Not a true believer

By agreeing with the following, this is where I discovered I’m not a true rightwing marketeer:

Putting a price on a flat-screen TV or a toaster is, he says, quite sensible. “But how to value pregnancy, procreation, our bodies, human dignity, the value and meaning of teaching and learning – we do need to reason about the value of goods.

The markets give us no framework for having that conversation. And we’re tempted to avoid that conversation, because we know we will disagree about how to value bodies, or pregnancy, or sex, or education, or military service; we know we will disagree.

So letting markets decide seems to be a non-judgmental, neutral way. And that’s the deepest part of the allure; that it seems to provide a value-neutral, non-judgmental way of determining the value of all goods. But the folly of that promise is – though it may be true enough for toasters and flat-screen televisions – it’s not true for kidneys.”

Having been Labour in my early sentient years, your humble blogger is now regarded as centre-right libertarian.  And why did I vote Labour?  Because they seemed at the time to care, which marketeers on the right did not.  Ayn Rand didn’t help with her “greed is good”.

In both positions are fallacies.  How many times does it need to be said that the compassionate leftist who is all for legislation to ensure human kindness in their terms is actually aiding and abetting government tyranny, prejudice and discrimination, whilst ignoring what they should be protecting – the nation’s defence, heritage and strong economic foundation?

Yet if a market determines everything, then you do get things like this corrupt work scheme, people locked in penury quite apart from reasons of being lazy bums, no safety net for the genuinely disabled, a flood of foreign workers, the ability of big chains to price fix, especially on food and a culture of the uncaring.

Yesterday at ASDA, I was speaking to a lady ["I'm almost 80"] who was occupying the one and only bench and who moved up to let me put my basket of groceries at one end to sort out.  There had been four benches in that space for [generally] the elderly to sit down and what it created was a sort of community atmosphere.

They’d taken the benches out one by one and replaced them with promotional displays for products no one wanted, all with brightly dressed and pleasant girls and young men urging people to sign up or buy.  People were ignoring all this in droves.  I notice Tescos’ incentive scheme has gone the same way.  Minced beef has gone up from £1.52 for 250g one year ago to £2.10 for the same thing.  That’s some inflation.

There was a discounted shelf of foodstuffs which they’ve discontinued because people were flooding it and not buying the dearer, more recent items.  This was after they reduced reductions, so to speak, to about 5% or less.  Steady encroachment, steady build up of prices, no change in wages, except for fat cats.

The truth is so many bosses don’t care, they really don’t.  There’s a coffee shop and I’m friendly with the manager because I feel more affinity with managers than workers – I think more in those terms, understanding how difficult it is to run a business and cover all overheads and other contingencies, something the average NMW gum-chewing girl has no idea about and will try to do the bare minimum.

Yet that boss himself is a right bastard to his staff – super-hot on their responsibilities and docking pay for even unjustified reasons – or at least failing to be assiduous about it.  I once had a headmaster who was the opposite – staff pay was his first priority – but I always felt he should be demanding staff meet their obligations first.

What I’m trying to say is that, quite apart from Them who care nothing for anything but raking in the cash and enslaving the people, there is also an attitude of greed among bosses and many of the 2ICs are even worse, earning brownie points with the boss.  Let’s not even mention HR.  At the same time, workers are not giving value – the tales continue to pour out in Britain.

A State controlled economy is anathema – I wish you all could have seen 1990s Russia and you’d never support a State controlled economy again.  The State truly needs to butt out – on most things, certainly on social legislation.  Yet the uneducated, do-nothing, lazy-bum mentality is also killing the country.  Therefore, the bosses are at odds with the workers.

If both were to modify their positions … but that’s idealism again, isn’t it?

10 Responses to “Not a true believer”

  1. A K Haart June 13, 2012 at 07:02 Permalink

    I have these issues, but and I don’t think there is an answer.

    I’ve come across people so idle you’d wonder why their hearts bother to keep beating, yet few of us want to bring back the threat of real destitution. What we have now can be bad enough.

  2. peter horne June 13, 2012 at 08:26 Permalink

    “Yet if a market determines everything, then you do get things like this corrupt work scheme, people locked in penury quite apart from reasons of being lazy bums, no safety net for the genuinely disabled, a flood of foreign workers, the ability of big chains to price fix, especially on food and a culture of the uncaring.”

    Free markets don’t exist in this country, James. What we have is a mixture of state socialism and authoritarian corporatism (the fascist economic model).
    The mere existence of private capital does not a market make.
    Asda is a product of corporatism, whereby companies exist and prosper by the granting of legal and financial privileges to a small group of large companies by the state.(regulatory capture is one means).By this means the market is to all intents and purposes abolished and the political class gets a large measure of control over a sector, whilst still being able to blame ‘capitalism’ for the shortcomings of the system.
    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/blaming-capitalism-for-corporatism.
    The ills you enumerate are not a problem with markets but a problem with the ever increasing size and power of the state.If Asda was forced to compete in a proper free market it would be forced to treat its workers and its customers a good deal better. Just forcing large supermarkets to pay the same business rates as local businesses would help, but the state likes large companies-they’re much easier to control.

