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The Collapse of Global Supply Chains: Profit at every turn meets practical reality

Horizon scanning: What’s Horizon scanning?

So obsessive has the motivation of greed for profit been, that those driving this way of doing business have come up with ever more creative ways to defy the practical realities of business and production.

These have included the development of ‘Just in Time’ methodologies and ‘Lean Manufacturing’, which are heralded as brilliant ways to manage profit driven commercial business. But pay very little heed to world events or what any kind of unforeseen circumstance might have in store.

The response of different governments around the world to the Covid Pandemic, quite literally brought many parts of the global supply chain to a halt.

The massive costs and margins of this ridiculously fragile system had been dependent on every part of it continuing to work endlessly – as it was always expected to do so – with only what we would consider to be the minimum of contingencies having been planned for.

So, when a worldwide virus that inept political leaders completely overreacted to and used fear to make populations think that it was much worse than it actually is became involved, the global supply chain was exposed in a way that was rather like the first of a squillion dominoes that had been set up to knock each other down being flicked.

And so has begun a process of destruction. Beginning slowly with those dominoes falling one by one.

Everything is relative

Whilst we were told that the cost of everything would be lowered by Globalisation and the economies of scale that centralisation of the kind that naturally follows then presents, the reality of building a global economy was that it hasn’t been helpful to the UK or to any of us in any way.

Purchase prices have never really fallen. But the prices of production have. And it was this very small truth hidden within what has been a very big lie, that has created difference in the views of the benefits and disadvantages of globalisation, and what has made the perpetual myth work

The move to globalisation was never based on the reasoning that it was supposed to be. It was and still is only about profit and nothing more.

Nobody has the right to make a profit

Nobody has the right to make a profit. They certainly do not have the right to make a profit by exploiting others, or by forcing them into arrangements that they simply cannot afford.

Yet this is the situation that exists in this Country today, simply because our MPs and Politicians – the people we have trusted to look after us – are not doing and are not up to the job.

Prices are at the highs that they are and are now rising all the time, because it is in the interests of others for them to do so.

The prices that we are being asked to pay, simply do not reflect the real – and much lower costs.

Self-interest is a powerful influence, because those who are driven to do everything that benefits themselves are more than happy to bring others into their plans so that one becomes just a few who benefit from the result.

The True Value of everything we buy or pay for

In the future, prices will reflect what they really cost to produce and get to you, with only an appropriate layer of profit added at the minimum number of stages of the supply chain that are necessary for any essential goods or service provision to reach you.

For instance, you buy a loaf of bread from the baker. The baker buys the flour from the miller. The miller buys the wheat from the farmer. That’s three necessary points in the supply chain that gets you a loaf of bread.

What we don’t then need is a broker buying the wheat from the farmer that he hasn’t even grown yet, and then selling it on to a grain merchant when it has actually been produced, with both of these two stages themselves adding unnecessary work and additional profit for themselves, all adding to the end cost for you.

This example is a very simplified view – and deliberately so.

Try to visualise just how many different interests have and are able to become involved with the process or supply chain providing goods and services, where global and even UK-wide supply chains are at work.

The prices of everything have been massively overinflated without any additional value being added to the end product.

This is one of the key reasons why we will return to supply chains that are as local as it is possible for them to be, and a system where only recognisable players – who are adding value to the end product – are actually involved.

The minimum wage has been a way to keep wages low

This particular way of benchmarking gave employers a moral get-out clause. So, if they could demonstrate that employees were always in receipt of the minimum wage or its equivalent, they simply didn’t feel obliged to worry about anything else.

Salaries have been used to hide the fact that employees were being paid less than the minimum wage when things like the hours actually worked were calculated, making what appeared to be generous levels of pay turn out to be anything but.

By creating more and more laws in an attempt to cover every eventuality, our politicians just give the unscrupulous more and more loopholes to find.

The introduction of Price controls on foods, goods and services may become essential as this cost-of-living crisis develops. We would be fools to rule out rationing becoming necessary too

February 8, 2022 Leave a comment

Yes, it does feel a bit like being the voice of doom and gloom as I write and produce videos about all the things that are going on and talk about what we can realistically expect as being likely to happen next.

The point is, that if someone like me can see what is happening and what is likely to happen next, the people we have elected as MPs have absolutely no excuse not to do so too.

In fact, our public representatives should be well ahead of the curve in both their horizon scanning and thinking than most.

Regrettably, they are not.

To be fair, the complexity of the growing problems and how each and every one of them interacts with the others is mind bogglingly scary to say the least.

Yet it is the culture of ‘let’s always take the easy option’ that exists, top to bottom within the British Political System, that has made the difficulties that are only just starting for us, significantly worse.

There are many people in this Country today who cannot afford to feed themselves, home themselves, clothe themselves, transport themselves or function normally in any way on the wages or income they have, without debt or benefits – or what is really a subsidy from the Government and therefore everyone else in some way.

