The aim is to replace capitalism with something else

I have been sent an article from a friend in New Zealand – Why Call it “Socialism”? – which opens in the following way.

I’ve been coming around to the belief that most modern arguments over “socialism” are a waste of time, because the content of the term has become so nebulous. When you drill down a bit, a lot of “socialists” are really just saying that they would like to have government play a more active role in providing various benefits to workers and the poor, along with additional environmental protection.

Socialism is thus a desire for better social welfare and a more egalitarian society. Well, maybe. This was my reply.

Thank you for that. Very interesting, and yet, and yet…. Socialism is a personal belief system that has no specific definition. Everyone makes up their own version so whenever some actually existing socialist economy is set up and then inevitably fails, everyone else can say that what they did was not what they had meant by socialism, that what was done was not what they had had in mind.

No one any longer describes what they believe in as “socialism” but I know it when I see it. It is ever and always a means to supplant the market through some kind of government direction in which individuals are not made responsible for their own personal welfare. Instead, governments manage and direct major economic entities; there are huge burdens placed on enterprises, through the taxes that are levied, the wages and benefits they are made to provide, and the regulations that they are made to follow; and there are huge amounts of public expenditures, almost inevitably more costly than the economic benefits they provide, that shape the direction in which an economy is made to follow. There are then large efforts to equalise incomes between those who provide more value than they are paid and those who either do not work or who are allowed to receive incomes well above the value added they have personally created. There are other features too, but you get the picture. The incentive structure is completely warped so that economic returns are very badly correlated with economic contribution.

And with every turn of the electoral cycle, we move further in a socialist direction. Scott Morrison is hardly a free-market capitalist, but he is well ahead of anyone on the Labor side. Your own PM is a complete economic dunce who will do you in if she is given half a chance. Everyone wants to be Mr, Miss, Ms and Mrs Niceperson. I only wish they had some prior understanding of how economies work before they bought in on it.

There you are. Interesting article, but economists turn out to have no political or philosophical sense whatsoever.

I would be placated to some extent if everyone before they waded in on the need for more regulation and re-distribution first explicitly stated that of course, free market capitalism is the only way to manage an economy so these suggestions are only intended to slightly alter the way we go about things. But no one ever says that. Replacing capitalism with something else is the underlying aim, or so it seems to me. There are so many gadgets around, from computers to widescreen television, that everyone will be easily lulled into disaster as in Venezuela with no way out at the end. And none of it will be mentioned by our media who are more into an apathetic torpor than anyone in Orwell’s time could ever possibly have imagined.

The numbers are scary

From the English Spectator, this is the title: Muslims aren’t Europe’s new Jews and this is the sub-title: “They’re Europe’s new anti-Semites”. By Daniella Greenbaum Davis.

An ADL study from 2015 highlighted some interesting data regarding anti-Semitism within German society, and in western Europe more broadly. Eleven classically anti-Semitic ideas were posed to respondents. For each of the 11 statements, Muslims living in Germany had a much higher rate of responding “probably true” than did the overall population when asked the same question. Asked whether Jews “have too much power in international finance markets,” 74 percent of German Muslims agreed, compared with 29 percent among the overall population. When asked whether Jews “are responsible for most of the world’s wars,” 33 percent of German Muslims agreed, compared with 9 percent among the overall population. When asked whether Jews “think they are better than other people,” 40 percent of German Muslims living in Germany agreed, as compared to 16 percent for the overall population. And so on and on and on.

Needless to say, the numbers are scary in both directions. It’s horrifyingly that 51 percent of Germans think that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.” It’s profoundly disappointing that in Germany, as in the US, charges of anti-Semitism have become a popular way to delegitimize political rivals. The right and the left fling accusations at each other, but both sides are more concerned with scoring ideological points than with the  safety of Jews who are suffering increased attacks both physically and online.

More at the link, all equally depressing but she ends with some useful advice.

Now is also the time for Jews, in Europe and in the US, to recognize where their friends-for-now, or at least their defenders, are on the political spectrum.

You cannot trust a party of the left with the management of an economy

From New Data Shows Absolute Economic Destruction During Obama Years. And these figures are not from some ratbag bunch of observers. This is where they are from:

The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis just released this single snapshot of economic performance over the Obama years.

And what do the figures show:

Federal debt went through the roof as we added more debt than all other previous periods combined.
We printed lots of money to paper over the monetary effects.
Health costs went way up when we were told they would drop. Obama care was a flop.
Labor force participation went down as unemployment increased and many just dropped out of the workplace altogether.
Inequality went up and up, as the rich got richer and the middle class shrank.
Median income dropped.
Home ownership also fell way down.
Overall, Americans were far worse off than before and we were told there was NO hope.
The country was losing to China and our children and grandchildren would not live as well as their parents and grandparents had.
Jobs would never return.

