Ritchie wants to fix something that ain\’t broke

We’ve known this for a long time. For every aid dollar that flows south, ten dollars flows northwards through illicit channels. The odds are stacked against sustainable development.

G20 leaders meet this autumn to discuss the world economy. The prospects don’t look encouraging, but this is exactly the moment when they should take action against the underlying problems, which means taking action against tax havens.

Hmm.

So, let\’s have a look at how that sustainable development thing is going then.

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Umm

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Right

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Gosh. So, we\’ve the largest reduction in poverty ever in the history of our species. We\’ve, finally, got economic growth going in Africa. We\’ve even got decreasing income inequality in Africa (that\’s the Sen Welfare bit). I\’d say that sustainable development is doing pretty well actually.

In fact I\’d say the whole neo-liberal project, Washington Consensus and all, is doing pretty fucking well. We\’re getting what we want, that the poor become rich.

So why does Ritchie want to screw the whole thing up?

49 thoughts on “Ritchie wants to fix something that ain\’t broke”

  1. Why does Ritchie want to screw it up? Well, when the goal is dependency rather than prosperity, all evidence of prosperity must be dealt with.

  2. @JAT, the point is that in Ritchie’s mind the money coming back is “illicit” so it doesn’t pay tax. And you know how much he likes his tax. I’m surprised that he doesn’t give all his income as tax to the government.

  3. Of course Ritchie is wrong, but it would be a huge improvement in the prospects of developing nations if their leaders didn’t build billion dollar holdings overseas as a reserve against their eventual overthrow. But it’s the corrupt government which needs to be fixed, not “tax havens”.

  4. We’re getting what we want, that the poor become rich.

    That’s not what Ritchie wants. If the poor become rich, they will be corrupted by vice. He’s a High Moralist, remember. His ideal is that everyone in the world gets a kind of stipend from the State which is adequate to prevent poverty, but not sufficient to allow indulgence and excess.

    The last thing he wants is for the poor to become financially independent. That would be a disaster.

  5. “Our results call for caution in coming to the conclusion that world poverty has
    fallen in the 1990s, and that global poverty reduction goals are on their way to
    being achieved, and point to the need for international investment in sound
    approaches to global poverty monitoring.”

    http://www.columbia.edu/~sr793/WorldPovertyroiw.pdf

    Yet again you all show this ridiculous pantomime smugness and sociopathic desire to excrete misinformation. These studies are based on theory, not reality. If you want a measure of poverty, ask the fucking people dealing with it.

    Your cock sure arrogance is worse than looting. Sickening twats.

  6. If you want a measure of poverty, ask the fucking people dealing with it.

    You mean, people whose careers depend on it? Like, people who profit from poverty? No, that wouldn’t be a good group to ask, would it? Can you think why, Arnald?

  7. Arnald,

    When was the last time you visited a developing country and talked to the people there?

    I can assure you that the lives of the poor in all of those countries that have opened themselves up to investment and trade have improved immensely.

  8. You’ve got no idea what you’re talking about, Ian B.

    The people that “profit from poverty” are the ones that Murphy is tilting at. Come on and use your brain.

    You’re clearly so blinkered about the issue that you are unable to understand a single word that is said. As for Worstall and his cherry picking of theory to support his overwhelming faith in the most corrupt organisations “in the history of our species” and his simpleton’s take on “the whole neo-liberal project”, you just lap it up – the whole mentally ill debacle.

    Seriously, you really believe that anti poverty workers on the frontline are doing it for cash? I challenge to go and ask some of them.

    Or don’t you talk to real people?

  9. Arnald,

    I’m not going to read the whole paper, as you evidently haven’t, but from the conclusion you can see that whether or not poverty has gone up or down depends on the assumptions made. Just by saying that one must exercise caution when making claims about poverty changes, it does not mean that poverty has not fallen.

    ‘We found that under various assumptions, the proportion and the number of
    poor in the developing world have decreased in the 1990s. However, under other
    assumptions, the proportion and the number of poor in the developing world may
    have increased in the period. The magnitude of the increase or decrease in the
    extent of world poverty is crucially dependent on the assumptions made.’

