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Especially those that are only "viable" with government support.

Which, historically, turns out to be an unexpectedly large number.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 05:14:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, well... However can mean many different things. It can mean constant cash transfers from the governement budget to the balance sheets of private corporations. Been there, done that, not good.

It can on the other hand mean productive cooperation between companies, the state and the academic world. It can mean sovereign funding for infrastructure. It can mean all kinds of things done to create a nourishing climate where companies can grow and develop, and where people can do that as well. This kind of support, is often very good. Been there and done that as well.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 05:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once you get a sovereign involved in any way you no longer have a competitive market - you have political sponsorship.

The sponsorship may not be bad, but clearly, the game is no longer just about "competition" being a self-justifying and self-consistent economic and moral good.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 05:48:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, then there is no such thing as competitivity, as the sovereign is involved in the running of all states. That is after all the very definition of the state. If you use that definition (a strange one at that, in my mind), the word becomes completely useless and void of meaning. Furthermore, you seem to put some kind of moral value in the word. I do not. To me, being competitive means being able to compete on the international market. No more, no less.

This competitivty can then be boosted by the sovereign in many different ways. Indeedm to be competitive you need the sovereign to create a climate in which business can thrive and be competitive. This includes having a strong educational system, excellent infrastrucutre, reasonable electricity prices, low crime, good healthcare, and so on and so on. History has shown that a high tax environment need not at all be a drag on competivity.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 05:58:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Furthermore, you seem to put some kind of moral value in the word. I do not.

I'm interested in the propaganda meaning. I don't think the word has any useful economic meaning - although politically it seems to be expedient to pretend that it does.

To me, being competitive means being able to compete on the international market. No more, no less.

Countries are called "competitive" when they promise low wages, low taxes and weak regulation, and are funded by low government spending.

I have never seen the Econo or the FT praising a country for the lavish personal wealth of its worker drones. But I've often seen polemics about the necessity for "reform" and "austerity" to restore "competitiveness."

This includes having a strong educational system, excellent infrastrucutre, reasonable electricity prices, low crime, good healthcare, and so on and so on. History has shown that a high tax environment need not at all be a drag on competivity.

That's very much not the standard definition.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 07:06:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
I have never seen the Econo or the FT praising a country for the lavish personal wealth of its worker drones.
But publishing league tables of millionnaires was par for the course around the peak years of the bubble.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 07:09:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Countries are called "competitive" when they promise low wages, low taxes and weak regulation, and are funded by low government spending.

In Sweden they are... If you read the Swedish business press, some of the main worries and complaints are that the Swedish school system doesn't produce qualified enough workers, and not enough engineers, that there need to be more investment in infrastructure that serves industry, and that something has to be done about the high power prices. There is indeed also talk about how the labour market should be "reformed", but as the current right-wing government considers this a third rail and the export industry doesn't care that much about wages anyway (energy and capital costs are often bigger than costs than salaries for them), nothing ever happens.

That's very much not the standard definition.

It is in Sweden.

If you google "Sweden +competitivity" in Swedish (Sverige +konkurrenskraft) these are three articles you get on the first Google page.

   Sverige mest konkurrenskraftigt i EU
Sverige, Danmark och Finland är enligt WEF bra på innovation och på att anamma ny teknologi. Även satsningar på forskning och utveckling får beröm, samt samarbetet mellan högskolor och näringsliv.

"Sweden most competitive in Europe, due to innovation and being able to use new technology. Also praised for spending on research and development and cooperation bewteen universities and business."

   Utan nya ingenjörer eroderar Sveriges konkurrenskraft

De som besitter dagens ingenjörskompetens går snart i pension. Sveriges riskerar brist på ingenjörer. För att vända trenden måste skola och företag stimulera ungdomars nyfikenhet på teknik och naturvetenskap redan i unga år.

"Wthout new engineers the competitivity of Sweden will erode.
Those who currently have engineering competency will soon retire. Sweden risks lack of engineers. To turn the trend schools and companies stimulare the curiosity of youth for technology and the natural sciences from an early age."

   Sveriges konkurrenskraft har förbättrats
Anledningen till att Sveriges konkurrenskraft förbättrats är att Sverige har mycket transparenta och effektiva offentliga institutioner med minimal korruption och otillbörligt inflytande liksom en regering, som anses vara en av de mest effektiva i världen. Förtroendet för politiker rankas tredje högst i världen.

"The competitivty of Sweden has increased.
The reason why Swedish competitivty has increased is that Sweden has very transparent and efficient publuc authorities with minimal corruption and a government which is seen as one of the most efficient in the world (yes, we are a bit North Korea-style smug at times /Starvid). The trust in politicians is ranked as number three in the world."

I suppose this differing experience of what the concept even means explains a lot of how we approach this discourse from completely different perspectives.

Countries are called "competitive" when they promise low wages, low taxes and weak regulation, and are funded by low government spending.
Ironically, the large tax cuts Sweden has gotten since 2006 haven't much pleased business: they are aimed almost exclusively at the "worker drones", so the result is that workers get fatter wallets (on average about one extra monthly salary every year) and that it becomes cheaper to hire, lowering unemployment (ceteris paribus). Big business, industry, hasn't got much, except a promise that they will be allowed to build new nuclear power plants when the old ones are closed down due to age. Corporate tax has been cut from 28 % to 26.3 %. Whopee for them.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 08:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ditto Finland, though the influence of Sweden has been decisive.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 10:14:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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