always makes us better off’ stance, which we’ve tested to destruction in the West over the last 20 years.

    Everyone needs an income to live on, and the best way to get a decent one is to work at some sort of job where a decent amount of value is being created, and you as the worker can get some of that value. If mechanisation manages to make you surplus to requirements, and the output continues the same, then yes society as a whole is better off, but you aren’t. And will probably end up on benefits. So you suffer. Just in the way if a UK factory gets ‘outsourced’ to China, everyone gets widgets for £1/unit less, and 150 people lose their livelihoods. On a small scale and over time this is manageable, but if you scale it up to a national one and a short period of time you get increasing amounts of people living marginal lives on benefits and/or working shitty minimum wage jobs, while a diminishing few have well paid jobs (which of course will disproportionately be in the State sector, naturally). This is not a recipe for a happy country.

    So all you are doing is creating the situation whereby private enterprise is made to look like Scrooge, constantly taking well paid jobs away from the masses, either by getting rid of labour for capital, or by shifting the operation overseas, and the only place you can get a well paid secure job is from the State. Is it any wonder that interest in socialism is rising in this scenario?

    Both these so called economic principles (‘jobs are a cost’ and ‘free trade always makes us wealthier’) are one of those things that work to point but if you push it too far, too fast they don’t. Rather like putting salt on your food – an economist would conclude ‘A little salt makes my food taste better, so sticking the whole bag on will make it taste divine!’ And he’d be an idiot, like most economists.

  11. My job is a benefit to me cos I get paid for what I do. My job is a cost to other people (my customers) cos they have to pay me to do it…

  12. Jim, mechanisation has been proceeding since the industrial revolution. All of us are better off than anyone was prior to this process beginning. Your argument is refuted by empirical observation.

  13. No, your job is a cost to you. The income you gain is the benefit of that cost. Just as your income is a cost to your employer while the output you produce is a benefit to them.

  14. Stony – Dunno. The industrial revolution (and the urbanisation that preceded and then grew betwixt it) wasn’t painless, it was a time of pretty fucking horrible social upheaval. Survivorship bias, to some degree, in’tit? We’re descended from the people who didn’t die in a gutter of cholera or end up a tiny, broken corpse:

    in 1734, Judith Dufour reclaimed her two-year-old child from the workhouse where it had been given a new set of clothes; she then strangled it and left the infant’s body in a ditch so that she could sell the clothes (for 1s. 4d.) to buy gin.

    Mind you, I agree with the Chinaman who said it’s too early to tell what the effects of the French Revolution will be. Call Stig old-fashioned, but Stig think allowing H. Sapiens migrants into Europe was a mistake.

  15. The market can compensate for both of those things Jim–but only if it is allowed to. If you live in a world were you increasingly need permission to fart then new industries aren’t going to arrive at anything more than a fraction of what they might have. The scum of the EU exists to ensure small businesses never rise to threaten the crop who are ALREADY paying the EU hierarchy. Likewise endless taxation, regulation and gen meddling that goes on nearly EVERYWHERE in the West also serves that purpose.

    Don’t buy into the Socialist Sneer as an excuse for MORE state meddling. That is where you are doing your job, some fucking leftoid runs up and kicks you in the balls and–while you roll and writhe on the floor– raves on about how the “lazy capitalist bastard is lying down on the job”.

  16. Steve–some evil cunt murdering her child and buying gin proves nowt save life is hard and she was a vile cunt. The factories were BETTER than the agricultural knife-edge-of-famine that preceded them. Soc had to accumulate capital–which political shite are busy wasting–that can’t be avoided. A few had to swap jobs–understand that is hard–but should we have stayed as we were?

    But becoming bumboys for CCP scum is a bridge way too far.

  17. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious

    Doesn’t matter whether the Green Weenie jobs are costs or benefits or both or neither… Because they don’t exist, and probably never will.

    So stop with the pendantry.

