Dear God, and he’s advising people using this?

As I added:

I have no desire to question the authority of a great Scottish moral philosopher but it is fair to note that Smith might be a little surprised at the scope and range of taxes to which his principles are now being applied. He would, for example, have been unfamiliar with the idea of:

Income tax
National insurance
Corporation tax
Capital gains tax
Many other modern levies and charges.

Smith specifically discusses taxes upon wages, consumption taxation (thinking that that on necessaries was a bad idea, upon luxuries just fine) and even talks about the problems of taxation upon gross wages as with the employers’ part of NI. And that’s something I checked in 2 minutes with Mr. Google, my friend.

Smith also rejects taxes upon income from capital at one stage so the idea of a corporation tax is unlikely to have surprised him. Nor CGT in fact.

Where is it that Ritchie gets these ideas from?

These ideas are, of course, familiar. Adam Smith might have used the term equity rather than proportionality; otherwise these come straight from The Wealth of Nations [and date from 1776]

Cretin. Smith actually said “in proportion”. But here’s his report to the MSPs.

It’s my suggestion that these are true economic and social principles that can really underpin tax in Scotland (and elsewhere come to that) and will, as a result, guide the work of ministers, MSPs, Revenue Scotland and those concerned with Scottish economic and taxation debate more appropriately than some maxims written in 1776, however useful they might have been at the time.

Smith’s just so old hat now, needs to be replaced by me. Me that is. MEEEEE!

11 thoughts on “Dear God, and he’s advising people using this?”

  1. It’s interesting. In the past he has rejected Smith entirely. I’m sure Noel could offer some links if asked nicely. My guess is there’s enough rudimentary intelligence in what passes for a brain to realise that a Scottish audience might find total condemnation of Smith less than entertaining.

    Regardless I think I’ll be willing to stake a fair wager that Murphy has not read either the Wealth of Nations or the equally crucial ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments’ before choosing to pontificate. I do like your last paragraph Tim – he honestly is self-obsessed enough to believe his moronic philosophy is worthy of equal consideration with ‘The father of economics’ – it’s hilarious.

  2. Can somebody pop along to his appearance north of the border and remind him that John Cowperthwaite was also a Scot.

  3. Noel

    I always think John Cowperthwaite and Peter Bauer could equally be described as the ‘anti-Murphy’ – every utterance or action a counterweight to his stupidity.

  4. @VP,

    I’m not an economist and I’m a little biased being in HK for over a decade, and not everything he did was right (failure to mandate primary education being the biggest), but I’d put Cowperthwaite’s as one of the few demonstrations of success driven by the state getting the fuck out (more so than what Reagan and Thatcher managed). So many examples at the other end of the scale (Mao, Chavez, Kim and worse) but few at the success end. I’d put Ritchie in the second group.

  5. I expect you wouldn’t have to travel back far in the Fat One’s blog to find Adam Smith described in distinctly less flattering terms than “a great Scottish moral philosopher”.

  6. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “failure to mandate primary education” Why would you need to mandate that? Are there lots of illiterate Hong Kongers? Were there?

  7. BICR/Noel

    Tying in with the Great Lord Bauer (the other anti- Murphy) if you can find a copy of the book ‘Equality, the Third World and Economic Delusion’ it’s possibly the greatest single book I have ever read. The chapter on Hong Kong is absolutely superb – a withering denunciation of the bien pensants of the day! Oddly Hong Kong was despised by most in academia , as Bauer rightly pointed out because many of the fortunes made there were made by people who did not have a high level of formal education.

    I had not heard of Cowperthwaite until shortly before his death around 20 years ago but he was a legendary figure – the chapter on Hong Kong in P.J O’Rourke’s ‘Eat the Rich’ is an excellent tribute to him.

  8. Truancy
    Foot binding
    statistical reasoning…

    There’s nothing there in school unless the parents want it.
    Having an ignorant moron (due to lack of education and fear of social + geographical mobility) to look after you in your old age is better than no one.

    Cowperthwaithe was right.

  9. Ritchie truly is an evil genius – as in he has been gifted by an evil genie to get his bull pooh passed the filters of government departments.
    “I have been asked to give evidence . . .” he writes. I’ve just speed read his submission to that committee in Scotland and it contains not a single citation, not a single piece of evidence. It’s absolute drivel. Some good ideas are surely in there, but how do we know if they might be good ideas – empiricism perhaps? Not in Murphy world – he just bangs those assertions out until the dogs get restless.

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