    Please read the paper and pick out the assumptions that you believe to be correct in proving that poverty has not fallen.

  10. MW

    Exactly, hence my comment about how Worstall is using his influence and peddling tosh to those on here that bathe in his piss.

    Is there, or is there not, a massive outflow of capital from poor countries into anonymous financial instruments controlled by the rich?

    Hint. Yes.

    So why the mindless attack on Murphy? People like him need to be supported in order to clean the market up. Dirty markets distort capitalism into inefficiency.

    Surely you free marketeers can understand that?

    You’re all so hung up about “state theft” of your dollar, that you forget what it is you’re actually defending.

    Saying global poverty is being eradicated by following the “Washington concensus” is utter drivel. Complete shit.

    There will be pockets of success, of course, but mainly there’ll be ways of monetarising misery.

  11. @ Nick, i’ve posted a similar comment on Murphy’s blog. It will be interesting to see if he posts it.

  12. Arnald, you post “Is there, or is there not, a massive outflow of capital from poor countries into anonymous financial instruments controlled by the rich?”

    Answer = Yes.

    But do you really think this would suddenly stop if these “financial instruments” disappeared? Do you think all the corrupt officials will say “OK, it’s a fair game, i’ll stop robbing my own people.” It is like believing that you can eradicate heroin addiction by burning down opium fields.

  13. Arnald,

    Assuming that you prefer reality over theory can you provide the realistic proof of the following

    ‘Is there, or is there not, a massive outflow of capital from poor countries into anonymous financial instruments controlled by the rich?

    Hint. Yes.’

    Furthermore could you provide the sources that you have directly spoken to about poverty in the developing world. Both the people you visited back in the early 1990’s and those you have visited today? Could you make sure you include enough of those sampled and the basis for picking that sample so that you have sufficient data to make a comment on the entire population (all those in poverty in the early 1990’s)?

    I seriously doubt you can, which is where the contradiction in your argument lies. Whilst you berate Worstall for ‘cock-sure arrogance’ you are guilty of exactly that yourself by implying that poverty has not fallen without providing any sort of evidence.

    I’m in the Worstall camp on this one. Look at the difference between North and South Korea. If you want evidence that the opening up of trade etc eradicates poverty I would ask you to start there.

  14. “Arnald, do you suffer from Tourettes, or are you just a mouthy cunt? Which is it?”

    @Ian, the foul mouth comes from kissing Murphy’s arse.

  15. MW

    “Could you make sure you include enough of those sampled and the basis for picking that sample so that you have sufficient data to make a comment on the entire population (all those in poverty in the early 1990?s)?”

    Can Worstall?

    No contradiction, yet people will be influenced by what Worstall spews.

    There’s loads of literature on illicit capital outflow.

    “If you want evidence that the opening up of trade etc eradicates poverty I would ask you to start there.”

    *slaps forehead* Yes. Of. Course. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about illicit capital outflow and how it hinders development, and why Worstall is wrong in stating that poverty is falling, first, because of the Washington concensus, second.

    A model cannot be sustainable if there is so much leakage.

    Tim adds: But it is being sustained isn’t it? It’s been going on for 30, 40 years now and it seems to just keep going, doesn’t it?

    The number of people in poverty has fallen, the percentage of people in poverty has plummetted. That’s a success.

  16. “There’s loads of literature on illicit capital outflow.

    “If you want evidence that the opening up of trade etc eradicates poverty I would ask you to start there.”

    *slaps forehead* Yes. Of. Course. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about illicit capital outflow and how it hinders development, and why Worstall is wrong in stating that poverty is falling, first, because of the Washington concensus, second.”

    1) There is probably more “illicit” capital outflow from N. Korea than their is from South Korea as well.
    2) There is also loads of litterature on how aid has a detrimental impact on long-term economic growth

  17. Arnard,

    We are talking about the reduction in global poverty. While illicit capital outflow and the Washington consensus are involved the key issue is about reducing world poverty.