  18. Steve,

    “Stony – Dunno. The industrial revolution (and the urbanisation that preceded and then grew betwixt it) wasn’t painless, it was a time of pretty fucking horrible social upheaval. Survivorship bias, to some degree, in’tit? We’re descended from the people who didn’t die in a gutter of cholera or end up a tiny, broken corpse”

    But those were the people who preferred to take the risks of city life over country life (like starvation).

    The other thing is that betting against progress doesn’t deliver a lot of wins. The various luddites of various generations might have managed to jam the gears up a little, but the tanks rolled over them quite quickly.

    For every “save the high street” wanker, there’s 100 people quietly buying all their stuff from Amazon.

  19. ” All of us are better off than anyone was prior to this process beginning. ”

    All of us now, yes, but not the poor buggers who were put out of a job by the spinning jenny and died in poverty. Its a question of time scale. If technological change is introduced on longer timescales so the human element of the economy has time to adapt, then the change can be accepted. Do it too fast and all you do is create a mass of unemployed and poor people who can see no hope of improvement for themselves. Thats revolutionary conditions, more so in todays world of instant communication.

    We see it in society today – the ‘I’m alright Jack’ brigade, who either have brains or luck to have got one of the ‘good’ jobs, and the rest who are condemned to lives of marginal work and welfare culture, with no hope of escape. Even the ‘Start at the bottom and work your way to boardroom’ route has been taken away by arseholes like Tony Blair by decreeing that half the country will be branded as ‘graduates’ at age 21, and the good jobs will only go to them, while the lumpen Morlock mass will be prevented from even trying to compete with their Eloi betters, because they made the wrong decision at age 18.

  20. @Tim

    I’m splitting hairs Tim but actually, I think the cost to me isn’t the job, but the work that I have to do in the course of that job. The primary benefit is the income from the work done. The job itself is the contractual arrangement by which I exchange labour for income.

    If I’m in a “good” job, one in which those arrangements suit me (because the working conditions are safe/flexible/not requiring of a long commute, or because the long-term promotion prospects or rate of pay for the work I do is favourable, or because I have a high degree of confidence that this employer will pay me on time and be able to provide work on a stable basis) then I’d much rather have that job than an alternative job that’s less safe or stable or well-remunerated or has worse long-term career prospects, and I’d certainly prefer it over not having any job at all.

    I don’t think there’s a binary distinction between “high-quality” jobs and “low-quality” jobs, but there’s certainly a spectrum of desirability and I can see some merit to an industry that creates well-paid skilled long-term jobs with high levels of safety and training, as being the kind of industry I’d like to come to my rather dilapidated hometown rather than low-pay low-skill low-training and sometimes physically unsafe jobs a lot of the young’uns here have to look forward to…

  21. Ecksy – The factories were BETTER than the agricultural knife-edge-of-famine that preceded them.

    Eh, probably? A lot was lost in the transition though.

    BoM4 – The other thing is that betting against progress doesn’t deliver a lot of wins. The various luddites of various generations might have managed to jam the gears up a little, but the tanks rolled over them quite quickly.

    True. But I think Jim might be making an important point separate to the inevitable winners and losers from disruption – progress isn’t always good.

    If we are far enough on from the industrial revolution to call it a success (are we?) that doesn’t mean the automation revolution will turn out to be benign. There’s lots of reasons to believe our civilisation has already gone off the rails on a crazy train.

    My only disappointment at John Major’s fatuous Back to Basics campaign is that it didn’t go back or basic enough. If he had decorated his war-chariot with the heads of his enemies, he definitely wouldn’t have lost to the grinning jackanape in 1997.

    Conan, what is best in life?

  22. Your entire second paragraph above proves the point Jim–that what is happening is NOT some result of market forces–but a creation of political scum. The solution is less power for the scummy state NOT more.

  23. China a generation back had lots of jobs on the land. They lived well, did those peasants. Unemployment wasn’t a thing, so everyone had good money.

