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]

How Cameron turned the media loose on the government

David Cameron, the Leader of the Opposition and of the Conservative Party, is mainly known here as the man who makes Perry de Havilland spit blood.

But quite aside from the fact that most of us here disagree with the things that Cameron has been saying in recent months, there is the puzzle of why he has been saying them. I am thinking of things like fluffing on tax cuts, the NHS, Europe, and so on. He seems determined not just to be more left wing than Conservatives used to be. He seems to want to be more left wing
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The game’s afoot in Somalia

If the report turn out to be true about the success of the US military attack in Somalia, that is good news indeed. It is being claimed that some of the people targeted were those responsible for the horrendous 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and 2002 atrocities on in Kenya against Kenyan and Israeli civilians. If those are the bastards who have indeed been killed then that is a cause for some satisfaction.

It is interesting that the attack, which took place in Somalia, has attracted praise from the
…continue The game’s afoot in Somalia

A belated report on a trip to the wild East.

Much has been said and written (some of it by me) on the growth of the Chinese economy and the rise of China as an economic power, and of the growth of an immense manufacturing region on the sides (particularly the east side) of the estuary of the Pearl River between Hong Kong and Guangzhou (Canton). If there is a workshop of the world today the way there was in the north of England in the mid 19th century, then this is it. I have for a while wanted to go and look at it, but I have
…continue A belated report on a trip to the wild East.

Silent lucidity

Libertarian types are all over the blogosphere, but you never actually meet any in real life, of course. So claim many people who have felt the need to inform me that the blog to which I occasionally contribute does not conform to mainstream thinking. I am not sure whether these people expect me to weep softly, wail loudly, or recoil in shock and horror when they share this revelation with me, but if they do, no doubt they walk away from our exchanges disappointed.

To me, the fact that individualists are thick on the ground in the blogosphere is no
…continue Silent lucidity

What does it all mean?

With the ship back on the ground and the speechifying in progress, I now have a bit of time to pontificate on the importance of this event.

Some of you understand intuitively. Few outside a small circle of friends fully comprehend the magnitude of the breakthrough. Getting into space is not about technology. It is about money. It is about risk, markets, business plans, insurance, and raising capital. It is about the metacontext. The metacontext which died in the desert sun this morning carried built in assumptions that space is for governments; space is expensive; space is too risky for
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How Greg Foxsmith helped Mike and Carla

For several decades now I have been seeing people I was at school with become semi-famous, the most completely famous of whom is now Richard Branson, with whom I shared a prep school, and even a rugby team for a term. (I was the worst in the team. He was a force of nature whom you really did not want to get in the way of, even then.)

Now, something else along similar lines is happening to me again. I am starting to notice what you might call graduates of the Alternative Bookshop/Libertarian Alliance/Free Market Think Tanks operation of the
…continue How Greg Foxsmith helped Mike and Carla

Pigeons are road users too

This has no connection with legalising drugs, abolishing income tax (see posting below) or the Samizdata.net metacontext, or no connection that I can now think of. But even so, I like it a lot:

Researchers have cracked the puzzle of how pigeons find their way home: they just follow the main roads.

Some pigeons stick so rigidly to the roads that they even fly round roundabouts before choosing the exit to lead them back to their lofts.

Animal behaviouralists at Oxford University are stunned by their findings, which follow 10 years of research into homing pigeons. For the last
…continue Pigeons are road users too

Baldrick’s revenge – Britain’s Real Monarch is an Australian bloke called Mike!

Most of our readers probably know Tony Robinson best as the much put-upon Baldrick at the bottom of the Blackadder pecking order. He has cunning plans, but they don’t work.

However, last night I watched a Tony Robinson effort that was slightly more substantial than one of Baldrick’s plans, and an interesting sign of the times in this United Kingdom of ours, namely a couple of Channel 4 TV shows about the history of the British monarchy.

I missed the early part of the first of the two hour-long shows that airedlast night, but my understanding is that in the
…continue Baldrick’s revenge – Britain’s Real Monarch is an Australian bloke called Mike!

Get old – get racist

An American scientist, William von Hippel has an explanation for racism. Well, a theory of why elderly people are more likely to be prejudiced than young people. And if his research is right, it’s not just because they grew up in a different era, because Blair’s Britain is a sink pit of immigrant crime, or because old people are brave enough to fly in the face of political correctness. Mary Wakefield explains in today’s Telegraph that a bit of their brain is missing:

According to von Hippel and other psychologists working in the same field, whatever age we are, our
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Potemkin village of capitalism

Having returned to the land of hope and glory after almost two weeks of hectic holiday season and a limited access to internet, I have the need to blog of things I have seen.

I spent Christmas in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. After such splendid reviews of the town here on Samizdata.net, I was wondering whether it would live up to his impressions during the cold winter days. The Christmas markets in the centre of town, a tradition established in 1993, have a certain magic that increases with copious quantities of hot mead and wine.

The crowds
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Why arbitrage is not a zero sum game

or Fred Bastiat gets all warm, loving and huggy with Natalie…

Arbitrage itself is not a zero sum game as the buying/selling of both sides of the arbitrage adds liquidity to the market, which adds value to the market itself by making trades easier for all participants and reducing volatility.

As for ‘arbitraging’ sovereign services, anything which reduces the distortions of the state by reducing the power of the state to do, well, much of anything, is hardly a ‘zero-sum-game’. Allowing the market to actually work better adds value that would otherwise be lost to the state. Government by its
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The worldview promoted by arbitrage

…is not so completely wonderful as all that. As I understand it arbitrage is a zero sum game. As I never tire of pointing out – um, no, as I’m sick and tired of pointing out but keep doing it anyway – the wider world of laissez faire is a win-win game. Warm. Loving. Huggy. Capitalism. It’s a metacontext thing, Perry, like in your opening essay.