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]

We must destroy the village to save it!

Yet Oxfam also claims, without any real evidence, that excessive inequality hampers economic growth. It suggests that, since we want that economic pie to be as large as possible, we should tax wealth and capital. The problem is that all taxes destroy some economic activity, shrinking that pie. And different taxes do so differently. We also know that capital and wealth taxes destroy more of the pie than almost any others (other than that Robin Hood Tax Oxfam also supported). So the argument is that we must shrink the economic pie in order to stop inequality shrinking it. This has shades of having to destroy the village so as to save it.

Tim Worstall

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19 comments to We must destroy the village to save it!

  • Paul Marks

    This Oxfam thing reminds me of the later Putin’s boy Max Keiser latest lies today.

    Having cited the New York Times (Stalin’s darling) and “official figures” (i.e. the lies of Comrade Barack Obama and co) to “prove” that more Americans are going to settle in Mexico than Mexicans are going to the United States……..

    That was just the lies of the first half of the show – in the second half of the show, Mexico went from being wonderful (compared to the evil United States) to being evil – evil because the Mexican government does not spend anything on health and education for the poor (just like evil America and so on).

    In reality – government spending on health, education, welfare and so on, is at an all time high in Mexico, and in the United States and the rest of the world.

    If endless government spending works Oxfam – why are you not happy?

    After all government spending on the welfare-state functions has never been higher.

    And the proportion of taxation paid by the rich has never been HIGHER (not lower) either.

    And, in spite of this, Barack Obama is going to propose even higher taxation on “the rich” today (there is too much private investment – the productive economy has not been destroyed yet, death-to-America, all his usual stuff).

    So Oxfam and co should be filled with joy.

    If they were not lying sacks of shit.

  • Stonyground

    I’ve always been slightly puzzled by the phrase ‘Robin Hood tax’. I know his thing was to rob from the rich and give to the poor but it is made clear in the stories that the poor are poor due to excessive taxation.

  • Mr Ed

    Oxfam was founded to campaign to get food to Greece during the Axis occupation in WW2, I doubt that it was Stalin asking for food to go to the Greek Communists foreshadowing the Greek Civil War, but I may be wrong.

    The sheer inherent pomposity of the “Oxford Committee for Famine Relief” probably made its current positions inevitable. However, the Wikipedia article on this beast makes clear that criticisms are many.

    Somehow, Oxfam haven’t made the link between socialism and famine, and capitalism and plenty.

  • JohnW

    The Ayn Rand Institute has a new blog and they addressed this very topic here.

  • Paul Marks

    Will Oxfam now come out against “monetary expansion”? The “low interest” rate effort to expand the money supply by the lending out of “money” that no one ever really saved.

    After all it has been known since at least the time of Richard Cantillon (back in the 1700s) that such credit-bubble boom-bust economics is the primary cause of ARTIFICIAL inequality.

    I will not be holding my breath waiting for Oxfam to come out against this.

  • llamas

    These people remind me of the poll that rather-famously asked college students ‘Would you rather make a) $50,000 a year, if you know that everyone else you know was also making $50,000 a year, or b) $100,000 a year, but you know that everyone else you know is making $200,000 a year?”

    By a wide margin, they chose option a).

    Envy and resentment of the wealth and success of others are among the most-powerful motivators. Do-gooders like Oxfam are far-more interested in dragging down the successful and wealthy than they are in drawing up the less-successful. So-much so that they are quite happy to suggest any and all approaches that will slow overall growth and likely hurt the less-successful parts of society – as long as they appear to impact the more-successful. It’s just what they do. They should stick to wrapping food parcels.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Jake Haye

    This report may transparently ideological socialist propaganda, but that didn’t stop the BBC ‘impartially’ promoting it with po-faced reverence on their morning radio news bulletins and Toady Show last week.

