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thinfourth2

28,634 posts

84 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
But I don't l I've in that London. I did for a while, but it was a dead loss. FWIW I come from a small village 30 miles out of Newcastle. I now live in Bangkok, but that's by the way. Small Northumbrian village had broadband about 8 years ago. Anyone who goes and sets up a business dependent on a fast Internet connection anywhere more remote than that needs their head read, not a government subsidy.
What a remarkably retarded view

Go find Mr Carter on here

Lives in the highlands and does most of his business with folk in london

Wouldn't be possible without an internet connection

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Colonial said:
Hong Kong, granted. It is better than China. Hardly a ringing endorsement though. Get chlamydiae. It's a less bad STD than AIDS!

I'm intrigued by what you mean in the swiss example.

They have subsidised health care, which is actually very similar to that in Australia.

Education is generally canton based, so equivalent to county or maybe state based.

Public museums exist and are some of the oldest in Europe.

Yep, they have a smallish public service, but swiss post, for example, is a government organisation.

Besides, as Orson Welles said, "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed – but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
Hong Kong isn't just good by comparison with China. It's an immensely wealthy place that allows 7 million people to obtain a very high standard of living. The comparison with China is just easy and direct since it's literally a short walk across a river to go from the leafy northern part of the New Territories into Shenzen, and a very stark example of the difference between a light touch state with property rights and a communist dictatorship with none.

Of course PRC isn't really communist anymore, and there is plenty of money in Shenzen, but the point stands - the history is still visible.

Switzerland, at it's simplest their government spends 32% of GDP, while ours in the UK spends 47%, and Switzerland is accordingly wealthier, and can afford a better postal service, some museums etc.

When the country is so thoroughly intent on the state doing everything there is never enough money.


NB I didn't say Switzerland, Hong Kong or anywhere else are paradise on earth that do everything right. I pointed them out as examples of countries who have a smaller state than the UK, and benefit from it.

Twincam16

27,646 posts

138 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
Colonial said:
Hong Kong, granted. It is better than China. Hardly a ringing endorsement though. Get chlamydiae. It's a less bad STD than AIDS!

I'm intrigued by what you mean in the swiss example.

They have subsidised health care, which is actually very similar to that in Australia.

Education is generally canton based, so equivalent to county or maybe state based.

Public museums exist and are some of the oldest in Europe.

Yep, they have a smallish public service, but swiss post, for example, is a government organisation.

Besides, as Orson Welles said, "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed – but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
Hong Kong isn't just good by comparison with China. It's an immensely wealthy place that allows 7 million people to obtain a very high standard of living. The comparison with China is just easy and direct since it's literally a short walk across a river to go from the leafy northern part of the New Territories into Shenzen, and a very stark example of the difference between a light touch state with property rights and a communist dictatorship with none.

Of course PRC isn't really communist anymore, and there is plenty of money in Shenzen, but the point stands - the history is still visible.

Switzerland, at it's simplest their government spends 32% of GDP, while ours in the UK spends 47%, and Switzerland is accordingly wealthier, and can afford a better postal service, some museums etc.

When the country is so thoroughly intent on the state doing everything there is never enough money.


NB I didn't say Switzerland, Hong Kong or anywhere else are paradise on earth that do everything right. I pointed them out as examples of countries who have a smaller state than the UK, and benefit from it.
Population of Switzerland is 7,907,000
Population of Hong Kong is 7,061,600

Population of the UK is 62,641,000

(all World Bank figures if you want to check)

The more people you have, the more jobs are required, the more heavily earnings are stratified, the more infrastructure is needed. Switzerland and Hong Kong have little to no industry, which suits them fine as their small, relatively wealthy populations can get by with relatively small, low-employing sectors like banking and sci-tech development. With a smaller population, you can spread more money around, educate a greater segment of the population to a much higher standard, and have correspondingly fewer people soaking up state funds.

