Friday, 31 March 2017

Most Bizarre Negotiating Tactic (if true...)


"EU will ban UK from cutting tax or scrapping regulation as price of trade deal"

Blatant extra-territoriality. Which no democratic government could sign up to.  So, no deal. 

We then take an axe to taxes and regulations and trade with the EU on WTO terms.  The EU gets a well run offshore financial centre and low tax free market economy just offshore.

So, Mr Tusk, that's fine by me.

(And of course, for us on here, if we can move toward an LVT based tax over)


On thinking about this it is proof that the 'single market' is not about free trade but all about protectionism.


paulc156 said...

That's the Telegraph's take [so not exactly reliable] not what was actually said so far as I can see, which was more like no race to the bottom re regulations and taxes or this would be bad for on going relationship, from German's economy minister. After all there are already variations in tax rates across the EU and regulations too. Germany for instance is quite heavily regulated, the UK less regulated than anyone by most measures. And May has vowed to protect workers rights here post brexit.

Lola said...

P156. 'Race to the bottom'. nope. the precise reverse. The less regulationism and lowest possible taxes are the absolute best for liberty, personal responsibility and wealth creation - for everyone.

And, I do know that the Telegraph is not the most reliable of outlets. I was commenting upon the net result of the headline - if true.

'Workers Rights'. Completely meaningless bullshit. Define 'worker'? e.g. I'm a 'worker' but 'workers rights' undermine my liberty and my rights to enjoy mu private property.

paulc156 said...

We don't need workers 'protections/rights if workers are given economic democracy. Workers managing and owning enterprises. Companies over a certain size in return for limited liability should adopt this model by right. Then we can assume 'protection' would be superfluous.Otherwise all brutal and degrading treatments have only ever been outlawed after social upheaval,protest or even revolt. That's why it took centuries to outlaw slavery. We had to wait until it was economically advantageous in order to outlaw it.

Lola said...

P156. Just between you and me that's almost, but not quite, entirely unlike total bollocks.
Oh, and you do not have to 'outlaw slavery'. On a classical liberal view slavery is unlawful. Which IMHO is largely why we Brits agitated for this classical liberal position to be recognised in law (not that it needed to be as such) and the Royal navy did so much to stamp it out.

Bayard said...

"We don't need workers 'protections/rights if workers are given economic democracy."

We don't need anyone's "rights". Human nature means that those in a position of advantage will, by and large, take that advantage. It doesn't matter if they are "workers" or "employers". The same right to not be taken advantage of needs to be applied to everyone to be fair, in which case it becomes pretty meaningless.

The whole idea of "workers' rights" has grown up because, historically, labour has been mostly at a discount. On the few occasions that it has been at a premium, it has been employers whose rights needed to be protected, but that didn't happen because the whole system is set up based on a labour model that was even then about fifty years out of date.

It is more important to make sure that labour is neither at a discount, nor a premium, otherwise there will be exploitation. The best way to do this is via a Citizen's Income, not legislation. Having legal "rights" just makes money for lawyers. You cannot legislate your way to a perfect world.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Seriously they can fuck off, the longer this goes on the gladder I am I voted leave.

Lola said...

Wot Bayard sez.

MW. They're on about making who owns Gibraltar part of the negotiation now. Wankers.

Mind your EU is self evidently not hot on 'self determination'.

paulc156 said...

L. Your first sentence is unintelligible [to me anyway].
Re slavery. We outlawed it only when it became detrimental/inefficient for the mode of production which was moving from primitive agricultural to industrial. We had to pay massive compensation to slave owners in order to outlaw it and we continued to allow slavery in parts of the Empire for decades after we stopped transporting slaves.
B. I'd happily accept CI and LVT and see how that worked out but in it's absence I'd support a form of worker ownership and control of large[ish] corporations.
Re human nature, not sure we know so much about it so as to define it that succinctly. But there's a strong argument that business left to it's own devices will tend toward monopoly/oligopoly and so on to exploitation of it's position of great power over labour. It's Utopian to imagine a technologically advanced economy without some 'rights' conferred by laws and regulations. Probably dystopian to actually impose it.

Lola said...

P156 Oh dear. You've missed the point son. One, it is often the easier and less expensive to pay for something to be stopped than to do it by violence and coercion. two, 'Allowing' is not 'condoning'.

We've got 'worker (define 'worker')ownership' now. They are called 'shares.

Last paragraph. Nonsense.

(My first sentence. You need to read HHGTTG)

Bayard said...

"But there's a strong argument that business left to it's own devices will tend toward monopoly/oligopoly and so on to exploitation of it's position of great power over labour."

I think that should read "its position of great power over the market".

Labour has nothing to do with it. The "Them and Us" division of labour into "management" and "workers" is an entirely artificial product of the British class system. Everyone who works for a company, from the MD to the part-time cleaner is a "worker", the division is between those who have control and those who don't. Having all workers part-owning the company isn't going to change this; it is one of the evils of the joint-stock company set-up that, once the ownership of the company gets split up between many different owners, those owners effectively lose control of the company and are completely excluded from day-to-day decisions.

