Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Government Abstract Bill Department

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In the old days, when Sweet, Slade and Chicory Tip were on the radio for the first time and milk only arrived in bottles in the morning and I didn't fucking well get a Chopper for christmas after all, it was normal to have a single 'board' for utility supply. The electicity board, for example, the GPO for phones, and the gas board - often utilised as the subject of Python sketches and Terry Gilliam ridicule.

The downsides of the government effectively running the supply of electricity, water, gas, phone and Fanta might have a downside or two, but the upside is that when it came time for the bills, everyone was on a fair footing. You'd more or less pay what anyone else would be paying, given the usage. The situation now is that due to a stupid 'competitive' illusion of free enterprise they want to maintain, there's some supply companies cheaper than others, and you're supposed to waste time and effort chasing after which one is going to be cheaper by changing and transferring all the time. They don't reward loyalty in the least. So, someone might be on one supplier but their neighbours on different suppliers, and they'll all be paying different rates, given the usage.

What I suggest is to keep this veneer of capitalistic freedom of being able to rip customers off more than the competition dare, but instead of the necessitation of yet another layer of more business in between, purporting to 'switch' you, fuck all that and put the responsibility back on the government. The government should be sorting out which is the cheapest supplier for which users given their circumstances and location and fashion sense, and picks the best supplier - just as a 'switch' site would - but dynamically and often, and 'behind the scenes'. So that each quarter or month or whatever you pay your bills from 'the gas board' or 'the water board' or 'the electricity board' or 'the internet wire tapping board' or whatever, and this single price is guaranteed to be pretty much the cheapest they could find for you on that day. The 'board' - ie, a switch site run by the government, effectively pay the supplier so that you don't even have to know or care who the supplier was - that's all in the background.

The privatisation survives, but the public just see one set of bills, without wasting time chasing prices or being confused by complex tariffs. Oh yes, trains too - in fact, trains more than anything - that's what started this idea off (I forgot that).

* All this might / might not apply in foreign countries, don't know, don't care.

Ian Tindale, Mar 17 2017

Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey https://en.wikipedi..._Boeing_V-22_Osprey
Safer than a helicopter. [8th of 7, Mar 20 2017]


       Isn't this just an HMO for utility supply ?
8th of 7, Mar 17 2017

       House in multiple occupation?
Ian Tindale, Mar 17 2017

       Not knowing what an HMO is would almost make it worth the quasi 1984 level of surveillance to live there. Not that the American government spies any less, mind you, but I don't have to look at government-supplied security cameras, so I get to pretend it's not happening
Voice, Mar 17 2017

       'Abstract bill department' Have you seen the tax code lately? Now that's abstract...   

       What type of heli would you get? Me, I'd ask this generous soul for a Sikorsky S-76. Classic ride.
RayfordSteele, Mar 18 2017

       Yes, but like all copters, intrinsically dangerous.   

       If you have to have VTOL, tiltrotors have a much better survivability and can make an engine-out landing on a conventional runway.   



       // the government effectively running the supply of electricity, water, gas, phone and Fanta //   

       We find your touching naiivety and misplaced faith quite entertaining. What you've described is called "socialism", and it's Baked, but really, REALLY flaky ...   

       "Run by government" = "massive, hugely expensive disastrous screw-up". EVERY TIME.
8th of 7, Mar 20 2017

       No no, the word 'effectively' gets me off the hook here. It isn't socialism. It is literally an abstraction layer. There's the mess of capitalism, hidden by a veneer of socialism. The government does the work of hunting and gathering among a plethora of myriad free-market money-siphoning suppliers, by presenting it to the consumer as 'the gas board' or 'the electricity board' or 'the train board' or 'the cheese bored', and we experience the loving fluffy warm cosy simplicity of state caring blanketing us, while hiding the ravages of corporate suppliers fighting for each and every drop of blood from the consumer. Basically a mass funnel that converts it into a live balanced tender. Or something.
Ian Tindale, Mar 20 2017

       I believe there already exists an organisation that fulfills this function of an abstraction layer, but between mortgage lenders and homeowners.I can't remember their name though.
hippo, Mar 20 2017

       "Colateralized debt obligations" ...
8th of 7, Mar 20 2017

       I just read William Golding's essay Thinking as a Hobby, which I read while I was still a 17 year old in 1981. (It starts: "While I was still a boy", which startled me when I started googling: william golding thinking as a hobby... and it suggested: William Golding Thinking as a hobby while I was still a boy)   

       Same kind of ideas, except written about the time before World War II.
pashute, Mar 20 2017


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