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Rolling back the state

Great essay by Sean Gabb on the UK government and supposed plans to reduce public spending. The article contains a lovely line in relation to Peter Mandelson, the disgraced former Cabinet minister.

Along with Sean and others, I will be at the two-day Libertarian Alliance annual conference tomorrow, held at that ancestral seat of 19th Century liberal politics, the National Liberal Club.

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3 comments to Rolling back the state

  • Bod

    I love it.

    Sean’s so hardcore, he only has a dotted IP address. No prissy domain name owner he.

    But you’re right – it was an excellent read, and (for once) I’m envious that I can’t be in London to attend the conference.

  • John B

    No state ever wants to “cut the public sector”, ie, cut government jobs.
    That would be like somebody wanting to be poorer.
    In this case, an entity that produces no wealth, but takes it by force.
    That has no ability to generate wealth other than by what it takes from others.
    So it is reasonable to assume that any “cuts” it engages in are likely to be more for propaganda, public persuasion, rather than genuine cuts in its expenditure and activity.
    As with all propaganda one can expect elements of truth to be present in order to lend the situation credence.
    One can also expect various shenanigans, like pretending to cut, cuts causing hardship, coming under attack, and then raising of hands in (mock) horror and despair, and saying: “we tried, we tried”.
    In fact one might expect such hardhip and reactions to hardhip to be positively encouraged and engineered.
    It is only logical.
    It would seem that until one has a person or people running the government, who is/are not professional career politicians, I don’t think one should really, logically, expect much else?

  • Paul Marks

    I agree with most of what Dr Gabb says here.

    However, as his a formal article, some overall numbers on government spending would be useful – comparing this year with next year.

    Government spending in cash terms, “real” terms (i.e. adjusted for rising prices) and as a percentage of the economy (most often this is done as a percentage of GDP, but I could well understand if Dr Gabb choose some other measure of the economy as “G.D.P.” has many problems with it as a measure).

    The difficulty is in predicting what prices will do next year, and also how the economy will do overall – i.e. which will, of course, effect what proportion of the economy will be taken by government spending.

    My own guess (it can be no more than a guess) is that the government is far too optomistic in its estimate (i.e. guess) of economic growth next year – so that government spending (both in money terms and as a percentage of the economy) will be much higher next year than the government expects.

    In short (and here I am going out on a limb) I do not expect any overall reduction in government spending between this year and next year.

    However, one thing is certain – British government spending, even as a percentage of the economy, will be vastly higher than Australian government spending (as a percentage of the Australian economy).

    This is particularly amusing as the present Labour Party Prime Minister of Australia used to work for a Marxist group “I was just a secretary” – yes dear, you could not get another job.

    Still Australia (like New Zealand) will have a vastly less bad 2011 than Britain will.

    And a vastly less bad 2011 than America will – whoever wins on Tuesday.

    By the way – do not get your hopes up too far, especially for the Senate.

    The Democrats are (contrary to the lies of the MSM) vastly outspending the Republicans (union money – which is really tax money as most of the unions are government workers) and the MSM may be less powerful than they were – but the television and newspapers still matter.

    “But there is Fox News”.

    Still only a minority of people watch Fox News (remember you have to compare it to all other television news stations put together) and people like S. Smith on Fox News are MSM to the core themselves.

    2012 is the election to watch – by then the “objective conditions” (as Comrade Barack would say – in private) will be very different.