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

Because of course adapting the transport system to how many people want to use it isn’t the right way to go about things. Instead, the hunt is on for the money to keep the system as it is and oversupply the transport that people aren’t going to use.

Which is why politics and government is a really shitty way to run things. It’s also a lovely example of why capitalism and markets work so well. Because the one saving grace of that slightly weird system is that it kills off things no longer desired.

We have that evidence here too. The pandemic induced shock has killed a certain portion of the retail trade. So, what’s happening there? People are thrashing around trying to shrink the retail estate to fit the desire for it. Great gaping chunks of formerly retail space are being converted to other uses. John Lewis is turning retail into office space for example – that might well not be a solution that works but they are at least trying.

The demand from politics is that all must stay the same even as all changes. Nothing so conservative as a socialist, eh?

Tim Worstall

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Watching Mr Burnham saying that “English devolution” (he does not mean an English Parliament – he means the “regions” idea with elected Mayors and so on) “increased confidence in politics and government” made me more opposed.

    Government should be as limited as possible – anything that makes people “excited” about it, and gives the false view that it can make their lives better (rather than worse) is to be avoided. For if it is not avoided there will, eventually, be economic breakdown and much WORSE poverty. Much worse poverty.

    The leading Liberal John Morley perhaps did more than anyone else to convince Winston Churchill to go from being a Conservative to a Liberal Member of Parliament. John Morley was, at first, supportive of “Social Reform” (i.e. using government spending and regulations to try and “help the poor”), but then he made a care study of the subject and came to the conclusion that it would do more harm that good – this led to a cooling of his friendship with Churchill who, like most young politicians before the First World War was a supporter of active government and rejected the limited government principles of Edmund Burke and Prime Minister Gladstone – both of whom Morley wrote about extensively.

    People do not want to be told that the use of power (government spending and regulations) will not work – indeed that they will make things worse. They may accept that you have done a careful study of the matter but…… “surely with me in charge” (they say to themselves) “government spending and regulations would help the people”.

    By the way…..

    The pandemic did not kill of the retail trade or anything else in the economy – state REACTION to the pandemic did these things. And not all countries went down this path.

    As for transport – nearly empty busses and trains with a few people forced to wear masks, everyone who can avoid “public transport” is doing so (because of the mask mandate and the other restrictions) – yet the Greens support all this, as if they have suddenly started to support people driving cars everywhere.

    Is there any good justification for massive government road schemes – of course not, if a private road is not viable then the government road is just CORPORATE WELFARE for housing estates and other developments, ditto government railways (hello useless White Elephant HS2).

    Mr Herbert tried to convince John Morley of this – but Morley rejected laissez faire, still later on John Morley moved closer to it.

    One final myth – that laissez faire was the policy in Ireland in the 1840s. If crushing Poor Law taxation is your definition of laissez faire, it certainly is not my understanding of the term.

  • Paul Marks

    Tucker Carlson did an excellent summing up of the terrible effects of Western government policy (not “the pandemic” – the virus did not do these things) on his programme the other night. For someone who keeps saying he knows nothing about economics, he showed more understanding than most of the financial media in the United States.

    But then most things in America are bent now. The financial television stations lie through their teeth (about everything), the elections are rigged (blatantly so), the court system is a Show Trial racket – ask young Mr Rittenhouse – a few years ago he would have been given a medal for defending property from a savage mob (who wanted to blow up a petrol station – and were ARMED), now he is put on trial by the “justice” system, and juries know if they do not convict they will be killed by savage mobs (and the media and corporations will applaud their deaths – chanting “racist, racist, racist”), and just about everything else is bent to.

    “There is a lot a ruin in a great nation” – yes, but not an infinite amount. The United States of America may be reaching the end of the road.

  • Paul Marks

    Just had a look at the Fox News site – supposedly Liz Cheney is in trouble with Republicans because she “voted to impeach President Trump for inciting the Capitol riot” (“peacefully make your voices heard” is “incitement” now) and “called out his false claims that the election was stolen” – they are not “false claims” (as anyone who bothers to look knows).

