Category Archives: expropriation

What a relief!

Dalrymple writes that the defeat in the general election of Jeremy Corbyn,

whose economic ideas could produce a shortage of salt water in the Pacific, was incomparably more important than the question of Brexit, a minor distraction by comparison.

He notes that

we no longer have to muse upon whether and how to leave — or escape — Britain. The prospect of crushing taxes, total government and union control of the economy, expropriation of private property without proper compensation (or any), and a general Venezuela-isation, has receded.

The socialist menace

Britain’s Labour party, writes Dalrymple, wishes to provoke a general election, which it believes that it would win. Were it to do so,

it would bring to power people who admire the Venezuelan model and believe in confiscation as the path to universal prosperity.

They would make Brexit

seem like a minor detail in the history of British difficulties.

The abominable McDonnell

Dalrymple notes that the historical figures that John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn’s second-in-command, most admires are Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky. McDonnell wishes the nationalisation of land, railways and public utilities,

which can be done only through rates of taxation so high that they would amount to the nationalisation of everything—with a resultant economic collapse—or by outright confiscation, destroying any faith in the rule of law for generations. It could also be done by agreeing on a price of sale and then inflating the currency afterwards, so that billions will not buy you an egg.

Dalrymple states that an economic disaster, far from deterring such a government,

would be of enormous advantage to it,

its purpose being

the exercise of control in the name of irreversible social and political change.

McDonnell’s nationalised industries

will be owned and run by the workers, just as they were supposed to be owned and run after the Russian Revolution. The state will wither away, as in Marxist theory (though not in Soviet practice), once all power has been handed to him.

The Labour Party

will not be just another political party in a competitive, pluralistic polity. It will be modelled on vanguardist movements from the glorious history of the 20th century.

McDonnell, says Dalrymple,

makes clear his commitment to and desire for socialist monomania.

The arrival in power of men such as Corbyn and McDonnell will, Dalrymple points out,

produce an immediate crisis, which they will blame on capitalism, the world economic system, the Rothschilds, and so forth. They will use the crisis to justify further drastic measures.

There will be

wholesale, de facto confiscation of houses. It is but a short step to communal flats or the nationalisation of bathrooms. Other charming proposals include the erection of tower blocks of public housing flats in old villages and leafy suburbs, à la Ceaușescu. If everyone cannot enjoy beauty, why should anyone?

South Africa takes the road to penury, tyranny, and famine

Dalrymple writes that farmers, however efficient,

tend to be heavily indebted, but their debts are performing so long as they produce profitably. Expropriation of their land leaves the banks holding huge unserviced debt, for the new owners, producing much less or nothing at all, have no means to service them. The only way to prevent the banks from collapsing is drastically to increase the money supply and to keep doing so.

One might have hoped that the example of Zimbabwe, with its long border with South Africa to the north and its long stream of refugees to the south,

would have been sufficient warning to South Africa not to embark on any similar policy. After all, the stakes are much greater than they were in Zimbabwe. The population is many times larger than Zimbabwe’s, and vastly more urbanised, so that any last resort to subsistence farming is impossible. There is no south for the population to flee to. South Africa’s is already a much more violent society than Zimbabwe’s ever was, with more severe social problems. A catastrophe could easily ensue.

A fifth of white land in South Africa has already been transferred on the basis of willing seller, willing buyer.

  • Why were the sellers willing to sell when they had been settled for so long? Because the longer-term prospects for them in South Africa are dim; many white farmers have been murdered and the rhetoric towards them has long been of a threatening kind which sooner or later would have to be acted on if the rhetoricians were not to lose face.
  • Have the persons to whom the transfers were made maintained former levels of production? It would be surprising if productivity were not changed for the worse. Large-scale commercial farming is not something that is learned in the twinkling of an eye.

From Marx, Capital, volume 1, chapter 32

Dalrymple notes that commercial farms in South Africa

are heavily indebted to the banks. If the farms were expropriated without compensation, the state, or to whomever the state passed on the farms, would be taking on the liabilities as well as the assets. State farming does not have a very good record anywhere in the world, to put it mildly; and it is unlikely that people could be found to continue farming the land profitably. Either the banks would be obliged to write off enormous debts, with the consequent possibility of collapse, or a Zimbabwe-type inflation would have to come to their rescue. This is without mention of the severe food shortages that would occur. The expropriators are expropriated. The problem is that those in whose name the expropriations take place starve to death afterwards.

