2 Aug 2012

Swan Is On The Money

By Ben Eltham
The Treasurer argued that Australia is becoming a less equal place threatened by vested interests. And he was quite right to do so, writes Ben Eltham
Forget Bruce Springsteen. Forget Treasurer Wayne Swan's bizarre excursion into pop musicology. Forget Swan's mediocre interview with Leigh Sales last night (it shouldn't be hard). Forget the predictable backlash from the business lobby and the mining billionaires themselves.

Instead, focus on the actual content of Wayne Swan's John Button Lecture yesterday: inequality and the role of vested interests in Australia's increasingly rickety democracy. Is Australia becoming a less equal place? Are powerful business interests slanting public policy towards the interests of the few and against the many? Is it true to say, as Swan does in his speech, that "the rising influence of vested interests is threatening Australia's egalitarian social contract"?

The answers are yes, and yes.

When it comes to inequality, the data is patchy and often difficult to analyse. But the government is in the fortunate position of having the top academic researcher in the field of income inequality sitting on its back-benches: former ANU economics professor Andrew Leigh.

Leigh has crunched the data on income inequality in Australia all the way back to the early 20th century. He finds a pattern familiar to those that have looked at the issue in countries such as the United States. Australia around the turn of the last century was a very unequal place: home to penurious shearers, as well as millionaire plutocrats. Leigh reckons that "in the 1910s and 1920s, the richest 1 per cent of Australians had 12 per cent of national income."

By 1980, this figure was down to 5 per cent. In common with other English-speaking democracies, the period between the Great Depression and the onset of economic troubles of the mid-1970s was a "great compression", in which income inequality narrowed. One reason for this was that the period after the second world war was a great time for nearly everyone in society, except the super-rich, who found their share of Australian wealth reducing. Leigh cites William Rubenstein's book The All-Time Australian 200 Rich List, in which Rubenstein remarks that "the post-war period seemed to constitute, as it were, an age of affluence for everyone except the very affluent".

But after 1980 or so, inequality started to widen again, especially between those at the bottom and the very top. Much of the research on this phenomenon has been done in the US, where it is sometimes called the "great divergence". But much the same trend occurred in Australia, just from a lower base. As Leigh explains "From 1980 to the late-2000s, the top 1 per cent share rose from about 5 to 10 per cent in Australia, but from 10 to 20 per cent in the US. So on this measure, Australia is twice as unequal as it was in 1980 — but the US is twice as unequal again."

What was causing this divergence? By and large, it did seem to be a trend of the rich getting richer. Leigh calculates that the top 1 per cent captured 13 per cent of total household income gains since 1980. The top 0.1 per cent have seen their share of income triple in this time. It's a widespread phenomenon not confined to top business executives: Leigh points out that many top bureaucrats and public servants such as departmental secretaries, heads of government agencies and High Court judges are also earning more than the roughly $200,000 a year it takes to make into the top 1 per cent, while Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens recently smashed the $1 million figure for his annual salary.

And why are the incomes of the elites of our society ballooning? There are a range of reasons, some of which are complex and difficult to understand, but some of which are pretty simple and straightforward. Leigh gives three main reasons.

Firstly, it does seem as though the globalisation and liberalisation of our economy has had a big impact. As world trade has expanded and market barriers have been pulled down, the wages that CEOs and top managers can earn in a global marketplace for talent have exploded. Some economists call this "superstar economics", referring to the outsized value that a few top superstars in a given profession can capture — be it professional football or management of big companies.

Secondly, union membership and bargaining power has declined. This has been especially true in the US, where, as the brutal battle over union rights in the state of Wisconsin shows, unions are now empty husks compared to their post-war muscle. But in Australia, union membership has also declined, from around half the workforce in the 1940s to less than one fifth today. Basic micro-economics tells us that industries and firms where bosses have lots of power and workers have little power tend to be the same ones where wages can be held low. Sociological data from the US seems to back that theory up empirically: in the US, declining union membership has been claimed to account for perhaps one third of the increase in inequality for male wage earners.

Macro-economic data also tells us that across the economy, more value is being captured by profits and less by wages. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, wages accounted for 53 per cent of our economy's total income in 2009-10, down from 62 per cent in the mid-70s. In contrast, profits have risen steadily as a share of total income, from around 17 per cent in the mid-70s to 28 per cent in 2009-10. In other words, more of our society's wealth is being captured by bosses, in other words, and less by workers.

The final factor is easy to understand. We're taxing the rich less. Tax rates on the wealthy have fallen significantly in Australia. The top tax bracket was 69 per cent in 1970. Today it is 45 per cent. This means that the wealthiest in our society were paying more than one and half times more tax at the statutory rate a generation ago. Of course, its worse than that, because the very wealthy have vastly more tax perks, write-offs and accounting tricks with which to legally minimise their tax, such as negative gearing, self-managed superannuation, family trusts, and all the rest. And that's for taxpayers who stick to the letter of the law. The past 30 years has seen an explosion in sophisticated financial transactions involving tax havens globally, allowing the super-rich to park their billions well beyond the reach of domestic tax authorities.

In summary, Swan is right to say that inequality in Australia is increasing, and that this threatens to unbalance our economy and society.

But what about Swan's second point? Does it follow that the political interventions of billionaires such as Palmer, Hancock and Forrest are skewing our political debate? Are these three trying to "manipulate our democracy and our national conversation to gain an even bigger slice of the pie"?

This one is easy. Of course they are.

Let's look at some recent actions by each. All three oppose the Minerals Resource Rent Tax, which will levy an increased tax on the super-profits of big mining concerns. The tax itself is a fairly obvious example of redistribution: it seeks to take money off companies making profits from a non-renewable resource, and redistribute to the Commonwealth to help pay for public services such as retirement benefits and infrastructure spending. Forrest and Hancock donated substantial sums to fund an advertising campaign against the original Resource Super Profits Tax proposal. Forrest is funding a High Court challenge against the current MRRT, passed by parliament. Clive Palmer has donated millions of dollars to the Liberal-National Party in Queensland, includiung $600,000 last year. The LNP, of course, also opposes the tax.

More broadly, all three oppose higher income taxes and support deregulatory industrial relations policies that would crimp union bargaining power in ways that would increase their ability to make profits. Support for these ideas are not unexpected given their wealth and position. But, if carried out, they are likely to result in more inequality.

