Thursday 28 July 2005

In defence of Prince Charles

It's not exactly the most shocking thing to read that Members of Parliament are criticising Prince Charles for his management of the Duchy of Cornwall. That's what we expect MPs to do - it's much more exciting than examining their own expenditure.

I have no idea whether the Duchy is managed efficiently, or indeed whether it can be argued that it came into the possession of the Royal Family by means that are acceptable to libertarians. It would certainly be fascinating to conduct an audit of the Duchy's affairs, but that's not my concern here.

This is what caught my eye:

The landed estates are supposed to be in trust for future monarchs, but MPs had concerns that current beneficiaries could draw loans from the capital.
Charles's spokesmen say that the estate is not being run down by excessive current expenditure:
They denied that the prince's role in the running of the duchy would compromise the interest of future dukes, such as Prince William.
It seems clear to me that the MPs concerned take it as axiomatic that a private owner such as the Prince will prefer to spend the estate's income now instead of taking a long-term approach and conserving capital for the benefit of his heirs. I submit that this is nonsense.

I strongly recommend that readers purchase a copy of Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Democracy, the God that Failed, in which:

... monarchical government is reconstructed theoretically as privately owned government, which in turn is explained as promoting future-orientedness and a concern for capital values and economic calculation by the government ruler. Secondly, equally unorthodox but by the same theoretical token, democracy and the democratic experience are cast in an untypically unfavorable light. Democratic government is reconstructed as publicly owned government, which is explained as leading to present-orientedness and a disregard or neglect of capital values in government rulers, and the transition from monarchy to democracy is interpreted accordingly as civilizational decline.
Like Murray Rothbard, Hoppe understands that it's democracy, not monarchy, that's more likely to lead to economic short-sightedness. When Members of Parliament demonstrate that they have a good understanding of economic principles I'll be willing to treat them with a bit more respect. In the meantime we need to be far more concerned about politicians' expenditure than by anything that Prince Charles might be up to.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Paul Coulam
"I strongly recommend that readers purchase a copy of Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Democracy, the God that Failed" 
I agree and would then even more strongly recommend that they read Walter Block's review of it which explains why Hoppe's thesis is false. 
I've always thought that Leopold II's personal monarchical rule of the Congo Free State served as ample refutation of this half-baked idea of Hoppe's.

2 August 2005, 16:58:43 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
The American constitutional republic worked better than unlimited democracy. Sadly, it's no longer with us.

1 August 2005, 12:07:00 GMT+01:00
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Phil Hunt
If democracy yhas failed, then all the other ways of running societies have failed worse.

1 August 2005, 06:24:41 GMT+01:00
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The system of Parliamentry Committees may have some good points, but the overwhelming impression one gets, is of a bunch of MPs grandstanding and elbowing each other aside to make outrageous comments about third parties. They loot the public purse as much as possible for their own ends, and delight in criticising others. Your lesson taken from "Democracy, The God That Failed" is exactly right. They are the ones without concern for the future of the country, whereas Charles must always think of William's future needs and inheritance.

29 July 2005, 14:51:52 GMT+01:00
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Probably he does so well because he takes his business advice from flowers not from consultants.

29 July 2005, 11:02:43 GMT+01:00
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Andrew Ian Dodge
I believe Prince Charles is in trouble for doing too well. Is it me or are the MPs having a fit about this a bit jealous? I mean how can you describe Charles as a dolt when he is so successful?

29 July 2005, 10:46:14 GMT+01:00