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bogbrush

What If Food Provision Was Nationalised?

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It occured to me on another thread that the best way to illustrate the shortcomings of centrally planned industries - including things like the trains, which doesn't resemble a private sector as I understand it - would be to imagine the centrally planned solution to perhaps the most important public service of all, food provision.

We know that the capitalist solution gives us unbelievable choice from across the World, long term falling prices, great quality and tremendous availablity. Where the state has intervened (for instance, in the CAP) it tends to create inefficiency and unbalanced supply. Left to itself we get the right amount at the right cost. When the consumer speaks - such as on nutrition, for instance, the industry responds with comprehensive on-pack information and reformulation because that's what sells.

What would it look like if the state ran it all? I can't see how we'd have the choice, because they wouldn't need to provide it. Prices would be pretty much cost-plus, and since costs in the public sector always rise, so would prices. Quality might be ok, but maybe not, and would probably reflect government guidelines on health and nutrition (meaning we'd eat what we're told to eat)

I'm not against there being rules - food safety legislation is just common sense after all - but it doesn't mean the state tries to operate the industry.

Why then is the state involved in house provision? Why do we have planning laws restricting activity, and investment programmes where the state commissions new house building? It seems to me that the (apalling) state of home provision reflects very accurately the mess that food provision would be if the state ran it. So isn't the solution to home availability and right prices just obvious?

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Guest sillybear2

Yup, it would go hand in hand with rationing, it's unavoidable once you start distorting the market and destroying incentives to produce.

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Social housing is indeed terrible. Not that a hard-up single person can get into it in their lifetime, with thousands of fresh claimants leapfrogging them at the local council :lol:

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I don't see it as an idealogical question of public vs private so much as one of effectiveness. If we could have an effective nationalised food production and distribution system I wouldn't mind, but knowing New Labour they'd probably put Jamie Oliver in charge of it and we'd all have to eat horrible green vegetables all the time!

With the railways, re-nationalisation looks to be a good option, as long as the riot act is read to the trade unions right at the start and the management is given real teeth, preferably made from tungsten-carbide!

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Guest sillybear2
Why then is the state involved in house provision? Why do we have planning laws restricting activity, and investment programmes where the state commissions new house building? It seems to me that the (apalling) state of home provision reflects very accurately the mess that food provision would be if the state ran it. So isn't the solution to home availability and right prices just obvious?

It is obvious :-

http://www.newstatesman.com/200409200005

Aside from planning permission itself, which is purely an invitation for large corporate builders to bribe officials in various forms, the government also tries to social engineer housing, they actually enforce minimum density targets, so that basically means the state puts a ceiling on the quality and size of houses you can build and everything must legally fall below that standard. It's akin to telling car manufacturers that they can produce any car they like but it must only have three wheels, a single door and a 500cc engine, but they're free to fit a lowly 300cc engine if they wish.

Edited by sillybear2

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The simple answer is time.

If the state took over food, we'd all know quite quickly how bloody useless it is, starving to death will do that for people - but with things like housing (or education or medicine etc etc) the statists can take over today and it might be a decade before their utter uselessness becomes apparent - at which point they will ask for more funding/tax money/regulation.

And on and on until the completely crash whatever they have been looking after - then it will become de facto private, ge3t itself back on it's feet for the statists to have another pop in a decade or two. Sad cycle, but there we are.

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"Today I can announce that this government will raise capital expenditure on pasta, oily fish and carrots, this year and next. This is to support hard working British families to continue to work hard and to work harder to grow the robust British economy. It is right that we support the hard working British family, it is right that they eat pasta, oily fish and carrots and it is right that we help them eat these important food types. It is the right thing to do because it is the right thing to do and that is why we are doing it because it is the right thing to do" Gudrun Braun.

Edited by pootle

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It occured to me on another thread that the best way to illustrate the shortcomings of centrally planned industries - including things like the trains, which doesn't resemble a private sector as I understand it - would be to imagine the centrally planned solution to perhaps the most important public service of all, food provision.

We know that the capitalist solution gives us unbelievable choice from across the World, long term falling prices, great quality and tremendous availablity. Where the state has intervened (for instance, in the CAP) it tends to create inefficiency and unbalanced supply. Left to itself we get the right amount at the right cost. When the consumer speaks - such as on nutrition, for instance, the industry responds with comprehensive on-pack information and reformulation because that's what sells.

What would it look like if the state ran it all? I can't see how we'd have the choice, because they wouldn't need to provide it. Prices would be pretty much cost-plus, and since costs in the public sector always rise, so would prices. Quality might be ok, but maybe not, and would probably reflect government guidelines on health and nutrition (meaning we'd eat what we're told to eat)

I'm not against there being rules - food safety legislation is just common sense after all - but it doesn't mean the state tries to operate the industry.

Why then is the state involved in house provision? Why do we have planning laws restricting activity, and investment programmes where the state commissions new house building? It seems to me that the (apalling) state of home provision reflects very accurately the mess that food provision would be if the state ran it. So isn't the solution to home availability and right prices just obvious?

Then you and I would become public sector employees.

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You can't compare food to trains, as trains have a signisifcant LOCATIONAL element.