But the unavoidable fact of the matter is that UK has nearly ten times the population of those 'small states' you see as models for your ideal. If we ran our country the way Switzerland was run (and it could be argued that under Blair, the bank/London-centric model of business was not unlike Switzerland), all you end up with are millions of people unemployed and millions more scraping by trying to make ends meet on working-class salaries in an economy where costs are optimised for an acceptable tax-take from the upper-middle classes.

We can't have an economy like Hong Kong or Switzerland because we have too many people, simple as that. We can do one of two things. Either do what most of PH seems to want, which is to kill, deport, enslave or otherwise impoverish the entire working class on the assumption that they're 'unproductive scroungers', or we look to Germany and accept that mass-employing industry and manufacturing in a select group of specialised sectors (as well as banking, but the banks must lend to business and work on longer-term, less greedy and banker-centred ways) is a more stable long-term economic model for the country.

Look at JLR - we can do it.

DJRC

21,347 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
Colonial said:
AJS- said:
Topic for another thread really (and another poll?) but my idea of a good state is one that provides the framework for people to interact freely, form such institutions as they deem useful and behave as they wish within the bounds of a universally respected sanctity of the individual and his property, and otherwise stay the hell out of the way.
Any examples of how this anarchist ideal is actually workable or feasible?

Seems to me that like most idealists you have a philosophical position but no idea of how to implement it.

A bit like communism really.
It's not a utopian vision - most countries are successful to the extent that they follow these principles, and start to go wrong where they diverge from them, usually in pursuit of some abstract greater good.

But a couple of real world examples, since you asked so nicely:

Hong Kong is massively better for the people who live there than is the PRC next door.
Switzerland works better than it's much larger neighbours.

The defining feature of both is surely that they have small but stable and consistent governments, who uphold property rights.
Considering you started this topic becuse of me telling you to think twice about the DCMS, when you start referencing Switzerland you may wish to take a gander at my profile and then ask me about how Switzerland works. Its State is actually not that small, certainly far more interventionist in many ways than you think it is.

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
thinforth
And he's doing it anyway, so why do we need to be pumping many millions more into this? Surely making sure your business is located somewhere with the infrastructure it needs is part of starting a business?

Twincam
What real difference does the size of the country make? At extremes like Monaco or Brunei I can see it, but neither HK or Switzerland are the hobby horse of some rich monarch or cities of a few hundred people built on an oil well. They're proper full on countries with most of the same challenges as the UK, France or Germany. 1/10th as many mouths to feed and jobs to find, but 1/10th as many tax payers too, 1/10th as many entrepreneurs and 1/10th as many companies. If anything the massive number of foreign workers attracted to both has a bigger impact than it would in a larger country like the UK with a few big cities.

DJRC
As noted earlier, I wasn't holding Switzerland up as the prefect model of a country, but it has a significantly smaller government than the UK in terms of spending as a proportion of GDP, and is significantly more prosperous.
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Twincam16

27,646 posts

138 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
What real difference does the size of the country make? At extremes like Monaco or Brunei I can see it, but neither HK or Switzerland are the hobby horse of some rich monarch or cities of a few hundred people built on an oil well. They're proper full on countries with most of the same challenges as the UK, France or Germany. 1/10th as many mouths to feed and jobs to find, but 1/10th as many tax payers too, 1/10th as many entrepreneurs and 1/10th as many companies. If anything the massive number of foreign workers attracted to both has a bigger impact than it would in a larger country like the UK with a few big cities.
I suspect that as a proportion of their population, they have more net taxpayers, more entrepreneurs and certainly more companies (given the number that register there as opposed to the UK, even if they're doing business in the UK. Google and Amazon spring to mind).

We have a vast working class compared to Switzerland and Hong Kong. We're not talking about 'entrepreneurs' and 'small business owners' here, but people with few qualifications (or useful ones at any rate) who need to work for someone. Hong Kong and Switzerland attract large numbers of foreign workers from the global middle class who really work without borders (DJRC being an example), but they were largely self-sufficient before they got there.