    The rapid industrialisation has forced them all into perjury. City workers are clamouring to return to the villages, and have to stopped by requiring permits. They are even forced to use cars rather than bikes, in defiance of tradition.

  24. @Chester Draws

    A nice touch there!

    Having said that, doesn’t the fact so many peasants want to get one of these newfangled urban jobs (and indeed the permit system was put in place to ration access to them) provide supporting evidence that people do indeed desire certain jobs? Perhaps not any old job, so therefore not jobs in their own right, and just because a project is labour-intensive doesn’t mean it will provide desirable jobs, but if “good” jobs are both scarce and desirable they do sound like “goods” (in the economic sense) rather than “costs”.

  25. Disclaimer: I skipped over the labour economics module because I thought financial portfolio theory sounded more useful – which it probably was in life terms, but not so much in debating labour economics in blog comments…

  26. Jim has flailed and failed on this one imv. Something like a 12th of jobs every year disappear, only to be replaced by new jobs done differently, or completely new jobs, to believe what Tim writes. And the best example Jim has got is the jobs displaced by the arrival of the Spinning Jenny ( when was that, late 18th century ) when GB did not embrace free trade, or even have limited liability.
    If he could find an example of job destruction from the post 1846 UFT period of GB history which lead to people dying in poverty, then that would be interesting, but that was a time when the landed and pre-existing capitalists got hit. Oh dear, what a pity, never mind. We should do it again.

  27. Steve,

    “If we are far enough on from the industrial revolution to call it a success (are we?) that doesn’t mean the automation revolution will turn out to be benign. There’s lots of reasons to believe our civilisation has already gone off the rails on a crazy train.”

    I really don’t think so. There’s a Clownworld out there of women wearing pussy hats against Trump, people at Glastonbury singing Oh Jeremy Corbyn, people who like Ken Loach, and various incarnations of Stan/Loretta from Life of Brian.

    But what actually wins in the real world? It’s Trump, Boris, Brexit. It’s films like Dunkirk or Spider-Man, which are very much about individual growth and courage. Despite the columnists bleating about Facebook, Google and Amazon, your average housewife from 30 miles outside of Islington is using them and love them.

  28. Gamecock is looking for an orange recovery.

    “We have the opportunity to reshape our economy.”

    No you don’t.

    ‘One of the first policies for a green recovery could be home insulation, he said.’

    Christ on a moped. This $#|+ has been tried before. Maybe it just wasn’t implemented by the right people.

    ‘The government currently has no overarching strategy for improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s draughty homes’

    Begging the question fallacy.

    ‘an omission that has caused a slump in the number of homes being insulated in the last five years’

    Homes can’t be insulated unless the government has an overarching strategy.

    ‘The Committee on Climate Change, the government’s statutory adviser, has written to the prime minister to urge measures including a boost to home insulation, renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, tree planting and the restoration of peatlands, all of which it said would create new green jobs quickly and reduce the UK’s emissions in line with long-term low-carbon goals.’

    Since we are up against the wall for tax revenue, let’s spend a shitload more on these frivolities!

    ‘A study by Oxford University earlier this month found that focusing on the green economy would produce greater returns for public money, in the short and long term, than pouring cash into a conventional fossil-fuelled recovery.’

    Wut? No public money is needed for a ‘fossil-fuelled recovery,’ whatever the fvck that is.

    Fiona Harvey is dumber than a red brick.

  29. Gamecock,

    “Christ on a moped. This $#|+ has been tried before. Maybe it just wasn’t implemented by the right people.”

    Actually, it was implemented fine. It was so successful that between new builds, older increases and Green Deal installs, UK housing is overwhelmingly insulated. What’s left is the hard to insulate homes.

