måndag 13 september 2010

Tea party gathers momentum

The spread of the Tea Party is a manifestation of the beast named ANARCHO-CAPITALISM (A-C).

Its prophets are Ayn Rand, and its high priests are Murray Rothbard, Bruce L. Benson. The economic theory comes from the Austrian School via Chicago, and it is founded on the fallacious theory of property rights put forward by John Locke. This leads them, paradoxically, into the same trap that Marxists fall into - that land and natural resources is a form of capital or nothing other than capital. That particular error makes it impossible to analyse contemporary economic and social problems.

A-C was the guiding principle behind Thatcherism, possibly having entered the political bloodstream via academics at St Andrew's University. Early UK advocates included Keith Joseph, and the principles of A-C underly the utterances of such as John Redwood. In a diluted form it was and remains a strong influence on both Labour and the LibDems. With Marxism discredited, there is nothing much else to draw on at the moment as a source for ideas in political economy. In the UK, the Taxpayers' Alliance is a front for this movement.

The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church (CST) offers the best hope, since it takes the view that both socialism and capitalism are flawed in their different ways. But CST offers no more than a framework of basic principles to work from. There is a job to be done in developing new practical policies.

5 kommentarer:

OrneryPest sa...

I think people are sucked into the error that land is capital by the fact that a business's initial outlay (mistakenly called "capital") needs to be spent to acquire land to locate its capital on.

Recovering Libertarian sa...

Oh dear.

I thoroughly enjoy your comments on the Guardian's CiF, but this short post is so far off the mark.

Firstly, the US Tea Party movement is as much to do with conservative Christian values as any politico-economic ideology; there's a great rag-bag of various thoughts operating within it under the single banner. However, an ancap movement it certainly isn't.

Ancaps believe in no state, as the anarcho part of the label suggests. Neither the mainstream of the Tea Party, Thatcher, or any current (mainstream) UK politician appear to advocate the total dissolution of the state.

I guess that you are referring to the likes of Eamonn Butler and Madson Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute when you talk of academics from St Andrews university? The ASI is not, nor has ever been, a proponent of ancap policies. They are rather firmly of the neoliberal/corporatist tradition, seeking removal of impediments to corporate profits, whilst maintaining government subsidies to such organisations; for example via a publicly funded transport network, bailouts for banks etc. I personally loathe the ASI with a passion, but because of their hypocrisy, not because they are ancaps ;-)

Finally, the old witch Ayn Rand was not an ancap either. She was quite clear that she believed in a state; further, that the state should exercise coercive force outside of it's own territory. Her legacy lives on within the movement that she founded.

Sorry, but this was a very poorly informed post.

Physiocrat sa...

I am probably guilty of tarring all the various shades of neo-libertarian ideas with the same brush.

They are, of course, in the air, and have been since the mid-1970s. They have gathered strength through the failures of both democratic socialism and the collapse of Marxism as an intellectual force.

Underneath them all is one reasonable proposition and two fallacies. The reasonable proposition is that in most normal circumstances, people should be able to provide for themselves, or purchase for themselves, much of what is currently provided by the state at taxpayers' expense.

The first fallacy is that externalities, both costs and benefits, are ignored. The second fallacy concerns property rights and how they arise.

Recovering Libertarian sa...

"The second fallacy concerns property rights and how they arise."

Do you have a link to anything I can read to understand the position that you hold? Thanks.

Physiocrat sa...

My position on property rights is that they need to be adapted to circumstances and cultural factors. The underlying principle is that land and natural resources, but not that which stands upon land, is a gift of God, or Nature, if you prefer. So "land ownership" is essentially what Denman, former Professsor of Land Economics at the University of Cambridge, described as a "bundle of rights" over what existed from time immemorial and was made by no man.

The most important of these rights include exclusive occupation, assignment of title by sale or testament, and collection of the economic rent of land. The rights derive from the community which respects them, and more formally via the government, which issues legal title and will protect it in the courts and by other means including the defence of the realm itself.

My position is that these rights imply a duty to the community, to pay for the benefits of ownership.

People should pay for what they get, and get what they pay for. Which means they should not steal it or take it by force.

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