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Posital
862341.  Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:24 am Reply with quote

(Looks around nervously - and crawls back under rock)

 
'yorz
862354.  Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:01 am Reply with quote

The day is still young...

 
bobwilson
862620.  Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:24 pm Reply with quote

Dragging out the figures is turning out to be more complicated than I anticipated – so I’m afraid my suggestion of a properly researched response by Sunday (yesterday) was overly optimistic.

I’ve had a (well more than one actually) chat with a friend in SSIS (Bradford) – and sent him a copy of the portion of post 861369 starting from
Quote:
I was particularly intrigued by this bit
to
Quote:
Given that BAE Systems (to name but one) is the UK's biggest export earner, and has been for some time, I'd love to see you justify this with some facts


I reproduce part of his replies here.......

SSIS Mate wrote:
Good luck with extracting the figures!!! If you ignore the difficulties caused by “commercial confidentiality” and “National Security” issues (not to mention the inherent tendency towards secrecy of arms dealers) – you still have to contend with accounting conventions, deciding whether to consider eg value of contracts signed or value of shipments during a defined period, the definition of “arms exports” (does the value of sending advisors count as arms shipments for instance?.......should the value of the Cyprus Sovereign Bases count as a MoD export?.....)........

........the estimated value of UK arms exports (SIPRI figures) for 2010 is just over $1bn.....(and the estimated) subsidy to the UK arms industry (also for 2010) is about $700m.........

(he also warned me that the former figure is the nominal value of actual exports – whether paid for or not – based on 1990 prices and the latter figure is a contestable figure (not from SIPRI) at 2010 prices based on some assumptions – including notably, the value to UK manufacturers of the MOD policy of preferring British suppliers over foreign suppliers. I have no idea why SIPRI uses 1990 values).

SSIS Mate wrote:
.......(regarding a reference to figures I’d seen for 2007) I guess (those figures) came from CAAT? (Campaign Against the Arms Trade – which it had). They can be a bit overzealous in presenting information – they are a Campaign after all.........


At best – and using heavily contestable figures – I could currently suggest that the arms industry produces a net value inflow to the UK of $300m pa – which is contradictory to what I meant by my assertion that
Quote:
the UK armaments industry does not make a monetary contribution to the UK economy
. I suppose I could say that there’s a difference between exporting a commodity and getting paid for exporting a commodity – but that isn’t what I originally meant and I won’t hide behind such a straw man.

(Additionally, pointing out that $300m pa represents about $5 a head per annum would be a very weak defence of my position – not least because the true figure could be as high as $15 per head. Who could deny that $15 per head per annum is a valuable contribution to UK citizens well worth the price of a few dead people in foreign countries?).

All in all, it’s proving impossible to meet my own timetable of providing the relevant information (even though that timetable was more generous than the original suggested timetable of 24 hours) – so I guess that makes me a liar and a buffoon.

Actually, it seems to me the topic of whether the UK arms industry turns a profit for UK plc is a subject which really could do with its’ own thread given the complexity of the issues.

Just one minor thing –

Quote:
BAE Systems (to name but one) is the UK's biggest export earner, and has been for some time

Well, that’s news to me. If it’s right – makes you proud to be British doesn’t it? (My SSIS friend did address this but he wandered off into talking about the US subsidiary BAE Inc which might be taking most of the profit and some other matters and I got a bit lost). But yay us – we’re the best at making weapons, or at least the best at selling weapons.

I know this might sound like sour grapes but actually I’m genuinely intrigued – can you direct me to the top UK exporting companies list which shows that BAE Systems is the UK’s biggest export earner? I can’t find a definitive list. I’d (obviously wrongly) assumed that the major export market for the UK was in financial services and (also wrongly) assumed the top earner would be an insurance company or bank.

 
exnihilo
862649.  Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:19 am Reply with quote

All of which would still ignore that the industry makes more contribution than simple earnings minus subsidy. As pointed out, there's the people it employs and the taxes they pay, then there's the things they buy and the businesses they support and so on. There's no way to defend the statement "the UK armaments industry does not make a monetary contribution to the UK economy". One could certainly argue to close it on moral grounds, or whatever, but not on monetary ones.

 
PDR
862652.  Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:11 am Reply with quote

So you owe Neo an apology for your sweeping:

Quote:

I’m sure you must have done the research into this so you’ll know that the armaments industry in the UK exhibits a net cost to the UK economy? No matter which way you measure it (ranging from simple income against expenditure, to measuring the more esoteric opportunity cost) the UK armaments industry does not make a monetary contribution to the UK economy.


