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Fairtrade

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Fairtrade

#21 Post by Alan H » May 1st, 2012, 9:10 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Phew! Posts about the NHS have been moved into the thread: The future of the NHS (if any)
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Val
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Joined: October 6th, 2007, 10:56 pm

Re: Fairtrade

#22 Post by Val » May 1st, 2012, 9:25 pm

Nick I looked up monopsonistic never having come across the word before. The dictionary definition (Collins) does not help me at all. Can you enlighten me?

Nick
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Re: Fairtrade

#23 Post by Nick » May 2nd, 2012, 5:16 pm

I hope so, Val. A monopoly exists where there is one seller and many buyers, so the seller can increase the price because there is no-one in competition.

A monopsony exists where there is one buyer, but many sellers. In this case, the buyer can drive the price down, because there is no-one else buying.

Of course, both these cases are rare, but they are useful concepts to have in mind when looking at the world. Thus, in the case of coffee growers, if there are only a few buyers, the the price paid will tend to fall.

Do feel free to ask any question you want to; I'd be only yoo happy to answer them.

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Alan C.
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Re: Fairtrade

#24 Post by Alan C. » May 2nd, 2012, 6:11 pm

Nick
A monopoly exists where there is one seller and many buyers, so the seller can increase the price because there is no-one in competition.

Of course, both these cases are this case is rare,
Not where I live :cross: One supplier of bottled gas, and one supplier of heating oil, petrol and diesel.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Fairtrade

#25 Post by Alan H » May 2nd, 2012, 9:11 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Nick wrote:Of course, both these cases are this case is rare,
Not where I live :cross: One supplier of bottled gas, and one supplier of heating oil, petrol and diesel.
Much the same here, Alan. We have a plethora of energy suppliers, all anxious to sell us the same energy, but there is just the one water supplier, Thames Water. We have no choice: we cannot buy form anyone else, so presumably that's a monopoly?

Much the same with rail travel as well. Loads of train operating companies, but when I went to Plymouth a few weeks ago to give a talk, I just couldn't persuade Virgin Trains to sell me a ticket for a train they didn't run. I was forced to buy from the one and only TOC that provided trains to Plymouth - First Great Western (on a ticket I bought from Virgin's website!). No wait a minute, I tell a lie - I did have a choice. I could have travelled all the way up to Birmingham on a Virgin train and then down to Plymouth on their Plymouth train.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Fairtrade

#26 Post by Nick » May 3rd, 2012, 10:16 am

Alan H wrote:
Alan C. wrote:
Nick wrote:Of course, both these cases are this case is rare,
Not where I live :cross: One supplier of bottled gas, and one supplier of heating oil, petrol and diesel.
Much the same here, Alan. We have a plethora of energy suppliers, all anxious to sell us the same energy, but there is just the one water supplier, Thames Water. We have no choice: we cannot buy form anyone else, so presumably that's a monopoly?
On the face of it, yes. That is why there is heavy regulation concerning what the company must supply, and what they are allowed to charge. In a sense, the situation is more that there is a single supplier and a single buyer, though the cash actually comes from a multitude of consumers.
Much the same with rail travel as well. Loads of train operating companies, but when I went to Plymouth a few weeks ago to give a talk, I just couldn't persuade Virgin Trains to sell me a ticket for a train they didn't run. I was forced to buy from the one and only TOC that provided trains to Plymouth - First Great Western (on a ticket I bought from Virgin's website!). No wait a minute, I tell a lie - I did have a choice. I could have travelled all the way up to Birmingham on a Virgin train and then down to Plymouth on their Plymouth train.
It may be true that there is only one railway comapny for the journey you want to make. But it is not true that it is the only way to get from London to Plymouth. There are coaches, there are cars, you could even walk. The railway company is competing against these other alternatives (quite successfully, if the growth in rail journeys is anything to go by). And again, the level of fares and the service requirements are also heavily regulated. Sometimes, fares are subsidised, either by the company or by the tax-payer. So it would not, in general, be fair to accuse the railway company of engaging in monopolistic behaviour.

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Fairtrade

#27 Post by Nick » May 3rd, 2012, 10:22 am

Alan C. wrote:
Nick
A monopoly exists where there is one seller and many buyers, so the seller can increase the price because there is no-one in competition.

Of course, both these cases are this case is rare,
Not where I live :cross: One supplier of bottled gas, and one supplier of heating oil, petrol and diesel.
I wonder what rules and regs there are about how much they can charge....? It is true that you might be in a situation where there is not room for 2 companies to supply diesel, say. But if that's the case, I'd be surprised if they would be allowed charge excessive prices. Prices will be high, certainly, but a large reason for that is the cost of providing such goods in such an out of the way location, and maybe as well as comparatively low demand (Collectively, not individually.)

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Alan H
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Re: Fairtrade

#28 Post by Alan H » May 3rd, 2012, 10:35 am

Nick wrote:It may be true that there is only one railway comapny for the journey you want to make. But it is not true that it is the only way to get from London to Plymouth. There are coaches, there are cars, you could even walk. The railway company is competing against these other alternatives (quite successfully, if the growth in rail journeys is anything to go by). And again, the level of fares and the service requirements are also heavily regulated. Sometimes, fares are subsidised, either by the company or by the tax-payer. So it would not, in general, be fair to accuse the railway company of engaging in monopolistic behaviour.
Yes, I could always walk, but you're missing the point: there may well be competition in travel (and there always has been, of course), but there isn't in train travel - wasn't that one of the great advantages of denationalisation? But presumably train fares have to be so heavily regulated because there is no competition - something has to stop TOCs continually putting their prices up. Whither market forces?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Fairtrade

