We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

The thing is, when you were ten years old, wouldn’t you have loved to have gone down a mine or up a chimney?

- Patrick Crozier has dropped by (to help me buy gold on the internet), and we were talking about how education is probably the most vulnerable of all the big ongoing government spending sprees, in the face of the forthcoming financial meltdown.

16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • RAB

    I actually did go down a mine around that age, my grandfathere was a Colliery manager. If anyone fancies it, there is the Big Pit tourist attraction in South Wales, just follow the signs off the M4 around the Caerleon junction. You can get to see a very splendid Roman Amphitheatre at the same time.

    As for the chimney, in my gramp’s home village in West Wales there was a house that had a huge chimney that had settle benches actually in the chimney and when you looked up you could see the stars out of the top. That was absolute magic for me as a child.

    Let us know how you get on with the Gold, I want to do the same thing, but as safely as possible. Have you heard that Ron Paul reckons there is actually no gold in Fort Knox, that the US Govt got rid of it years ago?

  • John B

    I had assumed this report that the gold was gone was sort of spoof. But is it?

    Went down an ex-gold mine at Gold Reef City. (It was a real one, just not operational).
    Spooky and harsh.

  • Helen Lovejoy

    But it’s for the children! Will somebody please think of the children!

  • Laird

    Ron Paul is serious (see this), but I suspect that the article John B linked is not. But who knows? Maybe Goldfinger got away with it after all!

    I toured a deep coal mine in Scotland once, but if you want to be really scared try one of the low-seam coal mines in West Virginia. Be sure to leave your claustrophobia at home.

  • APL

    RAB: “I actually did go down a mine around that age, ..”

    I too worked in a South Wales mine, but not at ten, nineteen more like. I didn’t enjoy it much, but like much experience, once it’s over I can now look back with some fondness on the experience. At the time it was a dirty smelly dangerous, generally unpleasant experience.

    It often amuses me that these days people go down Big Pit for a ‘day out’.

    Gold, six years too late.

  • APL

    RAB: “I actually did go down a mine around that age, ..”

    I too worked in a South Wales mine, but not at ten, nineteen more like. I didn’t enjoy it much, but like much experience, once it’s over I can now look back with some fondness on the experience. At the time it was a dirty smelly dangerous, generally unpleasant experience.

    It often amuses me that these days people go down Big Pit for a ‘day out’.

    Gold, six years too late.

  • PaulM

    Been buying physical gold and silver since 2002, not sold a single ounce yet.
    I used Baird & Co in London for gold (as well as Kitco in Canada). Both reliable and friendly.
    GoldMoney in Jersey allow you to buy and store silver without paying theVAT.
    They allow you to sell whatever portion of your holding and have the cash wired to your bank account.
    GoldMoney have fairly high storage charges IMO, but the convenience is worth it to me.

    The only mine I’ve been to is the Speedwell cavern in the Peak district, it’s a flooded leadmine where you get a slow boat ride to the end (and back!) the commentary was, on both visits, hilarious and informative, highly recommended.

  • RAB

    Obviously I wasn’t working in the mine, Gramp had arranged a trip for our school. A friend of mine started at 15 looking after the Pit Ponies though.

    Thanks for the info Paul M.

  • PaulM

    If anyone is interested in the long term suppression of the price of gold there is a lot of information here:
    http://www.gata.org/

    The same forces are also suppressing the price of silver, who they? J P Morgan, HSBC et al seemingly with the
    blessing of the Federal Reserve, to make Fiat paper look better than it is.
    As the suppression gets more publicity, with help of Ron Paul and others expect the value of gold and silver to rocket,
    eventually we have to return to honest money, backed by the real value of precious metals.

  • joe

    A great mine experience I enjoyed as a youngster was at the Salzburg salt mines. They have a miner’s slide where you can shwoosh down about 90 feet to the first level before the elevator guides you down to some lower levels. The tour allows you to visit subterrean lakes and miners’ chapels as well as some fantastic caves. And at the end, you get a box of six different cubed salts.

    As a child I thought it was the bee’s knees and went a couple of times (from Vienna), it still sounds fun now.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    One of my great grandparents did double shifts at the Notts coalfield before WW1. He made enough money from that, plus other activities such as a shop, to buy a small farm in Norfolk.

    These stories matter because coal mining was not all about grim proletarian suffering and Arthur Scargill. Young men, such as my great grandfather, left the rural areas to work for what was then pretty good money in dangerous conditions.

  • Chris Cooper

    “The thing is, when you were ten years old, wouldn’t you have loved to have gone down a mine or up a chimney?”

    Yeah, once. After that it would have taken a hefty bribe – which my Dad would have got, no doubt – to compensate me for danger, filth and not getting a view of the sky for most of my childhood. And not even a gift box of salts at the end of the day.

    This was a bloody awful life, not a kid’s day trip to a theme park.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    I presume this is about compulsory education, and school ages. And at what age do you earn a wage?
    As a libertarian, i think schooling should be home schooling from the internet, with parents choosing the lessons for the day, or with interactive ‘classrooms’, like australia’s radio ‘School of the Air’. There should be no age limits, only ability limits.

  • I have to say that “the school experience” should be remarkably vulnerable to the internet.

    If someone puts good lectures up somewhere like youtube, and backs those up with worksheets with computer-checking, everyone can go at their own pace. Treat your own education as video game, and get competitive. No more mini-riots from the chavs. No more waiting while the teacher rounds up the stragglers.

    Only pe, science labs and essay writing aren’t easily covered by multiple choice questions, and pe can be covered better by a judo club/swimming club or football team.

  • Chris Cooper

    Incidentally, my comment above was provoked by irritation at the glibness of the original post and some of the comments, not by enthusiasm for state intervention in matters of child welfare. What overworked kids needed then and need now are more opportunities for work and more opportunities for rescue by concerned adults.

  • Point well taken here, Chris.