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 – weaponising Net Zero against the West edition

“Net zero has turned into a Chinese weapon aimed right at the heart of Western competitiveness. If we don’t wake up and recognise soon that we have to figure out a better way of combating climate change our industries are about to get wiped out.”

Matthew Lynn, Daily Telegraph (£).

Samizdata quote of the day – the horror of Mao’s dictatorship edition

“If I were prosecuting Mao, I’d further cover my bases by pointing out that he gave explicit orders to literally enslave hundreds of millions, then invoke the felony murder rule. However you slice it, Mao was a monster – and it’s high time for China to tear down his remaining posters and replace them with monuments to his victims.”

Bryan Caplan, EconLog.

His article refers to a new study of the terrible famine, wrought by collectivisation of the Chinese economy. Communists tend to be very, very bad at farming. Property rights, incentives, etc – they just don’t get it.

Until such time as China takes a full, objective reckoning of the monster that Mao was, I don’t see much that is benign about that nation, even though this isn’t meant to be a sweeping statement about all Chinese people, of course.

Samizdata quote of the day – Truly… truly… the state is not your friend

‘Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.’

-Mayer Rothschild

If you asked the man or woman on the street whether they think we should have a ‘national conversation about the future of money’, they would probably say something like: ‘Yes, we need to talk about how we can have more of it.’

The Bank of England, however, has a different discussion in mind. It seems to be growing ever fonder of the idea that we should have this ‘national conversation’. But what it wants to talk about is not increasing wealth; it is ‘the future of payments’ (code for introducing a Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC, the ‘digital pound’). The Bank of England, you see, lives on a rather different country to the rest of us – one in which the pressing economic problems we face are not to do with inflation, interest rates, quantitative easing, or overleveraging, but to do with how we pay for things. In the version of Britain which it inhabits, we have the national bandwidth to devote major resources to the designing of a ‘future payments ecosystem’ so that the UK can ‘remain at the forefront of payments technology’, and we also need to do this as a matter of urgency.

David McGrogan.

Read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day – unfortunately the high-status fraudster won

A Washington, D.C. jury has found that conservative writers Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg defamed climate scientist Michael Mann.

The jury deliberated for close to a full day before reaching its decision.

At issue were two blog posts, one by Steyn and one by Simberg, comparing the investigation into alleged academic misconduct by Mann, then a Penn State professor, to Penn State’s handling of Jerry Sandusky, the school’s former head of athletics who raped and molested children.

“If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up?” Steyn wrote in his post, which quoted Simberg’s.

Andrew Lawton

Samizdata quote of the day – either way, China wins

The reason Beijing seems so relaxed about the crisis is obvious: this is a situation in which China wins either way. Either the threat continues but shipping is safer for Chinese vessels than for others, in which case sailing under the protection of the red and gold flag may become a coveted competitive advantage, or Beijing finally tells Iran to knock it off, in which case China becomes the de facto go-to security provider in the Middle East. Both outcomes would be geopolitical coups. No wonder China is willing to accept a little short-term economic pain as the situation plays out.

Nathan Levine

Samizdata quote of the day – our business “class” edition

“Both Adam Smith and Joseph Schumpeter were much more realistic than Marx about the bourgeoisie’s political wisdom. Smith regarded capitalists as short-term actors who never gathered together other than to hatch a conspiracy against the public. Schumpeter regarded them as idiot savants who might be brilliant at building businesses but who were frequently fools when it came to dealing with politics. It’s not clear who can save us from the world of trouble that seems to be brewing. But anybody who is counting on the business elite to fill that role is making a dangerous mistake.”

Adrian Wooldridge. Bloomberg ($)

Samizdata quote of the day – bring back the Law Lords

In any case, if those who stubbornly insist the Supreme Court is exactly like the old Appellate Committee are correct, then there can be no objection to moving it back to the House of Lords since it would make no difference whatsoever. It would be simple enough. The Supreme Court gift shop will be the first to go, with its Supreme Court-branded teddy bears and its unsold copies of the laudatory coffee table book about the building’s architecture. Baroness Hale’s leek-themed carpet, a 1970s style fever dream, will be next, revealing the sturdy floors underneath.

Then their lordships can return to the anonymous backrooms of the House of Lords, safe from the temptations of being supreme over Parliament. Middlesex Guildhall, that much-abused building, can be restored to its former glory, if it ever had any, and assist in dealing with London’s rising crime levels. Then the ghosts of the Blairite constitution may finally be exorcised.

Yuan Yi Zhu

Samizdata quote of the day – Where’s the anger?

There have been numerous foiled attacks on politicians, too. Just weeks after the Westminster Bridge horror, Khalid Ali, a Taliban bombmaker, was tackled by armed police near Downing Street. He was armed with knives. He also said he was there to send ‘a message’ to those in power. A few months later, ISIS supporter Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman was arrested for plotting to bomb his way into Downing Street and behead Theresa May.

