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

In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city – except for bombing.

– Economist Assar Lindbeck, which seems a timely reminder in view of this absurdity. Some actually take the view it is worse than bombing.

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Ken Mitchell

    Rent control _IS_ worse than bombing, because rent control ensures that the buildings will not be rebuilt. Compare Detroit and Nagasaki, 1945 and 2019.

  • Julie near Chicago

    What Detroit needs is rent control and a much greater minimum wage; currently a measly $ 9.45/hr, unless tips make up part of a worker’s earnings, in which case the employer can give the worker a lower regular hourly wage.

    But better yet, go to San Francisco, where the minimum wage was $ 15/hr a year ago. They have rent control, too. :>))

    And a, um, fecal problem.

    I don’t say the latter problem has anything to do with rent control + minimum wage, of course. And certainly nothing to do with its being a “sanctuary city.”

  • Mr Ed

    As Ken says, rent control is worse than bombing for the city (not the people presently in it), as it renders buildings uneconomic, and hence impossible, whereas bombing raises the costs and risks, bombing does not, of itself, make a city impossible unless constant, large-scale and indefinite.

    The media coverage of this issue never explicitly mentions the effects of rent controls, seen or unseen, in this case it simply says the Mayor hasn’t (yet) the power to impose it. He would get that under Corbyn, for sure, and May would probably have given it within a year.

  • Now now, maybe the mayor will use his new Rent Control powers to increase minimum rents.

    That will make everybody happy! :mrgreen:

  • Stonyground

    Couldn’t we solve the problems that we have with our National Health Service just by making it illegal to get ill?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    But then you would lose all the votes of the doctors, and put Big and small pharma out of business!

  • Runcie Balspune

    The bigger irony is that in 2010 Khan was Cabinet Minister in a Labour Government that roundly discredited rent controls as part of a Treasury report (*).

  • Rob

    Rent Controls are loved by the middle class – it enables them to afford city centre property or properties in affluent middle-class areas they would otherwise be priced out of, and to hold onto it at increasingly derisory rents. And if young people can’t find anywhere to rent? Blame the government and cling on.

  • Paul Marks

    Rent control was a disaster in New York City – therefore it was introduced into other cities.

    Yes I did type “therefore” – and I meant it.

    The left know exactly what they are doing (with rent control, minimum wage laws and other attacks on the laws of supply and demand) – the problem is not ignorance, the left are inflicting damage on purpose. To leave this out, to not mention that they are inflicting harm on purpose, would be a serious omission.

  • neonsnake

    the left are inflicting damage on purpose

    No. This is untrue.

    The vast majority of the left (allowing for the same amount of moonbats that the right has) are not doing this. They see the same problems and issues that we see as libertarians, and come to incorrect conclusions on how to fix the issues.

    We don’t help, because we’re so busy sticking up for free speech without the “I despise what you just said” part of it, that we get lumped in with the alt-right and the white supremacists.

    And then we lose the opportunity to convert the enormous part of the left that are concerned about “social justice”, and condemn ourselves to the losing side forever.

    For clarity: an enormous part of the left share the same concerns that we should (racism, homophobia, crony capitalism, corporatism etc)

    We are failing at recruiting them because our PR is awful and we don’t understand how to do it. We are losing. I’ve no interest in losing and then whining about it. I want to win them over. Pretending that they’re all evil is idiotic and will ensure that we continue to lose.

  • Rob Fisher

    Neonsnake has a point. I have been meaning to write about this for a long time, but have not yet got around to giving it the thought it deserves. The left are extremely good at demonstrating how much they care about people and this is a powerful recruitment strategy. So powerful it overwhelms how crappy their solutions are. I do think we could learn a lot from their marketing strategy.

  • Rob Fisher (July 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm), neonsnake et al, the old Churchillian saw about being a socialist at 20 but not at 40 is relevant to this question of who is on purpose evil and who means ignorantly well. Thomas Sowell ceased being a marxist in his early 20s, not because he stopped caring but on the contrary because he could not help noticing how indifferent the older lefties he was working with were to the question of what actually happened to the people they ‘helped’. The theory said it would work so there was not only no need but a strong aversion to checking whether it had.

