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afleitch
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« Reply #125 on: August 26, 2011, 10:46:03 am »
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That, I'm afraid, is the logic of the conspiracy theorist. The estimates were reached at by standard scientific means and were universally accepted at the time. It is quite possible that the figures were an overestimate (especially as many of the 'reserves' were extremely deep) and they certainly don't count as 'reserves' now, but that's not really the point. Coal was not running out in the 1980s; the industry was shut down for other reasons.

Basically yes; and if 1980's assessments are not proof enough, recent assessments of the West Fife coalfield (where open cast mining still takes place despite the flooding of Longannet) for example suggest that there significantlymore coal that they had assumed even 10-15 years ago.

Coal 'rests' while it waits for technology to catch up (clean coal and carbon capture) to make it economically viable in the UK once again.

Worth pointing out that had '1984' not happened, coal would have been a casualty of the turn of the decade 'environment' boom at any rate (and closures probably met with more public sympathy), however the rate of decline would have been far less severe.
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« Reply #126 on: August 26, 2011, 11:23:13 am »
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The British coal industry might have been relatively efficient by European standards (I don't know about that)... but that's not exactly helping much, is it? Seeing as that was a fairly low standard compared to places where you could pay workers sh!t and/or mines were newer and needed less manpower... outside of Europe.
Of course, the union demanded that mines not be closed for any reasons except for safety reasons or when coal ran out... which wasn't happening anytime soon, of course. Ie, not for being insufficiently profitable. And that's not exactly an economically viable proposition, is it?
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« Reply #127 on: August 26, 2011, 02:09:20 pm »
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My God, but there's a lot of Fail in this thread. Not had a chance to read through the rest of the recent developments 'till now. Lord.

It's an Opebo thread on economics - it's to be expected, is it not?
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« Reply #128 on: August 26, 2011, 03:14:02 pm »
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Is Lief actually pro-Soviet or did he just post that article in response to Politico's query? I thought the later.

I really wonder if this Politico guy came out of a 1991 time warp. The ironic thing is that the Cold War arguably helped capitalism be extra careful and avoid a major depression because if one had happened, it could have been exploited by the communists. Once that spectre was gone, capitalism went crazy.

Lief is on record as pro-dictatorship in general and also in favour of killing innocent civilians if they're on the wrong side. If one thinks Cuba and Venezuela are awesome it seems like the step to the Soviet Union would hardly be that big.

I was merely noting the bizarre claim that the good movies produced in the Soviet Union could not have been made in the West. I wasn't implying I know Lief is pro-Soviet, just that I don't feel safe making my original post without letting him post first. I suspect he might prove me wrong and argue that Russians, like Chinese, aren't cut out for democracy, freedom of enterprise and other such oppressive mechanisms of the capitalist society.

You're very good at reading things into my posts that I never said. Not in favor of killing innocent civilians, nor am I "pro-dictatorship in general." In fact I don't know that I've come out in favor of any dictatorships? Unless you think Chavez is a dictator, which is false. I don't know that I've ever said that Venezuela or Cuba are awesome either, just better than their right-wing detractors make them out to be. Obviously I'd love those countries to have Sweden's political economy, but we can't all be lucky enough to live in one of the best countries on earth, can we?

Regarding your second paragraph, my point was that in the communist film "market", because it was not focused on profits and ticket sales (and in fact the film authorities didn't care at all if films were successful), film-makers could focus more on the art of the films. They didn't have to water down their works for mass consumption or to gain the funding of profit-focused producers, as they were funded by the government instead of ticket sales and merchandising. And indeed Eastern European film has suffered since the fall of communism:

Quote
With the end of the Cold War, almost overnight, films from Eastern Europe have lost their special aura of dissidence and found themselves struggling on a par with other foreign-language productions for the meagre attention of Western distributors. The global standards of film as entertainment, set by Hollywood, have not been very helpful either. Pace, special effects and glamour seem to relegate artistic quality, psychological depths and moral contemplations -- the stuff Central and Eastern European films are traditionally concerned with -- to the museum of film history...

