The economist speaks:

So Zoe was emphatically right. But she may have understated her case. Poverty is a construct and it is deliberate. And it is imposed by a few. And ending extreme wealth would help its eradication and leave the world a wealthier, better, happier and more sustainable place.

City really have got something in their 0.2 of a professor, don’t they?

43 thoughts on “Sigh”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    This reminds me of the Heinlein quote that Instapundit often likes:

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

  2. Gosh, those who wish to run society as a conspiracy run by them really do believe that everything that happens in actual society is run as a conspiracy by Dark Forces, don’t they?

    I guess they must think the “Invisible Hand” is actually a hand controlled by lizards, Bilderbergs and Bilderberg lizards.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    As is well known, the Khmer Rouge may have been dizzy with success, they may have committed some excesses in their general enthusiasm. But no doubt these people think their hearts were in the right places[*]

    And Cambodia has been a wealthy paradise ever since they got rid of their plutocrats. Well, water buffalo owners. Rich bastards

    [*] unlike the educated and anyone who owned a little bit of lands. Whose hearts were often in the wrong place. Like at the end of a bit of bamboo roasting over the fire

  4. I love the way Ritchie manages to take a batshit piece of antisemitism and make it even more virulently insane.

    Zoe claimed that the Jooz are screwing the little man. Ritchie claims it’s deliberately done because, er… they like seeing people in poverty?

  5. “And ending extreme wealth would help its eradication…”

    Define ‘extreme wealth’.

    I think compared to, say, a San bushman or Yanomami Indian, or a slumdweller in Bombay, he’s the very picture of ‘extreme wealth’.

  6. These two quotes deserve to be in lights:

    ‘Nor did they talk about the fact that a great deal of wealth has nothing to do with ability, but is all about rent extraction – as Zoe knows – whether that be rents, or interest, or the enslavement created by advertising, or denial of access to basic resources’

    Abolition of interest? A ban on advertising? Radical new ideas we can expect to see in Corbyn’s manifesto?

    ‘They also forgot to mention that if only all the upward transfers of rent stopped the downward flows of redistribution would need to be so much smaller to end poverty ‘

    A ban on private rentals in the housing market? Another radical new idea?

    I am afraid he has degenerated into ‘tin foil hat’ territory this time – it’s a sad state of affairs to have sunk so low…..

  7. Dave

    My first thoughts were also that it looked remarkably like something out of 1930s Germany, I agree……

  8. This is why the left-wing are so potty. They don’t even see the Tories as being just people looking after the rich a bit more than the poor, they actively see them as hating the poor and willing their destruction.

    The harsh reality is that the welfare state’s purpose has been lost. It was supposed to be an insurance scheme. Can’t get work? Can’t work? The state will look after you. And what’s happening now is a backlash against people living unnecessarily on the state which is long overdue. It’s not going to hurt the Tories one bit. That woman on Question Time is just the sort of person that appears on Question Time. I’ve lived in 4 different marginal seats and from working to upper classes, the mentality is not like it is in Islington or Bolsover. It is socially unacceptable to not work.

  9. In today’s Telegraph Business News: “The new economic gurus of the Left are as wrong as the old ones.” by Matthew Lynn, said ‘gurus’ being a Mister Zucman and a Miss Mazzucato. Wot, no Ritchie?

  10. The fat fvcker’s blog is descending into simple-minded anarchist leftist polemical agitprop.

    To be honest, the time for refuting and commenting in opposition to his insane ramblings is over. Someone needs to give him a good stiff kicking and raze his comfortable Norfolk pile to the ground

  11. Davey

    “I love the way Ritchie manages to take a batshit piece of antisemitism and make it even more virulently insane.”

    Can you explain where the anti-Semitism is in that column?

    Funny how you don’t get rebuked for saying that. You’re worse than the axis-of-shite, SMFS and Ex

  12. Oh look, Arnald’s back to crap all over another thread with his lies.

    “Can you explain where the anti-Semitism is in that column?”

    Can you plausibly pretend I didn’t do that already, even to yourself?

  13. Dave – you can talk! You know shit about shit.

    You didn’t explain anything. You said:

    “I love the way Ritchie manages to take a batshit piece of antisemitism and make it even more virulently insane.

    Zoe claimed that the Jooz are screwing the little man. Ritchie claims it’s deliberately done because, er… they like seeing people in poverty”

    You’re the liar, kiddo.

