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Samizdata quote of the day

Here’s where we get to the economics lesson. When producers aren’t allowed to profit, they don’t produce.

Daniel Mitchell

Now this might seem screamingly obvious, yet even the UK is full of people who are either utterly oblivious to this self-evident and often demonstrated fact, or simply do not care, as equality via privation-for-all is actually their objective, with Venezuela’s example on that score being much admired.

24 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • bobby b

    “When producers aren’t allowed to profit, they don’t produce.”

    Oh, but they will. They’re conditioned to produce. They’ll always find a way.


  • Brian Swisher

    You forget that we’ll have things like the Bernie Sanders National Deodorant Factory, producing one (and only one!) type of deodorant for the delectation of a subservient populace.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby, I forget who said that (more or less). Not Mouch I think … not Mr. Thompson… but one a them guys.

    Anyway, right on!


    Brian, also the Sheryl Crow (sp?) National TP Factory, always producing the more homely necessities of life … one square at a time.

  • Laird

    Venezuela is not going to escape from this crisis until its people treat Maduro the way Italians did Mussolini. I hope they do so soon.

  • Ferox

    For my part, I am still quite entertained by the assortment of articles in the ctrl-left press (CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc) about the catastrophe in Venezuela that somehow manage to avoid using the word “socialism” at ALL.

    CTRL-F “socialism” – NOT FOUND is still a hilarious punchline.

  • Mr Ed

    They produced gold in Kolyma without a profit motive.

    Socialists know how to produce shortages, starvation, death and despair. Anything else is just a bonus to them.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    You’d think it would be really fucking obvious, but I’ve tried arguing with them about it and you just get no-true-Scotsman back. Apparently it’s America’s fault for interfering or something.

  • bobby b

    Julie, I’m thinking it was Dr. Ferris, but I can’t find my book (!) so I can’t check.

  • the other rob

    @ Brian Swisher: Oddly enough, just yesterday I was chatting with a friend who used to be Vietnamese.He mentioned the limited number of government permitted hairstyles in North Korea and I immediately compared that to Sanders’ deodorant policy. They really are all the same, whether in Venezuela, NK, the UK or here.

  • Stonyground

    @Rob Fisher
    So then ask them where the real Scotsmen are. Where are the places where a socialist government is in power and the population are happier and more prosperous than those who live with a free market economy?

  • Fred Z

    It’s a little more nuanced.

    One can force a low level producer like a carpenter to produce without profit. Quality and efficiency will suffer but you’ll get some production.

    One cannot do that to a Steve Jobs.

    The left cannot get it through their thick stupid heads that the real production, the vast quantities of high quality inexpensive goods, they come from the Steve Jobs of the world and that an unorganized carpenter on his own is pretty much useless.

  • Paul Marks

    There is no such thing as a “just price”, a “fair wage”, or a “reasonable” profit.

    Prices, including the price of a service such as work, must be determined by supply-and-demand (the market place). When this is denied in practice – massive harm is done.

    However, one is not just fighting socialists in pointing this out. One is fighting over a thousand years of Church teaching – the late Murray Rothbard was correct in saying that some theologians and cannon lawyers dissented from the idea that government should set “fair” wages and prices and so on, but the majority provided the advice given to rulers from Charles the Great (“Charlemagne”) onwards.

    It is not really Christian – as it comes from memories of the policies of the Emperor Diocletian and so on. But some Christians took the policies of their enemies (such as price controls and religions persecution) and made these policies their own, they “internalised the ideology” of their enemies as a Marxist might put it.

    So when you hear (for example) Archbishop Welby or Pope Francis coming out with utter nonsense on economic policy, they have NOT made it up – the are standing on more than a thousand years of nonsense teaching.

