If you repeat the lie often enough

Then it becomes true.

And John Vidal is carrying on.

No, commodity speculation isn\’t the reason why people are going hungry.

No, there were no big relaxations of regulation in the 90s.

Yes, there have always been speculators in food.

And even if all of these things were not true, even if the allegations are true, you\’re still peddling a sack of shite.

For if speculators are in fact raising the price of corn now, that\’s exactly what we want to be happening now: a rise in the price of corn now.

As Adam Smith pointed out in the Wealth of Nations. Book VI, Chapter 5, start reading around para 42.

FFS, we\’ve known this for 235 years now. Why can you not grasp this simple point?

6 thoughts on “If you repeat the lie often enough”

  1. The URL to that piece is a pretty good summary of the line of argument:

    Food! Speculation! Banks! Hunger! Poverty!

    And since it’s targeted at Guardian readers, that will go down well. No need to read the piece at all.

  2. I think the problem is that with a certain type of mindset, if you believe that there “ought” to be cheaper food, or whatever, and you pass lots of regulations, and lo and behold, things do not happen the way you want, then you stamp your feet, and look for someone to blame, like evil speculators, or landlords, or whatever.

    So much of what passes for comment from the anti-market crowd boils down to simple, childish rage that they cannot make water flow uphill. This explains, to take a different example, of why Richard Murphy vents about the supposed wickedness of low corporate taxes and puts his hands over his ears and sticks out his tongue when the concept of tax incidence is explained to him.

    We are dealing with people at war with the facts of reality. Ayn Rand had it figured out: their primary failing is the sin of evasion of reality. There is a limit to how much can be done with such people.

  3. I’d never heard of John Vidal. The article is a real mishmash – he can’t seem to be bothered to make a real connection between what he thinks is happening and the bad guys. he also has the common failing of thinking that like-minded people agreeing with him is evidence for his argument.

    This line was brilliant, though: “Meanwhile, the price of coffee shot up 20% in just three days as a direct result of hedge funds betting on the price of coffee falling.” How does that work?

  4. This point is made very nicely in Thomas Sowell’s book Basic Economics, Tim, which I recommend (as a thorough-going non-economist) to non-economist readers.
    He does have a tendency to hammer things home, pull them out with the claw end and then re-hammer them home again, several times, but it is easy to read and very logical.

  5. Isn’t this what the much vaunted ‘narrative’ is all about.
    Every thing these days is to be seen as part of a ‘narrative’ & where the facts don’t agree with it they’re simply discarded.

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