Prices of the foods, goods and services that provide the basic essentials for life are spiraling out of control. Living at the standard we are experiencing even today, will soon become unaffordable for most.

Yet the complexities I mentioned above, all come back to just one thing: That the economic system we have today has been developed to benefit the self-interests of the few. That those driving it have continued to push prices up in the pursuit of ever-growing profits for as long as our stupid politicians have printed money and kept handing it out. When instead good politicians would have faced up to reality and dealt with the problems for wider society that have been caused by that same greedy few.

The Covid Pandemic has caused stupid politicians and greedy business and financial leaders to overplay their hand.

In fact, the inflationary spiral they have created together is now out of reach of any form of control they possess. Indeed, the only actions our weak-minded politicians have to address the issues are only serving to make the whole problem worse.

Events, or a coming chronology of them – which will have been caused by so many different profit-driven people with influence behaving in the same way, will combine to make basic food unaffordable where it is available. It will be absent from the supermarket and shop shelves where it would otherwise be not.

Food riots, as the system collapses and the old order makes way for a new one that will work for all will settle the mind of many. Especially the politicians that we have for the time that their waning power remains.

Greed, hoarding and any kind of self-driven prioritisation will have to go out of the window.

That will mean supermarket rationing as we experienced during the early Lockdowns. There will be an immediate need for Government to step in and fix prices along the entire food and essential goods supply chain, so that nobody can use this time of crisis to profit off the backs of us all.

Some of the more economically minded will baulk at the idea of any kind of price fixing, price regulation or price controls, because of its non-capitalist and non-market-friendly nature.

But the reality is that the epoch of easy money and making massive profits by exploiting the many to benefit the already bloated few, is now reaching its end.

A new system will emerge that will be fair to all. But it will not resemble anything that we’ve seen or experienced before.

As we walk the pathway to get there, it will be necessary to ensure that what we still have available – which will plenty for all of us without the influence or intervention of ongoing greed – will be made available fairly to all.

Money as we know it is likely to become only one of many different ways to make payment as change takes place. And it is therefore just as likely that rationing of the essentials that are available will also be necessary for everyone.

The times ahead may prove to be painful. But it’s the future which is possible for everyone once the change has been completed that we should look forward to.

The opportunities for a fair and just way of living, where everyone and everything matters are not just a pipe dream. They really exist and are there for us all.

After the pain, we have much happier times in store.

Nobody else will ever compensate the loss of a good or viable business in circumstances out of the owner’s control. A Government that champions itself as the party of business should know better

March 29, 2020 2 comments

img_5431Watching events as they are unfolding is painful, especially when you know they are avoidable and that our decision makers have alternative choices. It has prompted me to write passionately over recent days about how our politicians should be mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown.

The ‘help’ that the Government is giving people is not only piecemeal – leaving holes for many that it is supposed to be helping, but for EVERYONE and specifically the people who need help that the response to the shutdown doesn’t reach, what the Government is doing doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.

Everyone has something to say about all of this – especially those who have a platform on social media, in the press or on TV.

But the problem with the ‘profiled’ speakers who have been allowed to become too influential (Sadly there are too many to mention), and with it too fond of their own voices, is that the words they are giving us are usually little more than subjective opinion. What they pump out to every ear that will hear them is not based on experience or even getting out there and talking to real people, but how they look at the world and how they think things should be. It is based purely on the scope of the very narrow lens through which they see their own life.

Whatever our experiences of life up until we found ourselves at this point, we are all afraid. But we are afraid for different reasons.

My fear is not about catching Coronavirus and what it could do to me – as I’ve done the life-threatening illness thing before. It’s how the response to the Crisis is creating many more problems than it is going to solve, and that if we are together going to be able to make the best of the opportunities and positives that we have ahead of us once the critical stage of this Crisis is over, we do not have the right people leading us to make that either a practical or tangible option for us all.

The people I am most afraid for as I am writing this today, are the self-employed and the owners of small businesses who are likely to be sat somewhere right now on the verge of crying. Many are facing up to the stark reality that on one hand they have been stopped from trading for what in principle if nothing else is a good reason, but on the other they have had their ability to service bills, pay back debt and survive taken away from them without any bad decision on their part. This isn’t the result of something they have done, or could have planned for and there has been no opportunity for choice on their part.

What they are now experiencing is not happening in isolation. Many people will be affected by a chain of events that will start with them and cascade throughout our economy reaching every sector and every level of the supply chain.

People who work for them will lose their jobs. Suppliers and Service Providers will not have their bills paid. Customers will lose shops, their local tradesman and local services of all kinds that are not supplied by big business – because big business cannot offer the level of service and make the margins that their shareholders demand by offering customer experiences of this kind – whereas all these committed small business owners and self-employed people before Coronavirus did so willingly and by choice to build relationships with their customers and differentiate from the profit-led Corporate behemoths.