Eastern European cinema was the first industry to suffer a tremendous economic blow immediately after the fall of Communism. The powers-to be reached an amazingly swift consensus with most of the filmmakers that the state-subsidised centralised structure of Eastern European cinema should be dismantled and reorganised into many small, entrepreneurial, market-oriented film companies. The result is more than distressing: thus the national production of fiction films in Bulgaria fell from 21 in 1989 to 4 in 1994, in Hungary from 21 to 6 in 1993, in Slovakia from 10 to 3 in 1993, in the Czech Republic from 22 to 6 in 1993, etc. While the film production in Poland and Romania, and last year in the Czech Republic, has returned to its pre-1989 figures(2) thanks to the financial support, provided by the national television, the theatrical network in these countries shares the same sorrowful fate as in the others: in Poland the number of cinema theatres has fallen from 1792 for 1989 to below 500 in 1994; in Romania from 612 to 300; in the Czech Republic from 1326 to 850; in Slovakia from 774 to 300; and in Bulgaria from 3069 to 148 and in Hungary from 3069 to 114.(3)

With the inflation rate and constantly rising costs of labour and services, a local film could never turn a profit under these circumstances even if it plays for several months around the clock before packed houses. The progressively less affordable tickets (in Bulgaria, for example, a film ticket costs twice as much as a ticket for live theatre performance) challenge even this wild assumption. At the same time, the number of imported films, especially American, has jumped between 8 to 10 times (without taking into consideration films on video).

This massive and unchecked influx of American films after 1989, held for so long beyond the ideological pale, has been quoted as one of the major reasons for the current crisis. The simultaneous withdrawal of state subsidies and lack of private investment, are cited as another. There is however a third reason for this crisis, dating back to the times of Communist censorship. Eastern European filmmakers, being preoccupied with the game of hide-and-seek with the Communist authorities, have forgotten or chosen to ignore the so-called "mass viewer" and the popular film genres. And now they are paying a dear price for this negligence.

Now obviously this doesn't excuse the Holodomor or gulags or anything. But the idea that innovation is only possible in capitalism is wrong, and the idea that creative production can only happen when there is the incentive of a great financial reward is wrong. And indeed sometimes free market capitalism stands in the way of both of these things.

And lastly I've never said that any people aren't cut out for democracy and actually find that view pretty repellent and racist, and remember arguing against it during the Egyptian and Libyan protests earlier in the year. You should take Joe's advice and stop reading the most terrible possible things into my posts. Being so outraged about nothing constantly must be exhausting.

Also this is all very off-topic (I think, I don't really know what this thread is about), so I apologize.
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« Reply #129 on: August 27, 2011, 12:02:29 am »
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That, I'm afraid, is the logic of the conspiracy theorist. The estimates were reached at by standard scientific means and were universally accepted at the time. It is quite possible that the figures were an overestimate (especially as many of the 'reserves' were extremely deep) and they certainly don't count as 'reserves' now, but that's not really the point. Coal was not running out in the 1980s; the industry was shut down for other reasons.

The figures were clearly an overestimate otherwise people would be exploiting the opportunity to get that coal out right now as we speak. Or perhaps you are right. In that case, I strongly suggest getting a group  of investors together, convincing them that you are right, and then exploiting the opportunity yourself.

Quote
In the first place it must be pointed out that while demand for coal has been rising of late generally, domestic demand for coal in Britain is still a small fraction of what it was before the 'dash for gas'. There are relatively few coal fired power stations in Britain these days (nothing compared to what there used to be) and other industries use coal less than was once the case.

So what? In the age of globalization, any coal taken out of the ground can be exported. If the coal is really there and it is cost-effective to get it out, somebody will eventually do so unless government intervention stands in the way. It says quite a bit that this has yet to happen on a large scale.

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Yes, but I don't think you are listening. It was one of the most efficient and productive coal industries in Europe but, of course, it wasn't really profitable overall. Because that wasn't the point.

What was the point? Indefinitely subsidize an industry, and therefore a public union, that should have never existed to begin with? Continue to subsidize the industry so the nation could be indefinitely held hostage by them? The subsidization created the environment where it was necessary to get out coal to keep electricity running.

