Apologies, yet more Ritchie

Equality, because societies that aim for equality provide best opportunity for all and are happier as a result:

Entire, gargantuan, mind gargling nonsense.

The Soviet Union aimed for equality and this did not lead to best opportunity for all nor make people happier.

No, this is not to say that Ritchie is aiming for the USSR: rather, just to point out the logic failure in his statement. It is not aiming for equality which provides these desirable things.

It is how you attempt to gain the goal that does.

Which means that we must examine each and every of the mechanisms by which people aim for that greater equality. The simple statement \”this will increase equality\” is not good enough.

18 comments on “Apologies, yet more Ritchie

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong but he seems to be suggesting/implying on Twitter this morning a) that patents are a bad thing and b) that large companies spend money on R&D to avoid tax.

    Patents are vital to justify large investments – what pharma company would spend the billions required these days to bring a new drug to market if as soon as it was ready, rival companies could instantly produce generics? And surely the whole raison d’etre of R&D tax allowances is to encourage companies to research by reducing their tax bill. Thus Ritchie is arguing for the suspension of all research and the fossilisation of our economy in its current state.

    What a prick.

  2. Isn’t aiming for equality surely just striving for mediocrity ?

    Unless I’ve missed something, natural evolution doesn’t appear to work that way.

  3. It’s pointless trying to engage Murphy.

    Anything that doesn’t reek of central planning he abhors, and any challenge to his logic or reasoning is met with charges of pedancy. If he was 19 years old doing a philosophy degree while wearing a beret, I could understand it.

    To watch a grown man talk such crap is just embarrassing.

  4. It’s pretty easy to see that it’s wealth disparities which cause crime/unrest, at least to some extent. If the idea is simply that there shouldn’t be too big a gap between top and bottom, I agree.

    My experience is that people like Murphy don’t actually mean ‘equality’, but rather something much more complicated and therefore at least somewhat less stupid.

  5. Why do I get the feeling that Murphy’s idea of “equality” wouldn’t involve any lowering of his own standard of living?

  6. If we are all penniless we are all equal. But that doesn’t give us more opportunities or make us happier.

  7. “Socialism is the equal sharing of misery and capitalism is the unequal sharing of happiness” or words to that effect

  8. Strange, men marched from Jarrow to London during times when they struggled even to feed their children, yet they didn’t riot. Culture causes riots and disorder , not just economics.

  9. “It’s pretty easy to see that it’s wealth disparities which cause crime/unrest, at least to some extent.”
    Do you actually have any evidence for this, Dave? There’s certainly evidence if people are given rewards above & beyond what they could reasonably expect from their own efforts they develop a sense of entitlement. That’s what’s playing out in Greece at the moment. What lay behind the UK looting last year.

  10. It used to mean that the chance of climbing the ladder was what most strived for.
    From Copororal to brigadier ,from clerk to manager – was the happy system and of course demanded inequality for it to function this way.

  11. Worzel: you’ve missed something. Evolution has absolutely bollocks-all to do with quality; it’s just as happy with a dung beetle as it is with a cheetah. Indeed, dung beetle genes are doing far better than cheetah genes in terms of biomass.

    Rob: yes they did. But the Jarrow march has been mythologised in popular culture as an example of supplication and dignity and general liberal-ish-elite ideas of how the working class ought to behave, unlike riots.

    BiS: there’s a damn strong correlation between low inequality and low crime in developed nations. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, of course, but it can certainly be evidence for it.

  12. John B

    ‘Evolution has absolutely bollocks-all to do with quality’

    Fuck me, it’s the least genetically gifted of every species that always thrives at the expense of the most gifted isn’t it.

    Wondered where I’d been going wrong.

  13. I do think the USSR comparison is not entirely invalid- when you read much of the Courageous State, especially the ‘Cappuccino economy’ metaphor, I am reminded of the USSR under Gorbachev, where the citizens were given a taste of the Free market, which conspired to assist in bringing the system crashing down.