  3. Moggsy June 13, 2012 at 08:32 Permalink

    James, Peter makes some valid points, especially about the power of the state..

    Also it seems to me you are maybe blameing different systems for the failings of people. Either in one direction or in another..

    Greed, Corruption, Irrational dislikes or hatreds, Authoritarianism and so on are failings in people and would be there no matter what system they lived under.

    I have often thought if people were “perfect” then almost any system would work fine.

    Of “Systems” the best you can hope for is one that nudges people in “good” directions and away from the bad. A system that harnesses natural inclinations in more positive ways as best as possible. One that is consistent and even handed. With simple properly enforced criminal and civil laws. A system that keeps too mmuch powere out of the hands of any one group or person.

    Greed is good is I think meant more as a slightly provocative “make you think” sort of thing. But it is not absolutely untrue.

    Too much greed when out of balance often leads to bad. But some, harnessed can be good. The same for Sloth. That has probably driven more invention, innovation and improvement in our lives than most anything if you think about it. It has got us out of caves and into centrally heated homes with freezers and ovens and comfy beds.

  4. Rossa June 13, 2012 at 10:55 Permalink

    This is a good post by Brandon Smith on Zerohedge highlighting the fallacy of “the lesser of 2 evils” in deciding who to vote for between the so called right and left.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-%E2%80%98lesser-two-evils%E2%80%99-con-game

  5. Moggsy June 13, 2012 at 11:26 Permalink

    Rossa, Looking at the “Lesser of the two evils post”. That’s all very well, but I have been voting “against” rather than “for”, for what seem like forever now. If I don’t vote for someone I am even more disenfranchised than if I vote against someone.

    What should I do, spoil my paper? Is it going to accomplish anything?

  6. James Higham June 13, 2012 at 12:41 Permalink

    Vote for a third person.

  7. Rossa June 13, 2012 at 15:30 Permalink

    Moggsy. There is an argument used against non-voters that they shouldn’t complain about the government if they don’t vote. Well I don’t vote and I will complain about the government that other people voted for. I didn’t vote for our government therefore I don’t feel in any way responsible for their actions. None of the above is as valid a choice as any other. Mind you that assumes we even have a choice :-)

    There are two very good sayings, “if voting made any difference they would ban it altogether” and ” it doesn’t matter who you vote for the government always gets in”. As far as I am concerned the figureheads at the top may change but the civil (or these days, not so civil) service runs things and like the TV programme we used to have here called Yes Minister, it is the Sir Humphreys who run the government depts, not the Ministers.

    And since I wouldn’t trust most Ministers to run a bath we are stuck with this situation. None of our current political masters have ever run anything in their lives, let alone had responsibility for a budget. The ineptitude and incompetence is par for the course. And yes I have run businesses and been both in senior management and as a Director at board level in a PLC, so I do have some competence in running things. While that has been in the private sector I have worked for companies dealing with the public sector so have had an inside track on how they work and seen it first hand for myself.

    So you can vote against or for, for as long as you like, it won’t make any difference at all. The electorate has no say and no influence so it is hardly surprising that most free thinking people view all politicans with absolute contempt and complete boredom. Let them carry on with their window dressing and cheap little sideshows while the rest of us have to get on with our lives working round them and coping with the mess they’ve made and expect us to get them out of via more involuntary taxation i.e. holding a gun at our heads.

    IMO we were all disenfranchised a very long time ago, otherwise we wouldn’t have got into this mess in the first place. And no I don’t blame the electorate either. Too much obsfucation means most people don’t have a clue who or what they are really voting for. So like a lot of things it gets reduced to habit or tribal behaviour, following their peers or the sections of the media they read/watch or listen too.

    After all how many manifestos ever materialise into anything once the person you have voted for gets into government? That is because they may be in government but they are not in power. For us the invisible power is the EU, but behind them….well James has chronicled the tentacles of the power behind the throne enough for me to not have to write chapter and verse again.

  8. lordsomber June 13, 2012 at 19:46 Permalink

    The Rerum Novarum pointed out that the free operation of market forces must be tempered by moral considerations.
    The American founding fathers did as well.

  9. peter horne June 14, 2012 at 10:10 Permalink

    The problem with voting for someone you don’t actually support is that you allow the political class to claim some kind of democratic mandate for whatever weapons-grade arseholery they dreamt up on the flight back from the villa in Tuscany. You legitimize a system which is not democratic in any meaningful way. If people stopped voting altogether it would no longer be possible for politicians to claim their activities were an expression of the public will and those who depend on them could no longer claim to be public servants rather than cogs in an arbitrary state apparatus; which is what they really are.
    Incidentally, not all politicos are bad, see Steve Baker on corporatism.

    http://www.stevebaker.info/2012/06/crony-capitalism-is-so-entrenched-we-scarcely-even-spot-it/#

    I still wouldn’t vote for him though!

  10. James Higham June 14, 2012 at 11:14 Permalink

    Just looked at part of John Coleman’s thing about how the Federal government gets away with unilateral declarations of war etc. It all comes down to unconstitutionality in their case and failure of the common man over here to know our legal underpinnings.

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