Wednesday, 21 June 2017

"Psst, we're having trouble shifting these pricey new flats..."

"Not to worry, we can sort you out with taxpayers' money while appearing to help out the little guys..."


A K Haart said...

Every cloud...

Mark Wadsworth said...

... has flammable cladding?

Steven_L said...

Presumably 'taxpayers' at large won't have to stump up here or I am being naive? I mean RBKC has insurance right? If the insurance is invalid for some reason (i.e. flammable cladding) could they start by suing and bankrupting all the people responsible for fitting the wrong cladding and taking their houses and pensions? Then there's the Grenfell site itself. Presumably RBKC won't get to keep the land while HMT fork out for the new flats?

It'll be interesting to find out what was paid for them. And do they get to keep all the crowdfunding money etc that had been raised for them on top of the luxury flat? What if they had contents insurance? Is it handouts, insurance, compo and a plush new flat? Isn't that called 'unjust enrichment'?

Don't get me wrong, I think those responsible for the dodgy cladding should be locked up and the victims families compensated, but I've donated jack shit to this crowdfunding, every hospital in the UK is full of good people bad things have happened to through no fault of their own.

JuliaM said...

Steven_L: " Isn't that called 'unjust enrichment'?"

That's one term for it, yes...

Mark Wadsworth said...

SL, I was thinking along the same lines as you.

JM, there's unjust enrichment wherever you look with this story.

Lola said...

Steven_L "could they start by suing and bankrupting all the people responsible for fitting the wrong cladding and taking their houses and pensions. They are going to give it a go, but they'll be wrong.

The thing is that the contractors installing the cladding would have been on a contract and spec set out by an architect or engineer. And the insulation suppliers (Celotex happens to operate from a site near me) spec their products clearly as to flammability and so forth. And supervision of the contractor would have been down to the architect / engineer.

In my view the real 'culprits' would be the architects or whoever designed and specced the cladding. If they were council employed architects who do you take to court? And if a judgement goes against a state employee, who actually pays?

Lola said...

From a Facebook post shared to me (so it must be true...)

Before you become seduced by the Theresa May lynch mob here are some interesting points relating to the Grenfell Tower Block tragedy..

1. The block of flats was run not by the Council but by KCTMO. This body is made up of 8 TENANTS, 4 councillors and 3 independent members.

2 Labour hold the Ward that the block is situated in.

3 Labour run the London Council who manage the under funded London Fire Service

4 Emma Coad the Labour MP for that ward also sat on the KCTMO.

5 The advice to stay put which Sadiq Khan has been so vocal about was given by the London Fire Service.

6 The decision to change contractors during the refurb was made by KCTMO.

7 The decision not to spend an additional £138k on fitting sprinklers was again KCTMO.

8 The decision to create ALMO organisation such as the KCTMO was made under the Right To Manage legislation passed in 2002
as part of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

9 This was put in place to give leaseholders and tenants a greater say and the ability to self manage, which in some circumstances has clearly proven to be flawed.

10 Which Govt was in a charge when this law was passed? It was Labour.

11 Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London produced a report to say that the fire service did not need further funding.

12 Emma Coad the newly elected Labour MP was on the board of the Tenant Management group who are being accused of not listening to tenants.

Extreme Left Wing Marxist Labour MPs and party members, are being aided and abetted by Trotsky Trolls and talentless Z list pop singers. These in turn are being given air time by the left wing media, who want to use the Grenfell Tower Block tragedy to attempt to destroy an elected government.

DBC Reed said...

Good phrase "unjust enrichment" Exactly describes Slob Thatcher's plan to get everybody into private housing then inflate house prices so they all vote "right" on receipt of unearned, untaxed capital gains in their property.The purest Fascism (without the fag of all that marching up and down).
Trouble is Sayid Javid has pointed out in a White paper (Feb 2017) that the Slob's plans have now "broken the housing market" so nobody can henceforward afford houses.

Lola said...

DBCR Erm. House, i.e. Land price 'inflation' accelerated hardest from 1997 under a labour government. Consequent upon Blair Brown Balls manic expansion of money and credit and other lunatic policies.

But I agree that Thatcher's property ownership policy was designed to turn people away from voting for socialism. You could call that jerrymandering, in the same way as you can call Brown's attempt to create the client state jerrymandering.

Lola said...

DBCR And Thatcher was not per se wedded to land price rises as a form of unearned gain in her policies. She was about getting people into property so that they had something to lose if they voted in a socialist government.

Lola said...

DBCR And (2) The Right to Buy scheme - a Thatcher policy - was the greatest redistribution of wealth, ever. (That's not to say that I agree with the policy.)

Steven_L said...

In my view the real 'culprits' would be the architects or whoever designed and specced the cladding. If they were council employed architects who do you take to court?

I doubt a council salaried architect would be good for all the money. But if HMT are paying for the new flats, and RBKC are at fault then HMT should take the money from RBKC. Confiscating the Grenfell site from them would be a good start.

Someone (or perhaps a group of individuals) made the decision to go with the cheaper, flammable cladding. IMO they are responsible for the deaths and loss of property. Even if it was a 'corporate' decision made by RBKC there should be records showing who made it. Councils love keeping records.

paulc156 said...