    Frances_Coppola, is as always spot on – If everyone has nothing then we’ve created a more equal society, but is it a society anyone would want to live in? Look at Zimbabwe or North Korea for stark examples of this.

    The issue of disincentives appears absolutely nowhere that I can read in the 200 plus pages if Murphy’s tome -no doubt he dismisses it as ‘an incorrect Neoliberal assumption’, but to anyone it would seem a fairly obvious concept – if people lack incentive to progress, then why bother? Warren’s comment is absolutely correct – this kind of nonsense sounds like a second year cocksure undergraduate politico – for a fifty plus year old to be spouting it is embarrassing!

  14. “there’s a damn strong correlation between low inequality and low crime in developed nations. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, of course, but it can certainly be evidence for it.”

    Never said there wasn’t.
    But the presumption is: inequality> crime
    Why?
    Let’s look at acquisitive crime because, presumably, the perpetrators are trying to redress that inequality. But crime’s an economic activity. Follows the same rules. It’s actually work & like any work, the more you put into it the more you get out of it. It requires good, appropriate education, a level of entrepreneurial skill, diligence, application…. It’s just like any other employment. It’s not “crime doesn’t pay”. It’s crime doesn’t pay much more than the equivalent effort expended legitimately. Mostly less.And the downsides are worse. The criminal doesn’t get fired or made redundant. They get jailed. Of course the upside is the criminal can make a big haul. But the effort needed to do so is no different from that needed to author a successful business. Which is why successful criminals usually have successful businesses as a sideline.
    Folk at the bottom of the heap don’t put the effort in & don’t reap the rewards.
    Let’s look at a specific activity. Shoplifting. The no-hoper puts a few items under his coat. Uses what he needs & tries to flog the rest down the pub for what he an get. Usually less than half the store value. Professional works as a member of a skilled team. There’s a lot of research. Spotting easy stores & security lapses. Market appraisal. What goods will find willing buyers. Often the stuff’s stolen to order. So what’s the difference between that & running a small shop?
    So one can also argue: crime> inequality

  15. Worzel: you’re using “genetically gifted” in a way which doesn’t apply to any concept of human behaviour. Yer brilliant scientist with no kids is evolutionarily as ungifted as a stillborn; yer chav-dad with 20 kids by six women is as gifted (after you consider surviving descendants, saved by the brilliant scientist’s work) as a medieval king. Hence, if you use evolution in a state of nature as any kind of guide, template or useful indicator of human behaviour, you are a fuckwit.

  16. BiS: nah, doesn’t work, as there aren’t enough crims in any society for that mechanism to have much of an impact on average income distribution.

    On the other hand, your argument is a good one for the correlation running in the other direction. Petty crime carried out by people without much skill is massively unrewarding – so if you ensure that unskilled people can take home a decent wage from doing unskilled work, then you’ve solved the problem.

  17. Sorry john but, according to what you’ve just said, inequality doesn’t cause enough criminal behaviour to worry about. So we don’t need to. Which I’d agree with.
    But I’d say, & this is from personal experience, we do have a lot of people who seem to believe they’re entitled to all the fruits of gainful employment without actually doing much of it. And the same people regard participating in a low level of criminal activity as part of that entitlement. As that usually entails nicking off of each other it just compounds the problem.
    “if you ensure that unskilled people can take home a decent wage from doing unskilled work”
    We already do. I’ve provided the work. Actually getting them to do the bit where their contribution to the workplace was equal, let alone greater than their expectation of remuneration wasn’t easy though. Yet curiously, in a location where minimum wage is half the UK & you can get workers at half of that, you can find willing applicants for little more than enough to feed their faces. Maybe that’s because the inequality slope’s so steep , if you’re at the bottom of it you don’t eat at all.

  18. john b // Jun 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Apart from the bit where you called me a fuckwit, you’ve lost me, which proves, on a number of levels, you really can be a loser and a winner at the same time

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