Friday, 17 October 2008

A week (or two) of it, at NOT PC

A busy week here at NOT PC, mostly trying to make sense of what's happening to the world's economie and trying to explain how the "experts" are already making it worse, and party leaders and talking heads would do if and when they could.

Here are the posts that you, the readers, ranked most highly over the last week:

  1. Alleged economist wins Nobel Prize
    "Determinedly uninformed" "professional bleeding heart 'liberal'" Paul Krugman gets the award for earlier more rational work, but is feted most widely for his high-profile present gig as a promoter of "the alleged horrors of economic freedom."  So say the commentators.
  2.  'One-day wonder' market correction
    After the single- biggest monetary inflation the world has ever seen, a magnanimous golden shower in which all the world's bankers have been drenched, stock markets went up.  For a day. Like the title says...
  3. Explaining the "credit crunch"
    Mainstream economists and mainstream commentators think all will be well just as long as the credit spigot at the central bank remains turned on full blast -- but since they've never truly understood where credit actually comes from, which is real savings, they have no idea where it's gone now it seems to have vanished. But George Reisman does.
  4.  No indeed, Minister
    When Michael Cullen wanted to meddle with the NZ Super Fund, National supporters said it left Cullen looking "looking more like Muldoon by the minute," and called it "a defining election issue." So what do they say now John Key wants to meddle with his own 'Dancing Cossacks' planSee here.
  5. Everyone has a voice
    So who speaks for taxpayers when all the election bribes are being handed out? Anyone?
  6.  Message to National: Stop the spending
    A message neither heard, nor understood: When the economy is bailing, get the hell out of the way.
  7. Clark and Key 'agree' plans to prop up the banking system
    There are seven things governments can do to stifle economic recovery ... and both big parties are planning --and doing! -- them all.  Go figure.

So there's a fairly common theme there, don't you think? No, art and architecture have hardly had a look in here in recent days (though we have been posting some crackers) but when the winds of parlous economic times are blowing around your ears, looks like the primary interest lies in hunting down a supply of decent head-scarves -- as this week's Objectivist blog roundup over at Rational Jenn's also demonstrates.


  1. Do you know where I can find some figures for who pays tax here in NZ. "Presently, the bottom 40% of income earners pay zero income taxes. The top 20% pay 80% of all the federal income taxes. Therefore, it is not possible to give the bottom 40% a tax cut because they pay no money to the government. So this begs the question: How is Barack Obama proposing to give a tax cut to 95% of Americans?"
    For example DH pays tax and I pay a little but we have 8 children so we have the "working for other peoples' families" package and get it all back in a process that uses up more tax money to process. Beneficiaries pay tax so they can feel good, and have more people process them in 2 departments but they are still not really paying tax. The very wealthy have enough money to pay others to help them pay less...
    Another question, whenever I suggest that I have libertarian leanings, the old "but we will have people dying in cardboard boxes" comes out. Can you recommend any articles proving that private charity is effective?

  2. Anonymous asked: Can you recommend any articles proving that private charity is effective?

    First, charity is by definition "private". There is no such thing as public/compulsory charity.

    I don't think you need to find an article about the effectiveness of private charity. Just look around. The Red Cross is but one proven example (to the extent it is privately funded).


  3. Anon, we have people dying in cardboard boxes right now, despite all the taxpayer money poured into welfare.

    The thing is, ordinary people never end up on the streets. Homeless people are not on the street because of poverty, they are on the street for one of two reasons:
    1) they are mentally ill (alcoholics, drug addicts)
    2) they have consciously chosen to live on the street (and continue choosing this life, every day) and the rough life kills them

    We cannot stop people choosing to live on the streets (although we can move them along from private property) and I would be reluctant to forcibly lock up mentally ill people unless they are a danger to themselves or others.

    (Freely offering them mental health services is a different story, and I think there is a place for an association of volunteer psychologists working with the homeless)

  4. Thank you Julian and luke h. I was hoping for something on the hand up compared with the hand out and impoverishment of soul that results from the former. Something similar to Theodore Dalrymple(sp?) but from an economic perspective. There are certain situations that one cannot pull oneself up by your own boot straps. The best example I know is David Bussau who uses micro loans and mentoring to transform lives. But I was hoping there was someone who had written a comparison of the 2 methods.

  5. Anonymous

    I remember seeing an article about this on the Von Mises website. Unfortunately I don't remember who the author. Try searching their site. You should come up trumps.


  6. Anon: FWIW, this is the sort of reply I make when that type of question arises:

    "Right now the public health system receives more money than ever before - and yet more people are the waiting lists than ever before. Generally spkg, the more the govt gets involved, the worse the situation becomes.

    OTOH, there are no waiting lists for private hospitals, are there? They just get on with the business of running their business - and health is just another service. An important one, for sure, but no more or less than other services.

    So we believe that it's right to give people the money currently taken from them in taxes, to make their own arrangements as to their preference. Then, should the need arise for treatment, etc, they're not in the merciless hands of faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats".

    I always ask them to imagine the state of state-run supermarkets. (It's not hard). I then tell them how thankful I am that the food supply is in private hands, and how well that works. People always nod in agreement.

    People on the streets? Julian & Luke have answered that. I finish up by noting that there will always sadly be the odd unfortunate case; human nature and all that.

    "But if we think that regulation and state control is the answer to problems, then the old Soviet Union would have been Utopia - and it was nothing of the sort".

    That gets them thinking - which is the point of the exercise. Hope that's of some help.

  7. Sus

    Here is a partial list of state run failures:

    Knowledge economy (!)
    Financial and banking system

    They fail at everything they do. Why ask them to help the poor and incompetant? They'll only fuck them over even worse!



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