The very possibility of expropriation without compensation

will have a devastating effect on production, for who will invest if it is only to be expropriated later? That is one of the reasons why security of property is so important, and the South African parliament has shown that it does not understand this. The spectre of expropriation will encourage more commercial farmers to leave and they will not easily be persuaded to return.

Dalrymple says that expropriation without compensation

is so obviously a bad idea that the wonder is that it has been voted as a possibility, all the more so as there is the experience of South Africa’s northern neighbour to draw upon.

Mere stupidity does not account for the proposal.  When Dalrymple was in South Africa he met prominent members of the African National Congress. He had the impression that they were

positioning themselves much as the Russian oligarchs positioned themselves. It was a question of the division of the spoils in a corporatist state. They would set about disproportionate self-enrichment under cover of the rhetoric of dramatic change after an oppressive past.

Rhetorician of resentment

The ANC’s task now

is to ensure the continued loyalty of the political class. There is no better way of doing this than by arrogating powers of patronage, both to confer and to confiscate property. This can all be done under cover of the rhetoric of resentment; and the policy will be disastrous only if its aim is the betterment of the lot of the population. If its aim is the consolidation of power, at least for a time, it makes perfect sense.

 

An EFFing catastrophe in the making

Dalrymple points out that the potential long-term, and even short-term, effects of the move to change the South African constitution to allow white-owned land to be expropriated without compensation are of course

catastrophic.

A crisis will be produced

to dwarf Zimbabwe’s, with starvation and famine avertable only if 10m or 15m South Africans succeed in finding somewhere to migrate to.

Julius Malema

The motion in parliament was proposed by Julius Malema, who leads the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). They dress entirely in red. The EFF

calls for radical redistribution of wealth, as if an economy were a stew or soup to be ladled out in portions.

The EFF leader,

who, if the large financial scandals connected with his person are anything to go by, excludes himself from his own economic egalitarianism, said in 2016 that he was not calling for the slaughter of whites — not yet.

Dalrymple explains that South Africa’s ruling party

does not consider the current ownership of land legitimate, for only illegitimacy could justify expropriation without compensation. Even without putting it into practice, therefore, the motion is likely to have a deleterious effect on South African farming and agricultural production, for who would invest in property that can be seized at the stroke of a pen, and is not regarded truly as his own?

As if a collapse of agricultural production were not bad enough, expropriation without compensation would also bring about

either the collapse of the South African banks, for South African farmers are deeply indebted, or confer huge debt obligations upon the government. And this is so even if (what is very unlikely) the redistribution of land were carried out in other than a grossly corrupt way, without political favouritism.

The Guardian’s four-legs-good, two-legs-bad worldview

The newspaper’s deafening silence on South Africa

Dalrymple writes that when the South African parliament passed a motion, by 241 votes to 83, to change the nation’s constitution to allow white-owned land to be expropriated without compensation, the Guardian

was coy about reporting it. Even now, it has not mentioned the measure on its website, except indirectly.

Dalrymple asks:

Why the silence on this important development? Perhaps because it is an embarrassment to the paper’s view of the world. How is one to report the near-genocidal and famine-promoting wishes of people whose rôle in life for so many years has been that of victims of injustice?

Corbyn panders to the instincts of the mob

Britain, writes Dalrymple

is on a knife edge, and anti-rich demagoguery is on the upsurge.

Jeremy Corbyn

has suggested requisitioning property by fiat for reasons of social justice. Following the disastrous fire in Grenfell Tower, Corbyn proposed seizing the houses of wealthy foreigners (mostly Arabs and Russians).

Dalrymple points out that Corbyn’s policy

is to increase government spending enormously, while balancing the budget: this can only mean much higher taxation, and given his social views, this in turn can only mean taxation on the rich and even the modestly prosperous, both of whom he regards as milch cows. But unless he exercises explicit power to keep them where they are (which he would not be above attempting), they will flee, and take their capital. French exports of their rich will seem a trickle by comparison.

In Britain, says Dalrymple,

the degradation of the population has gone much further than in France. British culture, which has become one of crude and vulgar self-indulgence, is inimical to rapid improvement; and now, in addition, there has been a recrudescence of the notion that wealth derives from redistribution rather than from creation.