L. The list/bullet points. Mostly flat out misinformation and distortions. ie: BS.

1. That was widely reported the day after the fire. Not clear that the KCTMO 'residents' resided at that particular block though, just in the borough. And the council retains control over budget regardless.

2. Not sure what difference that makes if the council is Tory run unless wards have more power than I imagined. The council is overwhelmingly Tory. 40 Tory wards to Labour's 7.

3. If [fire service] it's underfunded [and I don't dispute that] it's been underfunded since 2010. See Boris Johnson.

4. She [Labour MP] was elected a couple of days before the fire and she left the KCTMO board in 2012, long before any refurbishment took place.

5. Silly point. The advice was made on the assumption that the building hadn't been booby trapped with flammable wrapping.

6. Council responsibility. They sign off on the bills.

7. The decision to not spend on sprinkler system is hardly relevant if the cladding was of the correct type. surely it makes more sense to focus on a 6K underspend on the exterior of the building which caused the fire to spread rather than a near 200K one on the inside. That 138K sounds improbably small for such a large 'old' block. Also it does not allow for maintenance which is considerable.

8. Nope. Try 1996 {Major's gov].

9. Is this is an argument for all the blocks sold off on the cheap,to be run by private companies since the 1980's, to be renationalised?

10. Nope As already pointed out, John Major, 1996.

11. Produced a report? Yes, 9 years ago in 2008! He has endorsed Labour plans to increase funding of fire services as laid out in their manifesto.

12. Repetition of earlier cobblers. See point 4.

(P.S 'Right to buy' as implemented was also unjust enrichment.)

Lola said...

Paul156 - I did not claim the list was kosher...

What ever way you look at this there is clearly government and bureaucratic failure.

And as I have posted before it quite defeats me as an Engineer just how any designer could set about designing and specifying such cladding.

Steven_L said...

Mail reporting the developer sold Corporation of London the flats for £10m or about £150k per unit. Apparently this is what they cost to build.

So the other (85% or so?) of what they sell for is pure location value. Nice to have some good numbers of this sort of thing for once.

DBC Reed said...

You say (above) that Thatcher's homeownership was so people would have something to lose if they voted socialist. When has the painfully law-abiding and conventional Labour Party ever confiscated people's houses?
What she did do was confiscate publicly owned and fair rent houses and gave them to people as hostages against the possibility of the Labour Party restoring them to maximum usefulness as affordable houses, in the process totally fucking up the banks in 2008 and the economy in blind panic austerity measures.It rather looks like this mess will last for ever even if the Conservative or House Price Inflation Party experience a divine intercession and decides to chuck Thatcher's statue in the Thames from the members terrace.

Lola said...

DBCR. Let me clarify. Socialism is by definition inimical to private property, of all kinds. Thatcher's view was that 'property' ownership in the widest sense (remember PEPSs?) was a sure way to give people an opportunity to build up a stake that would tend to make them vote not socialist. (You can see evidence of this in voting patterns in the recent election. Young people without much vote socialist. Older people with stuff (and in my case, rationally as well) vote not socialist. (And in my case the only party that gets close to my ideals is the YPP).

I did not say that a law abiding socialist party had ever confiscated anyone's house. But the FCA (a legacy of Browns FSMA2000 - see below) under its RDR intervention blatantly 'confiscated' the jobs and property rights of tens of thousands of innocent hard working taxpayers in private business). And the global history of socialism is one of the destruction of property rights - e.g. Corbyn was advocating the requisitioning of houses for those victims of Grenfell.

She did not 'confiscate' publicly owned land. She sold them off with huuuuuge subsidies. (You will note that I commented that I do not necessarily agree with Right to Buy).

She did not 'fuck up the banks in 2008'. At all. For a start she was gone in 1990. And she was all for sound money and sound banks. The banks were destroyed -and I can prove this logically - by Blair Brown Balls utterly flawed FSMA2000 and the consequential and deliberate and unwarranted expansion of money and credit. Note. FSMA2000 was an effective nationalisation of banking, credit and money by regulation.

There has been no 'austerity' since 2008. At least as far as state spending goes. There has been huge austerity on wealth creating private business and individuals by increased taxes and policies like QE and ZIRP.

You know full well that I hold no candle for Tory rent seeking. And Thatcher was not a Tory. She was more classical liberal, although she did think of herself as Conservative.

The Tories are no more of a house price inflation party than New Labour.

Bayard said...

"When has the painfully law-abiding and conventional Labour Party ever confiscated people's houses?"

ISTR quite a lot of compulsory purchase going on under Blair as part of John Prescott's "Renewal" or whatever they were called, schemes and lots of perfectly good, but slightly tatty Victorian and Edwardian housing being pulled down to make way for shoddily built replacements with "developers" laughing all the way to the bank.
OTOH, in defence of Labour, I will accept the argument that Blair and his minions were Tories.

Bayard said...

p156c, that list is classic Tory propaganda. May I put it and your reply on Facebook?

Lola said...