Look: I have a great deal of respect for miners. It is an incredibly dangerous occupation and safety should always come first IMHO. I fully support union rights for miners in the private sector who decide to collectively bargain. With that said, I am vehemently opposed to the idea of a public union (along with subsidizing something such as coal). The key functions of a union are to protect its members and ensure that they receive a fair stake in the profits of the organization. What does a public worker need to be protected from? To serve the public and yet be protected from it at the same time? Does that not seem like quite the paradox? And what profits are created in the public sector? Absolutely none (Take away the illusions incurred by accounting/labeling, and all public expenditures are eventually paid for by taxation on the private sector and/or inflation).

This is getting dull (I wrote a previous post that was much more detailed, but timed out when I hit post). Obviously you have extensive knowledge of mining in Britain. However, we have gotten completely away from the original point. Getting back to my original point many, many posts ago, do you really want a return to the madness of subsidizing industries that should not be subsidized, allowing public unions to basically run the political machine of your entire country, and creating a situation where the subsidization of one industry ensures the whole infrastructure of the economy is dependent upon it? That is precisely what a return to socialism will do, among other things.
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« Reply #130 on: August 27, 2011, 12:03:41 am »
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That, I'm afraid, is the logic of the conspiracy theorist. The estimates were reached at by standard scientific means and were universally accepted at the time. It is quite possible that the figures were an overestimate (especially as many of the 'reserves' were extremely deep) and they certainly don't count as 'reserves' now, but that's not really the point. Coal was not running out in the 1980s; the industry was shut down for other reasons.

Basically yes; and if 1980's assessments are not proof enough, recent assessments of the West Fife coalfield (where open cast mining still takes place despite the flooding of Longannet) for example suggest that there significantlymore coal that they had assumed even 10-15 years ago.

Coal 'rests' while it waits for technology to catch up (clean coal and carbon capture) to make it economically viable in the UK once again.

This is another possibility. What is your source, by the way?
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« Reply #131 on: August 27, 2011, 12:11:39 am »
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Regarding your second paragraph, my point was that in the communist film "market", because it was not focused on profits and ticket sales (and in fact the film authorities didn't care at all if films were successful), film-makers could focus more on the art of the films. They didn't have to water down their works for mass consumption or to gain the funding of profit-focused producers, as they were funded by the government instead of ticket sales and merchandising.

So we should tax productive people in the private sector to force the funding of the creation of products that the vast majority of the aforementioned productive people, by definition, are not interested in paying for freely?

Some may say there is a word for that: Theft.

What is your problem with people getting what they want? Why do you want to force upon people the funding of undesired products?

Quote
Now obviously this doesn't excuse the Holodomor or gulags or anything. But the idea that innovation is only possible in capitalism is wrong,

The idea was never that innovation is only possible in a free enterprise nation. The idea is this: Any benefits that come out of a socialist, or communist apparatus, have costs associated with them that usually outweigh the benefits enjoyed (and by quite a large margin). In the case of the Soviet Union, clearly the art that came out of Russia during that time period was not worth the cost of 25-62 million murders, not to mention the other ills, in order to ensure the growth and continuation of the nation and therefore creation of the aforementioned art. And even with these excessive costs, the level of innovation in a socialist nation still pales in comparison to the innovations found in free enterprise nations (e.g., compare innovations in Britain before socialism with innovations in Britain during socialism).
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« Reply #132 on: August 27, 2011, 12:16:08 am »
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By the way, all of the name calling in this thread is the result of cognitive dissonance. You know who you are, and you are excused for being human.
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« Reply #133 on: August 27, 2011, 04:05:21 am »
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You're very good at reading things into my posts that I never said. Not in favor of killing innocent civilians, nor am I "pro-dictatorship in general." In fact I don't know that I've come out in favor of any dictatorships? Unless you think Chavez is a dictator, which is false. I don't know that I've ever said that Venezuela or Cuba are awesome either, just better than their right-wing detractors make them out to be. Obviously I'd love those countries to have Sweden's political economy, but we can't all be lucky enough to live in one of the best countries on earth, can we?