It's not surprising. And it's not surprising that a Labor Treasurer is saying this. Business interests have a lot of money. They tend to argue for policies that will increase profits and reduce union power. They use their money to spread their ideas. You don't need a love of Bruce Springsteen to understand that.

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Fractelle
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 15:38

Terrific article.

Ironic that Peter Garrett was the one who wrote" "The rich get richer and the poor get the picture."

We do. Get the picture. And nothing else.

peggylor
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 16:24

peebee
Firstly, Bruce Springsteen is a multimilionaire and receives government handouts and tax dodges for his agricultural properties.
Secondly, many of the wealthy people made it from very little to begin with.
If their companies are doing so well why aren't more people investing in them and becoming a bit more wealthy themselves instead of whining about people who do.

And thirdly, the reason union memberships are decreasing is that workers are waking up to the rorts of union top brass who are living it up on member's hard earned fees.
E.g. one example that is being gagged in the media but going viral around the internet.
Where is Bruce Morton Wilson ???
http://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2012/06/24/julia-gillards-corrupt-pa...

Cadwallon1969
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 17:00

Our political system has become increasingly skewed in favour of the mega-rich. We've somehow swallowed the "American Dream" thing - by putting any checks, balances or even taxing these people we're somehow impacting our own potential as plutocrats? Labor has been almost as guilty of the "top of town syndrome" as the Conservatives in getting into bed with friendly millionaires - witness Lyndsay Fox and Alan Bond, to name a couple.

Reinhardt, Forrest and Palmer have massively disproportionate influence in contemporary Australian politics. I can't think of another time when the plutocrats have been so actively hostile to the government of the day, nor so directly involved in bringing around changes to government. The more power they have, the more power they give themselves - just like the US where through the Republicans, they vote themselves more tax breaks while ensuring that their companies monopolise government contracts (Cheney - Halliburton anyone?). Another plutocrat, Murdoch in the UK could bring down governments - but he wouldn't do it here? Why not?

The decline of the only potential competing elite/power grouping in the unions couldn't have come at a worse time. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but the Oz 'bosses' learnt many of their organised labor handling/undermining tactics from their colleagues in the US. Control the means of production, control the media, control the government. Invent/import a Culture War, undermine alternative viewpoints, glorify the mediocre and vilify the intelligentsia.

The history of western democracy has been a direct result of the careful balance between elite groups - organised labor and organised capital. If that begins to breakdown, as in contemporary Australian politics, then look out. It can lead away from the nice moderate politics that Australia has enjoyed for over a century, to the more extremist politics of other places. Each action has an equal and opposite reaction - so it can be with politics.

Cadwallon1969
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 17:02

Gosh Peggylor, what's a troll like you doing on a site like this?

Cadwallon1969
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 17:13

Peggylor, I checked out that link. Thankyou for that. Never before have I seen a more compelling argument for mandatory mental health checks. The paranoia is chilling. One person on the blog even reported Australia to the Singaporeans for corruption? LOL!

This user is a New Matilda supporter. David_H
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 17:49

Is this a signal from Labor that after years, even decades of neglect, the idea of wealth redistribution is back? Or is it smoke and mirrors where they talk about one thing and do something else?

While it's great to get hard data that supports the notion we as a state are moving to a less egalitarian position, there are plenty of indicators of the same in everyday experience. Particularly obvious is the reborn celebratory status for individual wealth. Big houses, flash cars, kids in private schools, holiday houses in the best places, accountants looking after the tax rorts - it's all ok now and if you aren't part of the lucky few either learn how to suck it up or kiss the bosses arse and it might pass you a few pennies.

We might all have a vote but so what? It's no impediment to the rich getting richer at the expense of everyone else.

Wilhelmus
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 22:22

Since when has Wayne Swann ever talked sense, Ben? He claims, that Bruce Springsteen is the hero of the working-class people, but I think, that if someone possesses 200 million dollars including a number of mansions, that he should not classify as a "worker" anymore, since he is surrounded by all kinds of luxury. Swann could not run a fish-and-chips shop, as he has squandered all the 23 billion dollars, which Howard left him and has now racked up 231 billion dollars in government's debt! So, please Ben, don't say, that he is right. Labor's jealousy for the people, who provide all the jobs in our economy is just pathetic and socialists love to squander money earned by hard-working tax-payers, because they wish to be seen as "Robin Hoods". We have too many bureaucrats already and Labor just keeps increasing the numbers all the time. They are a huge waste of tax-payers' money.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 22:30

Andrew Leigh is deliberately misleading in the way he presents his data -- it serves his emotional need to hit out at those who have made a lot more money than him, but it does a disservice to the truth.

Take tax. It is true the rate of income tax on the upper bracket has been cut, but it is not true that the tax take from that bracket has fallen, as you would expect -- paradoxically, it has <i>risen</i>.

There are a range of reasons why this is so, most of them about incentives, but it should be noted that the result of cutting taxes for the wealthy has been a larger tax take for governments to spend, as both Labor and the Coalition do, primarily on the poor.

And it has left more of what the wealthy earn in their own hands to spend as <i>they </i>tend to do: on investing in businesses which employ more people at higher wage rates (which pay taxes for governments to spend on the poor).

Britain ran the experiment the other way in 1970s with a top tax rate of 95% -- remember the Beatles song Taxman, "one for you 19 for me, I'm the taxman" -- and the taxman's actual take from that top bracket fell and fell, as Britain herself slumped into penury. It was a remarkably egalitarian time for Brits, but only diehard socialists would want to go back to living like that again.

Same with Australia. Know anyone who would rather live in egalitarian 1980 than in 2008? I don't. Not even Andrew Leigh.

peggylor
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 23:15

peebee
David H wrote: "Particularly obvious is the reborn celebratory status for individual wealth. Big houses, flash cars, kids in private schools, holiday houses in the best places, accountants looking after the tax rorts -"

You mean like Bruce Springsteen ?

look up Springsteen on the net he is a multi-millionaire who receives government subsidies and tax dodges for a farm he owns. He is named in the Coburn report along with other multi millionaires who do the same thing. E.g Bon Jovi, Ted Turner and other very wealthy people.
See:
http://www.businessinsider.com/coburn-report-on-subsidies-for-the-reach-...

The great thing about Australia is that anyone can become wealthy or at least comfortably well off if they put their mind and effort into it.
E.g. Lindsay Fox left school at age 16 and started work as a truck driver. He is now one of Australia's richest persons.
Frank Lowy came to Australia in 1952. He worked as a delivery man. Now owns Westfields.
Kerry Stokes first job was installing antennas.

