Thursday, May 14, 2009

Competitive Business Environment

Forgive my ignorance of economics, but I just don't understand how the current reform of taxation/spending is going to get us out of predicament that we are in.

Much has been written about the economic crisis in Finland in the 1990's and how this compares with what we are going through. Okay; the stock market and property market crashed, with drops of approximately 70% and 50% respectively, but they had their own currency at that time and had the 'luxury' of devaluing it to assist with a recovery.

As a small business owner I am acutely aware of the need to be competitive. The current crisis is having the effect of weeding out uncompetitive businesses but is also pushing some viable future businesses over the edge. There are internal costs that I can control, but the majority of the larger costs are outside my control. It's basically down to survival of the fittest at the moment, if you can get through this period unscathed then you will come out the other end in a far stronger position.

The private sector is being reformed by market force and the future is bright for businesses that can develop by gradual growth. A sustainable business will be possible, but the worry is in controlling those external costs. More worrying still, is the apparent irresponsible nature of the political establishment in managing these costs.

There is little point in having an environment where competitive and sustainable businesses can thrive, if the rewards of their labour are swallowed up in carrying the burden of an uncompetitive public sector. Both public and private sectors have to work in unison and we can't have a competitive 'one', without a competitive 'other' . It is about time that employee representatives in both sectors realised this. I would consider Finland to be a competitive and fair economy. They have made it so, without a minimum wage agreement.

In the short-term, consumers will benefit from the knock on effect of the surviving competitive businesses. Incentives have to be given to entrepreneurs and possibly investors, in creating and supporting businesses that actually 'make' something. Importing 'services' businesses that can be easily relocated to up-and-coming competitively priced countries is a stop-gap measure in a country's development.

Until such time as the hard economic decisions are made on whether we want the country as a whole to be competitive, not just sections of it, the problem will not go away. Or rather, it may go for a while but it will resurface again and again and again. I am sure that, given the choice between sinking and swimming, many more business owners would prefer to try rising above the surface without an anchor tied to their leg.


Pat Quirke said...

I did the 6-monthly SE business survey this am. Asked for suggestions to improve business in the south east. I said "Let the banks fail, set up a State bank to lend to people and businesses. Cull politician, civil service and numbers. get rid of this Government!"
Any other suggestions?

Gerard said...

What was the general mood of the congregation? How did your suggestions go down?