  14. @Arnauld

    “No one in England lives in poverty except by choice”

    I suspect Mr Miller was referring more to the way the left has declared poverty to be a relative thing: “No 50′ flat screen telly? Don’t get two foreign holidays a year? Poverty!”

    There’s an interesting debate to be held on that front: I’ve spent the last ten years working in a sector that spends much of it’s time working with the poorest 10% of British society, and there’s not a lot of what I would call poverty there. There may not be much money, but there’s a home, food,TV and kids in decent clothes. It’s very different to the time I spent in China (6 months continuous, returned frequently therafter). Perhaps this is a case of your definition of poverty differing from someone else’s?

    Also: you live outside England- how would you know

  15. No one in England lives in poverty except by choice.

    Some do. The benefits system can often leave deserving people stranded, and people with mental health issues often find themselves homeless through no fault of their own.

  16. If you find that plausible…

    Aw heck, complete change of subject, would you like to buy this bridge I’m selling?

  17. squaure

    No, I was talking about the destitute in England. Since I am English and have lived most of my life in England and a lot of that in South London.

    There’s a whole tier of ‘forgotten’ people. Young folk that sofa surf, ex services that can’t rehabilitate, same for ex cons. Those who lose their jobs then their house and all their money. They don’t do these things by choice. Those running away from abuse, is that really a choice? These people can’t get jobs, they rarely get any welfare, they rely on volunteers. I don’t even know if they would get food from food banks.

    How are people so ignorant?

  18. So when there was no wealth to be “extracted” from the poor, there was no poverty?

    Have I understood her correctly?

  19. @Arnald “There’s a whole tier of ‘forgotten’ people”

    Care to put a number on that so we are aware of the size of the problem? How many starving homeless and with only the meagre support of volunteers? What are we talking of here? 1 million? 5 million?

  20. There’s a whole tier of ‘forgotten’ people.

    To the extent that this is true ( and there is some truth in it ) it is because they are so few in number that they are forgotten. When poverty was everywhere it was hard to ignore and often utterly desperate, someone having to sleep on a friend’s sofa is not quite in that category. As Tim Newman said there are people like the homeless mentally ill but then the mentally ill have always been disregarded, I doubt their plight is worse today than in the past. As for ex cons, well I’m not in the lock ’em up and forget ’em category but it has to be said that criminals do rather bring their fate on themselves. Again it’s true that there are those amongst them trying to sort themselves out and facing great difficulty doing so but no one is pretending that modern Britain is a paradise. Pointing to the inevitable sorrows of an imperfect world as evidence of filthy capitalist wealth extraction is thin stuff to build a political philosophy from.

  21. Arnald,

    Let’s agree with your premise. Can you explain how knee-capping the rich helps?

    Ok, so let’s suppose that it does. Can you actually raise this cash from the rich?

    Broadly, three places you can get it:
    – income
    – capital gain
    – wealth

    Income first: I know you scoff generally at the Laffer curve, but the bald facts are that:
    – the top 1% of earners contribute 27% of the total income tax take
    – the top 7% of earners contribute >50% of the total income tax take.

    If you really do want to knee-cap the rich, the 1% really actually will just get out. They absolutely can and they absolutely will. If you earn that much, you are competing and will have myriad contacts on a global scale. Besides, unless you are very careless (and therefore unlikely to be the type earning that much), you’ll have assets stashed away. That gives you options.

    I’d expect therefore that any punitive action in terms of marginal rates would cause a collapse in the tax take. Richie worries about avoidance now – just wait till you start wanting to take those sorts of lumps out of people.

    So that’s income. What about Capital Gain? The current reckoning is the tax take for CGT is maximised at an extremely low rate – possibly as low as 10%. You put CGT rates above that and the tax take falls. You just defer the gains.

    Or you have a wealth tax. Srsly?
    What happens when everyone above a certain net wealth needs to liquidate some small percentage of their assets every year? Can you say “catastrophic asset price deflation”?

    Besides, who will buy these assets? Anyone who could is busy trying to sell them.

    The premise of the article is wrong as noted above. Poverty is the natural state to which everything returns. It takes significant effort to accumulate capital and rise above poverty. You do not accumulate wealth by sitting on your arse or expecting others to do the work for you.

  22. Indeed, why buy an asset when it paints a big target on your back? Aside from the crash in value due to the glut of suppliers, prices would also fall as people price in the expected future tax bill for holding it.

    But I think we are missing the point here. The point of a Wealth Tax for the Left is not to raise revenue, but to destroy wealth.

  23. Arnald is an pratt..and yet:

    He asks for evidence of antisemitism from Zoe Williams; Dave responds along the lines of “I’ve shown you that already”.

    I read Williams’ article Dave and commented on it yesterday but I don’t see antisemitism.

    And believe me I would, arseholes like SMFS are forever dropping in dirty little comments and then screaming out in injured innocence when they’re called out.

    So please, show me what I’ve missed.

  24. Couldn’t a wealth tax lead to an increase in popularity of leased items, if tax is 10% then paying a lease premium of less than 10% saves money and likely less administration.
    Wasn’t it rent seeking behaviour and the upwards flow of money that is now to be avoided.

  25. BniC

    Wealth would have to be calculated net of any debt? Ie, purchase of an asset would be net nil – until it depreciates (depn being sort of mirror of lease)?

  26. @pf
    Fair point about net wealth, I’m assuming that there would be some way of twisting the system in gives favour and given the view in some quarters about capital allowances being a subsidy already not unreasonable assumption I think.

    I can’t see the outcome that your new car depreciates quicker than your loan decreases meaning a net loss (debt exceeds asset value) being allowed to perpetuate for long, though it could have a beneficial impact on car purchases as a tax planning device. Just imagine the howls from the lefties and greens that shiny big new car is giving the rich bankers a tax break!

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that an ex tax advisor wants a more complicated system (hence more earnings for tax advice) instead of arguing for a simpler flat rate tax system where it’s harder to avoid the tax burden.

  27. So Much For Subtlety

    Arnald – “Funny how you don’t get rebuked for saying that. You’re worse than the axis-of-shite, SMFS and Ex”

    Can I defend my Axis-of-Crazy crown by pointing out that I have objected to the overly generous use of accusations of anti-semitism from Dave?

    Objecting to the rich is not automatically objecting to Jews. Just as David Ickes’ objection to intergalatic shape-changing baby-eating reptiles, who just happen to be Jewish a lot of the time, is not anti-semitic.

  28. Every form of putting aside today’s resources to provide a future income is rent-seeking. Is he really proposing making pensions illegal? Sorry, but I absolutely refuse to attempt to seek paid work just to be able to afford to stay alive until the day I drop dead. What was the point of the last few centuries of progressive politics of people fighting to get out of this sort of fudal serfdom?

  29. BniC

    I was being more simplistic than that – I just meant compared to leasing..:)

    Ie, assume wealth=50.and nothing happens over 5 years other than either A) or B).

    A) Purchase car for 20, use debt of 20. After 5 years car is worthless. Net worth drops to 30 at end of 5 years. Ignore the loan or what specifcally the net 30 ends up being comprised of.

    B) Lease car over 5 years for cost of 4 per annum. Net wealth also drops to 30.

    That was all I was assuming, when I said debt would be included, and which reasonably I would presume it has to be in any meaningful wealth tax comp?

  30. Oh no, SMFS doesn’t get away that easily. To take his bats hit crazy example (cos he might actually be able to.process that): A few and a few only on David Icke’s intergalactic blah blah blah might happen to be Jewish. So to highlight this, whilst not doing the same for the other intergalactic creatures blah blah blah is indeed antisemitism.

    However, Dave, I see you have decided not to follow up your accusation levelled at Zoe Williams. So in his respect, Arnald is quite right.

  31. jgh

    Economic rents in the sense that economists use the term represent rents above the cost of the product. These costs include the cost of property (eg property rents) and capital costs (interest and returns on risk capital). Economic rents are super-normal profits, usually associated with monopoly pricing power. The cretin Murphy clearly does not understand the difference. This is one of the most basic concepts in microeconomics – that someone this stupid and ignorant can claim to be a “professor” is really a terrible indictment of City University.

  32. Dave

    And still you don’t don’t show where the antisemitism is. So instead you get very personal and label me an anti-semite as well ( you do seem to do that quite liberally don’t you).

    You should be embarrassed by now, but I suspect you’re really not.

  33. Dave – I’m with Ironman on this – I don’t see the veiled antisemitism that you claim in ZW’s piece. The explanation that “I’ve already gone through that, and can’t be bothered to do so again” falls flat for me – I don’t recall you ever explaining where it was, other than periodically asserting that one piece or another was antisemitic.
    When someone (Williams in this case) is screeching incoherently about wealth (or inequality, etc), it is not enough to say that attacks on the wealthy are, perforce, antisemitic – the left may hate wealth (certainly – except their own) and Jews (possibly), but “you have to show your work” to identify the link – in this case, you haven’t.

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