[LINK] Re: OFF TOPIC Re: the rich and corporate parasites

Deus Ex Machina vicc@cia.com.au
Wed, 26 Feb 2003 23:44:23 +1100


Viveka [listmail@karmanaut.com] wrote:
> At 5:40 PM +1100 26/2/03, Deus Ex Machina wrote:
> >companies compete for every dollar they earn. (excluding monopolies 
> >like telstra)
> >so why should government not have to compete for tax dollars?
> 
> Because the overall social effect of that competition would be (and 
> is currently) negative. The term for this is "the race to the bottom".
> 
> http://www.economics.de/bookshop/book.php3?bid=132
> "Tonelson explains how a competition has emerged in which countries 
> with the weakest workplace safety laws, the lowest taxes, and the 
> toughest unionization laws win investment from American and European 
> countries. Tonelson argues that this 'race to the bottom' of labor 
> standards has been the driving force behind the decline of American 
> living standards for the past quarter century, and, as we have 
> already begun to see, will cause even bigger problems for the 
> worldwide economy as it continues."
> 
> Competition is not inherently virtuous. It's in the common interest 
> for companies to compete, so we encourage it, outlaw collusion and 
> ban monopolies when we can, or regulate them when we can't.
> It's in the common interest for nations (which are more than just 
> machines for gathering tax and delivering services) to collude in 
> their dealings with corporations, so we sign international treaties.

now how did I know this topic was going to come up? :)

firstly this is not an argument against international competition, which 
already occurs. its an argument against the countries and political systems
that dont server there populations. china is communist so why does it 
allow labour exploitation? isnt that the best example of the faillure of 
benevolent welfare systems?

secondly the driving force behind corporate behaviour is
yours and mine expectation of cheaper prices and better returns on investment.

thirdly you can vote with your dollars towards corporates that behave in line
with your concerns. I have been boycotting shell for so long I cant even
remember why am I boycotting them anymore. :)

and finally why is it not in the common interest for governments to become more efficient?

> >globalisation is doing just
> >that, ineficient and overtaxing governments that dont provide the benefits
> >to individuals and corporations will loose out to governments that do.
> 
> Corporations are far more mobile than individuals are; they can move 
> their funds around much more easily than people can. For example, 
> I've been offered a place studying my dream topic (the intersection 
> of urban design and information technology) at my dream institution 
> (the renewed Bauhaus Kolleg in Dessau, Germany) - but I have far less 
> flexibility to take up this offer than I would like.
> 
> This means that competition between governments will be for corporate 
> dollars, not the tax money of their populace to any significant 
> degree. The result is a shift in power towards corporations (which we 
> should remember are legal abstractions created to serve us), and away 
> from individuals as represented by democratic states.

see
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/019505377X/qid=1046262046/sr=1-8/ref=sr_1_8/102-3081431-4100904?v=glance&s=books
The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History

eye opening look at price, population and shifts in power over the last 1000 years+
macro economics generally bores me but this book was fascinating.


> I'm not disputing the reality of the brain drain; but I really think 
> that creative people will stay if there is interesting and productive 
> work to do, and the way to ensure that isn't by cutting taxes for the 
> rich, but by directly funding R&D.

agree with the first part, but dont entirely agree with the second part.
R&D has to be commercialised so why should government compete with business?
gov should only need to R&R where business doesnt see a return.

I still dont see why it is so evil to cut taxes across the board, why single 
out the rich, these people know that investment yields return, give them more
money and they will be more likely to create more economic growth. is it just
tall poppy syndrome? is there something wrong with having some networth?
is a high tax system some sort of revenge or punishment on the rich?

> The broader solution (to the race to the bottom) is to democratise 
> globalisation - elect the representatives to the WTO, etc...

quite likely, the fact the US is working so hard for UN support suggests that
a global system of governance is evolving even as we speak.

anyway I dont know this relates to the topic of this list whatever that may be...

Vic