    There’s a piece from the CT about this which also cites the DECC’s own report.

    https://www.continentaltelegraph.com/2019/11/labours-insulate-every-house-idea-wont-work-most-already-are/

  30. ” And the best example Jim has got is the jobs displaced by the arrival of the Spinning Jenny ( when was that, late 18th century ) when GB did not embrace free trade, or even have limited liability.”

    It wasn’t my only example, it was the first thing that sprung to mind as a typed.
    And my point is that technological change in the past created new jobs within the same country that the people who did the old ones could go and do. The canals declined, but jobs in the railways grew. Buggy makers lost their jobs, but could go and work for car manufacturers. What we see today is not the same. A person who loses their job because their factory goes East has no new area of growth to go to. And the nature of the new technologies in use today mean that the labour is not transferable. A welder replaced by a computer version of himself cannot easily go and work on the new robots, or even in the robot making factories, which are never in the West, of course. So he’s completely out of luck. His skills are dead, and he’s stuck on the scrap heap of welfare and shitty minimum wage jobs.

    As a society we have to understand that not everyone is ‘clever’ and has the ability to work in highly complex technological work. If we cannot offer the 50% of the population who are by definition of below average intelligence the opportunity to do work of significant value and create decent lives for themselves, then we are a pretty shitty society.

  31. Never ceases to amaze me that educated at Oxford University is used as a benchmark for intellect. Where’s the evidence? Oxford University seems to turn out a never ending stream of morons. Including a large proportion of the politicians have reduced a nation from being amongst the worlds Great Powers to an also-ran. A university is supposed to be a place to go & get educated. The value of that education can then be tested in the world outside the university. Why would you pay any attention to those haven’t undergone that testing? I’d make an exception for the hard physical sciences because physics operates as compulsory inside universities as it as it does outside. They don’t get their own pocket universe to play in.
    Actually, this applies to the entire university system. It’s one point I’d agree with Jim. The entire thing’s become self referential. University education’s a good thing because the university educated say it is. Look at that clown Ferguson at Imperial who seems to have a track record of unreliable models. His latest efforts being torn to pieces by people do this stuff with actual skin in the game. Why would you pay any attention to him?

  32. On jobs, cost or benefit?
    Doing the work is an exchange: time and skills = income.
    Having a job is a contract: an asset and security.

  33. Jim,

    Re the timing – slow change good, time to adapt versus change that is too fast / destructive to too many of us at a point in time – I completely agree. But you say:

    As a society we have to understand that not everyone is ‘clever’ and has the ability to work in highly complex technological work. If we cannot offer the 50% of the population who are by definition of below average intelligence the opportunity to do work of significant value and create decent lives for themselves, then we are a pretty shitty society.

    and

    So he’s completely out of luck. His skills are dead, and he’s stuck on the scrap heap of welfare and shitty minimum wage jobs.

    And yet, right now, we have (had) high employment. All those shitty jobs do still appear to be needed – lattes do not pour themselves? If our less than clever people aren’t pouring them, then who will? Isn’t part of the problem with esteem the issue of handing out too many worthless pieces of paper – not just the degrees themselves (50%), but excessive grade inflation throughout the entire education process up to that point as well?

  34. “All those shitty jobs do still appear to be needed – lattes do not pour themselves? ”

    But they’re shitty paid jobs! No one is making a career of being a barista. Its a filling in time job for young people on their way elsewhere. Its not something that allows a person to plan a future, buy a house, start a family.

    We are fast approaching the Eloi/Morlock divide here – the clever people able to negotiate through the thickets of technological change, and gaining the financial rewards that brings, and the less than clever (in an intellectual sense – there’s many types of ‘clever’ and unfortunately its only the abstract intelligence that seems to be required nowadays – how many computer programmers could lay bricks well?) are condemned to lives on the margin with no hope of escape.

  35. Jim,

    “Jobs for kids” OK, agreed.

    As you correctly allude, couldn’t some instead learn to lay bricks? There is a (genuine) demand for all sorts of such clever stuff. Goes back to the issue of worthless pieces of paper leading otherwise good people astray?

