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Corporate subsidy paired with employee income support for tight markets

Retail is dying slowly and is destroyed by the internet, let's make these businesses worthwhile again
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TL;DR Borrow money and give it to markets and those employed in such businesses that are dying slowly to make the job worthwhile.

Once it goes, its gone.... Once the job goes, it's gone. If we want to preserve markets for future posterity, we have to act now. (Furniture shops, machine tools etc) The idea is to end suffering of those working in slowly dying businesses and give the business some thing to make it worthwhile. - Borrow and give companies money for running tight businesses - Borrow and give people money who are employed by such business with traditional low wages and terrible conditions a top up in wages.

If we don't do this, so many businesses are dying and are not viable. Some of the reasons these businesses are not viable is the fickleness of people, not things inherently wrong with these company's profitability.

chronological, Dec 09 2019

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       Is it buggy whip subsidies that are keeping those horse carriages around Central Park?   

       Smacks of a "let's all" and generally not a good idea, though already attempted in a myriad different ways -- look up American Express's Small Business Saturday as an example.
theircompetitor, Dec 09 2019
  

       To paraphrase Charles Darwin, "Adapt or die".   

       In 1900, there were thousands of farriers working in cities in Europe and the Americas. By the 1930's they were nearly all gone, because of motor transport.   

       Ask the question "What are towns for ?". When retail moves to a distributed model, towns become partially redundant; some service industries will remain.
8th of 7, Dec 09 2019
  

       Is this satire of bank bailouts via Quantitative Easing?
sninctown, Dec 09 2019
  

       No, just a wish for a kinder, gentler, less harsh Universe.   

       We suggest that [chronological] tries moving to one, because this one isn't like that at all.
8th of 7, Dec 09 2019
  

       I suspect that any subsidising effort is doomed in the long term. However, if you want to do this, it might be more effective for local authorities to reduce things like business rates or charges to market stallholders - ie reduce the overheads as far as possible. For this to happen, the local authority has to decide that it values local businesses for more than just the direct income they provide.   

       The underlying problem is that "we" tend to value high- street and market shops for intangible things like the sense of community they create, or the increased life they bring to town centres, rather than valuing them as actual retailers. If that's the case, we need to find a way to pay for those intangible things.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2019
  

       // intangible things like the sense of community they create, //   

       You can get the same thing much more cheaply from, just as an example, an online community website for improbable ideas ...   

       // or the increased life they bring to town centres, //   

       What is a town centre for once the retail element atrophies ?   

       City hall; a transport interchange; personal services like hairdressers, try-before-you-buy products like perfumes; performance spaces; vehicle services. Things that require equipment that isn't particularly portable, &&|| the physical presence of the customer.   

       But any enterprise that deals in easily portable goods can run much more cheaply on the Web.   

       It's not just the death of High Streets that's an issue. It's the corresponding loss of revenue streams to local administration from property taxes. A Mom and Pop store can't afford the clever accountants that allow multinationals to neatly avoid taxation; besides, they have a fixed physical location.   

       Hence the low-level (soon to be high-level) panic as revenue streams evaporate from between their dirty grasping fingers, with crippling consequences for any centralized bureaucracy. <Snigger/>
8th of 7, Dec 09 2019
  

       Alternatively, taxes should fund government make- work programs for non-viable businesses. I propose that suburban malls be fully decorated for holidays and staffed with carolers and mall santas, work to be done by people on unemployment benefits who are otherwise unemployed.
sninctown, Dec 09 2019
  

       //What is a town centre for once the retail element atrophies ?//   

       Fair question. But, if you need a loaf of bread it's a pain to have to drive several miles to a supermarket, or order it online and wait, rather than popping next-door-but-two to the bakers. Plus, you can't have a natter with the Tesco bread-man, or say "hi" to the delivery drone.   

       People evolve slowly - psychologically, we're probably best equipped to live in villages. Put people in a city, and they either atrophy (like Canary Wharf) or else they form their own pseudo-village around them - this latter is true in most of the worthwhile cities in the world. And those pseudo- villages are largely held together by shops and other business.   

       It's now 2019, not 1959. It is ridiculous that we measure and support things solely on the basis of cost, when we have so much more *stuff* than we used to. We are wealthy enough now that we can decide what kind of environment we want to live in, and then make it happen whether it makes a buck or not.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2019
  

       To the extent that's true, [MB], it's manifested in paying $5 for coffee and ordering in. What do you think the average bill at Trader Joe's or a Wegman's (put in the UK equivalent for either) is other than our willingness to overpay ridiculously for the feeling of homemade, etc.
theircompetitor, Dec 09 2019
  

       // you can't have a natter with ... the delivery drone. //   

       Obviously some sort of upgrade is called for.   

