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Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #31 
With all due respect, you aren't a traditionalist or conservative, it appears to me. Even in traditions, like China or Persia, where the rulers had absolute power, the family, community, and the intermediate associations of society are essential to any traditionalism or conservatism worth its salt. The overbearing state, as in social democracy, that takes away all autonomy and function from these associations, is anathema to the conservative or traditionalist, whatever nation they come from. This is why social democracy is as bad as neoliberalism: the state and the corporation are just as problematic as each other, and usually go together.

What Chesterbelloc said about Jews or Muslims (try not to use leftie jargon like Islamphobia) is clearly irrelevant to this issue. Distributism is not utopian. There's no need to follow the exact letter of Chesterbelloc's plans. I just mean the general tendency of decentralised, community and family orientated economics. This is why I mentioned other figures. To the conservative and traditionalist, this is surely what economics is about. Anyway, something like the Georgist Land Value Tax, properly implemented, would do more for the economic and social standing of most people than all social democratic schemes put together. There would be significantly less poor in a more Distributist system, that's the point - it's all about creating widespread family and individual ownership of productive property. Looking to the centralised state to run much of the economy seems pretty utopian to me. Hayek was certainly correct about dispersed knowledge.
azadi

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wessexman
With all due respect, you aren't a traditionalist or conservative, it appears to me. Even in traditions, like China or Persia, where the rulers had absolute power, the family, community, and the intermediate associations of society are essential to any traditionalism or conservatism worth its salt. The overbearing state, as in social democracy, that takes away all autonomy and function from these associations, is anathema to the conservative or traditionalist, whatever nation they come from. This is why social democracy is as bad as neoliberalism: the state and the corporation are just as problematic as each other, and usually go together.

What Chesterbelloc said about Jews or Muslims (try not to use leftie jargon like Islamphobia) is clearly irrelevant to this issue. Distributism is not utopian. There's no need to follow the exact letter of Chesterbelloc's plans. I just mean the general tendency of decentralised, community and family orientated economics. This is why I mentioned other figures. To the conservative and traditionalist, this is surely what economics is about. Anyway, something like the Georgist Land Value Tax, properly implemented, would do more for the economic and social standing of most people than all social democratic schemes put together. There would be significantly less poor in a more Distributist system, that's the point - it's all about creating widespread family and individual ownership of productive property. Looking to the centralised state to run much of the economy seems pretty utopian to me. Hayek was certainly correct about dispersed knowledge.

I'm a conservative, because I support constitutional monarchy, including in former monarchies such as Russia and Iran, I support national sovereignty, I oppose mass immigration and I oppose gay marriage. But I dislike feudal nostalgia. I like the modern centralized state. Your ideas have never worked in practice. I support restoration of monarchies, even if it's unlikely to happen, because constitutional monarchies work well in practice, where they exist, but I don't support utopian schemes, which has never worked in practice anywhere. Why are you opposed to the state providing education, health care, unemployment benefits, disability pensions and old age pensions to its citizens, and why are you opposed to the state owning public services and natural resources? What's wrong with state-owned railroads and state-owned oil companies? I'm not advocating Soviet-style planned economies. I'm proposing, that the state must own public services, natural resources and perhaps banks, while the rest of the economy is left to private enterprise.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #33 
Firstly, something like Distributism has often been a big part of many economic systems. Widespread peasant and craftsman ownership is Distributism.

I am not always opposed to state economic action, but generally it erodes the autonomy and functions of family, local community, etc. As Robert Nisbet liked to point out, social associations need functions to be strong and healthy.

I consider your vision quite utopia itself. The idea that the centralised state can efficiently allocate resources and run things effectively seems far-fetched to me. Read Hayek on dispersed knowledge. I don't object to natural monopolies being publicly owned, although I would suggest trying to decentralisation where possible. Government ownership of banks seems extremely utopian. That's basically state control of capital flows.

I have no idea what the direct relevance of feudalism is here. I am arguing for widespread family and individual ownership and increased local economic control. And I hardly think the two main policies I support are utopian: namely, ending all corporate welfare and support (including corporate personhood) and a Land Value Tax. What's utopian about an LVT? I also support encouraging mutual banking, partly by greatly lessening banking regulations designed to help commercial banks. There are some other policies I have an interest in, but these are the main ones. I think these are would go along way to lessening the need for aggressive state redistribution and intervention, as in social democracy. Social democracy is, to me, an attempt to cure issues in the economy and society through redistribution and state action. I prefer a preventative approach that tries to reduce the need for any curative efforts.
azadi

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wessexman
Firstly, something like Distributism has often been a big part of many economic systems. Widespread peasant and craftsman ownership is Distributism.

