Oh Dear God, Tosser is Tossing

The point I am making is a simple one, but essential. If a great deal about our society, way of working, travelling and interacting is going to change – and I think it is – we need to get our thinking straight in what this means and embrace the uncertainty it creates.

This is, of course, entirely true.

Apparently, 88 per cent of 4,600 people surveyed wanted to spend most of their time working from home.

It is, unfortunately, not possible to know what the data on this question might have been before coronavirus. No one asked in the same way because no one really took this option seriously in the way that they do now.

What I do know is that I was on Ely station last night when the 16.45 (or thereabouts) out of Kings Cross arrived. In my long experience this was a packed train before March 202o. Last night it was almost empty. Things have changed.

An entirely valid observation.

Then comes the tosser bit:

I see no evidence that the government is anywhere near doing this.

Well, what would a sensible government do?

I think the state will have to do a great deal more in coming years, and if the private sector denies it the resources it requires to meet need then tax will increase to restrict market based activity so that public need is met.

Not that.

So, to recap. Recent events have meant that society is about to change. We do not know how. Take the work from home, not commuting thing. Some will change their behaviour entirely. Some will change it not a whit. Some portion of the peeps will change it a bit. We do not know the proportions.

We cannot even ask people because we know that expressed and revealed preferences are not the same.

Hmm, so, what do we do then? Well, we let people get on with it and see what happens. The answer, that is, will be emergent from individual decisions. That is, you know, free markets.

At which point the P³ wants to raise taxes because summat?

We cannot plan for unknown change because it’s unknown. Therefore we must plan for it?

16 thoughts on “Oh Dear God, Tosser is Tossing”

  1. “…restrict market based activity so that public need is met.”

    Surely restricting market activity is a guaranteed way of ensuring that public need is not met.

  2. Dennis, Legend of the Parish

    I think the state will have to do a great deal more in coming years, and if the private sector denies it the resources it requires to meet need then tax will increase to restrict market based activity so that public need is met.

    Don’t turn around,
    Der Kommissar’s in town,
    And if he talks to you, then you’ll know why
    The more you live, the faster you will die

  3. Recent events have meant that society is about to change.

    Recent events being the government fucking ruining everything and removing long-held freedoms, for which we will have the fuck taxed out of us at some point. And so we ‘have to’ make changes, which coincidentally are changes which keep the government’s beak in our business and hand in our pocket.

  4. What was he doing at Ely Station? Surely he wasn’t thinking of travelling unnecessarily during the worst pandemic evvvvahhhhh! Was he meeting Polly? Has he been vaccinated yet?

  5. Anyone any idea of the proportion of the UK workforce has been “working from home”? This is all I hear about from the UK chip wrappers. The trials of WFH. Working from home reminiscing. How to cope with this, this & that, WFH. I don’t think I know anyone UK side WFH. Apart from some parasite deskjockey hasn’t ever had a decent days work in him to give. All the people I know have to be where the work’s done or it doesn’t get done. And you’d bloody well know if it wasn’t being done. You wouldn’t be getting the results of it.

  6. “will be emergent from”: does that differ in any useful way from ‘will emerge from’?

    Have you been reading too many American writers?

  7. Bis, some of the bank dealing staff, working from home, have been able to tool up their pcs considerably. One I spoke to recently had a wall of screens. Probably for flight simulation software.

    Obviously lots of people are working on site: a lot of shops are open this time, building sites, gardeners and landscapers, power workers, telecom engineers, plumbers, electricians, pest controllers, refuse workers, hospital staff, opticians(!), transport workers and truckers, delivery drivers. That’s quite a bunch of people.

    Car mechanics, shoe shop workers, Warhammer, plus all the beautician stuff – hair, nails and eyebrows (although some of them are working illegally from home) – are the ones missing out.

    We know from Rocco that pornos are still active.

    That only leaves professional folk such as solicitors, wealth managers, finance workers, and accounting staff. I find it a real pain discussing legal stuff over the phone or zoom. It would be nice to look them in the eye when they bullshit me

  8. BiS WFH shows us that an awful lot of people never would be missed. I WFH, my company WFH, money passes from one entity to another and there may be a dividend from time to time, but nothing it does or produces is of any consequence.

  9. BiS; there’s an ONS Labour Force Survey from April last year that suggests that c.45% of employees did some work from home at that point, and 86% of those employees did so because of the virus.

    That works out at something like 11m-13m employees, or about 25~28% of the labour force. Which is pretty damn close to the numbers on the furlough scheme.

    “Some hours” at the peak of compliance, early on in the pandemic, seems to be doing some heavy lifting there, so I would guess that about a fifth have been consistently doing the bulk of their hours at home over the last year or so. So about 9m employees.

    At a guess.

  10. There’s a strong correlation between jobs that involve commuting to London by train daily, and jobs that can be done from home. These jobs tend to be paid above-average too.

    If, post-pandemic, they all work from home, that’s 2-3 hours a day saved. If they choose to work those hours (and employers choose to pay them) then total hours worked will rise, and Spud will be happy because more taxes will be coming in.

    Quite what the government is going to do with all those empty trains I don’t know, but it’s a trivial problem compared to the last 12 months.

  11. @Mr McDuckface
    “BiS; there’s an ONS Labour Force Survey from April last year that suggests that c.45% of employees did some work from home at that point, and 86% of those employees did so because of the virus.”

    You don’t find that unlikely? That 45% of workers are effectively clerical? How many f*****g administrators has the UK got? It’s small wonder productivity’s so lousy.

  12. BiS; wrong target. WFH is almost irrelevant – you ought to be more concerned about the furloughed employees.

  13. I thought that was rather the point, Mr D. Read the Torygraph & you’d think the country’s economy was being held together by people working on the corner of the kitchen table. With the exception of your “heroic NHS” you hear hardly a mention of the people have worked right the way through Coronapanic providing the goods & services kept the country alive. Or the people willing to but prevented from working because of regulations. The furloughed are the fortunate ones. They’re getting paid.

  14. The WFH mob are still getting paid. They’re also still producing some sort of output. Others who still have to turn up – delivery drivers, retail staff, binmen, posties et al – they’re still getting paid.

    The furloughed staff are getting paid – for no output, and they’re not getting full whack. Firms are effectively taking on loans from the government to keep them on the payroll.

    The problem the furloughed face is that they might be marginal employees – something that does not necessarily apply to the other two groups. The alternative is that they’ve been overpaid by about 20% (where the scheme is 80% of wages).

    Quite what a bunch of morons at the DT or elsewhere whining about how hard it is to work while trying to get Toby and Jocasta to eat their avocado polenta has to do the price of fish escapes me.

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