Tuesday 23 June 2009


Lesley Riddoch's Scotsman pieces are behind the registration wall.

I quote from yesterday's dead tree version :

... Fred Goodwin, who retreated to Europe before offering surrender terms - £4 million for public acceptance and reintegration into Scottish society. It's interesting to note that boycotts still work so effectively, and that Sir Fred values a hassle-free walk to the Morningside shops so highly
That's a very important libertarian point.

In an earlier post I mentioned the widespread belief that "there ought to be a law against it" whenever some social problem arises. Of course, we only need two laws at all:

(1) Don't initiate force or fraud

(2) Keep your agreements.

It's not clear to me that Sir Fred broke either of those two "laws", although that's not to say that he shouldn't have been fired by his employers for incompetence. Subject to contract, needless-to-say. Assuming that Sir Fred didn't break either of the two legitimate laws, and that his employers have dealt with him according to their own rules, any action on the part of outraged third parties should be in the form of boycotts and not in calls for state action. Boycotts are an appropriate way for civil society to encourage compliance with generally accepted modes of behaviour.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Colin Finlay
Germany seems OK now - very few Jews and no chaos, Mr Craig.

30 July 2009, 10:56:41 GMT+01:00
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Neil Craig
He suffered more than a boycott - he got his windows broken, which is possibly not that shocking in some places but is in Morningside. 
The Labour party's behaviour here is, to a significantly lesser degree 7 to a slightly more guilty target, the same as German nationalists to the Jews - find a target to blame for your chaos & you can get away with it.

28 June 2009, 12:55:28 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Unacceptable in many circumstances but much less dangerous to civil society than the heavy hand of the law.

24 June 2009, 21:16:58 GMT+01:00
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Bill (Scotland)
I suppose that she meant that Fred could be "dissed" in the shops or on the streets. 
Otherwise known as verbal harrassment. Unacceptable.

24 June 2009, 10:32:33 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
The bit I quoted covers the entire mention of boycotts. I suppose that she meant that Fred could be "dissed" in the shops or on the streets.  
In the absence of any laws other than the two I mentioned we would see a "market" in ostracism, so to speak. Those who ostracised unreasonably would themselves suffer the consequences.

23 June 2009, 18:41:52 GMT+01:00
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Bill (Scotland)
I haven't read the Scotsman article, but from the portion of it you quote I am confused. What has a 'boycott', which I agree is a legitimate form of protest against something or other, got to do with whether he might have a 'hassle-free' walk through Morningside? It seems to me that this could imply something rather more than a simple 'boycott', which I would consider completely unacceptable. The two categories of 'infraction' do seem to me to be reasonable, but your seeming inference that a boycott and having a hassle-free walk in one's neighbourhood may be conflated is whilst not necessarily one I would disagree with entirely does seem to me to veer rather too much toward Harriet Harman's 'court of public opinion', which I abhorred when she said and abhor now. 
Social exclusion is certainly one of the most powerful of weapons to express displeasure at what someone has done, but it certainly (in my humble opinion) should not veer into making someone's life a 'hassle', verbally or physically.

23 June 2009, 14:18:19 GMT+01:00
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james higham
any action on the part of outraged third parties should be in the form of boycotts and not in calls for state action 

23 June 2009, 09:48:33 GMT+01:00