Welcome to the Hotel Wagga Wagga

You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave“.

One wonders what the likelihood is of this idea being successfully implemented and being successful in its outcomes;

A Government proposal to mandate immigrants live in regional areas.

For some mysterious reason, known only to a select few people with massive intellects, new immigrants to Australia almost exclusively favour the largest cities as their first choice when selecting an area to move to.

To be more specific, the they favour the two largest cities; Melbourne and Sydney.

This causes significant headaches for politicians as they are required to ensure infrastructure and essential services are in place and planned commensurate to the likely population levels in each area.

There are other headaches to be had for those poor hard-working politicians too. Specifically, the problem that the economies of their regional constituencies are being “hollowed out” as young people increasingly vote with their feet as soon as they are able and leave their rural hometown for life in the busy metropolitan areas (no, we’re not talking about you Adelaide, sit down).

There’s a critical mass problem in regional Australia where there needs to be farmers and farm workers to grow the produce the city slickers want to eat but providing quality infrastructure services, ensuring there’s good medical and dental care, maintaining a public school system, etc. becomes increasingly expensive relative to the economies of scale that can be achieved in higher density areas.

To a certain extent, t’was always thus the world over. Australia has an additional nuance to this due to her physical size and lower density of population distributed outside the main conurbations.

Over the very long term, one can imagine the solution to Kim Stanley-Robinson’s Malthusian Fallacy will be found using technology and scientific breakthroughs to automate agricultural production reduce the reliance on humans performing traditional roles on farms.

Perhaps the problem is only a 10 to 20 year one then, after which everyone can live in in the megacity with hot and cold running soy decaf and kale smoothies on demand.

Nonetheless, there’s a bit of a problem to be solved here; the politicians don’t want to hamstring economic growth. One way to ensure the GDP figures keep rising is to increase the number of productive workers contributing to it. Put bluntly, they have to persuade the existing population to either throw away their birth control pills or accept a constant flow of immigration.

Note, the politicians aren’t offering a third or fourth option to have flat/contracting GDP growth, or economic growth built on a technological solution to productivity. The parameters of the debate are constrained within an Overton Window to “rising GDP is good, immigration is the solution to achieve this“.

Which is, of course, the the reason why the debate has turned to methods to encourage immigrants to live in places the existing population, especially the politicians, don’t want to. Our old friend expressed versus revealed preferences is at work again.

Back to our original question then, what’s the chances it’ll work?

Some categories of Australian immigration visas already mandate and enforce an element of rural living. There is a “working holiday visa” which rewards the holder to a longer duration of stay if they spend a period of their time performing seasonal work on remote farms. So there is precedent.

There’s some not insignificant differences between what is currently in place and what might be proposed however, not least of which is the demographics involved. The seasonal workers tend to be young people, often single and with no dependents. They are here for a good time not a long time.

The new immigrants who will be mandated to live in the regional areas are likely to be older, married and parents of dependent children. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, their prime concern is to going to be less focused on earning enough to spend the weekend partying on MDMA and browsing what’s on offer on Tinder but more about improving the quality of their housing, the education of their children and affording the airfare back to their country of origin every couple of years.

If the employment options, housing, schools, medical care and ability to save money are sub-optimal in Buttfucksville, Queen’sland, they are going to pack up their belongings and move to the city.

How might the government prevent this, do we think? Checkpoints on all the major roads? Random visa checks? Further requirements on employers to perform the role of Immigration Officer?

Perhaps there’s a clue in the incentives for the working holiday visa workers? Perhaps the initial visa granted is temporary and it can only be converted to permanent residence status after a defined and proven period living in the regional area? What might go wrong with that idea?

Bill’s Opinion

Mandating where immigrants live when they have made the huge personal decision to relocate countries feels like a reasonable idea but it relies on so many factors to be aligned to ensure success;

What if there are no job vacancies in the area, what if the available jobs aren’t suitable for the immigrants’ skills or don’t pay enough to make life sustainable to support their families?

What if the education options available can’t cope with the additional demands of children living in households where English isn’t spoken?

These people will, quite reasonably, claim special status and exemptions due to the government not holding up their end of the bargain.

Here’s a prediction worth noting; the Australian government’s proposals, whatever they are, will not result in a significant shift in the location immigrants live and work, ether due to gaming of the system or failure of an arm of government to plan effectively and exemptions being granted as a consequence.