What's stopping you ?

fightmumma
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 23:54

These arguments are really of no true value are they? Does anyone really believe that the obscenely wealthy in our country are very concerned with the quality of life, generalised well being and fairness for everyday people? I don't.

They want more and more money. It is simply a very handy tactic to be able to claim some super human importance and role in our nation as the job provider and wealth provider for this nation. Anytime these people want something or want rules broken or changed for them, they blackmail the entire population with their "well it will lose jobs, I'll shift offshore" etc etc etc. This is negotiation, playing with democracy, with people's lives and manipulating the people we elect to represent our interests, needs, and organise our society for the society.

It is pure power for pure wealth and control. It is just convenient to prove some social worth or purpose by playing their immortal trump card of employment.

Adam Smith sold free market ideology as "greatest good for greatest number"...so how do we now determine this greatest good? WHO counts? Of course the wealthier you are the more you count? Or does the greatest good just become "the greatest good for me"?

Do you want our entire society organised and dominated by these people? Really? I don't. They serve themselves, not our country. It is just convenient that many people have a symbiotic relationship with them...including any politicians receiving funding from them...

Black Pepper
Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 - 01:55

Just how "poor" are our poor? Most of them have a flat screen telly, they receive free (or nearly free) health services, most have got a car, accommodation is pretty good, government subsidies for electricity and a myriad of services are available etc etc.

Crikey, when I was a kid we saved dripping and ate it on toast for breakfast. Stale bread was soaked in milk and chucked down with a bit of sugar for desert. These days the "poor" throw these foods in the bin and buy fish & chips, KFC, supermarket frozen meals etc. We had to place sheets of newspaper between the blankets to stay warm in the winter. And you know what - we were healthy, happy, and didn't consider ourselves as being deprived.

To carry on about a widening divergence between the "haves" and "have-nots" is basically rubbish. The "have-nots" have never been better off! But that, of course, is in a monetary sense.

If other measures such as physical fitness, psychological health etc are taken into account then perhaps the "have-nots" are going backwards. But making the rich poorer, or the poor richer, to reduce the monetary gap, won't help these measures. The curse of lofty humanitarian socialism is that it engenders dependence, inactivity, and depression.

alanb
Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 - 07:00

nothing will be done about it

fightmumma
Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 - 08:25

Black Pepper being humanistic is not a goal to condemn and criticise. It is about self determination, human rights, freedom and reaching one's potential...something that is much more challenging if you are unemployed or in a job where the wage isn't livable. There are many measures of poverty and inequality, you have simply picked out a few shallow ones that suit your own argument and have failed to delve deeper into the situation...I wonder why!!? No experience or training in this area? Privileged yourself? No compassion or empathy? Whatever.

Generally the comparison between how one can live in their society and how the majority of people live in that same society is the useful measure of inequality and disadvantge because we can get an idea of how far behind the worst group is.

One's individual choices are part of the equation but so are social structures. The more humanistic the social structures, the more likely the population is to be in a better position to make healthy, positive choices rather than get sucked into the poverty, centrelink cycle. The issue is that our social structures and instititutions are not empowering our poorer groups to live independent productive and satisfying lives. These structures favour and serve wealthier sectors of the community and cut-out the poorer, making it increasingly more difficult for these people to access the same rights and equality of OUTCOMES as the wealthier group. This is why Aust needs to become a society with more just structures, supports and policies.

But don't worry Black Pepper - this won't happen, we'll become like USA with their even greater divide andslums and injustices - then the poorer classes will be so destitute that finally someone like you might grow a compassionate bone in their body and walk a mile in someone else's shoes...

O. Puhleez
Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 - 09:09

To summarise:

1. "...the wages that CEOs and top managers can earn [sic] in a global marketplace for talent have exploded..."

2. "...union membership and bargaining power has declined..."

3. "... more value is being captured by profits and less by wages..."

You left out the main one, Ben. Like the European aristocrats before them, the corporate sharks have got themselves into a position where they decide what percentage of the cake will constitute their share. Their incomes are independent of the profitablity of the companies they run. They just help themselves, because those who decide what they shall be paid are also members of the same club.

Also like the aristocrats, their spending is on far more than essentials. Conspicuous consumption and keeping up with the Packers costs a bit, but again as with the aristocrats of old, dispensing patronage and the purchasing of power becomes the name of the game. Witness Gina Rinehart's jugular move at the SMH. (A stable of 50 limousines is just so last year, don't you think?)

Their back-room bids for power are the main threat to democracy.

calyptorhynchus
Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 - 11:51

Peggylor "many of the wealthy people made it from very little to begin with." In fact, very few of the wealthy began with nothing, most people stay in the income bracket they were born in.

Aussiegrieg, no one uses personal income to employ people in businesses. The fact that people think this is the case is a symptom of the master salve mentality that is moving back into society. The rich employ people in businesses out of their personal income in the way they employ servants in their houses.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 08:52

aussiegreg

And it has left more of what the wealthy earn in their own hands to spend as they tend to do: on investing in businesses which employ more people at higher wage rates (which pay taxes for governments to spend on the poor).

You mean big minning, which employs less people then bunnings.

Every system known to man has a structure.

The sex Industry has a structure.
The whores do all the work and get 40%, while the Pimp protects his turf from other Pimps and whores and gets 60%, then the pimp if he does not like the whore, (because of Nationality or religion) sticks a needle in her arm and takes the other 40% aswell.

Your problem aussiegreg is you can't see that every industry has the same structure and your position and wealth depends on how high you are in the Pyramid Structure as money flows up, as it did in the old Amway business model. Then agai you might know and just don't want others to know, that your a Pimp, you might not be in the lowest socio economic structure (Sex Ind.)with in our societies structure but you are in a structure and its probably the share industry structure or Pyramid. The only way you can go higher is if more people come in underneath, they won't if the negativity about the Capitalist mentality continues. The truth finaly caught up with Amway or the 1st attempt of its mentality here, it eventualy colapsed when people figured it out, but it destroyed a lot of Friendships and Families. Capitalist Gred is doing the same, thats our point.

Your just trying to defend for financial reasons and/or greed.

peggylor
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 09:00

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that these greedy people you are knocking may be the CEO's of blue-chip compan
ies you have your superannuation invested with

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 09:09

calyptorhynchus

To further add to your good comments.