It turns out that doing research shows nothing of the kind, and (to use your phrase) "no matter which way you try to measure it" you can't support the false assertion. Ho hum.

Even the figures you have dug out from "your mate" don't really stand up. The advisors to other countries are mostly provided by the military (ie the government) not by the defence industry (we have a lot of problems with the concept of "CONDO" contracts and steer clear of them wherever possible). Cyprus is an RAF station and a listeneing post, operated for and by the UK Government (like Gibraltar, Ascension, Port Stanley etc) - nothing to do with the defence industry.

The sweeping assertion about a £700m "subsidy" to the UK defence industry needs clarification - what does this comprise, to whom and where is it paid? We (BAES) get about £40m/yr in R&D funding from UKMoD these days, and so the overwhelming majority of our R&D investment comes out of profit (which is as it should be - no complaints) but I don't recognise any other payments that could be regarded as a "subsidy".

Finally the values are all to cock - the UK defence exports are worth FAR more than a biollion a year. The Al Yamama, Aldiriya and Salam programmes alone have in-year spends that are several times this amount, never mind the land-sector stuff, ammunition sales, warships, helicopters, US-cross-trading etc etc.

If I was a cynic I'd suggest your mate has given you a POODMA number rather than a SWAG or EASWAG.

PDR

 
Neotenic
862662.  Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:58 am Reply with quote

Quote:
........the estimated value of UK arms exports (SIPRI figures) for 2010 is just over $1bn.....(and the estimated) subsidy to the UK arms industry (also for 2010) is about $700m.........


From SIPRI's own figures, in 2009 BAE alone had $33.2 billion of arms sales revenues.

Facts. You're doing them wrong.

 
bobwilson
862894.  Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:23 pm Reply with quote

Well, first of all the important thing

PDR wrote:
So you owe Neo an apology for your sweeping:

bobwilson wrote:
I’m sure you must have done the research into this so you’ll know that the armaments industry in the UK exhibits a net cost to the UK economy? No matter which way you measure it (ranging from simple income against expenditure, to measuring the more esoteric opportunity cost) the UK armaments industry does not make a monetary contribution to the UK economy.


Yes – I do (owe Neo an apology). I sort of thought that was covered in my previous post – apparently not. But I’ll state it clearly here – what I previously said – ie that
Quote:
no matter which way you measure it....the UK armaments industry does not make a monetary contribution to the UK economy
(added bold) – was wrong.

(As I also said – the subject of how much economic value the UK economy gains by the arms industry deserves its own thread).

Now to the more trivial.......

post 862649

exnihilo wrote:
All of which would still ignore that the industry makes more contribution than simple earnings minus subsidy. As pointed out, there's the people it employs and the taxes they pay, then there's the things they buy and the businesses they support and so on.


I did ignore this – but on the defensible grounds that it’s a fatuous argument. It’s the economic equivalent of “if we didn’t do it – somebody else would”. It starts out with the assumption that if the people employed in the armaments industry were not employed in the armaments industry they wouldn’t be employed in any other line of work (with knock-on effects as set out admirably by exnihilo).

When considering the value of an industry – even using the generally accepted economic models (with which I don’t agree incidentally*) – it’s customary to consider the unique economic value of that industry.

To put it in similarly fatuous terms – WW2 was fantastically good for the economy – just look at all the jobs it created in rebuilding the place afterwards?

*The reason I don’t agree with the standard economic models is that they concentrate on “employment” as a universally beneficial thing. I can solve unemployment: we take half the unemployed and pay them a minimum wage to go around the streets tipping up any bins they find along the streets; then, of course, we can employ the other half of the unemployed to go around clearing the streets of rubbish. Put another way – work is something that is currently defined as “that for which you are paid” whereas it should be defined as “that which needs to be done’.

Put yet another way – pretty much all of human progress has been directed towards increasing unemployment. We’re all unemployed – it’s just a question of degree. Anyone who works a 40 hour week is unemployed for 128 hours a week. And if you really want full employment – let’s scrap washing machines and have washer-women; get rid of power stations and have young men riding stationary bikes to provide electricity on a street-by-street basis; buses to have no engines and instead be pulled by 12 blokes who have nothing better to do.

On the more detailed questions raised by PDR and Neotenic – that’s mostly going to have to wait for another day.