But the most interesting aspect about this debate is what we are not talking about; what is the full range of solutions to the problem of falling productivity and why aren’t we being shown these, if only for the opportunity to agree that immigration is the only solution?

Open the Overton Window!

Mission Impossible

Mission Australia are running a “Chugger” (“charity mugger”) funding campaign on the streets of Australia.

Young backpackers in purple T-shirts are pestering passers by with statistics about child poverty.

Where is the child poverty they are trying to reduce? Africa? Asia? South America?

Nope. Australia.

No really, according to Mission Australia, one in six Australian children are living in poverty.

Does that pass the sniff test? If you live in or have ever visited Australia, have you ever seen extreme poverty to that level?

No? Perhaps you didn’t visit the right locations. After all, poor people don’t tend to live in the apartments overlooking the Opera House, one supposes.

But one in six is still a lot of kids, where might they all be living if they aren’t immediately obvious to people in the main population centres?

Ah, perhaps the statistic is due to terrible poverty and deprivation in the Aboriginal townships?

Well, maybe but given that only 3.3% of the population is Aboriginal, that doesn’t make sense either.

Where are all these Aussie kids who are living in poverty then? There’s got to be a small city’s worth hiding in plain sight.

This is just a working hypothesis, but maybe there’s a clue to be found in the definition of the word “poverty”.

About halfway down their webpage, Mission Australia repeat the claim and point to this study as the source.

How is “poverty” defined in the Acoss study?

Ah;

So, poverty is defined as relative to other people, and before receipt of public housing, tax credits, unemployment benefits, Medicare and free schooling.

Of course, when your definition of poverty is based on what everyone else is earning, it’s hardly surprising that statements such as the one above, “Internationally, Australia’s poverty rate remains above the OECD average, despite our relative prosperity” can be written without a hint of irony.

Bill’s Opinion

Relative poverty isn’t poverty, it’s envy.

Anyone who has visited Africa, Asia or South America can tell you what child poverty looks like and it certainly isn’t what Mission Australia claims it is.

I find it highly unlikely that Acoss or Mission Australia were unaware of the statistical obfuscation they had to commit to print T-shirts claiming one in six Australian children live in poverty.

What might their motivation be for such mendacity, do we think?

Dick by name….

Australia is home to a gentleman called Dick Smith. He owns an eponymous chain of electronics’ stores where one can purchase all manner of flat screen TVs, music systems, white goods and other devices.

To the best of our knowledge, practically none of these devices are manufactured domestically. Like most western economies, Australia used to manufacture TVs and radios but the availability of cheaper and better quality imports from its northern neighbours in Asia hastened the decline of the industry.

Dick Smith has personally benefited greatly from this destruction of the local industry.

Imagine our surprise therefore that he feels the need to berate an overseas supermarket chain from copying his successful model but in the grocery sector.

Apparently, the management of Aldi are morally reprehensible for providing good quality imported food products at a lower price than can be produced domestically.

Ponder that for a moment. Now look at the brand of phone, tablet or PC on which you are reading this. Where was it made? Korea?

Now look at the label in your shirt or dress. Was it tailored domestically? Unlikely.

What should be done about this?

Bill’s Opinion

Dick Smith is typical of most Australian “entrepreneurs” in as much that, once he has made his fortune, he sees no reason to feel shame about lobbying and making public statements to pull the ladder up and prevent others from following his example.

His competitor, Gerry Harvey, is another example of this syndrome, campaigning for the federal government to impose the 10% General Sales Tax on low value overseas internet purchases, despite the fact that this will incur a net cost to the taxpayer.

“Capitalism” is a much maligned noun these days but consider whether there really is that much of it about. Certainly the people who often are pointed at as being “capitalist” are no such thing. Dick and Gerry have more in common with the mercantilists of the 16th century than Adam Smith or Ayn Rand.

The answer to the question might not be very welcome

Those readers who find themselves in Sydney at the start of September may consider the following opportunity to “analogue troll” for $45.

Of all the breakout sessions, this one piqued our interest particularly;

Where to start? In the words of Luke Skywalker, “Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong“.

Let’s answer the question asked in the session’s title last and pick off the sentences in the description first.

42 billionaires now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population.

