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  1. #121
    Orbit v2 Orbit v2 is online now

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    Just two comments. First, this suggestion that you possibly would have been in favour of slavery or opposed to health and safety laws if you're against this, typifies the liberal steam-roller effect I've mentioned before. Liberalism really is an unstoppable steam-roller. It's extraordinary the extent to which people in this country reject a point of view simply because it is old, or perceived as conservative. Rational arguments aren't even necessary any more.

    Also, there is a big difference between imposing legal measures on corporations and interfering with who they are allowed to have as their legal officers. In the former case, you'll find that businesses adjust to whatever constraints are imposed on them. So long as there is a level playing field, it's generally not a problem and in any case, business owners can make their viewpoints known (as they do). What this will achieve however, is quite ingenious. It is guaranteed by definition to succeed. Even if business owners are against this now, which of them will criticise its (gender balanced) board of directors afterwards? None will. Just like politicians having reservations about gender quotas in politics - as soon as that is brought in the criticism will immediately cease, because no party is going to rubbish its own selection of candidates, even if the process that produced it, was externally imposed.
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  2. #122
    ibis ibis is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tea Party Patriot View Post
    If you own a company and have the majority shareholding in that company which you built up yourself would like someone dictating to you who you should and should not entrust with the running of your company?
    I'd certainly object strongly to the idea that someone else might appoint my board - but that's not what's happening. I wouldn't have any objection to 40% of the people I picked having to be women. It wouldn't even particularly be a headache for me at this stage.
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  3. #123
    cyberianpan cyberianpan is offline
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    This is an especially demented attempt at top down social engineering, why not quotas for:

    Age
    Sexual Orientation
    Left Handers
    Gingers

    ?

    cYp
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  4. #124
    Sexual Harassment Panda Sexual Harassment Panda is offline
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    I've seen a ghost....
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  5. #125
    ibis ibis is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    Just two comments. First, this suggestion that you possibly would have been in favour of slavery or opposed to health and safety laws if you're against this, typifies the liberal steam-roller effect I've mentioned before. Liberalism really is an unstoppable steam-roller. It's extraordinary the extent to which people in this country reject a point of view simply because it is old, or perceived as conservative. Rational arguments aren't even necessary any more.
    Not really. The measure is worth supporting because it may correct a perceived injustice that results from socially enforced biases, not simply because it is a "progressive" measure.

    On the other hand, though, and to the contrary, the arguments against it are those that have been offered to defend the status quo from legislative interference on every occasion. That's the parallel with slavery. I'm not suggesting that anyone who opposes this measure would have been pro-slavery, and it's lazy to try to defend one's conservatism in such a way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    Also, there is a big difference between imposing legal measures on corporations and interfering with who they are allowed to have as their legal officers. In the former case, you'll find that businesses adjust to whatever constraints are imposed on them. So long as there is a level playing field, it's generally not a problem and in any case, business owners can make their viewpoints known (as they do). What this will achieve however, is quite ingenious. It is guaranteed by definition to succeed. Even if business owners are against this now, which of them will criticise its (gender balanced) board of directors afterwards? None will. Just like politicians having reservations about gender quotas in politics - as soon as that is brought in the criticism will immediately cease, because no party is going to rubbish its own selection of candidates, even if the process that produced it, was externally imposed.
    Luckily, we have shareholders like zakalwe1 who can legitimately criticise board appointments if they feel they are damaging the management of the business. The absence of such shareholder complaints in Norway is therefore telling.
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  6. #126
    Orbit v2 Orbit v2 is online now

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibis View Post
    Not really. The measure is worth supporting because it may correct a perceived injustice that results from socially enforced biases, not simply because it is a "progressive" measure.
    That sounds like the definition of "progressive" to me.
    On the other hand, though, and to the contrary, the arguments against it are those that have been offered to defend the status quo from legislative interference on every occasion. That's the parallel with slavery.
    I imagine the argument in favour of slavery was along the lines that slaves were inferior to "normal" people. But as said yesterday, it's a caricature and straw-man to suggest the same type of argument is being used on this issue. To take a more comparable argument, some would have argued previously that women were inferior to men and that would have justified not allowing them to serve on company boards (or from voting).

    It's an entirely different issue to argue against requiring a certain percentage of women on company boards (or to be selected as election candidates) because it involves criteria other than merit. So, it's possible to be in favour of women on company boards, but against quotas. Therefore, they can't be the same argument.
    Luckily, we have shareholders like zakalwe1 who can legitimately criticise board appointments if they feel they are damaging the management of the business. The absence of such shareholder complaints in Norway is therefore telling.
    Shareholders are primarily concerned with the bottom line. They are also concerned with companies behaving ethically and responsibly, all of which can be achieved through normal laws and regulations. The problem that I have with all of this, is I believe it will damage women's interests, without really changing the way company boards operate. I think boards will continue to appoint the directors they think are best qualified (male or female) and they'll just expand the board in order to make up the remaining quota of women. Decisions will be made in private meetings or whatever, and the risk is that women with real talent will get sidelined in the process.
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  7. #127
    ibis ibis is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    That sounds like the definition of "progressive" to me.
    I suppose the question is one of whether one perceives the injustice and desires a remedy or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    I imagine the argument in favour of slavery was along the lines that slaves were inferior to "normal" people. But as said yesterday, it's a caricature and straw-man to suggest the same type of argument is being used on this issue. To take a more comparable argument, some would have argued previously that women were inferior to men and that would have justified not allowing them to serve on company boards (or from voting).