Regarding your second paragraph, my point was that in the communist film "market", because it was not focused on profits and ticket sales (and in fact the film authorities didn't care at all if films were successful), film-makers could focus more on the art of the films. They didn't have to water down their works for mass consumption or to gain the funding of profit-focused producers, as they were funded by the government instead of ticket sales and merchandising. And indeed Eastern European film has suffered since the fall of communism:

Quote
With the end of the Cold War, almost overnight, films from Eastern Europe have lost their special aura of dissidence and found themselves struggling on a par with other foreign-language productions for the meagre attention of Western distributors. The global standards of film as entertainment, set by Hollywood, have not been very helpful either. Pace, special effects and glamour seem to relegate artistic quality, psychological depths and moral contemplations -- the stuff Central and Eastern European films are traditionally concerned with -- to the museum of film history...

Eastern European cinema was the first industry to suffer a tremendous economic blow immediately after the fall of Communism. The powers-to be reached an amazingly swift consensus with most of the filmmakers that the state-subsidised centralised structure of Eastern European cinema should be dismantled and reorganised into many small, entrepreneurial, market-oriented film companies. The result is more than distressing: thus the national production of fiction films in Bulgaria fell from 21 in 1989 to 4 in 1994, in Hungary from 21 to 6 in 1993, in Slovakia from 10 to 3 in 1993, in the Czech Republic from 22 to 6 in 1993, etc. While the film production in Poland and Romania, and last year in the Czech Republic, has returned to its pre-1989 figures(2) thanks to the financial support, provided by the national television, the theatrical network in these countries shares the same sorrowful fate as in the others: in Poland the number of cinema theatres has fallen from 1792 for 1989 to below 500 in 1994; in Romania from 612 to 300; in the Czech Republic from 1326 to 850; in Slovakia from 774 to 300; and in Bulgaria from 3069 to 148 and in Hungary from 3069 to 114.(3)

With the inflation rate and constantly rising costs of labour and services, a local film could never turn a profit under these circumstances even if it plays for several months around the clock before packed houses. The progressively less affordable tickets (in Bulgaria, for example, a film ticket costs twice as much as a ticket for live theatre performance) challenge even this wild assumption. At the same time, the number of imported films, especially American, has jumped between 8 to 10 times (without taking into consideration films on video).

This massive and unchecked influx of American films after 1989, held for so long beyond the ideological pale, has been quoted as one of the major reasons for the current crisis. The simultaneous withdrawal of state subsidies and lack of private investment, are cited as another. There is however a third reason for this crisis, dating back to the times of Communist censorship. Eastern European filmmakers, being preoccupied with the game of hide-and-seek with the Communist authorities, have forgotten or chosen to ignore the so-called "mass viewer" and the popular film genres. And now they are paying a dear price for this negligence.

Now obviously this doesn't excuse the Holodomor or gulags or anything. But the idea that innovation is only possible in capitalism is wrong, and the idea that creative production can only happen when there is the incentive of a great financial reward is wrong. And indeed sometimes free market capitalism stands in the way of both of these things.

And lastly I've never said that any people aren't cut out for democracy and actually find that view pretty repellent and racist, and remember arguing against it during the Egyptian and Libyan protests earlier in the year. You should take Joe's advice and stop reading the most terrible possible things into my posts. Being so outraged about nothing constantly must be exhausting.

Also this is all very off-topic (I think, I don't really know what this thread is about), so I apologize.

Well, it seems like I finally managed to provoke you out of that hip pose and into a more dull mainstream position. I've obviously been hoping all along that you wouldn't seriously think those things.

1. If you haven't actually voiced support for Cuba, I apologize. Sometimes I go on memory and sometimes my memory fails. I'll trust you on that one.