Venezuela is all that parties of the left know since they know nothing about allowing a market economy to work. Politically totalitarians and economically socialists. Yet they are the almost-governments everywhere and are only stopped because the damage they create causes a backlash before they can go much farther. But eventually they return and carry their projects a little further along.

Time to consider a different approach to economic management

I realise that the Coalition, being from the right side of the political divide, are supposed to know something about how to run an economy, but I fear the evidence is very thin on the ground. And I know the RBA is supposed to be arm’s length from actual policy determined, but I have a feeling the PM and his economic ministers are absolutely onside with this: Rates could fall as low as 0.5% amid warnings of GFC-like slowdown.

Incompetent doesn’t even get near it. Incoherent and ignorant comes closer. Peter Costello was blessed with Glenn Stevens. Now we have this:

Official interest rates could be slashed to just 0.5 per cent to deal with an economy growing at its slowest since the depths of the Global Financial Crisis, markets and economists have warned as investors bet the economy needs more financial support.

Economists at JP Morgan on Wednesday became the first to predict the Reserve Bank of Australia will eventually take the cash rate to 0.5 per cent in a bid to protect the national jobs market and drive growth.

I am not going to try to explain the stupidity of this kind of policy in a blog post. So I will only make a couple of suggestions to our new government. First, talk to Peter Costello. I know, he’s from a different planet and what would he know about running an economy? However, he did set up conditions for a decade long era of extraordinary growth until we hit the GFC at the same time that Kevin Rudd was our PM. If you want to understand why we are now dealing with “an economy growing at its slowest since the depths of the Global Financial Crisis” you have to understand why public spending and low interest rates cannot and will not provide an economy with momentum of any kind.

The second suggestion is that someone provide the Treasurer with a copy of my book: Free Market Economics. It’s now in its third edition, but as a reminder of its message, the second edition of the book was launched by Peter Costello. This is what the book is about.

Key Features include:

* analysis derived from the theories of pre-Keynesian classical economists, as this is the only source available today that explains the classical pre-Keynesian theory of the business cycle
* a focus on the entrepreneur as the driving force in economic activity rather than on anonymous `forces’ as found in most economic theory today
* introduces a powerful though simplified model to explain the difference between modern theory of recession and classical theory of the business cycle
* great emphasis is placed on the consequences of decision making under uncertainty
* offers an introductory understanding, accessible to the non-specialist reader.

The aim of this book is to redirect the attention of economists and policy makers towards the economic theories that prevailed in earlier times. Their problems were little different from ours but their way of understanding the operation of an economy and dealing with those problems was completely different.

Free Market Economics, Third Edition will help students and general readers understand classical economic theory, written by someone who believes that this now-discarded approach to economic thought was superior to what is found in most of our textbooks today.

If you actually believe that lower interest rates will promote economic growth, read the last two chapters to find out the harm that this kind of approach is guaranteed to cause. It is the only anti-Keynesian textbook on the market. After a decade of Keynesian failures, isn’t it time to consider something else?

WHERE TO BUY FREE MARKET ECONOMICS: I have had a request, for which I am very grateful, about where to find a copy of Free Market Economics, and the one certain place is from the publisher, Edward Elgar.

The book is also not very expensive so far as textbooks tend to go. It was never my intention to turn publishing into a money-making project – which I have truly succeeded at – and the price of the book has been kept as low as possible from the start. In this I was assisted by the publisher so that my text became the first publication of theirs that was published from the start in both a hardback and a cheaper paperback edition. No one ever in my memory ever bought the hardback edition, but what I also found interesting was that no one also ever asked the author to sign their copy of the book.

Globalisation is well on the way to bringing us to ruin

This is an exceptionally good article by Peter Smith at Quadrant Online whose title provides little insight into what is to come: In Determined Pursuit of Unhappiness. It’s about the way in which our political class is attempting to demonstrate a virtue signalling globalist agenda by selling out the people who put them into office. This is near the start but is only a prelude, but an important prelude to what comes after.

There is a fetish with free trade among globalists. Only heretics object. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade took effect from the beginning of 1948. It was succeeded by the World Trade Organization from the beginning of 1995. From around 10 per cent of world GDP in 1948, international trade has since burgeoned to be now around 25 per cent. The free trade agenda has been driven primarily by the libertarian-cum-classical-liberal side of the political divide. Let me be heretical. There is no well-based rationale for free trade. Unless, that is, you think that maximising the availability of cheap stuff outweighs all other considerations.