Just a couple of points that can be dealt with summarily. I have no idea what POODMA, SWAG or EASWAG are. It does seem rather strange that when (apparently) winning an argument you should revert to using (to me) nonsensical acronyms without any attempt to explain them? Oh – and wtf are CONDO contracts?

And perhaps contentiously

Quote:
The advisors to other countries are mostly provided by the military (ie the government) not by the defence industry


This is true. But even ignoring the strong links between the official military and defence industry – if (say) a UK advisor provided by the UK government (wholly independent of the arms industry) were to turn up in Baluchitania to advise on the best way to defend against air attacks from their beligerent neighbour Irastanitova – don’t you think they might draw on their experience and suggest using systems (entirely coincidentally) provided to their home country by Air Defence UK plc? And if you were the sales manager for Air Defence UK plc wouldn’t you welcome the deployment of an independent advisor (at no cost to your company) to Baluchitania who exclusively had experience of your systems?

If an intelligent person like you can’t see that as a subsidy (albeit one which is difficult to quantify) then there really is no hope.

Apologies for the angry tone of this post. I managed to sneak my way in to witness the kick-off of Eastbourne’s “get the buggers’ back to work” week. Any doubts I might have had about the stupidity of “TV personalities” was dispelled by

“The Fairy Jobmother” recounting a story about a tale of adversity ending with words akin to “I know this story to be true – for I was that poor benighted soul” – which made me regret not wearing the standard T-Shirt “Your story of woe and sorrow has touched me to the deepest depths of my heart – now fuck off”

and “The bloke who failed on The Apprentice because when in France he was proud of not being able to speak French” not even getting the message when one of the (genuine) crowd (not me) addressed a question to him beginning with the words “I’ll put this question to (plonker) because he hasn’t had a question addressed to him yet”. (It didn’t help “the plonkers” case that the question concerned an ad-lib he’d put into his speech about a pyramid scheme he was involved in – about which the questioner wanted more details – which, of course, the plonker didn’t provide)..

But – let’s not forget – the fees paid to these paragons will then be disseminated among other underlings (as per exnihilo) and so everyone will ultimately benefit from stupidity. In fact – why not just cut out the middleman? Why bother to do anything productive or worthwhile at all? Let’s just hand out fivers in the street – some of which will find their way into local sandwich bars, pubs, strip clubs?

 
PDR
863097.  Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:15 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:

Just a couple of points that can be dealt with summarily. I have no idea what POODMA, SWAG or EASWAG are. It does seem rather strange that when (apparently) winning an argument you should revert to using (to me) nonsensical acronyms without any attempt to explain them? Oh – and wtf are CONDO contracts?


POODMA, WAG, SWAG and EASWAG are the hierachy of scales of precision of estimate:

Pulled Out Of the Depths of My Arse
Wild-Ass Guess
Scientific Wild-Ass Guess
Extremely Accurate Wild-Ass Guess

I would have thought someone with your claimed deep understanding of industry would be familiar with the standard terminology.

"CONDO" means "Contractors ON Deployed Operations" - in simple terms it means putting non-military staff in war zones as part of the war-fighting infrustructure. The americans do this, but (with a few notable and highly specific exceptions) we (the UK) don't. This is partly because of basic things like the responsibilities and liabilities of an employer and the difficulty in adequately insuring the risk but mainly because it gets rather ambiguous in respect to things like the Geneva Convention (and similar). Contractors cannot carry weapons and cannot defend themselves. They cannot wear a uniform or camouflage fatigues because this could make them potentially "unlawfully masquarading as military personel". But id they are present as an "interested party" in a war zone without a "distinctive uniform" they could potentially be deemed to be "spies" within the meaning of the convention. The whole area is a minefield [sic] and so we essentially don't do it. If it becomes a military necessity then the usual approach is to enlist (or more usually commision) the individuals as reservists, but even this isn't as straightforward legally as might be supposed unless the people in question were previously in the regular forces. So it's very very rare.

Quote:

And perhaps contentiously

Quote:
The advisors to other countries are mostly provided by the military (ie the government) not by the defence industry


This is true. But even ignoring the strong links between the official military and defence industry – if (say) a UK advisor provided by the UK government (wholly independent of the arms industry) were to turn up in Baluchitania to advise on the best way to defend against air attacks from their beligerent neighbour Irastanitova – don’t you think they might draw on their experience and suggest using systems (entirely coincidentally) provided to their home country by Air Defence UK plc? And if you were the sales manager for Air Defence UK plc wouldn’t you welcome the deployment of an independent advisor (at no cost to your company) to Baluchitania who exclusively had experience of your systems?