I am not always opposed to state economic action, but generally it erodes the autonomy and functions of family, local community, etc. As Robert Nisbet liked to point out, social associations need functions to be strong and healthy.

I consider your vision quite utopia itself. The idea that the centralised state can efficiently allocate resources and run things effectively seems far-fetched to me. Read Hayek on dispersed knowledge. I don't object to natural monopolies being publicly owned, although I would suggest trying to decentralisation where possible. Government ownership of banks seems extremely utopian. That's basically state control of capital flows.

I have no idea what the direct relevance of feudalism is here. I am arguing for widespread family and individual ownership and increased local economic control. And I hardly think the two main policies I support are utopian: namely, ending all corporate welfare and support (including corporate personhood) and a Land Value Tax. What's utopian about an LVT? I also support encouraging mutual banking, partly by greatly lessening banking regulations designed to help commercial banks. There are some other policies I have an interest in, but these are the main ones. I think these are would go along way to lessening the need for aggressive state redistribution and intervention, as in social democracy. Social democracy is, to me, an attempt to cure issues in the economy and society through redistribution and state action. I prefer a preventative approach that tries to reduce the need for any curative efforts.

I support a Land Value Tax, but a LVT isn't an alternative to social democracy. Taxing land rather than income doesn't mean, that the state shall not provide social welfare. I don't understand, why you claim, that social democracy is utopian. It has been implemented in a lot of countries. Most banks in India are owned by the state. State control of capital flows is a good thing, because it allows the state to regulate the economy and to provide cheap credit to promising upstart private enterprises. The state has actually been able to run mail, railroads, water, gas, energy, telecom, airlines, oil companies and natural gas companies effectively in most countries. 
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #35 
Ah, India, the model of an efficient economy.

I dispute the notion the state has run such utilities well. It certainly didn't in Britain, although in natural monopolies, private ownership often isn't much better. The centralised state is naturally inefficient in running such enterprises because it lacks price signals or other means of efficiently allocating resources. It can also rely on the taxpayers to underwrite such inefficiency, which compounds the problem.

The LVT should be an alternative to social democracy, because it should mean that the individual and family can much more easily own a house and productive property, and make more money, meaning they have far less need for state welfare. I am not opposed to all state welfare, but it tends to undermine the social associations like family and community.

The idea state bureaucrats can efficiently allocate capital for an economy is absurd and was literally the chief delusion of Marxist socialists in Russia and other places. Maybe if this was done in a very decentralised fashion it might work, but I don't see the need. Mutual and community banking would work much better.
azadi

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Posts: 387
Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wessexman
Ah, India, the model of an efficient economy.

I dispute the notion the state has run such utilities well. It certainly didn't in Britain, although in natural monopolies, private ownership often isn't much better. The centralised state is naturally inefficient in running such enterprises because it lacks price signals or other means of efficiently allocating resources. It can also rely on the taxpayers to underwrite such inefficiency, which compounds the problem.

The LVT should be an alternative to social democracy, because it should mean that the individual and family can much more easily own a house and productive property, and make more money, meaning they have far less need for state welfare. I am not opposed to all state welfare, but it tends to undermine the social associations like family and community.

The idea state bureaucrats can efficiently allocate capital for an economy is absurd and was literally the chief delusion of Marxist socialists in Russia and other places. Maybe if this was done in a very decentralised fashion it might work, but I don't see the need. Mutual and community banking would work much better.

Thatcher deliberately starved the state-owned public utilities of Great Britain of resources in order to reduce the quality of public services in order to increase public support for privatization. Deutsche Bahn, the state-owned railroad company of Germany, Gazprom, a Russian state-owned natural gas company, and Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil company, to which the KRG has granted oil concessions in Kurdistan, works well.
Making less people dependent on state welfare is an admirable idea, but it won't help academically talented young people from poor families, the unemployed, the disabled and poor elderly people with no savings. 
Peter

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Reply with quote  #37 
Lady Thatcher did no such thing, you are talking complete nonsense. The performance of the state-owned utilities sucked prior to privatisation because it always had, for very well understood reasons. And I am actually old enough to remember what they were like before, and appreciate how their service to the public has improved since. Public ownership of utilities is a pretty much guaranteed recipe for service ranging from poor to abysmal combined with high prices. Companies competing in the market place that offer that particular combination tend to find themselves out of business, which does not happen to publicly-owned companies since they are not in business in the first place. So they lack that essential discipline.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #38 
What I was talking about will help most of those people, except perhaps the disabled and elderly, as those policies I talked of are aimed at creating far cheaper access to land and capital. I'm not, though, saying we should simply do away with all government welfare, so that's a strawman.

