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to think the capitalists telling the communists to stop selling cheap steel is more than a little ideologically confused..

(36 Posts)
IceBeing Thu 22-Oct-15 12:53:43

If you are free market capitalists...which I cannot imagine the Torys do not think of themselves as.....how do you defend artificially stopping the Chinese selling steel at whatever the hell price they want to?

AIBU to think it is hypocrisy to use capitalism constantly to defend making obscene profit while it advantages you then cry off and start imposing trade restrictions when it isn't working in your favour?

LurkingHusband Thu 22-Oct-15 13:57:10

Quite aside from the fact that there is nothing more capitalist in the world than investing in undercutting your competition to drive them out of business.

I look forward to bank style bailouts for the steel industry ....

BarbarianMum Thu 22-Oct-15 14:06:05

I think calling the Chinese communists these days is a bigger stretch tbh

BetaVersion Thu 22-Oct-15 14:16:40

Well it depends.

If China is selling steel below the marginal cost of production that is called 'dumping and is illegal and can be referred to the World Trade Organisation.

That said the marginal cost of production for steel in China is very low indeed partly because labour costs so little but mainly because steel mills in China have few health and safety or environmental regulations or labour right protections.

The other issue is electric in the UK is expensive compared to China because they have low cost coal power stations again because of low safety and environmental standards and labour is cheap and has little in the way of protection.

In the end it is down to the fact that the UK is a very expensive place to produce bulk steel. We just cannot compete on cost and really we should buy it rather than make it.

BreakingDad77 Thu 22-Oct-15 14:24:01

Hypocrisy was bailing out the banks so that MP's (cross party) mates don't lose there jobs but mondeo man is going to be told to get on his bike.

I thought china is neo-capitalist now?

Though also there is possible dumping, high energy costs etc so a warped market. But China are our mates now Lool, because they building a nuclear reactor for us, lets just not pee them off though in future in case they switch it off! Energy is a national security and stability issue for me.

LurkingHusband Thu 22-Oct-15 14:53:54

Of course 150 years ago, we would have sailed a gunboat up the Yangtze, like the time we forced the Chinese to buy British opium.

BreakingDad77 Thu 22-Oct-15 15:05:01

Of course 150 years ago, we would have sailed a gunboat up the Yangtze, like the time we forced the Chinese to buy British opium.

Indeed lurking and now the shoes on the other foot, am I being foil hatted to worry about them getting to involved in our critical infrastructure while their businesses continue to be extensions of its government?

SeekretSquirrels Thu 22-Oct-15 15:14:58

really we should buy it rather than make it
I feel very strongly that we should be as self sufficient as possible, whether in steel, coal, nuclear power,transport or food.
Losing our ability to produce things ourselves leaves us vulnerable to the whims of other countries. Not to mention leaving the next generation without the industrial or agricultural skills. The reason we need the Chinese to build our nuclear power stations is that we have already lost the capability.
Apparently I am not a capitalist though grin.

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 22-Oct-15 15:22:34

The whole thing is a mass of hypocrisy. Communist state leaders riding around in golden carriages

LurkingHusband Thu 22-Oct-15 15:24:54

Losing our ability to produce things ourselves leaves us vulnerable to the whims of other countries

The problem is maintaining our ability to be self sufficient costs money. And successive chances to change the strategy have demonstrated that the man in the street prefers cheap coal to British coal.

We (or our forebears) all had a chance in the 1970s to keep the British motor industry going. Collectively we decided cheap Datsun Sunnys were better than more expensive BL Allegros (not called the "AllAggro" for nothing).

wasonthelist Thu 22-Oct-15 15:28:30

I got told off quite a bit for calling the Chinese Communists on another thread. I guess we should say they are totalitarian neo-capitalists with state-sponsored worker exploitation. Come to think of it, it's small wonder that J Hunt admires them so much.

Of course we shouldn't be encouraging them to invest in nuclear power here, or letting them shut down our steel industry.

The real problem is that despite regimes playing lip service to green issues and climate change, it is ridiculously cheap to send huge huge quantities of stuff all over the world. Unless and until that stops, everything will be run by China.

apricotdanish Thu 22-Oct-15 15:30:54

China is more a totalitarian state than a truly Communist state. We live in a Capitalism state that uses Capitalist ideology very selectively, they were quite happy to interfere in the freedom of the market with QE for banks although this wasn't in line with free market ideology but allowed nonetheless. Now the steel industry could do with government assistance they refuse to intervene! China are able to produce goods so cheaply because of very questionable labour practices (nothing to do with the true aims of Communism surely).

wasonthelist Thu 22-Oct-15 15:31:09

Btw I have very good friends who work in UK nuclear industry. We are not short of skills - like everything else, no-one wants to pay for them.

apricotdanish Thu 22-Oct-15 15:32:05

Sorry x post wasonthelist smile

BetaVersion Thu 22-Oct-15 15:36:45

wasonthelist - agreed. The UK has some of the best civil engineering firms in the world, involved in major projects around the world.

We can build nuclear power stations, much of the basic construction will be done by UK firms - just the parts of the reactor will be made in China where it is cheaper. Lets just hope those parts are made and tested to the highest standard.

Personally I do not think we should be building any nuclear stations at all. They are far far too expensive compared to gas fired power stations.

