Nowt wrong with idea of a cappuccino economy

The idea that underpins this suggestion is that neither the state or private sector is inherently better than the other. It is obviously the case that to get the best out of the economy you need both. The cappuccino is a metaphor for this this.

The state is the cup. The economy exists within it for the purposes of this example. (Of course it extends beyond it but that is for another blog; just think about the coffee shop if you want to anticipate the direction travel).

The espresso on the bottom is the government. It shapes and moulds the whole thing. If it is good, then pretty much the whole thing will be, and vice versa.

The frothy milk is the private sector that builds on the foundation of the state.

And on the top is some chocolate or nutmeg which is the thing we all see, and because in real life this represents the frivolities that feature in Sunday colour supplements we think that the private sector, that almost always produces them, is the source of the fun things in life when in fact without the state, and the mundane functions of the market, they would not be possible.

The reality is that in practice a cappuccino stands or falls as a whole. It’s hot frothy milk without the espresso. It is just an espresso without the milk. Both are acquired tastes for some. Many think the compromise – with the fun bits on top – is best. But most importantly, when drunk you can’t tell the component elements apart.

OK. Fine in fact.

My aim is for a cappuccino economy: one where state and private sectors both flourish because each is allowed to do what it does best. We’re a long way from being there right now.

I agree.

And in my opinion that’s because the espresso is too weak right now. We need an extra shot.

Ah, no, that’s where I don’t. This is also where Ritchie’s complete absence of any economic hinterland shows. For the idea is some 240 years old:

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.

Entirely true that we need that espresso of decent governance. But it’s strong stuff, we only need a little.

22 comments on “Nowt wrong with idea of a cappuccino economy

  1. Sadly for Ritchie, all the strong coffee emigrates to Australia, leaving only the weak and unproductive coffee in the cup.

  2. Today, Wednesday 28, I posted on the Tim Worstall v Richard Murphy thing in relation to one of RM’s pieces in which he praises Attlee but downs Churchill. RM seems to be at odds with the history as well as magic money trees.

  3. Metaphors have their place but would be much simpler if he stuck to describing that which he is pontificating on. Bet his students don’t suffer from insomnia, assuming they bother to turn up.

  4. He’s never really worked in the engine room of the state as a civil servant so has no idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the state, beyond the facile.

    I suggested for a time that he gets a gig somewhere for a year or two, just to inform himself. Has zero appetite. I suspect he’d be frightened of the illusions it would shatter.

    Not that working in the state is terrible and every aspect would be negative. But he’d be surprised on what he’d find good and bad about the whole thing.

  5. “Neither the state nor the private sector is inherently better”. Lots of 20th century evidence to suggest this is wrong. Wooley definitions! What he usually means is government is better at doing what industry does, but he gets lost in his own navel gazing. And mixes it up with his other mantra – only worthwhile if government does it. There is nothing else of substance in murph bingo.

  6. I like espresso. The espresso in my house is made with fresh ground Colombian. So a good metaphor for the sort of government I like. One that’s not afraid to take a few troublesome socialists out in the campo, shoot them in the back of the head.
    Cappuccino’s a filthy thing to do with good coffee.

  7. bis: +1. Lattes are even worse. That’s like drinking a pint of Ovaltine.

    I like my coffee like I like my women: without a penis.

  8. ‘It is obviously the case that to get the best out of the economy you need both.’

    ‘Best’ means what?

    Governments are a throttle on economies. They hinder them. That’s ‘best?’

  9. Seem to recall coming across something along the lines of this used for martial arts training awhile ago, does he credit anyone else or claim it’s an original idea

  10. “Bloke in Costa Rica

    I like my coffee like I like my women: without a penis”

    I like my coffee like I like my women. Ground up into a fine powder and stored in an airtight bag in the freezer.

  11. “BniC

    Seem to recall coming across something along the lines of this used for martial arts training awhile ago, does he credit anyone else or claim it’s an original idea”

    He claims everything is his original idea.

  12. I think he discovered it’s impossible to satirise Spud.The satire’s indistinguishable from the real thing.

  13. Great. A cappuccino that takes 8 hours to make, is cold when it arrives, and costs 20 quid, 19 of which is squandered on pointless shite and feckless, workshy cafe staff.

    That sort of economy.

  14. His analogy could work; the problem is that the mug is currently full of over-brewed filter coffee and so there is nowhere for the cappuccino froth to sit.

    What needs to happen is that the coffee currently filling up the mug needs to be mostly poured out, and the remainder concentrated down so that it is providing a strong base to the cappuccino and nothing more.

  15. “Yes, the milk might be a good source of calcium, protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals. But it is essentially the vile produce of an evil neoliberal female.” – Murphy Richards.
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !!
    Cheers for that link!

  16. Murphy’s missed out the traces of faecal matter recently found in a study of samples of ice cubes used in drinks supplied by all the big coffee chains, which using his analogy is his own contribution to the economy.

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