For those who have already lost or now stand to lose what was only weeks ago a good and viable business, no form of compensation will make up for the consequences of that loss, which will hit them very hard – especially when the responsibility for the loss sits squarely with our Government and the choices it has made.

From late 2010 I experienced what it was like to be in a very similar situation when the successful business I had set up and run for nearly 7 years had a key contract pulled from under me, simply because of changes to my customer’s marketplace. It was in no way related to the quality and value of the service I delivered.

Even though I had anticipated changes might come to the industry and I had negotiated clauses within our contract to make sure everyone would get paid and I would be left with enough to start again, I never anticipated that when it came down to it, a high profile customer like mine would refuse to pay a £six-figure final bill, simply because the legal system is such that it knew it could and would get away with it.

I was dropped completely, well and truly in the shit. Not because it was the conscious aim of the managers and lawyers responsible to get up and screw me, the people who worked for me and the people who supplied me that day. They did it, because the world we live in tells us we don’t have to think about the impact of what appears a sound business decision and has no downside or consequences for anyone else.

This is the kind of limited, self-serving and blinkered thinking that the Government is employing right now.

After months of fighting, I put my Company into Administration, not because I wanted to or felt it an easy way out. I did so because I simply didn’t have any other choice.

It’s because I’ve been in that situation that I can say openly that for many, that’s where the real problems begin.

Self-employment or owning and running a business is different for everyone and for different reasons we all find ourselves with the ability to contribute different things to what we do.

For some of those who are facing down the reality that the money the Chancellor has allocated won’t go far enough or won’t arrive soon enough, they will at least not have tied themselves into loans, leases or contractual arrangements of any kind to support their business.

The lucky ones -may have their day-to-day needs met fully.

But it’s more likely they will be met only in part by the money that the Chancellor has allocated to the self-employed.

All of the domestic bills like the rent, mortgage, phone and everything else still have to be paid.

But the people most likely to be able to manage on being given what is pretty much the average wage are the ones who are most likely walk away with a skill or trade still behind them that is always in demand by others. Put simply, if they’ve worked for themselves and had problems, it simply won’t be thought about.

However, as you scale up and away from the domestic bills that you may already be feeling left high and dry with when it comes to paying, for the self-employed who are directors, partners and company owners, there are further levels of commitment to meet and the reality they are facing is simply not the same.

Vehicles, Premises, Licenses, Fuel, Tools, Insurances, Loans, Vehicle Tax, Mortgages, Professional Fees, Bank Fees and plenty of other things need to be paid for – even if a business is standing still. So giving anyone what is the maximum of the average monthly wage who own and runs a business – if they qualify – is far from being a good start if the aim is to stop business falling over when you have told them to stop trading.

The people who own, run and set up small businesses without third party investor funding form the backbone of our business-based economy. They are the entrepreneurs and the people taking the real risks and there is a lot more to it than the tax status of being ‘self-employed’.

They are people who have really done something on their own who shouldn’t be treated like social pariahs or like they don’t exist when their business ‘fails’.

Beyond the financial hardship and turmoil that the Government is condemning them to face, there is a very harsh reality of how people in this Country judge what they inevitably assume to be failure, and in particular where the incorrectly but nonetheless interchangeable terms bankruptcy and administration are concerned.

Instead of looking further and more closely at the reality of why people may have found themselves dealing with the horrific process of managing their own bankruptcy or putting a company they own into administration, there is an immediate default assumption of wrongdoing on the part of those looking on, rather than even the merest hint of appreciation for the value of the experience and the lessons that will inevitably been learned.

Some businesses fold in ‘normal times’ because of stupidity or more likely because the person driving it is out of their depth and in a field they don’t understand. But for just as many if not many more, the reasons that have brought them to that place are simply out of their control.

These are people who would actually be an asset to any business because of their experience of dealing with these problems. Instead business all too often views them as being a risk and if there isn’t change in the way society looks upon the realities of business closure and what caused them, many brilliant people of exceptional understanding and talent will quickly join the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

It is not too late right now for the Chancellor and the Government to take a leap backwards, for them to review and restart the package of measures they are putting in place and this time get it all right from the start. I for one would certainly think it big of them if they do.

But as the days of this shutdown become weeks and the weeks then become months, good businesses and employers that were viable only days ago will be forced to close with companies going into administration and the owners declaring themselves bankrupt. Not voluntarily or because they didn’t know how to run their business. But because a Conservative Government didn’t understand the realities and consequences of the decisions it made in a crisis and wouldn’t consider the alternative choice.

Nobody in the supply chain of business, industry, services, property or anything else will lose out during a standstill, IF the flow of money throughout that chain is held up at every stage. Not just at the start.

Politics, political leanings and tribalism don’t count here. It’s simply about doing what is right.

The only way that EVERYONE who has lost their income as a result of the Shutdown can be treated fairly, whilst not being condemned to suffer or lose their livelihood too, is for the Government to stop ALL bill payments to ALL creditors, ALL interest payments and the accumulation of debt for EVERYONE – until such time as the Shutdown is over and EVERYONE has been able to return to work.

