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Thread: "Disruptive Reforms?"

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    Default "Disruptive Reforms?"

    Govt job plan has long term unemployed focus - RTÉ News

    This story on rte.ie previously had the term "disruptive reforms" in its now-changed title. The phrase has been retained in the first sentence, in quotes, but the meaning was not explained and it was not repeated in the article. There wasn't much in the article that could refer to this phrase either.

    My ears prícked up when I heard the phrase, because I wrote a book about this. My understanding of the phrase "disruptive reforms" is very specific. It refers to reforms that remove the competitive advantage of incumbents and allow new market entrants a chance to compete, or to motivating existing businesses to be more competitive or better-behaved. It is a polite way of saying kicking the asses of vested interests. The café-bar idea from the mad Mullah (shot down by the mad Gombeen) would be a classic example, but there are thousands of other ideas that would cost the state nothing and dramatically improve performance.

    One I suggested referred to requiring the display of a web address and smartphone code wherever the state has to inspect something, allowing the public to submit information. Then, say, health inspectors could use this information to make more targeted inspections of restaurants.

    Of course there are many people who would not welcome this - health inspectors and dirty restaurants - but the whole of society would benefit; less hassle for well-run restaurants, fewer puking customers, lower cost of enforcement.

    If the government has been converted to the benefits of standing up to vested interests, this is a big step forward. Am I hoping too much? Or did some functionary just happen across the phrase and stick it in because it sounded good?
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    Politics.ie Member clearmurk's Avatar
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    At a guess, they picked it up from speaking with tech companies, where the concept of technology disruptions leading to market success would be well understood, and common speak in the venture capital world. Think the Apple Ipad, and what it has done to the PC market.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by clearmurk View Post
    At a guess, they picked it up from speaking with tech companies, where the concept of technology disruptions leading to market success would be well understood, and common speak in the venture capital world. Think the Apple Ipad, and what it has done to the PC market.
    I think that there is a real possibility that they picked up the phrase without understanding it. Nevertheless, I think that it is very interesting that they appear to be promising exactly what Ireland needs. Is it a coincidence? This was the buzzword that they just picked from their reform-bingo hat? Does anyone think that they actually understand what it means?
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    I wonder if some FGers could explain the concept of "disruptive reforms" where it applies to getting Irish businesses online?
    Regards...jmcc

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    Quote Originally Posted by GJG View Post
    My understanding of the phrase "disruptive reforms" is very specific. It refers to reforms that remove the competitive advantage of incumbents and allow new market entrants a chance to compete, or to motivating existing businesses to be more competitive or better-behaved. It is a polite way of saying kicking the asses of vested interests.
    ...
    If the government has been converted to the benefits of standing up to vested interests, this is a big step forward. Am I hoping too much? Or did some functionary just happen across the phrase and stick it in because it sounded good?
    Well, what vested interests do you see being threatened by the proposals in the linked article? I can't say I see any.

    Also, while I can see the obvious attraction of whacking vested interests, I can also see some hypothetical situations where it would be reckless to tackle some vested interests right now in the middle of the greatest depression ever.

    Imagine there's an industry that benefits from over-regulation, that employs 10,000 people. Assume that by slashing lots of regulations, the existing industry would go bust, leading to the state being liable for €10 million in redundancy payments. Not only that, 5000 families will lose their main breadwinner and will fall behind on their mortgages, thus directly burdening state-owned banks. New businesses will take the place of the old ones, but because they're leaner and jobseekers are desperate and willing to do 10 extra unpaid hours a week, only 6,000 full-time positions will be created.

    So by a gung-ho attitude to slashing vested interests, we'd make the depression significantly worse. Yes, it would make a small number of entrepreneurs very rich, but it would shift the very considerable costs straight onto the taxpayer.

