As ever, Owen Jones is wrong

What needs to be exposed is the self-evident hypocrisy of the “free market”, which all too often in practice means the state propping up private interests while leaving those at the bottom to fend for themselves. Globally, fossil fuel industries can receive subsidies worth $10m a minute, while the poorest are compelled to scrabble in the dirt to eat.

Nope, that’s not what the IMF report said.

Rather, it said that consumers of fossil fuels get $10 million a minute of subsidies.

24 thoughts on “As ever, Owen Jones is wrong”

  1. Tim,

    Please. You know (because you are part of the evil neo-liberal bankster plot) that a subsidy to the consumer is clearly a hidden subsidy to the supplier because Supply / Demand curves are clearly a neo-liberal plot to taint the work of leftist intellectuals in the minds of the proles.

    It has nothing to do with bien pensant like Owen having a wholly deficient experiential relationship with reality.

  2. “Globally”. So including all those middle-eastern countries which massively subsidise sales of fuel to their own people?

    Funny definition of “free market”, that…

  3. “‘the poorest beingcompelled to scrabble in the dirt to eat’…”

    It’s emotional pr0n for the left.

  4. Owen Jones might reasonably turn your tax incidence argument against you, Tim. A subsidy to the consumer is a subsidy to the producer. (?)

  5. In fact the IMF did not say this

    via Capel comment at Bishop Hill

    The IMF introduction to the paper carries this, prominent, disclaimer:

    “This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate”

  6. If you read the Forbes piece I link to you’ll see that I make that point quite prominently.

  7. I read that article in the Guardian yesterday and what struck me, and I could be wrong, was that they added up all of the costs of the externialities of fossil fuel use and decided that was the amount of subsidy. I didn’t notice any mention of these being net after taxes.

  8. So he is complaining about corporate socialism–ie that the “free” market is not free but meddled with by the state?

    Easily solved Owen–cut the fucking state down.

  9. I see some momentum building up over this “fossil fuels are subsidised” wheeze. If they pull it off it will be a triumph of lying.

  10. The Guardian are running this fossil fuel disinvestment campaign. The idea being that all those funds sell their shares in fossil fuel companies. I believe the Church of England have already agreed to do this, amongst others.

    As futile gestures go, this one is surely up there amongst the classics. The oil and coal is going to keep coming out of the ground, because there are billions of Chinese and Indian peasants who need it to get a decent standard of living.

    However here we’re not so lucky, I heard on the radio this morning the Ferrybridge coal power station is to close soon. There could be trouble ahead….. as the song says.

  11. I see Ritchie’s “absence of tax equals subsidy” line has gained currency in lefty circles.

  12. > “absence of tax equals subsidy”

    To be fair, I don’t blame the Left for that one. It’s the standard government way of looking at money, enthusiastically promulgated by Chancellors of all flavours for as long as I’ve been alive. Witness the way you can “give” drivers a “gift” by keeping vehicle tax at the same level instead of increasing it. Or the way hiring 4000 extra civil servants when a previous government said they’d hire 6000 is “cutting 2000 jobs”.

  13. wait, so the poor are being forced to scrabble in the dirt to eat (most people call that “susbsistence farming” Owen) and making stuff cheaper for them is a bad thing

    Slow. Hand. Clap

  14. Ironman

    Of course Venezuela has been ‘undermined by US Imperialism’ and ‘Neo-liberalism’ – How do you live with yourself?

  15. Peter MacFarlane

    I don’t think I am getting my fair share of the $10m a minute, really I don’t.

    Who do I complain to?

  16. The ledger never includes the BENEFITS of fossil fuel use. Keeping BILLIONS of people alive appears to be worth nothing in their book.

    Not one of them at the IMF and Guardian would survive a month without fossil fuels. How decadent to be able to deride that which gives you life.

  17. Keeping BILLIONS of people alive appears to be worth nothing in their book.

    Indeed. Statues should be erected in honour of the men and women who make it happen.

  18. If the State is propping up private interests, then it is not a free market. For that matter the State propping up its own interests… NHS, education for example… is not a free market.

    Why do these people always blame their perceived horrors on the free market when it is precisely because the market is not free that such horrors occur?

  19. Amen, John B. They believe their own propaganda.

    Some years back, California re-regulated the electric power business. They called their legislation “deregulation.”

    It was a mess. But ever since, they confidently proclaim “deregulation doesn’t work!”

  20. Dear Mr Worstall

    “What needs to be exposed is the self-evident hypocrisy of the “free market”, “

    If it is self-evident ought it not need to be exposed?

    On the other hand, these figures are self-explanatory, so I’ll explain them …


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