Russell Taylor: Fantasy versus reality

According to a YouGov poll, Labour have soared into a seven point lead over the Tories following Ed Miliband’s party conference speech. To be honest, I’m not surprised, because it was popularist stuff that paid lip service to reality. He stopped short of promising everyone a free Caribbean holiday, but he did vow to make Caribbean temperatures in your home more affordable by freezing energy prices.

There was plenty more collectivist claptrap in the speech, which alluded to the same cult of action: the idea that our social ills can be legislated away by Nietzschean Übermensch equipped with sufficient power and good intentions. This is a concept that appeals to those in a state of arrested development. They think the childhood of their dreams, where an omnipotent mum and dad fix everything just so, can be realised in the adult world. But even if you’re stupid enough to believe this, you’d be hard-pressed to find a worse father to the nation than a Wallace-faced omega-geek like Ed Miliband.

Red Ed is peddling a comforting lie that continues to have a powerful hold over the human imagination: that the pressures and frustrations you face in life are the consequence of someone else’s greed. The inadequate wages you earn, the extortionate prices you pay, the need for you to be hard-working, courteous and efficient: they’re all arbitrary products of other people’s selfish desires. If they would just learn to live with less rather than constantly craving more, we’d live in a land of milk and honey. People would be liberated from harsh judgment, the surplus wealth could be redistributed more fairly, and the cost of living would plummet. All we need do is vote Labour and wait for the sun to rise on the socialist utopia.

In case any Labour-voters have wandered onto this site by mistake, allow me to explain where you’re going wrong. The first rule of economics is that there’s never enough stuff in the world to satisfy the demand for it. Whether you’re Karl Marx or Milton Friedman, you must have some form of rationing to ensure demand doesn’t overwhelm supply. In free societies, we do this using prices.

Businesses are very good at closing the gap between supply and demand, providing they are free to make as much money as possible, and providing they work in a competitive environment which keeps them on their toes and places a limit on their appetites. If their prices are set unreasonably high, and fail to reflect levels of scarcity and demand, their competitors will undercut them and their customers will take their business elsewhere.

If some ham-fisted goon like Ed Miliband decides to bypass this mechanism and fix prices, you end up with shortages, because producers can’t keep up with the increased demand without letting their profits diminish or disappear. They must either limit output, reduce standards or go bust – which would bad for everyone, given that they’re the ones who create wealth, give us jobs and make the things we need.

This is the point at which leftists cry ‘greed’, but human nature is what it is, and people simply don’t work as well if their earning potential is capped. That’s why nationalising industries doesn’t provide a solution (and why the public sector in general is a busted flush). State employees don’t fear competition or failure, and are indifferent to profit, so they lack the pressures that encourage excellence. Nor are they exposed to the shifting sands of the market, so they don’t know with any accuracy what to produce or in what quantity. The result is a third-rate service, inadequate products and tremendous waste. This smorgasbord of shoddiness is then dumped on the taxpayer to deal with.

This isn’t right-wing theorising; it’s tried-and-tested economic fact. Yet Labourites always claim that failed socialist experiments of the past didn’t represent true socialism. Well, we’ve never seen true capitalism, either, so how about we compare the two systems as they have existed in the real world? On these terms, socialism looks like an unmitigated disaster compared to capitalism, and the reason is obvious: socialism works against human nature, whereas capitalism works with it.

Perhaps Ed Miliband is the man to buck this trend – the one with the god-like perception to second-guess our ever-changing needs and to organise the state so that it runs like clockwork and we want for nothing. Rest assured that he isn’t, because no such person or group of people has ever existed in all of human history. But don’t expect this to make any difference to the Left. If they were to face up to reality, they’d have to abandon their childish pipedreams and their arrogant self-regard.

15 comments on “Russell Taylor: Fantasy versus reality

  1. Brian the Rhetaur
    September 28, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Excellent article.

    • dr
      September 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Agreed.

  2. Baron
    September 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Seconded. Brilliant, and not only because of the content, the crafting of the argument beats hands down the bulk of the MSM scribblers.

    Why, on earth, aren’t you published more widely, say, in the Spectator?

    A perfect living example of you being right is furnished by the Chinese. When the leadership pursued policies that would be warmly embraced by pink Millipede, 1.5bn of the country’s peasants were grazing. After they switched to what this country used to worship before the left leaning statists got on the act the number of the grazing peasantry got cut down to fewer than 0.5bn.

    • Russell Taylor
      September 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece – especially as it was a rush job. Hopefully we can make Bogpaper bigger than The Spectator!

    • Rocco
      September 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      Spectator? The Speccie’s got nothing on Bogpaper, dude. No one reads the Spectator anymore (except for when James Dellingpole’s in it of course).
      Bogpaper is where it’s at now, man.
      Bogpaper is the future.

  3. silverminer
    September 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    It’ll all just a “dog and pony show” anyway. Miliband gives you Socialist rhetoric, Cameron gives you Capitalist rhetoric and Clegg gives you Liberal rhetoric. Everyone has a team to support but what actually happens when they get in? Fascism is what we’ll be getting. Call it Corporatism if it makes you feel better. The merger of State and Corporate power and the general oppression of the masses for the benefit of the Elites. When you’re being royally shafted, the colour of the perpetrator’s tie is generally the least of your concerns.

    • Rocco
      September 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      Yeah, Silverminer! Anarchy is the thing.
      No rulers – just men.

    • Russell Taylor
      September 30, 2013 at 6:36 am #

      The shame of it is from a free market point of view is that people come to confuse crony capitalism with the real thing, when it’s actually nothing of the sort.

      • silverminer
        September 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

        That’s why I don’t like the term, Russell. The word “Capitalism” puts people’s noses out of joint. It suggests an economic system where one factor of production is favoured over the others, i.e. labour. Then we’re into the whole “Left verses Right” argument and before you know it, everyone is bickering, totally distracted and failing to see the nub of the issue while the insider monopoly men continue to pick our pockets with the help of our bought off representatives.

        Call it “Liberty verses Tyranny” or “Individualism verses Collectivism” and you’re on safer ground as people instinctively identify with the liberty of the individual and recoil at the tyranny of the collective.

  4. theaustrianway
    September 30, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    Another stellar piece from Russell Taylor here, although I think he’s stealing my thunder!

    And, Rocco, you are right – the Speccy’s over, it’s all about Bogpaper!

  5. concretebunker
    September 30, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Russell, excellent as Always! The attitude of our democracy is reverting to the system of the Romans i.e. Who could buy the praetorian Guard?
    Its the dictatorship of the majority/stupid who seem easily bought by other peoples money.

  6. RobertC
    September 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    It should be taught in all state schools, with an exam at the end!

  7. Brian Otridge
    September 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    Tractor production is Minsk is above target, and the stockyard is full of 100,000 of them already waiting to be allocated to farms.

    The harvest axross the whole Soviet Union will start on 15 August, whether the grain is ripe or rotted.

    A proven failed socialist experiment… 1918-1990 RIP

  8. andyL
    October 2, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Great. Carry on allowing Oligopolies to fix higher and higher prices. This is not competition. Ed’s probably called this right. But Labour do love to spend and that’s not we need right now. But neither do we need out of touch public school educated numpties simply increasing bonuses to their public school educated mates that hold 87% of FTSE 100 directors posts either.

  9. Andrew Miles (@Manwithaview1)
    October 3, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    I bet you pay tax as well. The Spectator doesn’t. Any articles about why various orgs think it is right to avoid doing the right thing and paying tax. After all if everyone had paid their dues we wouldn’t have any debt, would we?

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