David Thompson
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September 10, 2014

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Rafi

Paul Krugman and Polly Toynbee are awfully concerned by how much you earn. Themselves, not so much.

It's easy to be 'altruistic' with someone else's money.

David

It’s easy to be ‘altruistic’ with someone else’s money.

Or as Theodore Dalrymple put it, “Generosity at the expense of others, whether it be financial or moral, is not generosity; it is moral exhibitionism.”

Connor

Dr Shachar is careful not to explain the “contribution to society” made by her own work,

If we don't waste taxpayers money on make-work schemes for people with useless degrees what will happen to them? Don't you care about unemployed gender studies lecturers?!

Jonathan

"Queering Disasters in the Antipodes"
I thought it was a new, Australian, version of 'Queer eye for the Straight Guy'.

mojo

A lot of skateboarders in Afghanistan, are there?

Hal

A lot of skateboarders in Afghanistan, are there?

It's one of those If you build it, they will come concepts, where if you just import enough skateboards, then following that, insert hand waving . . .

WTP

It's one of those If you build it, they will come concepts, where if you just import enough skateboards, then following that, insert hand waving . . .

No, no, no...you don't import the skateboards, you build massive skateboard infrastructure via more massive government spending combined with tax cuts financed via increased debt. Then theose who built the infrastructure and the bureaucrats who stood around and watched now have money to buy skateboards....that they, uh...built. Cart then horse.

Hal

No, no, no...you don't import the skateboards, . . . .

Ah, yes, that would be the hand waving . . . .

Jacob

Polly belongs to a class of people for whom altruism is defined not by giving their own time and money, but by voting to have the state take more of other people’s earnings… Given that this entails the coercion of a great many third parties, it’s a strange definition of compassion and philanthropy… As Polly’s conscience is apparently troubled more by what you earn and keep than by what she earns and keeps, that life-changing gesture, that personal action, will simply have to wait.

That.

Watcher in the dark

'Paul Krugman and Polly Toynbee are awfully concerned by how much you earn. Themselves, not so much.'

But it is a fair bet that, as correct-thinking socialists, their earnings are considerably higher than yours. Happily, they aim to keep it that way.

Reversed Cap Uniform

'No, no, no...you don't import the skateboards, you build massive skateboard infrastructure via more massive government spending'

The curious thing about skateboarders is that most of them are highly unlikely to vote for anyone no matter how glorious the skateboard arena provided. Most of them are too young for a start.

I know someone who works in a local park and they told me they loathe the skateboarders more than anyone because da yoofs make all sorts of demands and never, ever clear up the considerable mess they make.

Stuck-Record

I can understand socialists who have very little, and desire to take from those who have more. This is basic uncomplicated avarice and jealousy – the socialist substitutes for ambition.

Rich Polly et al suffer from guilt at their own grand lifestyles. But the guilt doesn't lead to a Franciscan desire to level themselves down with the unfortunates, or a right-wing ambition to raise the lowly up to their level (and hopefully beyond). Instead it tries to take from everybody else to keep the lowly sustained at a slightly higher level (as long as it doesn't affect Polly et al in any material or sociological way – i.e. the poor not wanting to take their advice, or become right-wing or ambitious).

It is the very definition of selfishness and small 'c' conservatism. "May my position in the world be protected".

Pure naked greed.

Minnow

Rich Polly et al suffer from guilt at their own grand lifestyles. But the guilt doesn't lead to a Franciscan desire to level themselves down with the unfortunates

No, but why should it? Polly doesn't want the world to be poor, she wants the poor to be richer. She isn't a socialist any more than Paul Krugman is, so I don't really see the hypocrisy. They are not saying that private property is wrong, just that the tax system should be slightly readjusted. I thin ad hominems about lifestyle when it comes to environmentalism hit home harder, like Littlejohn's go at Polly on question Time, but the money thing is just silly. (Unless Krugman is hiding his money from the tax men in ways he has denounced, but he isn't, is he?)

Stuck-Record

Minnow, as I said, Polly, like other rich lefties, doesn't want the poor to be richer. There are endless articles in the Guardian et al about how evil money is per se. And that the poor (especially brown poor people) should aspire to more rooted spiritual lives, and not be seduced by consumerism.

She and her kind (Monbiot springs to mind here), are keen on the poor having a bit more money – but not too much. And it should be taken, by force, from those who don't want to give it, or would like some choice about who deserves to recieve it.

The poor definitely shouldn't have frequent airline flights, expensive kitchens and houses, cars, posh restaurants etc, in short, the kind of lifestyles that Polly and her peers enjoy themselves.

This goes to heart of their hypocrisy.

Minnow

And it should be taken, by force, from those who don't want to give it, or would like some choice about who deserves to recieve it.

I think too many things are getting lumped together to make much sense, but I think this particular point is a bit daft if it just means what I think means (taxation). Surely nobody is really against taxation. Can you imagine what a pace with no taxation would look like?

The Jannie

Those junior grubbers have qualifications to match those of the average politician.