       // we're probably best equipped to live in villages //   

       Some are more adapted to caves; or perhaps swinging from the branches of trees ....   

       // We are wealthy enough now that we can decide what kind of environment we want to live in, and then make it happen whether it makes a buck or not. //   

       <Looks around hopefully for Flying Car that was due for delivery in 2005/>   

       Actually, the discussion is more about towns than villages. A village is a low-density distributed entity with minimum facilities, so the butcher-baker- candlestick-maker model actually works, given the "cost" (time, energy, fuel) of travelling to a larger centre for perishable goods. If you only need a couple of tomatoes, it makes more economic sense to walk round the corner to the village shop, or better, steal them from your neighbour's greenhouse (or even their kitchen cupboard).   

       A town, a large aggregation of sometimes competing outlets, selling non-perishable goods not required on a JIT delivery (like hot coffee), becomes progessively less viable.   

       Like all subsidies, the idea is doomed to failure for the usual reasons. Market forces are slow and inefficient - but inexorable, and implacable. The longer the equalization is put off, the bigger the bump when it happens - the Law of Diminishing Returns and the Law of Unintended Consequences will see to that.
8th of 7, Dec 09 2019
  

       //our willingness to overpay ridiculously for the feeling of homemade//   

       I think that's a different issue. That's a case of (I assume) large chains trying to look like mom-and-pop outfits. And I bet most of those stores are out of town rather than in town centres.   

       I don't want to get all dewy-eyed, but there are still plenty of places in England (my parent's village, for instance) where you can go to a local, independent butcher; a family- run bakery; a family-run newsagent and a good, privately- owned one-of-a-kind restaurant within about 100 yards. And as you go along, you can also pop into the post office and pick up the gossip, or stop off at an electrical retailer who doesn't have huge arrays of fridge-freezers in his warehouse, but who will sell you 2ft of electrical flex or a single fuse.   

       In decent cities (I'm thinking of the human parts of London*, say, or Birmingham) you get the same thing, even though the "village" is just one of many that have grown together at the edges.   

         

       (*shut up, [8th])
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2019
  

       There's a reason that "villages" are the size that they are, very much related to how far humans can or will walk; the availability of turnkey powered transport (i.e. not horses) has impacted that, but not much.   

       Neglecting adverse weather conditions, most such population centres have a radius of about 1km - the distance that can comfortably be walked in 10 minutes or so by an average person carrying a small payload propelled by the average amount of motivation. The same ergonomic factors define and limit the size of shopping malls and other such developments.
8th of 7, Dec 09 2019
  

       Yes. Point being?
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2019
  

       Human factors are biased in favour of a "village" being viable where a "town" is not.   

       As you point out, cities actually consist of multiple overlapping "villages" or neighborhoods. The big retailers understand this and use it in their strategy for placing their smaller stores. It's about the "sod it" effect; how far will you walk in the cold and the rain to get alcohol, and what price are you prepared to pay for it, before you say "sod it" and get in your car ? The answer is something under 1000m, depending on age, infirmity, and degree of alcohol dependence.   

       The food delivery agencies are also factoring this into their model.   

       What you end up with is a network of "supply islands " spaced about 2km apart to maximise footfall.
8th of 7, Dec 09 2019
  

       //What you end up with is a network of "supply islands " spaced about 2km apart to maximise footfall// Yes, and?   

       I agree, but that's basically what I was saying - the size of "unit" is roughly village-sized, be it an actual village or a region within a larger town or city.   

       If you're saying that big, faceless retailers are capitalising on this by setting up small, local stores - yes, I agree. And that's not as good, in societal terms, as having a diversity of truly local independent retailers; but it's not as bad as having no local retailers.   

       Example: most of the small villages within 5 miles of me have a local shop. Fifty years ago they would have been independent shops; nowadays they're generally under a brand like Co-op or Spar, but it still sort of works. The shopkeeper will be local and will know his regular customers, and it's not too bad. Plus, of course, they have some access to the buying power of the brand, which helps keep their costs down a bit.   