    For example at a time of relative freedom, 1891, Pope Leo XIII denounced the impoverishment of the workers how they had been ground down into the dirt by capitalism (at a time when wages and conditions had never been better) and he also denounced the “moral degeneracy” of the age (1891 – the height of the Victorian Age this was supposedly poorer and more “morally degenerate” than 1791, or 1691, or 1591,- or 1491 when people were being burned alive for theological differences and the Church ran brothels). Pope Leo XIII had not gone mad – he was predisposed to look down on liberty (to assume it guilty of things liberty was innocent of doing) by more than a thousand years of bad teaching – and by that silly busybody Cardinal Manning whispering in his ear with all sorts of nonsense). This is certainly NOT an anti Catholic point – as one can find people of all religions, and NO RELIGION AT ALL coming out with the same nonsense.

    P.S. Trying to explain any of the above to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom would be a waste-of-time.

  • Paul Marks

    Keep it in mind and communicate to others – there is no such thing as a “just price”, a “fair wage”, or a “reasonable profit”. All these things (prices, wages, profits, rents) must be determined by the free play of supply and demand based upon PRIVATE PROPERTY and without subsidy or edicts.

  • RRS

    Does anyone here remember Peter Drucker?

    Profit is a necessary cost of doing business.

  • Laird

    I think I get it now, Paul: “Just” prices, “fair” profits, etc., aren’t “real” Christianity in the same way that suicide bombers aren’t “real” Islam. Thanks for making that clear.

  • I’ve tried arguing with them about it and you just get no-true-Scotsman back. Apparently it’s America’s fault for interfering or something. (Rob Fisher (Surrey), September 27, 2017 at 7:59 am)

    Does “no-true-Scotsman” = “not-true-Socialism” or is it implying that the Aberdeenshire landowner who won the US election interfered because he was not a true Scotsman. 🙂

    Orwell notes that when the UK declared war on Hitler in 1939, quite a few on the hard-left discovered that it was the UK’s ruling class (or maybe just the UK) that they really hated, Hitler not so much. We saw the same thing on a small scale during the Falklands war when the “What are we protesting this week?” crowd switched from “Argentinian Fascists are being enabled by Mrs Thatcher” to “Argentinas Malvinas” from one week to the next. My point is: western intellectual support for Venezuela is not about what it pretends to be about, any more than those other cases were. Possibly the thing that was obvious to the people you could not persuade is who they hate.

    Do not give up pointing things out however. Robert Conquest was a communist when he was 17, recovering by his 18th birthday. Thomas Sowell was a marxist in his early twenties, but could not help noticing, firstly that specific marxist schemes kept failing and secondly that his marxist mentors never seemed to care, or to want to study how things turned out. There are young people who will benefit from being shown the facts, even if they refuse to lose an argument with you in front of their friends at the time. (As C.S.Lewis remarks, if you argue honestly, often the very man who shouted you down will prove, years later, to have been influenced by what you said.)

  • Laird

    Niall, we were all communists at 17. (My sole expression of that was purchasing the 45 of “Love Train“. It was a short-lived infatuation.)

  • Mr Ed

    we were all communists at 17.

    Count me out, I’ve hated them for as long as I can remember being aware of them. Even at 9, I hated the cruelty of the Soviets towards Viktor Korchnoi, and the bestial greed, envy and malice of socialists long before that.

  • Umbriel

    I’m with you, Mr. Ed, though at that age I might have harbored the fear that tyranny could actually be more efficient than freedom, I hated it as tyranny nevertheless.

    Though I can’t say it’s any more comforting to now realize that tyranny doesn’t even have efficiency going for it, but remains seductive to the virtue-signalling crowd nevertheless.

  • we were all communists at 17.

    Count me in. At one point I was a die hard Stalinist, it was as I matured and started to realise that human nature is immutable, and no amount of forcing, killing and gulag-ing is going to change it and so you’d better come up with some ideology that works with human nature rather than against it or you’ll never have good outcomes.

    And that’s how I ended up here with all you fine people.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Who is this we, Kemo Sabe?

    Always hated the Commies (Commies).

  • bobby b

    “Niall, we were all communists at 17.”

    I know I was. So were all of my friends, and we were the smart kids.

  • “Niall, we were all communists at 17.”

    Not literally true in my case. I saw a documentary written by Robert Conquest on the beeb when I was not yet in my teens, and can recall defending it against older family members who said it was biased against communism. I never changed my mind on that. (My later evolution was detailed here.)