Bayard. I have a couple of relatives bh marriage who worked with Prescott on all that destruction. It was worse than you can possibly imagine.

paulc156 said...

B.Feel free.

L. Regards JC's little rhetorical flourish about seizing empty foreign owned flats in Kensington. Councils do compulsory purchase orders without too much fuss. Bletchley Park was requisitioned for something or other...
As for austerity, it didn't occur from 2008, but 2010. Not in aggregate terms but very much so in departmental spending. Particularly when looked at per head of population rather than ignoring the reality that there are a million or two more here now than in 2010.

DBC Reed said...

As Bayard wisely remarks Blair governments were not socialist. All that demolition and rebuilding was an attempt to replace very low price housing with houses that were at least averagely expensive: phrases like "creating a market" were in favour.
As to the Tories being, as you say, no more a party of house price inflation than Labour, I remember a conference at Centre Point which featured John Redwood as one of the main speakers and I asked him whether he thought getting everybody to ramp up property prices was really such a brilliant idea. He judged from my appearance that I was some kind of Leftie wild man ( I am in fact loyal to Macmillan's way of running things) and gave it a lot of lip, whereupon he quite disarmed me by saying upping house prices was dangerous and that the Conservatives only did it because Labour would do it, otherwise.
That is the problem surely: it is like two gunmen with revolvers drawn on each other.Neither can lower the gun because the sensible one will get blasted.

Lola said...

P156 and DBCR

1. The events of 2008 - precipitated by Brown's failure - in precipitated the subsequent (non) austerity. As I have said the double whammy Browns credit expansion and public spending binge have put us where we are now. And there has been no real 'austerity' at all. Except in the tax rises on private business. Anyway Leslie Chapman's observations will certainly still apply. I doubt that government is 50% efficient.

2. I agree that New Labour wasn't 'socialist' as generally defined. Blair called it the 'Third Way'. That meant taking the proceeds of private business and spending lots of it on other people. It failed. As socialism has failed. Everywhere.

3. DBCR Oh I so agree with your Redwood exchange and analogy. As we on here have been saying for some years - they are all at it.

4. P156. Compulsory purchase. Is entirely different from requisitioning. And I seem to remember that when Bletchley House was requisitioned the UK was engaged in a global war. We aren't now. I have actually worked on compulsory purchase matters when I worked in highway engineering. The process was very careful of property rights, excepting that the road had to be built. (See MW on the railway mania).

paulc156 said...

L. By your own Ayn Rand type definition of socialism the whole world was, is and always will be socialist. So the whole western world is one long story of failure. The twentieth century (when income tax kicks in) being the biggest riches to rags episode of the lot.
Similarly your definition of austerity is odd. 'If we run a deficit there can't be austerity'. Very Daily Torygraph if you ask me :)

Bayard said...

"And there has been no real 'austerity' at all."

That depends what you mean by "austerity". To me it means the Tories cutting all the budgets they would cut anyway, simply because they are Tories and like cutting any spending which benefits the public as opposed to powerful private interests. In which case we have had plenty of it.

It is a widely accepted myth that the spending on powerful private interests are an unquestioned sine qua non and that savings cannot be made without cuts to "schools 'n' hospitals" and conversely spending on "schools 'n' hospitals" cannot be increased without the total spend going up.

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC, could you try reading what people say before slagging them off? It makes you look really stupid if you don't. Thanks.

Lola said...

P156. You are telling me how I am defining socialism? That is you are defining my terms? I think not.

Indeed socialism in all its forms has been around forever. You can argue that feudalism is a sort of socialism. The mediaeval catholic church ran a sort of socialism. And let's not forget that 20th Century fascism came from the same roots as socialism. As Mr Hitler said - "We are socialists, a very different kind of socialists, but socialists we are" (paraphrasing slightly).

By a happy accident, and for reasons I have not studied, from about 1650 England developed classical liberalism helped along by such thinkers as Adam Smith. That showed how the Common Man could get out from under the perennial extractive class and enjoy a society based on individual liberty and strong property rights.

The trouble is we have forgotten those lessons even with the evidence of failure all around us. And to stay on topic Grenfell is seeming to be largely a failure of government - you know those extractive class people and their cronies in private business - which is where we came in with MW's point about re-housing the tenants being largely a bail out for a failed private development.

DBC Reed said...

You say above that FSMA2000 was effectively a nationalisation of credit. Why shouldn't the creation of the State's money be in the State's hands?Why is this magic money tree in private hands? Martin Wolf FT : "Strip banks of the power to create money"

paulc156 said...

MW. Manners maketh the man.

Lola. You can of course define socialism any which way you like but the point I made was that from your frequent comments on it [including an earlier reference to the introduction in the US of the Federal Income taxes in 1913 as a pivotal date], you seem to define it as being in evidence anywhere 'the state' is engaged in much activity outside of maintaining law and order, protection of property rights, national defence and the enforcement of contracts. That's about all Ayn Rand thought Gov was good for. Anything more was socialism in one guise or another. Despite MW's typically ill mannered intervention that doesn't seem to misrepresent your basic position.
On such a basis every state in the OECD would be socialist to some degree or other. [Socialist, not communist]. So the 20th Century bears clear testimony to the emergence of the big or powerful state,and it has thus far proven to be the most progressive of centuries even allowing for two great wars. So one could well argue that socialism seems to have fared rather well considering it only emerged rather late on.

