Privatisation and nationalisation

swansonj

Regular
This has been touched on in other threads and I thought it deserved a thread of its own.

Some of us start with a deep-seated principle that the means of managing collective life should be run for the collective benefit.

Some of us start with a deep-seated principle that private enterprise is the best way to deliver anything.

Then there are arguments on grounds of pragmatic success and failure rather than principle. With privatised utilities, money goes out of the system to shareholders as dividends, money that wouldn't have to be raised from us the users if they were nationalised. Privatised companies are incentivised in a direct financial way, which nationalised companies aren't, to be more efficient and to cut costs, which is both good and bad - good to be more efficient (although if that is achieved by employing fewer people, and them on poorer terms, it's not a simple good thing), but bad when investment in maintenance, safety, innovation etc is reduced. Nationalised companies can, in principle, act in the national good and with a long-term perspective - privatised companies will only do that if their regulator is clever enough to incentivise them to do that. And nationalised companies stay part of this nation, privatised companies can and do end up in foreign hands.

What sayest thou?
 

Adam4868

Legendary Member
How about the big six energy companies made more than a billion in profits before this latest price hikes and it's only going to get worse.
We might have been well on our way to a lot of this had we voted for Labour at the last election....no I won't shut up about Corbyn ! Saying that Labour under Starmer don't look like there prepared to say where they are on this.
I prefer the term public ownership....but yes I'm all for it !
 

AuroraSaab

Über Member
I think many of us wouldn't object if utilities, railways etc were publicly owned. In the past nationalised industries didn't have a great record of being well run but that's the fault of those in power, it's not an intrinsic fault of being public owned. The issue for me is how can they be taken into public ownership without it costing the tax payer a fortune in compensation.
 
The issue for me is how can they be taken into public ownership without it costing the tax payer a fortune in compensation.
I have an idea :smile:

Joking aside, we pump government money into most of them to make them viable or at least attractive to the market. Remove the subsidies in the right way and the current owners will be happy to hand them back.

Rail should be the easiest as they are all - I think - franchises with fixed terms.
 

Rusty Nails

Upright Member
The power utilities will be the most complicated to buy as they are a network of suppliers/carriers at different stages of the generation/exploration process, the vast majority of which are owned by shareholders including large pension funds who would have to be paid a fair value for their shares.
 

BoldonLad

Old man on a bike. Not a member of a clique.
Location
South Tyneside
I have an idea :smile:

Joking aside, we pump government money into most of them to make them viable or at least attractive to the market. Remove the subsidies in the right way and the current owners will be happy to hand them back.

Rail should be the easiest as they are all - I think - franchises with fixed terms.

Could we not apply that logic to one of (if not the) biggest swallower of subsidies, and Nationalise Farming?
 

Adam4868

Legendary Member
Could we not apply that logic to one of (if not the) biggest swallower of subsidies, and Nationalise Farming?
What problem would that fix?

Farming doesn’t seem to me to be an activity that fits well into a nationally coordinated structure. Maybe a better idea would be to help farms become diverse and able to serve their local economy. @mudsticks will be able to say whether smaller enterprises can be scaled sufficiently to feed us all. Is there scope to exert a bit more control over the distribution and retail chain?
 

Milkfloat

Active Member
I shudder to think about going back to the Post Office / British Telecom days. I just don’t see how nationalisation the way we used to do things would work. I would prefer to see more of a social, non profit making bent on private companies.
 

Adam4868

Legendary Member
I shudder to think about going back to the Post Office / British Telecom days. I just don’t see how nationalisation the way we used to do things would work. I would prefer to see more of a social, non profit making bent on private companies.
I presume by Post Office you mean Royal Mail ? What was so bad about it before selling it off ? Just curious.
 

Milkfloat

Active Member
I presume by Post Office you mean Royal Mail ? What was so bad about it before selling it off ? Just curious.
I was referring to the good old days when the Post Office which then became British Telecom ran the phone system in a nationalised system. It was a bit of a disaster to say the least.
 

mudsticks

Legendary Member
What problem would that fix?

Farming doesn’t seem to me to be an activity that fits well into a nationally coordinated structure. Maybe a better idea would be to help farms become diverse and able to serve their local economy. @mudsticks will be able to say whether smaller enterprises can be scaled sufficiently to feed us all. Is there scope to exert a bit more control over the distribution and retail chain?

Don't get me started on how we could adjust agriculture, agricultural support, and supply networks, to support food security, combat climate change, and encourage biodiversity, whilst ensuring fairer returns to producers.

I've gone on about it often enough on here.
And elsewhere.

It's not so much scaling up smaller mixed and diverse enterprises more encouraging their proliferation.

Lots more people could be involved in this work, making a living from satisfying meaningful occupation, there are plenty who do want to.

But there are a lot of barriers to taking it up, some of which could be addressed by government yes.

All of the above is what quite a bit of my union work is about already ..
 

Adam4868

Legendary Member
We were never going to be close to it for a very long time, no matter who was in charge of the Labour Party. It is a hugely complicated step in the 21st century that would need a lot more than ideology and good intentions to make it succeed.
Disagree but we'll never really know now....but in keeping with trolling you it's why Corbyn lost the last election if you didn't know ?
This one's for @theclaud 😁

View: https://twitter.com/Tony_Robinson/status/1206521048935682049?t=pvXcGAoLB2zgUlirLFLzVg&s=19
 
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