The easy money and rip off that was prevelant in early years is no longer there either.

As Harvey Norman said.

There are too many Retailers already for our population mass already, thats why small business, (retailers) want immigration.
A) Competition amongst the working class for jobs and
B) more consumerism to consume our over production or imports.

but as we already know, pay less and they'll consume less, they can't borrow to consume because we are already maxed out with borrowings hence we have lack of confidence and crumbling markets.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 09:13

Iain Hall
is back, advertising his rant page.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 09:20

peggylor.

"It is not beyond the realms of possibility that these greedy people you are knocking may be the CEO’s of blue-chip compan
ies you have your superannuation invested with"

Yes, but the super industry wasn't created to give us a pension, it was created to create jobs for all the people the Banks were tossing out and to lock us into the Capitalist system, mind set, along with all the Mom and Dad investors that the sale of Telstra sucked in.

Yes their was some money to be made by some individuals but it is always at someone elses expense, thats the point.

There is nothing for nothing, you don't create dividents etc from snapping fingers, you lower costs or increase prices.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 09:40

RobH
YES, thats it. Facts to finaly prove that we have a problem.

I said in the past about mental health, look at the scale for it Australia is up there.

And there is a few people here on Matilda who suffer it, but it can be fixed if thwey want to be helped.

So peggylor, go and see a doctor. you obviously came here because Aust is still the land of the big rip-off.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 10:05

Ben Eltham
Great article, keep the info coming my boy.
You are the future of this country, you just got to change the old guard, the boof headed knuckle dragging clots who believe in old Empires and greatness of Individuals and their arse lickers.

Why eles would thwe Aristocracy need religion more then anyone else.

They can only trace themselves back as far as King Arthur, who, Artur.
The loin cloth man, ate like a pig and dragged women around by the ankles.

Before that, nothing recorded via pen or tablets of stone so,
Related to GOD.

The Aristorcracy by the wisdom of lack of knowledge is related to GOD and therefore worthy of wealth and standing.

Greedy grub War Lords, thats all, still are, always will be.

peggylor
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 10:36

Jacka101 "So peggylor, go and see a doctor. you obviously came here because Aust is still the land of the big ripoff" .

What companies are your superannuation invested in ?

peggylor
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 10:43

So what's the solution ? Socialism ? communism ? Or is there a middle way anyone can suggest.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 13:06

peggylor

Go to RobH link and have a look at the countries that do better then us. Not forgeting that Jaqpan lives on a Fault Line and is only a little Island.

Sweden

Germany would probably be a stand out, considering where it had to come from after being bombed into the Dark Ages by that Pathatic Nation the US of Capital A's. because they all actual originated in Europe and only went there to Breed even more of US and KILLED, KILLED and are still KILLING to stay up there.

The US is a Nation that takes on people with that instinct, that desire and once their off spring loose it they no longer want them or care for them. The US would be happy if it could export all its socialist mind sets and take on more capitalist mind sets.

In other words they only want you if you keep the founding fathers, (who hated Democracy) dream alive, WE RULE< WE ARE YOUR MASTERS, PAROAH's one and all, now come and make US rich with your Brains and the money you bring with you, daughters would be nice too..

The US is nothing but a lie, like Marilyn Monroe's life.

calyptorhynchus
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 13:18

"Britain ran the experiment the other way in 1970s with a top tax rate of 95% — remember the Beatles song Taxman, “one for you 19 for me, I’m the taxman” — and the taxman’s actual take from that top bracket fell and fell, as Britain herself slumped into penury. "

Um, a decreased tax take from the higher brackets is what you would expect, if the object is reducing inequality. And I think a few other things were happening to Britain at the time, Yom Kippur &c

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 13:49

@fightmumma

Adam Smith was well aware that businesspeople acted out of self-interest -- he called it the "invisible hand" which maximised the wealth of nations by optimising the goods and services businesses offered. He <i>wanted</i> businesspeople to act out of self-interest, as this meant consumers got the best products and services at the lowest price, with competition in the marketplace meaning he who attracted the most customers was likely to get the highest profits.

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." [<i>Wealth of Nations</i>, Bk1,Ch2]

But he wasn't blind to the downside, famously observing that you never got two or more merchants together in the one place than they would begin some conspiracy against the public. Although I don't think he used the phrase, I think he thought free markets the least of the available evils, or perhaps, as Churchill described liberal democracy, the worst system in the world apart from all the others.

And if it is in their self-interest to move a business, facing bankruptcy here from union thuggery backed by government, overseas where it has a better chance to survive and thrive, what can you expect them to do?

I wish I'd moved mine (and I wish I'd learned to speak Mandarin).

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 14:05

aussiegreg
America awaits your brlliance.
They have a place for people like you, as long as you don't fall of your Perch in which case. Your dead.

You: LOL
"as this meant consumers got the best products and services at the lowest price, with competition in the marketplace"

You sure you are talking about Humans now, this is planet earth, I think you took a wrong turn when you got to the Milky Way.

Your ignoring 12000 or so years of history now and it don't look good.

Like Mills and Boon its a good read, but come on, Smith needed a bloody Job and writing more crap about crap seems to be the way to go.

Do you have any idea how many forrests had to die so that the likes of smith and co can have an income.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 14:09

@calyptorhynchus

<i>Aussiegrieg, no one uses personal income to employ people in businesses.</i> Well, I did, in between composing all those symphonies, which is why I am now broke. And I know plenty of other businessowners who did the same.

But don't let me deter you from retailing your myths -- you have powerful supporters in Swan and Leigh.

As for the myth of the indolent heir, even if it were true (and it clearly isn't true of the three Aussie billionaires you most love to hate), why should a business built from nothing by an ancestor be more open to predation in the name of equity than one built from scratch by the current owner? Perhaps this comes from that lovely line "Behind every great fortune lies a great crime" -- taxation as seizure of the proceeds of crime.

<i>Um, a decreased tax take from the higher brackets is what you would expect, if the object is reducing inequality.</i>

Only if the object is to reduce inequality by making <i>everyone</i> poorer. Increasing the tax rate on the top bracket is usually sold, as it is by Andrew Leigh, as a way of making the rich pay more, or redistributing wealth from the top to the bottom. This ignores the duck-hunting effect: shoot at a duck and it <i>moves</i>.