Stuck-Record

Always a helpful notion that one doesn't make sense. It would be perhaps more helpful to know why rather than a general Patrician waving of the hand in my direction.

But yes I can imagine a world without taxation. I'm not, however, arguing for it, simply stating that some people who are taxed do argue thus. They have a right to that position along with all the other positions of 'too much tax', 'spent in the wrong places', 'incompetently or ideologically administered'.

Polly's position, again, is that SHE and her fellow rich people get to decide what those who have less than her should pay in tax (more), and what they should spend it on (things that Polly thinks are important).

This hypocritical position is excused because there are people who have more money than Polly and her friends, and they don't share her ideology.

My own position is that tax is a deeply unpleasant necessity that corrupts the Govt who collect it, and can infantilise those who receive it.

Rob

How many of those useless twats from "Generation Y" are still alive/working there? My money is on the ones related to senior Guardian staff by blood.

Minnow

But yes I can imagine a world without taxation.

Well, I thought you could imagine it, what I meant was imagine how horrifying it would be. And I think you agree with that and therefore accept the necessity of taxation. And if we both accept that taxation is morally acceptable or even required the question is just how much from whom and to whom. I am with Polly, more from the super-rich (why not, what would it matter to them) and more to the poor. I don't think we should reduce anyone to penury though.

Minnow

I always want someone to ask the super-rich, when they are complaining about the injustice of higher taxation, what actual effect it might have on their lives, what things they wouldn't be able to do. I am genuinely curious. When you are bringing in £10 million a year (say) what it is they can't have if theirtake bill goes up 1%? What actual material difference will it make to them? Another Lambourghini? A third aeroplane? Can wanting that extra bit of super-luxury really be worth he time and effort of complaining? I think it is genuinely curious.

wtp

Christ, it's back. IIRC, it disappeared when someone suggested that it given its numerous postings that perhaps it should hit the tip jar. Don't know if it ever did but perhaps someone (not me) should ask it. Given its numerous pronouncements regarding financial matters and what belongs to whom and such I propose that it be ignored until we have some confirmation that it has hit the tip jar. Just a proposal.

Minnow

You mean me WTP? I am person just like you, 'he' or 'she' will do fine. I don't think my financial concerns are any of your business (and I am surprised that you think they should be), but if you want to go first and let us see your tax returns, I will do it too. Let me know.

Smudger

I figured he went to North Korea, having been tipped over the edge by the video that David showcased a while ago.

"It's... all... so... BEAUTIFUL!"

Or something.

Ian Goodwin

the question is just how much from whom and to whom.”

If only it were that simple. The ‘necessity’ of taxation depends on how the state chooses to spend its takings.

Anyone who has read, say, “Burning Our Money” by Mike Denham, would know that the UK state wastes (or burns) collossal amounts of money, to which neither the poor, nor the middle and upper classes should be expected to contribute any more than is (legally) necessary.

Why is there always this blind assumption - from the Left - that the tax system in its present state needs super-rich members of society to contribute more towards it? The system itself is unsustainable at present, and greater contributions from the super-rich will do nothing to change that.

David

I don’t really see the hypocrisy.

To return, at least briefly, to the point of the post in question… Toynbee was eager to demonise those she calls “fat cats” as “the profoundly entitled” – anti-social villains who are “untouched by a sense of propriety” and whose “unjust rewards” are a sign of “private sector kleptocracy.” Apparently, we should dislike such people because of their salary. And yet Ms Toynbee doesn’t regard her own six-figure income as in any way problematic, despite earning more than many of the people she would have us dislike solely on grounds of how much they earn. She, it seems, has no reason to feel “shame” or to regard her earnings as “extravagant” or “unjust.”

Indeed, she was indignant that anyone should regard her own earnings and behaviour as relevant, as perhaps casting light on her credibility and professed moral convictions. Pressed on this, Ms Toynbee was evasive and dismissed those asking her such questions as “malevolent.” Don’t forget she was saying all this – about other people’s “unjust rewards” - while accepting £106,000 a year from an employer, the chronically loss-making Guardian, that was making staff redundant by the dozen. As with many of her colleagues, she seems to imagine herself as exempt from the moralising and demonising she so eagerly aims at others, perhaps on grounds that she makes the approved noises and claims to feel the right way.

Hence the word chaff.

DH

Another Lambourghini? A third aeroplane? Can wanting that extra bit of super-luxury really be worth he time and effort of complaining?

Yes, the question of why someone might want to spend their own money on whatever they see fit, rather than handing even more of it over to the state to spend on god knows what is certainly something that keeps me awake at night.

Minnow, would you care to join me in setting an example to these super rich heathens? Each time I reach for my own equivalent of another Lambourghini - maybe an £8 bottle of red out of Aldi - I'm going to resist the urge, think of the greater good and send that £8 to the treasury. I mean, what actual effect might it have on my life? It really isn't worth the time or effort to complain so I am happy to just shut up, open my wallet and keep on paying. I believe that through this simple but noble act, together we can achieve socialist nirvana.

wtp

OK, breaking my own rule here but...

