Tuesday, 11 June 2002
Monday, 10 June 2002
Sunday, 9 June 2002
Saturday, 8 June 2002
Friday, 7 June 2002
Thursday, 6 June 2002
Wednesday, 5 June 2002
"Some things can’t be taught. In fact, quite a lot of things can’t be taught, and how to make money is one of them. As has been pointed out, correctly, several times recently, there is no positive correlation between an increasing proportion of a nation’s population going through higher education and its economic performance."Just so. Mr Maxwell's meeting with three multi-millionaires parallels the von Mises quote that I posted on 31st May.
Tuesday, 4 June 2002
”From the vantage point of elementary economic theory and in light of historical evidence, then, a revisionist view of modern history results. The Whig theory of history, according to which mankind marches continually forward toward ever higher levels of progress, is incorrect. From the viewpoint of those who prefer less exploitation over more and who value far-sightedness and individual responsibility above short-sightedness and irresponsibility, the historic transition from monarchy to democracy represents not progress but civilizational decline.”From Chapter 2 of Democracy – The God That Failed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe.
Monday, 3 June 2002
I would naturally be very pleased to see Ryanair open a base at Prestwick in the footsteps of Polar Air Cargo which has already opened a base there.
However, as the Sunday Times says, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary is a tough negotiator. His company has been reported as looking at some rather strange new destinations in Scotland. Some think this may a negotiating ploy aimed at getting reduced landing fees at more conventional airports. No doubt he is doing the same with his search for a new maintenance base. Let's hope it's Prestwick.
Nevertheless, it wasn't really necessary for Councillor Burns to say:
but I for one didn't stand for election to do as little as possibleIt would be truly extraordinary if any politician promised to do "as little as possible."
Saturday, 1 June 2002
One stipulation of the Act of Union of 1707 was that Parliament should meet, year about, in England and Scotland. But Parliament became entrenched in London.Effectively, the Treaty and the two Acts of Union are Britain's constitution. Surely this means that legislation passed on alternative years since 1707 is null and void. This raises fascinating questions. Which taxes are legal? Is the UK a member of the EU? Do women have the vote?
I think we should be told.
Friday, 31 May 2002
Directors of companies need to set the standards for others to follow by adopting a professional approach to obtaining recognised business qualifications.This line of thought immediately rang a bell in the Blog House. Consulting the administration's copy of Human Action by Ludwig von Mises, I found this quote:
It is not generally realised that education can never be more than indoctrination with theories and ideas already developed. Education, whatever benefits it may confer, is transmission of traditional doctrines and valuations; it is by necessity conservative. It produces imitation and routine, not improvement and progress. Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in schools. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has taught them.
In order to succeed in business a man does not need a degree from a school of business administration. These schools train the subalterns for routine jobs. They certainly do not train entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur cannot be trained. A man becomes an entrepreneur in seizing an opportunity and filling the gap. No special education is required for such a display of keen judgment, foresight, and energy. The most successful businessmen were often uneducated when measured by the scholastic standards of the teaching profession. But they were equal to their social function of adjusting production to the most urgent demand. Because of these merits the consumers chose them for business leadership.
But as Mr. Sunter says, it is Scotland's new business start-up rate which is the problem. That will not be solved by producing more MBAs. What is needed is a huge cultural change and a slashing of red tape. Let's start by abolishing that pointless waste of taxpayers' money, the so-called Scottish Enterprise..
Thursday, 30 May 2002
Educating children against the wishes and demands of Muslim parents is a breach of their human rights and un-Islamic.He is quite right about the "mis-educating" and "de-educating" in state schools but that's caused by the schools being run by the state in the first place. In Scotland, we have state-funded Catholic schools and state-funded "secular" schools and now others, like the Muslims, understandably want a piece of the action. The only moral solution is to get the state out of education altogether. When parents purchase education in the marketplace there can be a whole variety of schools, religious and otherwise, without any group feeling hard done by.
The state schools have been mis-educating and de-educating Muslim children for the past 40 years.