<i>And I think a few other things were happening to Britain at the time, Yom Kippur &c</i>

The confiscatory tax rate dated from the 1960s -- see under "Beatles" above. And the decline started when Britain indeed had a few other things happening: the whole Carnaby Street Swinging Sixties thing, making their exports of music, fashion etc hugely profitable.

And it got a lot worse when the Yom Kippur oil shock increased the power of the coal unions -- Britain got most of her energy needs from home-dug coal, not from imported oil, but the imports kept a tiny bit of competitive pressure on the nationalised coal industry.

Compare a country like South Korea, completely dependent on imported energy, which adopted free markets at the same time and went from being a desperately poor developing nation to being one of the world's richest and most developed.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 14:11

calyptorhynchus

And you point was that Globilization just allowed them to move the deck chairs. The Aristocrats haven't payed Taxes there in years, America became their home away from home after England lost WW1, got rescued and then jumped back into the fire.

The English Empire is DEAD, Long live America's, NOT.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 14:15

aussiegreg

Why then did America apparently dismental the Rothchild Empire and Microsoft's. What was the Logic.

Forever is Golden?

peggylor
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 15:20

So the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.
No one has any solutions to the problem.
Just punishing people who work hard and are successful is no answer to the problem.

If you are not happy with the present system, how would you change it ?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 15:58

@jackal01

Ironically, Bunnings is owned (and was built up) by a mining company, Wesfarmers, which (as its name suggests) is also an agribusiness. Agriculture employs billions of peasants in poor countries but a lot less than Bunnings in rich countries like Australia, which should tell you something about the relationship between labour and wealth creation.

Wesfarmers bought Coles a few years ago, so the poor have them to thank for the absurdly low price of bread and milk. Some of that competition you don't believe happens on this planet.

Your usual ignorance extends to Amway as well (which is still alive and kicking, BTW). I have a friend who has run a moderately successful Amway business for decades -- he's an Emerald for those who understand the pin levels -- so I actually know a bit about it (fancy that!). The two Americans who started Amway (and would be at the top of the pyramid if it were actually a pyramid scheme) make less from their business than hundreds of distributors who joined up later (a couple of them here in Australia). The two founders are only Double Diamonds, with Triple Diamonds, Crowns, and Crown Ambassadors above them in the pin levels (although not necessarily earning more, it's a bit more complicated than that).

Real business is like that too. It's true many businesspeople struggle to make a bare living, and even go back to being wage slaves, but many others see all that sacrifice, risk, 100-hour weeks and sheer hard work bear fruit. For some the path from struggle to mind-blowing success can happen in just a few years, like Google or Facebook, sweeping past established businesses thought to be invincible behemoths with much the same idea, like Yahoo and MySpace.

For others it may take many experiences of going broke over decades -- Henry Ford was made bankrupt five times before he started the Ford Motor Company.

<i>There is nothing for nothing, you don’t create dividents etc from snapping fingers, you lower costs or increase prices.</i>

Or you do what I did, bring new products to market, bring established products to new markets, find new ways of processing, packaging and distributing those products. Remember those agribusinesses? What are they doing that the peasants aren't, so that their farms can be many times more productive?

Of course consumers have to want your products and services at the prices you are charging. That is why all this talk of government being able to do a better job of organising the economy than the market is so wrong-headed. The only way any government-run business covers its costs is if legislation guarantees it a monopoly, so consumers have no choice but to buy the second-rate products they are offering at above-market prices.

I have my doubts about New Matilda's business model, but I support it financially. I note that you don't. Why is that?

And as for you talking about mental illness, something about pots and kettles comes to mind.

Black Pepper
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 16:58

Aussie, Don't worry about it mate. Remember the bell curve - there will always be someone on the extreme left of centre - but usually they can spell a bit better!

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 19:42

aussiegreg
Beautiful, thats the best comments I've heard out of you by far and I'm not going to argue with you on the points you have made you know your stuff, which is good. But 12000 years of history can't be wrong

You:
I have my doubts about New Matilda’s business model, but I support it financially. I note that you don’t. Why is that?

Me:
Now I wonder how you would know that?
Revelations, I like! I'm working on it!

aussiegreg is a notable advisary, his obviously been there and done it, had a go. That I can admire and respect. His motives for doing so are his and his alone, it does realy take all sorts to make up the world. The world would be a poorer place without him.
I'm impressed. Good.

You Black Pepper are still a dark horse, time will tell. In the mean time take yourself out back of the shed and give yourself an upper cut.

You got a long way to go before you get to aussiegreg's position in my book.

Amway, there was the old and now the new business model. I stand by my assertions that It was little more then a Pyramid game.
However I like to hear more from you on it and why you might think it wasn't.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 19:46

aussiegreg

"Wesfarmers bought Coles a few years ago, so the poor have them to thank for the absurdly low price of bread and milk. Some of that competition you don’t believe happens on this planet."

There are those that might like to disagree with you, if the Farm price at the gates is being screwed down. Like I said its reduce cost or price if you want to maintain profits and dividents.

jackal01
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 20:25

peggylor

You:
Just punishing people who work hard and are successful is no answer to the problem.

No one is suggesting that we become a communist nation or that we cut one well to do person of at the knees and give his legs to 5 billion poor.

My own point has always been that the working classes cause their own demise because they breed too much and needlessly, yet it is you the Retailer who wants more of them to consume more of what you try to sell.
Any Farmer will tell you that you can't overstock the paddock, look at all the starving cows they had and probably still do in India.

You need rich and poor, just as you need Love and Hate, its called choice. Jing and Jang.

My problem with greed is the European Aristocracy and they are and always were European. England despite what some brain dead Poms think is part of Europe, always was since George the 1st.

Now I wonder why people like you always seem to think that when ever someone is talking about greedy rich boofs you think that we are talking about you. Alan Bond had a hell of a lot more then you and he wasn't good enough to buy Lord Snowdens Beer Empire.

The rest of Australia put in to save a lot of Business people during and after the Queensland Floods, why do you think that everybody hates you and wants to get rid of you.

All we want is for some of you to be more honest and less selfish, is that too much to ask. The GFC didn't just fall out of the sky, the greatest minds apparently didn't see it coming as well as the 50 others that came before. They happened every 10 years with the business cycle or the consumer confidence cycle.

