What does a publisher do? Conform and engage

What does a publisher do? is a series of posts designed to answer that question, interpreted not in the sense of “What functions does a publisher seek to fulfil?” but rather “What operations does a publisher (well, this publisher at any rate) perform?” This is the tenth post in the series.

The second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of  stakeholders a publisher needs to work with. Today’s post focuses on management of interactions with one of the four ‘non-trading’ stakeholders included in the framework, namely the state. Thus:

Owners, investors Workforce STATE
Clients, customers

With many types of stakeholders, one talks of having a relationship – whether it be with a person (a freelancer, say), a company, or a blend of the two (as with a person, with whom one has dealt many times, as a representative of a company). 

With the state it is different: one doesn’t have anything one can call a relationship. Or, at least, one doesn’t if one is a micro-enterprise. If you’re a very large company, it’s different (at least in the UK) – the Revenue has recently been criticised in parliament for ‘doing deals’ with large companies who were owing tax.

What can a micro-enterprise do? First, take care to conform. Submit accurate, punctual, tax returns and payments. Know the regulations that apply to your work and adhere to them. 

Second, engage. There’s no shortage of issues to get active on. For example, in many territories, for example, intellectual property is the subject of reform. And in the UK, libel law encourages libel tourism and benefits only the lawyers.

My own engagement has come mostly at local level, where councillors seem constantly surprised to hear that, had they not raised local taxation rates year after year, local residents and businesses would have had more cash to save, invest, and spend. The thought that such allocation of resources might have benefited the local economy more than their so-called ‘economic development’ programmes seems never to have entered their heads.

Engagement of this sort – reminding representatives that their activities have an opportunity cost to local business – doesn’t afford me much joy. I’m not a natural activist, but feel I ought to do something more than simply casting a vote every few years. My main energy, however, has been devoted to business development – something I find the state takes rather for granted.


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