We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

It is a pity that the lifeblood of industry in this country is small businesses, and by small I don’t mean the UK definition of “SME”, I mean a handful of people, mostly one person, doing their trade.

The Conservative Party is transfixed on big business, that they can regulate, and the Labour Party wants more public services under government control, there is literally no-one standing up for the one-man bands of the country that keep us afloat.

Under many of the big enterprises are a collection of qualified individuals, major service companies frequently use freelancers. For them, there is no requirement to commit under the company banner, and subsequently the consequences of not having holiday, sickness, guaranteed work, etc, so it is not a great choice but one many people are willing to take nevertheless.

Every time there is some form of new regulation or taxation it is the one-man operations that suffer the most. The big business can suck up expenses or tax increases without a problem and the public sector is exempt, just ignores them, or gets someone else to pay for it.

The Tories and the Left hate the single operators – and it shows.

Runcie Balspune

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mr Ecks

    Recognising a problem may bring a little pleasure in the accomplishment.

    The real issue is to discover what is to be done about it.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The great thing about being a freelancer/consultant is your utter freedom to work for whom you wish – to charge what the market will support – and not to put up with all the BS which comes with employment – to holiday when you wish for as long as you wish and not to pay PAYE. It is a very attractive option for the highly experienced and qualified.

  • Umbriel

    I’m not so sure the elites actively hate small business so much as they consider it irrelevant and beneath notice. As Runcie notes, the little guys are really the meat of the economy, but they don’t really fit into the prevailing narratives. So the corporate capitalist politicians just look after their cronies and figure the little guys will find a way somehow, while the left wishes they’d just hurry up and go extinct already.

  • Paul Marks

    Big Business also suffers – and it is NOT true that getting rid of the competition from small enterprises makes up for the damage the taxes and regulation do to Big Business (it does not).

    Some people think that, for example, the 80% (plus) of internet company executives who support higher taxes (they mostly live in high tax California and they support even HIGHER taxes) have some cunning plan by which they personally would not pay the taxes – but most of them do not have any such cunning plan, they embrace an ideology that would lead to their own destruction (their own personal destruction). It really is that bad – the education system has got these people (highly intelligent and creative people) to support policies of every bigger government that will lead to their own destruction.

    However, it is true that regulation and taxation hits small business enterprises even more – either destroying them or turning them into “hole in the wall” illegal, “Black Market” operations.

    As for Prime Minister May – the lady supports ever more regulation (of just about everything) and higher taxes to support the effort of government to fund the basic functions of life (everything from education to old age provision – “the cradle to the grave”) that used to be the defining functions of Civil Society.

    Prime Minister May is light years away from Edmund Burke – and I think that even her hero Joseph Chamberlain (relatively Big Government though he was) would be HORRIFIED by the position that the state should be this large, taking up almost half the entire economy, and should get even bigger.

  • Fraser Orr

    A person I know (in Scotland) runs a small business that creates web sites for a niche market. He was doing very well so wanted to take on one or two people to do the work, so that he could concentrate on sales and marketing. He was complaining to me about the cost of office space. So I said “dude, welcome to the 21st century — get them to work from home — it is all web work anyway.” However, he explained to me the reality of running a small business in the UK. Apparently if he does so, then their homes fall under the health and safety rules, so if they trip over a cable in their own home he incurs the liability.

    The government burdens businesses so much it is a wonder that anything gets done. I might add, and I think it has been said a number of times, one of the hidden reasons for the skyrocketing economy in the United States is that that Trump administration has been stripping regulations like crazy, with the kicking and screaming resistance of the deep state apparatus. Apparently he is right now considering reducing the reporting regulations on companies from four times a year to twice a year. A tiny change that will save hundreds of millions of dollars. Needless to say the media is assuring us that should they do so, the sky will fall, businesses will defraud their investors left and right, and most likely it is a racist regulation change for some reason that I can’t think of right now.

    And wasn’t that part of the benefit of Brexit too? Shame that the government has made such a dog’s breakfast of the best opportunity given Britain in a long time.

  • Regional

    While the elite in California pay taxes they still have a shed full of money left over i.e. $10 million minus $3 million still leaves $7 million, hit me with a feather duster, please sir, may I have another thrashing?

  • Big Business also suffers – and it is NOT true that getting rid of the competition from small enterprises makes up for the damage the taxes and regulation do to Big Business (it does not). (Paul Marks, August 18, 2018 at 10:30 pm)

    “All flesh is grass” – and all big business is grass (or a little like it, in my analogy). Grass does not benefit from being eaten, but it survives it better than other plants, so prolonged grazing converts an ecosystem into a lawn. Similarly, big businesses suffer from the prolonged grazing of the state, but small businesses suffer more, so the more greedily the state grazes, the more the business landscape evolves towards crony capitalism.

  • Fraser Orr, August 18, 2018 at 11:53 pm, your friend should persuade his two employees to operate as micro-businesses and supply services to him. Then his former employees, now contractors, would each be responsible for tripping over in their own own home, but each would also be able to exploit themselves by paying themselves the minimum wage and living well off the profits of their ill-requited labour – because tax and national insurance deductions would be reduced.

    (Every two years they would probably have to prove they were consultants, not employees, by showing they had met certain requirements. Substitutability is often the most natural one to practice occasionally, since it can overlap with activities the oiks call ‘a holiday’ or ‘getting help in the Christmas rush’ or similar.)

    Just my 0.02p (from experience) FWIW. Being your own employee can mitigate some of the state’s grosser absurdities.

    Your friend would also be educating two more Scots into an awareness of just what their true marginal rate of tax is. Much of employment taxation practice is organised to conceal that.

    (Of course, I understand that, unless he knows the employees well enough or can find two who’ve already gone this route, this advice may be quite useless.)

  • Alisa

    Big Business also suffers – and it is NOT true that getting rid of the competition from small enterprises makes up for the damage the taxes and regulation do to Big Business (it does not).

    It really depends on what is meant by ‘Big Business’: do the top executives suffer (in the short term – forget for a moment about the Revolution, when they are all put against the wall)? Do the shareholders?

  • NickM

    Fraser is spot on. Going from being The Lone Ranger to gettting your first Tonto (or even Silver) is a nightmare. I work from home as a Lone Ranger and when they introduced the blanket ban on smoking at work I was sent “No Smoking” signs to put up in my house! Amazing what the gubbermunt can find to spend our* money on!

    *”our” for a sense of “our” because so much of it is on tick.

  • Korblimee

    Isn’t it nice to see that the Tories and the Left can agree on something at least. /sarc-off.