#29 Post by Nick » May 3rd, 2012, 11:13 am

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:It may be true that there is only one railway comapny for the journey you want to make. But it is not true that it is the only way to get from London to Plymouth. There are coaches, there are cars, you could even walk. The railway company is competing against these other alternatives (quite successfully, if the growth in rail journeys is anything to go by). And again, the level of fares and the service requirements are also heavily regulated. Sometimes, fares are subsidised, either by the company or by the tax-payer. So it would not, in general, be fair to accuse the railway company of engaging in monopolistic behaviour.
Yes, I could always walk, but you're missing the point: there may well be competition in travel (and there always has been, of course), but there isn't in train travel - wasn't that one of the great advantages of denationalisation? But presumably train fares have to be so heavily regulated because there is no competition - something has to stop TOCs continually putting their prices up. Whither market forces?
I'm not an expert in the railways, but I'd just make a couple of suggestions. The competition between providers takes place at the time the franchises are allotted. It is supposed to get providers to look at new ways of doing things more efficiently and effectively; that there is more incentive for them to do so than for a nationalised industry to do so. I think it also works better not to have the gamekeeper and poacher on the same side. I think there is a certain reluctance for a government to criticise an industry if it means that the government is also responsible for fixing it! It is easier for the government to tell a rail company to invest in longer platforms, say, than it is, politically, to borrow money as a government and increase the budget deficit.

I think there is some support for this view when one looks at the billions spent on making rail travel safer, and the large increase in passenger miles.

This might not be the only way of doing things of course. If one takes the London Underground, I'd say that having a Boris or a Ken is a good way of applying pressure to improve the system. Boris is now advocating driverless trains, as they have on at least on line in Paris. (That'll please Bob Crowe!!)

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Alan C.
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Re: Fairtrade

#30 Post by Alan C. » May 3rd, 2012, 4:17 pm

Nick
I wonder what rules and regs there are about how much they can charge....?
GB Oils boss to visit Shetland after insisting company is not profiteering. They've got form, they have had substantial fines imposed on them in Wales and Northern Ireland for overcharging and other malpractices.

It's a fact that our fuel costs 2p a litre more to get here from Grangemouth than than it does to get to....say Inverness, yet we are charged 20p a litre more than the mainland :cross:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Fairtrade

#31 Post by Nick » May 3rd, 2012, 4:46 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Nick
I wonder what rules and regs there are about how much they can charge....?
GB Oils boss to visit Shetland after insisting company is not profiteering. They've got form, they have had substantial fines imposed on them in Wales and Northern Ireland for overcharging and other malpractices.

It's a fact that our fuel costs 2p a litre more to get here from Grangemouth than than it does to get to....say Inverness, yet we are charged 20p a litre more than the mainland :cross:
Thanks for the link, Alan.

Of course, the cost of transporting fuel is only one aspect of the cost of fuel. If, say, turnover is lower at any particular filling station, then unit labour costs per litre will be correspondingly higher. It is perfectly possible for the price difference to be 20p, but the profit margin to be 2.6p per litre. The first post from Chris Williams in the Shetland Times gets this completely wrong. Profit margin is not the same as "markup", which is much more like gross profit than net profit. And the second comment from Sandy Mason is too vague to have any meaning.

Competition might help a bit, but if I were in your shoes, I'd try to get a friendly accountant to audit the costs the company is claimimg. I wish you well, but I suspect that the oil company is being pretty genuine.

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Val
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Re: Fairtrade

#32 Post by Val » May 3rd, 2012, 5:02 pm

Alan C when I arrived in Kyle of Lochalsh two weeks ago I was told to wait until I had crossed the (toll free) bridge to Skye to fill up with petrol because it was 5p a litre cheaper due to being subsidised. I can confirm that it was indeed cheaper but how doe this accord with Shetland? Are you not subsidised.

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Alan C.
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Re: Fairtrade

#33 Post by Alan C. » May 3rd, 2012, 6:23 pm

Val
Are you not subsidised.
:laughter: I wish!
We were recently given a 5p a litre tax discount by the government, a week before it came into force GB oils increased the price by........Yes, 5p a litre.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
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Re: Fairtrade

#34 Post by Nick » May 3rd, 2012, 11:26 pm

Fuel's gone up here too, Alan...

Doesn't mean GB are necessarily increasing their profit margin. They might be, but probably not.

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getreal
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Re: Fairtrade

#35 Post by getreal » May 3rd, 2012, 11:35 pm

I'm not on mains gas (there is none here) and have to rely on LPG. The cost is exorbitant. According to the Calor Gas site, it costs £950 per anum. I pay more than £2000 and that's just for heating. We have no alternative.

http://www.ruralfuel.co.uk/rural-fuels/lpg.htm
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: Fairtrade

#36 Post by Alan H » May 3rd, 2012, 11:48 pm

getreal wrote:I'm not on mains gas (there is none here) and have to rely on LPG. The cost is exorbitant. According to the Calor Gas site, it costs £950 per anum. I pay more than £2000 and that's just for heating. We have no alternative.
For gawd's sake woman. Of course you have an alternative. You could knit extra jumpers and string vests. We're all in this together, remember?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Joined: November 20th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Re: Fairtrade

#37 Post by getreal » May 3rd, 2012, 11:55 pm

My fingers are raw with all the extra knitting I've been doing, I'll have you know!
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"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Alan H
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Re: Fairtrade

#38 Post by Alan H » May 4th, 2012, 12:12 am

:pointlaugh:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Fairtrade

#39 Post by Nick » May 4th, 2012, 12:54 am

I thought polar bears didn't feel the cold..... :shrug:

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