Saturday 19 March 2011

Why do some people hate freedom?

Only SNP can fight market ideology says the ludicrous Joyce McMillan.

Ludicrous? It's almost a case of where to begin. So let's start with the title.

Why, exactly, would anyone want to fight a "market ideology"? To answer that we have to know what the term "market" means. As so often, Murray Rothbard had the answer:

The Free market is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people represented by agents
So what Ms McMillan is against is the freedom to make voluntary agreements.

This next bit is sort of correct but remains analytically lacking:

Three years ago, after all, the ordinary citizens of the West watched the financial system under which they had been living for decades hurtle towards self-destruction, and survive only with the help of massive bailouts from the public purse. It was substantially discredited, both intellectually and morally; yet three years on, we find the power of this financial system not diminished, but if anything increased. Nothing has changed, except that ordinary British citizens are now being asked to foot the bill.
First, the system had been hurtling towards destruction since long before 2008. And it was the prior subsidies from the public purse that caused that destruction! Without taxpayer guarantees for the fiat monetary system, there would have been no crash. With those subsidies, the crash was inevitable. Second, the system had indeed been discredited (totally, not "substantially") long before the crash by people like the earlier quoted Rothbard, not by anti-market folk like Joyce McMillan. Third, McMillan should make it clear that the price is being paid by taxpayers and savers, not by all "ordinary" British citizens many of whom are tax consumers.

Then our Joyce tells us that the current UK government is "perhaps the most doctrinaire pro-market administration seen in this country for a century" and that it is "bent on remedying market failure, by applying ever more drastic market solutions". Utter nonsense. The government's debt is planned to continue to grow for several years. "Doctrinaire pro-market" - you're having a laugh. And as I explained above, the crash was caused a politicised, non-market financial system. "Market solutions"? If only.

McMillan goes on to say:

Like hundreds of thousands of bred-in-the-bone Labour voters, I have never been able to bring myself to vote for the SNP; in my heart, I think social justice a far more important political principle than national identity
Oh dear. Has Ms McMillan read anything by Hayek?
To discover the meaning of what is called 'social justice' has been one of my chief preoccupations for more than 10 years. I have failed in this endeavour - or rather, have reached the conclusion that, with reference to society of free men, the phrase has no meaning whatever.
Exactly. The only kind of genuine justice there can be is one based on the free market as defined by Rothbard above.

Next we read this:

What faces us over the next ten years, though, is not a tea-party or an academic debate, but a herculean struggle to turn the tide of extreme market ideology that has already done so much damage to our societies; and to create a credible, working alternative.
I knew that the term "tea-party" would get in somewhere! But where is any evidence for extreme market ideology being practised in Scotland or the UK? The credible working alternative to the status quo is the free market.

Some final thoughts:

McMillan's world "dependent on Westminster subsidy". No - dependent on taxpayer subsidy.

"Scotland's free prescriptions and university fees". What? Scientists and professors work for nothing? Pharmacies and universities spring out of thin air?

On one thing I do agree with Joyce McMillan. I couldn't possibly vote for the Labour party.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

David Farrer
You are quite right about the US forcing its banks to make dodgy loans though I think Bush merely continued the Democrats' policy. Nevertheless, the main problem is not whom the fake money is lent to but the system that allows it to be created in the first place.

26 March 2011, 10:51:10 GMT
– Like – Reply

Colin Finlay
Banks needed bailouts, as Bob noted. In an interview given to Der Spiegel, Gordon Brown, in reference to this matter, said, "It all started in America with this sub - prime business which their banks sold on to (what proved to be) under-capitalised Eurpean banks.  
 Brown should know that Leftism is at the root of this sub - prime debacle. This is because Bush told the banks that if they did not increase their lending to (generally poorer) non - Whites then he and Congress would have to legislate some form of affirmative action lending policy. The colour of the default - ridden, sub - prime loan is not White, at least at borrower level.

26 March 2011, 01:32:16 GMT
– Like – Reply

I simply found it to be a very confused piece of writing by McMillan. I don't know what her first paragraph has to do with anything, her next paragraph goes on about the bank bailouts and she seems to use this as an example of "market failure" and from this concludes that markets per se don't work. Hardly a very well considered position to take.  
She then goes on to give the case for not voting Labour, which is mainly that they "gave the bankers free rein" while in power at Westminster, and although this is nothing to do with Labour at Holyrood, it is still sufficient reason not to vote for them.  
As Labour is a no no she goes on to make the case for the SNP which is that "Alex Salmond and his Cabinet offer the best chance of survival for some kind of Scottish social democracy", although exactly what that is she doesn't elaborate on, and "the SNP itself is hardly a model of ideological consistency and common sense".  Anyone remember Mr Salmond warning us about the the banks? No, that's right, he was too busy going on about how wonderful they were.   
Her penultimate paragraph is the most important in that it basically states the SNP is more likely to defend state spending than Labour, and although she doesn't say so, I presume this is connected to "Scottish social democracy".  That is really her argument.  
No reason why state spending is better, or any substantial reason why markets are inadequate apart from banks needed a bailout. Not a very well argued piece.  I understand she is mainly a theatre critic, why someone pays her to write this kind of thing I don't know.  

25 March 2011, 14:51:21 GMT
– Like – Reply

David Farrer
It's not just Joyce McMillan of course. I explained the problem here  
"Almost all British politicians, academics and journalists are in thrall to some form of Marxist or Keynesian nonsense that totally misunderstands the practical and moral case for economic liberty. In short, people need to spend a year or two reading their Mises, their Hayek and their Rothbard before they start writing about anything that's going on in the world."

20 March 2011, 12:13:13 GMT
– Like – Reply

Colin Finlay
Perhaps a better title for this risible farrago of unreason might be, "Only SNP can fight Human Nature."

20 March 2011, 05:09:50 GMT