You are nothing without us, we consume what you sell, no person is an Island. Why is it that some of you people are so far up your own backsides that you can't see the wood for the trees.
I am as critical of the working classes because there are none so dumb as a milking cows and breeding cows and thats all most are. They wonder aimlessly through life only worried about getting their rocks off or landing an income in the form of a set of arms and legs, who will only go on to become tomorrows terrorists, rioters.

Go to
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/richard_wilkinson.html

And stop whinging because not everybody wants to kiss the ground you walk on. We can't all be Plumbers or Carpenters just as we can't all be rich. The world does not have enough resources for us all to rip off, just to be rich and all the Continents have already been invaded by the Europeans, how do you think we got here, to Australia. Do you think we came here for the Sunshine and good health, a sea change.

Go to the above and see where we sit as far as mental health goes, we are not doing too good, why.

fightmumma
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 22:04

Black Pepper - "Four legs good, two legs bad"...baaa baaa, and that's a whole other bell curve where the stupid mass just follow mindlessly like the sheep that they are...don't you know that diversity of ideas and views is part of our democratic rights and obligations to create the best society that we can...and your distaste for variety of opinions is just of the dictatorial attitude. We have a right and duty to voice concerns about inequality and challenge the status quo and neoliberal ideology. I would suggest that just because people are concerned about their democratic rights, to have a say in their own societies etc - is not a negative, in fact people who brush off the warning signs of a dictatorial system of governing without government which World Bank, IMF and international corporations are now able to do, are the ones whose logic should be questioned. Einstein was a socialist BTW...smart man he was wasn't he? Smarter than you no doubt, especially as your only argument seems to be of the lowest form via personally attacking via putdowns, another's point of view...

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 23:46

@jackal01

Amway is certainly not a pyramid scheme by the standards of the regulatory authorities in all the counries where it operates, because they have all investigated the Amway system and have all said it is not a pyramid scheme.

One reason is the point I've already made, that in Amway it is possible to make more money than any other Amway business owner, up to and including the original two. In a pyramid scheme you can never make more than the person above you, let alone the person at the very top.

In a pyramid scheme it doesn't matter if the products end up in the hands of consumers, and the cost of getting into the scheme is not refundable. In Amway no-one is certain of any income until the products are not only consumed by customers but have been ordered again by those customers -- until then, any wholesale products can be returned for a refund, and the customer can claim a refund too under the satisfaction guarantee.

In most pyramid schemes, those who do make money do so by recruiting others and training those others to recruit, not by retailing products or training others to retail products. They make headhunter fees and overrides on the fees earned by those below them in the pyramid, not profits on retail sales and bonuses based on the sales of downline distributors as in the Amway business.

But I'm sure both Wayne Swan and Andrew Leigh would still call Amway a pyramid scheme, because they know that plays well with the billionaire-hating masses they hope will vote for them next year.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 23:58

@jackal01

The evidence is that until now there has been little or no downward pressure on the farmgate price for milk, although processor margins have come under some pressure. Coles is selling at a loss in order to win market share, and more importantly in order to change its image as the more expensive of the big two retailers. Woolworths has been forced to match it. Neither chain seems yet to be doing much to repair its margins on milk (cut costs or raise prices, as you say), but sooner or later shareholders, the owners of the businesses, will indeed be asking menacing questions about profits (and thus dividends). Some of them may even be superannuation funds!

jackal01
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 05:46

aussiegreg

As you said:
Coles is selling at a loss in order to win market share, and more importantly in order to change its image as the more expensive of the big two retailers.

Me:
It is not to lower prices because their feeling compassion for the consumer, it is merely a business strategy, like lowering costs or increasing Prices or value adding or moving to imports or what ever.

The rhyme and reason is always modify cost or price or process to increase profits, net profits.

You say:
But I’m sure both Wayne Swan and Andrew Leigh would still call Amway a pyramid scheme, because they know that plays well with the billionaire-hating masses they hope will vote for them next year.

My say:
1st why would anyone want to be a Billionaire, how much is enough.
Isn't it just a wank, like Singo doing 240 kmh down the freeway in his Rolls Royce, isn't it like driving a Roller or having a Bimbo with a big arse hanging of your elbow submissively or even being a Pedophile.

Isn't it the motivation, the mind set, the need that people dislike rather then the person.

Nobody minds someone fulfilling his dreams, living in a nice house with a nice wife and nice kids, with a nice car in the garage or double garage if that floats your boat.

But why Billions, why does anyone need to pay himself 30 million dollars a year, while screwing the workers who are the very consumers who buy all his junk anyhow.

I can understand the modern hunter gather mentality, where you use Business skills, a computer, machines and ideas to hunt Boardrooms and outwit the opposition. Why do you need to screw the very consumers?workers that provide your income to become a Billionaire and do what, with it. I couldn't spend a million in a life time, so why does some crap head with a bad hair cut like Donald Trump need billions and Ivana. The man is a shithead and a rooster and its the money and toys that do the crowing.

You are not even in the same league as that twit and never will be because he won't allow it, so why do you compare yourself to him by defending his ilk and his mind set.

What is it, deny him so you deny yourself. What the hell are you going to do with the bimbo when your wealth gets her for you.
3.5 to 10 minutes of grunting like a pig and its over Rod Stewart had one of the most beautiful women in the world and he preferred to play with his train set instead of stoking her fire or even just paying attention to her, so what was the point of being the great millionaire Rod Stewart. The Train set only cost about 3 grand tops.

One stud millionaire musician had to hang himself of the door knob just to get it up and he owned Paul Yates. Now there was a body to die for, yet he chose a door knob and a cheap bit of rope to float his boat. I would rather hang of one of her nipples, but, for what.

A decent woman only needs love, respect, understanding and a good mate through life she can trust and the man shouldn't be much different, it would be nice if the wife gets a bit nasty in bed once in a while maybe but not essential and can be worked out with trust.

Don't need Billions for that.

So your point to

"billionaire-hating masses" should we kiss their asses, maybe give them our wives to play with,impregnate hoping we get master race children too.

You certainly understand the principal to business, its your motives for wanting it as a vessel to reach, what, lofty heights, get a bimbo.

You can find them in any pump and only cost a scooner, if she's a tank maybe 3, if it takes more then that find another bimbo.

Life is simple really and can be fun, you just have to know yourself and others. I used to be a Cabby, don't tell me about Humans, believe me we are garbage and some of the biggest garbage wears suits.

So our point to all this is, find another planet, we need one, soon.
In the mean time leave it in your undies, cheaper.

