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A thought on business


Ivan
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Some people seem to have it out for business. A governmental trend lately is the restriction/regulation of business, especially in the European nations. Why do you think this is, and do you believe business needs be regulated to this point?

 

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Whenever there are some bad headlines about companies in the newspaper, citizen call for tighter regulations instead of feeling responsible themselves. In democratic societies politics will always try to satisfy such demands.

 

On the other hand... many - maybe most - regulations make sense, I believe. Just... people fear the loss of their jobs and globalization seems to break all known structures in society and business. So that I am surprised, with how much suspicion people watch the work of labour parties, social welfare institutions, laws of protection for health, environment, etc. in these months and years. It makes me sad. It seems like we lost most of our solidarity and social sense. In my opinion, on a national basis as in Germany, regulations are becoming looser not tighter and government lately seems to be willing to listen rather to the demands of international business than to its own people's demands. And people seem unwilling to provide their part and to be more modest and to try their best to make this a pleasant place to live. Somehow... there is so much pessimism, which is understandable but not helpful at all.

 

However... it's not the point you mentioned here. I believe on European view (European commission, etc.) there is - beside all subsidies - a trend towards too much regulation. On the one hand the borders and trade regulations in Europa fall and the fundamental rights of free trade, free choice of working place, etc. are almost overprotected by the European Court. On the other hand there are so many regulations especially concerning various standards (the regulation concerning the "right" curve of a banana became pretty famous here...), etc. which seem to be good will but not much of economic sense (beside - in the banana case - to support trade with former French colonies).

 

Personally - comparing e.g. USA and Europe - I find Europe a more pleasant place to live in, and this is also due to many fine laws and regulations about working time, protection against being fired, a dense social network. I believe business needs to be regulated to some extent, without taking away consumer's responsibility.

 

Hope this hits the point. Your question opens a very wide range of possible replies one should keep in mind when discussing this topic.

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I had hoped that an open topic would draw replies, my friend.

 

So you approve of the majority of the regulations? I see the benefits of such regulation, but my love of freedom leaves that trend having a bad taste in my mouth.

 

The governments in Europe are large and have a strong grip due to the active political support (assisted greatly by the majority-pleasing media) of the employed, who outnumber the employers. The income tax in those areas seem utterly abysmal to me, and if you check out my second nation here, you will see how I would more prefer to run a country, where my people can reach as high as they have the knowledge and willpower to do. Naturally such a system has drawbacks, such as the crime rate, but all in all, being able to develop oneself to full potential economically is much more valuable to me than being "protected" from failing by the government whether I want to be protected or not.

 

I do not believe in welfare or protected jobs (for the most part). I know from experience that if one is guaranteed to not be fired, performance decreases noticeably. The tenure system in teaching is a rotten idea, as teachers should be the best of the best and have a consequence to bad performance. After working so long, it takes a felony crime to be fired!

 

Retirement is also something that should not be a government's job to monitor, again for the most part. At least there should not be a system where the current generation pays for the older one, which is generally what is happening now. How should retirement work? The best retirement plans ever are ones in which the retiree and the employing body both benefit without forced payment from the current generation... 401k plans and the like! The business gets "now" money to invest and grow with, and the worker gets a substantial pension at the age of retirement, often that can pay for the rest of the retiree's life! If the worker uses even the slightest care in where they spend their money, pay going into a 401k is possible. Roth IRA accounts are also a boon, again this can be used to completely pay for retirement without a strain on the current generation. Lack of knowledge or laziness is not an excuse to siphon money from those who are currently working.

 

Thriving business, with slight regulation, has proven to increase the quality of life for a society as a whole. Without money to be made, innovations in technology go down the drain, especially that in medicine. Ever single competitive med tech company out there has an office and labs in the US, because they're allowed to make money to grow their research. If the USA pulled a Europe and socialized medicine, EVERYONE would suffer for it, and hundreds of thousands of lives could be affected in a negative manner as only generic companies would keep existing, as the government, believe it or not, buys the cheapest drugs available on such a scale that the major drug companies would go out of business. Then no new medical innovations would happen, and the world of medicine would be at a standstill.

 

Yet who are in support of socialized medicine? The senior citizens! And these would be hurt most by it in the long run! Blasted media. Always focused on the "now" and not the future, not the full implications of policy made today.

 

Beware "now" only policy, such as business restrictions. Trade is what grows technology, it's what makes the world go round and allows progress to happen. Sure, certain policies may make certain people happy now, but the programs will FALL APART once the government runs out of money/resources to continue such programs. What is predicted to happen after that is a reversal of government structure. The democracy will have proven to be taken advantage of by certain classes of people, and so a more restrictive form of government would rise out of it. That is, if a government ever does manage to collapse due to irresponsible policy and putting social, commercial, and technological progress in a stasis. That probably won't happen for a long time, we may never even live to see it. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't care about it.