To not do so when it is a clear option shows an absurd level of inability on the part of Politicians to step out of their own shoes to taste and feel the reality of how the decisions they are making are going to manifest in our lives.

If businesses of the type, size and number that will be left to fail because the Government hasn’t taken steps to treat EVERYONE fairly, and above all THE SAME, the British economy is going to fall over a cliff in a way that will never allow business to operate in the same ways again.

What would be good to see right now is the politicians that we have elected doing the right thing and making the right choice. We are now in very different times, and if they do not do so, people will suffer the impacts of the choices that they have made for a long time to come.

When this Government falls or we have new Elections, the Electorate will not be forgiving.

The majority of the victims from the Coronavirus will not be the people who have died or have been personally touched by grief as a result of the illness it causes. Most will be created by the missed opportunities, poor decisions and the failure to act equitably on the part of politicians driving an avoidable tragedy for us all that would not have been necessary if the Government had thought differently and made an alternative choice.

To those reading this blog who may be staring down the barrel of the business closure gun, I sincerely hope that the Chancellor will have a lucid moment, grow a pair and reconsider his choice.

Please hang in there as long as you feel that you can do so, because we have to hope that this episode will be shorter than we all quietly suspect that it will be, and that the shortness of time will therefore make closure something you can avoid.

If it doesn’t, please be assured that there are many of us out here who care. Closing down your business will be tough for many reasons that days ago you would never have even dreamed of. But it will be easier for you to deal with and recover from if you are honest with yourself about what you can and should do, and take all the steps you can to see the process through in the right way.

I believe that the experience that we are all now commonly sharing is going to change the way that most of us view the World. The communities we live in, the businesses we work in, the people we interact with and how we interact with them are all going to change as a result.

I am hopeful that when we come out of the other side of this, we will all consider the impact of the way we think about other people and the way that we then treat them and we will all be open to an appreciation of the different circumstances people find themselves in, that they may not be responsible for and were never there by choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ALL need bills & interest put on hold and enough money to eat and be clean. Government bullshit about Subsidies, Loans and Grants helping us now or in the long term is simply f**ktarded

March 20, 2020 16 comments

It doesn’t matter if it’s electricity, gas, water, credit card, a loan, a lease, rent, a mortgage, phone, broadband, TV streaming, contract subscriptions of any other kind, or anything else. It is the ceaseless demands of the private, profit-making interests in this Country being allowed to continue sucking money from our pockets that is the real problem people are facing now and will continue to do so long after Coronavirus has been put in its place.

Subsidies, Loans and Grants from the Government make great headlines when politicians are obsessed with how things look. But these hollow actions are giving legitimacy to the continuance of profiteering and endless money making on the part of commercial interests and what we have come to know as ‘the few’. All at a time when there is no longer any excuse for the people we elected to provide opportunities for the usual suspects to carry on making money at our expense, whilst we cannot earn, and as if they are entitled to act, behave and continue doing so like gods.

By allowing the economy to unravel, pretending it can be propped up by giving people the means to pay bills that could otherwise be put on hold so that everyone is in the same position, whilst pushing many people and businesses into what will quickly become unserviceable debt, the Government is initiating a downward spiral for this Country and what should be a robust economy.

The outcomes of this political ineptitude will be far worse for real people and for businesses over the long term than the outcome from the temporary hit that the Government should be taking on our behalf right now.

The pathway that the Chancellor has taken so far indicates that the Johnson Government is either incompetent and doesn’t understand the reality that people like small business owners, Deliveroo riders, people on zero hours contracts and those simply laid off from jobs in cafes and bars face, or they are intentionally using a crisis to assist in shackling all of these people and many more into forms of debt and the emotional bondage that accompanies it, simply so the friends and supporters of the Government can look at the piles of cash that they already have and smile as they start making even more.

Whether deliberate or created by stupidity and ignorance on the part of politicians who should always know better, the situation that this Government is now facilitating for us all will quickly become little more than profiteering from the misery of the many, simply to line the pockets of the few.

No matter what anyone says – whether they are an MP, so-called ‘expert’ or specialist, journalist or anyone else who has fashioned themselves as part of the ‘celebrity cause’, the solutions that the Government are now offering up do not go far enough in just about every way.

The PM, the Chancellor he appointed, the Government and the Politicians around him have the power and therefore the means to do whatever is necessary to help all of us and keep the Country in the best position going forward as it is possible to do so. But that is not going to happen if politicians are misguided by the self-interests and biases of the people and influences around them, rather than the Public at large – which should always be any Governments one and only cause.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures on the part of the people that we have elected to lead us.

This means they must step up, read the situation for what it is in reality for everyone – rather than what they think it might be or what their advisers are telling them – and adopt a much bigger, realistic and worldly view.