    It appears that through whatever system we are currently using there is a reduction in world poverty. A degree of caution must be used when stating this, but I would bet the same sort of capitalist principles that helped raise parts of south east Asia and South America from the 3d world to the developing world will probably work. Just becasue there are negative exernalities arising from this does not mean it has failed.

    You, like Mr Murphy, need to stop whining about the world being unfair and start thinking about the end product we want. In this case its reducing world poverty. Otherwise, with whatever policy is chosen you will always find some sort of fault with it not being perfectly fair and hence you will focus on that rather than whether the policy will ever reach your ultimate aim

  18. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Ritchie seems to be arguing that Governments are corrupt and it’s the fault of the free market.

  19. Arnald is Murphy. Has to be.

    As for the Murph himself, he’s only using it as a stick to beat the issue of tax havens with. He’ll go into detail on this and other aspects of his Super Duper Economic Plan in his new tome, “Courageous State,” available soon in all crap booksellers.

  20. Arnald is Murphy. Has to be.

    No, Arnald has a better grasp of grammar and punctuation, amazing as it is to say. I pity the poor copy editor on “the Curadgeus State” (soon to be available in all good remainders bins).

  21. Arnald is Murphy. Has to be.

    No, Arnald has a better grasp of grammar and punctuation, amazing as it is to say. I pity the poor copy editor on “the Curadgeus State” (soon to be available in all good remainders bins).

  22. Arnauld, despite all the bluster, has not contradicted the range of stats given by Tim, nor can he. Yes, we can all – and should – treat official GDP data with a very big pinch of salt, but to say that such things are worthless and we should rely only on anecdotal evidence does rather beg some more questions. You see, I work in the investment business and talk to people doing business in parts of Africa, as well as other places.

    The evidence appears to be that in parts of southern Africa – apart from corrupt, repressed places such as Zimbabwe, things are going pretty well. In places hit by religious/other strife, very badly. But in the main, Africa is growing economically. Consider the vast amounts of money the Chinese are putting in to take advantage of that commodity wealth, etc.

  23. Arnald,
    It is evidence, it is relevant and it is thought provoking. Thanks for the contribution.

    That said, when you quoted that paragraph, you might also have quoted the paragraph immediately preceding it, since it does actually try to reach a conclusion on the impact of the sensitivity analyses it proposes:
    “We found that under various assumptions, the proportion and the number of poor in the developing world have decreased in the 1990s. However, under other assumptions, the proportion and the number of poor in the developing world may have increased in the period. The magnitude of the increase or decrease in the extent of world poverty is crucially dependent on the assumptions made. The probability that there has been a relatively slow rate of reduction of poverty outside China and India, and especially in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, gives reason for concern that goals of reducing poverty will not be met in these regions, even if they are met globally.”

    i.e. poverty probably still did fall. Maybe not in a uniform way across regions, but it still fell, and by enough to meet our agreed global objectives. This is therefore still directionally consistent with the mainstream of evidence on the topic which Tim shared above.

  24. Gary

    No. Worstall has categorically stated that world poverty has reduced due to the makers and shakers of his particularly flawed belief system.

    A simple search (away from starting from the lunatic fringe that Worstall would love to cite but can’t. quite. have. the balls. to, suggests that illicit capital outflow from a number of jurisdictions (easily found from documents from sources used before on timothy’s spazzfest online) is detrimental to sustainable development.

    Anyhow, the improvement of living standards for those from countries named underdeveloped are driven straight from the intervention of more developed, and learned [established enough to write the rules] societies.

    Tell me it ain’t so? (mind-garglingly*, horrid shitty little girl that i may be)

    So the matter of destroying corruption ‘n’ all lies directly in our patch.

    Where did the corruptors get their badges?

    Worstall, and those that support him, has clearly lined himself up for being accused of supporting the prevalance of socially destructive practices, and as such, is no better than a kid wanting some free socks from a burning shop whilst thinking that someone more clever thought it was relevant.

    *ffs

  25. If Murphy wants to carry on fixing things that ain’t broken he’d better get a move on, ‘cos his right femur looks in pretty good nick right now.

