It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

In or Out (1)

Posted by chrisrick13 on October 21, 2015

It is obvious: my cat is a genius

During the last week the problems of steel companies have been mentioned much in papers and on radio and tv.  I wonder how much it will be mentioned next week?

The problems arise because Chinese steel is being ‘dumped on the market’ at below production-cost prices.  I wonder that not more is made of the actions of my local Sainsbury.  When I shop in the afternoon I often see packs of stir fry vegetables on the shelves, dumped on the market at well below production prices.  I see it in many shops.

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth that we need to support our steel industry as it is essential to the welfare of the country.  Why?  Not seen that argument.  The leader of the TUC inferred yesterday that is part of the ‘real economy’.  I hope someone will ask her which bits of the economy are real and which bits are imaginary.

Apart from task forces and promises what can be done?  In most people’s thoughts is that we should give the steel companies money.  If we had a bulging sovereign fund, no debts and were running budget surpluses it would be an easy call.  As we have massive debts and already spend more than we receive and there is not sovereign fund it becomes more of a problem.

Why not just buy our steel at the best price we can from whoever will sell it to us?

The problem cannot be fixed in the UK as the culprit, the Chinese steel, is not bought in the UK.  It is bought elsewhere and by that action reduces prices everywhere else.  It is called a market.  Banning Chinese steel in this country or putting a surcharge on it will not do any good.

Doing that Europe-wide might work as much of the steel is bought there.  The EU has ‘muscle’.  If we are not in the EU then we can’t get it to happen I am told.  But we are in so, of course, the EU will jump to our requests and get on with stopping the Chinese from doing it?  We have put in a request to the appropriate part of the EU to consider action to be taken.  Is this influence!  Is this prompt action?

I think that the chances of ever getting the EU to do anything we want are very small.  So not being in the EU will not damage us one jot.  Perhaps the steel industry would be a good recipient of the net payments to the EU that we now make?

It is obvious: my cat is a genius – I see her sitting on the fence, unmoving, for hours at a time every day.

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6 Responses to “In or Out (1)”

  1. Mark said

    “It is called a market.”

    Would you like to buy a bridge?

    Think back a few decades. Japanese electronics manufacturers sold televisions cheaper and cheaper. And they kept doing so for year after year. Below production cost; yes, of course.

    American manufactures couldn’t compete and, one by one, fell off the perch.

    Having eliminated the competition, guess what happened next? It is called a market.

    IMHO the only thing worse than staying in Europe would be leaving Europe. Discuss. In particular, if you have the time, read
    http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21673509-all-accounts-its-cold-outside-alternative-lifestyles

    As I have bored you with many times, I am a recent convert to The Economist. It is full of well-written and informative articles. I’m sure it is not unbiased, but they do a pretty good job of seeming to be.

    I didn’t realise you still had a cat.

    • Grumpy said

      There are undoubtedly many reasons to stay in Europe just as there are many to leave. There isn’t a nice solution that allows us to take the best bits and to dump the bits of the EU that we don’t like. David C feels he can negotiate and give us the ideal, I don’t think he can.

      I would rather like to live in a democratic country but ours is only partially so. MEPs are sent by us to sit in Brussels but the matters that they deliberate on are not the ones that matter most. The more important issues are decided by the heads of state and by heads of state I mean (mostly) Germany although there is usually some attempt (fudge) to reach a consencus. I don’t know what the MEPs do, although this may be the fault of the UK press rather than the EU but my impression is that the have large expense accounts and talk about trivialities.

      I do agree with the point about Steel, it could be that the market is being manipulated to drive out competition so that the remaining suppliers can set their own agenda. I have no idea but certainly don’t trust ‘big business’ to be playing fair.

      I too didn’t realize that you now had a cat – can you supply details?

      • With ill-considered haste we abandoned the Commonwealth to join the EU. Countries and people who had some regard for the UK unlike Europe. Not only did they have regard but they also had (and still have) resources! Do you remember New Zealand lamb? This was a loose relationship that benefited all…didn’t it? It was also a loose relationship even with the Queen as head of state for lots of them. It worked and so did EFTA. The close union intended for Europe won’t work and we won’t benefit. But I’ll try and prove that we can if the evidence is there.

      • Mark said

        I do remember New Zealand lamb. A product that is deep-frozen and then shipped 11,000 miles to try and put English and Welsh farmers out of business. I will never, ever buy it. Please consider buying local produce.

    • There are two themes here and they are mixed up. My fault.

      Mr Market is brutal. Trouble is he works and works well – if left on his own. Subsidising steel production in China will destroy the industry in this country and many other places as well – maybe. I might argue that it is no bad thing. Complex argument but we destroyed car production in this country in the 70’s… We destroyed coal production as well and the docks in London and fishing in the North Sea. The situation now in all those cases is not one that would have been expected. (As an aside the ecological effects of dumping our refuse in the North Sea has also turned out much better than expected.)

      I think that nothing can be done about dumping of Chinese steel in our markets. Any action will just be one of getting our manufacturing to use expensive steel in products that are competing with manufacturing in other countries using cheap Chinese steel. I know who has the bigger pockets to play that game.

      The point is that this market intervention is something that needs big action and deep pockets. Something that you might think that the EU would excel at and is precisely what it is there for. That failure counts as a refutation of one of the ‘in’ reasons for EU membership.

      I will count theses reasons in both directions over coming months. I cannot find unbiased writing and do not trust statistics that I see. So I will damn well do my own ‘research’. We are going to make a huge decision quite soon and it will be based on propaganda from one of two opposed groups. It will not be made on considered reasoning of facts by any of us I fear.

      I’ll raise my colours. Nearly everything from the ‘in’ group seems to be a counter-factual argument. The ‘out’ group are not to be trusted. They are less not to be trusted than the ‘in’ group. I will test that out over coming months if I can.

      • Grumpy said

        I think you are right in saying that vested interests on both sides are obscuring the true facts about EU membership. I also think that the national interests of the country (Germany) who has the greatest say in the EU tend to take priority. In plain terms I don’t trust either the politicians or the media to give us an unbiased view of membership so that a rational decision can be taken. It is not a simple decision and they are major drawbacks either way. That is unless Cameron can negotiate a deal for us (fat chance!).

        Changing the subject; has anyone noticed that the migrant pictures in the press on close-up always show distressed mums clutching babies (or similar) while the larger shots of groups show 90% young men (perhaps with a wizened OAP/mum & baby in front). They all know that a sob-shot sells more papers (or viewing figures)! On the other hand the Mum & baby shots are usually in the pro press while the young-men shots in the anti camp. Any idea what the age/sex demographic actually is – can’t seem to find it anywhere?

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