Its economic madness - regardless of who builds them.

apricotdanish Thu 22-Oct-15 15:38:53

*I feel very strongly that we should be as self sufficient as possible, whether in steel, coal, nuclear power,transport or food.
Losing our ability to produce things ourselves leaves us vulnerable to the whims of other countries. Not to mention leaving the next generation without the industrial or agricultural skills. The reason we need the Chinese to build our nuclear power stations is that we have already lost the capability.*
So true and so many of the problems we're experiencing today in terms of high energy costs, unemployment, low skills low productivity and housing issues are because we turned our back on manufacturing our own goods. It's a tragedy!

LurkingHusband Thu 22-Oct-15 15:42:32

it is ridiculously cheap to send huge huge quantities of stuff all over the world

In a fascinating Timeshift recently, (about the diesel engine) it was pointed out that it was cheaper to (marine) freight an item 10,000 miles, than it was for you to drive and buy it from a store. When you have beasts like these carrying 19,000 shipping containers at a time, it's not so hard to believe.

Of course there is a finite end to offshoring. At some point, the outsourced country will no longer be able to afford the goods from the outsourcing countries. Especially as living standards in those countries rise (thus driving aspiration).

BreakingDad77 Thu 22-Oct-15 15:58:02

China though can (brutally) control its population though to manage it in relations to job growth.

Read a good book called China road (http://www.amazon.com/China-Road-Journey-Future-Rising/dp/0812975243) a travel book, was grim reading about injecting bellies from an encounter on a bus with two women who could be termed community abortion nurses.

Ricardian Thu 22-Oct-15 16:08:31

I feel very strongly that we should be as self sufficient as possible, whether in steel, coal, nuclear power,transport or food.

We're a country of 65m. We need to produce at least some tangible or intangible exports, to buy critical resources, unless you want us to turn into North Korea.

How much of the country would you need to grub up, and how much of the population would you need to kill, for the UK to be self-sufficient for food, even at starvation rations? We didn't manage it, not even close, in the second world war. People who are nostalgic for deep-mined coal (ie, pneumosilicosis) by and large didn't work down mines, and people who actually did moved heaven and earth to make sure their children didn't: making the UK self-sufficient for steel would involve restarting deep coal production at 1920s levels: who's signing up for that work?

In order to export anything, indeed to produce anything even vaguely competitive on the world market, we'd need a microelectronics industry at least comparable to the US's, which isn't theirs anyway (they outsource manufacturing to Mexico, Malaysia and the Philippines, design work to Israel, Cambridge and India as a minimum, etc, etc). We'd need to produce software which allowed our companies to be competitive, so we'd need to compete with Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc. And so on.

This was the nonsense of the 1970s. UK companies were forced, by exchange control pressure, to buy ICL computers in order to "back Britain". But the result was that companies that could have been successful against US competition weren't able to get the computers they needed, and instead had to wrestle with expensive and inferior equipment. Ditto in the 1980s with microprocessors (Transputers, FFS), until that was all quietly lain in its grave.

This country would be self-sufficient if it were an agrarian country with a population of ten million, tops. For anything remotely like modern life, with anything even close to current population levels, we need to import. That means we need to export. That means we have to be competitive. That means we need to do stuff as well as other people, or better.

Ricardian Thu 22-Oct-15 16:09:35

Personally I do not think we should be building any nuclear stations at all. They are far far too expensive compared to gas fired power stations.

With all the gas coming from the stable, human-rights respecting countries we currently buy it from, right?

BreakingDad77 Thu 22-Oct-15 16:42:22

I would like to see some pebble bed or other intrinsically safe nuclear system invested in and built in the UK by UK companies, to secure our future power needs from as ricardian points out qatar/russia etc.

LurkingHusband Thu 22-Oct-15 16:51:05

Personally I do not think we should be building any nuclear stations at all. They are far far too expensive compared to gas fired power stations.

Primarily due to a thick public pressurising ever thicker politicians to hamstring the safest energy industry in the world with ludicrous safety regulations.

More people will die this year mining coal for "cheap" power than have ever died in the history of nuclear power generation. Three Mile Island (casualties: zero); Chernobyl (Casualties:41 - 137); Fukushima (casualties: 6 - none from radiation) included.

(By contrast 311 people died in a single mine disaster last year in Turkey).

Secondarily due to the need to produce nuclear fuel for non-civilian purposes (yes, those good ol' A and H bombs we couldn't get enough of in the 50s and 60s). If Plutonium had not been a consideration, the Thorium cycle would have made much more sense (Thorium is as plentiful as Lead).

The rise of human civilisation is predicated upon our ability to access and control energy. A cursory glance at history (notably a subject not really encouraged in voters) would demonstrate that the winners in wars had the biggest batteries, and that a very quick way to lose a war is to be unable to power your nation. Why was it so important that Britain fight Germany in Africa at the start of the war ?

LurkingHusband Thu 22-Oct-15 16:52:18

I would like to see some pebble bed or other intrinsically safe nuclear system invested in and built in the UK by UK companies, to secure our future power needs from as ricardian points out qatar/russia etc.

So would I. When Joe Soap can understand the science, it will happen. Until then, has Bake-Off finished ?

BreakingDad77 Thu 22-Oct-15 17:04:06

Fukushima didn't help the cause as it was from what i read in an article was being run terribly. The US (i think) had complained about their diligence and health and safety practice, and was no surprise that when a natural disaster occurred the safety systems failed.

Nuclear is 'carbon free' ironically, and lurking makes a great point about all the deaths injuries etc that come in the mining and exploitation of natural resources.

Out2pasture Thu 22-Oct-15 17:08:58

Chinese steel is shit. it doesn't hold well under stress it is utter rubbish.
all I can do it avoid buying made in china if given a choice even if it is at a higher cost.

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