    Oh come on, only joshing, as I assume he is. I mean, he couldn’t possibly be serious with all the shit he spouts, could he?

    Could he?

  26. Also, I am quite perplexed as to how having the constant flavour of Richard Murphy’s arsehole in his mouth would impact on Arnald’s capacity as, say, a restaurant critic. From a purely theoretical standpoint, that is.

  27. Arnald: It seems to me that even if your claims are true, poverty is decreasing in spite of the illicit capital outflows. Yes, it sucks that dictators and their cronies have bulging Swiss bank accounts at the expense of their people doing better, but life sucks. It’s not fair, never has been, never will be. Capitalism and globalisation are delivering better health and better living standards for the poor of the world, and if the elites get even richer then so what? Grit your teeth, accept that sometimes crime does pay, and concentrate on the little people.

    It seems to me that you, and Murphy, are pursuing perfection at the expense of “good enough”. As an engineer I’ve seen that approach fail every single time.

    In other words, let’s fix the problem of the elites enriching themselves *after* we stop the peasants and their children dying from hunger. We might even find that, pace Libya, they fix it themselves once they’re not starving to death.

  28. It may be worth noting that there has never been a famine in a nation with a functioning democracy. This may be a clue to future action.

  29. Arnald, agreed that illicit flows are real, that they are A Very Bad Thing, and that they undermine development. Also agreed that by giving aid we enable these illicit flows.

    But you also seem to be conceeding that poverty *is* probably falling (although better data quality would be, well, better).

    In which case, mathew @23 above has saved me the bother of the answer, which is basically that illicit flows (a cost) are outweighed by the benefits (the reduction in poverty). At least for now until we solve the poverty problem (which we probably are solving).
    Seems to me that solving poverty is a messy business that The High Moralist does not want to get his hands dirty with. That’s fine, but I’m too focused on the poor myself. Each to their own though.

  30. Gary
    No. Poverty remains poverty. If there are negative factors pulling the rate of change back, illicit outflows, corruption etc, then these must be tackled aggressively. It simply isn’t an ideal to say “well some good is happening”. That ‘good’ will be isolated and distorting pockets on the stats. It is also widely accepted that the gap between rich and poor is extreme and gathering pace.

    Reading through the stats for China and India makes for a very different picture. Sure, their economies are trundling along nicely, but there is still rampant poverty. To say that they are getting richer ignores that the poor are not included in this.

    My argument was that stats like these hide the reality. India is still cripplingly impoverished. yet you wouldn’t say there was a problem.

    You’re not focused on the poor. You’re focused on letting your ideology blind you.

    Tim adds: “It is also widely accepted that the gap between rich and poor is extreme and gathering pace.”

    No, this isn’t widely accepted. Look up, there’s even a graph there showing you that Sen Welfare is rising in Africa. Sen Welfare is a measurement of both poverty and inequality…..it rises when poverty falls and also when inequality falls. So, there you are, proof in front of you that African inequality is *falling*.

    And global inequality is falling too: becaus ethe growth in the poor countries, the growth in the incomes of the poor, is faster than the growth of the rich countries, faster than the growth of the incomes of the rich.

    What is happening is exactly what you say you want to be happening!

  31. No Tim

    You are very wrong.
    http://www.columbia.edu/~sr793/Countshort.pdf

    http://monthlyreview.org/2004/02/01/poverty-and-inequality-in-the-global-economy#en8

    “Two researchers at Columbia University estimated that if corrections were made for the problems in the World Bank’s methodology, the number of persons living in absolute poverty would rise by 30 to 40 percent, completely eliminating the alleged decrease in poverty.”

    In fact there is so much evidence out there completely rubbishing your argument that it strikes me as odd you would perservere with it, what with your ‘facts’ and ‘reality’ and stuff.

    Stick with the sun cream, I would.

    Tim adds: Well, my word then, that is a bugger, isn’t it? That means we cannot meet the Millennium Development Goals then: for that’s how we measure the success or not of them, by using PPP adjustments to incomes.