You mean me WTP? I am person just like you, 'he' or 'she' will do fine.

A person just like me? I don't think so. I know that I'm a 'he' and not a 'she'. I suspect there may be other differences.

Sorry for the OT, David.

Minnow

Toynbee was eager to demonise those she calls “fat cats” as “the profoundly entitled” – anti-social villains who are “untouched by a sense of propriety” and whose “unjust rewards” are a sign of “private sector kleptocracy.” Apparently, we should dislike such people because of their salary.

No, I think Toynbee's point is that we should despise these people because they come by their money dishonestly. Toynbee is wealthy from personal effort. She writes something and if people think it is worth enough money thy pay to buy it. The kleptocrats that she despises are robbing society of money by running, for example, vast corrupt banking enterprises that depend on enormous payments from the state to enrich the managers. These payments are transfers of money from the relatively poor to the enormously rich. Payments that they can guarantee through their political influence. Surely after 2008 we can all see that she was basically right?

Minnow

Minnow, would you care to join me in setting an example to these super rich heathens? Each time I reach for my own equivalent of another Lambourghini - maybe an £8 bottle of red out of Aldi - I'm going to resist the urge, think of the greater good and send that £8 to the treasury.

But not having a bottle of wine would be a real, material loss for me. It would diminish my life substantially. It would be a genuine sacrifice. But what sacrifice does someone earning, say, £10 million a year make if the next year she only takes £9 million because she has paid more tax? I am genuinely interested. What is it that she can't buy? Is it just that these people like having money for its own sake? So much that they will give up time so that they can have more of it? I think it must be but it seems to me so strange.

David

Minnow,

You’re much too willing to excuse Ms Toynbee’s hypocrisy. Her comments weren’t aimed solely at people who, as you put it, “come by their money dishonestly.” It was a blanket condemnation of “the rich” – hence her enthusiasm for a “bill… to make every public limited company print on the cover of its annual report the ratio of its highest-paid executive’s salary to that of its bottom 10% of employees.” And so, as usual, she rails against “extravagant earners… the 1.5% who earn over £100,000.” Which is to say, people who earn much the same as she does, and in many cases slightly less - a detail Ms Toynbee chose not to disclose to readers. The size of a person’s salary is apparently sufficient grounds for disliking them and subjecting them to public shaming.

Minnow

Well, I do think she says silly things sometimes and she doesn't always (ahem) fully grasp the data she is dealing with, but I don't think there is any hypocrisy here. She is right that lots and lots of managers in public companies are, effectively, stealing money by conspiring in fixing salaries much higher then are earned. That is a different thing than just getting paid a lot for what you make and it matters because it effects the economy and therefore society as a whole. Pointing this out is valuable and if we had listened sooner, we may have avoided the crash, but people swallowed the propaganda dealt out by the legions of Fred The Shreds. I did.

David

but I don’t think there is any hypocrisy here.

I’m not sure how much clearer I can make it. If you and Polly want to wave your fists at publicly subsidised bankers and various cronies, I doubt you’ll get much argument from the regulars here, or from me. But that isn’t what Toynbee actually said. Her comments are much wider. And that detail matters.

Minnow

Consider my fist waved. Yes here comments were wider, they included the management publicly owned companies, and she is right about that too, in my view. We are still watching the management to failing or barely succeeding companies ward themselves enormous salaries while squeezing the income of the workers further down the ladder. People need to see what they are up to if we want to stop it.

Rafi

We are still watching the management to failing or barely succeeding companies ward themselves enormous salaries while squeezing the income of the workers further down the ladder.

"Up to 100 staff from the company's 900-strong commercial and advertising department will be made redundant in the latest attempt to stem losses which currently run at £100,000 per day. In August GMG reported that it had lost £89.8m… The company's financial position has become so precarious that it went to the very brink of closing down the 200-year-old Observer earlier this year… Despite the losses, Mr Rusbridger received an 11pc pay rise last year to £445,000."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/6762972/Guardian-News-and-Media-staff-to-find-out-where-the-axe-will-fall.html

Polly will be on this story any day now.

Smudger

Nope, I'm not having it. Minnow is doing this for shits and giggles. He cannot possibly be in earnest.

...we should despise these people because they come by their money dishonestly. Toynbee is wealthy from personal effort. She writes something and if people think it is worth enough money thy pay to buy it.

LOL. Welcome to Bizarro World.

Minnow

Go on Smudger, try to say why it's wrong. I dare you.

DH

Meanwhile, in the deranged Guardian mirror universe, dastardly white men are going into pubs together and getting drunk on privilege in the general vicinity of women.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/12/sports-bar-women-no-bro-zone

David

dastardly white men are going into pubs together and getting drunk on privilege in the general vicinity of women.

Oh dear. I get the impression her mind isn’t a happy place.

