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Public Sector Union Bashing Special Edition - This Week's Economist

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Let me guess - a magazine that pushed for more and more deregulation of the financial sector, that championed globalisation, and regards people as resources to be exploited, and national resources best served by being owned by multi-nationals - blames the public sector for the mess the policies they push created?

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Let me guess - a magazine that pushed for more and more deregulation of the financial sector, that championed globalisation, and regards people as resources to be exploited, and national resources best served by being owned by multi-nationals - blames the public sector for the mess the policies they push created?

no - it's public secotr union bashing, nto public sector per se

and again no, it just says that on average across most western nations public sector have much better (and more expensive) conditions than private, and right now this can no longer afforded, without even ascribing blame, as far as I can tell, for the wider global picture

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I'm in agreement with this comment. Private sector workers should be asking this in particular:

So it has finally happened. When I first entered the work force, public sector workers were payed less than the private sector. The upside was better long-term benefits.

Now, after three decades of war on the middle class, where wages for working people have all but stagnated, the complaint is that unionized public workers make too much?

This is just the next shameful chapter of an increasingly rich minority building a permanent aristocracy, and using understandable resentment to play working people off of one another.

Why is no one asking the opposite question? Why aren't workers benefiting from the incredible gains in productivity over the last 30 years? The goal should be for workers wages and benefits to rise to the level of these unionized employees.

And yes there will always be abuses in every system. So fix the abuses. But I'll take a $500,000. police chief over a multi-billion dollar Wall street crook, with the power to wreck the economy and the lives of millions, any day.

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I'm in agreement with this comment. Private sector workers should be asking this in particular:

So it has finally happened. When I first entered the work force, public sector workers were payed less than the private sector. The upside was better long-term benefits.

Now, after three decades of war on the middle class, where wages for working people have all but stagnated, the complaint is that unionized public workers make too much?

This is just the next shameful chapter of an increasingly rich minority building a permanent aristocracy, and using understandable resentment to play working people off of one another.

Why is no one asking the opposite question? Why aren't workers benefiting from the incredible gains in productivity over the last 30 years? The goal should be for workers wages and benefits to rise to the level of these unionized employees.

And yes there will always be abuses in every system. So fix the abuses. But I'll take a $500,000. police chief over a multi-billion dollar Wall street crook, with the power to wreck the economy and the lives of millions, any day.

Good points - I don't have the figures to hand, but I would say that if public sector pay has risen from a position below private sector pay at a rate above inflation, then there can justifiably be questions asked.

However, if public sector pay has risen with inflation or below and private sector has been below even that, then considering rocketing profits and CEO pay, as you say, it is the private sector that should be questioned first and not the public. Is this not a reasonable position?

Edited by shipbuilder

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Why is no one asking the opposite question? Why aren't workers benefiting from the incredible gains in productivity over the last 30 years? The goal should be for workers wages and benefits to rise to the level of these unionized employees.

And yes there will always be abuses in every system. So fix the abuses. But I'll take a $500,000. police chief over a multi-billion dollar Wall street crook, with the power to wreck the economy and the lives of millions, any day.

Well put! Roger Woddis's "Ethics for Everyman"

Throwing a bomb is bad,

Dropping a bomb is good;

Terror, no need to add,

Depends on who's wearing the hood.

Kangaroo courts are wrong.

Specialist courts are right;

Discipline by the strong

Is fair if your collar is white.

Company profit 'soars',

Wages, of course 'explode';

Profits deserve applause,

Pay claims, the criminal code.

Daily the Church declares

Betting shops are a curse;

Gambling with stocks and shares

Enlarges the national purse.

Workers are absentees,

Businessmen relax,

Different as chalk and cheese;

Social morality

Has a duality-

One for each side of the tracks

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Why is no one asking the opposite question? Why aren't workers benefiting from the incredible gains in productivity over the last 30 years? The goal should be for workers wages and benefits to rise to the level of these unionized employees.

I think equalising union power across the sectors and across politics would help, and at the same time equalising industry power (e.g. financial industry rentier influence over UK govt) should follow the same principle

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Let me guess - a magazine that pushed for more and more deregulation of the financial sector, that championed globalisation, and regards people as resources to be exploited, and national resources best served by being owned by multi-nationals - blames the public sector for the mess the policies they push created?

I love reading the Economist for this very reason. They were in thrall to the banks and "financial engineering" for most of the last decade, but when the wheels come off and the whole thing is unveiled as a sham, there isn't a coherent response. It's just time for even more deregulation. Now they are big proponents of AGW, can't wait to see how they'll try to wiggle out of that one if the whole edifice comes tumbling down in the next decade.

Perhaps someone should send the Economist the R4 Goat futures thing and they can have a listen. It's so true, it's sad.

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Very true that the public sector needs to be as productive as possible but unions are being unfairly bigged up as what is preventing change. There are many other factors such as the policy and legislation dictated from above. The unions don't create the jobs ;)

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There was an "entitlement" demo outside Huddersfield Railway Station this morning. Organised by Unison and about twenty people showed up (I can post photo's!).