If we tried to run the country like Switzerland, we'd end up with tens of millions of working-class people out of a job with absolutely no way of getting work. Even if they started businesses, when no-one in your local area has any money, how on earth are you supposed to thrive?

The reason why the state is the size it is is because the population is the size it is. As Deej has pointed out, the Swiss state is bigger than you thought and its subsidies are more widespread than you thought. It has almost a tenth of our population. If Switzerland's population was our size, I suspect its state would be not far off our size too.

Also, I get the impression (and no doubt DJRC can confirm this), as far as individuals are concerned Switzerland isn't quite the tax haven most people think it is. The tax take is still relatively high because the state costs money to run. It's only in terms of corporation tax that it looks cheap to register businesses in, and because the businesses don't pay as much tax, the individuals have to pay more.

There's a reason why things like Swiss public transport are so efficient - there's an awful lot of taxpayer's money that's gone into it.

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Both Switzerland and Hong Kong attract lots of foreign workers - not just highly paid professionals but also skilled and casual workers, for the simple reason that there is more work there. Once you get away from the extremes of a tiny city state that can live by the generosity of a rich family or similar I don't really see that the size of the country has much to do with it.

tubbystu

3,837 posts

140 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
Hong Kong isn't just good by comparison with China. It's an immensely wealthy place that allows 7 million people to obtain a very high standard of living. The comparison with China is just easy and direct since it's literally a short walk across a river to go from the leafy northern part of the New Territories into Shenzen, and a very stark example of the difference between a light touch state with property rights and a communist dictatorship with none.

Of course PRC isn't really communist anymore, and there is plenty of money in Shenzen, but the point stands - the history is still visible.
And until 1998 of course HK was run in a subsidised highly provocative manner with minimal state and ultra low business taxation to taunt the Chinese about how good western democratic life and living standards were compared to PRC communist ones. In the same way West Berlin was. The Chinese signed up to retain HK's special independant status as part of the handback protocol and have been happily receiving the tax income from its many international businesses that were convinced to stay after handover by this - against their communist principles, and to the detriment of the rest of general population of PRC.

And HK for the record isn't a country it is a special administrative region. You might as well compare HK and London as they have similiar populations.

Given the similiarities of population size how does Thailand compare with the UK in your esteemed view ?

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Or to think of it another way, if you take two cities like say Nottingham and Zurich, what is the substantial difference that makes Zurich more prosperous? Obviously no direct comparison is valid, but surely you would have to factor in that Nottingham is subject to a far greater tax burden from central government.

There's nothing in the size of the UK that necessitates such a high tax burden - the US being several times the size of the UK is lower, though creeping up and several smaller countries are higher. It's a series of choices about the size and scope of government.

oyster

6,279 posts

128 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
markcoznottz said:
thinfourth2 said:
So you want the BBC shut down but you want me to carry on paying the license fee?

Yeah jog on


the beeb is one of the very few things that I feel is value for money from our glorious leaders
I can't see where I said I want you to carry on paying?. The self sufficient parts can carry on, the archives rented off to sky/virgin , we cannot afford a state broadcaster, sad but true.
Of course we can afford it. Everyone who is paying for a licence fee can afford it.

It costs pennies per day FFS. And it's of amazing quality.
If you doubt that - I recommend living abroad to see what poor television is like.

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Thailand is another world. No real sensible comparison is possible because of the endemic corruption and lack of a democracy as we would know it.

I live here because it's fun rather than any ideological reasons.

Twincam16

27,646 posts

138 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
Or to think of it another way, if you take two cities like say Nottingham and Zurich, what is the substantial difference that makes Zurich more prosperous? Obviously no direct comparison is valid, but surely you would have to factor in that Nottingham is subject to a far greater tax burden from central government.
So yet again you can throw up a 'comparison', which even by your own admission is invalid, and fail to come up with a solution.

