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

“If you decided to stop working for the better part of two years, and to maintain your income solely through borrowing, you’d end up worse off. Almost everyone understands that on a personal level. But we struggle to extend the logic to the nation. During the lockdowns, the Government paid people not to produce things, and funded the difference by printing money. A decline in the production of real-world goods and services, combined with an increase in the number of pounds and pence in circulation, would mean inflation even without the Ukrainian conflict. Yet commentators and MPs who opposed every loosening of restrictions (including Starmer) now talk about the cost of living crisis as if it were some wanton act of ministerial sadism.”

Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph (£)

The problem in my view is that on economics, or indeed on certain other topics where people need to understand cause and effect, the education system in this country, and indeed much of our culture, is against an understanding of cause/effect beyond the concrete experiences of daily life. People seem unable to think in terms of concepts. The question is whether there are sufficient people to point these links out between rising prices, poverty, and a policy of “work for nothing” paid for by printing money. Much hinges on making the case.

7 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • This OP so true – and while the Tory government deserve much criticism for it, the absurd counter-factual insolence of Starmer and/or Sturgeon blaming them to praise themselves is grosser still.

    That said, were some votes to be cast against Biden and his party in the upcoming US mid-terms from this gripe-of-the-moment illogic rather from deeper and better grounded reasons – then I expect I and some others here would endure it. 🙂

  • Eric Tavenner

    The purpose of the ‘puhblek skoul sistum’ is not to educate or teach critical thinking skills to future citizens, but to create ignorant, politically indoctrinated, mindlessly obedient serfs for the Holy State Almighty.
    I wrote this with the US in mind. Just change the name to fit for any government.

  • mickc

    “inflation is everywhere, and at all times, a monetary phenomenon”….

  • bobby b

    The presumption here seems to be that there are people making monetary decisions who are not sufficiently educated to grasp the consequences of what they are doing.

    I would lean more towards one of two other explanations:

    1. Those people do understand what they are damaging and destroying – they know the logical consequences of their actions – but their social aims and goals are, to them, so much more important than the mere longterm health of the global economy, which they can always go back and fix once true equity and love have been established; or

    2. The destruction of that global economy isn’t a bug, it’s a feature – in their longterm goal of transforming us from an evil capitalistic plantation into the glorious brotherhood-freedom of socialist thought, they need to rip out the rot completely, and that can only be done through destruction.

    It’s the exception to the “don’t assume malice when stupidity explains all” rule. I think it’s safer to assume malice than stupidity when we look at the monetary decisions being made in the West.

    Granted, these people become and stay empowered because a certain percentage of the voters lack economic understanding, but I don’t think that percentage has increased drastically over the past four decades. We’re no stupider and less educated than we were historically; the deciders have merely become more frantic in attempting to enact their utopia.

  • I find it interesting how the talking point was decided that the term to use is “cost of living crisis”. It seems like all the journalists and the pressure-group people at the top of their rolodex somehow hit upon this same exact (and inartful) term.

  • TDK

    The thing I remember is that when Margaret Thatcher spoke about economics she was always accused of over simplifying things. The sophisticated people understood that it was nonsense to compare household budgets to that of the state’s. Yet she persevered and got the message over. The trick was to have a clear concise message and to repeat it again and again.

    Nowadays of course we have people proposing MMT or similar and the criticisms are muted or obscure. People happily propose spending far more than the state’s income and are taken seriously. In contrast I don’t recall a single political figure of note once saying something along the lines of “this expenditure may be necessary in the short term to overcome the COVID crisis but don’t fool yourself into thinking that the day when it has to be paid back will never come”.

    I would have expected Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson or Michael Gove to have hammered home that message. Yet they didn’t – I suspect that this would have been off message. Short term thinking overrode any idea that whilst it might not be popular, it would be realistic and would earn respect in the long term.