Considering the council and the NHS are the biggest employers in this former mill town, that has got to be a disappointment for the organisers.

There is no need to flog a dead horse, the jig is up, and I suspect most public sector workers are aware of this.

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maybe not but they sure seem good at making sure you cant cut any?plus ca change

A misconception unfortunately. They're actually pretty rubbish at preventing job cuts these days. It's very rare there isn't some kind of compromise between unions and employers. How many strikes have we seen recently despite the fact that 10s of thousands on short-term contracts have gone from government departments in the last 8 months.

It amazes me how people get so stupid about this subject thinking the unions are some omnipotent job-protecting force. They aren't Perhaps Gordon Brown can show the Tories how to make big cuts and get them past the unions:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/moneybox/3863215.stm

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There is no need to flog a dead horse, the jig is up, and I suspect most public sector workers are aware of this.

I think perhaps so. I sense a degree of fear and pleading from some I have spoken to recently. They know damned-well how overconfident and cocky they were 5 years ago, they're not bad people really, but it was a hell of a party. Also hard line unions like UNISON may well have pulled the wool over the eyes of previosu generations of uneducated physical workers, but I suspect there isn't a lot of intellectual respect for old fashioned hardline unionists amongst them.

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There was an "entitlement" demo outside Huddersfield Railway Station this morning. Organised by Unison and about twenty people showed up (I can post photo's!).

Considering the council and the NHS are the biggest employers in this former mill town, that has got to be a disappointment for the organisers.

There is no need to flog a dead horse, the jig is up, and I suspect most public sector workers are aware of this.

Realistically 80%+ of those who want to keep jobs in the public sector will survive. Rest will be natural wastage and VR on favourable terms. They know this.

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Blaming public sector unions for all the government's current ills seems to be all the rage on both sides of the atlantic. E

Whilst I do agree that the public sector workforce is taking the piss thanks to their unionisation and waste and pensions in that sector need to be sorted out, the real cause of the economic problem is the financial system and until that is sorted out we won't be seeing any improvement in the economy.

I wish that the commentators would tackle the leeches in Wall Street and the City instead of scapegoating others.

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Blaming public sector unions for all the government's current ills seems to be all the rage on both sides of the atlantic. E

Whilst I do agree that the public sector workforce is taking the piss thanks to their unionisation and waste and pensions in that sector need to be sorted out, the real cause of the economic problem is the financial system and until that is sorted out we won't be seeing any improvement in the economy.

I wish that the commentators would tackle the leeches in Wall Street and the City instead of scapegoating others.

Unions (and public sector workers) are only scapegoats because the bank bailouts have to be paid (in part) through dismantling of public sector services. It's the same in every country just about. The degree of success on a country by country basis depends on how well protected workers are. UK workers are relatively poorly protected and hence unions are going to be pretty ineffective. Cuts will happen. The unions will compromise. It's a non-story in the UK really and why the Economist has gone so big on this angle is beyond me.

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I remember reading a lead by them in 2003(iirc) about the global housing bubble.

I'm sure you did. But anyone of above average intelligence noticed a housing bubble... hell, I bought a flat in London circa 2000 and thought I was overpaying for it then!

The question is this - how did the policies of laissez faire economics / light touch regulation that they have been championing, contribute to the credit (not housing) bubble that engulfed the world from 2001 on? What are their proposed solutions? How is globalisation (another Economist favourite) working out for the average working person in the USA or Europe? Not quite as well as they would have told you it would be if you asked in the mid-90s I'll wager ;)

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I'm sure you did. But anyone of above average intelligence noticed a housing bubble... hell, I bought a flat in London circa 2000 and thought I was overpaying for it then!

The question is this - how did the policies of laissez faire economics / light touch regulation that they have been championing, contribute to the credit (not housing) bubble that engulfed the world from 2001 on? What are their proposed solutions? How is globalisation (another Economist favourite) working out for the average working person in the USA or Europe? Not quite as well as they would have told you it would be if you asked in the mid-90s I'll wager ;)

Working out fine for all directors at RBS from what I can see.

Apparently it is easy to freeze pay and cut jobs at your local council but impossible at a bank where the government owns over 75% of the share equity.

Obviously the miners of the 1980s who got chucked on the scrapheap simply made the mistake of joining he wrong state subsidised industry

Who could have known it ?

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I'm sure you did. But anyone of above average intelligence noticed a housing bubble... hell, I bought a flat in London circa 2000 and thought I was overpaying for it then!

The question is this - how did the policies of laissez faire economics / light touch regulation that they have been championing, contribute to the credit (not housing) bubble that engulfed the world from 2001 on? What are their proposed solutions? How is globalisation (another Economist favourite) working out for the average working person in the USA or Europe? Not quite as well as they would have told you it would be if you asked in the mid-90s I'll wager ;)

Since (and because of) the inflation crisis of the 1970s, Keynesianism lost the argument to Monetarism: inflation targeting, independent central banks, etc. And it was working very well, until Alan Greenspan and Gordon Brown mismanaged it. Perhaps because of 9/11, they kept interest rates too low for too long, inflating this huge credit/debt/assets prices bubble. They made a mistake.