Interesting use of language there; bottom half. I think they mean poorest half if we’re trying to not be judgemental or insulting. Anyway, the relevant question to ask about that statement might be, how does this situation compare against previous periods in human history? Is the trend improving or worsening?

Pick your data source and point in time for comparison but it has been estimated that for most of human history, the average daily income was the equivalent of $1.

At the time of Croesus, the world’s population was approximately 115 million.

Comparing averages is dangerous statistical activity, as is comparing net wealth with income, but let’s assume half of the people alive with Croesus had an income of $1 a day in modern terms. Let’s also assume that they had no real savings to speak of and were living hand to mouth. So, do we think Croesus’ net wealth was less than $57.5m, i.e. half of the population multiplied by a dollar a day?

Similar examples might be made with Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, several of the Emperors of China, the Pharaohs of Egypt, various Indian emperors, etc.

What about any number of other historical figures who concentrated massive wealth and land? Do we think their wealth was above or below about $57.5m in modern terms? If above, we’ve just dismissed the first statement of our Sydney Socialist friends as being irrelevant.

Let’s look at the next assertion;

In a world that’s never been richer, hundreds of millions remain trapped in poverty, facing starvation and disease, especially in the so-called “third world”.

Well, the world has indeed never been richer. This is an interesting chart from The Atlantic (a publication not known for blindly supporting free market capitalism) showing GDP per capita over the last few hundred years;

Gosh, I wonder what might have caused that huge improvement since 1800 in Western Europe and the USA? Sure, that’s about the time Marx and Engels wrote their envious little book but, in the real world, something was happening in England that was changing the level of wealth and finally breaking the Malthusian model.

The statement about hundreds of millions remaining trapped in poverty is less accurate and, in fact, increasingly wrong as time proceeds. Don’t believe us? Ask the UN. The target of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty was achieved 5 years early.

Again, why do we think that happened?

The last sentence is a question, which we’ve already shown to be asked from a false position;

What has led to this obscene situation, and who is to blame?

Bill’s Opinion

The answer to the question, “Why is the third world so poor?” could be as simple as “Collectivism, i.e. Socialism”.

Perhaps the better question to ask is, “Why is the third world being lifted out of poverty so rapidly?

To which we would offer the answer, “An embracing by the general population of free markets, international trade and the individual desire for self-improvement”.

Capitalism, in other words.

Before the industrial revolution, people were living in abject poverty in hand to mouth existences. Marx and Engels could have watched the starving farm workers being buried in the ground if they had visited rural England. Instead, they went to the concentrations of populations gathered around the new factories. The conditions they saw were also terrible but, and this is the elephant in the conference room at the Sydney Socialism event, it was better than the rural alternative. That’s why the farm workers voluntarily moved to the cities in the first place.

Let’s just leave this chart here and ask ourselves whether the Sydney Socialists really have the answer to the problem;

Uber 1 – London’s Mayor 0

Uber has won its battle with London’s Socialist Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and can continue to provide great value services to Londoners.

As we pointed out earlier, the decision to terminate their licence was purely political and not underpinned by any factual basis.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s nice to see the rule of law still sometimes works in London.

Perhaps the London ratepayers should send the legal bill to Mr. Khan.

Containerisation

….is a word invented in 1956 by Malcolm McLean to describe the switch from loose freight that had to be manhandled in and out of trains, lorries, cargo ships, etc. to the standard TEU and FEU shipping containers we still use today.

Depending on your source of choice, containerisation lowered freight costs by almost 50% due to lower rates of breakage, pilfering and required labour. Obviously, if you were previously employed as a stevedore in a port, that last efficiency might not have felt quite so positive.

The word “contained” similarly can have positive and negative connotations today. Witness;

Here’s another use of “contained” to compare and contrast;

That was from Ben Bernanke.

He doubled down a couple of months later;

Hubris is a painful lesson to learn. Of course, if you’re the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the only real injury you suffer from being proven utterly wrong and professionally incompetent is a bruised ego which you can nurse with your gold-plated pension (it’s funny how, in these times of fiat money, “gold-plated” is still used to refer to great pensions, isn’t it?).

Back then to Australian property prices….

For non-Australian readers, there are several important points to make before judging an opinion on the subject;

1. There is no such thing as a single “Australian property market”. In a country as large as Australia, with so many economic and climactic differences, there are multiple markets.