Free trade brings significantly reduced industrial diversity within nations. It brings a loss of skills. It brings entrenched regional unemployment and despair. It brings long and vulnerable supply lines which threaten national security. International trade is like cabbage, broccoli and other leafy greens. Some is an essential ingredient of a balanced diet; yet more is very good for you. But they don’t make for a complete eating regime. Let me be clear, the issue is not one of trade versus protection. It is about the extent to which the interests of all of the citizens of a nation are brought into account by their political representatives when they are eliminating trade barriers. The wholeness, integrity and security of the nation-state should not be bartered away for a mess of pottage.

But that is only part of what he is trying to explain. This comes closer, found towards the end:

Globalisation is well on the way to bringing us to ruin. In principle, the remedy is simple. We, the people, need to elect politicians whose overriding goal is to create the conditions which preserve and nurture the life, the liberty and the happiness of the citizens of their nation-state; who will always promote their country’s claims over the claims of others; who, even though President Trump has said it, will always put their country and its citizens first. However, in practice, there is a sting in this tale (to corrupt an idiom). Perhaps, in this current age, most difficulty lies not with a paucity of potentially sound-thinking politicians or would-be politicians. Maybe it lies with “we, the people”.

Seriously, you should read it all.

Nothing stands still

Sources of oil on an annual basis since the mid-1960s. Takes you to 2017. Just watching the total volume of oil production grow over the years is instructive in itself. There is no going back, unless it is going back to the Dark Ages.

And then this one shows the growth in GDP by country. A better, more useful measure is perhaps GDP per capita, but you get the idea.

Far more stability here with China the outlier although there is real reason to doubt the accuracy of their numbers. Also sad to see Australia fall and then eventually drop out of the Top 20 in 2020. Economic management has been abject for many years.

And now I have found the per capita GDP measure which doesn’t end up looking all that meaningful. Australia is there both at the start and at the end but the numbers seem to suggest that having an oil well is the optimal approach to wealth.

And then economic growth ranked one to ten over the years since 1962. Never have I come across such meaningless economic numbers.

Exports, on the other hand, really seem to say something significant.

But imports seem to say something even more accurate. The ability to import is what does make an economy more wealthy. Yet once again a per capita measure seems essential for a more insightful comparison.

With this one you can watch both total GDP and GDP per capita to get a sense of how it matters. It compares Japan, China, South Korea and India, with the UK thrown in as a first world example.

They’re back but not for long

Border Force officers after intercepting the Sri Lankan asylum-seeker boat off Christmas Island.

From the front page of The Oz: Sri Lankan asylum-seeker bid turns back time. They must have been reading the polling figures before the election. The stats which come with the story notes that in the last two years of R-G-R, there were 17,204 and 20,587 arrivals by sea. In the first year of ATM, the number fell to 160. From the story:

Yesterday’s returns bring to 186 the number of men, women and children from 10 people-smuggling ventures who have been ­returned to Sri Lanka since the ­Coalition came to power in September 2013. More than 50,000 asylum-seekers came to Australia by boat under the previous Labor government and an estimated 1200 drowned trying over that six-year period.

There is then this comment accompanying the story on People smugglers which includes this, almost as a throw-away.

Another boat was reported to have left India in March. It was never seen again and is assumed lost at sea.

There are many reasons to stop the flow. As a separate matter, the notion that large-scale migration is good for the economy is utterly untrue.

Death by education

A university professor almost invariably knows nothing about the history of the culture we live within. The compartmentalisation of knowledge has left almost every discipline filled with cultural morons, and even where such knowledge ought to be integral to the subject – sociology, say, or history – those who reach the professorial level are as ignorant as school children. They have no idea what other societies are like, or even our own at an earlier stage of history. And beyond that, their own socialisation is towards some fantasist version of what might even be possible given the crooked timber of humanity. Which leads to this: The Death of Merit and the Race to Mediocrity in Our Increasingly Marxist Universities. Here’s some with more at the link.

There are 756,900teachers and professors in Canada, and 5.2 million in the U.S. Almost all of these professors and teachers are daily resolutely and relentlessly attacking Western culture, rejecting American culture, and advocating cultural Marxism.

How did this come about? During the 1960s and 1970s, two converging social movements transformed the culture of education. One was the adoption of Marxism by a wide range of North American university professors in the social sciences and humanities. The other was the widespread adoption of feminist theory. Together, Marxism and feminism redefined North American society as a hierarchy of oppression, with white, patriarchal capitalists at the top, and poor lesbians of color at the bottom. All citizens were redefined as members of racial, economic, gender, sexual, and ethnic classes, with people of white oppressing people of color, males oppressing females, rich oppressing poor, heterosexuals oppressing LGBTQ++, Christians and Jews oppressing Muslims, and so on. This approach is called “social justice” theory.