       Even "Tesco express" shops in villages tend to be run by local people, and are less impersonal than the big supermarkets.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2019
  

       hey, can we expect more HB productivity from our UK brethren given the soon to be enacted 32 hour work week and utility Internet?
theircompetitor, Dec 09 2019
  

       No, because everyone will be far too busy wearing their one-piece silver jumpsuits and zipping from place to place in their flying cars (trying hard to resolve the ATC conflicts with the herds of flying pigs, of course).
8th of 7, Dec 10 2019
  

       //villages are largely held together by shops and other business.//   

       Coffee shops, pubs, clubs, and parks (with charming little shopping districts around them) serve this purpose in my area, with people willing to pay significantly more than the internet price for goods because they get to browse with other humans around them.
Voice, Dec 10 2019
  

       // they get to browse with other humans around them. //   

       Eeeeeeewwwwwww.   

       What did you do ? Must have been something REALLY bad ... did you take a plea-bargain to avoid execution or something ?
8th of 7, Dec 10 2019
  

       We kind of already do this with universal credit
chronological, Dec 11 2019
  

       This is a really bad idea on so many levels.   

       But the others have got in b4 me with that criticism so there's not a lot to add about that.   

       So I'll go to the core causes of the problem you're trying to address that you seem to be ignoring (one of them anyway).   

       The problem for high street retail is it's so much cheaper to buy online & that's because they aren't playing on a level playing field with online retail, online retail has a lot less overheads ~ 'One' of the big overheads they avoid that lets them sell so much cheaper is tax ~ If they have even halfway decent lawyers & accountants advising them on corporate structure & where to 'register' their company they don't pay any tax at all.   

       So far more effective (& sensible) would be to simply change the business rates & VAT tax models that let online businesses get away with paying far less (or even none in some cases) tax than high street retailers.   

       My advice is follow the money to see the cause & having seen it do something 'appropriate' to fix it instead of just throwing money at it willy nilly.   

       Google 'hollywood accounting' for an idea how they can get away with paying no corporation tax on profits (but that one's not exclusive to online).
Skewed, Dec 11 2019
  

       // change the business rates & VAT tax models //   

       Correct. Cut those taxes to the bone, and then some, and a revival of "High Streets" is possible.   

       Of course, that means that huge swaths of bloated, useless, interfering bureaucracy can no longer be funded, and government will atrophy to a vestigial withered ineffective rump. How tragic.
8th of 7, Dec 11 2019
  

       <Accidentally deleted annotation restored>   

       es, having a "Local Shop for Local People" would work in your part of the world - as long as no-one tries to Touch The Precious Things ...   

       The point is that [chronological]'s proposal to skew the market in favour of retailers in larger-than-village urban environments is doomed to failure.   

       The village model can't support, for example, a pet shop; there isn't enough demand. So pet shops will probably survive in towns because customers want to see, handle, and be bitten by the actual product. But a town will be very unlikely to have more than one bakery - and that needs to be an artisan bakery working on high margin low volume - on the high street. "The Dreadful Algebra of Necessity" will see to that.
8th of 7, Dec 13 2019
  

       // the soon to be enacted 32 hour work week and utility Internet? //   

       Time to stamp on those rose-tinted glasses and look round at a bleaker, colder, less tolerant and more divided society.   

       Look forward to a hard border between the UK and Eire, then a referendum in England on scotch independence (Ballot question "Do you want to kick out those useless whiny jocks ? ") giving another hard border, then sustained crippling economic pressure on Eire to force them out if the EU too, and then it's time to blockade the Channel and North Ses and force the continentals to.their knees.   

       Not to mention no more foreign trawlers inside Englsnd's 1500km territorial waters, and there's going to be this really swingeing Airspace Tax for all flights across the Atlantic ...
8th of 7, Dec 13 2019
  

       I guess you islanders are not going to be assimilated after all? :)
theircompetitor, Dec 13 2019
  

       Many of them seem strangely reluctant ...
8th of 7, Dec 13 2019
  

       //Cut those taxes to the bone//   

       Or add a 'subsidiary online VAT bonus tax' on top of normal VAT instead.   

       Say an extra 10, 20 (or whatever would do the trick) % on all online purchases to level the playing field (or even tip it) in favour of the high street.   

       That could work too.   

       Then all those //bloated// //bureaucracies// can keep their jobs too, not necessarily a good thing of course (them keeping their jobs), but as they're the ones (more or less) in charge it's a lot easier to see them liking that idea (or at least not actively disliking it) & actually doing it.
Skewed, Dec 14 2019
  

       // all those //bloated// //bureaucracies// can keep their jobs too, not necessarily a good thing //   

       Not a good thing at all, because they are purely parasitic; they are entirely non-productive and add no value to the economy. Those jobs must therefore be eliminated and the personnel reallocated to work that creates rather than consumes revenue. Any sort of bureaucracy just represents friction in the system- wasteful and damaging.
8th of 7, Dec 14 2019
  
      
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