Economic thinking is just another set of ideas that become real simply because it is the line that people choose to believe.

Current economic theory is one founded upon the idea that money must be kept flowing at all times, just as if it is a blood supply that cannot ever be stopped. It works and operates on the basis that money and the systems that support its generation and movement are the only important thing.

They are not.

What economists and the people who have been influenced into thinking this way are failing to consider, is there is something far more important than money. That is the people and the communities that we live in. Beyond the thinking and the ideas that the ‘money men’ and their supporters choose to accept, there is most definitely another and very clear way to approach this crisis which is an option.

As such our decision makers are currently making a choice. One that is all about profit or all about them.

It should be people first. Money only when its sensible to return to it thereafter.

To deal effectively with the Coronavirus Crisis and without long term fallout for the many, the economy as it stands can be and should be shut down and stopped from operating in its current form.

Interest accumulation should be halted, and a payment or repayment holiday imposed on everything – whether it is for domestic use or for business – so that EVERYONE is being treated fairly and just the same.

The Government should temporarily renationalise all essential utilities and services – that’s the ones that were sold off and should be in the hands of non-profit making management and ownership anyway – and simply take the steps necessary to underwrite supply to ensure that the essential services the public need are simply provided for the duration of the Crisis without the need for anyone to worry about how they continue to pay.

For the people who have been laid off, have had to stop trading, have had their hours zeroed out or have had their incomes stopped by the Coronavirus Crisis in any way, there should be a basic income provided to cover the costs of food and essential items so that everyone is able to function in their homes and remain clean and healthy in every other way.

To do so would ensure that the people who have been left completely vulnerable and at the mercy of circumstances that they had no part in creating, are able to standstill and most importantly survive at the very least, without anything changing. They will therefore placed in the best situation possible to pick up and return their own lives to normality alongside those of everyone when the Coronavirus Crisis is accepted as being over and what will then become life as usual is once again ready to begin.

For the businesses and the workers who are able to continue working throughout the Crisis, the payment holiday that they will then all inadvertently receive will itself be a bonus and for many of them thanks enough.

Yes, the Government could and should now be doing this.

MPs, Politicians, Government Officers and Advisors must start thinking outside of their very tunnelled and out-of-tune Westminster box.

Just to begin with, these are preventative steps the Government should now take:

  • Ditch the £Multi-Billion plan for Grants, Subsidies, and underwriting Loans
  • Stop Interest payments and accumulation of any kind
  • Stop Loan Repayments 
  • Stop Mortgage Repayments
  • Stop Rent Payments
  • Stop Leasing Payments
  • Stop Utility Bill Payments
  • Stop Phone Payments
  • Stop Broadband Payments
  • Stop TV Streaming Payments
  • Stop Insurance Payments without penalty for any function not in use whilst maintaining ongoing cover for capital value without charge
  • Stop any other form of contract subscription which is non-essential in any form

And a here are some proactive steps that the Government should also begin by taking:

  • Provide a Basic Income to cover the cost of food and essential items for everyone, their dependents, and the people they care for, who has lost their income as a result of the Crisis 
  • Provide a top-up for anyone, their dependents, and the people they care for who’s income has been reduced to a level below that which matches that above
  • Take all former public services that were privatised back into temporary Government control
  • Provide gas, electricity, and water to every household for the duration of the crisis without charge
  • Create legislation that outlaws profiteering or price gauging of any kind, with companies, their directors or the individuals fined heavily or jailed when charged
  • Create legislation that prevents any commercial or private interest seeking compensation or interest of any kind from anyone or any business who has not paid them for the duration of the crisis, in the future at any time.

Setting any of us up to fail in the long term as a result of implementing policies during a time of crisis that have not been through will not be in the best interests of anyone. Least of all the Politicians who are failing us by coming up with such stupidity or lack of foresight in the first place.

Fundamentally, the approach currently being taken is morally as well as practically wrong.

This National Crisis and the future of this Country of ours simply demands thinking from them that is new.

Labour’s Universal Basic Income is nothing but a temporary bridge across a black hole of a problem that none of the Parties understand or are prepared to deal with

November 10, 2019 Leave a comment

89447a1c-d5a9-4158-b167-d12c506c5774The headlines this morning make painful reading to anyone who can see the real costs of The Labour Party’s plans and what they will involve.

Actually, it’s not the suggested figure of £1.2 Trillion over five years spent on public services that the real problem.

It’s the reality that this child-in-a-sweet-shop-with-birthday-money approach to fixing public services involves nothing more original than throwing money at the problems with no investment for the future or genuine long-term returns involved.

All well and good you might say if your only priority is to get a government elected and indefinitely keep that power.

But for the millions of British People who are experiencing the arse end of all that’s wrong in this Country each and every day, any positive impact from Labour’s great giveaway will be short lived once the default causes of all these societal ills have quickly bubbled back up to the surface again through the pile of vaporising money that these cynical left-wing politicians tell us they have in store.