    The “School of Journalism” side of Fox News is as bad as the other networks – the position of America is terrible, the establishment are rotten to the core.

    You can not get the truth (on any subject) into the head of a “School of Journalism” type – any more than the you can expect justice from the “Justice” system and the scum of the FBI.

    And without America the rest of the West can-not-stand.

    So, to quote Private Fraser, “we are DOOMED”.

    Time for bed.

  • APL

    Tim Worstall: “Nothing so conservative as a socialist, eh?”

    What a cracking observation.

    Paul Marks: ” they are not “false claims” (as anyone who bothers to look knows).”

    Liz Cheyney is a member of the Republican ruling class. They rule for their own benefit

  • Mr Ed

    Excellent post. It echoes von Mises’ observation that the socialist aims at the petrification of social conditions, once the necessary changes have been made, and a socialist cannot cope with innovation, as that is disruptive and unplanned.

    I would also add that the essence of politics is rewarding failure and, to a greater or lesser degree, penalising success. If politicians could not reward failure, there would be no point in their spending programmes, as we could all simply acquire what we need from what we have and can afford, without them.

  • John B

    ‘ The demand from politics is that all must stay the same…’

    Even the climate must stay the same. They are the real climate change deniers, they believe in climate stasis, some perfect default climate which must ever be, never change.

  • Paul Marks

    Correct John B.

    For example, they say “you DENY the rise of the sea level”.

    I deny no such thing – I do NOT believe that I can go walking in what is now the North Sea or the Black Sea (much of both were dry land a few thousand years ago).

    The question is – is the rise of the sea level, which has been happening for many thousands of years, caused by people driving motor cars.

  • Paul Marks
    May 9, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Correct John B.

    For example, they say “you DENY the rise of the sea level”.

    I deny no such thing – I do NOT believe that I can go walking in what is now the North Sea or the Black Sea (much of both were dry land a few thousand years ago).

    The question is – is the rise of the sea level, which has been happening for many thousands of years, caused by people driving motor cars.

    Much of the ‘rapid rise’ of sea level today is caused by people — people drinking water and irrigating their crops. Deplete the aquifer and the ground sinks relative to sea level. And when the land sinks, it’s sea level rise according to the climateers.

    For places like Louisiana, that’s bad, and complicated by levees holding the Mississippi in its bed. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/08/02/new-orleans-and-hurricane-katrina-the-correct-story/

    For Mexico City, nowhere near the sea, it’s worse. https://www.iflscience.com/environment/mexico-city-is-sinking-faster-than-ever-and-theres-no-hope-it-can-be-reversed/

  • Duncan S

    Ellen

    Thank you for the links: interesting reading to file away for future discussions with human-haters.

  • APL

    Ellen: “Much of the ‘rapid rise’ of sea level today is caused by people — people drinking water and irrigating their crops. Deplete the aquifer and the ground sinks relative to sea level.”

    In Scandinavia, the ground is rising, a result of the retreating ice since the last ice age. For once it may be related to global warming, a result of rebound in the Earths crust once the weight of the ice has been removed.

  • APL

    A more informative link than that from the Independent article previously posted.

  • APL
    May 10, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Ellen: “Much of the ‘rapid rise’ of sea level today is caused by people — people drinking water and irrigating their crops. Deplete the aquifer and the ground sinks relative to sea level.”

    In Scandinavia, the ground is rising, a result of the retreating ice since the last ice age. For once it may be related to global warming, a result of rebound in the Earths crust once the weight of the ice has been removed.

    Isostatic rebound is another kettle of fish entirely. I was merely commenting on Paul Marks’ “The question is – is the rise of the sea level, which has been happening for many thousands of years, caused by people driving motor cars.” To which I could only reply that that was questionable, but here’s something people can actually be blamed for. Because the climate fanatics dispense a lot of blame. We might as well try to improve their aim.

    Would have appreciated you quoting my whole paragraph. You left out “And when the land sinks, it’s sea level rise according to the climateers.”

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