  32. This whole discussion seems to me to be misplaced, based as it is on Ritchie’s conflation of the terms “aid” and “sustainable development” as if they were the same thing. They’re not. Aid is giving people things they need, and must therefore flow from the haves to the have-nots. Sustainable development is a pattern of resource allocation, and is not a means of alleviating poverty (except insofar as a hypothetical future is concerned).

    Of course aid often comes with strings attached, and one those conditions may be that the aid must be used in conformity with principles of sustainable development, but that does not make them synonymous in the way that Ritchie seems to think.

    Incidentally, I’m intrigued by his claim that for every aid dollar that flows south, ten dollars flows north. Can anyone point me to any source for this assertion?

  33. Arnald,

    I’ve read your links in post #38:

    #1 talks about widening income distribution gap within the countries China and India not about widening income gaps globally or in Africa which is what Tim is talking about

    #2 talks about a widening income gap in the US which has even less to do with the income gap globally and / or in the developing countries

    #3 talks about widening income gaps in the OECD countries -> see comment on #2

    #4 starts by saying the complete opposite to the BS that you are spewing here: “Globalization has certainly delivered a lot. It has helped hundreds of millions of people break the bonds of poverty. A spirit of openness has broken down walls all over the world, allowing for the sharing of information and technology across borders and between people on a scale never before seen in human history. New economic powers have arisen, forever shifting the balance of economic power.”

    I.e. globalisation has reduced poverty a lot

    then it goes on to talk about income inequality WITHIN countries, again bugger all do to with what you are talking about

  34. Signs of a bad argument:
    1. seriously using the word “spew”.
    2. being unable to remove embedded hard returns in a copied quote.
    3. profanity, scatology, u. s. w.
    4. multiple repetitious posts.
    5. ad hominem phrases, like “pantomime smugness and sociopathic…”, “cock sure arrogance”, “unable to understand a single word”, “no idea what you’re talking about”, “lunatic fringe”, “sickening twats”.
    6. Use of hackneyed cant and buzz words and phrases like “cherry pick”, “There is nothing to see here. Move along.”
    7. Using. Old. Weird. Sentence. Structure. Fads.
    8. false equivalences. “cock sure arrogance is worse than looting” Well then, we’ll loot but be humble about it.

    Arnald displays his misapprehension of right wing philosophy with one serious “tell”, his phrase “there’ll be ways of monetarising misery.” I don’t want to monetarize misery, I want all those poor folk to be rich, rich, rich.

    How else can I steal from them profitably? Arnald imputes evil motives to the right but fails to follow through.

  35. Hey people! Gosh, where do I start?

    Emil. How about you?

    Really? Truly? As the timmy would do it. What hackneyed? Mind-garglingly hackneyed, Fred Z? Surely not on a blog that is full of the most shit use of language bar any twizzle, me nizzle?

    OK, I started with the Fredsleep. You pedants can wank with joy.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, Emil, apart from the ad hominems that Fredzee likes to ignore to pick out of the predominant vein of Worstall’s type-spazz, we were talking about how capital inflow to aid-needing countries is being eroded, if not negated and indeed stolen, by structures invented by the rich in order to profit the rich. This is layered on how the resource profit made by those who-evers through labour and local infrastructure is somehow (how is that?) not reflected as comparable benefit towards the development of that country.

    Emil, dear deluded she, [oo worstall will love a bit of misguided transgenderising! teef n all!], you are obviously unable to use the internet – with a possible bent on typing what sapphic embraces are – just call it a fail. You, Timotei and the rest cannot possibly engage in this particular cat-fight.

    Your wet-dream hasn’t, and cannot, work past a very limited set of parameters. You can bang on you like about it, but you are truly the Idol- Worshiping , clinging on to fairies with fancy, pointy-shiny bras.

    The gains that globalised movement of capital have not been realised. That is not to say there shouldn’t be wider markets, but there should be local correlatory realisation.

    Do I really need to say that?

    Worstall, you come across like a hyped sixth-former. How come these geeks adore you?

