Excuse me, but which universe is Neal Lawson talking about here?

So the objective failure of free markets to deliver widespread wealth can only be answered by even freer markets.

For it\’s not this one, is it?

Even the most casual of looks around the world will show that markets have done exactly that, delivered widespread wealth. North Korea, without them, is impoverished. China, when it used not to have them was similarly impoverished. It has had some modicum of markets for 35 years now and is undergoing the largest and greatest production of wealth ever recorded in our species. The Soviets managed to keep economic growth down to a minimum by banning markets.

We here in the \”west\” those places that have had markets for a century or more, are as rich as any human being has ever been. We\’ve achieved what no other economic system has ever managed: three squares, a change of clothes and a roof for all.

What is the fucking \”failure of free markets to deliver widespread wealth\” that Lawson is drivelling about?

20 comments on “Excuse me, but which universe is Neal Lawson talking about here?

  1. Oh Tim, doncha know that poverty abounds in the UK?

    Why, many of our permanently unemployed are so poor that they can only afford the basic Sky package, and are forced to buy Diamond White and smoke roll ups.

    Some of our more entrepreneurial poor were recently forced by the cold-hearted Coalition to run afoul of poor George Monbiot and his delightful communist hippy chums.

  2. They’re not using an economist’s definition of wealth. I’m not sure exactly what definition they are using, but you can guarantee it’ll be vague.

  3. “a democratic state whose prime role is not to prop up free markets”

    Funnily enough, this is what most free marketeers want also.

  4. One minute the Left are claiming stuff like this, the next they are whinging about excessive consumption in the West. It’s one or the other folks, i.e. stop lying.

  5. I particularly liked this commentator:

    “This is CiF. We are not idiots here.”

    Aaaaaahahahahahahahaha.

  6. Peter, I liked that one too-
    And the one “I’ve been a teacher for 30 years and things have never been worse”

    The whole articles is a hoot. But in a desperate effort to be fair to Lawson: it’s possible that wealth and freedom in the west are merely coincidental, not consequent.

    But the other possible causes – coal mines, eugenics, protestantism – would appeal to him even less.

  7. bloke in france,

    The whole articles is a hoot. But in a desperate effort to be fair to Lawson: it’s possible that wealth and freedom in the west are merely coincidental, not consequent.

    Except that every piece of data suggests that more freedom = more wealth. The only countries without much freedom and lots of wealth are oil states.

  8. Tim Almond
    You know as well as I do that the CIF folk do not do data. They do belief.
    Just look at the CIF comments: millions dying of starvation because of consumerism, the poor being ever poorer, etc. Shouty capitals for propositions presented as facts, etc.

  9. For some reason, this reminds me of electricity deregulation in California around 2000. They created a bunch of regulations, and called it deregulation. When the unintended consequences hit the fan, many declared “deregulation doesn’t work.” Of course, they wouldn’t know, because they never tried deregulation.

  10. Just remember the important FACTS …

    1. The world has never been worse off (really? Collapse of the Roman Empire? Just as an example.)

    2. “We need a real left wing prepared to stand up for ordinary honest decent workers with as much heft as the Tolpuddle Martyrs.” (WTF are ‘ordinary honest decent workers’? I’ve a sneeky suspicion they don’t mean me. Or, frankly, most of the habituees here with the possible and dishonourable exception of Arnald.)

    3. Confiscating the wealth gained by the 1000 richest residents in Britain over the last 5 years will ‘wipe out’ the government deficit.

    4. A (real? true?) democracy would see society concerned by human well being as the main focus and aim of any system.

    I hope the stupid isn’t particularly contagious this morning.

  11. “3. Confiscating the wealth gained by the 1000 richest residents in Britain over the last 5 years will ‘wipe out’ the government deficit.”

    Do have a slight prob with how that would work out. There’d be a disused airfield somewhere stacked with Ferraris, ocean going yachts, champion racehorses, Learjets, filing cabinets full of deeds to 18 bedroom country mansions, private islands….? They gonna raffle ‘em? It’s not as if they’re gonna have rich people queuing up, wanting to buy them, is it?

  12. “Confiscating the wealth gained by the 1000 richest residents in Britain over the last 5 years will ‘wipe out’ the government deficit.”

    I think this comprehensively debunks that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661pi6K-8WQ

    Ok, it is for the US but I’m prepared to bet the same goes for the UK, probably more so, as they have more billionaires per capita than we do (over twice as many in fact).

  13. Err, yes guys …

    But this are CiF reader “FACTS” so can sail calmly through a head-on collision with reality, with nary a scratch on their perfect delusion.

    Unlike their hero, Keynes (although the quote may have been invented by Paul Samuelson).

  14. Tim

    Spot on as ever – I like the idea that ‘There is an alternative’ a ‘Strong Society’ to one which is the creation of a Free Market. I wonder if the North Koreans ( not many stronger societies than that one) will stump up for his plane fare to Pyongyang?

  15. SE

    “(WTF are ‘ordinary honest decent workers’? I’ve a sneeky suspicion they don’t mean me. Or, frankly, most of the habituees here with the possible and dishonourable exception of Arnald.)”

    Silly question, they are the members of the unions

  16. Tim Almond – “Except that every piece of data suggests that more freedom = more wealth. The only countries without much freedom and lots of wealth are oil states.”

    I am not sure about every piece of data. Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea under Park and China were or are not good examples of free societies in many senses. Politically at least. But they became (or are becoming) rich.

    Some of them were free in the sense the State left you alone most of the time. But so do the governments of most of Africa. And Somalia is even more free than the others.

    So there is something else at work. What it is, I don’t know. But it is not merely freedom.

  17. “So there is something else at work. What it is, I don’t know. But it is not merely freedom.”

    Indeed there is: Property rights.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>