David Thompson
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October 19, 2015

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Anna

With reckless disregard for his own mental wellbeing, Tim Worstall attempts to impart some knowledge.

Reminds me of a scene from Father Ted.

Sam

Someone should build a time machine and extract all the wealth cavemen had.

David

Echoing Zoe’s wisdom, one achingly pious Guardian reader says, “Every cent in the rich man’s pocket has been stolen from the pockets of the poor.” This comment has been up-voted a dozen times by other Guardian readers, i.e., more than Tim’s. A less pious soul has replied, not unreasonably, “Please explain how JK Rowling has stolen from the poor.”

ACTOldFart

"Anthropogenic wealth extraction" - oh God I love it. To future generations of lightweight leftoid wankers and airheads it will be right up there with "foreign-owned multinational", "global warming" and "distributive justice" as the cliche to be trotted out when they have run out of reason, logic, evidence and argument (which I predict will be very, very frequently).

To those of us present at the creation, particulary those who sympathise with the sentiments of this blog, it can only lead to the question, "Is Zoe Williams the stupidest person not currently in some sort of care?".

Rafi

So who did privately educated middle-class Zoe steal her wealth from?

Argh

I'm just surprised that the Fat, Evil Rich Man exploiting the Thin, Noble Poor Man in the cartoon accompanying the piece wasn't drawn as a Jew.

Joan

Don't forget Zoe's money tree.

http://order-order.com/2015/09/29/zoe-williams-magic-money-tree/

Lancastrian Oik

For example, Ben, a 45-year-old, very wealthy man: his life revolves around very trivial things. He collects antiques similar to how the squirrel collects nuts.

The anonymous "UN researcher" thus demonstrates that he or she is as ignorant about culture as Zoe Williams is about economics.

David

Natalie Solent on Zoe Williams and her employers:

The Guardian newspaper is a sort of Rare Breed Survival Trust for economic and political stupidity. It works to secure the continued existence and viability of endangered falsehoods. Heart-warmingly, its labours often meet with success and stupid ideas once considered moribund can thrive again. Not thrive in terms of achieving anything worthwhile, of course, because the ideas concerned are stupid, but in terms of being loved.

Yes, I like that.

Lancastrian Oik

If the pope and a few rogue academics expressed unease, it took a whimsical Swedish electro band to get to the root of the problem.

I'd never heard of them before today, but apparently "The Knife" were an electropop duo from Gothenburg, who formed in 1999 and who subsequently formed their own record company Rabid Records.

In Sweden, synthesisers grow on trees, right?

“As we all know,” says a UN official with a forbidding fringe, “extreme wealth is a huge problem in this world.”

A "forbidding fringe"- we all know what that means, right?

“He and his family,” the Knife’s researcher continues, of the High Net Worth Individual Ben, “are caught in a vicious circle of wanting more and more crap. They have very little or no concept of what democracy is.”

In 1986, using some of the proceeds of my first post-qualification salary cheque, I went to Chandler's Guitars in Kew and made a down-payment on a black, maple-necked Fender Stratocaster which I still have twenty-nine years later (it's known as the "The Bride", as I've owned said guitar longer than I've known the current Mrs. Oik, by about sixteen weeks. I know you don't care, but I'm telling you anyway). Over the years I've acquired a few more. I just like them. Don't touch them. In fact, don't even look at them. I don't care if you do have a warrant for distrainer under the emergency powers granted by the ruling Yamaha-Gibson Coalition People's Front, you're not having them.

*Runs to fortified and well-provisioned barn with "The Bride", a shotgun and plenty of ammunition.*

mike fowle

"The Guardian newspaper is a sort of Rare Breed Survival Trust for economic and political stupidity. It works to secure the continued existence and viability of endangered falsehoods. Heart-warmingly, its labours often meet with success and stupid ideas once considered moribund can thrive again. Not thrive in terms of achieving anything worthwhile, of course, because the ideas concerned are stupid, but in terms of being loved."

That is rather wonderful.

Lancastrian Oik

“Please explain how JK Rowling has stolen from the poor.”

That.

Ten words which demolish Marxism.

sk60

Privatisation and tax evasion (in Britain) cause third world poverty? Wow.

TDK

Thought experiment:

Two people on a desert island. For several months they fail to meet. One is consistently more successful at hunting and fishing than the other. Has she stolen from him?

They meet but do not trade. Success continues as before. Did she start to steal from him.