On state owned enterprises, I do think we have to differentiate natural monopolies from others. Natural monopolies are probably better owned by the state, or at least heavily regulated by the state. I don't think that privatising can work effectively if the particular market is inherently non-competitive. We see this with railways. British railways was a running joke, but the privatised railways aren't any better - or at least South West Trains isn't.
Peter

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Reply with quote  #39 
South West Trains are abysmal, as I know from extensive experience. Not that any rail company enjoys what you would call a shining reputation. British Rail, which I remember well, was of course no better and in some ways worse, particularly quality of rolling stock and staff attitudes to passengers. And in fairness part of SWT's difficulties are due to a particularly bolshy and obstreperous union. But railways are an exception, proving not that privatisation doesn't work but that it isn't a panacea. Which nobody ever thought anyway. Other utilities have all markedly improved their service under a competitive regime, so I certainly overall support what happened. Incidentally Lady Thatcher is not to be blamed for rail privatisation, she thought it was a bad idea and wouldn't do it. Sir John Major, the markedly incompetent Prime Minister who is always popping up to tell others how to do the job he was a shambles at, thought differently and so here we are.
azadi

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter
South West Trains are abysmal, as I know from extensive experience. Not that any rail company enjoys what you would call a shining reputation. British Rail, which I remember well, was of course no better and in some ways worse, particularly quality of rolling stock and staff attitudes to passengers. And in fairness part of SWT's difficulties are due to a particularly bolshy and obstreperous union. But railways are an exception, proving not that privatisation doesn't work but that it isn't a panacea. Which nobody ever thought anyway. Other utilities have all markedly improved their service under a competitive regime, so I certainly overall support what happened. Incidentally Lady Thatcher is not to be blamed for rail privatisation, she thought it was a bad idea and wouldn't do it. Sir John Major, the markedly incompetent Prime Minister who is always popping up to tell others how to do the job he was a shambles at, thought differently and so here we are.

The British Rail being abysmal doesn't mean, that public utilities being state-owned is a bad idea. The Deutsche Bahn, a railroad company, which is owned by the German government, works well. The state ought to own public utilities in order to keep prices of essential services, such as water, electricity, gas, telephone conversations and railway tickets down. Privatization allows the owners of public utilities to increase prices. The state ought to own extraction of natural resources in order to distribute the wealth gained from natural resources to the general population. In Norway, the oil wealth are saved by the state in a fund in order to benefit future generations. 
Peter

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Reply with quote  #41 
I was aware of the good reputation of German railways and that they are state-owned. Only travelled on them on one trip, from Berlin to Dresden and then back again, but certainly the service was bang on time and I had no complaints. Perhaps we ought to tap into the German expertise. But state ownership of utilities does not keep prices down, or if it does it is only by diminished service and rationing. I remember that when telephones were a monopoly if you wanted a phone line you were put on a waiting list, which could easily be 18 months or more long. Now, if you want a phone line there are people queuing outside your door to put one in and bidding each other down for the chance. It's quite a change.

PS On investigation, I find that Deutsche Bahn does operate some railway services in Britain, through local subsidiaries. And that they don't perform well at all. Perhaps the expertise is not exportable.
azadi

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Reply with quote  #42 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter
I was aware of the good reputation of German railways and that they are state-owned. Only travelled on them on one trip, from Berlin to Dresden and then back again, but certainly the service was bang on time and I had no complaints. Perhaps we ought to tap into the German expertise. But state ownership of utilities does not keep prices down, or if it does it is only by diminished service and rationing. I remember that when telephones were a monopoly if you wanted a phone line you were put on a waiting list, which could easily be 18 months or more long. Now, if you want a phone line there are people queuing outside your door to put one in and bidding each other down for the chance. It's quite a change.

PS On investigation, I find that Deutsche Bahn does operate some railway services in Britain, through local subsidiaries. And that they don't perform well at all. Perhaps the expertise is not exportable.

It's true, that state ownership doesn't necessarily keep prices down, but it makes it possible to keep prices down. 
Wessexman

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Posts: 1,268
Reply with quote  #43 
Competition is part of the issue. Where there can be competition it doesn't make much sense for the state to run an enterprise, but when there can't be competition, the state probably should run the entreprise, as private ownership just gives a monopoly to a private owner.

