The Murphmonster on choice

First of all, time and again evidence has been provided that people neither want choice when offered it, and nor does it necessarily improve lives when they have it.

Hmm. Personally I’m rather a fan of choice. I’m sure Richard is too. He did choose to move from London to Norfolk for example. And given that he still lives in Norfolk I think we can argue that that choice improved his life.

36 thoughts on “The Murphmonster on choice”

  1. The thing is, you don’t always even need to exercise your choice to benefit from it. The fact that others do choose a different option means that whoever is supplying the good or service you stay with must keep competitive. I have my telephone/broadband with BT, have done for years. Can’t be arsed to change. But I benefit from all the people who have buggered off to all the other telecoms suppliers, because BT has to keep its customers sweet (ish) and stop the loss to other suppliers, and attract old ones back again. I’ve not changed supplier, but the price I pay is vastly below what a monopoly supplier would be able to charge, even if regulated.

  2. You have to admire Ritchie’s “tactics”, although I doubt it’s deliberate.

    He throws in a huge number of wild ideas into a relatively short post. If you choose one point to argue on then he shouts “pedant” and says it isn’t the key part of his argument. Rinse and repeat.

    I think this one sentence sums up his approach:

    “People who have to go into the market place to get a home and cannot access anything it has to offer do not have a choice at all.”

    It’s wrong in so many ways. How do you even begin to deconstruct this? Is there something in Sun Tzu that can help?

  3. The alternative to choice is a state where everything is decided for you. I am not 100% sure that North Korea is a model we should follow.

  4. From a Labour PPC this morning

    Lucy Rigby ‏@LucyRigby 1h
    The lowest level of housebuilding since the 1920s, lowest home ownership since 1987 & out-of-control private rented sector. New govt please.

    TRANS: “we need more houses built therefore we need a statist government that will build some using other people’s money and control the rents people can charge”

    The alternative is of course to lighten planning controls and allow private companies to build more houses – it’s state intervention that is the PROBLEM here, not the solution

  5. I recall Labour came up with the idea while in power to build lots more houses per year. What happened to that idea?

  6. “evidence has been provided that people [don’t] want choice when offered it”

    That is, of course, a paradox.

  7. People don’t want choice. They want to be told what to do. By Richard Murphy. Because he knows best.

  8. Homebuilding, like “efficiency savings”, seems to be something all oppositions say they will do and all governments find they struggle with. Politically or economically it seems harder in practice than in theory.

    For fans of Maggie and the property-owning democracy, isn’t it heartwarming to see a Labour PPC complain of the “lowest home ownership since 1987”? The terms of debate seem very much set on this issue. And more in keeping with the Mail worldview than the Marx one.

    I do wonder if those terms of debate are healthy sometimes. There are some big disadvantages to everyone treating their home as their main financial asset (buggers up sensible diversification, no income stream so people rely on ever-spiralling house prices instead) and rendering the population more immobile doesn’t make for a very flexible labour force (what is a good estimate for the effect on unemployment that our tendency for owner occupation produces? I know this has been researched). There’s a lot to be said for a high quality, dynamic and professionally-run private rental market. But neither Labour nor Tories seem to want to be caught out “sticking up for the landlords” – it’s all about home ownership.

  9. “people neither want choice when offered it, and nor does it necessarily improve lives when they have it.”

    Many people have chosen to read the tax research blog. It does not improve their lives do have that choice.

  10. Time and again Ritchie commits the fallacy of believing that because he hasn’t thought about something it doesn’t exist.

    Of course people want choice when offered it. It’s just that for roughly 99% of day-to-day decisions they’re not even questioned as it is assumed to be self-evident that they want to choose. No one goes and asks people in a widespread quantitative study if they would be happier if their career, area to live in, spouse or sexual partner, meals, favourite chocolate bar &c were imposed on them by diktat. That would be idiotic.

    I’m sure there are studies that can show that with some things – usually ones that don’t lend themselves to competitive markest, like healthcare or energy supply, some people are just as happy getting what they’re given. But frankly, that doesn’t mean sod all.

  11. Murphy’s not against choice, he’s against your/our choice. You need to read further through the Murphy blog – later he says:

    We need the choices that I decribed [sic] in The Courageous State.

  12. What he means is that when given the choice people mostly don’t make the choices these ghastly lefty fuckers want them to make.

    Therefore they shouldn’t be allowed.


