Tim Worstall is a bigoted hypocrite

Must, be, Richard Murphy tells me so.

Our latest comment call and response:

“. It is impossible to suppose that a man who can argue (as you did in the Guardian, very recently) that “Things in markets are worth what the markets say they are worth” is a true heir of Smith,”

I fear that you have failed to note the next but one sentence. “It’s also true that we often don’t like the values that markets come up with so we intervene to change them.”

As I’ve said before, and as just about everyone both acts and believes (and indeed I’ve made this very point here on this very blog), no one thinks that all markets all the time produces the optimal allocation of resources. “Things are worth in markets what markets say things are worth” is a tautology. The value of a freely copyable book (or MP3 in this digital age) is damn near nothing in a market system. So we intervene with copyright to create some value: for we do not like, either for efficiency (ie, if creators earn nothing from creation we’ll get too litte creation, the public goods argument) reasons or for more moral reasons (it is right that creators earn from their creations).

The argument is not over whether markets *always* produce either “just and moral” prices, as opposed to simply market prices, or whether they *always* produce an optimal allocation of resources. It’s over when and where do they and when and where do they not.

As I’ve said here before. And as you seem to be ignoring.

That\’s me. This is Ritchie:

Oscillating again, aren’t we? Have you ever given a straight answer?

The simple reality is this: you’re recognising that markets produce imperfect outcomes except when it suits you to say otherwise – which seems to be when it’s a matter of abolishing the minimum age, for example.

In fact it’s always a matter of markets work when it suits you and your privileged ilk and not when they don’t. And you like to say economics is objective and a science?

Come on Tim, your true colours are now clear. You’re just a bigoted hypocrite hiding behind a market theory as a witch doctor does behind a cauldron, and with both as bogus in their claims to competence.

If markets don’[t work – and that’s what you’re saying – your arguments fall apart at the seams.

Game over Tim. Don’t bother to post again. You’ve been rumbled.

Now I thought I was being very reasonable. Markets work except when they don\’t, at which point we both can and should intervene. As, for example, the late Sir Alan Walters, with the full support of the Adam Smith Institute, used to argue for congestion charges.

This makes me a bigoted hypocrite apparently.

If I could just add that while I seem to have been banned from Richard Murphy\’s comments section, as is his right….it being his private property….Richard is not banned from mine. Up to you Dickie.

27 thoughts on “Tim Worstall is a bigoted hypocrite”

  1. “Richard is not banned from mine.”
    Which is damned decent of you, otherwise he would probably fade into oblivion.

  2. What’s “abolishing the minimum age”? That seems a novel concept.

    Or does he mean “minimum wage”? Now, I’m a pussycat compared to you and even I’d abolish that.

  3. He really doesn’t get it does he?

    Markets work pretty damn well most of the time. 99.9% of economists agree with that. Disagreement comes at the margin – when and how do markets fail? What to do about it?

    Richard should also realise that every market he talks of is distorted by the state. How can you say something doesn’t work when its not allowed to function…

    Then again, on a freed market I doubt he’d get much income from his job, so of course he is going support state action to ensure his privileged position continues…

  4. “Shouldn’t let it bother you. That boy’s a fool.”

    He’s not a boy: he’s a grey-hair. But yes, he’s an idiot. In fact, too fucking stupid to comprehend his own stupidity.

  5. There’s no such thing as a “just” price or a “moral” price. There’s just price. That’s it. That’s where the argument falls down. If you accept that there are “just and moral” prices distinct from the actual prices on the market, then Richard’s mob win. They are indeed right, in some sense. You have said, the price is X and it should be Y.

    The flaw of course is, who decides on what price Y should be? There’s no objective means to calculate it. There are opinions- “bread should be cheaper because the poor can’t afford it”- but no means to calculate what Y should be.

    There is just market value. That is all there is. There is no other measure. That value of an individual good is that which some individual is prepared to pay for it at the moment of transaction. There is nothing else to discuss.

  6. “witch doctor does behind a cauldron” in the same sentence as he calls you “bigoted”. That is an absolute peach. I love the way that when lefties let their guard down their prejudices come flooding out. The appropriate term would be “Traditional Healer”, cauldrons are rarely, if ever, part of the service and they are often effective with herbal remedies or counselling.

    “privileged ilk” in what sense? I can only think he means in the sense of earning above the average, which reveals his real purpose, i.e. to transfer money from those who have earnt it to those who have not. I’m prepared (I almost said happy) to pay taxes to fund those things governments should fund (including a safety net for the truly disadvantaged) but I do not believe that it is the role of the tax system to redistribute the wealth that people have earnt through hard work and ability to some indolent oik or even to the hard working at the lower end of the pay scale.

  7. “you and your privileged ilk “: I’m not too sure what this dolt thinks “ilk” means; nor “privileged”. Can anyone help?

