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 facts are unambiguous: despite public perceptions to the contrary, extreme poverty has declined significantly, to the point where its end may actually be in sight. So next time you hear someone bemoaning a supposed rise in world poverty, encourage them to have a look at the evidence for themselves.

Chelsea Follet

Beware the ides of March?

Debt is the Fed’s basic problem, and it doesn’t know how high rates can go without triggering a financial crisis. And even if the Fed could make an assessment for America, there is the knock-on effect of the Fed’s interest rate policy on foreign dollar borrowers, as well as on the Eurozone and Japan. China has indirectly added to the West’s problems by being the largest component of global economic growth. Her massive credit expansion is contributing to higher interest rates elsewhere by financing imports, commodity stockpiles and driving up prices. It is the lack of ability of the ECB and the Fed to raise interest rates sufficiently to counter higher rates of price inflation that’s becoming the most pressing challenge.

Alasdair MacLeod

Samizdata quote of the day

For decades, often in word but always in deed, politicians have told voters that government debt didn’t matter. We, and many economists, disagree. Yet even if the politicians were right, the absence of available creditors would be an insurmountable problem—were it not for the Federal Reserve. But when the Federal Reserve acts as the lender of last resort, unpleasant realities follow. Because, as everyone should be keenly aware, the Fed simply prints the money it loans.

A century of arguing about how much to increase spending has left us with a debt that dwarfs the annual economic output of the planet.

A Fed loan devalues every dollar already in circulation, from those in people’s savings accounts to those in their pockets. The result is inflation, which is, in essence, a tax on frugal savers to fund a spendthrift government.

Antony Davies & James Harrigan

Samizdata quote of the day

If cutting that welfare state means that women are getting less out now then that obviously means that before the cuts to the welfare state then women were getting more out.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

Which raises the question: into which model do men and women fit? As I said before, women seem to prefer working in sprawling bureaucracies masquerading as support functions in huge companies. Men tend to drift towards the sharp end of the business where the core function is carried out and the most value added. I am also fairly certain that it will be men who are setting up the small, nimble businesses that aim to cash in on technologies such as the Internet, drones, and 3D printing. There will be female entrepreneurs, but their numbers will be dwarfed by those who are men. For whatever reason, young men in their twenties have a habit of risking all for a big reward instead of seeking security and certainty, at least in comparison to their female peers.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

I am becoming steadily more convinced that Mrs. May doesn’t believe anything, but by God she doesn’t believe it fiercely!

Michael Jennings, of this and other parishes

Samizdata quote of the day

Can the NHS be reformed? Or is major surgery required if it is to make a full recovery? We need to come up with much more radical reform than is currently being proposed. And if that doesn’t work, instead of accepting the somewhat back-to-front NHS version of TINA – in which we are told that there is no alternative to a welfare-state-era model of provision frankly unfit for the 21st century – we need to replace the NHS with something better.

According to Benedict Spence, writing in the Independent, ‘pretty much all of our European counterparts have a universal and in many cases much better healthcare system than the UK – and, horror of horrors, most European healthcare is what we would call “privatised”’. The UK is unusual among developing nations, he says, whose often social-insurance-based systems often perform better than ours (for example, in cancer survival rates). And yet, the defenders of the NHS remain ‘aggressively insular’.

Dave Clements

Samizdata quote of the day

The result of [the ‘sharing economy] is that in many ways, private tech companies have ended subsidising new forms of public services, for the public good.

That ought to make them the darlings of the Left. Yet unfortunately, the Left just can’t rid itself of its urge to regulate, legislate and tax. And in their efforts to thwart consumer freedom, they have a useful ally in the shape of a legal framework which was developed for the analogue age.

Uber, for example, is the poster child of the sharing economy. Yet 2017 is make or break year for its European ambitions – and at its core is an age-old political battle of Left versus Right.

This battle isn’t on the streets of San Francisco or London; Uber has already won over consumers. Instead, the fight is moving to a soulless courtroom in Luxembourg. The question is whether the company is a technology or a transport company; and the answer is incredibly complex.

Daniel Dalton

Samizdata quote of the day

After the Commons vote on Brexit last week, Davis is said to have approached Abbott for a kiss but apparently she told him to ‘fuck off’. Later, a Tory friend texted Davis to ask him about the incident. Davis texted back saying he hadn’t tried to kiss Abbott, and wouldn’t, because ‘I am not blind’. In short, he thinks Abbott is unattractive.

It is tempting at this point to say Davis’s text messages were crude. But that would be wrong, because the fact is they’re none of our business. He did not say these things for public consumption. It was an off-hand, matey remark of the kind all of us make via text or email or WhatsApp or whatever. That Davis’s texts were leaked doesn’t make it okay to haul him over the coals for them, to insist that he retract and repent, because this still amounts to shaming someone for a private conversation. The correct response to the texts would be to say: ‘This is not my concern. People can think and say whatever they like in private.’

Of course that hasn’t been the response, because such is the stifling intensity of the ‘You Can’t Say That!’ culture that now even private speech, glorified thoughts in essence, are considered fair game by the shut-it-down brigade.

Brendan O’Neill

Samizdata quote of the day

The post-Brexit, post-Trump political battle lines seem to have been drawn up between “globalism” (a dysphemism for “free trade”) and protectionism (the second most stupid idea in history, but still dangerously powerful among the economically illiterate). So it looks like we are heading back toward the old Conservative/TruLib™ or Tory/Whig divide. The realignment will take some time to work its way through though. Firstly, for example, the Labour Party (which still commands some tribal loyalty) needs to finish committing suicide. The new players, UKIP and the Greens, need to submit to the discipline of the electoral market and form consistent political and economic stances.

In many ways I am as politically homeless in this new alignment as I was in the old. UKIP is a strong candidate to replace the Labour Party, but I don’t fit in its mercantilist ranks. The only thing I have in common with the Trumps, Farages and LePens of this world is that I believe when someone does move to another culture they should assimilate. I see NO obligation on a host country to modify any legal, ethical, religious, social or political norms to make new arrivals feel at home.

I don’t feel comfortable in the Conservative Party either. It’s more inclined towards free markets than the other contenders but it’s socially illiberal and inclined to build a scarily powerful state. Yes, it’s a successful fighting force with a lot of internal cohesion and has been much strengthened as an electoral machine now that Brexit has removed the only threat to its unity. There is no doubt it will be one of the potential parties of government in the new order and in the likes of Dan Hannan it has some sound thinkers but I hunger for a home that is more authentically TruLib™

Tom Paine

Samizdata quote of the day

These idiotic terms such as “extremist”, and “ALT-Right” are simply euphemisms for “people who don’t agree with us.” Still, it’s nice to think I had such influence that I helped the Donald get the keys to the White House. Not too much hyperbole, eh?

No, what got him there wasn’t people like me bemoaning the vile identity politics espoused by Hope not Hate, it was that a critical mass of American voters realised that these people and their allies are themselves the purveyors of hatred – hatred of them and their kind. So they voted for the other and who can blame them? And, after the Brexit vote driven by a similar realisation, these people still don’t get it.

Longrider

Samizdata quote of the day

It is simply wrong to conflate British people’s decision to leave the EU with a normal political vote for a party or a leader. We were not voting for any politician. The vote to leave the EU was not a vote for Nigel Farage of UKIP, no matter what the Remainer sections of the press might say.

Naomi Firsht, discussing Marine Le Pen, Brexit and Trump.