Kings Cross is worth millions for a reason, its where milking cows go to get milked, haven't got enough brains for anything else.

The female equivalent is the beauty industry, more pleasure no unforeseen consequences.

If people want to be stupid thats OK, just don't expect me to rubber stamp it and admire you/them because they need to fill a gap/need in their lives. Its much like Religious nutters, i can accept that some people are like that just don't expect me to kiss your ass or worship the ground you walk on just because you got shit for fantacies.

Simple, pick your own poison, don't expect me to eat it too or pay for it.

jackal01
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 05:46

aussiegreg

As you said:
Coles is selling at a loss in order to win market share, and more importantly in order to change its image as the more expensive of the big two retailers.

Me:
It is not to lower prices because their feeling compassion for the consumer, it is merely a business strategy, like lowering costs or increasing Prices or value adding or moving to imports or what ever.

The rhyme and reason is always modify cost or price or process to increase profits, net profits.

You say:
But I’m sure both Wayne Swan and Andrew Leigh would still call Amway a pyramid scheme, because they know that plays well with the billionaire-hating masses they hope will vote for them next year.

My say:
1st why would anyone want to be a Billionaire, how much is enough.
Isn't it just a wank, like Singo doing 240 kmh down the freeway in his Rolls Royce, isn't it like driving a Roller or having a Bimbo with a big arse hanging of your elbow submissively or even being a Pedophile.

Isn't it the motivation, the mind set, the need that people dislike rather then the person.

Nobody minds someone fulfilling his dreams, living in a nice house with a nice wife and nice kids, with a nice car in the garage or double garage if that floats your boat.

But why Billions, why does anyone need to pay himself 30 million dollars a year, while screwing the workers who are the very consumers who buy all his junk anyhow.

I can understand the modern hunter gather mentality, where you use Business skills, a computer, machines and ideas to hunt Boardrooms and outwit the opposition. Why do you need to screw the very consumers?workers that provide your income to become a Billionaire and do what, with it. I couldn't spend a million in a life time, so why does some crap head with a bad hair cut like Donald Trump need billions and Ivana. The man is a shithead and a rooster and its the money and toys that do the crowing.

You are not even in the same league as that twit and never will be because he won't allow it, so why do you compare yourself to him by defending his ilk and his mind set.

What is it, deny him so you deny yourself. What the hell are you going to do with the bimbo when your wealth gets her for you.
3.5 to 10 minutes of grunting like a pig and its over Rod Stewart had one of the most beautiful women in the world and he preferred to play with his train set instead of stoking her fire or even just paying attention to her, so what was the point of being the great millionaire Rod Stewart. The Train set only cost about 3 grand tops.

One stud millionaire musician had to hang himself of the door knob just to get it up and he owned Paul Yates. Now there was a body to die for, yet he chose a door knob and a cheap bit of rope to float his boat. I would rather hang of one of her nipples, but, for what.

A decent woman only needs love, respect, understanding and a good mate through life she can trust and the man shouldn't be much different, it would be nice if the wife gets a bit nasty in bed once in a while maybe but not essential and can be worked out with trust.

Don't need Billions for that.

So your point to

"billionaire-hating masses" should we kiss their asses, maybe give them our wives to play with,impregnate hoping we get master race children too.

You certainly understand the principal to business, its your motives for wanting it as a vessel to reach, what, lofty heights, get a bimbo.

You can find them in any pump and only cost a scooner, if she's a tank maybe 3, if it takes more then that find another bimbo.

Life is simple really and can be fun, you just have to know yourself and others. I used to be a Cabby, don't tell me about Humans, believe me we are garbage and some of the biggest garbage wears suits.

So our point to all this is, find another planet, we need one, soon.
In the mean time leave it in your undies, cheaper.

Kings Cross is worth millions for a reason, its where milking cows go to get milked, haven't got enough brains for anything else.

The female equivalent is the beauty industry, more pleasure no unforeseen consequences.

If people want to be stupid thats OK, just don't expect me to rubber stamp it and admire you/them because they need to fill a gap/need in their lives. Its much like Religious nutters, i can accept that some people are like that just don't expect me to kiss your ass or worship the ground you walk on just because you got shit for fantacies.

Simple, pick your own poison, don't expect me to eat it too or pay for it.

jackal01
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 06:09

sorry, double post.
Its an ego thing, I get double the value and just cost me two clicks on the mouse, Technoligy uou got to love it.

well I didn't kill a tree.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 13:02

Ah, so we favour economic policies that impoverish us all because it reduces the number the number of billionaires who we hate because they are all shitheads? It's actually an anti-shithead policy. So if we decide that, say, Springsteen fans are all shitheads, then we should confiscate most of their income too?

I share your dislike of the personalities of most billionaires who make the news (although Bill Gates has redeemed himself somewhat in my eyes with his billion-dollar charity work in Africa) but I can't see how that justifies picking on them. And I can see how their drive to build their businesses, for whatever good or bad reason, creates wealth that we all end up sharing. Kill off the billionaire and you kill off a good chunk of economic activity.

fightmumma
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 22:31

Aussiegreg - so if an obscenely wealthy person does some welfare work somewhere, regardless of any poor behaviours about human rights within his own company...he's an ok bloke?

So it's ok for him, in the pursuit of his right to obtain wealth and a competitive, profitable company for himself and his shareholders, to over-work employees, to use "permatemps" who have no permanent workforce protection, to abuse his employees in regard to medical benefits, to sue employees who want to leave his company, to use his technical knowhow to allow the Chinese government to enforce censorship on its population, try to have visa laws changed to suit cheap labour demands...he can do ALL that under than name of "business" and it's ok...

cos he also donates to poor people in Africa?

So he can CHOOSE to mess up people's lives on some continents to make his wealth but if he spends some of his profits FROM THAT ABUSE on the desperately poor on another continent...he's somehow a good bloke?

So if a bloke bashes his wife and treats her like shit, but has a lover that he treats like a queen...is he a good bloke? Not that I'm saying Gates bashes women!

The problem is that he affects others with his decisions, many others, as with leaders of companies and trans/international corporations - they make decisions that affect millions of people without those people having a say in what happens. They undermine, during their pursuit for their own wealth, the very positives that modern, civilised society is SUPPOSED to stand for, that these developing African countries are trying to scramble themselves up to becoming.