DBC Reed said...

Lay off pc156:his contributions are a very welcome relief in lot of very samey posts- and well informed.
Lola is not entitled to make up definitions of Socialism. It has its own definitions and the kind of democratic , parliamentary Socialism we had postwar, including under the Conservative Macmillan, with its full employment, Welfare State, collective bargaining, nationalised industries (including two state airlines),25% real wage rise before the You never had it so good speech in 1957, a motorway network , new towns, men paying a mortgage to the local building society out of their own wages with no spouse contribution, was sacrificed in a few short years to a lot of opportunistic rhetoric from the Tories and the slob media in favour of a lot of slogans about the market and now Brexit .People clung to the promise of easy money from homeownership; now that's been denied to the rising generation and they've lost the Welfare State along the way, this country is effectively ruined with only jumping off the Brexit cliff in prospect. And the blame does not lie with any Socialists.

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC and DBC, yes, the post war decades were golden age of capitalism. That wasn't really because or despite socialism (as defined here), it was because of Georgism Lite.

Singapore is a low tax economy but is still successful because it stuck with Georgism Lite.

paulc156 said...

DBC Reed. Cheers.
MW. Re Singapore. Looking at Singapore it does have a mixed economy. It has a very heavy handed state on security issues. It's really a modern surveillance state. Dissent is not really tolerated. It is a one party state. All the land in Singapore is owned by the government, and the vast majority of housing is government supplied.
Something close to a quarter of GDP is produced by state owned enterprises, which is itself way higher than the world average. So you could be excused for thinking it was at least flirting with socialism of a sort. ...cue backlash

Lola said...

P156 You can of course define socialism any which way you like . Not really. It's been defined for me by others. I am not defining socialism at all. What I said was that you could argue that the mediaeval catholic church was socialistic. That's not defining socialism. It's defining the mediaeval catholic church.

Bayard said...

"The mediaeval catholic church ran a sort of socialism."

I disagree. The mediaeval church (there was only Catholicism in those days) prompted the rich to give money which the church then distributed (some of) it to the poor. There was no compulsion involved, which is what you get with Socialism: it's the state taking money by force and giving some of it to the poor. The giver gets no choice, so, and this is the important bit, is not doing good by giving. Socialism is nationalised charity. AFAIAC, all the other bits of Socialism can be summed up as "treating people decently and not being greedy", which, as a recommended way of life, is older than the Bible. However, for all it's faults, Socialism is still a better option than the only alternative on offer these days, which appears to be naked greed, corruption and thievery.

paulc156 said...

L. Okeydokey on the catholic church who were pretty damn well as reactionary a force as you could get circa the reformation, but then I suppose one might call J.Christ a proto socialist. In any case I note that you haven't given my characterisation of your interpretation of latter day socialism under the aegis of the modern state any rebuttal or denial. It's a genuine stab at what you seem to think constitutes socialism gleaned from your previous comments. You seem a bit reticent on the socialism definition now I've referred to it so I'll leave it if you prefer.

Lola said...

P156. Jesus was a libertarian. He was also sound on money and credit. His Dad is pretty clear on that and succinct. The last four or five of the Ten Commandments are a simple libertarian agenda. Very clear on individual liberty, personal responsibility and property rights. (I didn't ignore your bit about socialist states. Just not had time to reply. It's cobblers of course:-) )

Lola said...

Dbcr. Well cleary the fsma2000 failed which is pretty good evidence that tge state can't be trusted with 'our' money.

Lola said...

B. Socialism is no the only thing on offer these days. And if it was that would be a calamity.

What we currently enjoy seems to me to some sort of crony corporatist bureaucratic coercive redistributionism with a socialist overlay, with a whole class of people bought off with land ownership subsidies.

There are various parties of (semi) liberty out there - YPP? - and in Parliament there are MP's on both sides of the House with a broad understanding of the current failures, although most have not taken the final leap towards dealing with the economic rent problem which we on here agree is The Issue.

But we have to get from here to there and in my humble analysis the first step is to get out of the EU hence forcing direct democratic responsibility on our own MP's and Parliament (this assumes that we don't go for a revolution...:-) ).

Lola said...

Bayard. P156 et al.

I do not think that post WW2 was a universal golden age of capitalism at all. Or a golden age at all. Taken in the whole from 1945 to now. From 1945 ish we essentially lived beyond our means selling our future for toys today - which is still going on. The one thing we did get right was Georgism Lite which went under Thatcher and Blair.

Arguably this mortgaging our future wealth is the West's universal problem. The current structure of the warfare welfare state is unsupportable. And I think we in an end game with it.

The real question is what happens next. Do we go down the coercive authoritarian route or do we go down the liberty personal responsibility route?