  8. If you diddle with the market the outcome cannot be perfect. Sometimes that is used as a justification for intervention – to avoid the result an honest market would give.

    Dickie requires the word “market” to be prefaced with words like “free”, “true”, “nobbled” or “diddled” to telegraph the context.

  9. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Our Richie has never really recovered from the weekly mauling he used to get from that lesbian bird in Drop the Dead Donkey.

    Things like that can make a man bitter, apparently.

    Actually, wasn’t her nickname on the show ‘Stalin’? Very Freudian..

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  11. Let’s be reasonable here. Murphy clearly has deeply held views about social justice and class. None of us knows what privations and hideous rationing the man endured as a child but it’s clearly scarred his thinking and view of the world, so much so that even reasoned argument can’t dent his socialist carapace. Perhaps we should be a little more charitable and understanding. People do make wild and claims and allegations when emotion is the only fuel stoking their fire. Let us be a little more understanding.

  12. Obnoxio… I was trying to be ironic. I’m with you on this one! The man’s a twat. But on a serious note, most of the socialists I’ve ever met have been socialists because they are children of vicars or had some other middle class upbringing and seem to have some sort of guilt and self-loathing swilling around their empty heads. Murphy must have some sort of history that’s given him such a warped view of the world.

  13. Ian B is correct that there is no such thing as a “just” price. It is a Platonic concept, based on the notion that out there, somewhere, is the true worth of our endeavours and all that prevents us from getting our just deserts is the evil of capitalism or whatever.

    Murphy is a buffoon and I see no further point in bothering about him, Tim. Really, the guy is a joke, a sort of poor man’s Paul Krugman. And that has to be a bigger insult than even what Obnoxio can come up with.

  14. It’s extraordinary that he accuses you of oscillating. Every time anybody points out, for example, errors in his understanding of economics, he swerves rounds those points and continues completely undaunted. I was going to intervene in the “is economics a science” discussion, but after reading his arguments I thought there was no point – he is so far from making sense, it’s a lost cause. He doesn’t have a clue what would (or wouldn’t) qualify economics as a science, whether and how it matters if economics does differ from a hard science – he just says “economics makes these assumptions (which I don’t like) and reaches these conclusions (which I don’t like)” and thinks that shows it is not a science (which it may well not be, but that conclusion does not follow from his argument). He’s even wrong about the assumptions and the conclusions.

    His response to you here is simply baffling, he can’t hold onto the thread of an argument at all. What’s he saying now, that the “admission” (found in first year undergraduate textbooks) that markets don’t always “work” and that market prices need not be taken as gospel, somehow demonstrates that you are using markets to justify arguments that suit your interests as a stinking capitalist?

    Is the man unaware that the majority of economists describe themselves as left wing, and that neoclassical economics can be easily used to justify numerous left wing policies, and the competition isn’t exactly in the interests of capitalist rentiers? He seems to think of economics equates to “neoliberalism” and of economists as imbeciles.

    One of the habits of a good scientist is to pay attention when somebody points out a flaw in your reasoning, or a problem with your evidence. Your theories are, at least in principle, falsifiable – you should know what would prove you wrong, and there should be things that would make you change your mind. I don’t think there’s anything you can say to Richard, the supposed admirer of the scientific method, that would cause him to reconsider his views. He has shown no sign at all of taking on board any of the points you have made. If there is any point is engaging with him at all, it is to convince others, who might be duped into thinking his views on economics are worth listening to, that his views are incoherent rubbish. You should give up on him: you can’t reason somebody out of a view that they haven’t been reasoned into.

  15. Johnathan Pearce if you think being compared to Paul Krugman is an insult, you may be even more of an idiot that Richard Murphy.

  16. Oh and Ian B you are quite wrong when you write: “There is just market value … There is nothing else to discuss” as you would know if you had read an introductory economics text book.

  17. Luis, you are the idiot if you rate Krugman as anything other than a hack for the Dems these days.

    And if you think economists take the “just price” theory (which once prevailed in the Medieval period) seriously, then you are a dunce of heroic proportions.

    Have a nice day!

  18. Luis Enrique:

    Great points. The biggest problem economics has is that for the general public it is the same as economic ideology and economists themselves do not much to change this sad state of affairs. So we constantly hear about “right wing” economists, “progressive economists” and so on.

    What would be the first step to change this situation? I think the concept of “positive” and “normative” economics should be dumped. There is only one economics, a social science. And then we have politics and ideology. Nothing more.

  19. his closed mind and sheer stubborn arrogance make it impossible to have a reasoned discussion with him. I think I keep reading him because of the sheer audacity of some of the nonsense he spouts. But I think you really touched a nerve! He needs to be continually challenged – he has the ear of some dangerous bigots and his arguments sometimes get a wider outing.

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