Wednesday, 29 May 2002
Tuesday, 28 May 2002
Monday, 27 May 2002
Sunday, 26 May 2002
Saturday, 25 May 2002
I can’t help thinking, though, about just how much Mr. Dewar’s Scottish Labour Party has done to undermine property rights in this country. I wonder if Labour's hierarchy will draw any useful lessons from these incidents.
Friday, 24 May 2002
Thursday, 23 May 2002
Wednesday, 22 May 2002
Tuesday, 21 May 2002
Why is that helping us to become an enterprising nation? Because the only way to shift from a dependency culture to a "can do" culture is by educating our next generations that enterprise is for all.
I favour privatisation of schools but this programme is a very welcome change in the state sector.
Monday, 20 May 2002
Conversely, in Britain, power is vested in the Crown and leased downwards in ever more limited doses. Even the language of alleged decentralists — ‘devolution’, ‘subsidiarity’ — assumes that the natural place for power to concentrate is at the centre.
Unlike some libertarians, I am absolutely in favour of "full fiscal freedom" for Scotland - with all taxes being collected here and any mutually agreed sums being sent to London for common services. In the US, 18% of taxes are collected by the federal government. In Switzerland it's 27%, Spain 39%, Germany 44% and Italy 48%. Here, the central government in Westminster collects an amazing 87% of all taxation levied in Britain. No wonder the "devolved" assemblies are out of control. Who wouldn't be with their kind of pocket money? Let's make them responsible for collecting their own taxes.
Friday, 17 May 2002
Then, I got my regular e-mail from Gary North at The Daily Reckoning
You know when I knew the dot-com mania could not be sustained? In 1996. How did I know? Because I had read so many computer manuals. Only that tiny handful of companies in each field which sell utterly indispensable products could survive despite their manuals. The manuals were universally terrible, but we have to have a few programs, so we learn without the manuals. The manuals were the tip-off: "mania in progress; crash will follow." As a Texas A&M professor of computer science told me in 1996, "We cannot find any manual that does not have on average one instruction error per page, except for the NeXT manuals." NeXT was not a major player, despite its founder, Steve Jobs (the co-founder of Apple). How could anyone who ever tried to read a computer manual have expected the Nasdaq to overtake the Standard & Poor's 500? But they did.
So there we are. As we libertarians always knew, companies which make life easy for the customer have a future. The others will have to answer to the marketplace.
Thursday, 16 May 2002
Mr. Inglis then goes on to write about poor maintenance of our roads.
The lack of maintenance over the past decade has, because of the potholes, temporary road surfaces, soft verges, crumbling bridges and culverts, lack of white lines, missing road signs, choked gullies and drains, left the roads in such a state that they present a hazard to all road users.
All very true. But all the usual suspects are telling us that poor railway maintenance is the result of privatisation of the track. And the roads are owned by? …..oops, the state.
On BBC Radio Scotland at 5.40pm today, it was announced that a senior minister had said that the government would introduce a bill in the next parliamentary session to hold a referendum on joining the Euro. The 6pm News reported that the prime minister’s spokesman had announced that there were no such plans. So now we know.
Tuesday, 14 May 2002
Monday, 13 May 2002
(Note for overseas readers: £200,000 was recently paid in compensation to Mr Sixsmith, a departing civil servant.)
Diederik van Hoogstraten’s article celebrating the politics and personality of Pim Fortuyn (May 11) was a nasty racist rant which in an unintentional way illustrated one of the key causes of the present rise of explicit libertarian racism in a number of European countries. This is that many states have yet to recognise properly and publicly the implicit, indirect and institutional racism which disfigures their otherwise liberal societies. This in turn has created a political space for members of the libertarian right to mis-present themselves as liberals fighting to defend decent values under siege by alien incomers.Why is there such confusion about the term libertarianism? I have no doubt that some of Mr. Joyce’s own ideas could legitimately be described as libertarian but that most could not. The same applied to Pim Fortuyn. As I wrote on Friday in response to Melanie Phillips – not an ideological soul mate of Eric Joyce - there is a huge libertarian literature available for anyone wanting to understand its essentially straightforward message. I suspect that those on the left and on the right who misrepresent libertarianism know full well what it means and are rather afraid of its appeal.