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 maths doesn’t add up; this is just sinking capital into a loss making project. If you’re going to use the power of the state to do that, then you shouldn’t be surprised that this country is getting poorer.

Steve Baker MP denounces the plan for a new stretch of high speed rail, quoted (behind a registration wall) at the Financial Times.

I make this today’s QotD here not in spite of Guido having already featured it as his quote of today (and maybe also of the next few days) but because of this. Baker’s soundbite is getting around. Good.

Lots of Americans who read Samizdata but not Guido, and who are also confronting idiot plans to waste their money on high speed rail foolishnesses, will now also read this soundbite. Good again.

Meanwhile, as the FT’s headline proclaims, “economists insist” that this piece of Keynesian pump priming that won’t should go ahead, damn the expense. Well they would, wouldn’t they?

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Good to see Steve Baker talking sense, I just hope the government makes the right decision and cancels the project.

    He’s done some interesting presentations on the financial crisis, does anyone know if there are other MPs who understand the Austrian school? Have any other MPs even heard of it?

  • nemesis

    Douglas Carswell may have heard of it:

  • Dishman

    What policitians and their supporters find attractive about ‘Keynesian Stimulus’ is the opportunity to dish out money to their friends, and look good doing it. Whether or not it actually does any good is irrelevant.

  • veryretired

    Dishman has it cold.

    What statist theory cannot grasp, and its advocates are unable to comprehend, is that the money they take for grandiose projects does not create a value, but only a future liability.

    The many, many citizens who had that money, before it was taken from them by taxation, would surely have spent it into the economy for various goods and services of a personal/family nature, thus doing exactly what the big political project claimed to be doing.

    However, while the big project will almost certainly be characterized by massive cost overruns, back door payments to pols and their cronies, and limited utility which requires endless subsidies to continue in operation, the personal expenditures will only support a bunch of stores and shops, maybe some car dealers or repair places, and probably some makers and retailers of electronics.

    The key point is that the latter are exchanges of value for value by ordinary people buying things they actually want and need, while the former represent the endemic corruption and cronyism of a political system which has degenerated from governing and preserving value to one which is now only a mechanism for ever escalating fountains of graft.

    The CW, hummed into our ears like the endless moaning of an obscene vuvzuela, is that money corrupts politics, as if people who earn and have money are inherently corrupt, while political types are piles of virgin snow.

    This characterization is not only nefarious, but laughably disconnected from the reality of what we see every single day in our rapidly deterriorating society.

    While I certainly agree that pols are piles of some material, my impression is that its color is somewhat browner…

  • It’s the other way round: politics corrupt money.

  • Laird

    Nicely put, Alisa.

    Any politician who argues that private campaign contributions need to be limited because “money corrupts politics” is saying that he himself is too corrupt (or too susceptible to corruption) to be trusted with public office.

  • veryretired

    Lord Acton said it so concisely, yet so many pretend it isn’t true, or that it doesn’t apply to them and their ideological partners.

    It’s power that corrupts, always has, always will.

    When you extend political power into every nook and cranny of everyday life in a society, then, yes, lots of people will give you lots of money to buy you off, or have you sic some agency’s regulators on a competitor.

    There are uncounted billions of dollars, and euros, and yuan, and any currency one might name, that have simply disappeared. Where has it gone?

    Down the rabbit hole to the wonderland of corruption, which is rapidly becoming the most significant threat to the economic recovery and future well being of the entire human population.

    Unrestrained government is nothing more than a legalized protection racket, trading political favors for cash.

    The only way to prevent it is to bind them down with the chains of the constitution, and to be relentlessly vigilant about its observance.

    Every time a pol makes a promise, his hand goes in your pocket.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post and good comments.