A review of the Joy of Tax

Which is arguably even more confused than the Joy of Tax itself:

Murphy begins with money (how could he not?). Henry Ford said: “If people knew how money was created there would be a revolution before breakfast!” Money is literally conjured out of thin air by banks by adding a few zeroes on a computer. Ultimately, however, it is government debt. If you doubt that, look at a banknote. It says “I promise to pay…” It is an IOU. Money is government debt in circulation. Remove all government debt – as advocated by George Osborne, the Mad Hatter of economics – and we have no money.

Jesus, that really is even worse than the Murphmonster.

Marcus Chown, formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology

Seriously, THE gets an astronomer to review a book on economics?

24 thoughts on “A review of the Joy of Tax”

  1. I’ve had to block Chown on Twitter – he started a few years ago being vaguely sensible but has slid further and further into tinfoil hat left wing fruitcakism

  2. From Wikipedia:

    “Chown is also a political activist, and in 2014 announced that he was running as a candidate for Member of the European Parliament for the National Health Action Party in the UK. In August 2015 the Labour Party turned down his application to join their register of supporters.”

  3. I read Clown too and hence my initial thought was Mark Crown.

    Whatever happened to him. Is someone on here ever going to own up?

  4. James Randi identified academics as a group that are easily fooled

    Randi suggested that they are more likely to be taken in because they are single-minded about phenomena. They are over confident in their ability to understand how things work, and when something cannot be explained in their framework, they’re willing to attribute it to the paranormal.


    One only has to look at Linus Pauling and Luc Montagnier.

  5. He’s not an academic. He has a masters from Caltech not a PhD. He’s a writer. My respect for the THE is dropping fast.

  6. Seriously, THE gets an astronomer to review a book on economics?

    An easy mistake to make – they intended to get an astrologer.

    And since when was The JoT a book on economics, anyway?

  7. If you were Murphy, would you send a copy of your tome for review to anyone who understood accountancy and economucs ?

  8. Presumably, he was the guy who had to find out which valves were closed.

    Serve him right if he got his appendix removed under ObamaCare by the ENT nurse.

  9. If you doubt that, look at a banknote. It says “I promise to pay…” It is an IOU. Money is government debt in circulation.


  10. Ceteris paribus, the ability to create money out of thin air strikes me as a good thing. Why are we supposed to be horrified? (Of course, this is just the usual confusion of money and value, but still).

    What is genuinely annoying is that the banks had computers in Henry Ford’s day and didn’t bother to tell us.

  11. Furthermore, if the left are going to keep quoting Henry Ford, they may want to find out a little more about him.

  12. @Jack C

    It is well known that Henry Ford paid his staff huge wages so they could buy Ford cars. OK, this put up the cost of making the cars but by simply increasing the wages even further he overcame this problem. Soon Ford workers were no longer paid in wages but in cars, thus dramatically boosting production. Pictures of the time show workers leaving at the end of a shift driving a new car and towing two more behind.

    This is true socialist history and proof that only evil neoliberals try to keep wages down.

  13. “Ceteris paribus, the ability to create money out of thin air strikes me as a good thing. Why are we supposed to be horrified?”

    Because that’s what they want to do, to pay for a bloated welfare state that they know spends far more than it earns, and they’re just annoyed at us telling them it’s a bad idea. They think it’s just a case of rich bankers keeping all the nice toys to themselves.

    Trouble is, they got their economic education from communist agitators and the media – since schools don’t routinely teach economics – and they don’t have the mental tools to see the errors in the argument. They think money is something the all-powerful government just makes up, and see no reason why it can’t just make some more. Despite the lessons of history, they keep on trying.

    ‘Money’ is just a credible and enforceable promise to pay something of genuine value at a later date. Of course it can be made out of thin air – promises are like that. But what they constantly fail to understand is the bit about having to deliver on those promises at a later date. You don’t get out of having to pay for your ever-expanding welfare state, you just defer the payment until later.

    It’s not ‘debt’ per se that is the problem, but this business of consistently spending more than you earn, with no plan for or intention of ever paying it back. They’re so stupid they actually think that’s possible.

  14. It all seems a bit contradictory. He moans about low tax right before saying low tax is an illusion. In which case, Richard, you can stop writing now then, can’t you?

    Also there is the claim that he has proved high tax countries have better GDP/capita. Looking forward to how he accounts for places like Hong Kong and Singapore.

  15. @ diogenes
    Russian healthcare is run on a system fairly similar to much of continental western Europe or slightly similar to the USA. Companies buy insurance for their employees, self-employed have to take out personal health-care insurance, and the local authority provides insurance cover for the unemployed. Various private hoispital and healthcare companies get contracts from local government to provide treatment.
    So there isn’t a NHS equivalent. There is an equivalent to the alternative NHS structure proposed by Beveridge and supported by the Conservative and Liberal parties, but Russia has chosen not to follow the Nye Bevan model, having had more than half-a-century to see how it worked out.

  16. Sorry I should have added that one of the biggest insurance products by premium income in Russia is optional healthcare insurance that provides cover for a higher and/or wider level of cover than the stautory one. BUPA for tens of millions of clients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *