Gosh Ritchie, oh, well done!

You\’ve shown those bastard market lovers what for there eh?

Let’s try that on the following for which there is undoubtedly market demand:

· Slavery

· Child labour

· Prostitution

· Drugs

I could go on.

Do I need to do so?

Well, yes actually. Markets are about \”voluntary\” exchange. If it ain\’t voluntary it ain\’t a market exchange. That gets rid of the slavery one.

Child labour? I don\’t see any evidence of demand for it in our rich and wealthy society. I don\’t think anyone else does either (absent the occasional crazed nutter keeping a child slave in whch case see above).

Yes, of course there is demand (and voluntary supply) of child labour in poor countries. For the alternative is not the nice and comfy school, the teddy bear and the Winnie the Pooh story being read. It\’s death through starvation.

Have these people never heard of externalities?

Indeed we have and they are one of the major reasons why we argue that drugs and prostitution should be legal. For the externalities of their being illegal are so great in the costs of crime, violence, disease and the rest. Plus we also believe that consenting adults are just that (and if they\’re not consenting then see slavery above).

Market enthusiasts are really making complete fools of themselves at the moment.


They need to face reality: just because there is a market for something does not make it right.

I\’m not sure that anyone has ever said that simply because there is a demand for something that it is right. There is a demand from some that they be able to murder people as they show by going out and doing so, 800-1,000 times a year in the UK alone. No one is saying that this is right or moral.

However, we do tend to say that when there is both demand and willing and consenting supply that the exchange should be allowed.

Just because a price can be set does not mean there is value.

True….but that two of said consenting adults can agree upon a price at which to exchange means that, by definition, value has been created for each is giving up something that they desire less than that which they are getting. This is an increase in utility, the very definition of the creation of value.

Now it is indeed true that swapping a blow job for some smack doesn\’t create value for me and I\’m similarly certain that it doesn\’t for Ritchie (and please don\’t even go down the route of thinking of that being a mutual exchange ). But who are either of us to determine what provides value for the 60 odd million people with whom we share a country?

Willing participants does not even mean benefit results.

Depends what you mean by \”benefit\”. By your, my or their standards? That consenting adults have entered into a voluntary transaction means that, as above, for the participants, benefit has resulted.

Yes, we are indeed allowed to insist that some such transaction not take place because of the externalities, either actual or even possible. The key to Sellafield being bought, in an entirely voluntary transaction, by Abu Ben Nutter might be an example. But those externalities do have to be identifiable, over and above the conviction of one or many that they are repugnant transactions.

Or ethics? Or society? Or democracy?

Whose ethics? Which society? And by democracy I assume here is meant the tyranny of the majority?

Don\’t forget it was only a few short decades ago that men could be and were locked up for having consensual, non-commercial sex with other men. All entirely according to the ethics of the time, the society of the day and the democratically expressed will of the people.

Nicely liberal attitude you\’ve got there Ritchie. People not only should not do what you disapprove of, they should not be allowed to do what you disapprove of.

Try reading Mill again, eh?

16 thoughts on “Gosh Ritchie, oh, well done!”

  1. Richie is one of those rare people who just keep getting better and better. Only the continuous improvement he offers is that he is becoming more and stupid with each pronouncement. And he is also getting more and more oracular. It is like he has taken a course of Ayn Rand fiction and is developing the anti-bodies.

  2. Do you ever get the sense that things aren’t going all that well at home these days for Our Dickie?

    This is the sort of stuff middle-aged men write when they can’t settle on a hobby and the wife throws them out of the house from 9am to 5pm every day to avoid murdering the fool.

  3. I agree that child labour, prostitution and drugs are fine if everyone has given informed consent. I’m not so sure your argument stands up against slavery, since the market there is between slave seller and slave buyer. But it’s arguing against a strawman argument, since Ritchie completely missed the point in thinking that the CBI were arguing for an “anything goes” total lack of regulation about anything. There are lots of things free marketeers agree should be prevented. The point was that these shouldn’t include activities that a politician or regulator simply judges “socially useless”, or more specifically, contrary to achieving the particular social and moral ‘improvements’ the (left-wing, of course) politicians wish to bring about. Their idea is that politicians should be able to say what people running businesses do with their own money. They get the control, but the businessman takes all the risk.

  4. I think Richie is onto something in a cock eyed sort of way . The market is dependent on human constructs outside it , law , civility , trust peace and an ethical system not to say the ability to cooperate in setting market laws against monopoly for example .The true power of the market is bound up with a deeper more powerful idea , that of evolved solutions . These may be ethical systems institutions of laws rights of property and so on and they , like the market , encode wisdom unavailable to individuals they arev not planned. They are usually defended by Conservatives both Liberals and socialists

    The problem with a Ritchie , which I take to be a socialist of some sort ,is that forces that make the market work are equally under attack from one step state prescriptions . I am not sure what he has against prostitution exactly but child Labour is nothing to be so portentous about .It still exists in the form of paper boys (OMG how simply awful….)who were exempted from the act . With the BBC killing off the local papers this handy source of pocket money is ebbing away which is a shame . Slavery is also still very much at large in Africa which was the chief architect of the 18th century trade in people long dead by the time Europeans had the weaponry to actually occupy Africa . Odd when you behind opf the apologies extracted from the clown Livingstone for their historic crime .

  5. ” Just because a price can be set does not mean there is value.


    No, no, no, False, False, False.

    You fell into the old trap thinking that value can be in any sense objective. Absent the voluntary exchange there is no such thing as value. Goods without trades are valueless, which is different from being valued at zero.

  6. Ah, that old friend, the extreme case justification.

    While it is perfectly acceptable to use extreme examples to illustrate a point, those of the authoritarian leftie persuasion do so love to bring it into every argument, usually in an effort to justify their own draconian plans.

    What they never seem to understand is that once they’ve managed to get the principle of banning and regulating accepted, there’s actually no stopping it. I mean, who’s to guarantee that the next illiberal bastard doesn’t ban something they like.

  7. I mean, who’s to guarantee that the next illiberal bastard doesn’t ban something they like.

    They hold every rein of power. Why would they be worried?

  8. Actually I think that the coming defeat of Labour must be getting poor stupid Murphy in a bit of a tizzy. With luck he and his nutbag opinions will be cast into the outer darkness.

  9. Pa annoyed:

    “They get the control but the businessman takes all the risk.”

    It’s bad but not as bad as might be. While the interferences in the market are bad enough, the scenario under which authority assumes (and socializes) the risk is even worse: it’s called “nationalization”; in that mode, with the passage of time, there is an increasing disconnect of the utilized assets from their former market prices and the phenomenon described by Mises in 1920 (the “socialist calculation problem) is increasingly operative.

  10. Ian B

    Things always change. They may be holding the reins of power now, but who’ll be holding them next year or the year after that.

    Throughout history here have been plenty of leaders who came to power by pursuading otherwise civilised and sane nations to go along with their insane plans. It’s a perenial danger we must all watch out for. But just in case that doesn’t work, and we do manage to acquire a loon for a leader, it makes sense (to me anyway) not to have a convenient bag of potentially repressive tools to hand him as he steps into office.

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