Category Archives: prosperity by decree

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.

Seek ye first the political kingdom

and all things shall be added unto you

So said Kwame Nkrumah, first president (1960-66) of independent Ghana, also winner (1962) of the Lenin Peace Prize.

Dalrymple writes that Nkrumah sought and found the political kingdom,

and within a few years his formerly prospering country was bankrupt, obliged to spend several decades trying to recover from his short reign.

Dalrymple points out that

within quite a range of circumstances, purely political action, however necessary it might sometimes be, does not produce the happy economic results expected of it. Prosperity for whole nations or large groups of people cannot simply be conjured by political fiat from a total economic product that already exists. The people themselves must have the attributes necessary to prosper; and no amount of political posturing by their leaders, whether they be self-appointed or democratically elected, will give them those attributes.

The Hellenic People’s Republic, hope of a new world

Marxist miracle worker

Marxist miracle worker

This glorious European spring

Leftists descended on Athens as student revolutionaries once descended on Havana

After, writes Dalrymple,

we were all Charlie for a day, we all became Greek for a night. Out came all the hopeful young people with shiny joyful faces, lighting candles in the dark and punching the air.

It was spring in Europe, like the Arab spring,

though perhaps the moment was not indisputably auspicious to make the analogy: on the day Greeks were voting for their spring, the Egyptian police were shooting dead 17 people who were commemorating the fourth anniversary of theirs. In Greece, it may yet come to that.

Grand socialist dream

The leftists

dreamed — there was much talk of dreams, which is always a bad sign — of a world in which there were no economic realities, nothing had to be paid for, and prosperity could be decreed, though with satisfying vengeance on the rich and prosperous.

Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, made

the monument to the memory of the Greek resistance to the Nazis his first port of call, just to remind his people how awful the German chancellor, and the German chancellor’s countrymen, still are.

Prosperity by decree

He then promised to decree Greeks back to prosperity. He

  • pledged many thousands of them free electricity, not noticing that he thereby turned electricity bills for the rest of the population into a form of income tax as well as a payment for services received
  • promised to create jobs, both in the private and public sector, more or less by command, jobs that would have a minimum salary paid in a currency whose emission he could not control and which Greece cannot possibly earn in sufficient quantities to pay for the fulfilment of these promises

How the socialist miracle was to be achieved,

no one knew: but, as all left-leaning commentators agreed, it is permitted to hope and to dream.