2. My national pride is soaring. I think you might be overestimating the socialistness of Sweden though - I'd say we're a lot closer to the US as a society than we are to Cuba or Venezuela. On Freedom Heritage's index of economic freedom we're 22nd (71.9 score), the US is 9th (77.Cool and Venezuela is 175th (37.6). In fact, one of my main beefs with leftists like you is that you conflate the success of regulated and partly redistributive market economy in Northern Europe with the oppressive, failed systems of countries like the Soviet Union or Venezuela.

3. I'm not familiar with the source of your claim regading Eastern European film. I'd make a number of points here.

Firstly, while it's true that the Soviet Union produced a number of great films (directors like Tarkovsky or Eisenstein) Eastern Europe filmmaking is hardly dead today. The Romanian new wave is one example (as I recall, that Romanian film on abortion won Cannes a couple of years ago) and Russian films like The Return or Burnt by the Sun have been great successes after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Secondly, while it's true that commercialization often hurts quality (we all know Michael Bay, sadly enough) Western Society undoubtedly produce loads and loads of high-quality movies! Keep in mind that the Soviet Union had the same population (roughly) as the US. Tarkovsky may be one of the greatest directors of all time, but still? Has not the US during the Cold War era produced Coppola, Scoresese, Kubrick (sort of), etc, etc?

Thirdly, while one can argue that freedom from commercial pressure might be good for quality, surely freedom for censorship must be even more important? It's hardly a coincidence that some of the greatest Eastern European directors (Forman, Polanski) moved away from the East and to the US (Forman as I understand largely for political reasons in wake of the Prague Spring).

I honestly think there is a bit of a myth concerning the Soviet strength when it comes to culture and I think that myth is largely based on the fact that they simply were not as far behind the West in that field as they were in fields like the economy or technological advance. Regardless, it always struck me as odd that any left-winger would find it more important to produce high-class films for the intellectual elite than to actually feed the poor - Western capitalism obviously achieved the left's prime concerns of justice and eradication of poverty much better than the Soviets did.

As regards the final paragraph there, great to hear. You certainly gave a different impression when it came to China. I'm glad you find that view as repellent and racist as I do. I don't remember any advice from Joe on this subject so I can't really adhere to it unless you link me.

I'm about as often accused of being too literalistic (like when I challenged you on your support for killing Jews) as I am of reading things into peoples' posts (Opebo hilariously accuses me of both all the time). Of course, "reading things into posts" is what we all do all the time. Stark never said "I'm racist" yet people called him that all the time. It's common place for people to interpret Carl's opposition to illegal immigration as "hating browns" even though he has never said anything directly indicating such a position. I do my best to make reasonable deductions about peoples' opinions. Sometimes I exaggerate a little bit to see where they actually stand, but in most cases I think people just become uncomfortable with the implications of their own words rather than me making up those implications.

PS: I'm never outraged. I find debating quite amusing, especially when the opponent is taking an absurd position. I don't take politics in general very seriously, but I do think there is a bit of a moral obligation to stand up for democracy and human rights, at least when it costs nothing to do so, like on the internet. But maybe you should bring that point up with people who viciously hate the Republicans or the Democrats. Or who thinks Obama or Sarah Palin are fascists who should be shot. That's outrage that I think is quite unhealthy. I reserve that level of emotion for actual fascists who actually shoot people (say the Chinese or Soviet dictatorships).
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« Reply #134 on: August 27, 2011, 04:24:24 am »
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My God, but there's a lot of Fail in this thread. Not had a chance to read through the rest of the recent developments 'till now. Lord.

It's an Opebo thread on economics - it's to be expected, is it not?

You find it a 'failure' to suggest that some other amount of working hours per week than 40 might be preferrable as a political choice or policy?  My goodness but you are a bit dogmatic!
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« Reply #135 on: August 27, 2011, 06:55:54 am »
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The figures were clearly an overestimate otherwise people would be exploiting the opportunity to get that coal out right now as we speak. Or perhaps you are right. In that case, I strongly suggest getting a group  of investors together, convincing them that you are right, and then exploiting the opportunity yourself.

I'm not sure if any of that has anything to do with the potential health of the coal industry in 1984.

Quote
So what? In the age of globalization, any coal taken out of the ground can be exported. If the coal is really there and it is cost-effective to get it out, somebody will eventually do so unless government intervention stands in the way. It says quite a bit that this has yet to happen on a large scale.