    It's an entirely different issue to argue against requiring a certain percentage of women on company boards (or to be selected as election candidates) because it involves criteria other than merit. So, it's possible to be in favour of women on company boards, but against quotas. Therefore, they can't be the same argument.
    Unfortunately, they can be, and so far on this thread, largely have been. The argument that women who are not competent to sit on boards will, as a long-turn outcome of this measure, be chosen to sit on boards just to make the numbers up necessarily implies that there aren't sufficient competent women to staff 40% of board seats, despite them being 50% of the population - and that in turn implies that women are inferior to men in this regard.

    In the initial stages of application, I would imagine that some companies will find themselves taking a punt on women candidates for the board that they know little about, and that that may produce an interim period where the quality of women on boards is lower, but to argue for it to be a long-term outcome of a quota system one has to argue that omen

    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    Shareholders are primarily concerned with the bottom line. They are also concerned with companies behaving ethically and responsibly, all of which can be achieved through normal laws and regulations.

    The problem that I have with all of this, is I believe it will damage women's interests, without really changing the way company boards operate. I think boards will continue to appoint the directors they think are best qualified (male or female) and they'll just expand the board in order to make up the remaining quota of women. Decisions will be made in private meetings or whatever, and the risk is that women with real talent will get sidelined in the process.
    I don't even see how that follows. You're saying women who weren't on the board will be put on the board but sidelined from making real decisions - that, were they not on the board, they wouldn't be making either - and that this "damages women's interests"? Doesn't compute at all.

    I would regard it as far more likely that companies won't expand their boards (has it happened in Norway?), and will, instead, try to pick the best possible female candidates. And where a woman is competent enough that she would have been appointed to the board anyway, I would think the company will be glad to appoint her anyway with her contribution to the quota an added bonus.
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  8. #128
    ibis ibis is offline

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    It would also be worth those who are defending against the measure on the basis of the sanctity of companies' rights to do as they like to bear in mind that limited liability companies are entities whose members are protected from the full consequences of their actions by law.
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  9. #129
    Orbit v2 Orbit v2 is online now

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    On the point that doesn't compute, women who are chosen to make up the numbers will be seen as having not got there on merit, and while that is damaging in itself, it could damage women who did get there on merit as maybe they will be excluded from important discussions that happen away from the formal board meetings. How much does this happen in Norway? I don't think you'll ever know. I'm sure not on every board, but nobody is going to admit to it.

    Also, board members are usually chosen from people who have a successful record in business themselves. There isn't an unlimited supply of people with that kind of experience. Just giving it time isn't going to increase the number of women who come up through the ranks in that way I'm afraid.

    Like I said before, I don't think this will make a huge actual difference (apart from damaging women's interests themselves) and by its own definition it will be seen to be a success. So, the politicians will be able to pat themselves on the back, for a job well done ..
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  10. #130
    ibis ibis is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    On the point that doesn't compute, women who are chosen to make up the numbers will be seen as having not got there on merit, and while that is damaging in itself, it could damage women who did get there on merit as maybe they will be excluded from important discussions that happen away from the formal board meetings. How much does this happen in Norway? I don't think you'll ever know. I'm sure not on every board, but nobody is going to admit to it.
    I'm sure that it will happen wherever boards feel that they have appointed someone incompetent just to make up numbers, but I'm equally sure in the long run that they'll choose competent women.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    Also, board members are usually chosen from people who have a successful record in business themselves. There isn't an unlimited supply of people with that kind of experience. Just giving it time isn't going to increase the number of women who come up through the ranks in that way I'm afraid.
    And I'm afraid that's exactly the argument that boils down to "women just can't make it on their own merits". If there's a problem with the pipeline of women candidates, companies will have to act to improve it unless they want to go on having to appoint incompetent women and hold their meetings in the gents' toilets. Claiming that there's no problem with the pipeline - that is, the career path offered to women in companies - but that there still won't be enough suitable women candidates, necessarily requires that women be inherently less competent than men in this respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orbit v2 View Post
    Like I said before, I don't think this will make a huge actual difference (apart from damaging women's interests themselves) and by its own definition it will be seen to be a success. So, the politicians will be able to pat themselves on the back, for a job well done ..
    And a voluntary scheme would provide an identical opportunity for everyone to reinforce their prejudices and pat themselves on the back for "having tried". In the absence of a quota system, and the presence of common bias, we'll simply never find out whether it would work out, so why not try another approach?
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