As to socialism itself everywhere it has been tried it has, in one way or another, failed. It is or always degenerates into a system of coercion, the destruction of property rights (and hence liberty) and general wealth destruction. What's more over the 20th century regimes operating in the name of socialism and declaring themselves as such have murdered their own and other nations citizens at the rate of about 8500 PER DAY. Proper 'capitalism' (not as defined by socialists or Marx as 'anti-socialism', especially when combined with direct democratic accountability, is the most peaceable system yet discovered by man. You don't shoot your customers or potential customers.

To get back on topic, the Grenfell tragedy seems to be have been largely the result of government and bureaucratic failure and policy failures with social(ist) housing. FWIW I bet the inquiry will do all it can to blame 'the market' as it will be run by that same bureaucratic class.

Bayard said...

Lola@7:22, by "the only thing on offer" I meant what is (was) on offer by the only credible alternative to Labour and their Socialism, i.e. what the Tories were offering. Agreed, there are lots of other political creeds out there, but no major party is espousing them. A return to "one nation" Conservatism would be a huge improvement, but all the "one nation" Conservatives are lying very low ATM.

In a similar vein, the advantages of moving towards a more socialist society should not be prejudged by the cock-ups of various Socialist regimes round the world. The current bunch of Conservatives aren't making a very good advertisement for the alternative, either, nor are the governments of the USA. Just because something is done wrong, doesn't mean it shouldn't be done at all. All political creeds suffer from the same defect, which is trying to make something straight out of the crooked timber of humanity. All end up getting hijacked by the ambitious the greedy and the fanatical.

paulc156 said...

L. Your description of above referring to crony corporatist bureaucratic, redistributive...socialist a rather long winded way of saying, 'mixed economy' and as I said earlier, it characterises pretty much the whole of the advanced economies of the post war era (OECD).

When you talk about the post war period in that way 'mortgaging our futures' as if the advances or progress were largely illusory or temporary you may as well go back to the 17thC and the formation of the BoE and the inexorable rise of the national debt, to a far higher level ( of our national income) than today. We've been mortgaging our futures ever since, across the globe.

Re Grenfell as a failure of the state. I will see your Grenfell Tower and raise you the Market failure of the 'Great Fire of London' 1666. That's what you should expect when you downsize your state sufficiently :)

Lola said...


Para 1. Correct. And its failing / failed.

Para 2. You missed the point. We have been consuming wealth since (I think 1914) but definately since 1945. In the sense that we have been living above our means and visiting the cost on the future. Pre 1914 we were not really doing that. Yes national debt rose, but mainly to fight wars and was generally repayable. The current over-spending is not.

Para 3. Nope. We learned from the fire of London. We then un-learned the lesson at Grenfell. And the unlearning was by government and bureaucrats and socialist housing policies. In any event applying libertarian principles to post Fire of London with stuff like private fire insurance (where you are effectively insuring your neighbour) shows how we learned.

Face it ALL governments are untrustworthy so best to have small ones with a democratically accountable Parliament to hold them to account.

Lola said...


I hold no candle for the Tories. But Corbyn and Co. are an absolute menace and extremely nasty.

The universal failure of socialism everywhere it has been tried is a pretty good indicator that it will go on failing. It suffers internal logical contradictions and rests entirely on coercion and arbitrary rationing by capricious and self serving bureaucrats. It always destroys wealth. I judge that there is more chance of sorting out our current mess under any other political administration than a socialist one, especially a Corbyn & Co. one.

Lola said...

All. Must sign off and cut the grass...

paulc156 said...

B. You nailed it with that post. Mixed economies 'Lola's redistributive, crony corporative with socialist overlay' are probably the best we can hope for given the nature of mankind. Pure forms of socialism ot libertarianism could be simply too susceptible to manipulation by the unscrupulous and psychotic.

Lola.Re my para 1. You haven't made a case for specifically suggesting we live beyond our means post WW2 but not through earlier times. You state it merely as fact. As I mentioned our national debt, whether for fighting wars or not was not only enormously higher in the past as a proportion of our income but debt repayments have consumed far more of our income than they they do today, so my point still stands. We've been successfully mortgaging our futures for centuries.

Re 'learning out lessons' from the great fire. Yes government decreed to rebuild in brick not timber. See the irony?

Oh and a small state held to account by a a democratically accountable parliament is just window dressing. The parliament would have little to do since the state does little hence we could dispense with pretenses, merely in place to suggest democratic control. In reality as Bayard inferred, such a libertarian mini state would fall under the influence of crony capitalists, oligarchs, monopolists or worse, as Adam Smith alluded to himself.

My own preference would be to advance the power and influence of public sector workers who know better than most the failings and value of public service and to similarly empower workers within large companies. It's libertarian leftism. Real accountability where it matters, in the workplace, parliament the instrument to introduce it. Then the state could diminish if that were the collective will, at least doing so safely in the knowledge that it wouldn't be so easily hijacked by rentiers and assorted wealthy elites.

Lola said...

P156. (Not avoiding your other points - it's just my tea break)

Last para. Are you kidding? Have you read Your Disobedient Servant?

And I agree - large companies can be just as bureaucratic. I have a friend who supplied training services to Ford. He reckoned it was like the civil service making cars.