It's pointless smashing things down unless you plan to build something else in their place. You've given all manner of invalid comparisons with states that don't really prove your point at all. I've pointed out that, given that our population size and makeup is comparable, we should perhaps be looking to Germany's economic model to improve our country through very high quality manufacture.

You clearly think this is the wrong way to go about things. So please explain which state, comparable in population size, resources and demographic makeup, does things in the way you'd like.

I suspect your political philosophy is fundamentally negative (ie a big list of things you don't want rather than things you do), and as a result has no political party or system of government that could be based on it.

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
There really are no valid comparisons between countries. There is plenty to admire about Germany but is the overall economic picture so much different to our own?

Anything that doesn't involve a prescriptive plan is open to the accusation of being negative. That doesn't it isn't effective.

What specifically would you like to take from Germany and apply in the UK?

DJRC

21,347 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
Both Switzerland and Hong Kong attract lots of foreign workers - not just highly paid professionals but also skilled and casual workers, for the simple reason that there is more work there. Once you get away from the extremes of a tiny city state that can live by the generosity of a rich family or similar I don't really see that the size of the country has much to do with it.
Afraid it does. You can afford to run yourselves differently, limit yourselves and concentrate. Just as a smaller group is always easier to manage than a larger group, so it is with countries. Switzerland for all its direct democracy is very much a control freak country. There is a reason I call it Naziland.
You could not run Britain like Switzerland...the expectations of the country are vastly different. If Britain for example had not put on an outstanding Olympics in terms of "the show" and home performance then there would have been considerable public backlash. In fact I would argue it might have been significant enough to have brought down the govt. if it had been the size of cock up folks were predicting. As it was significant sums were spent from spring to autumn this yr on publics events and it has had a hugely beneficial effect upon the population. Morale is greatly improved. Britain needed that. In Switzerland it wouldnt have been contemplated to start with, nobody would expect to go for anything like it. In Britain large parts of our society expects us to big and win everything. You might not like it and want to scream its not possible, but you have to manage it in reality and balance the needs.

Take health and pensions. I pay a significant sum into my health pot each month, vastly more than the UK and I basically get to ring up a doc if Im ill. Bit more aswell, but the NHS it isnt. I pay double and more into my pensions than I do in the UK, but its taken as a constant that the interest on it will be 3% more or less. Every yr. You could not run the UK pension system like that. Oh in theory you could, but in trying to implement it you would almost certainly rip the pension industry apart.

Switzerland has significant social issues between the rich and the poor and the gap is widening.

You see only the upsides, not the downsides and you do that because you have money. No govt in the UK would survive what the public saw as an assault on the poor and your views on getting rid of everything that costs money affects the poor in society far more than it does those with plenty. The political reality of basically saying "British culture and history is only for those that can afford it" would bring the govt down in 7 days. And that is what you are saying and even if you think it isnt, its how Id put the message out if I were your opposition and Id tear you apart because my argument is far more convincing than yours, whether its accurate or not.

Twincam16

27,646 posts

138 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
What specifically would you like to take from Germany and apply in the UK?
A hell of a lot.