The Cygnet

As a (33 year old, litter picking-up) skateboarding reader, I would point out that https://www.skateistan.org/ seems like a pretty damned worthy project to me, and that skateboarding as a wider movement has been a hugely important cultural force for good. Of course very few NGOs operate without any state funding, but this lot at least have the backing of big private players too, including the Tony Hawk Foundation and lots of big skateboard companies. The skateboard industry is largely a story of unbridled free market success based on grassroots 'skin in the game' entrepreneurialism, by the way, and is noteworthy as such. Just about all of the companies involved were started by skateboarders and the majority are still run by them---no IPOs and very, very few corporate takeovers to be seen there. It's really the sort of thing that should be applauded around here.

Urban art responding to climate change though? $164k to conclude: 'No aerosol cans for you!'

wtp

Sadly, I originally read that link as "...no-bra-zone" so I had to click. Even more sadly, simply scanning I came across this bon mot:

Or perhaps it comes down to statistics: I’m white, and white people are most likely to be raped and murdered by other white people.

So perhaps she should move to South Central LA where there are very few white people. She'll be much safer there and probably save boat loads on rent.

Hal

dastardly white men are going into pubs together

Lessee . . .

. . . the restaurant next door, which had been an expensive small-plates place when I decamped in April, had closed. It is now a sports bar.

. . . Soooo . . . She makes a point to move near hipsters . . . and she's still near hipsters.

. . . I can understand and regularly experience the annoyance of having to provide an example of having and using synapses instead of being a hipster, but she does admit to making the initial choice.

Ehn. As far as generating masses of print over nothing, Mark Twain still did it better.

Hal

Or perhaps it comes down to statistics: I’m white, and white people are most likely to be raped and murdered by other white people.

So perhaps she should move to South Central LA where there are very few white people.

Also, given that statistically the greatest number of accidents occur at home, then she clearly needs to never go home, to better be certain that she never encounters accidents.

Henry

dastardly white men are going into pubs together and getting drunk on privilege in the general vicinity of women

And one of the apparently female commentators says:

I've called myself a feminist since the mid 1980s. From today, mostly due to the women's pages in The Guardian, I no longer will. It's insular, immature, self-serving and frankly, to most women, irrelevant. I'm sure this was a fabulously transformative experience for the author but, like when somebody tells you about their acid trip, it would be better if she kept it to herself

I imagine she's hardly alone. Yet the Guardian still need to print inflammatory pieces, otherwise they would have no reason to exist. So the Graun may ironically be the ones to kill feminism :)

Might mention that idea to them, just to mess with their heads...

wtp

So the Graun may ironically be the ones to kill feminism :)

I don't know about ironic, perhaps that's been the idea all along? F*CK THE PATRIARCHY!

Hal

Hmmm. And we have additional news of goings on around bars, with very documented white people in a drunken brawl and an interesting right hook.

Along with the stretch hummer too . . .

Laban

"After university I headed to Afghanistan to produce multimedia for a skateboard charity."

Shades of the great Harry Hutton

http://chasemeladies.blogspot.co.uk/2006/08/frank-chalk-august-15th-level-results.html

"Pippa von Humbolt-Parker (second from left; 19 'A's) plans to spend her gap year in the Congo, teaching Pygmies to bungee jump."

Smudger

I done been dared by Minnow.

Where to start? How about rejecting your – and Toynbee’s – impossibly reductive and insulting binary of The Dishonest and Evil Rich on one side and The Honest and Virtuous Non-Rich (And The Honest and Virtuous Leftist Rich) on the other.

As David has pointed out, Toynbee isn’t limiting Teh Hate to one category of Teh Rich: we are encouraged to “despise” (your word) anyone and everyone who pockets more than a certain amount. Purely out of envy and spite, if I have read PT’s dribblings and your own comments right. (With added hypocrisy in Toynbee’s case, of course).

What else to ascribe a wish to reduce a theoretical rich person’s post-tax earnings from £10 million to £9 million, but spite? You rhetorically muse what “sacrifice” the loss of £1m would constitute for the theoretical rich person, and imply that it would be nothing; a bagatelle. Yet the loss of a single bottle of wine would make a big difference to your quality of life? That doesn’t exactly sound like ‘fairness’ to me.

The onus of the question, I put it, should be reversed. What claim do you, I, or anyone else, have to another person’s money? What right does anyone have to bleat that someone else has ‘too much’ money, and agitate for it to be seized from them? Would you feel the same way about wealth confiscation if the Committee decided that you yourself were on the wrong side of the line? Wine, after all, is an unnecessary luxury.

As for Toynbee, like so many of the self-appointed class warriors at The Guardian and elsewhere, she is wealthy by birth. (How nice it must have been for her, by the way, to indulge in a little Common People Work Tourism before clicking her heels and starting a career more to her liking). I do not resent such peoples' wealth, nor do I wish them to lose it; I do, however, resent their phoney championing of the less well-off, their advocation of measures that will not help those people one iota, and their cynical use of them as props in their juvenile and never-ending bitch against the ideologically impure.