The hollow promise that comes with a Universal Basic Income is the suggestion that poverty can be addressed as simply as giving everyone the same amount of money each month before spending on everything that life demands of us begins.

It’s a nice idea. And for people caught in a poverty trap with little or nothing, the promise of a lump of no-strings-attached cash each month is an electoral vote winner that is likely to go far.

If only life were really that simple.

The biggest problem that people on or below the poverty line in this Country face is not what income they have. It’s keeping control of the cost of everything that is essential to live, get by and to enjoy a basic or acceptable standard of living or quality of life.

Identifying the amount of money, or the combination of a Universal Basic Income payment plus any benefits that might be payable that are involved right now, today, doesn’t address the issue of what they will cost thereafter. Nor does it address the issue of how the real cost of living got to where it is today.

The reason for this is one of the greatest cultural ills of business today.

It is the exploitation of every opportunity to make profit wherever and whenever possible. Not because that’s what makes businesses work and function. But simply becuase the circumstances exist where they choose to because they legally can.

Too many profit hungry business owners, managers, shareholders, agents, financiers and speculators are taking too much money out of a system where there would otherwise be plenty that was affordable for all. They interrupt and place themselves within supply chains, production chains and service chains without adding any value to the process themselves – and this process often happens more than once.

Gandhi once said that ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every mans need, but not every mans greed’. Our politicians clearly don’t read and if they did, they certainly don’t listen.

Whilst an argument can be made that Labours Election Manifesto includes a plan to re-nationalise essential public industries such as power, water and rail, the reality that they have no plans to address the institutional problems that exist within the Public Sector mean that the profits currently being sucked out of these industries by private shareholders will simply be redistributed to other destinations of a self-serving kind, whilst the service itself and cost to users will progressively get even worse whilst costing us all even more.

Addressing the cost and regulating the freedom of the private interests that you can never realistically remove from all manufacturing and production, services and supply, to charge whatever they want for goods and services that are essential to providing a basic quality of life for us all, should therefore be the primary aim of any political party that really wants to improve life.

It should be a simple task for politicians who genuinely care and intend to lift the poorest in society out of the circumstances that are a vicious circle that condemn them to want, debt and an experience of life that nobody in the 21st Century UK should ever have.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives – in fact none of the Political Parties we have on offer to us as Voters today, really have any idea nor understanding of how the monetary system works. Yet they are obsessed with monetary theory.

They don’t know how business operates. But they believe themselves qualified to regulate or deregulate at will.

They certainly have no appreciation of how technology is not only destroying and dehumanising relationships. But is also making the ability of the unscrupulous to exploit others and the vulnerable easier than it ever has been before.

The people or so-called politicians that we already have and that we are about to elect again in December are not fit to rule over us. They have no idea of what the problems facing this country really are and how they affect people of all demographics and backgrounds. They have no vision of how those problems can be addressed. And they certainly have no idea of what they really need to do to begin solving any of them.

Until we have politicians and leaders in this country who do see, understand and are prepared to do whatever it is that is necessary to deal with the issues that this Country faces, the fuckwits that we have in power will play around only with what they perceive to be the problems that others outside the Westminster bubble face, whilst what amounts to their tinkering makes everything everyone else is experiencing a whole lot worse.

 

New houses never lower prices within their local ‘market’ and the Persimmon CEO’s £110 Million Bonus gives our ‘housing crisis’ the lie

January 9, 2018 2 comments

Money HousesHousing has become one of the hot political issues of our time. To read and hear about it in the media, it has become easy to conclude that the Government, our Councils, Housing Associations and Builders alike all share the view that we are in a housing crisis. The picture they paint suggests that they are all doing everything that they possibly can. But should we all really believe?

Laid bare, the lack of housing really does look nothing like the story we are being presented. Immigration inflating real need exponentially has become as much an unspoken truth across the whole country, as it has that 2nd homeowners are leaving seaside and rural property empty for much of the year, whilst they add nothing financially to the communities in which they don’t have time to genuinely reside.

“We need to build more homes” has become the mantra of the many. Yet the real beneficiaries of this process will not be the people who will end up living in many of them. Nor will it be the Government which is operating on the premise that money is the only way to solve any problem, no matter what it might be.

The real beneficiaries of the push to create housing will be the builders and the bankers who finance them, whose real take from all the public money which is being fire-hosed at them is only too well illustrated by the bonus payment being made to the CEO of Persimmon Homes.

Under the auspices of self-serving government at all levels and the ineptitude of policy making and long term strategy which has been rolled out in real time within current planning policy, Builders and Developers of all kinds have found themselves within what can only be described as a smorgasbord of discount and profit and the epitome of the one-sided win-win.

Deals are and have been done, not on the basis of what is best for us all. For if that were the true intention, there would be little need for deals of this kind.

Deals are being done, because the focus of this housing crisis is little more than money and profit itself.