-Local governments capable of making Länder-specific policies.
-Rail network run by one company.
-The school system, which puts hands-on technical skills on a par with academia and science, with technical schools as an equal alternative to grammar schools.
-The title 'Ing.' being on a par with 'Dr.' and used in the same ways.
-Banks that lend to industry, and industrial output (with excellence of product rather than costcutting and outsourcing) being seen as essential to economic growth, not just short-term personal profits for bankers.
-Minimum 5%-of-the-vote rule at elections to keep fringe nutters out of power while not actually banning them outright, leading to coalitions that actually work and a country that's broadly governed by consensus, rather than the adversarial system we have now where policies are opposed not because they're bad, but because 'the other lot' thought them up.
-Derestricted autobahns, properly maintained.
-The Nurburgring (or at least another proper old racetrack that the public are liberally allowed to drive on at high speed rather than speed being seen as an all-encompassing evil that kills babies and trees).
-The cleanliness of their town and city centres, and the civic pride shown by locals that means they don't drop litter.
-Their planning laws, which allow people to express themselves architecturally with interesting, varied, often very affordable self-build/high-quality pre-fabricated housing, rather than the regimented rows of cramped rabbit-hutches, NIMBY-appeasing planning laws and Prince Charles visual timewarp bks we have in this country that keeps housing scarce, expensive, poorly-built and unfit for purpose.
-Immigration rules that allow people to work and contribute to the economy, but don't go handing out full citizenship rights out to all and sundry like toffee.
-Proper lager with the Reinheitsgebot enforced to ensure it tastes good, rather than Carling and whatever other undrinkable ste we call lager that we have here.

I'm sure there are more reasons I can think of, but as someone who visits Germany quite a lot, speaks passable German and generally gets on well with German people, right now I'd far rather we were in Germany's economic situation than ours. They might be being pestered by Greece but they're the only Eurozone economy to post any meaningful growth of late, and I suspect that if they had kept the Mark they'd be in even better shape.

Edited by Twincam16 on Thursday 11th October 13:43

markcoznottz

2,361 posts

104 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
DJRC said:
AJS- said:
Both Switzerland and Hong Kong attract lots of foreign workers - not just highly paid professionals but also skilled and casual workers, for the simple reason that there is more work there. Once you get away from the extremes of a tiny city state that can live by the generosity of a rich family or similar I don't really see that the size of the country has much to do with it.
Afraid it does. You can afford to run yourselves differently, limit yourselves and concentrate. Just as a smaller group is always easier to manage than a larger group, so it is with countries. Switzerland for all its direct democracy is very much a control freak country. There is a reason I call it Naziland.
You could not run Britain like Switzerland...the expectations of the country are vastly different. If Britain for example had not put on an outstanding Olympics in terms of "the show" and home performance then there would have been considerable public backlash. In fact I would argue it might have been significant enough to have brought down the govt. if it had been the size of cock up folks were predicting. As it was significant sums were spent from spring to autumn this yr on publics events and it has had a hugely beneficial effect upon the population. Morale is greatly improved. Britain needed that. In Switzerland it wouldnt have been contemplated to start with, nobody would expect to go for anything like it. In Britain large parts of our society expects us to big and win everything. You might not like it and want to scream its not possible, but you have to manage it in reality and balance the needs.

Take health and pensions. I pay a significant sum into my health pot each month, vastly more than the UK and I basically get to ring up a doc if Im ill. Bit more aswell, but the NHS it isnt. I pay double and more into my pensions than I do in the UK, but its taken as a constant that the interest on it will be 3% more or less. Every yr. You could not run the UK pension system like that. Oh in theory you could, but in trying to implement it you would almost certainly rip the pension industry apart.

Switzerland has significant social issues between the rich and the poor and the gap is widening.

You see only the upsides, not the downsides and you do that because you have money. No govt in the UK would survive what the public saw as an assault on the poor and your views on getting rid of everything that costs money affects the poor in society far more than it does those with plenty. The political reality of basically saying "British culture and history is only for those that can afford it" would bring the govt down in 7 days. And that is what you are saying and even if you think it isnt, its how Id put the message out if I were your opposition and Id tear you apart because my argument is far more convincing than yours, whether its accurate or not.
Are there any chavs in Switzerland?. What about fly tippers, boy racers, travelling metal collectors, etc. There must be some who don't fit in surely?. Who is the underclass?.

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Friday 12th October 2012 quote quote all
Twincam

There's much I agree with there, especially on housing. Local government tax competition is a damn good idea too, and I understand there's a fair amount of that between Lander (?).

But I don't see much of that necessitating a state that spends 50% of GDP. In fact the German government also spends less as a percentage of GDP than our own.