Minnow

The onus of the question, I put it, should be reversed. What claim do you, I, or anyone else, have to another person’s money?

The claim of need and shared humanity. Think of the money instead as food and shelter and you will see the point more clearly. Imagine for a moment that you are trapped in a situation without food while there is one member of your group or community who has enough to feed everybody. He says that he prefers to own all the food and that he has a moral right to do it because he came by it legally. he admits he cannot eat it, but he likes the fact of ownership and therefore chooses that you should starve rather than share. Would you really not feel you had a moral right to take a small percentage of that food from him? Or would that be theft motivated by spite and greed?

Now add to the scenario the obvious truth that he was only able to accumulate all that extra food because of the labour of people like you anyway, working his fields, building the infrastructure, educating and cleaning. How far are you willing to grovel to the super-rich? Would you die for the privilege?

WTP

I really enjoy the movie "Groundhog Day". One of Bill Murray's greatest roles. Watch it every time it's on. Yet at the same time, when similar happens in real life, it really sucks. Sometimes I'm in meetings where we go over the same crap that was covered many times before, or I have to fix the same bug that has cropped up in different places. When things like that happen I get very irritated. I wonder if other people ever feel that way. Perhaps there's a word for that and I'm not finding it. Things that make me go hmmm...

Mr Ecks

Mindlow: Your scenario is standard leftist horseshit. Had someone come by their food by an honest exchange of value with others undertaken without coercion then they do indeed have the right to keep what they earned and do what they like including not sharing. As in Aesops fable the feckless numptys who idled in the summer change their tune in the winter. Tough shit.
I understand you are female. Assuming that to be so, how about you, on the basis of their need and humanity, share your vagina with some needy blokes?. After all you're probably not using it 99% of the time but you still claim exclusive control of it and that's just selfish.

And your boilerplate labour theory of value crap is also standard socialistopathic bollocks. Capital makes labour productive not the other way around. A single machine can increase production many times over the manual labour of thousands.

sackcloth and ashes

'No, I think Toynbee's point is that we should despise these people because they come by their money dishonestly. Toynbee is wealthy from personal effort'.

Really? So it wasn't from her family inheritances, or from the inflated wages she gets as a 'Guardian' columnist (which could pay a living wage for three up-and-coming London-based journalists)? She got into Oxford with one A level because of her innate talent? She saved and grafted for her villa in Tuscany?

Give me a fucking break, please.

wtp

Mr Ecks: I understand you are female.

I'm not sure that's the case. I am fairly sure the eyes are brown, however.

Minnow

Tough shit. I understand you are female. Assuming that to be so, how about you, on the basis of their need and humanity, share your vagina with some needy blokes?.

Classy!

Dan

Minnow said: 'Toynbee is wealthy from personal effort. She writes something and if people think it is worth enough money thy pay to buy it.'

Smudger said: 'LOL. Welcome to Bizarro World.'

Minnow said: 'Go on Smudger, try to say why it's wrong. I dare you.'

I'll help.

It's wrong because the Guardian makes huge losses, so that there is ipso facto no connection between the number of people who want to read Toynbee's incoherent nonsense and 'think it is worth enough money thy [sic] pay to buy it' and the salary she earns.

Insofar as the Guardian makes (or at least, pulls in) any real money, it is via subsidy from local and national government, public sector employees and the BBC (among others).

It's a very circular relationship: the Guardian supports the incompetents in local and national government, the public sector and the BBC and defends their often vast and ludicrous salaries* and taxpayer-backed pensions, and is rewarded by millions of pounds worth of job and other advertising by local and national government, the public sector and the BBC.

If the Guardian and Polly Toynbee had to get by on genuine ad revenue and paper sales (and I don't mean the large number of bulk copies sold in to - yes - local and national government, the public sector and the BBC) then the Guardian would go bust in a matter of weeks.

Or the salaries of Polly Toynbee and all the other columnists would be chopped to something more like their market value, of around £15,000 pa.

You're being sold a pup, Minnow, and you can't even see it.

*To avoid Minnow 'misunderstanding' this point, I am talking about those people who *are* on vast salaries to do non-jobs, or jobs at which they who have proven themselves incompetent. Not road sweepers, bin men, good teachers, good nurses, and the like. Those we want, we need, and we should keep - and possibly pay better.

Minnow

It's wrong because the Guardian makes huge losses

But that is hardly something we should expect Toynbee, the worker, to have to concern herself with. That would be setting the bar too high. You would not advocate that everybody who sells anything has a moral responsibility to ensure that the buyer is able to afford, or really needs, the product, would you? Of course, you are right, that markets are hardly ever free in a meaningful sense, but at least Polly recognises that and seeks to redress it, even though she is a beneficiary of market failure.

Dan

@Minnow

'But that is hardly something we should expect Toynbee, the worker, to have to concern herself with.'

I'm expecting you, Minnow, the commenter, to concern yourself with it, seeing as how you said 'Toynbee is wealthy from personal effort. She writes something and if people think it is worth enough money thy pay to buy it'.

