It's ok to be angry about capitalism

Thaluikhain

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In a country where everything is as tightly controlled by the state as Vietnam, you don't do $27 billion worth of fraud without inside help.

it is taking the fall for massive corruption elsewhere.
Almost certainly, but I mean 27B is a huge amount.
 

Ag3ma

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In a country where everything is as tightly controlled by the state as Vietnam, you don't do $27 billion worth of fraud without inside help.

it is taking the fall for massive corruption elsewhere.
Plausible.

However... it is also potentially explainable in other ways. The amount of money that goes through a large bank is huge. As long as there's little or no oversight, it's probably very easy to rip correspondingly huge sums out of it.
 

Avnger

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Plausible.

However... it is also potentially explainable in other ways. The amount of money that goes through a large bank is huge. As long as there's little or no oversight, it's probably very easy to rip correspondingly huge sums out of it.
Ah no, you don't understand. It's very complicated. It's uh it's aggregate, so I'm talking about fractions of a penny here. And over time they add up to a lot.
 

Masonicon

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Capitalism can make more powerful Clean Energy sources illegal, to the point it make people stuck with population reductions to solve environmental problems best
 

Silvanus

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I originally posted about Thames Water in the 'anti-woke' thread (though Bedinsis was right that it was better placed here)-- talking about how since privatisation in 1989, they financed millions in shareholder payments every year through borrowing, often with shareholder payments alone dwarfing the year's profits. Then the owner company can just sell off, leaving someone else to finance the debt.

Hence how they've gone from near-zero debt as a publicly-owned utility, to >15billion pounds of debt today.

Well, an update: the government is considering a contingency-- to transfer most of that 15bn debt directly to the public purse.


I'd love for someone to explain the benefit of utility privatisation and how it squares with our experience here in the UK. Because right now, I'm staring at my own bills rising by 40%, and 15bn added to public debt paid by my taxes, just to bail the fucking company out.

This is hardly the first time this has happened. In 2014, Network Rail's 30bn debt it had accrued as a private entity was transferred to the public.

I'd ask what went wrong, but then I remember that this is the intended function of the Conservative Party: squeeze value from public assets, transfer it directly to private shareholders, then make the public pay for it. Rinse and repeat-- emphasis on the 'rinse'.
 

Thaluikhain

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Traditionalist want to go back to the good old days, when the poor knew their place and waterborne diseases were rife.
 

Thaluikhain

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Oh, how long do you reckon it'd be before it gets privatised again and the same thing happens?
 

Ag3ma

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I'd love for someone to explain the benefit of utility privatisation and how it squares with our experience here in the UK. Because right now, I'm staring at my own bills rising by 40%, and 15bn added to public debt paid by my taxes, just to bail the fucking company out.
Technically, although the public debt may go up ~£15 billion, the public asset sheet is also going to increase by a substantial value.

Thames Water is currently worth a lot less than £15 billion, not least because with that much debt it's a deeply unappealing stock to buy. But minus the debt, it could be worth vastly more.
 

Silvanus

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Technically, although the public debt may go up ~£15 billion, the public asset sheet is also going to increase by a substantial value.

Thames Water is currently worth a lot less than £15 billion, not least because with that much debt it's a deeply unappealing stock to buy. But minus the debt, it could be worth vastly more.
To be clear, I'm all in favour of the renationalisation element of the plan. I think they should nationalise regardless.

I simply fail to see why I should finance the gigantic debt accrued by a private company to pay its shareholders. There should have been regulations to prevent this to begin with: a stipulation that shareholder dividends can't exceed a fraction of profits, for example. Or a rule that if a company accrues debt while holding a public utility franchise, and then sells, the responsibility for the debt remains with the owning company. Or just a stipulation that it can't accrue debt without a clear financial need for the company.

Or, better yet, no goddamn profit motive in utilities.
 
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Ag3ma

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I simply fail to see why I should finance the gigantic debt accrued by a private company to pay its shareholders.
...
Or, better yet, no goddamn profit motive in utilities.
You're absolutely right that it's galling for the public to suck up huge costs for corporate profiteering. Unfortunately, those companies already cut and run with the money and there's no getting it back, so we've just got to deal with the shit. I could perhaps like the idea of the government being particularly vindictive regarding the activities of some of these companies, like apply a vast amount of additional scrutiny of their taxes or quietly disadvantaging them for public contracts.

There is of course also the last kick in the teeth that the shareholders left carrying the live grenade are largely two major pension schemes for public sector workers.
 

Seanchaidh

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I could perhaps like the idea of the government being particularly vindictive regarding the activities of some of these companies, like apply a vast amount of additional scrutiny of their taxes or quietly disadvantaging them for public contracts.
... dropping the board of directors into the middle of the Atlantic ocean...
 
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tstorm823

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... or quietly disadvantaging them for public contracts.
Or loudly. There are lots of bases on which the government should not be disadvantaging companies when contracting things out. Screwing up previous contracts royally I don't think is on that list. I would be severely disadvantaging that group and any other that shares decisionmakers with them, and telling everyone about it.
 
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Silvanus

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[...] or quietly disadvantaging them for public contracts.
Or loudly. There are lots of bases on which the government should not be disadvantaging companies when contracting things out. Screwing up previous contracts royally I don't think is on that list. I would be severely disadvantaging that group and any other that shares decisionmakers with them, and telling everyone about it.
Of course, the government has taken the opposite approach. Macquarie, the Australian financial corp that owned Thames Water from 2006 to 2017 (and oversaw the steepest rise in debt, from 3.5bn to 11bn) was allowed to buy Southern Water in 2021.
 

Ag3ma

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Or loudly. There are lots of bases on which the government should not be disadvantaging companies when contracting things out. Screwing up previous contracts royally I don't think is on that list. I would be severely disadvantaging that group and any other that shares decisionmakers with them, and telling everyone about it.
Loud would be nice, but most governments would not be willing to cop the flak from countless political opponents, businesses, and business-friendly media outlets attacking their blatantly mean and anti-business stance, blah blah decreasing trust in the economy and reducing investment blah.

After all, a good business environment is consistent with letting businesses rip off who they like without any comeback - short of outright illegality, and even then only sometimes. I'm not sure there are any governments in the West less willing to go after corporations than the UK's.
 

tstorm823

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Loud would be nice, but most governments would not be willing to cop the flak from countless political opponents, businesses, and business-friendly media outlets attacking their blatantly mean and anti-business stance, blah blah decreasing trust in the economy and reducing investment blah.

After all, a good business environment is consistent with letting businesses rip off who they like without any comeback - short of outright illegality, and even then only sometimes. I'm not sure there are any governments in the West less willing to go after corporations than the UK's.
It certainly quite the thing to defer to the free market and then not actually contribute to it. Governments ought to be just as willing to refuse business to companies that screw them as individuals are. In a way, not going after sucky companies is itself anti-business.