They trade and through the magic of Ricardo, they are both better off:
https://www.e-education.psu.edu/ebf200wd/node/191

Has she stolen from him.

I suspect the socialist thinks the stealing comes in at the point of the trade. They start with the conclusion that only an equal outcome is fair and it follows therefore that there was skulduggery.

David

Note that Zoe depicts wealth in terms of strip mining and predatory confiscation, rather than, as is more common, people voluntarily trading goods and services. Regarding Zoe’s deep resentment of wealthy individuals – by which I mean, obviously, people wealthier than her - this seems relevant. Note Zoe’s belief that charity events would be much more amusing if the people giving money to help Romanian orphans were being physically injured. Note too her belief that rich people giving money away, to charity, “creates inequality.”

Sam Duncan

That is the single dumbest sentence ever published.

Jib Halyard

What is especially striking about the anti-capitalist crowd is their assumption that the economy is a zero-sum game. Which leaves them with no means of explaining why it is we no longer live in caves.

David

They start with the conclusion that only an equal outcome is fair and it follows therefore that there was skulduggery.

If you’re familiar with Zoe’s output, you’ll see that it’s very important to her that inequality of any kind is always someone’s fault. There must always be villains to scold, to feel superior to, and of course to punish. Whether the inequality is of wealth, intelligence or culture, to her it’s only explicable if someone has done something bad, even if she can’t quite pin down what it is they supposedly did.

And this tendency towards spite is illustrated in the charity article linked above, in which Zoe’s own vindictive posturing and fantasies of confiscation are apparently more important than actually helping Romanian orphans and saving the lives of African children with retroviral drugs. In her mind, “these people,” the ones giving large sums to charity, “would do more good by… making do with normal jobs that paid normal salaries.”

It’s a strange moral calculus, but not that uncommon, at least among Guardianistas.

David

The anonymous “UN researcher” thus demonstrates that he or she is as ignorant about culture as Zoe Williams is about economics.

Quite. But note the intended, heavily signalled implication. That a wealthy person couldn’t possibly have any valid or defensible use for - or moral claim to - his or her wealth. It must – simply must - be used for “very trivial things” – as defined by Zoe and her peers. It’s just “collecting antiques” or “wanting more crap.” Apparently, Zoe not only knows what every wealthy person spends their own money on, or invests it in, she also knows what will make a wealthy person happy more than he or she does. And note the pointed insinuation – again, based on nothing – that wealthy people “have very little or no concept of what democracy is.”

WTP

What is especially striking about the anti-capitalist crowd is their assumption that the economy is a zero-sum game.

From my observation, such is how a good majority of people think. Including some conservatives. I've had numerous discussions with many people on this subject and I've found if you begin with establishing where people stand on this point, you can save a lot of time from arguing about more complex economic issues.

As for TDK's query as to where the lady in question stole those fish, why from Mother Earth of course. And She belongs to all of us, her birds in the hand or in the bush. As I said, I've spent considerable time discussing this issue with many people.

Lancastrian Oik

That a wealthy person couldn’t possibly have any valid or defensible use for - or moral claim to - his or her wealth.

Indeed.

Because, as Jib Halyard rightly points out, "socialist economists"* often wrongly assume (a) that the economy is a zero-sum game; failing that, (b) they assume that any additional wealth, howsoever created, somehow belongs to everyone no matter what its origin, and no matter what efforts have gone into its creation and thus, whichever of those two wrong-headed assumptions are made, "excessive" wealth is illegitimate and therefore subject to confiscation.

Or, as Williams seems to do, they hold both positions simultaneously.

That's why I find that comment about J.K. Rowling reiterated above so very appealing, as it demonstrates the inherent falsity of position (a), and the moral vacuity of position (b).

To hold positions (a) and (b) at the same time, you would have to be rather stupid, and vindictive to boot, which is how Williams comes across.

Argh

Zoe Williams has way more money than me. I don't know the figures but I'm using Zoe logic so it doesn't matter. From my perspective, my feelz, middle class people who write for newspapers are wealthy. So I'm okay to hate them and agitate for the state to take from them and give to me, to even things up? And/or just to act like a total cunt to Zoe Williams should I ever run into her?

Or did I miss something?

Oh, and OT but I notice that vindictive 'feminist' sort-of-solicitor Charlotte Proudman has a Guardian writing gig. It's all so drearily predictable with these people.