  • Jake Haye

    Also, somewhat ironically the only time someone in the bottom 10% is likely to meet someone from the top 10% (or even 1%) is when they see their NHS doctor or dentist.

  • Glad you ain’t holding your breath Paul. We’d be down one Kitty Kounter. I is in a mood due to antics of BT Overeach.
    I have been attempting to get in contact with Manchester Met University to find out about a course on Internet Security. Handy professional development and all. I’d look a right numpty to call them on the phone. But the net has been sporadic here and this is the iron hand of state (or in the case of BT) the quasi-state (i.e. a former state entity that was privatised as a practical monopoly).

    So what does that have to do with poverty? Everything! I want to pay for a course to enable me to make more monies (taxable – natch) and I can’t because BT Overeach in cahoots with UK Gov and the EU is claiming to be working on giving me “superfast” broadband. They have been for months. If that is the sort of shift from private to public they can eff off.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Isn’t Oxfam one of those premier government funded charities, with about 45% of their income coming from public funds? No guesses why they support more taxation, then.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    By contrast, the Salvation Army was recently called the most efficient organisation for helping the poor. Since all their money is raised by charity, they naturally have an incentive to maximise their productivity. So the lesson is clear- get Oxfam privatised! Or turn over foreign aid to the Salvoes.

  • Regional

    Nick,
    Check out Careflight in Astraya to see maladministration.

  • RRS

    It is always disheartening to read (usually)otherwise fastidious commentators refer to such organizations as “it;” as is the custom of the wordsmiths to personify agencies and governmental bodies [ The County has decided to. . .].

    It is the actions of individuals that direct the actions and form the “policies” of organized bodies. Being wed to shorthand is no help.

    Oxfam is not an “it” that can be personified, it is an organization whose mechanisms are imbued with the personae of particular groupings of individuals – who should, like trade union honchos be identifiable.

    Perhaps the greater measure of the supporting efforts of what is done through Oxfam come from individual efforts of those who have no clue as to the sources of the formation of its direction.

    So, why are there no efforts to “read through” those “positions” and assertions and find their actual sources – and give them the due credit, rather than hang some “it?”

  • bloke in spain

    Tim Worstall suggested the Oxfam rational at the end of his piece. Referencing, of course, the ever sage C Northcote Parkinson. For a problem solved is a problem wasted.

  • Laird

    “Oxfam is just trying to survive, but it doesn’t mean we need to pay them any attention.”

    Bingo. Why anyone pays these socialist wankers any attention at all is a mystery to me.

  • Mr Ed

    Why anyone pays these socialist wankers any attention at all is a mystery to me.

    Isn’t that what Twitter is for?

    The socialist wankers all pay each other attention, often they don’t have to pay customers any attention, or do anything useful or economic.

  • Rob

    It’s a bit hard not to pay attention when your State media promotes it 24/7 and your elected representatives enthusiastically support it.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Many of the regulars here will know this but figures of inequality are only a snapshot of wealth holdings at any one point in time. They don’t explain why the holdings are what they are, nor take account the changing profiles across time. Children and very old people in retirement tend to have no, or few, assets. Middle-aged people just before drawing down pension plans are, relatively speaking, asset-rich. If one adjusts for this simple fact, then a lot of wealth distribution commentary from the likes of Oxfam looks to be wildly exaggerated. It also ignores that fact that people move up and down income/asset holding scales across their lives.

    Oxfam clearly has a hard left agenda; it regularly champions calls for higher taxes and condemns moves by entrepreneurs and the like to shelter their wealth from punitive taxes via offshore centres.

    Needless to say, its policy recommendations, when applied, such as in France with its confiscatory taxes on the rich, or the UK in the 1970s, etc, have been a disaster.

  • From the article: “Billions have moved from peasant destitution to the global middle class, and the major beneficiaries of globalisation have been the poor. Even sub-Saharan Africa is showing decent signs of the people in general getting richer.”

    I’d really like a lot more detail on that. Anyone got any links?