Polly on David Laws

How odd that his relished life goal was to cast people out of work.

An extremely fine goal actually, the source of all economic and social advance.

Anybody, everybody, who automates a routine task, whether it be weeding turnips, catching mice or etching circuit boards is deliberately casting people out of work. And it is that exact casting out of work which allows civilisation to advance: no longer do we have to spend scarce resources of labour on what is now automated, that labour can now be deployed to do something else.

Anything else, meaning that we now have both the now automated production and the new. Even if that now automated production is the circuit boards and the new is simply a freshly changed nappy.

Society is now richer by one smiling baby.

Casting people out of work is a fine and noble goal.

10 thoughts on “Polly on David Laws”

  1. Given Laws was fairly liberal in the old-fashioned sense of the word, it is not hard to see why an interventionist, bossy, Fabian like Ms Toynbee should have disliked him.

    To attract the bile of Toynbee is probably quite a compliment.

  2. It is one thing to destroy jobs in a boom brought on by technological innovation and another to
    destroy jobs in a recession.

  3. By writing a context-free grammar I could replicate most of the Grauniad editorial output, to the obvious and prompt betterment of the human race.

  4. Never mind sand and spatulas; I propose that DBC be set to inserting half a pound of butter into a tomtit’s arse with a red-hot needle.

  5. “And it is that exact casting out of work which allows civilisation to advance.”

    I misread the heading of the blog, having been linked here from elsewhere, and thought that Poly Toynbee was making sense on economic management. I now have to wipe coffee off my laptop screen.

  6. @DBC – Fair enough, but there are plenty of bureaucratic monitoring jobs which were set up by Labour in the name of ‘neo-classical exogenous growth theory’ which the money the government pays for them could be better spent (a) paying the people in them to do useful things, (b) stimulating the private sector to make its own jobs or (c) paying down the government debt to stave off the disk of government bond devaluing.

    I’m not just repeating a talking point. My brother is currently employed by a company paid for by the government via Strathclyde police which only function is to take reports of crime from the police, not for use in court but only to generate statistics and received instructions on how to lightly falsify them as well (recording stop and search as ‘unsolved crimes’ before logging them as ‘solved crimes’ to make solved crime figures go up, and the like). Much as I like my brother being gainfully employed, that is not a useful way to spend government money.*

    *Though this job was in fact set up by Major; whose government was itself a fan of stat-porn.

    Tim adds: I’m not sure Gordo was a fan of “neo-classical” anything. “Neo-endogenous growth theory” was I think his thing.

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