There are laws and other procedures in Britain that make mines relatively safe (though not, disgracefully, as relatively safe as they used to be under nationalisation). There is also the reality that workers in Britain expect to be paid more than a pittance, especially for skilled and dangerous work. These things make coal mined in Britain rather more expensive than coal mined in certain other places.

Most of the additional issues have been mentioned by me in other posts in this thread, and I don't see the point in repeating myself that often.

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What was the point? Indefinitely subsidize an industry, and therefore a public union, that should have never existed to begin with? Continue to subsidize the industry so the nation could be indefinitely held hostage by them? The subsidization created the environment where it was necessary to get out coal to keep electricity running.

Absurd and untrue. The British economy was dependent on coal long before the Attlee government nationalised the pits (which it did as a practical response to the failures of private ownership as much as for ideological and - hey it's the Labour Party - emotional reasons) as any fool knows. For most of the subsequent decades the only alternative in terms of electricity generation (especially given longstanding British preferences for energy independence) to British coal was nuclear power, and that was always controversial for obvious reasons.

The national miners union, by the way, was formed in the 1880s (as the MFGB), although it was remodeled along slightly less decentralised lines (as the NUM) in 1945.

Quote
Look: I have a great deal of respect for miners. It is an incredibly dangerous occupation and safety should always come first IMHO. I fully support union rights for miners in the private sector who decide to collectively bargain. With that said, I am vehemently opposed to the idea of a public union (along with subsidizing something such as coal). The key functions of a union are to protect its members and ensure that they receive a fair stake in the profits of the organization. What does a public worker need to be protected from? To serve the public and yet be protected from it at the same time? Does that not seem like quite the paradox? And what profits are created in the public sector? Absolutely none (Take away the illusions incurred by accounting/labeling, and all public expenditures are eventually paid for by taxation on the private sector and/or inflation).

Managers, darling. They need to be protected from managers and management, not 'the public'. They have managers in the public sector just as much as in the private sector. In any case you should never find yourself asking 'why do miners need a union' because even in the public sector the fairly obvious needs for union representation in that particular occupation don't go away.

Quote
This is getting dull (I wrote a previous post that was much more detailed, but timed out when I hit post). Obviously you have extensive knowledge of mining in Britain. However, we have gotten completely away from the original point.




Quote
Getting back to my original point many, many posts ago, do you really want a return to the madness of subsidizing industries that should not be subsidized, allowing public unions to basically run the political machine of your entire country, and creating a situation where the subsidization of one industry ensures the whole infrastructure of the economy is dependent upon it? That is precisely what a return to socialism will do, among other things.

lol
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« Reply #136 on: August 27, 2011, 07:54:48 am »
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Managers, darling. They need to be protected from managers and management, not 'the public'. They have managers in the public sector just as much as in the private sector.

Ultimately, both salaried and non-salaried public employees work for the taxpayers since their services are paid for by the taxpayers. If management in the public sector is exploiting public workers, there are channels (i.e., the media) to bring this to the attention of the public so that necessary changes in management can be made through the proper political channels. In other words, there is no need for public unions on the grounds of "protection from management." Do you care to take another stab at defending the indefensible, though? This is fun!

If you think I am off my rocker, well, I am in the same company as FDR on the issue:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/02/18/the-first-blow-against-public-employees/fdr-warned-us-about-public-sector-unions

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In any case you should never find yourself asking 'why do miners need a union' because even in the public sector the fairly obvious needs for union representation in that particular occupation don't go away.

I would never ask, "why do miners need a union?" because I have already voiced my support for miners who wish to organize. But, again, I do not feel like mining is something taxpayers should be paying for.
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« Reply #137 on: August 27, 2011, 10:21:14 am »
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Ultimately, both salaried and non-salaried public employees work for the taxpayers since their services are paid for by the taxpayers. If management in the public sector is exploiting public workers, there are channels (i.e., the media) to bring this to the attention of the public so that necessary changes in management can be made through the proper political channels. In other words, there is no need for public unions on the grounds of "protection from management." Do you care to take another stab at defending the indefensible, though? This is fun!

