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

Peretti is no stranger to bizarre theories. His recent offerings for the BBC have included The Men Who Made Us Fat and The Men Who Made Us Spend. Personal responsibility doesn’t seem to be on his ideological radar. This is fine, but we should expect more from a public broadcaster than to repeat theories nobody subscribes to, particularly when we are forced to pay for the privilege.

When they denounce “trickle-down economics”, Peretti and the figures above project their own world view. For many of them, it is spending that matters to an economy – and they disagree that the rich having more money to spend is as beneficial as others having it following redistribution.

Yet free marketeers don’t believe in low taxes because of their effect on spending. They believe in low taxes because they provide a strong incentive to earn more income in the first place. And the best way to earn more in a competitive, dynamic, market economy is to provide goods and services people want. Low taxes can therefore engender the sorts of entrepreneurial activity that enrich our lives through better and cheaper products – the productivity improvements we recognise as economic growth.

Ryan Bourne

28 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • No. People who work for think tanks believe in lower taxes because they provide a strong incentive to earn more income. Actual “free marketeers” believe in lower (or rather, no) taxation because it’s not your fucking money.

  • CaptDMO

    “And the best way to earn more in a competitive, dynamic, market economy is to provide goods and services people want.”
    Or OR….introduce artificial restraints to competition, demand mandatory taxes on the remaining “monopoly”, or simply make “what people want” an illegal, black market, item, then “look the other way” for folks who don’t impede “the process”.
    Bootleggers and Baptists…”It’s for the children/your safety,or something.”

  • Paul Marks

    The BBC is indeed vile – the “license fee” should be abolished (actually the BBC tax should be abolished – even if the BBC was not vile).

    But is the “private sector” any better?

    ITV and Sky are just as statist – a documentary (or an fiction series) on either would be just as filled with non-so-hidden messages about how “the corporations” and “the rich” are evil – and how the state should control everything (as long as the those who control the state are not the “puppets of big business” of course – any failure of statism can be blamed on the politicians really being puppets of “big business”).

    The logical conclusion of the television programmes and of the books pushed by the bookshops, and even the supermarkets, is that the shareholders of these enterprises should be destroyed.

    And yet the shareholders seem to have no objection to their enterprises constantly pushing their, the shareholders, extermination.

    The ideology (what Perry would call the “metacontext”) of our society is self destructive.

    It denies personal responsibility (so it is literally – destructive of the self, of the “I”) and it attacks, constantly and viciously, the foundations of what “capitalism” is left.

    Deep down the managers of Sky television or Tesco supermarkets (or whatever) seem certain that they themselves are evil and should be destroyed – and they act accordingly. Both in the death-to-capitalism products they create or push – and in their dishonourable personal conduct (perhaps “the personal is political” – but not in the way the left meant).

    It is a sign of a society in its death agony – poisoned by the beliefs taught.

  • CaptDMO

    Gosh, hemp (the fiber) would sure make a viable alternative for the paper for news print, or the cotton for…well…ALL the stuff cotton is used for, including “paper” money.
    Of course, “hemp” is a fast growing weed, without the “fussiness” needed for (slave labor) cotton, tobacco, or…uh…those damned time consuming trees.
    Please not, I’m “promoting” the use of hemp, and NOT the use of Maui Wowie/Choom/or (often misspelled)”Cronic”.

  • The ideology (what Perry would call the “metacontext”) of our society is self destructive.

    Metacontext is a collection of unspoken ‘givens’, underpinning but unstated axioms, assumption that people think that “we all share” (even though we do not). Ideology grows within a metacontext but it is not the same thing.

  • Paul Marks

    Actually, for example, I am surprised that books such as “Capital” by a “distinguished French economist” or (the equally crap) “Revolution” by Russell Brand do not sell better – as they are constantly pushed by every possible means.

    It is almost as if there is something in many human beings that resists the constant collectivist brainwashing we get, from our most early years.

    Perhaps one can call this something “Common Sense”, reason.

    The old name was “the soul”.

  • Mr Ed

    It is almost as if there is something in many human beings that resists the constant collectivist brainwashing we get, from our most early years.

    The Collectivists have an incessant urge to agitate, to polticise everything, even the Royal Parks as Michael Wharton noticed after 1997 and Labour’s coming to office, as he put it ‘There is to be no escape’.

    It goes wider from a Zampolit in the Red Army getting his ‘Agitation’ in with his platoons, to the totalitarian campaign to put a woman on an English banknote, with threats of legal action if the Governor of the BoE took a discriminatory decision, and anything in between. It is as if they know that if they fall silent, true and decent thoughts will emerge in the minds of their targets, with undesirable consequences. Why do so many marchers have whistles, if not to drown out any attempt to reason with them or question them?

  • Johnnydub

    Re – PM – Keep on fighting the good fight!