  13. The most intriguing part of Murphy’s blog is always the comments, although since his comments policy was redefined again so that it becomes even more of an echo chamber the number of hostile comments has dropped. Arguably the scariest two commentators are Ivan Horrocks and Andrew Dickie, both of whom sail perilously close to endorsing the Soviet Union as a paradigm – the post, which Tim picked up in another context under his ‘structural deficit’ is entitled ‘Changing the language of economic debate’ – it is worth reading as an insight int the mindset of Murohy and his disciples- it is also as pure a distillation of Orwell’s 1984 as I have seen. They are not at all interested in choice as a concept, or if they are it is only in so far as the choice chimes with their conception of the world. Choose something they define as ‘neoliberal’ then you can’t have that choice. I would argue Murphy and his acolytes are the closest thing to pure evil in political terms we have seen since the collapse of the USSR. The commentator who made the North Korean comparison was spot on….

  14. How can he cope with supermarkets then? All that choice of food and drink. Or clothing shops – all that choice of clothing. Don’t let him loose on amazon!

  15. Odd that he chose to buy an agreeably large property in Norfolk rather than rely on the council.

    He’s not only happy to make his own choices but insists on making yours too.

  16. Jesus H Godbastard Christ on a motherflipping bike

    The LHTD is now arguing that neo-liberalism is trying to render opposing thought impossible by controlling language, as in 1984. Given that 1984 was a comment on left-wing totalitarianism (and given for example, how it’s largely impossible to have a conversation about immmigration or the Middle East without someone shouting “WAYCIST!”) I think he’s MISSED THE POINT ALTOGETHER AGAIN.

  17. Flatcap Army

    You’re wrong – the comment is a quote from Murphy’s chief brown-nosing cocksucker Ivan Horrocks (speaks Bollocks), not Murphy himself.

    Although, using another Orwell analogy, the blog-readers outside looked at Murphy, then Horrocks, then Murphy again but already it was impossible to say which was which.

  18. What I find interesting is that Murphy’s post is about how he has personally redefined language to suit his purposes, such that the debate now focuses on what he wants it to be about and the things he doesn’t like now have emotive names like “tax abuse”; and then he and Horrocks go on to muse about how terrible it is that Newspeak techniques such as limiting the scope of expression, euphemising, and making concepts unthinkable have been brought in by *Neoliberals*…

  19. I’ve had exactly this discussion in connection with free schools with a leftie mate of mine who sends his sons to private school.

    No-one needs choice of schooling – the nearest comp is fine.

    When I pointed out that it’s not fine for his kids and my kids, asked why it should be for less fortunate people, and further asked why he chose to educate his kids privately, his response (seriously) was that the private school is half a mile closer so he’s just sending them to the nearest school.

    He’s a good mate, but he’s a wanker at times. The left, they’re all fucking liars, thieves and hypocrites.

  20. @ Interested

    By curtailing his kids’ walk to school by a mile (there and back) a day, he is restricting their exercise by 20 mins a day or 1 hour 40 mins a week. There’s got to be a law against that surely?

  21. And the funny thing is that, to take an example entirely at random… telecoms, say, when people didn’t have the choice and had to use BT, the state-run monopoly acted exactly like Marxists argue that capitalists act, and literally extracted extreme rents – what was it, 20 quid a month (in 1980s quid) to rent a crappy phone? And a ridiculous amount to rent the line. And then calls were more in 1980s pence per minute than they are now in 2010’s pence…

  22. @MBE his Panzers of leftist dishonesty would simply drive round your Maginot Line of logic.

    (It is a war, after all.)

  23. Flatcap Army

    I love that post – Horrocks (the sympathizer who made the original comment) is basically a conscious fifth columnist who assumes any opponent of his very narrow worldview is a ‘class enemy’ and must be destroyed.It is quite easy to imagine him or Murphy in charge of a gulag.

    The post is hysterical, but perfectly illustrates both their imperviousness to opposing argument, utter ignorance of history and politics and intellectual bankruptcy. I notice the cretin often has a go at George Osborne for ‘not listening to him’ – whilst I’m no great fan of Osborne, on this at least he is right – the introduction of a Selective Higher Income Tax (SHIT) for the likes of Murphy should follow forthwith

  24. a Selective Higher Income Tax (SHIT) – it’s just what Murphy would love. Provided he gets to decide which Further Accounting Numbers (FANs) are hit with it.

    Unless the SHIT includes a tax on grants from charitable foundations, of course

  25. The coffee choice article was Eoin, not Murphy.

    But it was hilarious. Eoin complained that he didn’t like the coffee that he was given. His solution to this was that there should be only one type of coffee sold – the sort he would choose. He gets a choice, everyone else has to go along with it.

    It sounds depressingly like Murphy justifying his own tax arrangements.

  26. Bloke with a Boat

    Those who claim people don’t want choice never seem to put their money where there mouths are by opening up a supermarket with only one breakfast cereal, one type of milk etc. Or on a smaller scale a coffee shop that once sells one type of coffee.

  27. He moved to Norfolk by choice? Damn, I was hoping that he was driven out of London by mobs with pitchforks.

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