You really are remarkably naive, me duck. But I get the impression that trying to enlighten you on this point would be a fruitless endeavour, so I don't think I'll bother.

Quote
If you think I am off my rocker, well, I am in the same company as FDR on the issue

FDR had laughably patrician views on a wide range of subjects, so, you know. So what?

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I would never ask, "why do miners need a union?" because I have already voiced my support for miners who wish to organize. But, again, I do not feel like mining is something taxpayers should be paying for.

So you acknowledge that they were actually mining rather than randomly digging tunnels for no good reason?

Excellent.

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« Reply #138 on: August 29, 2011, 02:21:38 pm »
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You really are remarkably naive, me duck. But I get the impression that trying to enlighten you on this point would be a fruitless endeavour, so I don't think I'll bother.

What is your next line of argument in defense of public unions? That they need a greater stake in the profits they help create? Oh wait - they are paid by taxpayers and do not create any profits, so there goes that argument.

If somebody employed in the public sector does not like the way they are paid or treated, they should go find a job in the private sector, perhaps even by joining a union in the private sector that actually has a justifiable reason for existing.

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So you acknowledge that they were actually mining rather than randomly digging tunnels for no good reason?

Other than the 10,000 or so miners who are still employed in mining, the vast majority of the 200,000 or so miners who were employed by the state should not have been employed by the state to do what they were doing, so I stand my statement of it being a pointless activity when you consider that did not create growth for the economy as a whole. It was just a bottomless money pit that taxpayers were forced to pay for, for far too long.
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« Reply #139 on: August 29, 2011, 06:26:23 pm »
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As I thought, no point even bothering.

Other than the 10,000 or so miners who are still employed in mining, the vast majority of the 200,000 or so miners who were employed by the state should not have been employed by the state to do what they were doing

Where do you get these figures from, exactly? Saying that only about 5% of miners in the early 1980s were actually employed in the mining industry is quite a claim, and not one that I've ever seen before. I am reasonably sure that everyone employed as a miner worked in the mining industry. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps they were all actually employed in call centres or spent their time in dole queues, just like their children would have to and still do.

Moreover, everyone employed by the NCB was employed by the state because the NCB was (of course) a nationalised concern. There were a couple of tiny private mines usually a long way from the main coalfields, but they employed hardly anyone. So the distinction that you make is not, in fact, any kind of distinction whatsoever.

I would strongly recommend that you drop this particular line of argument because you are beginning to embarrass yourself now.

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so I stand my statement of it being a pointless activity when you consider that did not create growth for the economy as a whole. It was just a bottomless money pit that taxpayers were forced to pay for, for far too long.

Once again, the point of the coal industry at that time was to produce fuel to be used by other sectors of the economy (especially electricity generation) rather than to produce a profit (even if doing so was, from the 1960s anyway, considered as something worth considering by the NCB). At the time there were no serious alternatives to the use of British coal in the power industry because energy independence was then the major plank of British energy policy (and had been for decades) which ruled out the heavy use of imported fuels, while cheap gas from the North Sea had yet to come fully on board (so to speak). Nuclear power, meanwhile, was always politically controversial and also lacked the enthusiastic support from the civil service that it had in (for example) France. So, as you can see, the coal industry was one of the most important parts of the economy, even if it tended to be less than entirely profitable because keeping the lights on and the factories operating is probably fairly important in a vaguely modern economy. The fact that the strike was lost in part because the government had been stockpiling coal for months tells its own story, don't you think?

Things are different now, of course. But that's not really relevant.
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« Reply #140 on: August 30, 2011, 05:48:33 am »
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You win. Now can we get back to the original point of the thread? I feel like we have destroyed this thread.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 05:51:26 am by Politico »Logged

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« Reply #141 on: August 30, 2011, 12:11:50 pm »
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You win. Now can we get back to the original point of the thread? I feel like we have destroyed this thread.

Or perhaps the thread destroyed you.  Get back to work!
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