We the people might give an answer

Venezuela’s underlying mistake was messing with markets. If we wish to avoid the same error then we’ve got to create our welfare state the other way, taxing and then spending. And if we the people decide that we don’t want to pay the bill, well, tant pis to social democracy then.

12 thoughts on “We the people might give an answer”

  1. The Pedant-General

    “Instead, everything happens over on the black market where prices are simply what prices are.”

    Worth making a couple of ancillary points:
    1) Black markets show that that’s what the people actually want – a market
    2) black markets are nowhere near as efficient as actual markets: Transaction costs are much higher; Information flows are weaker; it’s very illegality means actual costs are higher than they would be; losses in the system are likely much higher

    Basically it’s less efficient – everyone loses.

  2. I’d add if you must bribe the poor then its perfectly feasible still in a market regime. The market clearing price for tobacco leaf, wine, beer, spirits is incredibly low.

  3. I’m pretty interested in politics and the EU and this is the first I’d ever heard of this “massive” consultation. Possibly that explains the numbers – that’s less than 1% of the population of the EU. As we also find out:

    By far the biggest response was in Germany and Austria (3.79% and 2.94% of the national population respectively). The UK’s response was lowest – 0.02% – but few Italians took part either (0.04%).

    Oh, right. So when we told people during that little mid century unpleasantness that we’d prefer not to be ruled by German socialists they din’t quite hear the answer then, is that it? Or ruled by the German and Austrian might combined perhaps?



    Post here too. Consultation? What consultation?

    Me: GMT all year.

  4. “The Pedant-General

    2) . . .Transaction costs are much higher; Information flows are weaker; it’s very illegality means actual costs are higher than they would be; losses in the system are likely much higher

    Basically it’s less efficient – everyone loses.”

    Don’t confuse ‘things cost more’ with ‘less efficient’.

    A black market is more efficient than a ‘white market’ – unless that white market is also unregulated. ‘Transaction costs are higher’ – because black markets price in the danger (and other costs) associated with defying those with power that don’t want that transaction to take place. Information flows are also not weaker – they’re as strong as they can be since there is no one distorting those information flows. They’re not *perfect*, but they never are.

    ‘Everyone loses’ – that depends on your baseline. They lose compared to an unregulated free market but they win compared to the reality on the ground – otherwise they wouldn’t go to the black market in the first place.

  5. @TPG
    There’s a meta-market operating here. For a black market to be operating. it must be more efficient than the existent legitimate market. It’s out-competed it. Or, to put it another way, there is no difference between a black market, a grey market, a white market or any other colour of market. They’re all part of the same market. Because markets really do not care.

  6. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Black Markets
    in WW1 Austria the system went:

    Govt buys food from farmers at fixed price and stores it in repositories for rationed distribution.
    Farmers hold back a proportion of the produce in the hope of a better price.
    Black marketeers turn up and offer better price, take the produce to the city and add their mark-up.
    So although the total sum of the food is available, only a proportion ( don’t have the estimated figures to hand ) was available through rationing. Owing to the inflation at the end of the war, only the very rich could afford black market prices.
    So far so bad.

    There was a phenomenon common to the German and Austrian Reichs – the Hamsterfahrt ( really).
    Women and children get train to the countryside, armed with bags and baskets. Trudge miles to likely looking farmer and either
    a) buy food at higher price, but much less than black market costs
    b) steal food from fields
    c) mob threaten farmers into releasing produce.

    Farmers then and today are tenants, rarely own their own land, live in villages and travel out to the fields, so (b) was often the easiest option (c) was a thankfully rare occurrence, although many farmers felt intimidated by the hordes of townies descending on them.

    Black markets – lots of losers, a few winners, a recipe for revolution.

  7. They can shove their time change up their ESpew arses.

    We had all that shit when I was a kid and went back to the old system as better. I remember going to school on winter mornings like night.

    Tim who in the UK state might be pushing this shit on the EU shites behalf ?

    Best to get started on them right away.

  8. Pater. “And don’t forget the circuses”
    well the modern version is football, and very recently the bbc promoted people trying to resurrect that old bribe with the line attendance should be free because clubs would still make money.

    I don’t necessarily advocate for cheap ciggies, only following tim’s line of advising less crazy ways for a politician to offer make-believe largesse. That it’ll go against more paternalistic or puritanical or tax maximising sympathies notwithstanding.

  9. if we’re going to change the time it should be BST all year. Far rather have an hour of sunlight in the afternoon in winter than in the morning.

  10. PCar & HB

    I’m for “stick”.

    In the winter it’s dark whichever way you do it, by the time people finish work, whereas having “some” light in the morning (GMT) is a great start to the day (and especially for those that don’t like mornings).

    By summer, BST also gives you the longer evenings when it’s warm enough to enjoy / make better use of it.

    Sort of works fine as it is doesn’t it?

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