We each have an undeniable social responsibility towards others, these very wealthy people treat us all like commodities, not human beings, our lives are dependent upon their decisions, if they don't like people demanding a say in their wealth (which is at a larg groups' expense) tough. The ruling class like the social contracts when they can apply it to unemployed people and remove entitlement from centrelink payments...you must do something for your unlivable welfare benefit...but the same ruling class don't like this same sentiment applied back to them ie that if you get something from others you should give back...unless they can choose for themselves when, where, how and why they do so.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. guywire
Posted Monday, August 6, 2012 - 03:50

Just a couple of points;
Bill Gates has made his bed and he has no choice but to lie in it. Setting up a charity to assuage his guilt may impress a few but like the richest handfull here their obscenely directed wealth identifies their ideologies and seeks to detract from the social contracts and 'Fair Go' egalitarian philosophies that most Australians treasure.
I dont subscribe to the supply/demand/free market ideology (partly because of its innate corruptability), but the logic of "Kill off the billionaire and you kill off a good chunk of economic activity" is a fallacy under those ideals. The billions controlled by the billionaire can be eliminated by withdrawing all that cash and burning it or demolishing the infrastructure of the businesses and even then Insurance might return it, but otherwise the resources the infrastructure and the employment are still existing, whether the billionaire is eliminated or not. The billionaire is merely the transfer facilitator (thief) of community resources.
Sorry about the big words, I can hardly understand them myself.

fightmumma
Posted Monday, August 6, 2012 - 13:40

i glimpsed at an article in heraldsun this morning while working with a client. it was about paying for university. The argument was that university places are not measured for their benefit to the tax payer so therefore we should be paying more privately and higher fees to go to university. (literally sounded like they no longer want higher education to be considered an entitlement!!). The only worth attributed to tertiary education was some vague "benefit to society". More neoliberal ideology to save the tax payer money...but where does that money GO!??

This is the danger when all social activities are only measured in the terms of neoliberal, corporate, economic minded people's values and interests...nothing else matters. Not even the enlightenment and further education of our future generations ... after all the ruling class will be safe with their children's education funded through tax payer money in their "private" schools...how about asking if the general tax payer gets value for money out of all our money that goes into the private education system for the privileged few? But then they don't want an enlightened general citizenship do they - much easier to operate their dictatorship with ignorant, poorly educated sheep!

This will make equality even more difficult to vhange and demonstrates an attempt to manipulate the Australian collective values about education, expectations of what society should offer, beliefs about potential, one's abilities for achieving self determination and self actualisaiton...this is the beginning of an overt attack on our current values and one large social institution...education is the great equaliser...so these neoliberals will attack it of course.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Monday, August 6, 2012 - 15:07

@Examinator

I bow to your greater knowledge of "neuro/ behaviourist psychology" and "capitalist theory", I just know about business, having been there and done that.

If your wonderful theories tell you it doesn't matter to the exploitation of an opportunity who the exploiter is, I am here as living proof that <i>is</i> Bull Shit. The opportunity I exploited had existed for hundreds of years, and thousands of other entrepreneurs had gone broke trying to exploit it, until I came along.

And the opportunities the hated mining billionaires exploited had existed for <i>millenia</i>, and had also sent many others broke before them (almost including, in Gina's case, her own father).

And then there are all the opportunities in ex-Communist countries which the workers couldn't make pay, but along came an oligarch or three . . .

Or here in Oz, where the ACTU under Bob Hawke bought viable businesses Bourkes (department stores) and Solo (service stations) and within two years had run them into the ground.

Equitable exploitation is just code for taking from those who actually create wealth and giving to those who do nothing but consume it.

Without Microsoft, today's computer industry would be a lot smaller, and PCs a lot more expensive, as they were before Bill Gates suckered IBM into that amazing non-exclusive licence deal for MS-DOS (the well-known Murderously Stupid and Dreadful Operating System) and triggered the explosion in IBM-compatible PC makers, each competing to be better and cheaper.

Apple beat them to the PC opportunity but couldn't make a success of it -- in fact Steve Jobs confessed that were it not for Microsoft producing the first decent and affordable software for the Mac, much better than his own, Macintosh would have dragged Apple into bankruptcy.

And there would never have been a Linux without Microsoft, since it was developed on PCs made possible by the dramatic lowering of prices which followed MS-DOS. (And it's a very ordinary OS, BTW -- have you actually tried it?)

Patents are a creation of governments, not markets, they are a socialist instrument not a capitalist one. If the patent system isn't working to your liking, complain to its creator and maintainer, your government. (And BTW, the latest court decisions both in the US and here have gone against the drug companies -- it seems you can't patent genes after all.)

Coles is loss-leading with its own Coles-branded milk, so it is hardly likely to be charging itself for its own shelf space. Trust me, they are losing money on milk, especially when you take into account the loss of income from charging Dairy Farmers etc for that space.

And I have been a supplier to both Coles and Woolies over a lot of years, I know that system, and I also know you can be clever and work that system to your own advantage relative to your competitors. And I also know that having 80% of your business go to just two customers is not without its upside in terms of reduced account servicing costs among other things.

And I know that under your system you end up with communist-country retailers -- you like queuing for hours for inedible bratwurst and days-old bread (and nothing else), do you?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Monday, August 6, 2012 - 15:35

@fightmumma and @guywire

I didn't say Bill Gates' charity work made me <i>like</i> him, I just said it redeemed him somewhat in my eyes.

But let's not diminish the scale of what he is doing, not only donating hundreds of millions to charity but moving with his family to Africa and working with those charities to see they get the best results he can make possible. And if you have seen the latest numbers on eliminating polio etc, it's finally working.

What are <i>you</i> doing?

Yes, @guywire, take away Bill Gates and Microsoft continues to exist. But who will make the critical decisions, who will sit in Bill Gates chair? Your commissar will soon run the business into the red -- there's a lot of truth in the old joke that we should nationalise crime, it's the one way to make sure it won't pay!

And only partly because he and his cronies would soon be living high on the hog, as the real thieves, those imposed on businesses by government, always do, mostly because the business-hating mindset simply doesn't lend itself to the practicalities of production. We had a century-long experiment to test the claims of socialism and guess what? It turned out to be false on every claim.

One of the phenomena that experiment observed is that as soon as the worker-occupied business starts to run at a loss, the whole machinery of socialist government swings into action to prevent the iron laws of economics from operation, so the impoverishment of a once-profitable enterprise is exported to the country as a whole.