Having myself come out of the university system of the 1960s and 1970s, I was not only there at the start but also part of the transformation. But we had the rock solid framework of our cultural inheritance to buffer ourselves against our own ignorance and stupidity. Now we are the framework. It is rotting timber that will soon lead to the overturning of our culture which will fall to enemies who will bring on a Dark Age of such blackness that it may be centuries before we become universally enlightened enough to understand the loss that will now be taking place.

The death of Western civilisation takes another step forward

Here are the opening paras of David Solway’s A Professor Who Argues Against Multicultural Ideology and for Western Exceptionalism Now Fears for His Job. Of course he does. For most of those he is describing, they won’t even notice the Dark Age when it comes.

I have met University of New Brunswick sociologist and co-founder of the blog Council of European Canadians Ricardo Duchesne only once and found him reserved, thoughtful and modest. A brilliant writer and genuine scholar, he has authored two impeccably-researched volumes on the history of Western civilization and the settler domestication of pre-industrial lands.

In an earlier article for PJ Media, I had occasion to mention Duchesne, who writes in Canada in Decay — one of the most important books in our national literature explaining the emergence of the ideology of immigrant multiculturalism — that Canada is an extreme, though not unique, example of impending ethnocide, “promoting its own replacement by foreigners from other races, religions and cultures.” As Duchesne points out in The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, the same form of national self-deprecation we note in Canada is at work in most Western nations today.

Before multiculturalism took root, Duchesne argues, Canada was not an immigrant nation, as the cliché has it, but a European nation built by settlers and pioneers. The same formulation applies to the U.S. and Australia. He notes a critical difference between categories of newcomers: pioneers create, immigrants contribute (at their best). Multiculturalism, however, which radically changes the identity of a country, is neither a creation nor a contribution; it is “an experiment imposed from above.” Tensions inevitably arise between the rapidly shrinking European majority and the multi-ethnic, culturally alien brew that is displacing it.

Duschesne lays out his agenda in The Uniqueness of Western Civilization. His central contention, he writes, “will be that the West has always existed in a state of variance from the rest of the world’s cultures,” divergences that include, among a plethora of others, “the ‘Greek miracle’, the Roman invention of the legal persona, the Papal revolution, the invention of mechanical clocks, the Portuguese voyages of discovery, the Gutenberg revolution, the Cartographic revolution, the Protestant Reformation, the ‘rational’ mercantilist state and the ‘industrial enlightenment.’” He has no doubt that the “ideals of freedom and the reasoned pursuit of truth were cultivated and realized in the course of Western time.”

Predictably, Duchesne has been attacked as a white supremacist in the leftist media — The Huffington Post, the CBCGlobal TV, and other venues — and by an open-letter cabal of 25 of his UNB colleagues engaged in a war against “hate” — that is, against anything that disagrees with their anti-Western ideology. He will almost certainly find himself under formal investigation by the university, which is now reviewing complaints against him. The administration is actively seeking student grievances to lodge against him and there have also been requests for complaints in social media from the student union representative.

Duchesne is now in the impossible position of responding to a loaded question, that is, one that contains an unjustified assumption and presupposes its own answer, of the “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” type. Such question-begging is a rhetorical sleight of hand that works as a form of entrapment — the defamatory “loaded” technique that culture hero Jordan Peterson, for example, has been regularly subjected to. In Duchesne’s case, the “white supremacist” tag is integrally associated with his name, as if one were a substitute for or translation of the other. The implicit question runs something like: “Have you renounced your white supremacy yet?” or “Are you still a white supremacist?”

The West must awaken to the fact

Referenced among the comments on this thread: the concluding paragraph of Greg Davis’s 2006 book Religion of Peace? Islam’s War Against the World:

“The West must awaken to the fact that it is facing nothing less than the resurgence of the greatest war machine in world history: an ideology that holds the killing of others, the plundering of their wealth, the conquering of their lands, the enslavement of their people, and the destruction of their institutions to be among the highest virtues and the stepping stones to salvation. Islam, while it continues to lack a centralized political structure, is nonetheless reacquiring the means of war it has used to such deadly effect in the past. Yet it seems that the secular West today is determined not to hear the bad news. It is hoping against hope that things are not as bad as they seem. It is hoping that the myriad acts of violence around the world done in the name of Allah are somehow not indicative of ‘real’ Islam. It is hoping that Muslims throughout the world calling for the destruction of America and Europe are just blowing hot air. It is hoping that Islam — a religion founded by one of history’s great warlords; a religion that waged wars of aggression and conquest for a thousand years, that slaughtered and enslaved untold millions and invented modern genocide, and that today is the only force in the world that produces terrorism, suicide bombings, hostage-taking, organized rape, and massacres on a global scale — that this strange, seething, violent mass is somehow ‘a religion of peace.’ Rejecting this fiction and standing up to be counted will determine whether or not we survive the twenty-first century.”