2. Many people have tried to apply lessons from other countries to Australia and been proven wrong continuously.

3. Opinions are like arseholes; everyone has one.

So, that being said, here’s some opinions with supporting information;

Sydney and Melbourne account for about 40% of the population and roughly 60% of the value of housing. Sydney is about 15% times larger in terms of population than Melbourne and 50% greater in terms of value (being mindful that “value” is determined by someone actually being prepared and able to pay the price quoted). For the purposes of this blog, therefore, we will use the term “Australian Property” as meaning the Sydney and Melbourne markets rather than, say, a small town next door to a mine that’s just been approved in a remote part of Queensland.

Predicting how a group of assets will be priced in the future is notoriously difficult, even the “experts” struggle with it. A search over the years for one such expert, Dr. Andrew Wilson (yes, he’s a doctor of property economics!) shows that he’s under-predicted the rises and not forecast the falls in his area of apparent expertise. The newspaper articles seeking his views never show his past performance in their analysis, however.

We might be able to at least predict the direction of the trend, perhaps?

Let’s list the main factors which might indicate main two Australian cities are on a trajectory for an increase in prices (“Column A”) and those which suggest a fall (“Column B”).

Ok, they aren’t actually presented as columns because I can’t be bothered to work out how to do that in WordPress, but you get the idea;

Column A – The bullish case for Australian property

The Federal government has a moment of largesse with taxpayer’s money and implements quantitative easing or hands out a cash gift to debt holders to sustain prices.

China primes the pump and begins another phase of massive infrastructure creation, requiring more of the stuff under the Australian gound.

India decides to rebuild the 3 largest cities and connecting infrastructure and strikes an iron ore deal with Australia.

Australia develops a widget that is manufactured locally and is as popular as an iPhone.

The largest natural disaster in history destroys a few states of the US and, the US Federal Reserve opens the faucets again.

Column B – The bearish case for Australian property

Lending criteria stays tight to retain the illusion of banking strength and prudence to the world.

An incoming new Federal government makes sweeping changes to the way tax is calculated, with negative unintended consequences.

Overseas funding for mortgages becomes more expensive. 60% currently comes from outside Australia and this is subject to the rate rises being seen elsewhere and Australia’s banks have fallen out of favour.

Banks play out Game Theory and reduce their exposure to riskier asset classes in the face of evidence of a downturn.

Criminal charges accumulate as political pressure demands scalps.

Employment weakens.

In anticipation of or in response to the decisions by the regulator, APRA, the banks impose and enforce tougher credit standards.

New rules and laws are introduced to regulate investment from overseas.

Chinese capital constraints are introduced, stemming the flow of funds south to safer Australian assets.

Interest-only loans reset to interest plus principal.

Global politics fracture further and protectionist stances become policy (in extremis, protectionism might create “hot” conflict).

Bill’s Opinion

It’s been a stellar ride, Sydney and Melbourne, but consider the possibility that your house might not be the pension fund you perhaps previously considered it to be. 18% annual rises will seem a distant memory if the current trend continues and “Column B” is stronger than “Column A”.

As for Scott Morrison, your Treasurer who is likely to be replaced within 18 months; in the words of Christine Keeler, “well he would say that, wouldn’t he……”

Minimum wages and unemployment

Australia raised the minimum wage by 3.5% this month.

Hurrah for all the lowest-paid workers, I hear you cheer.

Some cynics have suggested that this might not be the universally good news that most commentators suggest, however.

Their argument goes something like this; an organisation has a finite amount of available funds to pay workers. If the rate at which they must pay these workers is raised by legislation, there will be less money and therefore fewer hours of work will be offered to the workers.

The finance and economics commentator, Stephen Koukoulas, disagrees in this article on Business Insider. It’s worth reading in full but a fair summary might be, “price signals work in both directions; if wages were higher, the 5.5% of the potential working age population who are currently unemployed would find paid work more compelling than whatever else it is they do with their time“.

The Kouk is a well-respected commentator and generally talks a lot of sense but his position doesn’t ring quite true on this occasion.

He uses the technique of looking at the extremes to seek the truth, which is a useful method. If the wage was $100 an hour, who in their right mind would sit around at home watching daytime TV, for example?

There’s a problem with this however; it assumes everyone is capable of finding and keeping a job.

This chart shows the flaw in that argument;

It’s the distribution of IQ across the bell curve.