    If you care, you think – and if you don’t think then you don’t care, though you may say you do loudly enough to convince yourself and others that you do. Anyone young enough can avoid this dilemma. Most (not all) people old enough have met it and made their conscious or unconscious choice about where their character will go – towards caring or towards the ‘caring’ racket.

    That which is not true is not: not caring, not helping, not whatever. Our ‘we care too’ about some good guys, our ‘but we despise what you say’ about some bad guys can never out-compete the extremism of those unconstrained by such considerations – even if they did not also corrupt the language to make it dangerous to agree even if you would.

    It is of course easier to note the problem than to solve it but it is important to play to our strengths, not their strengths. Selling ‘we care’ without first selling at least a hint of ‘free speech’ or ‘cognitive diversity’ may be far more of a loser than where we are now. “They don’t care, they just want to silence you” may be a necessary prequel to “we care more because we care if it works”.

    Just my 0.02p FWIW.

  • neonsnake

    I have been meaning to write about this for a long time, but have not yet got around to giving it the thought it deserves. The left are extremely good at demonstrating how much they care about people

    I would like to read that, you’re a better writer than I.

    I genuinely believe that many on the left do care. I just think they’ve been sold a falsehood on the methods.

    socialist at 20 but not at 40

    I was never entirely socialist (in the “seize the factories!” sense), but I definitely leant further left at 20 than now.

    I was always sorta “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” to use the cliche, but there were viewpoints that I felt were beyond the pale, and I was okay with (eg) racist expression being criminalised. Over time, I’ve grown more fiscally conservative as I’ve learned more about economics, and experienced more of the real world, of course.

    Ironically, it was when I realised that I, myself, was in a protected class, that I started to question it. I’m unsure if I can adequately explain why without going to anecdote.

    “They don’t care, they just want to silence you” may be a necessary prequel to “we care more because we care if it works”.

    I’m unsure. I agree with the first part, and I’m growing incredibly uneasy with “silencing”, and with identity politics as a whole. I think it’s becoming a bugbear of mine. I trust, Niall, that you might understand why identity politics might bother me?

    But I truly believe that both can be done at the same time.

    The tricky bit, is that it requires restraint on our part.

    It requires, I believe, more posts about why rent control harms poorer people, and fewer posts calling out the “woke”. It’s pure marketing and PR, and the irony of telling libertarians to moderate what they say is not lost on me. But I sort of have this hope that libertarians also believe that when we’re calling out “rent control”, we’re doing it because we know it harms poorer people, and we care about them.

    I invoke the spirit of our old friend Mark from Purchase Ledger, who believes in the NHS and in unemployment benefits, because what kind of monster doesn’t? And yet, if pushed, and really made to think, isn’t against private property and individual liberty to live the life appropriate to oneself.

    But he’s been told all his life that he’s a socialist, (he’s 27, say), so he votes for the socialist, because the “right” don’t want him.

    They’re the people we have to win over, if we have any hope.

    I don’t know if I still have that hope, honestly. The polarization into ctrl-left and alt-right might be insurmountable. Both sides of that are equally contemptible, in my eyes.

  • neonsnake

    Ironically, it was when I realised that I, myself, was in a protected class, that I started to question it. I’m unsure if I can adequately explain why without going to anecdote.

    Just realised that wasn’t clear.

    That was the point when I started to question “criminalising” viewpoints.

  • neonsnake

    Elsewhere, on the Ulster threads, Paul Marks says this:

    “it is conservative – it stands for Freedom of Speech, Religious Liberty, the family, and other traditional principles”

    I say, yep. If that’s your desire, then go for it, brother. No issues from me.

    I also say – what if I disagree with the last two points? The first two are clearly libertarian, the second two are not.

    As a libertarian, I support your right to live the second two – do you, as a libertarian, support my right not to? To experiment with other modes of living, on the understanding that I harm no one else? Not just grudgingly, but philosophically?

    That, to me, is libertarianism.