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 Soviet Union (also Mao’s China, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela) have proved that central planning is impossible. Even something as simple as corn. To grow corn, you just plant seeds in fertile soil, and wait. Yet every country that attempted to centrally plan it, has starved.”

Keith Weiner, who runs a precious metals investments business, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He’s become a friend, and a fount of good sense on issues such as money and central banking. Check out his blog.

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • John B

    But a centrally planned and directed economy to bring about ‘net zero carbon’ WILL work, because much smarter people are running things these days. Just as a centrally planned and directed economy to achieve net zero virus has done so well and not at all wrecked society and the economy.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Very funny, but — in my ignorance of agriculture — i believe that this is not quite correct:

    To grow corn, you just plant seeds in fertile soil, and wait.

    Am i being pedantic if i insist that we have to be clear about the meaning of ‘corn’?
    In context, it seems to me that Keith Weiner meant not just maize, but any cereal, as in British English.

    My understanding from The Seven Samurai is that central planning — at the village level — is needed for growing a specific cereal: rice.
    If my understanding is correct, then it is an issue of scale: central planning can work (in growing cereals) at the village level, but not at any larger level.

    I also note that in agriculture there are local factors — such as the weather/climate and the soil — that are not as much of a problem in, say, urban planning.
    That is not to advocate central planning: it is just to say that growing cereals might not be the most blatant demonstration of why central planning must fail.
    And that is not to say that it is not blatant enough.

  • JohnK


    I think the point is that under central planning, the peons do what they are told by the wise ones in the politburo, who have never touched a spade in their lives.

    Thus, if the plan says the seeds are to be planted on a certain day, that is the day they will be planted, irrespective of the actual conditions on the ground. The peon has no say in the matter, and does not get to keep the product of his labour. Indeed if he tries, he may well get a bullet in his head. So he does what he is told and under no account uses his initiative or experience. Because central planning.

    And that is why socialism, communism, call it what you will, fails, everywhere and every time. It is inevitable.

  • Stonyground

    All individuals have skills of some kind. Millions of individuals with many different skills add up to a colossal amount of information, a huge amount of knowledge. In a free market economy this knowledge is applied, in a fairly efficient manner, to problems on the ground. Central planning leads to all of this useful knowledge is discarded in deference to people who only think that they have the required knowledge to get the job done. The results are entirely predictable.

  • staghounds

    You don’t need corn to prove it, you just need your own pantry-


  • William O. B'Livion

    Mr. Weiner is wrong.

    A bunch of marginally functional governments failing at central planning doesn’t prove it doesn’t work any more than having a couple hundred college students fail to run a 4 minute mile prove it can’t be done.

    Lot’s of things “can’t be done” until they are. See also “Black Swan”.

    F.A. Hayek proved it can’t be done, and why.

  • Stonyground

    Presumably alchemists will be able to turn base metals into gold if they just keep trying. Some things are impossible, some things are just very difficult. I suppose it takes a certain amount of wisdom to know the difference.

  • Paul Marks

    And yet the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and the national and even local government bureaucracy just carry on as if the “economics” of Karl Marx was true, or at least partly true.

    Even the big “Capitalist” Corporations support reports that are based on absurd fallacies – such as the Labour Theory of Value (refuted two centuries ago – by Samuel Bailey and others, Bailey’s book refuting David Ricardo’s Labour Theory of Value was published in 1825, when Karl Marx was seven years old, yet Karl Marx and JOHN STUART MILL just carried on as if this and all the other refutations had never been written).

    Government bureaucracies, international, national and local, also proceed on the assumption that David Ricardo’s view of the economics of LAND was correct – totally blind to the fact that Frank Fetter utterly refuted it more than a century ago.

    So this is the Central Planning supported by the international, national and local government bureaucracies AND THE BIG CORPORATIONS.

    It is based on basic economic errors – total fallacies.

    Yet it is likely to take over the world in 2021 (a dark date for those of who remember “Agenda 21”) the 50 Anniversary of “Stakeholder Capitalism” (i.e. FASCISM) of Klaus Schwab – and what he now calls the World Economic Forum.

    President Donald John Trump is the last line of defence against this FASCIST Central Planning of the economy and society by “Woke” Big Business, academic “experts”, and the international “educated” bureaucracy – and President Trump is very likely to be DEFEATED.

    What is left of free competition (especially by small business) and the freedom of choice of ordinary people will be exterminated – replaced by the “scientific planning of society” in the name of “the environment” and other such.

    The People’s Republic of China will love it – and they will LEAD it.

  • Paul Marks

    I am more and more convinced that the influence of the “Patron Saint of British Liberalism”, John Stuart Mill, was harmful – indeed that it helped lead us to the present intellectual crises, where liberty is very likely to be exterminated in the Western World. His economics continued the fallacies of David Ricardo and his politics denied fundamental liberty rights (making everything a matter of utility calculation – with THE STATE doing the calculating).

    And, above all, Mr Mill conception of what a human is – undermined the very existence of the human PERSON. By following the “light of Hume” (in reality the darkness of Hume) and the teachings on the human mind (the human person) of Jeremy Bentham and Thomas Hobbes, Mr Mill undermined the basic principle that humans are BEINGS (persons) that we can no objective moral good from evil, and CHOOSE (really CHOOSE) to do other than we do.

    A philosophy that holds that the “I” is just an “illusion” that a thought does NOT mean a thinker (the philosophy of Mr Hobbes, Mr Hume, Mr Bentham – AND Mr Mill) destroys the foundation of liberalism.

    Contrary to the late F.A. Hayek, one can NOT keep the politics of the “Old Whigs” if one rejects their philosophy (their philosophy of Moral Agency – of the “I”, of the soul in the Aristotelian sense) – for the philosophical principle is the foundation of the political principle.

    The basic philosophical assumptions on what used to be called “the nature of man” of Mr Hobbes, Mr Hume, Mr Bentham AND Mr Mill can only, in the end, lead to tyranny. One can not get to the principles of the Bill of Rights from this philosophy.

    A political, academic and Corporate elite brought up such philosophy are naturally the enemies of liberty.

  • Paul Marks

    Note to people still do not understand….

    Central Planning by “Woke” Corporations, with free competition and the freedom of choice of ordinary people destroyed by government regulations and edicts, is no better than the Central Planning of Commissars.

    Indeed the distinction between such Corporations and Government Bureaucracy is breaking down – and it has been the intention of Klaus Schwab and a Legion of other Devils to break it down, their intention for more than 50 years.

    And the very heart of “Build Back Better” (that international slogan slavishly trotted out by Mr Biden, Mr Johnson and so many others) “Sustainable Development”, “Stakeholder Capitalism” FASCISM – is Central Planning.

  • Y. Knott

    The peon has no say in the matter, and does not get to keep the product of his labour.

    – But under Marxist central planning, one aspect of the crop has always been exclusively the peasant’s. As shown by Trofim Lysenko and Joe Stalin, if the crop fails for any reason it’s the peon’s fault. An old poem comes to-mind:

    “It’s not my job to run the train –
    The whistle I can’t blow,
    It’s not my place to say just where
    The train’s supposed to go;
    I’m not allowed to let-off steam,
    or even clang the bell –
    But let the d@mn thing jump the tracks and see who catches he11!”