The difference is incentives. Ford can go bust if (when?) it messes up. The public sector can't. Witness the FSA into FCA debacle. FSA failed and I know that a lot of ex FSA FCA people got rewarded for that failure.

Mike W said...

Very good argument that 'flares' up from time to time here. Thanks for all the good natured discussion above.

Re Grenfell as a failure of the state. I will see your Grenfell Tower and raise you the Market failure of the 'Great Fire of London' 1666. That's what you should expect when you downsize your state sufficiently :)
Very good joke. I agree. Horse shit, staw and lime would not have gone up as quickly as the materials we use under current planning not-regulations!

As you might guess, I will ignore your Marxist, define what is and is not, stuff. Please read if you have time, Crick's George Orwell: Crick makes us see how Orwell could easily be understood/was a 'Disenting Tory' and why Orwell chose Democratic 'Socilaism' in the context of his day. PS, We are members of the Labour party while holding our nose. Sure. But it is Corybn and co that has put LVT Lite, LVT and Tobin into the debate.Who knows, on the books.


Socialism is still a better option than the only alternative on offer these days, which appears to be naked greed, corruption and thievery.

Agreed.I think you are correct to look at the religious underpinning of Anti-Marxist, Union, English, Labour party, Christian, Socialism. Notice Lola points to the Old Testiment stone above. But in the new, I recall, Christ performed the miracle on the mount. He did not say:'fuck off and feed yourselves and die, if you cannot compete in the rigged, croney, Tory market my children!

So an imperfect, impossible goal agreed, but one that sets ambition, within a Democratic, Mixed Economy, is what we can achieve as suggested above. And Henry George is central to that goal.
As I said above, we do not frame this in a simplistic American, 'freedom - not freedom' form. Its funny how so much right wing/ Neo Lib economics is based on the principles of a 17th centry type Rationalistic philosophy. Any thoughts as to why?

Lola said...

MikeW etc

The alternative offer (to socialism)

The existing crony corporatist bureaucratic 'system' has actually gown from socialism. It seems to me. I just cannot see how socialism lite or whatever will ever 'work'. And the evidence supports that.

As to an alternative. That's quite easy. YPP is broadly it. And the key trick with the alternative is how it captures economic rents from the minority. I really do sense a groundswell of dissatisfaction with the Tory / Labour offers. The trouble is the appalling educational failure has left people ill informed and unable to articulate the true alternative.

So it's up to evangelists like us to take the word forward. There are more than you might think.

(On Thursday last I was on the 'phone with a young account exec from Just Retirement - an equity release provider - and we got onto the boom in ER - 30% up since 2015 - due to the massive land price increases and how that meant he could not afford a house. He was married with two young children and renting. I gave him a quick Georgist lesson and pointed him to YPP. He got it. He really did.)

Bayard said...

"The universal failure of socialism everywhere it has been tried..."


Lola said...

B. Scandinavia is not 'socialist'. Sweden particularly has a very free econony. What it does have is high and high spending.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, I did that a while ago and the bloke went off script, checked YPP site and agreed with me.

paulc156 said...

L.Re Sweden, here we come back to definitions and their slipperiness. There is a vibrant business environment in Sweden for sure but it's probably one of the most highly regulated economies in the world.
Just took this from a socialist website which doesn't describe Sweden as socialist but rather social democratic and capitalist.

"The unionization rate is extremely high--more than 85 percent of the workforce enjoys the benefits of union organization and collective bargaining. Indeed, compared to the U.S., the Swedish labor movement is, across the board, much stronger, better organized and united.

This strength is the key reason why Swedish workers were able to force the passage of ambitious reforms that benefit the working class as a whole. They include: free medical care coverage for all from cradle to grave; free tuition for university students; guaranteed free housing for all; subsidized child care; paid parental leave (13 month leave at 80 percent pay); extensive unemployment benefits (including cash transfers as well as job training and retraining programs); generous pensions; provision for the disabled; and care for the elderly."

One of/or the least unequal economies. For all the world that shopping list to envy (arguably) sure as hell comes close to "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" capitalist or not.
The bit about worker empowerment in my last post has been much in evidence in Sweden :)

MikeW. Particularly agree with this in your remarks directed at Bayard:
"Socialism is still a better option than the only alternative on offer these days, which appears to be naked greed, corruption and thievery." B.

MikeW. "Agreed.I think you are correct to look at the religious underpinning of Anti-Marxist, Union, English, Labour party, Christian, Socialism. Notice Lola points to the Old Testiment stone above. But in the new, I recall, Christ performed the miracle on the mount. He did not say:'fuck off and feed yourselves and die, if you cannot compete in the rigged, croney, Tory market my children!"

Lola said...

P156. No such thing as free. It just means someone else is paying. And since the 'socialisation of the Swedish economy their relative GDP growth rate has plateaued - from the mid 70's roughly.

Yes, you can decide that the gummint collects all this wealth and doles it out again or you can decide not to do that and people can sort themselves out and charities can look after the unfortunate and the feckless. And best to combine all that with CI / LVT.

By being high tax high spend the fundamental liberty of Swedes is compromised.