People young and old are being out priced in all parts of the housing market, not because prices reflect the true value of houses and the market, but because the system and government policy is facilitating house builders, mortgage lenders and private landlords to take us all on one massive, great big bubble-building ride.

The evidence is not difficult to find. Wherever we may live, new housing developments are never far away. Yet when homes are released, we never see prices being lowered nearby.

Lower house prices within the communities in which these additional homes are built would be the logical outcome within any localised market which was genuinely left to itself to determine and decide.

Instead this so-called ‘crisis’ continually goes on unsolved, whilst we are being sleepwalked into a national travesty in the shape of an unsustainable housing price bubble which is guaranteed to explode.

When it does, those profiteering and responsible now will be the first to run and hide.

image thanks to unknown

The ‘rent’ economy is enslaving us all, creating money for nothing for the ‘asset rich’ and progressively extending poverty to all the ‘paying poor’

December 28, 2017 Leave a comment

download (10)Every day we are hearing and reading stories about wage stagnation, price escalation, homelessness of the kind where young people can’t afford their own place, spiralling personal debt and a whole range of stories which relate to the cost of living. Stories that are repeatedly telling us that maintaining a basic life in the UK is very quickly becoming a luxury that many of us simply cannot or will not be able to afford.

Alone, each tale told can and often is attributed to a range of causes which are nonetheless real, but also overlook a common theme throughout all of these issues. The commonality between them all is the economic concept of ‘rent’. The impact of third parties taking ownership of all or part of a product, the delivery of a service, or some other form of purchase at some point in the process from where it originated to where we use or in consume it in some way.

Rent is of course a term we use in daily life to describe paying to use something which belongs to someone else. The most common usage is that of renting of a house, where instead of there being a simple relationship between an owner occupier and their house or property, the occupant rents the property from the owner, essentially increasing a basic two part relationship into three.

In just this example alone, we can take it one stage further and add a bank or mortgage owner of a buy-to-let property (1) which is rented by the occupant (2) from the owner (3) who borrows the money and pays interest to the bank (4), which may itself have borrowed that money from another bank (5).

Whilst we would normally think of just the transaction between the occupier and the property owner as being ‘rent’, in economic terms, any additional party taking something from an overall transaction or supply chain between its origin and use who isn’t essential to the core process is receiving rent of some kind. They in turn may split their role between themselves and others, each adding their own profit as they do every time it happens. Ultimately each additional participant in the chain raises the price of whatever we as users or consumers will be expected to pay.

Sometimes, a number of stages appear necessary. For instance the food we eat might have to be grown by a farmer (1), which is bought by a manufacturer (2) who pays a haulier (3) to transport it to where they will process it. The manufacturer then sells the prepared food to a wholesaler(4) and pays another haulier (5) to deliver it to their warehouse. The wholesaler then sells it to a supermarket (6) and pays another haulier (7) to take it to their distribution centre. The supermarket then pays another haulier (8) to deliver the product to its store, where it sells the finished product to us (9). Do believe me when I say that the chains are usually much more convoluted than that!

Of course, we are all guilty of falling into the trap of forgetting how complex the process is which brings us our food and most of the items that we consume or the services we buy, because for us the process seems to be so very easy. But look closer and we will soon see that even a supply chain of this size may involve unnecessary parts and people taking ‘rent’.

So what does this all this talk of rent really have to do with the cost of living?

The real problem with the provision of goods and services is that the UK operates within what is called a ‘free market’ environment, which it has been since at least the time of the Thatcher Government (1979-90). Within this free market, reduced levels of regulation and influence from the government – who we expect to guard and protect our best interests – provides the opportunity for additional 3rd parties and in fact many more of them to involve or add themselves to the chain of many of our daily transactions. By doing so, they can make significant profits from what in some cases will be as simple for them as a click to buy and another to sell.

Whether it is food, clothing, fuel and oil, transport, communications, borrowing money, or just about anything we can imagine that we can buy, there are now speculators buying and selling products and services, sub contracting responsibilities to others, all of them taking additional profit by taking ‘rent’ which there is no practical reason for anyone needing to pay. They indirectly inflate the prices we pay for the end product, increasingly making those things which should really be quite affordable, simply too expensive for us to buy.

These speculators do this because they can. There are no real rules to stop them, and they are making as much money as they can without any consideration for the impact of their actions on the end users – that’s us. And they have little concern that they will have to stop doing so, because the banks simply continue to lend money to the people who have been forced by this process to borrow – if indeed possible – in order to survive.

Think about what really caused the 2007-08 Financial Crisis, which was the sale, resale and resale again of financial products or debts which became so complex, even the financiers themselves didn’t really know what they were buying and selling on.

Bankers were making massive amounts of money – all because nobody was monitoring exactly what they were doing, whilst their own ‘success’ blinded them to how value was being created by lending to people at one end of this elaborate chain who simply didn’t have the ability to pay back what they had been lent.