Just because British politicians use free market rhetoric it doesn't actually make it so.

Twincam16

27,646 posts

138 months

[news] 
Friday 12th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
But I don't see much of that necessitating a state that spends 50% of GDP. In fact the German government also spends less as a percentage of GDP than our own.
No, it doesn't spend 50% of its GDP, but it spends a similar amount. Germany merely generates more money, largely through its industry, and therefore has more surplus.

DJRC

21,347 posts

116 months

[news] 
Friday 12th October 2012 quote quote all
markcoznottz said:
DJRC said:
AJS- said:
Both Switzerland and Hong Kong attract lots of foreign workers - not just highly paid professionals but also skilled and casual workers, for the simple reason that there is more work there. Once you get away from the extremes of a tiny city state that can live by the generosity of a rich family or similar I don't really see that the size of the country has much to do with it.
Afraid it does. You can afford to run yourselves differently, limit yourselves and concentrate. Just as a smaller group is always easier to manage than a larger group, so it is with countries. Switzerland for all its direct democracy is very much a control freak country. There is a reason I call it Naziland.
You could not run Britain like Switzerland...the expectations of the country are vastly different. If Britain for example had not put on an outstanding Olympics in terms of "the show" and home performance then there would have been considerable public backlash. In fact I would argue it might have been significant enough to have brought down the govt. if it had been the size of cock up folks were predicting. As it was significant sums were spent from spring to autumn this yr on publics events and it has had a hugely beneficial effect upon the population. Morale is greatly improved. Britain needed that. In Switzerland it wouldnt have been contemplated to start with, nobody would expect to go for anything like it. In Britain large parts of our society expects us to big and win everything. You might not like it and want to scream its not possible, but you have to manage it in reality and balance the needs.

Take health and pensions. I pay a significant sum into my health pot each month, vastly more than the UK and I basically get to ring up a doc if Im ill. Bit more aswell, but the NHS it isnt. I pay double and more into my pensions than I do in the UK, but its taken as a constant that the interest on it will be 3% more or less. Every yr. You could not run the UK pension system like that. Oh in theory you could, but in trying to implement it you would almost certainly rip the pension industry apart.

Switzerland has significant social issues between the rich and the poor and the gap is widening.

You see only the upsides, not the downsides and you do that because you have money. No govt in the UK would survive what the public saw as an assault on the poor and your views on getting rid of everything that costs money affects the poor in society far more than it does those with plenty. The political reality of basically saying "British culture and history is only for those that can afford it" would bring the govt down in 7 days. And that is what you are saying and even if you think it isnt, its how Id put the message out if I were your opposition and Id tear you apart because my argument is far more convincing than yours, whether its accurate or not.
Are there any chavs in Switzerland?. What about fly tippers, boy racers, travelling metal collectors, etc. There must be some who don't fit in surely?. Who is the underclass?.
The flippant answer? Anyone who is an ethnic minority or unskilled immigrant. Its not *that* flippant either!

AJS-

Original Poster:

11,439 posts

116 months

[news] 
Friday 12th October 2012 quote quote all
Everyone can agree that making money is good. The question is how.

Historically governments are pretty bad at making money commercially, companies and individuals are much better. The best thing the government can do in my view is to provide a solid framework of a stable currency, low inflation, low taxes and sensible, transparent law and regulation. The UK government isn't doing that at the moment, and I don't see how it possibly can when it's borrowing 10% of GDP, and spending near enough 50%.

The government seems to be lost in a myriad of things that it would like to do, many of them worthy in principle, but always expensive. We have to cut back the state if we are to provide that framework for people to make money.

My point isn't to get at farmers who want broadband or museums, or anyone else. And it's not about smashing down culture or selling national treasures to McDonalds either. The point is to find the savings from somewhere, so that we can get government back to a more realistic size, because when we have a debt default or a collapse of the currency or are unable to borrow any more money, we probably won't have any choice at all about what to cut or when to cut it.
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