Which is patently balls.

That said, this kills me, just a bit:

That would be setting the bar too high.

This is Polly Fucking Toynbee we're talking about?
You know, the publically-printed columnist whose whole life's 'work' has been to concern herself with the means by which other people get their cash, and with the 'moral responsibility' of just about everything that happens, anywhere, any time?
That is, where you and I are concerned, she's the Martini Girl of Money Morality, but as to how she gets her own cash... That's not 'something we should expect [her] to be concerned with'?
That 'bar' is 'too high'?
LOLZ 'n' CHUCKLES GALORE.
But then, she's a wealthy leftist hypocrite, so maybe that's what you mean by 'expect'.

wtp

I've been trying to teach my dog to sing "Oh, Danny Boy". Months of effort and the best I've gotten is something akin to "AROOOO". I think he's also starting to get annoyed.

Henry

Months of effort and the best I've gotten is something akin to "AROOOO"

He wants to sing Coldplay's "The Scientist". The bit at the end of the song.

No don't thank me people. I consider it a duty to helpfully contribute to these discussions. No problem, really!

(I wrote - and lost - a little essay to Minnow about good reasoning and how all analogies break down. His one about sharing food etc breaks down quite a lot earlier than most. Can't be bothered to rewrite)

sackcloth and ashes

'But that is hardly something we should expect Toynbee, the worker ...'

Excuse me, but did you just refer to Polly Toynbee as a 'worker'?

Your head is so far up your arse, your nose is brushing your tonsils.

Minnow

"That is, where you and I are concerned, she's the Martini Girl of Money Morality, but as to how she gets her own cash... That's not 'something we should expect [her] to be concerned with'?"

You misunderstand, she should be concerned. But she has never objected to workers selling their labour at a high price, which is what she does. You are asking her to refuse payment from concerns that you don't think can afford her output, that is what would be asking too much. It is up to the Scott Trust to decide whether they want to pay what she asks, she can't be expected to take a view on how they run their own business. There is no hypocrisy there.If they don't want to pay the price she would either have to lower it, or (as they must assume) go somewhere else. That is the market in action.

Minnow

"Excuse me, but did you just refer to Polly Toynbee as a 'worker'?"

Yes. People who make a living selling their labour are workers. Orwell shouted himself hoarse trying to make this point in the '40s, it is a bit sad that it still hasn't got across.

sackcloth and ashes

'People who make a living selling their labour are workers'.

So by that criteria, everyone is a 'worker'.

Jesus wept.

Minnow

"So by that criteria, everyone is a 'worker'"

No, some people are capitalists, they make their money from interest on their capital.

Jacob

But she has never objected to workers selling their labour at a high price, which is what she does.

Priceless. :-D

wtp

Against my better judgement...call it a cry for help...

Minnow, I'll explain and I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon...

I have a business where I set up networks and computers systems for small businesses and people who are not very tech-savvy. I own a truck, emblazoned with my company logo, and it contains a small inventory of parts and cables, etc. I have a bank account for my business through which I deposit payments and pay suppliers. I keep the books on my business both to satisfy the government's taxing requirements and to keep track of who and who has not paid me. I am the sole employee. Am I a "worker" entitled to sell my labor at a high price or a dirty rotten "capitalist"?

Dan

Minnow - we should not expect Toynbee 'the worker' to take moral responsibility for working for a company which has until recently been propped up by another company dedicated to selling motor cars (while the Guardian rails against fossil fuels), which hides its profits offshore (while the Guardian rails against tax havens), which employs interns on no money (while railing against interns being employed on no money), which employs 'casual' reporters on shifts (not even on on zero hours contracts!) (while railing against zero hours contracts), which employs the children of senior staff (while railing against nepotism), which pays its editor half a million pounds a year and its cleaners the minimum wage (while railing against fat cat bosses and the wage differential), while she (Toynbee) takes £100k+ a year and has a Tuscan villa (even as other journalist are laid off)... All this while writing column after why-oh-why column bemoaning the unfairness of the world?

No, you're right, the idea that one who takes the moral high ground for a living should actually live what she preaches is quite unthinkable.

We should not expect Polly Toynbee to take any moral responsibility for anything.

What Polly does, as all leftists do, is take moral responsibility for stuff on behalf of others.

David

What Polly does… is take moral responsibility for stuff on behalf of others.

She’s a professional scold. And as such, she expects a certain… elevation. She must scold from on high, and preferably in comfort.

As I said, Polly’s conscience is apparently troubled more by what you earn and keep than by what she earns and keeps, even though she earns more than many of those she scolds. And so that personal action, that living of her professed values, will simply have to wait. This, after all, is a woman who says she won’t do what she insists is morally imperative – giving more of her income to those she says deserve it more than she does - unless the state forces her to do it, knowing full well that isn’t likely to happen any day soon. Not the most resounding affirmation of Ms Toynbee’s alleged principals.

