Friday, 30 March 2007


Supposedly the House of Lords has voted against some secondary legislation arising from the new Gambling Act. Even still, the government remain confident that plans for new casinos in the UK are still feasible.

Unsurprisingly, there are few comments made in favour of a total free market in gambling. I don't understand why the general public fear free markets so much.

Would there be more people gambling in a total free market? Maybe so. If this a good thing? Well people hold the right to use their property how they wish. It is their property, and hence an extension of their self-ownership. Would there be more gambling addicts? Again, maybe so. But in many cases, an addiction to something is often an innate characteristic in a person. Not everyone will necessarily become an addict if gambling was more prevalent in society. Would children be at harm? Well the mechanics of the free market would step in, in this instance. Since society values the security of children, people wouldn't have to do business with casinos that served children. Also, in response to consumer demand, casinos may also self-regulate and actively refrain from serving children.
Iran - Royal Navy detainees

This situation with the Royal Navy detainees in Iran seems quite perplexing. We say that our naval personnel were in Iraqi waters, yet the Iranians state that they were in Iranian waters. Besides, is taking them as hostages really necessary or prudent? Wouldn't it be more fitting to merely warn them that they were in Iranian waters and ask them to leave immediately?

Some idiots have stated that we "declare war" against Iran, nonetheless the solution seems fairly simple to me.

In future, we should refrain from engaging in "UN mandated" missions. This situation with the Iranians is simply a consequence of Blair's interventionist foreign policy. If the Royal Navy were solely protecting British waters and British citizens, then it wouldn't have to interfere in foreign skirmishes that don't undermine British sovereignty. If anything, we should leave the UN. Would we lose "influence" in the world? Why would we? What is the inherent good in "global influence" anyhow? The UK would still have one of the largest economies in the world and people from overseas would still desire to trade with us. As for the seat on the Security Council, well so what? Again, the concept of having influence in the world seems rather narcissistic to me. It's just a means of saying "my country is important" or "my country is better than your country". It's really an infantile, playground mentality. I would only want Britain to be a peaceful, secure, prosperous and free country. Global influence is secondary to such a principle.

In a market anarchist/voluntaryist society, individuals should be free as to whether they want to engage in humanitarian efforts. If individuals want to help the Iraqis, then they should be free to do so. In that sense, governmental force would not be needed (to tax us and then spend it on the armed forces) to patrol foreign hotspots.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The Budget 2007

Gordon Brown made his 11th Budget today. This probably might be his last, if he really is going to take over from Blair as PM and Labour Party leader.

As usual, it was chock full of big government pap and statist drivel. OK, granted, such a thing was only to be expected.

It was surprising to hear that Labour would cut the basic rate of income tax. Yes, taxation is theft, nonetheless I didn't expect Labour would have the balls to cut taxation. In regards to growth and inflation (neither should be measured anyhow), Brown made his usual quip about "record periods of sustained GDP growth". Well yes, since New Labour won the 1997 election, GDP growth has been reasonable, especially in comparison with the other G8 countries. Still, the economy was growing healthily under the last Conservative government led by John Major. From 1992 (the end of the last British recession) to 1997, average GDP growth was above trend (which is about 2.5%). Brown and New Labour therefore can only claim credit for the maintenance of a strong economy, and certainly have not created economic strength. Inflation, from 1992 to 1997, was also reasonably low.

I'm not a minarchist, nevertheless a libertarian budget should only set aside government funding for:

- Law and order
- the armed forces
- courts and judicial system

As stated earlier, inflation (via the means of the CPI, RPI and RPIX) should not be measured. Such measurements are not accurate gauges of inflationary pressures in the economy, since they are only a basket of commonly purchased consumer items. Not every price rise in the economy is noted in such records. Besides, inflation (if defined as a rise in prices) is only caused by increases in the money supply and we have the Bank of England and Royal Mint to thank for that. Commodity-backed currencies (using gold or silver) would drastically reduce price rises in the economy and retain the purchasing power of currency.

As for GDP growth, the concept of GDP per se is a faulty one. In a free market (without any government intervention), individuals should choose whether they desire to consume greater quantities of goods and services. It should not be a goal for an entire society to meet x GDP growth target. Such a move only smacks of central economic planning, which evidently is contrary to the concept of a free market.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Olympics, Government, Big projects and failure

The late, great Harry Browne continually used to say that "government doesn't work". He even wrote a book on that subject.

Browne was a man of great wisdom, and as such, this Olympics situation has proven him right. Government projects are continuously over budget and even turn out to be white elephants. The Millennium Dome in London is a fine example of the latter.

The free market recognises it only has limited funds in order to finance a project. It also realises that a return can be made if a project is managed successfully. Really, all major public projects should be wholly financed by the free market. Look at Wembley Stadium. The government partly financed this, and it's completion was months behind schedule. Arsenal financed the Emirates Stadium with private funding and it's completion matched proposed scheduling.

Government is slow and cumbersome. Ronald Reagan (despite actually increasing the size of the US federal government) was right in saying that government is the problem, not the solution.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

A good example of the free market in action

Recently, NTL/Virgin Media have ceased showing Sky One on their digital networks. This has caused concern because Sky One show many flagship American shows like The Simpsons.

However Sky are offering their digital service at a lower price than NTL/Virgin Media. This is a perfect example of the free market in action. BSkyB have realised an opportunity here and are willing to capitalise from a competitor.

Imagine if ALL services could be subject to such forces. Prices would be lower, due to competition. The quality of goods and services would be higher, since companies would lose custom to competitors otherwise. With no government around, we could live in a world with higher quality goods and services.