BTW I have raced against some Swedes. They are great and mad buggers. One of them has an excellent income from owning a slew of effectively buy to let flats...:-)

Lola said...

Found this...

have not been able to read all of it yet....

Lola said...


Lola said...

More Sweden

Lola said...

I meant also to comment that there is no such thing as a 'mixed economy'. In the same way as it is not possible to be a little bit pregnant.

See here:-

Mike W said...

Bayard, re Sweden,

When I was a young man, and arguing against the Thatcher revolutionaries around 1983. The most common answer I got was, 'Well fuck off to Russia if you like Socialism so much'.My own family was always rather hash! I always explained that I meant Scandnavia. I got my wish, I have travelled widely in Denmark to a lesser degree in Sweden. I have many Danish friends and family, some insight, but was never really able to pin it down and explain, in the broad, why the Swedes and the Danes where able to build, 'as-good-as-it- gets societies' from 1945-1985. But I do know how they are being destroyed! But this thread is hardly the place.

Lola, surely a fair reading of your own Von Mises link says that it is the very opposite of what you assert. They are arguing, as ever, that the failure of implimented state planning is to be lamented, same old, same old, etc, etc.

Anyway, I have found use for your latest gambit. I have explained to Mrs W, with Mises/Lola like confidence, that there is no such thing as a 'mixed cocktail' - and I expect my household budget to benefit greatly in the coming year. :)

paulc156 said...

Lola. Re your comment "no such thing as a mixed economy" is in direct contradiction with your own (not Von Mises) response to my comment yesterday:
"L. Your description of above referring to crony corporatist bureaucratic, redistributive...socialist a rather long winded way of saying, 'MIXED ECONOMY' and as I said earlier, it characterises pretty much the whole of the advanced economies of the post war era (OECD)."

Your response to the above (para 1) at 10:02am yesterday:
"Para 1. Correct. And its failing / failed." L.

Von Mises can speak for himself.

paulc156 said...

Further to Sweden discussion. Even though the direction of travel has been more market oriented since the mid 90's and fiscally prudent balanced budgets etc it just shows how dominant the state had become by that time. Sweden today has got Gov expend' of over 50% of GDP (Denmark and Finland have even higher) and a high tax 'burden' to go with it. It's got a comprehensive welfare state and yet...despite all that has the highest living standards in the world. And if it weren't for its recent influx from the mid East would be the most socially cohesive of states. I doubt many Swedes would want to alter economic balance including government footprint from the lofty heights they currently occupy.

Lola said...

It's not that scandinavian docialism is being destroyed. It is collapsing from its own internal failures
The Swedish writer on Mises isn't regretful. More resigned as to why it was all attempted in the first place.
Good luck with the cocktails. The argument isn't strictly parallel.

Lola said...

P156. Yes and my point was its failed/failing. Either I didn't express myself clearly or you misread my comment. That 'model' has only been kept going by printing and borrowing money.

paulc156 said...

Yes Lola I know you said Sweden was failing/failed but you also accepted my characterisation of Sweden as a mixed economy...until Mr Mises ruled it out.

Seriously though, Sweden has attained a far higher level of living standards without incurring significantly more debt than other advanced economies but with significantly higher state spending/GDP and higher than average taxation. And that's AFTER post 1990's market reforms. The notion of Sweden as a failed economy is thus a bit of wish fulfilment by those ideologues over at libertarian central.

DBC Reed said...

Lola's homemade definitions of major government arrangements used to be funny but are now becoming deranged.To say that there is no such thing as a mixed economy is absurd( as is the implication that Harold Macmillan was some kind of Communist for happily and productively working with nationalised industries; collective bargaining; Neddies etc).
If you write your own definitions, you can prove anything e.g.that you get strong and stable governments under the Conservatives.
If you want to use definitions quote a reference from some generally acknowledged authority; do not presume that you are one yourself.
Sorry to be so rude, but you are making reasoned discussion impossible.

Bayard said...

"That 'model' has only been kept going by printing and borrowing money."

As is our current government, the least socialist one we've had for decades, as is the Republican government in the USA. This is financial incompetence, something perennial, but totally separate from Socialism or its alternative.

I'm afraid your argument seems to be boiling down to "my Utopia is better than your reality".

paulc156 said...

B. Nailed it again.

Lola said...

B. The current government is not not socialist. It's just as slavishly punk Keynesian as all the past ones. And keynesianism is equivalent to socialism - it relies on government intervention. The Tory's are not free market classical liberals. They will use any technique that buys them power. And Just listen to ehat May was saying before the recent election. It was very 'socialist'.

Bayard said...

"The current government is not not socialist."

USA too?

"And keynesianism is equivalent to socialism - it relies on government intervention."

Both petrol and diesel engines rely on internal combustion. That doesn't make them the same engine.

"The Tory's are not free market classical liberals."

Nor is any other major government in the world. You are just illustrating my point that this sort of financial mismanagement is an evil of government totally separate from the left-right divide.

paulc156 said...