In any large organisation, direct democracy is completely impractical: there will always be the need by the many to delegate control to the few. Those who have control will always tend to try and reduce their numbers and increase the numbers of those without control. That's what I mean about human nature. (Power tends to corrupt etc.) Examination of really ancient sources like the Code of Hammurabi or the Bible shows that human nature is something that hasn't changed since we learned how to record things, which is a pretty long time, long enough for even the Chinese to accept that we can have a fair idea of what human nature is like.

Lola said...

B. Yes. Where does the buck stop? I own a business. I take all the risks. This month I have decided not to pay myself so I can invest in new servers without borrowing any money. Will every other 'worker' be prepared (or able) to do that if a company is a collective? No. Of course not. For a start you wouldn't get the decision, and it's a 'decision' that you need. Every time. Oh it's OK on a Kibbutz but then they aren't proper 'businesses'.

(BTW - I'll bloody well pay myself double next month :-) )

paulc156 said...

L. You missed the point old fella. They paid the slave owners a bloody fortune but allowed slavery to continue on the plantations where it was still the convenient way of doing things. Last line on your post more like a Times cryptic crossword clue... and I haven't. Last line but one, just cobblers ;)

B. I prefer 'labour'. It's more real, less of an abstraction.
Interpreting ancient texts in order to define human nature is a bit like interpreting ancient texts to decide anything. It can confirm almost any bias you had before reading the text. They're magical like that.

Re ownership and control etc. You are more of an economic conservative than I. 'This is the way things work...' They don't have to. Mondragon already is an example of how collective ownership can work well. Direct democracy may not be ideal but that's not necessary anyway. Boards can be elected to run the business and elections could occur at regular intervals. Most workers know who is best placed to run the business and who is just there because his uncle was the boss or he went to the right school etc. Also some businesses do seem to flourish on a less formally hierarchical basis, though probably not most.
I agree with the comment about the class system and 'them and us' Britain, up to a point. you could say that sealed Britain's fate after the war. No way were the boss class going to sit by and watch newly confident men return from the war,[that is those from the 'poorer' classes]and assert themselves in industry/the shop floor. Conflict was inevitable, something similar happened in the US too though and they had no entrenched class system, so that alone can't really explain the trends we've seen in working relationships and power structures since the war.A long story...

Lola said...

P156. OK. Go and put your 'model' into pratoce then.

Bayard said...

"Interpreting ancient texts in order to define human nature is a bit like interpreting ancient texts to decide anything. It can confirm almost any bias you had before reading the text. They're magical like that."

There are a lot of ancient texts that don't need interpreting. Agreed, you can read anything you like into Revelations, say, but the Ten Commandments just need translation.

"Also some businesses do seem to flourish on a less formally hierarchical basis, though probably not most."

I think it depends whether they are larger or smaller than Dunbar's number: With large organisations, even if you do everything democratically, i.e. put everything to a vote, you still have the problem of majorities overruling minorities. Doing everything by consensus, whilst ideal, would tend to be impossibly time-consuming.

On the financial side, the ideal is for everyone to be in it together, but, as Lola points out above, the prospect of a job where some weeks or months there will be no pay is not a very attractive one for most people who have a mortgage and other expenses to pay. Essentially, most employees have made the classic trade of a little freedom for a little security. To return to your discussion with Lola, this was where the freed slaves found themselves in the US. They no longer belonged to their former masters, but, at the same time, their former masters were no longer bound to feed them or offer them work, a problem recognised at the time: I recall seeing a copy of a contemporary cartoon showing a starving ex-slave trying to catch, presumably to eat, a butterfly, with the caption, "Freedom".

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC and L, the resolution to all of the issues raised re worker control can be neatly solved for smaller businesses by running them as partnerships and inviting those who
a) are willing to risk some of their own money (wages)
b) get a say in decision making and
c) get a share of the "profits"
up to partners (tax law legislates against this).

For larger businesses, the analogous model is something I refer to as "deposit funded corporations". In other words, instead of share capital DFC's are funded by deposits. This is the same as the difference between a bank plc and a building society. With a building society, you don't need to pay a large premium if you want to invest in it, you just deposit money. And when you place a deposit, your money goes into the actual business. When you buy shares, the money goes into the ex-shareholder's pockets.

Allowing employees to buy shares in their employer does not solve this. A large part of the value of those shares is the value of the workforce, so using Bayard's analogy, this is like asking slaves to pay for their own freedom.

Bayard said...

Mark, yes, the LLP model does appear to work better (what about it is illegal under tax law, BTW), but one point P156c was making which is a fair one is that some employees "the bosses" have control and others "the workers" don't and neither have any ownership of the company, which, for "the bosses" means they have the benefit of control without running any of the risks of ownership. Obviously, in Lola's case, he is boss and owner rolled into one, but the MD of a large corporation might own no shares at all. Nor need he particularly worry if he runs the business into the ground - he rides off into the sunset with his golden parachute and the next day walks into an equally well-paid job, in most cases.

A lot of management gurus have identified the need for risk-takers to be gambling with at least some of their own money, otherwise, as Milton Friedman pointed out ( ), who gives a shit?

Lola said...

MW. Yes, LLP is a good way of adjusting the risk sharing/reward gaining conundrum. Sorting out the right 'remuneration package' for and employee is just about the most difficult thing to do.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, tax law doesn't actually legislate against it, it sort of discourages it in a subtle way that to be honest is perhaps not relevant to this topic.