We knew this but still, it’s a nice admission

The government has only got four economic tasks.

It has to make sure anyone who wants a job can have one.

It has to make sure they can live on the wage that they earn, and help if they cannot.

It has to make sure that the jobs people people have don’t harm our long term survival.

It has to make sure it can deliver all the support that’s required to deliver these objectives, from education and healthcare, to security, justice and defence, onwards.

Not a single mention of freedom or liberty there…..

26 thoughts on “We knew this but still, it’s a nice admission”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    All these years we have been condemning certain Southern gentlemen who their particular custom, as it were. But how wrong we were! It turns out that they were way ahead of their time.

    They sure made sure that their “servants” had jobs. Even if they did not want one. They definitely provided help to make sure that they could live in their wages, such as they were. Indeed said gentlemen of African origin ate better than all members of the Soviet block in 1957 except East Germany – and perhaps the Czechs. A lot better than the Russians or the Bulgarians. They were engaged in sustainable agriculture that relied on 100% organic products like cotton thus protecting the environment for future generations.

    Alas, or maybe not, while they succeeded in providing all the education and healthcare that was needed, they fell down a little on the security and defence parts. But not from want of trying!

    I am sure Ritchie will join me in condemning those Damned Yankees.

  2. “Damned Yankees”

    IIRC, it was “Fighting Joe” Wheeler, a Confederate general who later in Spanish-American war, leading his troops to a skirmish, hollered “we’ve got those damned yankees on the run!”

    Much later, Bob Hope in Lemon Drop Kid: “well, honey child, did you’ll just drop this five-dollar bill?” – I couldn’t have, mine all hundreds. “Yeah, mine too, must belong to some damned yankee”

    Paraphrasing of course.

  3. Actually the first economic task is to enable farmers to safely sow and harvest their crops [hence if a Greek city-state wanted a war with their neighbours they would invade shortly before harvest]. Second is to provide a secure and reliable coinage which can be used to trade goods and services and for settling debts. debts. Third is providing justice, preventing theft, enforcing just contracts, banning unjust contracts, ending slavery …. Fourth is to regulate markets.

    There are no blind as those who will not see – such as Murphy

  4. “Second is to provide a secure and reliable coinage which can be used to trade goods and services and for settling debts.”

    Nope. Private banks can do that. Government not needed.

    “Fourth is to regulate markets.”

    Depends on what you mean. In general, no, free markets are free.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset


    Regulation in a tragedy of the commons situation may be acceptable eg fishing where regulation could be used to create property rights. Still better if fishermen could come to their own arrangement though.

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    PS and some regulations can make a tragedy of the commons situation worse eg fishing and the EU quota system.

  7. O/T I was reading this article in the Torygraph.
    Something stood out. “Of the 125,000 men who fought with Bomber Command One, 55,553 were killed in action.” That’s the sort of casualty rate the UK was willing to sustain in just one arm of its conscripted armed forces to prevent the county living under the sort of clampdown & destruction of its economy its seen in the past few weeks. It’s ironic that the high risk demographic the measures were largely to protect has been the generation the bomber crews flew off in defence of.
    Dunno about the War Against Coronavirus©. Starting to look more like capitulation.

  8. Dennis, CPA to the Gods

    Not a single mention of freedom or liberty there…

    Actually, all four items are very specific calls to curtail freedom and liberty. Spud sees it as the job of government as the agent, nothing is asked of the individual other than compliance.

    He is what he’s always been… A totalitarian.

  9. To paraphrase Heinlein:

    “If someone starts a sentence with “you/we simply must..”, it is a solid indicator it ain’t so.”

  10. …..A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law….etc etc

    The government cannot create jobs per se, it can manage demand up to a point, but not enforce the creation of markets innovation and productivity that increase wealth. The problem with this robotic law is that it is static state thinking. Unless the government could meaningfully pass a ,” Do Good Stuff”,Law saying …” Have good ideas, risk cash, invent a better thing .”… none of the rest of it is real.
    You could mandate full employment ..but you cannot force people to buy the shit tractors that sit rusting at the factory. It goes back to the fundamental Marxist error, which was to locate value in Labour,when, as anyone in the Commercial world will tell you, working hard adds nothing, if no-one wants your product at the cost you supply it.

    Its not a question of ‘freedom’- whatever that is, its a question of balancing objectives .

  11. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious

    I am beginning to suspect that Newmania is the Murphy that escaped confinement in the attic of the family manor.

  12. Funny, here I was thinking that not a single one of those things was a task for government.

  13. The left is in favor of a more tightly regulated society so it would be illogical for them to be in favor of individual freedom. With plenty of freedom you just never know what people might do or come up with; that flies directly in the face of those who favor centralized planning to determine what might be done or what we need.

  14. Newmania
    May 31, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    ..but you cannot force people to buy the shit tractors that sit rusting at the factory. It goes back to the fundamental Marxist error

    Oh but you can. Your buddies in the former Soviet Union did exactly this – you just need to be willing to use the gun. The ‘fundamental Marxist error’ is the belief that they won’t end up in front of the guns of their former comrades-in-arms.

  15. Didn’t the Soviet Union help Cuba by sending them sugar beet equipment to help with the sugar cane harvest?

  16. The Meissen Bison

    Pneumie – even when you try to seem reasonable you sound like a drip.

    Those tractors didn’t rust at the factory, they conked out in the fields, when they got there and the waiting list for a “Trabbie” was up to ten years.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    The Meissen Bison May 31, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    “the waiting list for a “Trabbie” was up to ten years.”

    The rumour is that you had to wait ten years for a Trabant but then a used one was worth four time more than a new one.

    Not to mention the time the East Germans ran out of coffee because they had over-looked it in their plans.

    The glories of a planned economy.

  18. The old Ronald Reagan’s joke, 10 year waiting list to get a new car. What time can I pick it up? What does it matter what time of the day, you’ll be waiting for 10 years anyway? Yes, but the plumber’s coming in the morning.

  19. At least he is of the old Communist school which dictates that everyone must work and that those that don’t work don’t eat. So we agree on something.

  20. The waiting list for a Trabant or a Lada was relatively short – for a Skoda it was three years in 1991 *after* the the Berlin Wall fell, presumably longer before that. So a lot of Slovaks bought Ladas for which there wasn’t a noticeable waiting list.

  21. ‘Newmania
    May 31, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    ..but you cannot force people to buy the shit tractors that sit rusting at the factory. It goes back to the fundamental Marxist error’

    Actually we can be and are forced to buy at grossly inflated prices the shit electricity produced by windmills and solar panels.

  22. I think the government’s duty depends on your political view.
    If you are left wing, then you think the government has a duty to help the poor.
    If you are right wing you think government should not be involved in interfering in the economy to help the poor.

    I read a book by Joey Vimsante, of the differences between the left and right, and law and order.
    Robin Hood From Three Perspectives: By Joey Vimsante, Clive Orweooch, and Rabbie Blackie Shinty
    It is a Robin Hood story, written from 3 different perspectives. One a right wing libertarian, One a left wing socialist, and one a law and order fanatic
    Each gets a chapter each to write and the story follows with the different perspectives leading the stories in different directions.

  23. Sarola Clever
    June 1, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    How do you get ‘right wing’ libertarians when the very essence of libertarianism is that it rejects the idea of using government (and thereby increasing government size and power) to do any except the fewest and most essential things?

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