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Privatising rail services in the ROI. Why? July 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

The contract to run rail services in Ireland should be put out to international tender, the European Commission has proposed, a move that could have serious ramifications for Iarnród Éireann.The Government is strongly resisting the idea, amid concerns it could cause major financial and industrial relations problems for the State.Iarnród Éireann’s 10-year contract to run Ireland’s rail services is up for renewal in 2019. The contract is typically awarded to the State-owned body Iarnród Éireann, but the European Commission is arguing the Irish transport sector needs to liberalise further.

Am I alone in thinking this is a particularly pointless exercise in generating entirely artificial markets?


1. LeftAtTheCross - July 30, 2015

I’m sure some of the UK resident CLR commentators could provide plenty of evidence of the disaster that has been the privatisation of British Rail?


Ciaran - July 30, 2015

Just read Private Eye, and you’ll learn very quickly what a rip-off the entire process has been, both to passengers and the public purse.


sonofstan - July 30, 2015

Don’t start me talking…..

We’re the ones who are supposed to be blinded by ideology, but the experience of rail privatisation in the UK is proof positive that, for the free market zealot, there is no empirical evidence of market failure strong enough to shake blind faith. Most Tory voters want to renationalise…..


WorldbyStorm - July 30, 2015

+1 It makes no sense. None. Zero. Even by their own lights. Do you recall that piece on energy markets we discussed a couple of weeks back here https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/choice-and-freedom/

It was drawn from an Observer article which completely deconstructed the nonsense that is ‘competition’ in relation to electricity etc. And as it said all it was was a mechanism by which a small group made considerable wads of cash from what had been built up by the public purse.


Ed - July 31, 2015

The only railway line in Britain that didn’t require a state subsidy was the one run by the state (east coast). So the Tories set about privatizing it, because something was clearly going wrong.


6/5 against - July 31, 2015

I think the London Oxford line has done well too. It’s also state run, though the state in question is France.


2. CL - July 30, 2015

All markets are ‘artificial’ in that they are created by human beings and do not occur ‘naturally’.


WorldbyStorm - July 30, 2015

Very good point. Still, I hope the general thrust of what I mean is clear, that even join the context of supposed orthodox approaches this is a crock.


3. dublinstreams - July 31, 2015

EU Commission have been trying to get countries to separate the network from the service, and if not at least put both in holding company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Railway_Package sound familiar?


4. Tomboktu - July 31, 2015

Well… The EU started off as the Common Market, and that has been the main point of what it does, despite some nods to human rights (which were introduced in the first place in a limited way to enable the common market to operate through the free movement — tellingly — of workers, not people).


5. Gewerkschaftler - July 31, 2015

Generating artificial markets is what it’s all about, folks.

Complicating what should be relatively simple service provision, so that as many middle men can stick their feeding tubes in at as many points in the chain of sale & profit as possible.


CL - July 31, 2015

The problem with describing some markets as artificial is that it suggests that there are other markets that are ‘natural’.
This is the ideological ploy of orthodox economists who aver that economic ‘laws’ are immutable as those of physics.


Gewerkschaftler - July 31, 2015

I absolutely take the point the all markets are artificial.

But we need to realise the profit is increasingly made by making markets (especially service-sector markets) more complex than they need to be – in order, as I said, to introduce new opportunities for creaming off profit, cronyism, tax avoidance and politically facilitated insider dealing.

Why should we distinguish between the complexified version and the market itself?


a) This seems to be a kind of immanent process which is making contemporary capitalism even more inefficient than it needs to be.

and more importantly:

b) This plague of middle men and inefficient complex markets is something everyone experiences to their cost and frustration – and this experience, combined with a simple critique, is an opportunity to inoculate non-leftists against the market ideology.


CL - July 31, 2015

You seem to be positing some kind of purified, ideal capitalism in contrast with the contemporary ‘complexified’ kind.
‘opportunities for creaming off profit, cronyism, tax avoidance and politically facilitated insider dealing’- it was always so.


Gewerkschaftler - July 31, 2015

No – what I’m positing is a critique of actually existing markets that could be effective outside the convinced leftist demographic. Which is in global statistical terms, still tiny.

Perhaps it is not not theoretically ‘pure’ but I believe it has mobilising possibilities. An example of left populism, which I’m convinced we need, if we are serious about winning.


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