One might almost wonder if, despite all the class war bluster, she’s being just a tad insincere and counting on her rhetoric remaining just that. Thus she can continue making outraged noises - so vital to her status and career - while avoiding the practical consequences of those very same noises. It costs her nothing while paying for the upkeep of her property portfolio.

sackcloth and ashes

'No, some people are capitalists, they make their money from interest on their capital.

Like the Guardian Media Group and the Toynbee family?

Minnow

"Am I a "worker" entitled to sell my labor at a high price or a dirty rotten "capitalist"?"

You are a worker. Congratulations.

WTP

Ok, so I begin to get more business than I can handle myself. I hire 2 more people. Get a loan from the bank to buy another service truck, and open a small storefront on Main Street. I have now added responsibility to ensue adequate cash reserves so that I can continue to pay my employee's salaries and modest benefit packages during business slowdowns. I still go out on the more complicate jobs, but the lesser stuff I leave to my employees so that I can take care of the added responsibilities of running the business. Am I still a worker or am I a capitalist?

Minnow

If you are living off the labour of others, your capital investment, you are a capitalist. Unless you are working cooperatively. I am impressed that you grew the business so fast though.

Minnow

And you can see what becoming a capitalist has done to you. Whereas before you worked with people and wanted to get the best for them, now you are thinking about how best you can exploit your colleagues, how you can arrange it that they receive the smallest possible compensation while doing the most possible work. You may try to resist, but you know the motivation is there. And do your competitors resist? Wouldn't it actually be better to exploit your team more so that your business grows more strongly and their futures are more secure? They have no job if you go under. Yes, exploiting them is actually to their advantage and if it enriches you, well, you work hard as well don't you and it is your business?

Such a shame. Why not for a partnership instead and all work together?

wtp

(much bollocks based on unfounded assumptions)...

My employees need jobs, they are not looking to invest in a business. I have invested $20K in the truck, $2K in inventory-on-hand, $3K in various software licenses, etc. of my own money for the tools I need to do the job. In addition to the 35-40 or so hours of on-site work that I do, I spend an additional 10 or so hours a week dealing with customers and suppliers, attending the occasional tech and local business conferences (very few are worth my time but the few I do attend are worthwhile), doing the book keeping, etc. None of my employees are interested in doing that kind of work, nor do they have the $7-$8K to invest in the business to justify being "partners". The money I invested in the business, my money, was there whether I hired people or not. Did I suddenly become a dirty, money-grubbing "capitalist" simply because I hired people to work for me?

wtp

damn...that was supposed to read:
(much bollocks based on unfounded assumptions)...

Such a shame. Why not for a partnership instead and all work together?

My employees...

Henry

now you are thinking about how best you can exploit your colleagues, how you can arrange it that they receive the smallest possible compensation while doing the most possible work

"Exploit". One of your words-of-malleable-meaning that crop up in your comments from time to time.

Aaaaand I bet I won't be the only person to say that the way the real world works means that someone running a business has to make decisions to ensure profit, otherwise the business will go bust and be replaced by someone more efficient and possibly more ruthless. To change this you'd have to change a huge great system, disincentivising any entrepreneurs in the process.

All looks suspiciously like an attempted wind-up. Remember the film 12 angry men?

Juror 3 "He was just trying to get me angry"

Juror 4 "He was doing an excellent job"

Minnow

"My employees need jobs, they are not looking to invest in a business."

Have you asked them? I mean, you cannot enjoy exploiting them, can you? paying them less than they make? Wouldn't you prefer to treat them like human beings rather than objects?

Minnow

"Did I suddenly become a dirty, money-grubbing "capitalist" simply because I hired people to work for me?"

I didn't say 'dirty' or 'money grubbing' (I have nothing against working for money) but yes, you went from living off your own labour to living off the labour of others when you hired labour. You became at least in part parasitic on the people you employ. That is likely to increase over time. There may not be an easy way around it, but we may as well describe things as they are.

Mags

Minnow, what is it you do for a living?

wtp

Have you asked them?

Not sure what difference it makes. A kid fresh out of college with a very modest tech degree ("information science") and a Marine with a medical discharge due to a playground knee injury. I know from interviewing them that they came from very modest backgrounds and don't have the money, they don't want to invest. They do want to work. To have even asked the question would have shown incredible lack of tact on my part. Should I have not hired them and instead find people who may be less qualified but do have the money to invest? Why? If I find someone with, say $10K to invest who has the qualifications, should I fire one of my current employees in favor of the latter guy? You know, to be more "fair"?

And where did I say that I was "thinking about how best you can exploit your colleagues"? They work 35-40 hours a week. I work 45-55 hours a week doing not just the work, but running the business. Running a business is WORK, is it not?

wtp

Forgot to add this...Neither new employee desires to be on the hook for the loan I took out for the second truck. Not to mention that given their limited and modest credit history, the bank would either deny the loan or require a larger interest rate due to the higher risk. They loaned the money with the understanding that I was running the business and that it was my sense of accountability, given my stellar credit history, that would reduce the risk of them losing their money should my business go broke.

wtp

Mags: Minnow, what is it you do for a living?