A state entreprise can deliver reasonable service without being efficient. The state doesn't have to face market pressures. It can just rely on the taxpayer to support its operations. Efficiency isn't simply about the outcome, but also the inputs that are needed to achieve it.
azadi

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Posts: 387
Reply with quote  #44 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wessexman
With all due respect, you aren't a traditionalist or conservative, it appears to me. Even in traditions, like China or Persia, where the rulers had absolute power, the family, community, and the intermediate associations of society are essential to any traditionalism or conservatism worth its salt. The overbearing state, as in social democracy, that takes away all autonomy and function from these associations, is anathema to the conservative or traditionalist, whatever nation they come from. This is why social democracy is as bad as neoliberalism: the state and the corporation are just as problematic as each other, and usually go together.

What Chesterbelloc said about Jews or Muslims (try not to use leftie jargon like Islamphobia) is clearly irrelevant to this issue. Distributism is not utopian. There's no need to follow the exact letter of Chesterbelloc's plans. I just mean the general tendency of decentralised, community and family orientated economics. This is why I mentioned other figures. To the conservative and traditionalist, this is surely what economics is about. Anyway, something like the Georgist Land Value Tax, properly implemented, would do more for the economic and social standing of most people than all social democratic schemes put together. There would be significantly less poor in a more Distributist system, that's the point - it's all about creating widespread family and individual ownership of productive property. Looking to the centralised state to run much of the economy seems pretty utopian to me. Hayek was certainly correct about dispersed knowledge.

I'm not a Marxist, because I don't support state atheism and class struggle. Society is an organism, and it's important, that all parts of the organism are treated well. The state must ensure, that the weak parts of the organism are treated well. Making it possible for more people to become owners of productive property will not help the weakest members of the society. The state must establish a strong social safety net in order to help those unable to find work, the disabled and elderly people without fortune or savings, and the state must provide tuition-free university education in order to make it possible for academically talented people from poor families to obtain an university education. I like Fabian socialism, which rejects class struggle.
It's true, that the term Islamophobia is being abused by leftists to attack reasonable critics of political Islam and mass immigration of Muslims to Europe, but the term Islamophobia is needed to describe people, who actually hate Muslims solely for being Muslims. The term racism is also being abused by leftists, but the term racism remains useful to describe people, who actually believe in racial supremacy or racial purity. Calling Ayaan Hirsi Ali an Islamophobe is wrong, but calling Anders Behring Breivik an Islamophobe is accurate.
Wessexman

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Posts: 1,268
Reply with quote  #45 
As I said, it is a strawman to suggest I'm arguing for the removal of all government welfare. What I am arguing for is a conservative or traditionalist economic approach, that thinks first of the intermediate social associations that make up any flourishing society. This doesn't mean we need to get rid of all state welfare, but it does mean such support should be cautious and restrained and, as far as possible, decentralised. It also means much welfare won't be necessary. Social democracy has it backwards, as I said. It looks to state redistribution to cure problems that a more Distributist approach could prevent to begin with. Social democracy tends to look far too much to the centralised state to fix issues, without considering the effect on civil society, and is far too interventionist in that society. Family, community, etc. require an important degree of autonomy and even economic function to survive and flourish. Both the state and globalist economic forces are a threat to these little platoons. I do think that having the pendulum swing a little way back to social democracy might be a good thing, after the dominance of neoliberalism for a few decades, but neither of these are a proper economic solution to a conservative or traditionalist.

There's actually no need for the state to provide free tuition to allow those from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to university. All the state has to do is provide loans. I am not from a rich background, and yet I could go to university because of state loans. In fact, if we're talking of the most talented, scholarships would probably do, especially if encouraged and supported by the state. In my opinion, far too many people go to university. Many would be better going to trade schools, apprenticeships, and the like. And many courses shouldn't be offered at university, nor should many professions require university qualifications. Nurses, police officers, even accountants, to my mind, don't require a university education.


Also, perhaps you shouldn't try to go back to revive parts of the discussion that have been discontinued earlier on. The conversation went on to the topic of nationalised industry, and you have gone back to, rather repetitively, comment on something we'd apparently finished with. In fact, you it's almost as if you decided to make a second general response to my post, as you responded to several of the distinct issues raised in it. This is all rather strange posting behaviour, in my opinion. I do recall you have done similar things, like delete and repost your posts, presumably to try to get other posters' attention through notifications.
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