    Oh I know. *spanners all mine*

    its coz fredzee noes hmm

    i iz in ur fayc taykn teh piss noein u iz looted

    lulz

  36. Jeez, Arnald, nice use of language and rhetoric, convinced me by God, telling me I’m a lackwit always works, all my numerate, logical, cause and effect views are gone, gone, I tell you, replaced with emotional cries of something or other. Capitalism bad, Commies Good, rah, rah, rah.

    Oh Lord, give me an adult beverage, how do guys like Arnald survive pubescence.

    Oh, wait, I geddit …

  37. Fredzee

    Cause and effect views? Really? Look around you….oh I geddit…..

    When did I say capitalism was bad?

    Who’s being emotional here?

    Fail, mate. It’s comedy central in here. Next?

    Timmy, try as I might, there isn’t much cross-referenced evidence for your Sen graph. Just some guff predicated by spuff as far as I can delve. And yeah, I do have a looksee at lots of this. And you just cut and paste from your favourite things. You can spend your life having childish digs at your (very) small number of targets, most of it just gallery fodder, but knowing about poverty ain’t your tops, mate.

  38. Arnald
    Why don’t you extricate your dick from Murphy’s arse and go and sit in a quiet room and actually re-read what you have posted on this thread in the last few days?
    I am in no doubt that even you yourself will quickly be convinced that you are a total twat who hasn’t got a clue how to engage with anybody or how to make a point without resorting to childish nonsense. Rather like Murphy in fact -so similar that you must surely be him.

  39. Arnault, you had a good attempt to come back with some links but once it was clear your attempts at attacking Tim’s points had failed, you once more regressed into using vile language as if that is going to impress anyone.

    Grow up.

  40. Ha ha, seriously, Jenathon (see it’s not childish, you spell me wrong, I’ll spell you wrong – I thought you pedants were clever)?

    Read the most part of Worstall and it’s littered with profanity and childishness. It’s quite endearing. You don’t care about that though, do you?

    I’m afraid Tim doesn’t know his gluteus maximus from his cubitus (is that better?) about poverty. He simply doesn’t see it as a gross human indecency. Just something that happens.

    Sam vingt-six. Who asked you, hmm? So do you believe that poverty is being helped by illicit capital outflow or not? If not, then surely tackling the causes of that illicit outflow is a good thing? Or are you saying tackling a bad is not good, or are you saying that it has no bearing?

    Other than “mind-gargling” irrelevance, your post helps how?

    Deary me, Timothy, you’ve got some of the worst reality-dislocated followers I’ve seen on any blog. At least Murphy attracts some intellect, rather than a constant barrage of abuse.

    I notice the stats loving people haven’t rushed out to defend your graphs.

    Tim adds: “So do you believe that poverty is being helped by illicit capital outflow or not?”

    I certainly think it’s possible to construct an argument where it could be, yes.

    Imagine, just imagine, two possible types of economy.

    1) One in which the opposition to markets, to voluntary exchange, is so twisted and extreme that the black market is the only way the population can live. This was certainly true of the Soviet Union.

    2) Imagine a close analogy. An economy where the rulers are so predatory that lying and cheating, hiding from the authorities what is being made, is the only manner possible of continuing to do business. This was certainly true of at least parts of Russian business immediately post-communism.

    I have direct evidence that Angola in recent years has been like this. I have anecdotal evidence that parts of Nigeria, Ethiopia, certainly Eritrea, have been like this.

    I think it eminently possible that illicit capital outflows could be helping reduce poverty: because the depredations upon declared capital are so high that there is none declared. Thus the illicit outflows enable the illicit inflows which are reducing poverty.

    Now you, Arnald, in the Channel Islands, really only have to go talk to those few remaining who lived through the occupation to see that this can be true at times and places. And I’m entirely willing to argue that in some places, right now, it’s only the black and grey markets that actually allow the reduction of poverty.

    Over to you.

  41. An apology is due Arnald.
    I’m sorry that you’re still a twat. You haven’t taken my advice to remove your dick from Murphy’s arse and actually read your earlier postings. How on earth can you be taken seriously when you look at those previous postings? There’s something very seriously wrong with you.

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