On an earlier thread in which he first made his appearance here, he claimed to have "run a business" or some such and said it wasn't all that hard. Guffaws ensued. You can plainly see why now.

Minnow

"To have even asked the question would have shown incredible lack of tact on my part."

Don't be daft, they are not made of china. There all sorts of ways that they can work towards partnership with you. I am sure they would find it very motivating. But if they don't, you can at least pay them the full value of their work rather than keeping the surplus as profit for yourself. You would feel better and wouldn't have to construct elaborate tales (Marx calls them 'ideologies) to explain why exploiting them is really for their own good.

wtp

Don't be daft your own damn self. Neither they, nor the bank, can afford to be on the hook for the extra expenses. I took on the risk. It's my name on the line.

"There all sorts of ways that they can work towards partnership with you. I am sure they would find it very motivating."

Just asked one of them. He said no-way, Jose. He's a bit rough around the edges. Obviously needs some diversity training. Something else I will have to pay for if I want to take on any government contracts down the road.

"But if they don't, you can at least pay them the full value of their work rather than keeping the surplus as profit for yourself."

I have made no mention of what I pay them. But since you asked, the college kid was working at McDonalds' for minimum wage before I hired him. He now makes $20/hr working for me, which goes far in this neck of the woods. I pay him, I pay his benefits (modest health care). If the business grows sufficiently, I plan to at some point institute an investment plan, but that is more work that I will need to do down the line.

I assume all of the risk. It's my money and my reputation that is on the line. My name on the trucks, my name on the bottom line of the bank loans, I'm the man people call if my employees screw up. I am accountable for their actions far more than they are. I continue to pay them when business slows down. I don't cut their pay. Are you saying that risk factor has zero value?

Hal

Against my better judgement...call it a cry for help...

Minnow, I'll explain and I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon...

I have a business where I . . . . .

In addition, one of the examples of reality that continue to totally and completely refute the faith and zero facts in Karl Marx is standard military structure---where even the alleged followers of KM had to have the Comrade General sending orders down to the Comrade Sergeant.

The basic bit is that there are people who do a really good job at being the general, and there are people who do the really good job of being the NCO---think union leader in a functioning and valid union, even---where the general and general staff sort out the details of what to do overall, and the NCOs sort out the details of how the enlisted get the jobs done, making certain that the enlisted are properly taken care of, Etc . . .

---If wtp asks his . . . Marine with a medical discharge due to a playground knee injury. . . , he'll prolly get the same reaction, with footnotes.

Any officer can get by on his sergeants. To be a sergeant you have to know your stuff. I’d rather be an outstanding sergeant than just another officer.

--Daniel Daly

Dan

Minnow:

"And you can see what becoming a capitalist has done to you. Whereas before you worked with people and wanted to get the best for them, now you are thinking about how best you can exploit your colleagues, how you can arrange it that they receive the smallest possible compensation while doing the most possible work."

You seem to be arguing from a position of fear, or prejudice, or envy, or utopianism, or ignorance, or all five.

I'll help.

Look, most capitalists have been employees, but most employees never get to be capitalists.

Thus, they don't really understand, which is why they spout the kind of sub Marxist worker stuff you come out with. It's fine, we understand.

The thing stopping them running businesses *isn't* a lack of capital - people arrived here penniless from Uganda and are now millionaires.

It's usually that they don't have the ability, or (if they do) it's because they preferred an easy life. That's fine. Their choice.

Even then, most people who try to run a business fail.

You've said you work for someone, so either you never tried to start a business, or you failed.

Not your fault, you don't have it in you. It's ok.

Luckily for you, some people do have it in them, or else no nice stuff for Minnow to amuse himself with in his downtime!

But just to fill you in, as seen from both sides of the fence in a 30 year working life, in the actual world most "workers" don't want the best for their colleagues, they want the best for themselves.

If it coincides with what's good for the colleagues, fine, but it's not the motivation, for all but a few saints.

That's fine, it's human nature, we right wingers understand that. You know it, too, really.

Further, most "workers" spend their time thinking about to receive the largest possible compensation while doing the least possible work.

Again, human nature. You know that, too. But who's greedy, exactly?

Meanwhile, most "capitalists" have remortgaged their houses and are working twice as hard as anyone they employ because they have found a quicker way to do stuff that benefits people.

Sure, they want to make some cash themselves.

It may even be their main driver, but it won't work without the "benefits people" bit, and in my experience of business people, as opposed to caricatures, the money is a side effect, not the main thing.

(But I repeat - if it is, so what? You get good stuff you wouldn't otherwise get.)

Even then, any cash they get they then tend to give to other people to do stuff that benefits people etc etc. But you know that, too.

You haven't run a successful business that does stuff to benefit people, probably because you can't. That's fine. But be thankful some do.

sackcloth and ashes

'If you are living off the labour of others, your capital investment, you are a capitalist'.

Sounds like the 'Guardian' with its unpaid interns and its employees on zero-hour contracts then.

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