  36. Jim,

    “And my point is that technological change in the past created new jobs within the same country that the people who did the old ones could go and do. The canals declined, but jobs in the railways grew. Buggy makers lost their jobs, but could go and work for car manufacturers. What we see today is not the same. A person who loses their job because their factory goes East has no new area of growth to go to. And the nature of the new technologies in use today mean that the labour is not transferable. A welder replaced by a computer version of himself cannot easily go and work on the new robots, or even in the robot making factories, which are never in the West, of course. So he’s completely out of luck. His skills are dead, and he’s stuck on the scrap heap of welfare and shitty minimum wage jobs.”

    Have you worked in a factory any time recently? Because almost nowhere looks like the old factory with armies of people on a line. I’ve worked in 3 in recent years: a car factory, a company that made parking meters and a printing company.

    Over the years, car manufacturing has eradicated most of the dumb assembly jobs. Panels are pre-formed. Paint and weld is done by robots. Windscreens are fitted by robots. Light units arrive as one solid piece. There’s hardly any hand welding on a car. The weld team is mostly about quality control and improvement. Huge numbers of jobs in a modern car factory are about things like quality control of parts, ensuring supply chains are flexible, testing cars in extreme environments.

    In other words, most of the jobs aren’t dumb. Some people at Honda are going to struggle to get another job, but most won’t Skills like generating production reports are flexible to all sorts of companies.

  37. Tim wrote:
    No, your job is a cost to you. The income you gain is the benefit of that cost. Just as your income is a cost to your employer while the output you produce is a benefit to them.

    In what sense, then, are jobs created by an enterprise not a bonanza?

  38. Christ on a moped.

    Do you actually do mopeds in America? I thought you went straight from kiddie bikes with stabilisers to Harley Davidsons.

  39. Jim,

    “We are fast approaching the Eloi/Morlock divide here – the clever people able to negotiate through the thickets of technological change, and gaining the financial rewards that brings, and the less than clever (in an intellectual sense – there’s many types of ‘clever’ and unfortunately its only the abstract intelligence that seems to be required nowadays – how many computer programmers could lay bricks well?) are condemned to lives on the margin with no hope of escape.”

    But the Eloi weren’t clever. They had good superficial traits, but it was really the Morlocks that were the superior beings. That actually matches a lot of what’s going on right now where there’s no social value in being a CNC operator, but it pays a lot more than working in archaeology.

  40. “Do you actually do mopeds in America? I thought you went straight from kiddie bikes with stabilisers to Harley Davidsons.”

    Mopeds are for adults. Liquor cycles. People who have lost their operating licenses for more conventional transport. If your job is 10 miles away, and you can’t drive a car, it’s the way. Perhaps it’s part of the punishment for drink driving. With limited top speed, everybody sees you; everybody knows you are fvckup.

    Harley Davidson’s future is bleak, as young Americans have no interest in their pig bikes. Not that they aren’t trying hard create something for the youth market. So far, they have failed.

  41. “Over the years, car manufacturing has eradicated most of the dumb assembly jobs. Panels are pre-formed. Paint and weld is done by robots. Windscreens are fitted by robots. Light units arrive as one solid piece. There’s hardly any hand welding on a car. The weld team is mostly about quality control and improvement. Huge numbers of jobs in a modern car factory are about things like quality control of parts, ensuring supply chains are flexible, testing cars in extreme environments.”

    Which is exactly my point. The dumb jobs in factories (which nonetheless paid OK) have been eliminated and replaced with dumb jobs that pay shit. So an increasing proportion of the population is stuck forever with a shitty wage, if they can find one.

    I don’t think its right that those who won the DNA lottery get to lord it over those who lost to such an extent. What’s the argument here – there is no problem, or there is a problem but we’re OK coz we’ve got brains so f*ck the thickos?