Look closely at the left hand side; 2.2% of the population have an IQ below 70. A score below 70 is a crushing intellectual disability, with very few suitable jobs available that could be undertaken by someone in that part of the distribution. Cognitive abilities will be severely limited and reading, reasoning and basic mathematics will be real challenges for them.

13.6% of people are between 70 and 80 on the IQ distribution. Although not as severe an inhibitor, these people will struggle with more complex tasks and interactions.

It gets worse…. of the jobs we are rapidly automating, the first cabs off the rank are the ones more easily codified into simple rules and processes. Mainly, these sit in the distribution to the left of a score of 80. Anyone who has been into a McDonalds recently will have noticed that orders can be placed on automatic tellers now; it’s not the manager who has been replaced but the entry level staff.

Bill’s Opinion

There is a point beyond which raising the minimum wage will have no effect on the level of unemployment if one of the reasons for unemployment is a fundamental incompatibility between the potential workers and the vacant roles due to genetics.

It’s not necessarily the fault of the person with an IQ of 70 that they can’t get a job.

“Full employment”, is a utopia that will never be achieved. Is an unemployment rate of 5.5% as close to full employment as Australia can get? Unlikely but it might not be too far off either.

Is Socialism a result of human genetics?

John McDonnell, Deputy Leader of the UK Labour Party told those who would listen at Davos that the problems Venezuela is currently experiencing are a consequence of an incomplete implementation of Socialism, rather than a design fault with the ideology itself.

Ponder that for a moment; Not Socialist enough.

Today’s thoughts are not meant as a persuasion attempt to argue that Socialism is a catastrophically bad system due to a hard-coded flaw in the dogma.

If you don’t believe that the millions of deaths in the 20th Century in places as diverse in culture, history, environment and natural resources as Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Bulgaria, Romania and Ethiopia are directly attributable to a design fault with Socialism then you may wish to find something else to read today.

Correlation isn’t causation, but when we start reaching the levels of murders that are uncountable (pick a source; 100 million? 200 million?), the on the ground buried in the ground evidence is just too compelling. How many more deaths under Socialist governments would it take to convince you? Half a trillion? More?

I’m suggesting a hypothesis that undeniably really bad ideas that refuse to die in the face of overwhelming evidence must be somehow genetically hard-coded.

Malthusianism and collectivism are two examples.

Malthus has been wrong with regards to humans now for almost 300 years yet the basic idea is still attractive to those who discover it, from the supporters of eugenics, through The Club of Rome to the religiosity of Al Gore and his supporters.

Collectivism has killed several hundred million and counting but dreamers like McDonnell still pine for the opportunity to finally implement the correct working version.

Let’s pause for a moment and count the ways McDonnell is suffering from cognitive dissonance;

  1. Denial of the overwhelming evidence across multiple geographies and points in time that collectivism finishes in tyranny, poverty and mass murder.
  2. Denial of the overwhelming evidence that trade and commerce between individuals has resulted in the most incredible fall in absolute poverty on a global scale.
  3. Dunning Kruger-ism at the improbability that he, and his closest cohorts, with their almost non-existent experience of managing anything more complicated than a local political party sub-branch, could measure and manage a national economy to deliver sustainable improvements to the lives of all its citizens.

Note that in point #2 above, I use absolute poverty rather than relative poverty as the true measure of success. Put crudely, if we’re all equally scratching around killing pet rabbits for food, being equally poor is little comfort. If I can afford to eat, clothe myself and heat my home, the worry that Jeff Bezos is richer than Croesus is a luxury I can only afford because I am not dirt poor.

PJ O’Rourke said that Communism DOES work and is an absolutely perfect system inside his family home; he brings in the income and his wife and children distribute it according to their needs. The problem is that it just doesn’t scale any wider than the border of his property.

People like McDonnell are trying to scale to the macro what only works at the micro level. Perhaps a clue is to be had there.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s not credible to believe that the “if only we could implement Socialism properly” crowd are unaware of the brutal legacy of bloodshed of Socialism.

Its also hard to believe that, being aware of these mass murders in the name of their preferred dogma, they don’t care.

There must be something deeper, more fundamental to the human psyche that is the root cause of this refusal to give up on what is so clearly a bad idea.

Perhaps human evolution, so heavily-dependent on cooperation and self-organisation by specialities (at its simplest, the hunter goes off to hunt while the gatherer stays home to gather) has resulted in an instinct that teaches the positive value of collecting and distributing resources at a group level.