Clearly Sweden can't possibly be cited by Lola or the uber biased people at the Mises website as an indictment against the accumulation of debts. As in any experiment even plausibly replicable one needs to isolate cause from effect.
How is Sweden's high tax, comprehensive welfare policies and high levels of state integration proven unsustainable or 'failed' as Lola and planet Mises claim if the Swedes have the highest living standards in the western world, the highest levels of equality in the western world, strong growth up to 2016, and pointedly not especially high levels of state debt when compared to its peers?!
L is conflating wish fulfilment with coherent analysis on Sweden. Like the rest of the world, its debts may come to hamper its economic and social standing but that still doesn't make any kind of case against its 'relative' outperformance of other developed economies with relatively high levels of state integration into the economy and social fabric of the nation.

Lola said...

B. No. You are interpreting it as such. Most western governments in the world are socialist to some degree or another. As are places like China.

And Keynesianism is a version of socialism as it pre-supposes that a wise government is the answer to the 'chaos' of the market economy.

And pretty well all those governments have a debt and money problem.

BTW, I have never thought the USA was particularly free market.

Lola said...

P156. Sweden's living relative standards have plateaud since it became high tax high spend.

If you read the Mises article you will note that Swedes are now having to deal with the inevitable arbitrary rationing and inefficiencies endemic in bureaucratic systems. Of which socialism is the prime example.

paulc156 said...

Yes they plateaud, ahead of the field, no collapse. A bit like spurs took a 7-1 lead at Hull but then failed to add any more goals so were stuck at 7-1. Is this an indictment of their policy of all out attack earlier in the game so preventing them from accelerating away from Hull in perpetuity or just largely a matter of job done, let's coast it?
So do Mises think that high levels of state 'interference/spending' will cause high standards of living to plateau rather than collapse or is the collapse bit just one of those 'economic forecasts'? If so can we have some of the same please? :)

Lola said...

P156. The point is that the interventions and social (ism) costs have precipitated a cessation of out performance. Sweden has joined the low growth high tax high benefit model. Without those deadweight costs its relative GDP growth would have continued its trajectory and pulled them even further ahead of the rest.

I accept that there was a degree of catch up in their numbers but the plateauing is so stark and is well correlated with the onset of high tax high spend.

And as I pointed out in the article Swedes are starting game the system and are also providing for themselves as the State system cannot keep up.

Bayard said...

"B. No. You are interpreting it as such. Most western governments in the world are socialist to some degree or another. As are places like China."

Unless you can give an actual example of a financially competent, non-socialist government, we are simply back to "my utopia is better than your reality"

Also if "Most western governments in the world are socialist to some degree or another", and if most western governments in the world are financially incompetent to some degree or another, it does not necessarily follow that all socialist governments are financially incompetent. Correlation is not causality.

You presumably agree that there are common traits in human nature, in human economic and human political behaviour. All these traits arise from a common source, the psychological make-up of homo sapiens. However it does not mean that they are connected any more than a feeling of attraction towards pretty women or handsome men and a liking for tasty food, two other common human traits, have any discernable connection.

In fact, having thought about it, it seems to me that the default political system is not some Hobbesian "State of Nature" chaos, nor a free market, but crony capitalism, where you have a rich elite controlling both the state and the economy and benefiting from that control. It's a sort of political Second law of Thermodynamics – The entropy (disorder) of an isolated system not in equilibrium (a political system) will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium (crony capitalism).

Lola said...

No I can't give an example of any financial competent government. That's the point, or rather part of the point I am trying to make. All governments are financial incompetent. Their incentives are entirely distorted. So best have as small a one as possible. .

So yes, socialist governments are financially incompetent and as they are Big Government they will be Bigly Incompetent. Witness all socialist governments run out of money.

Last para. Rich Elite. Precisely. The extractive class. The history of the Common Man is one of trying to get out from under or get rid of or avoid paying money to one extractive class after another. Socialism by definition is extractive. As is rent seeking Toryism.

Again markets and property rights (and sound money - which is a form of property right) and the Rule of Law always trend to order. It's governments and especially their bureaucrats that create chaos.

DBC Reed said...

Lets be clear: you cannot say that there is no such thing as "the mixed economy". Words& phrases gain validity by being used: if you type the term into Google you get thousands of references including standard dictionaries showing widespread standard usage.
By Lola's standards the post war British economy was stained the deepest red by its dirigiste institutions including a full roster of nationalised industries and collective bargaining by strong unions.
For reasons that were not commensurate with the scale of any problems, we were bumped out of that carefully balanced economy, post Macmillan, by a madwoman who stayed in power by bribing everybody out of social housing: once they were in receipt of unearned untaxed capital gains in mortgaged housing , she set about treating those in local authority housing as second class citizens until the point where their flats were no longer constructed to be fatal-fire proof.In the meantime house price inflation reached a point when in Feb 2017 Sayid Javid called a halt to the whole property owning democracy racket.So now the younger generation have missed out on State guaranteed house rises and are thoroughly pissed off because the Thacherites have also vandalised the Welfare State back-up.So the economy is ruined, right and left.
So much for deregulation and set-the-private-sector free (especially of all that pettifogging health-and-safety red tape).
Time to take a step back into the recent mixed-economy past . This is the conservative thing to do. Not all this gambling on eccentric pipe dreams.