Walter E. Williams: Government, The Market, and Minorities

Margaret Thatcher’s economic legacy | The Economist

A conversation with Ronald H. Coase

Spot on

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Privatizing local bus services could save $5.7 billion

https://twitter.com/FurchtgottRoth/status/717362503160881152

Can private enterprise save our public lands?

Saving Ocean Fisheries with Property Rights

Water Policies for People, by David Zetland

Will @JulieAnneGenter’s KiwiBank plan bankrupt KiwiPost? @JordNZ

The Greens are followed up on an earlier suggestion by Julie Anne Genter, the Green’s Shadow Minister of Finance, that KiwiBank should be refocused to keeping interest rates low. To that end, it would not be required to pay dividends to the government to help fund the effort. KiwiBank has only just started paying dividends to its parent, KiwiPost.

If that were to be the case, that KiwiBank was no longer be required to pay dividends, that would blow quite a hole in the balance sheet of its parent company KiwiPost.

KiwiPost owns the share capital of KiwiBank, which must be valued on a commercial basis to pass auditing as a state owned enterprise which is commercially orientated.

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Source: Historic $21 million dividend paid by state owned bank Kiwibank | interest.co.nz.

That share capital owned by KiwiPost in KiwiBank would be have to be written off if KiwiBank were to pay no further dividends because it is no longer commercially orientated entity. Such a write-off of its investment in KiwiBank would write off most of Kiwi Post’s equity capital.

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Source: Some 14 years after it launched and nearly NZ$830 mln later, Kiwibank predicted to become a self sustaining dividend payer in 2016 | interest.co.nz.

The reason why state owned enterprises are required to be valued on commercial principles is to ensure that any subsidies or other favours sought by politicians show up in the profit and loss statement or the balance sheet through asset write-offs. Section 7 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986  non-commercial activities states that:

Where the Crown wishes a State enterprise to provide goods or services to any persons, the Crown and the State enterprise shall enter into an agreement under which the State enterprise will provide the goods or services in return for the payment by the Crown of the whole or part of the price thereof.

This statutory safeguard ensures that the cost of any policies proposed by ministers, and the Greens are very keen on transparency and independent costing of political promises, are plain to all.

% billionaires who made their money through political connections or resource industries

The 1826 Billionaires in the Forbes 2015 list are classified as rich through political connections if they made their money through past political positions, close relatives or friends in government, or questionable licenses, privatisations or resource extraction industries.

Source: Caroline Freund and Sarah Oliver, The Origins of the Superrich: The Billionaire Characteristics Database (2016).

All privatizations were included in the politically-connected/resource-related category despite my data source acknowledging the possibility that the new owners may have transformed the company. Resource billionaires were all deemed to be lucky or cronies by my data source rather than diligent as some most certainly were. This is something of a slur by my data source given the industriousness of some resource billionaires some of whom were even geologists.

Political cronyism is a path to billionaire wealth mainly in the developing countries. Less than 10% of Chinese billionaires made their money through political connections, which is surprising.

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