    It’s just another in a long line of fuckwhits who say “I know better than you” – no you don’t; now fuck off and leave me (and my money) alone.

  • Richard Thomas

    Low taxes can therefore engender the sorts of entrepreneurial activity that enrich our lives through better and cheaper products – the productivity improvements we recognise as economic growth.

    Putting the cart before the horse here. Low taxes don’t encourage growth, high taxes retard it.

  • Richard Thomas

    Paul, I don’t think there’s an “our” society any more. It’s hard to see yet but the foundations of a schism are already there. The self destructive elements have gained the upper hand for a while but push-back will be inevitable and I believe the self-haters will inevitably disappear up their own rear-ends. It’s likely to get a bit messy though as they won’t go quietly (As much as they call for depopulation, they’re never at the front of the line)

  • Laird

    A fine article, and the portion quoted by PdH is excellent, but I liked the final sentences best:

    “Free marketeers don’t believe in trickle-down, but trickle-up. We want to incentivise people to do things that fulfil wants and needs for all. If they get paid a lot for providing things we want (though a small fraction of the value they create), so be it.”

    I’m going to use that “trickle-up” idea in the future.

  • Paul Marks

    I hope the comments are correct.

    However, (to give one brief example) – just watched a brief advert for a series on the Inca civilisation.

    “They built an Empire but without conflict” (LIE).

    “They provided for the people” the government produced stuff by magic? The lack of starvation when the Spanish got there may well have been connected to the population crash from the plague and civil war.

    “We can learn so much from them”.

    What how to abolish the wheel and metal tools? Previous civilisations had such things – the savage collectivist Incas did not.

    Constant propaganda (the past, as well as the present, used as a weapon) constant – drip, drip, drip.

    Whether it is the “Tablet” magazine (which I happened to see today) substituting worship of the Welfare State for worship of God (a lot of utter nonsense by a man called “Clifford Longley”) to the BBC – to everything else.


    Sky News is no alternative.

    There are the Conservative newspapers I suppose – but when one needs them the most, that is the moment they let one down (and endorse more government spending and regulations).

  • PeterT

    In general people are not good at processing the idea that things often happen for no, or at least no easily discernible, reason. Libertarians are distinguished by the fact that we can see (or conceptualise rather) the individual hand. Most people cannot, however, so assume that some specific individual or group of individuals are behind an outcome, good or bad. When people were more religious, outcomes may have been attributed to God. He at least is beyond the reach of the politicians. Add to that the entitlement culture, which has severed action from consequence, and it is not hard to see where the popularity of these conspiracy theories come from.

  • Shirley Knott

    The piece of the argument I’m surprised is so rarely criticized is that the transfers are not free. Even if one grants the far-fetched, and wrong-headed, notion that the transfers are justifiable, it remains to be shown that paying people to perform the transfers is in any way productive. Transfer costs are a real factor and are entirely unproductive.
    No one likes the tax man. Make him work for free or stop talking about redistribution as if it imposed no costs, no inefficiencies, no offsets to whatever benefit is being claimed to have been accomplished.

  • bloke (not) in spain

    That’s something I’ve had to repeatedly explain to conspiracy theorists. It’s perfectly possible for poor outcomes to arise when different players & groups of players are incentivised by what, in each individual case, look like beneficial incentives. It only looks like an evil conspiracy® because you’re viewing it from the outside. No player needs to be aware of the other players’ intentions.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    Paul, maybe there are enough people with libertarian ideas to support a paper or magazine that caters to these views? You could start one yourself, or help to fund it, and the only ads might be for alternatives to government monopolies- Solar power for the homes, self-plumbing kits, etc.
    People say that print is dying, but magazines and journals still seem to sell well! (Just go to your local newsagent.)

  • JohnW

    Seems to me that Peretti is working on two false assumptions namely that spending – not production – is somehow the source of wealth and that such wealth as there is is a consequence of exploitation.

    Still, I was rather taken aback by his denunciation of the last 30 years of “trickle-down” as evil.

  • PeterT

    I may as well mention it here as anywhere else, City AM’s editorial line has been watered down since Allister Heath left. This is not a criticism of the article linked to (although I must endorse Rocco’s statement); just saying. Still better than the FT mind.

  • Paul Marks

    Nick G.

    As Mr Miller of a “distinguished publishing house” in New York (explaining why his company refused to publish Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” – and nudging W.T. Crouch of the University of Chicago Press to do the same, Mr Crouch published anyway) – reactionary works tend to “sell very well”.

    However, “selling very well” is an insult in the book trade – they would rather less one copy of Hillary Mantel’s “The Assignation of Margaret Thatcher” (so they can “fucking rejoice” over the fictional murder) than 100 copies of the “The Road to Serfdom”.