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However... it's not the point you mentioned here. I believe on European view (European commission, etc.) there is - beside all subsidies - a trend towards too much regulation. On the one hand the borders and trade regulations in Europa fall and the fundamental rights of free trade, free choice of working place, etc. are almost overprotected by the European Court. On the other hand there are so many regulations especially concerning various standards (the regulation concerning the "right" curve of a banana became pretty famous here...), etc. which seem to be good will but not much of economic sense (beside - in the banana case - to support trade with former French colonies).

I mostly agree with what Oceania just told.

 

All nations have their own rules and regulations, but there must be some European framework. Which is in the advantage of all countries. The European Union is a unified market, and this requires some degree of existence of european rules.This doesn't mean however that countries can't have their own rules, but some things should be regulated at a higher level.

 

That's why there are much rules and regulations coming from the Europe (maybe sometimes too much)... but a united Europe is still quiet new as an organisation, it still making its Constitution, it's in its baby shoes. The EU is also very unique, it wasn't made up by conquering, but by joining forced of several nations, after centuries of war.

 

Overregulation isn't good, but on the other hand no regulation isn't either. After some scandals (Parmalat, Enron,..), people start asking themselves for better regulations.

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I completely agree on sensible, updated regulations, mostly to keep the workers having a say, without having either worker union or employer having 100% control. I dislike archaeic regulations, and excessive amounts of regulations that ironically restrict the business to the point where they start being unable to deal with worker demands, and need assistance from the government, which raises income tax... a mean little circle there. Of course, that's just a very simplistic model, and one to use in more extreme cases.

 

At any rate, a european union is a great step, I agree. Regions are still very split culturally and economically, which makes unification rough, but this small step is very nice, as long as it doesn't take on the habits of the UN and never do anything except talk sometimes wink.gif.

 

 

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I personally feel that business has been cast as the villain, especially in Europe, having been tarred by the brushes of a few Trans National Corperations with appalling, nigh scandelous, human rights and environmental records.

 

Whilst it is in businesses own interests to operate ethically, these isolated incidents, have totally destroyed governmental and consumer confidence to the point at which regulation is necessary.

 

If large companies in search of profits cannot be counter on to regulate themselves, even in a minority of cases, it is the responsibilty of some independent, possibly government-linked organization. This is especially true when dealing with monopolies and cartels. Look no further than the oil companies and their supression of environmentally friendly fuel alternatives, and Microsoft in it's unashamed exploitation of a time advantage. (**I see you are writing a scathing criticism of Microsoft - would you like some help?** :-)

 

Overall, business not always bad - but regulations required...just in case.

 

Justin III wink.gif

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Dear Ivan,

 

yes, I like the question you raised indeed. wink.gif

 

The income tax in those areas seem utterly abysmal to me, and if you check out my second nation here, you will see how I would more prefer to run a country, where my people can reach as high as they have the knowledge and willpower to do.

It is your right to choose the country you'd like to live in and also to try to influence the politics of your country. This is a basic principle of freedom and democracy. As for me... I prefer Germany the way it is now, I even consider it one of the safest and most comfortable places in the world (and this is just my personal opinion). Same way... it's up to you where you find your place and as long as your are among the "winners" of such a marketplace society you'll be better of for sure (as long as their is no criminal cutting your throat to get some cents to avoid starving). wink.gif

Tax rates are really high in Germany, on the other hand tax rates cannot be compared easily between nations. The systems behind it are often rather different, same goes for the way taxes are spent. Taking all insurances, costs, infrastructure, pensions, etc. into account, the difference between Germany and USA for example is not as big as one might expect.

 

As for me... I have also religious and moral beliefs which are speaking against a society with less regulations and more business and consume. I want to mention though that I am studying economy as my major so that I am not an moral idealist nor philosopher nor running behind headlines of boulevard press. And there is indeed a lot more of theory behind the model of a society, than I ever imagined.

 

I do not believe in welfare or protected jobs (for the most part). I know from experience that if one is guaranteed to not be fired, performance decreases noticeably. The tenure system in teaching is a rotten idea, as teachers should be the best of the best and have a consequence to bad performance. After working so long, it takes a felony crime to be fired!

 

A change is necessary on our present stage of welfare and protection, that's sad but very true. The model we have right now doesn't have enough performance, I agree with you. It doesn't mean that job protection has only "moral" reasons, though. In some way it is also increasing economic performance. When you can be sure to have some protection, you are willing to consume more and to carry higher risks. Certain developments and achievements only became possible by guarantees in case of failure.

 

And there are always people who are not among the winners. There is more "peace" in society when there is social welfare, and crime is indeed a problem to business when it reaches a certain extent. Have you ever worked in social welfare institutions? In Germany you have the choice between one year military service or one year social welfare service, and it wasn't a question to me that I serve my country better with social engagement than with weapons. The social reality is depressing even at our present level of welfare. My parents have been both working for the Munich governments welfare service, and it is a sad fact that most people have no idea what poverty means and how present it is in our society. It is hidden behind the walls of their homes and written in faces we do not look at close enough. It's people like you and me, behaving like you and me, pretending everything is fine but in fact their life is a little tragedy as soon as you take a closer look.

