Category Archives: productivity (UK)

Forward into the seventies

Britain, Dalrymple notes, has several very severe problems, and this is evident the moment you leave a prosperous area whose residents are likely to vote Conservative. Among the problems are

  • stagnation of productivity
  • precariousness of income
  • deficiencies in public services
  • low cultural and educational level of much of the population
  • inadequacy of the housing stock

Yet

the only solution heard to these problems is more government expenditure. The Conservatives went in for this — Theresa May refused to rule out tax increases, for example.

Socialist calamity looms

Thus an alarming aspect of the election was

the recrudescence of the politics of envy and resentment.

The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn

radiated dislike of the prosperous, even the modestly prosperous.

The party’s solutions to the country’s problems were supposedly to be paid for by higher taxes on the richest 5% of the population.

This proposal overlooked the fact that the top 1% of earners already pay almost three times as much in income tax as the bottom 50% combined.

Wealth, Dalrymple points out,

is dynamic rather than static, resembling the bloom of a grape, not a cake to be sliced.

Taxes on capital (in other words, state expropriation) were Corbyn’s obvious next step,

with capital flight the equally obvious consequence.

None of this worried the young,

who had as yet no stake in property, only what are sometimes called ideals. The Labour party offered them and others the beguiling vision of living perpetually at the expense of others — Bastiat’s definition of the state. The Laffer curve meant nothing to them; punishing the prosperous was more important and gratifying than understanding how to maximise tax receipts.

Dalrymple comments:

The election could take Britain back more than 50 years.

Hopeless, stagnant Britain

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-23-14-04On the train to the airport in England, and at the airport itself, Dalrymple sees a population that strikes him as

more militantly ugly and unintelligent than any other known to me, one that consumes without discrimination and enjoys without taste.

With regard to ugliness, he writes,

it added to whatever ugliness nature had bestowed upon it by refusing to wear any clothes that might lend it any dignity, choosing apparel that accentuated its natural unattractiveness. Grossly fat slobs insisted on wearing figure-hugging T-shirts that did not quite meet the tops of the shorts that exposed their fat white tattooed calves, exposing their repellent midriffs to the appalled gaze of the minimally sensitive.

Of the women, he says,

it would be kinder not to speak; suffice it to say that they made the men look like Beau Nash or Beau Brummel.

The taste of the British in everything from food to music and clothes

is base, vulgar, stupid, and crude.

Dalrymple notes that it is not that they know no better—innocent vulgarity can be amusing and even refreshing—but that

they know better and reject and hate it.

They refuse to aspire to what is better,

and try to intimidate others into abandoning it, with some success.

The productivity of such a nation, Dalrymple points out,

is unlikely to rise very fast or far. It will be lucky if in the modern world, with so much competition, it achieves stagnation.