The response to this sustained, years-long assault on our elected representatives? Not silence, exactly. There has been plenty of chatter and commentary. It’s just been about completely unrelated issues. There has been a desperate attempt to change the subject, and to downplay the threat posed by Islamist extremism.

Tom Slater

Samizdata quote of the day – COVID: All Australian governments failed completely

In summary, Covid-19 posed very little risk to people of good health. The use of the tri-nutrient repurposed medicines approach can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of infections, the requirement for hospitalisation and, if commenced early, will prevent admission to ICU in severely ill patients. Covid patients should be managed initially by trained, qualified and experienced medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and scientists utilising nutritional immunology. The entire population should be educated as to the value of these nutrients and it should not be a difficult task. We could be pandemic free in six to to eight weeks if these approaches were adopted. Furthermore, other serious issues that have arisen from the poor management of the pandemic are the coercion to force vaccinate, the lack of informed consent provided to patients, the attacks on doctors and healthcare workers who spoke out about their concerns regarding the toxicity of the vaccines and lost their jobs, the very high levels of vaccination injuries and deaths and in particular the vaccine-induced deaths of Australian children, and the government’s refusal to withdraw the vaccines. All powerful reasons for a broad-based Royal Commission.

I speak on behalf of all the medical practitioners and health care workers who are trained in nutritional therapeutics, who understand the power of the above mentioned approaches and who know they work from the available science and experience, but, are too afraid of speaking out.

Professor Ian Brighthope. This applies to the majority of governments, not just Australia, but I heartly recommend reading the whole thing for the very valuable health advice.

Samizdata quote of the day – Faustus in Westminster

That is the detail of what Faustus does after selling his soul. Part of the moral of the play, I suppose, is the disparity between what the Doctor imagines he will do with the time given to him and what he actually ends up doing with it. For, as readers of the play will know, Faustus ends up wasting his time in a pretty big way.

One thinks: you plotted to dislodge your boss and then spent multiple evenings debating Liz Truss – for this?

You would have thought that if you knew you were going to be claimed by the Devil in a few years’ time you would go high on the hog at least. Tick off all the items on your bucket list or the like. But Faustus wastes his time. Indeed he ends up doing bathetic things – like playing schoolboy pranks on the Pope.

This aspect of the play returned to me often during the Boris Johnson years. Here, after all, was a man whose lifetime ambition seemed to be to hold the highest office in the land. After years of japing and jestering, and a certain amount of leadership too, he got there. And then what did he do? A bit of Brexit, admittedly. Then a whole dollop more green. A lot of stupid posts about his dog, and an awful lot of fibs, and then – bang – it was all over. The Devil came for him, and although he was not allowed as much time as Faustus is, it was still possible to look at him and say: ‘What did you do with your time? Why did you waste it? OK – you tweaked some noses. So what? What was it all for?’

Tragically, the same thought now occurs with Rishi Sunak. For once again we have a Conservative prime minister who has clearly had his eyes set on this prize for a very long time. Goodness knows, this was a man who was willing to serve as a junior minister during Theresa May’s premiership.

And then, after a cunning campaign to unseat and replace his boss, he finally achieved his goal. And for what?

Douglas Murray

Samizdata quote of the day – the demise of ESG/DEI edition

“In the UK, the Financial Reporting Council has just opted against including ESG requirements in the UK Corporate Governance Code — these were to have increased the role of audit committees in overseeing ESG and expanding diversity and inclusion. BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink rarely mentions ESG any more. Elon Musk reckons that “DEI must DIE.” Bill Ackman (whose money matters) has called DEI the “root cause” of the sharp rise in anti-semitism at US universities. Donald Trump has promised to cancel all DEI initiatives across the federal government. The courts have already called a halt to race-based affirmative action at US universities, and last year the Attorney Generals of 13 US states wrote to Fortune 100 CEOs to let them know they would face serious legal consequences if they were to treat people `differently because of the color of their skin.'”

Merryn Somerset Webb. She argues that much of the driving force is not just the absurdities of much environmental and “diversity” policies, but the brute fact of rising interest rates. Companies’ balance sheets and cost control issues are taking more urgency. ESG/DEI or whatever other piece of fashionable stuff is a lot harder to justify when capital is no longer “free”.

I trust and hope that interest rates remain around current levels for many more months to come, so as to force firms to compete harder for capital, to put it to genuinely profitable uses, reward long-term saving and habits of thrift and competence, and other generally good things.

As an aside, I can recommend The Price of Time, by Edward Chancellor, which demonstrated the great harms caused by artificially low interest rates over the centuries.

Samizdata quote of the day – economic dynamism

Ah! A testable proposition. So, currently the UK government takes 45% of everything, 45% of all economic effort and GDP.

The US government – at all levels – consumes about 28% of GDP, the Indonesian about 11% (yes, 11%) and Singapore’s some 17% or so.

So it would seem that economic dynamism is indeed associated with less than the UK’s confiscatory tax rates. Even, that fructifying idea has some empirical legs.

As ever, all economics is either footnotes to Adam Smith or wrong.

Tim Worstall