 

However... at that point we are getting philosophical and you might say that in "your" society economy would be more dynamic and there would be less "loosers" and less poverty because the general standard of living would improve. Just... me personally I don't believe this. The claim for profit on a free market does not lead to a "fair" income distribution. It might lead to a more effective distribution, but the price would be paid by environment and certain parts of society. The material standard of living improves, but in more general measures the outcome is less sure, taking higher crime, higher stress, less socializing, etc. in consideration. Again... this is a matter of interpretation and of personal preferences.

 

Well... started to comment on retirement system as well, but I am just too tired right now, heading for my bed, and my minister of finance is already sleeping, too. wink.gif

 

Might be continued...

 

With warmest regards to Ivan, Ruler of Enutrof.

The Government of Blue Oceania

 

 

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Whew, we're writing essays here!

 

Most of my philosophy is relatively simple. People, when educated, are better off spending their money than the government is.

 

Regarding moral beliefs, how is it moral to take more of the working citizen's hard-earned work, spending hours of their very life to support whole societies of those who do not work to su[pport society as a whole? How is it "fair" to blatantly take from one and give to another who has not the ability to achieve that which the more knowledgeable, more willed individual has DESERVED to earn?

 

I am an american, but as you can see, there is NO way I would run my country exactly like America. Emotion and *ahem* "compassion", has blinded people from policies that would help the entire society as a whole. Here, the loudest win. Logic is only partially considered, the politicians prostitute their policies in order to please the emotion of the uninformed voter, who do not even bother to check up on the performance of their politicians.

 

The is NO way I would allow irresponsible, honorless scum of men to continue earning even a cent of the nation'[s pool of wealth while he goes out and fathers 21 illegitimate children, of which 80% will also end up being on welfare, as is the case with a current case in the local Children's Services office, and this is considered a better part of the country!

 

The is NO way I would increase welfare porportional to number of children birthed. It is proven that child birth decreases if it means less overall income for the mother. It REALLY decreases if there is a penalty to welfare income per child born! This is due to the sickening selfishness of the welfare mothers.

 

And you realize, with the protected jobs, you're merely protecting them from reaching their full potential. While they are "protected" to take higher risks, just what would they be able to achieve by taking a higher risk? They are limited by their own system, their growth stunted because most of what they achieve with risk will go back to the system put into place as to ensure he wouldn't "hit the bottom".

 

So what is the result? I dare say that most would simply hold out until the government pays for their existence completely. I would have to check german statistics for confirmation, however. This is just from my understanding of human psychology.

 

The claim for profit on a free market does not lead to a "fair" income distribution. It might lead to a more effective distribution, but the price would be paid by environment and certain parts of society.

 

Your and my definition of "fair" differ here wink.gif. I consider one working harder and earning more much fairer than one working harder and earning the same. That drives the working spirit out of the hard worker. So what do you get? Instead of the individual earning less striving to earn more, the harder worker begins working less determinedly, because he gets near the same.

 

And I assume the certain parts of society you are referring to are the lower class, or the "losers", as yo ucalled them, who still have a limitless opportunity to bounce back, especially with excellent education. After all, luck has little to do with success.

 

Actually, that's what virtually all my taxation is spent on in my nations. Education and environment. I do agree that it is the government's responsibility to manage the environment, because business has little benefit from this and will generally ignore it. In both nations, higher education is supported 100% by the government, regardless of income or high school standing. With cuts in laughable "compassionate" self-defeating welfare programs, I can educate ALL of my citizens, giving them the most opportunity possible to make themselves excelling citizens, the end result is a furthering of the entire society.

 

And about crime... that is the society's doing. There will always be some crime, but with educational policy, and society's conditioning as a whole, crime is kept low merely because of the utter disgrace that criminals appear with. Here in America, and in most of the World, being "bad" is "cool". People think it's funny when someone steals another's sandwich because they're lunchbreak was before someone else's.. except for the original sandwich owner. That is stealing, it is wrong, and with societal conditioning, such acts would be considered a sign of cowardace, inability, and dishonor. A pathetic act that only scum partake in. That is the ultimate goal, for a society that does not promote criminal acts as "cool".

 

And I apologize if I sound aggressive at some points. I always try to attack the arguements, not the debater. Also, I thoroughly enjoy such debate. Please do not get me wrong wink.gif.

 

-Ivan, Supervisor of the Federation

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Dear Ivan, Lord of Enutrof,

 

you can be assured that I enjoy this discussion just the way you do, and without a little aggressive/idealistic arguments it would become boring I believe. Don't worry. wink.gif However... give me some time with the reply, my English skill is at its limit already, I can read English economic literature, but writing my own essays is quite troublesome still due to a lack of adequate vocabulary. You raised a lot of interesting discussion starters again... biggrin.gif

 

The Holy Republic of Blue Oceania

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