At the small scale of tribal/extended family, this would have been a very successful strategy.

The evidence is in that it results in tragedy at the scale of national populations.

How then, do we teach ourselves to let go of ideas when they cease to work for the circumstances with which we are faced?

That’s the thing with concepts….

Apparently, cryptocurrencies make no sense.

The author offers the following qualities as being important for a currency;

  • facilitating transactions;
  • a store of value;
  • lending of last resort.

And then goes on to explain why cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin, fail to tick any of those three qualities.

Tellingly though, he hints at the reason why our current currencies do provide those features;

Bill’s Opinion

Fiat currency passes his three tests not because “the government guarantees it” but because we believe that guarantee.

Money is fungible, a unit of measure and a store of value because we have bought into the idea*. When enough of us cease to believe in a concept, it stops being real.

Some examples of this include; the 12 gods of classical Greek religion, purgatory, the noble savage, copper bracelets for arthritis and the Bermuda triangle.

Sure, cyptocurrencies are a million miles away from being trusted stores of value or tools to transact exchange today. However, should enough people find that they trust the concept enough to use it in a limited way, there is nothing to distinguish “Billy Occam Coin” from good old greenbacks.

In the meantime, if you distrust those central bankers but don’t want to buy a cryptocurrency that fluctuates 10% up or down daily, gold seems to have passed the test of time as a value store. You might find your local bartender reticent to give you change from an ounce of it when you order a beer, though.

*I disagree about the “lender of last resort” requirement – many of our economic issues today would have been avoided without this “public service”. Let failed banks die and new ones fill the space.

Modern slavery, same old stupidity

Slavery still exists along the supply chain of some of the most reputable businesses.

FTSE 100 companies have a major influence in eradicating modern slavery,” said Hyland. “Therefore, I have written to 25 companies identified in the BHRCC research as non-compliant, and which had still not corrected their omissions by December 2017, to encourage improved efforts in the coming year.”

A quarter of the FTSE100 are not taking seriously the risk of slavery in their supply chain? That’s pretty dire.

Taking action on modern slavery and human trafficking is not just a moral obligation – it is in fact good business sense: forced labour in company operations or supply chains has potential to disrupt business, weaken investor confidence, incur litigation costs and cause significant brand damage.”

Well, that’s not strictly true, is it? The Romans built an entire empire off the back of slaves and it’s doubtful the Southern plantation owners would have sold as much cotton if the price had included market rate wages as input costs.

Slavery has been the primary route to wealth for most of human history. It’s only recently made bad business logic since the Judeo-Christian culture decided it was immoral and put severe sanctions in place to prevent it. It continued elsewhere in the world, however, a fact which ought to kill any conversation about cultural equality dead.

So which are the companies who so callously flaunt the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act and what are those requirements?

The BHRCC research, from October 2017, commended Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Unilever, British American Tobacco, Tesco and Vodafone for their work against modern slavery. Hargreaves Lansdown, Paddy Power Betfair, Pearson and Worldpay rated poorly.

Under the MSA firms with a turnover of £36m or more must produce slavery statements approved by the board, signed by a director and published on a website with a link from the homepage.

It feels like another outing for our old friend Pareto.

Let’s work back from the outcome we wish to achieve; something like eliminate slavery from the supply chain of goods and services entering the country.

With that goal in mind, it would make sense to address the supply chains of those companies with the largest risk of discovering slavery in their supply chain, so the largest by revenue might be one crude measure but it may be more effective to target those most reliant on imported goods and service, surely?

The bookmakers Paddy Power Betfair, for example, may have very large revenue but is unlikely to be reliant on any significant value or volume of imported goods and services, maybe a bunch of IT equipment but little else.

The same could be said for the others named in the article. Let’s also remind ourselves what it is they haven’t done; written a statement and posted it on a website. Not exactly commensurate with the efforts of William Wilberforce, is it?

Bill’s Opinion

Naming and shaming organisations for failing to comply with legislation is fine but let’s not delude ourselves into believing it actually achieves the outcome we require.

The revenue trigger for the MSA legislation is a crude measure and risks leaving smaller firms with more potential of finding slavery in their supply chain unexamined.

In fact, this is simply yet another example of this lesson on setting KPIs.