That is, you can grow food almost anywhere, but train tracks have to be in set locations... e.g. between cities and stations have to be in set locations... city centers.

Trains are a MONOPOLY. You can't go building new train tracks now, because it would costs tens or hundreds of billions to buy the land because it's in town centers.

This whole tread is stupid for this reason.

While the government will, in future be forced to manage widescale food distribution for the masses, you will still be able to BUY food from shops, it will just be so expensive (because the currency is worthless) that you wont be able to unless you are rich.

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It occured to me on another thread that the best way to illustrate the shortcomings of centrally planned industries - including things like the trains, which doesn't resemble a private sector as I understand it - would be to imagine the centrally planned solution to perhaps the most important public service of all, food provision.

or the currency

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Great example bogbrush. What is more important than food.. and we trust that to a basically completely open free market. And it delivers through droughts, through the huge oil spike last year, all without any central planning. You donèt even need a state granted liscence from a higher learning center in order to be a farmer.

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It occured to me on another thread that the best way to illustrate the shortcomings of centrally planned industries - including things like the trains, which doesn't resemble a private sector as I understand it - would be to imagine the centrally planned solution to perhaps the most important public service of all, food provision.

We know that the capitalist solution gives us unbelievable choice from across the World, long term falling prices, great quality and tremendous availablity. Where the state has intervened (for instance, in the CAP) it tends to create inefficiency and unbalanced supply. Left to itself we get the right amount at the right cost. When the consumer speaks - such as on nutrition, for instance, the industry responds with comprehensive on-pack information and reformulation because that's what sells.

What would it look like if the state ran it all? I can't see how we'd have the choice, because they wouldn't need to provide it. Prices would be pretty much cost-plus, and since costs in the public sector always rise, so would prices. Quality might be ok, but maybe not, and would probably reflect government guidelines on health and nutrition (meaning we'd eat what we're told to eat)

I'm not against there being rules - food safety legislation is just common sense after all - but it doesn't mean the state tries to operate the industry.

Why then is the state involved in house provision? Why do we have planning laws restricting activity, and investment programmes where the state commissions new house building? It seems to me that the (apalling) state of home provision reflects very accurately the mess that food provision would be if the state ran it. So isn't the solution to home availability and right prices just obvious?

We already have centrally planned food provision, I'm glad you enjoy the choice it provides, unless of course you happen to be the provider of said food.

God you are unobservant, head back in the sand ostrich...................

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Great example bogbrush. What is more important than food.. and we trust that to a basically completely open free market. And it delivers through droughts, through the huge oil spike last year, all without any central planning. You donèt even need a state granted liscence from a higher learning center in order to be a farmer.

edit: forgot to type message

Not such a great argument when people have to grow food for export (for cash to pay their debts) whilst starving.

Edited by erat_forte

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It occured to me on another thread that the best way to illustrate the shortcomings of centrally planned industries - including things like the trains, which doesn't resemble a private sector as I understand it - would be to imagine the centrally planned solution to perhaps the most important public service of all, food provision.

We know that the capitalist solution gives us unbelievable choice from across the World, long term falling prices, great quality and tremendous availablity....

No we don't - but if you want to believe in faeries at the bottom of the garden who am I to stop you?

Housing of course isn't centrally planned - housebuilding is regulated because the free for all which was the free market failed. Uncontrolled gerry-building damaging people's health - we can see how unregulated markets (such as in the former Soviet bloc) lead to destruction of the ecology.

A more pertinent question is: why is it that when the free-market fantasists are faced with the failure of their ideology they always retreat into some "but x never was a true free market".

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Guest sillybear2
Housing of course isn't centrally planned - housebuilding is regulated because the free for all which was the free market failed.

Of course it is, there are things called 'Regional Spatial Strategies' that sets down targets set by a central ministry in Whitehall.

I would say the 'free for all' that delivered housing up to the 1947 Town & Country planning act was anything but a failure, housing from that era and before is highly sought after because the latest socially engineered centrally planned junk delivered over recent years is so bad half of it has been torn down due to low standards.

Everyone knows what central planning looks like, they know an ugly 1960's towerblock or sink estate when they see one, and they see the modern equivalent in the BTL slave boxes and doll house like brownfield junk built over the last few years.

Edited by sillybear2

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Of course it is, there are things called 'Regional Spatial Strategies' that sets down targets set by a central ministry in Whitehall.

I would say the 'free for all' that delivered housing up to the 1947 Town & Country planning act was anything but a failure, housing from that era and before is highly sought after because the latest socially engineered centrally planned junk delivered over recent years is so bad half of it has been torn down due to low standards.

The problem with this viewpoint is it's all warm beer and cricket on the village green. You've got a highly selective view of history. I could equally counter with the gerry-built, grossly over-crowded housing which the majority of people lived in of the time. A housing stock exhausted prior to the second world war, the slumhousing with sub-standard sanitation which caused the ill-health and early death of millions.

Like I said, a free market fantasy for the aspirational, with a selective vision of reality.