Captain Nemo

For example, Ben, a 45-year-old, very wealthy man: his life revolves around very trivial things. He collects antiques...

Gosh, how awful. Man collects Victorian furniture and Georgian silverware, preserving them for posterity. As for the idea of antique collecting being of trivial importance, the late Khaled al-Asaad would no doubt have disagreed with that.

R. Sherman

One commenter suggest that the problem is not wealth, but the fact that the wealthy do not "circulate" it.

Huh?

I suppose the wealthy just roll around naked,Smaug-like, in giant piles of cash in their basements while being fellated by hookers or something.

As for stealing wealth, I assume Williams provides her columns to The Guardian gratis, so as not to indirectly steal from those readers who feel compelled to subscribe.

WTP

suggest that the problem is not wealth, but the fact that the wealthy do not "circulate" it.

Another very common misconception held by many professors of economics, and I suspect at least one Nobel Prize winner in the subject. They speak as if Bill Gates has 10 billion dollars buried in his yard and all they need to do is make him dig it up so that they can move it through the economy like sh*t through a goose. The economic ignorance in Western civilization is IMNSHO the greatest threat to WC.

dicentra

“Please explain how JK Rowling has stolen from the poor.”

Oh, I know that one.

"Did you see the exorbitant price she charged for those hard-cover books? Not everyone can afford to pony up $25 not once but seven times, and furthermore did you see all that vulgar, Potter-branded schwag she puked out, from Potter-themed pencil boxes to backpacks to plastic wands with little light bulbs in the tip? DID YOU?

"As for the movies, wotta sell out! Wasn't enough she stuck us all with HARDCOVER PRICES but now we've got to see all the movies in 3D Sensurround, which costs MOAR, not to mention the Disney theme park!

"The Potterverse is the PRIME example of capitalism run amok, in all its fetid, stinking excess."

She "stole" from them by creating something so popular, so desired, that nobody could resist forking over Big Coin to get it.

These are the same people who insist that Potter's popularity was exclusively the result of HYPE, by the booksellers, no less, who are famous for making people buy books they don't really want. Because HYPE by itself is enough to sell anything, especially children's chapter books.

*snort*

dicentra

They start with the conclusion that only an equal outcome is fair and it follows therefore that there was skulduggery.

aka Evan Sayet's Grand Unifying Theory of Leftism: Leftists believe itt is wrong to judge behavior as good or bad, so if people have different outcomes in their lives, it's not because they're engaging in productive or non-productive behavior, it's because someone is cheating someone else.

ac1

more!

https://twitter.com/somuchguardian?lang=en-gb

David

Meanwhile, would-be economics guru Richard Murphy tells his followers that “poverty is a construct and it is deliberate.”

David

Wealth, Zoe thinks, is as much a problem for the wealthy themselves as for anyone else. She quotes a U.N. researcher in her support: “For example, Ben, a 45-year-old, very wealthy man: his life revolves around very trivial things. He collects antiques similar to how the squirrel collects nuts.” Compared to collecting actual nuts as the way to survive winter, something our forebears had to do for thousands of years, I’d say Ben’s is a pretty manageable challenge.

Daniel Hannan also tries to shoehorn some information into Zoe’s brain.

svh

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as 'bad luck'."

Robert Heinlein.

RightofGenghis

Good Golly, by Jeebus, nearly every comment on that linked page appears to have been left by a blithering moron-grade dipshit. Yeah, like the Dark Ages were called that because not everyone had a built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Wolf Range.

I mean, these people claim to have been educated...but by whom and under what definition of education? The Fidel Castro chair at the Hugo Chavez school of economic growth and worldwide toilet paper shortages?

Sam

"The fundamental issue behind income inequality could be boiled down to a single question: Are poor Americans better or worse off because Bill Gates ($79 billion net worth), Oprah Winfrey ($3 billion net worth), Michael Jordan ($1 billion net worth) and Mark Zuckerberg ($40 billion net worth) are living in the United States?

Certainly, having them living in America creates more income inequality. It also hurts the poor by….oh wait, having them here doesn’t hurt the poor at all. None of these people made their money off the backs of the poor (How could they? The poor don’t have any money) and all of them pay exorbitant taxes because the United States already has the most progressive tax system in the Western world."

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2015/10/20/income-inequality-is-irrelevant-in-a-country-like-america-n2068172/page/full

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