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

“I have run into a certain amount of conflict with bodies like Oxfam and Christian Aid, who are very effective at presenting what looks like extremely professional, well-researched data which seems to prove that trade is bad for poor countries and bad for poor people in these countries. I do not know a great deal about the subjects that they deal with, but I know enough about trade policy to have doubts in my mind when I read this stuff. But my colleagues come to me with it and say that they have had a deputation, including the local vicar and all the party members and have been given this report from Oxfam’s public affairs department and it must be right! They ask ‘why are you being awkward and asking questions? Surely we should just sign’.”

– Vincent Cable, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor (via The GI)

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • From a Liberal Democrat that seems quite a radical thought, that free trade is good. And they have even given up trying to force up income tax. One day they might return to being a Liberal party (using the British meaning).

  • Lizzie

    Heh. I was in my local Oxfam shop a few weeks ago perusing the books, when a old woman inquired of the lady behind the till why on earth a second-hand salad bowl was priced at £18. The till-lady replied that she didn’t know, it had been there for a couple of months and a few people had asked about the high price. At which point, I of course, asked “Why not lower the price then?” The response? “Well, it’s a nice salad bowl, I think it’s worth that much.”

    I ponted out that if it had been priced properly, it wouldn’t have been there for months, would it? It would have sold. I paid my 50p for my Spike Milligan book and buggered off, but not before saying, “You can’t expect people to pay over the odds for a product that’s not good enough to compete in a free market, can you?” And rolled my eyes at the Fair Trade stuff.

    People who work for charities don’t seem to have much of a grasp on economics.

  • 1327

    Lizzie – In many cases my local Oxfam shop charges more for a 2nd hand book than Amazon sell it for new ! As a result they rarely sell a book so every few months they order a skip and fill it with the unsold books. I presume it makes sense to someone.

  • Jamaica

    Conservatives are winnning purely because they have better funded campaign coffers plain and simple. Big insurance interests and finance interests are backing there particularly those in free online car insurance quote business who need the government to underwrite the risk and turmoil in the auto industry. Imagine how these insurance interests make it? collecting fees plain and simple particularly guys like online car insurance quote who are offering their services entirely online and need deregulation.

  • Nick M


    The charity section is frequently economically nuts. Pretty much every week I get a leaflet through the door asking for old clothes which will be sent to Africa. Sounds cute doesn’t it? Send all your old shirts and pants to poor Africans who can’t afford clothes of their own.

    Except, the textile and clothes industries are a huge aspect of the economies of these countries. Distributing charity clothing is pulling the rug from one of the few industries that these countries excel at.

    Cause and effect – think it through people!

    I’m still in shock at hearing sense from a Lib-Dem.

  • RAB

    First and formost Charities are self serving and attract a certain type of self righteous prod nosed saintly types, thats how they see themselves anyhow. Oh and they ALWAYS know best.
    No poor people removes their client base and reason to be.Cant have that now can we?

  • Kevin B

    I do not know a great deal about the subjects that they deal with, but I know enough about trade policy to have doubts in my mind when I read this stuff.

    Vincent Cable, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor

    Well it’s good to know the Lib Dem “Shadow Chancellor” knows that much anyway

  • I woudl prefer prod-nosed charity types to prod-nosed Sociofascists in the public sector – the charities do not have a closed-shop monopolistic use-or-die remit from the powers that be. If you don’t like a charity don’t fund them. With the state we have no choice.

    As for African clothes, most of these scams are used to hoover up clothes for free under false pretenses to be sold at a profit by shifty outfits. (or is that their label?)

  • Pete

    In my experience head office charity employees are very keen to see themselves as movers and shakers on the world political scene, and they like to be seen formulating policy rather than as merely fundraisers. I get the feeling that those who run their shops would not be invited round to dinner.

  • Check out the fat salaries the heads of charities make. You can make a nice living “serving” the poor.

    I find it more credible when one has made a religious vow including poverty and doesn’t try to profit off the poor. Go nuns! 😉

  • Andrew Milner

    Here in Japan (I know this will make you fed up to the back teeth) we have so much Chinese “knock off” that recycle stores are on the back foot. If you beam in on the home centre loss-leaders, new gear (chain saw, compressor, electric drill, MIG welder, trolley jack, pressure spray, etc.) cost less than in a car boot sale. Face it, the cost of retailing is so high in UK that even charity shops paying reduced Council Tax still charge like a wounded rhino. Hell you can buy a new shirt here for half you’d pay in a UK charity shop. Or better yet get it made to measure when in third-world Asia. And because charity shops only accept cash (not cards) the really hard up have to pay retail. And as we all know, only the mug punter pays retail. One thing us boys appreciate when getting ready to go out is being able to grab a brand new pair of socks and think, “They cost a whole 50p. This extravagance has got to stop.”

  • gravid

    “prod nosed” are you being sectarian RAB/TimC ?