    On balance, going after vested interests is usually the best thing to do, especially when the economy is booming, but sometimes exercising a touch of discretion is actually wiser in the medium term, during periods when the economy is in deep crisis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by feargach View Post
    Well, what vested interests do you see being threatened by the proposals in the linked article? I can't say I see any.
    Exactly, that’s what I mean. They are using the vocabulary of very radical reform, but it’s not even clear if they understand the vocabulary, let alone intend to follow through on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by feargach View Post
    Also, while I can see the obvious attraction of whacking vested interests, I can also see some hypothetical situations where it would be reckless to tackle some vested interests right now in the middle of the greatest depression ever.

    Imagine there's an industry that benefits from over-regulation, that employs 10,000 people. Assume that by slashing lots of regulations, the existing industry would go bust, leading to the state being liable for €10 million in redundancy payments. Not only that, 5000 families will lose their main breadwinner and will fall behind on their mortgages, thus directly burdening state-owned banks. New businesses will take the place of the old ones, but because they're leaner and jobseekers are desperate and willing to do 10 extra unpaid hours a week, only 6,000 full-time positions will be created.
    Firstly, I agree that there is no valid reason to attack a vested interest just for the sake of it. The purpose of attacking a vested interest is to free up the market to allow innovative challengers the chance to compete. There would have been no valid reason to split up and open to competition in the telecoms market of the 1960s, for example, because the technology to facilitate that did not exist. By the 1980s, the thing keeping Telecom Eireann/Eircom strong was not their innovation or strength of offering, it was just their ability to choke off all competition.

    But the general thrust of your comment is wrong. It would be possible to, for example, protect the VHS Tape market, or the fixed-line telephone market, or hand-loom trade by banning their successor products, or just making life so awkward for them that they can’t overcome the installed base of the existing operator.

    That would give a short-term gain, but eventually all industries must move on, and if you live in a country where all legacy industries are given excessive protection from innovation, you will end up in an economy like North Korea. The cost of that action is greater than the benefit, although the cost is spread more thinly than the benefit, so those benefiting will no doubt have much louder voices in that debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by feargach View Post
    On balance, going after vested interests is usually the best thing to do, especially when the economy is booming, but sometimes exercising a touch of discretion is actually wiser in the medium term, during periods when the economy is in deep crisis.
    Can you give an example of where going after a vested interest turned out to be bad for the economy? Or where protecting them worked out well?
    Here's How, Ireland's political, social and current affairs podcast; Call the show on 076 603 5060 to record your contribution for the next show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcc View Post
    I wonder if some FGers could explain the concept of "disruptive reforms" where it applies to getting Irish businesses online?
    Alas though there is very little reward or incentive for many Irish businesses being online if their customers are not, or only to the extent of FB and Donedeal.
    Once your ability to function within society depends on a government controlled ID card then you are no longer a free citizen.

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    For example, supermarkets and filling stations are required to tell consumers their prices, but only in a very C20 way, by printing it on a ticket on the shelf or a signpost outside the filling station.

    If they were required to make their prices and locations publicly available in an online database, it would be possible to construct apps that would place those overpriced markets under considerably more competitive pressure, inform consumers and force down prices. I would regard this as a disruptive step with huge potential benefits and near zero cost.
    Here's How, Ireland's political, social and current affairs podcast; Call the show on 076 603 5060 to record your contribution for the next show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GJG View Post
    For example, supermarkets and filling stations are required to tell consumers their prices, but only in a very C20 way, by printing it on a ticket on the shelf or a signpost outside the filling station.

    If they were required to make their prices and locations publicly available in an online database, it would be possible to construct apps that would place those overpriced markets under considerably more competitive pressure, inform consumers and force down prices. I would regard this as a disruptive step with huge potential benefits and near zero cost.
    Sadly, experience suggests that simply waving a computer at things is not always the true path to wealth and happiness.
    Once your ability to function within society depends on a government controlled ID card then you are no longer a free citizen.

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    From the actual document
    " Finally, with our new approach to partnering with private industry to support the implementation of these “Disruptive Reforms” I am convinced that our combined efforts working towards a shared goal will achieve more, with less and in a shorter time than would otherwise be possible. "

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