This was a crisis of mismanagement, not of ideology. Nobody actually defends total laissez faire economics any more. Not even The Economist magazine. And central planning is not a valid alternative either - the intellectual debate about that is over, and has been over for a few decades, since the "Swedish Model" in the 70s replaced it as the left's thinking man favourite. Clinton and Blair followed its general lines.

Regarding global trade, it has had a very positive NET effect on this planet's development. Think of the progress since the industrial revolution, across the West. Now this process is just spreading further. It is good. real salaries in china are going up already. And China's trade surplus is just around 5% of its GDP. Most of its increasing production is been consumed internally. Which is great, cause they really need that.

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Since (and because of) the inflation crisis of the 1970s, Keynesianism lost the argument to Monetarism: inflation targeting, independent central banks, etc. And it was working very well, until Alan Greenspan and Gordon Brown mismanaged it. Perhaps because of 9/11, they kept interest rates too low for too long, inflating this huge credit/debt/assets prices bubble. They made a mistake.

This was a crisis of mismanagement, not of ideology. Nobody actually defends total laissez faire economics any more. Not even The Economist magazine. And central planning is not a valid alternative either - the intellectual debate about that is over, and has been over for a few decades, since the "Swedish Model" in the 70s replaced it as the left's thinking man favourite. Clinton and Blair followed its general lines.

So what amounted effectively to fraud, implemented using opaque financial instruments (MBS) falsely rated as AAA had nothing to do with things? And rather conveniently, I don't see you make any mention of the banking fraternity's keenness to grant credit to those who could never repay it, even in a boom economy?

Regarding global trade, it has had a very positive NET effect on this planet's development. Think of the progress since the industrial revolution, across the West. Now this process is just spreading further. It is good. real salaries in china are going up already. And China's trade surplus is just around 5% of its GDP. Most of its increasing production is been consumed internally. Which is great, cause they really need that.

The problem with globalisation is that the main benefits are being enjoyed by the top 10% of large corporations, but the pain is being delivered to working people across the globe.

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This was a crisis of mismanagement, not of ideology. Nobody actually defends total laissez faire economics any more. Not even The Economist magazine.

The ideology justified the failure of regulation and management- non interference was their job, according to the ideology.

The economist is just the house magazine of an intellectually bankrupt , bought and paid for support network for the elite- with very few exceptions the economics profession not only drank the kool aid, they bathed in the stuff.

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So what amounted effectively to fraud, implemented using opaque financial instruments (MBS) falsely rated as AAA had nothing to do with things? And rather conveniently, I don't see you make any mention of the banking fraternity's keenness to grant credit to those who could never repay it, even in a boom economy?

As I wrote before, bankers have always been greedy b@stards, for centuries, and in all countries. That does not explain the bubble, that happened mainly in the USA and UK, mainly from 2003 to 2007. It was a failure of monetary policy, both interest rates too low for too long, and regulation.

And "the elites" didn't benefit from this crisis. The real bankers, the shareholders, lost hundreds of billions of pounds, whilst some bank directors and top traders got away with a few billion pounds bonuses. They robbed each other, and the whole system had a huge NET loss. It was a global disaster.

The problem with globalisation is that the main benefits are being enjoyed by the top 10% of large corporations, but the pain is being delivered to working people across the globe.

2 or 3 centuries of economic history indicates that populations have also benefited, massively. You must know that.

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The ideology justified the failure of regulation and management- non interference was their job, according to the ideology.

The economist is just the house magazine of an intellectually bankrupt , bought and paid for support network for the elite- with very few exceptions the economics profession not only drank the kool aid, they bathed in the stuff.

If Greenspan and Brown had kept a responsible and competent Monetary policy, we would not have had this huge credit bubble/crisis.

Brown even went out of his way, tampering with the inflation index in Dec 2003 (removing housing costs from it), to prevent the BoE from raising IRs in 2004 - "coincidentally", a pre-electoral year.

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As I wrote before, bankers have always been greedy b@stards, for centuries, and in all countries. That does not explain the bubble, that happened mainly in the USA and UK, mainly from 2003 to 2007. It was a failure of monetary policy, both interest rates too low for too long, and regulation.

So you are agreeing with me - "the light touch, leave it to the market to sort things out" championed by the Economist in the 90s has failed spectacularly. The banks have been left to their own devices by governments who swallowed the Milton Friedman-esque style policies of non-intervention. Sorry, I mean only not intervening until the banks need a taxpayer funded handout, and then of course any level of intervention is permissible :lol:

2 or 3 centuries of economic history indicates that populations have also benefited, massively. You must know that.

Only when they had someone outside of the companies - like a government and/or a union looking out for their interests. When you leave it to corporations, all you end up with is exploitation at both ends <-- You are here.

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