If an intelligent person like you can’t see that as a subsidy (albeit one which is difficult to quantify) then there really is no hope.


Again, it doesn't happen. The very most we (in the UK) can ever get is the occaisional use of Government-owned aircraft to display on a sales tour, for which we pay a rental fee. We rarely own any fast jets, they being customer property from the beginning of the assembly process, so we can only display them by renting them from a customer. There are a few exceptions - we own a couple of hawk trainers that were used for private-venture-funded development and we owned the original twin-seat Harrier demonstrator (G-VTOL) because this was built as a speculative venture by Hawker Siddely Aviation rather than on an government contract. We can never persuade HM forces, or MoD personnel, to promote the products of British industry in any active sense - they regard it as a conflict of interests (probably quite rightly, but their american and french counterparts see it differently). So classic examples like the Al Yamamah contract were initially the result of marketting effort by the companies concerned, with the final contract possibly involving the Government only because some nation-states only procure by way of an inter-nation treaty between peers rather than stooping to the grubby business of contracting with underling companies.

As for military advisors - they days when HM forces deplyed training instructors into Johnnie Foreigner's military are long gone, the last such that I can think of being loaned to the Omani air force back in the 70s. WHat happens these days is Johnie Foreigner might contract defence companies to act in the role of "customer's friend". When you do this (which we do, from time to time) the company inhereently disqualifies itself from the procurement competition, so it's not a common thing to do. And besides, there are very few countries that lack the maturity and technical sophistication required to procure equipment without help. Simple training advisors are straightforward contracts with companies like ours, and don't involve military staff at all.

So the situation (and the implied sibsidy you describe) simply doesn't exist.

PDR

 
Posital
863879.  Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:44 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
bobwilson wrote:

Just a couple of points that can be dealt with summarily. I have no idea what POODMA, SWAG or EASWAG are. It does seem rather strange that when (apparently) winning an argument you should revert to using (to me) nonsensical acronyms without any attempt to explain them? Oh – and wtf are CONDO contracts?


POODMA, WAG, SWAG and EASWAG are the hierachy of scales of precision of estimate:

Pulled Out Of the Depths of My Arse
Wild-Ass Guess
Scientific Wild-Ass Guess
Extremely Accurate Wild-Ass Guess

I would have thought someone with your claimed deep understanding of industry would be familiar with the standard terminology.
And so PDR shows his true colours.

I don't think there's any chance PDR can be POODMA-ed, he's in far too deep.

 
PDR
863933.  Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:12 am Reply with quote

??

Aside from the basic insult, and within the context of the discussion, what was the purpose of that post?

PDR

 
Posital
863974.  Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:49 am Reply with quote

I've been quite interested in this discussion - and it's clear from what's been said that bob was wide of the mark and isn't clear about what forms an apology.

But I'm also interested in how this discussion was conducted - and I find that the part of the discussion I quoted was equally poorly judged - and appears to be a poor reflection on you, PDR.

Wouldn't you agree?

 
PDR
863990.  Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:20 pm Reply with quote

Not really - the terms I used are in pretty common usage. What I suggested was that the numbers supplied by this (probably fictitious) mate were made up rather than being estimated from first principles or estamated from first principles based on real information.

Bob has a lot pf previous for making up his own facts, so I don't think it's unreasoinable to make this point. Hopefully the more he gets picked up on it the less he will continue to do it and then perhaps he will start discussing/debating like a grown-up instead of a three-year-old.

PDR

 
Posital
864043.  Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:21 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
...the terms I used are in pretty common usage.
Do you have any evidence to back up this assertion?

The only place that the fine arbiter of common usage - Mr Google - could find in the english language was this very thread.

Or perhaps you mean "common usage" in certain circles that commonly use it?

Still - evidence would be appreciated... otherwise we might think that you're conducting a master class in the poor behaviour you so ably describe above.

 
PDR
864086.  Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:28 pm Reply with quote

PM me an email address and I'll scan the course slides with them on (external courses - not company ones).

PDR

 
Posital
864131.  Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:06 am Reply with quote

So these acronyms in "pretty common usage" were only deployed in course notes (of unknown quality) you obtained sometime?

I submit that if they were used at all - they were used to contrast against the real thrust of the course. I would then be concerned that you've lost sight of this.

If that is the case, then it doesn't constitute "pretty common usage". Wouldn't you agree?

 

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