The Bankers didn’t care before it happened and they don’t care now. They are still not regulated in the way that they should be, and were actually saved from going under in 2008 by the Labour Government at the time by giving them Billions of Pounds of money in bailouts and rescue funds that the Government itself borrowed, and which we are still paying for through the accumulation of public debt.

These are people, banks and companies who are quite literally making money for nothing, and its all at our expense.

The ‘rent’ economy has been evolving as the reality in which we live for many years now. But it is only as more and more products and services have come under the control of those with the money and unrestricted influence to speculate, whether it has been through privatisation, the development of near monopolies or money simply being placed within unscrupulous hands, that the real impact of ‘farming everything for profit’ has began to become fully clear.

 

 

 

Tax avoidance, foreign companies and the real influence of Utility providers on our cost of living

Utility companies are in the news again and this time for exploiting the foreign ownership loopholes that are allowing an increasing number of monopolistic companies to avoid paying sizeable sums in tax.

Were it not for the near exponential rises that we seem to experience from energy and water companies alike on regular basis, you might be forgiven for having a little sympathy with a company which is struggling to make money.

But these are companies which are not only achieving great success in securing stratospheric profit margins from the services they provide using what appears to be increasing levels of media-friendly scaremongering; they are arguably doing so without making any real contribution to the wider society that pays them whilst customers also seem to pay for all their upgrade work as well.

This situation has of course been in the making for a considerable time and whilst it would serve the political interests of some groups to blame the problem on the process of privatisation in its basic sense, it is pretty certain that the sale of shares to everyday taxpayers was never intended as a direction of travel which would result in foreign ownership, or to the cartel like behaviour which has contributed to the creation of rip-off Britain.

Coalition Government or hung Parliaments don’t lend themselves well to dealing with issues of any real importance when they are in power as we all continue to witness each and every day. But that of course is when they face issues that we as a public are openly aware of because Politicians have chosen to acknowledge them for whatever politically expedient purpose that it might serve.

The real travesty with the issues regarding utility companies and the influence that they are having on the true cost of inflation to us all – which has this week been suggested to be as high as 25% – is that there is not even the will to talk about the true impact of their actions upon us all in Westminster.

With the economic fall-out of credit-card government and the continuation of spending with money that the UK simply doesn’t have, reality suggests that negligible or zero percent rises in wages for the workforces operating within the commercial and public sectors alike are here to stay. That benefit and service cuts will remain the uninventive and ill-considered weapon of choice used by a political elite which seems bereft of any consideration for the mechanics of life outside their own societal bubble.

However, there are choices for our leaders and within the constraints of Coalition Government or not, Politicians taking their responsibility to the Electorate seriously would and should all be using them.

Before anything else, acknowledgement that companies providing what are in fact essential services are profiteering and are misusing the opportunities that they have would be a significant step in itself. People would at least begin to feel that leaders are identifying with what real life is really like.

This would by its very nature have to been done with clarity and purpose and with much more than a mere suggestion of what action lies ahead. Another mealy-mouthed effort like that on the part of Politicians when it has come to addressing the previous actions and future behaviour of bankers simply will not do.

It has become clear that self-regulation in such key industries isn’t working for anybody but the companies themselves, and this is where those with Government responsibility should really be taking a lead.

The next step would be to regulate pricing to allow the true cost of service provision to be reflected in the prices that we pay and dictate the formula under which such Companies can raise funds for new and improved infrastructure which in most other industries would rightly come from the bottom line.

Because the services that these Companies provide are essential to everyone, profit should be capped and systems put in place through vigorous auditing processes  to ensure that clever accounting methods cannot provide a conduit through which different cost centres or budgetary areas can be manipulated to provide an enhanced dividend.

Company owners wouldn’t like this approach, but the fact remains that with services that customers have no alternative to use, profiteering before doing what is right has created a cash-cow for the few, whilst inflicting financial misery on the many in circumstances where people cannot even earn more just to compensate. That’s why foreign owners have been so happy to throw cash in the direction of companies in the UK that governments most other Countries would at least keep very close to State control and why our Politicians must now recognise the power and influence that these industries actually have in our everyday lives.

Finally, the time has long since passed when simplification of the Tax system was required on a comprehensive basis to stem the flow of revenue from leaving the Country that we desperately need and to which we are entitled.

Tax should be applied at the point of sale; not at the location where the account managers and owners  are based. This one simple and realistic change could find tax raised from the tills where coffees are physically bought; from the sale on the actual computer and screen where products are purchased; and from the meters where our power, gas and water are measured and supplied inside the houses in which we live.

Scary as the prospect of taking on the industrial and financial monoliths might seem, it is for reasons just like these that Politicians are Elected and why Governments are given power. It might not be easy, but if those who seek our votes at Elections take the trust we have given them seriously, it necessarily follows that they will use it for our benefit too.

Isn’t it time that they started living the mantra ‘action speaks louder than words’, rather than simply just paying lip service to it?

image thanks to source unknown

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