    “Ah Paul – but the University of Chicago Press did publish the Road to Serfdom”.

    I doubt it would not – “time marches on”.

    After all there were free market accounts of the 2008 (such as Thomas Woods “Meltdown”) – the establishment reacted as if they had never been written. They were not reviewed, and they did not appear in the book shops.

    Not because it was feared they would not sell – but because it was feared they would “sell very well”.

    Once historical fiction was an outlet for “the right” – now we get “Wolf Hall” (written by the above mentioned Hillary Mantel) trying to make a hero out of that murderer and coward Thomas Cromwell (he was in favour of “social reform” you see – and yes he was).

    General fiction?

    Even in the 1950s there were many conservative novelists – they would only be allowed to clean the toilets in modern publishing houses.

    Still you asked about magazines…..

    The “Spectator” is the conservative magazine in Britain – which is conservative till them moment it is really needed, then it is not (and it slips in the leftist propaganda – especially in its American coverage and even in its articles on travel, Dallas the “city of hate” in 1963 and other absurd lies).

    It sucks the air out of the room for any other conservative weekly.

    There is “Standpoint” magazine (a monthly) – which is better than the Spectator (not a difficult task).

    But it is a hard to find in supermarkets and so on.

    The real problem is the education system.

    With their minds filled with attitudes and “facts” (which are anything but) from their schools and universities, things are difficult when dealing with people.

    Supporting the state support of education was the worst mistake of 19th century liberalism.

    People like King Frederick the Great of Prussia and the Empress Marie T. of Austria were not friends of liberty and limited government – they were the people who backed state education in the 18th century.

    Yet, blinded by their hatred of organised religion (the main non state provider of schools), too many liberals in the 19th century embraced the state.

    Can “common sense” – reason (what used to be called “the soul”) survive all this?

    If the view of human beings presented by such philosophers as John Locke (that we start off as a blank sheet) then there is no hope – none at all. Each generation will be worse than the next, more and more collectivist.

    However, it is possible that the view of Locke and others is mistaken on this matter.

    That we are not a blank slate. Or that the capacity for reason leads us in certain directions – in spite of all the brain washing from our most early years.

  • Paul, most people in the West are no longer buying their books, magazines and newspapers in bookshops or even supermarkets. At least not the young people, which are the ones who count anyway.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    Alisa, someone is buying those magazines and papers! Or they would have shut down. In fact, there seems to be more magazines in this century, than in the previous!

  • I think that mostly the older people do, Nick. They are selling less and less of them every year.

  • Richard Thomas

    Magazines and papers don’t sell magazines and papers, they sell advertising. This is why you see so many of them even when people are not buying. They are on display not because they are being bought but because they might be bought (circulation figures are the important factor).

  • Paul Marks

    The internet started out as dominated by pro free market, anti socialist, people. I remember the start well – I was “Lycrophon” then.

    Then, in the 1990s, the leftists (well financed and organised – and operating as a “hive mind”) swept us away.

    Since then we, the anti big government, have been confined to ghettos – like this one.

    The mainstream internet reflects the education system and the mainstream media.

  • Paul Marks

    Historically the “left”, for the want of a better word, wanted to replace Civil Society, the Churches and so on, with the state.

    This goes back a long way – why do people think that Hillary Mantel likes Thomas Cromwell (hint – it is naught to do with theology, it is political). The “Tudor Revolution in government” of the historian Eldon did not actually happen (Eldon was wrong) – but it almost did, and T.C. would certainly have liked to create an “efficient” government machine capable of guiding every aspect of society.

    Sadly most modern Churches, including the largest – the Roman Catholic Church, agree with the leftists.

    They want to be replaced by the state.

    What started off as minor statism in the hands of someone like Pope Leo XIII is in modern terms full blown “Social Justice” collectivism.

    To modern theologians, and others, every aspect of human life (education, health care, old age provision, income support….) is a matter of “justice” – and thus a STATE matter.

    The old Christian (indeed Aristotelian) idea that justice and mercy (charity) are different things, has been crushed.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Rocco, Comment #1, has it just exactly right: It’s not your f***ing money!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Shirley Knott is also right. If you give alms directly to X, the whole goes to the betterment of X (or to what X thinks is his betterment, anyway, at the moment of his expenditure, anyway). Whereas if you give the alms to The Gov, a good deal of it goes to the collectors, the bean counters, the distributors, the support staff, and the pols who signed the bill. And, of course, to the Enforcers.

  • Julie near Chicago

    And, of course, What Paul Said. Throughout.

    As for private broadcasting companies’ product, consider the History Channel with its “documentaries” on such things as Johnson’s assassination of Kennedy.

    At least Mercury Theater never claimed that its broadcast of allegedly breaking news — The War of the Worlds — was anything but fiction.