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The problem with this viewpoint is it's all warm beer and cricket on the village green. You've got a highly selective view of history. I could equally counter with the gerry-built, grossly over-crowded housing which the majority of people lived in of the time. A housing stock exhausted prior to the second world war, the slumhousing with sub-standard sanitation which caused the ill-health and early death of millions.

We also had continued rationing of most goods well after the war and a farming sector unable to support the country, and the cars from the era weren't too safe or reliable either, but technological progress put all that right, what has 50 years of progress in house building brought us? Ever smaller homes, kitchens in the living rooms, and recently a repeat of the failed collectivist blocks from the 60's built in areas people don't want to live, and without any supporting infrastructure.

A good chunk of the centrally planned estates or tower blocks built over the past half century have been bulldozed at great expense or remain as failed sink estates with all the social problems that go with it. Most of the private housing built over the same period remains, some of it has been bulldozed for complementary reasons, the standards were so high and modern brown field policy is so backwards and destructive developers have bought up modest plots and put 5-10 houses where a single modest post-war or Victorian home once stood.

Even the locally built and planned inter-war council housing makes modern market and social housing look pathetic in terms of size and quality. You cannot have government setting ever falling maximum standards and expect good housing, what we have is a cabal of central planning, huge corporate builders, banks and rich land owners all conspiring to drive down the quality of housing and drive up the cost to the detriment of the common citizen.

Without state control of land you could have people buying plots for themselves and building decent homes for themselves, as they do in Nordic countries, but clearly that doesn't suit the parasites that feed off our state-corporatist planning system.

Edited by sillybear2

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It occured to me on another thread that the best way to illustrate the shortcomings of centrally planned industries - including things like the trains, which doesn't resemble a private sector as I understand it - would be to imagine the centrally planned solution to perhaps the most important public service of all, food provision.

See: http://www.faqs.org/cia/docs/92/0000307839...OC-(S-671).html

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We already have centrally planned food provision, I'm glad you enjoy the choice it provides, unless of course you happen to be the provider of said food.

God you are unobservant, head back in the sand ostrich...................

I think you're mixing up the outstanding result the industry provides with - I'm guessing - your unhappiness over 3rd world producers conditions.

I'm sure it would all be soooooo much better if the government ran it. :rolleyes: I mean, governments never shit on the little guy do they?

Open your eyes.

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The problem with this viewpoint is it's all warm beer and cricket on the village green. You've got a highly selective view of history. I could equally counter with the gerry-built, grossly over-crowded housing which the majority of people lived in of the time. A housing stock exhausted prior to the second world war, the slumhousing with sub-standard sanitation which caused the ill-health and early death of millions.

Like I said, a free market fantasy for the aspirational, with a selective vision of reality.

I think that's holding a free market to a pointlessly high standard.

The free market also fails and fails often - the thing about it is that when it does, it does it early and it does it cheaper.

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Guest BoomBoomCrash
It occured to me on another thread that the best way to illustrate the shortcomings of centrally planned industries - including things like the trains, which doesn't resemble a private sector as I understand it - would be to imagine the centrally planned solution to perhaps the most important public service of all, food provision.

We know that the capitalist solution gives us unbelievable choice from across the World, long term falling prices, great quality and tremendous availablity. Where the state has intervened (for instance, in the CAP) it tends to create inefficiency and unbalanced supply. Left to itself we get the right amount at the right cost. When the consumer speaks - such as on nutrition, for instance, the industry responds with comprehensive on-pack information and reformulation because that's what sells.

What would it look like if the state ran it all? I can't see how we'd have the choice, because they wouldn't need to provide it. Prices would be pretty much cost-plus, and since costs in the public sector always rise, so would prices. Quality might be ok, but maybe not, and would probably reflect government guidelines on health and nutrition (meaning we'd eat what we're told to eat)

I'm not against there being rules - food safety legislation is just common sense after all - but it doesn't mean the state tries to operate the industry.

Why then is the state involved in house provision? Why do we have planning laws restricting activity, and investment programmes where the state commissions new house building? It seems to me that the (apalling) state of home provision reflects very accurately the mess that food provision would be if the state ran it. So isn't the solution to home availability and right prices just obvious?

All the best rail services in the world are state run. You fail Bogbrush-san

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No we don't - but if you want to believe in faeries at the bottom of the garden who am I to stop you?

Housing of course isn't centrally planned - housebuilding is regulated because the free for all which was the free market failed. Uncontrolled gerry-building damaging people's health - we can see how unregulated markets (such as in the former Soviet bloc) lead to destruction of the ecology.

A more pertinent question is: why is it that when the free-market fantasists are faced with the failure of their ideology they always retreat into some "but x never was a true free market".

When Heads of Government annouce the diversion of signifiocant parts of the government fiunds towards house building in pursuit of targets, I call that central planning. Your "regulation" implies a passive stance simply limiting the actions of individuals, which is a misrepresentation.

An effective free market requires good information; this is why food production is so effective, because it's all based on brands, and brand equity demands confidence or it is nothing.

I can see no reason why the same thing couldn't thrive in house provision; all that's needed is clear contractual obligations and an effective judicial system to enable consumers to sue deficient providers. That wasn't there in the dark old days.

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