  42. I think your error is in thinking that the low end jobs in factories did pay OK. They never really did. The aristocracy of the working classes, the miners, did well enough at times. 2 x median wage in mid 70s. But the low end of manufacturing? Nah. In real terms pay is better now in those low end service jobs.

    Interesting fact. Median service pay in US is higher than median manufacturing pay….

  43. And in which case it is more about relative esteem? And hence managing expectations. And which takes us back to worthless bits of paper…

  44. “All those shitty jobs do still appear to be needed – lattes do not pour themselves? ”

    But they’re shitty paid jobs! No one is making a career of being a barista. Its a filling in time job for young people on their way elsewhere. Its not something that allows a person to plan a future, buy a house, start a family.

    It could still be a filling in time job for your former welder. If he’s 64, then OK there’s not much point retraining. If he’s 34, then spending 6 months or a year or whatever pouring lattes to make at least some income while he’s retraining to be a brickie, or a joiner, or whatever, makes some sense.

  45. ‘Which is exactly my point. The dumb jobs in factories (which nonetheless paid OK) have been eliminated and replaced with dumb jobs that pay shit.’

    False. They are not related. Dumb jobs in factories were eliminated when it became cheaper to replace them. Either the cost of the worker got too high, or the capital cost of replacement got low enough. Gamecock is proud to say he got rid of a lot of them.

    What happened to the displaced workers is irrelevant. America fought a war 150 years ago to determine that employers have no responsibility for their employees. Or former employees.

    In Western free economies, the employees must find their work. No one else is responsible. If they have a dumb job that pays shit, it their problem, not someone else’s.

  46. @Jim May 23, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Many people are quite happy to do a mundane, little or no responsibility, not/didn’t want promoted job their entire lives

    Applies to all jobs checkout operators, PC Plods, Teachers…

  47. “then yes society as a whole is better off, but you aren’t. And will probably end up on benefits.”

    Then get rid of benefits.

  48. Jobs are not a cost – or at least they’re not in a free market. Suppose I discover a valuable mineral deposit. If this means ten people get jobs extracting the mineral, those ten jobs mean that there is a benefit big enough to justify them. While it is true in a very narrow sense that the jobs are a cost – it would be better is the mineral could be extracted with no jobs – that is not a very useful sense. So in a free market jobs are an indicator of the creation of value.

    Of course when people say that an advantage of some scheme is that it creates jobs, they are often assuming jobs are an end in themselves. If that were the case then the state should employ large numbers of people in pairs, with one of the pair digging a big hole and the other filling it in. If jobs themselves were a benefit then not only would this scheme be sensible, but we should be importing huge numbers of immigrants to join it.

    It is easy to assume that the alternative to thinking jobs are inherently good is to think that they are inherently bad, but that’s just falling for using the wrong basis for evaluation, so both evaluations are wrong.

  49. If this means ten people get jobs extracting the mineral, those ten jobs mean that there is a benefit big enough to justify them.

    Those jobs are still costing you part of the value of the extracted minerals (obviously: if you could get the same amount of work done by five and still get the same benefit, then you would employ five not ten); and they are still costing the employees their time and effort.

  50. @BiW

    The job itself gives the employees the opportunity, should they so desire it, to transform their time and effort into cash. The time and effort expended during work is a cost to them, but the ability to perform that transformation is desirable (and scarce – not everyone who wants a job gets one).

    The mine owner would rather hire less people if it were more cost-effective to do so, and the mineral would be cheaper to society if he could, with all the attendant benefits that brings. But if you’re a local in the area, you would rather see the local newspaper headline “Mining kingpin in £4 million new project – ten new jobs in the region” than for the “ten” to be replaced with “five”, or (unless you’re a robotic engineer by trade) “army of robots”.

  51. @Charles

    Employee costs reduce profits. If a business with/without staff is making a loss, it should be shut not subsidised by money extorted from taxpayers

    Green jobs are effectively public sector

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