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About crouch

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  1. Me too. I'm waiting for GFC2 though; I suspect prices may well soften somewhat after that.
  2. There's another subtle point about this that follows on from that. For many years I've bought into the "the Brits are the mavericks in the EU and we need to stay in and press for change" idea. I'm not nearly so convinced of that now. The EU has serious problems and these are surfacing quite rapidly now. If you look at the way things are shaping up in Italy and EE they seem to want far more radical change than we do (as a member) and I'm coming round to the view that if we stayed we'd be against some of what's going on and would drag the whole thing back and actually prevent change.
  3. This is amazing. So we need to know that the £39bn was payable in 2016 when it was only agreed the year after? Brilliant. So Leave not only had to give chapter and verse but also be clairvoyant and see into the future? If we had politicians that had that power we wouldn't need the EU or, for that matter, anybody else! And we need to know all these details when we hadn't yet sat down with the EU and started negotiations? Even better. By saying that "it was not possible for any Leave voter to know what they were voting for because it how we left was undefined" you really are stating the bleedin' obvious. So what? 17.4 million people thought it was sufficiently clear to put an X in the Leave box. Sour grapes; they were too thick to know what they were voting for. It's pretty clear where the arrogance is.
  4. Re this: I think there might be some confusion. If you take the invisible hand as the reconciler of public and private interest it is simply inherent in the notion of exchange; both are integral to the same act. Put it another way and say they are the two sides of the same coin. So therefore there is no "evidence"; the invisible hand is merely a type of description of the act of exchange itself. "Not quite. Neoliberal models of production and exchange are a purely mathematical constructs based on the proof of existence of equilibrium where real world market dynamics are either ignored or falsely assumed. As soon as physics is invoked they fall to pieces." Indeed but I think we're talking about slightly different things. I was simply emphasising that the neoliberals want a small state whereas what is required in a capitalist system is a strong state. Now strong is not the opposite of small of course but neoliberals by implication want a weak state and this, it seems to me, actually undermines the possibility of a fully functioning capitalist system. Of course if you go the whole hog and adopt the libertarian position this would eliminate the state almost altogether but whether a libertarian state is actually viable is a moot point.
  5. As I said Smith stressed the moral point of view. What neoliberals seem to forget is that a strong state is a necessary condition for a successful capitalist economy and an economy is a social construct based on morality. The idea that an economy obeys the laws of physics and is therefore something that we are subject to rather than ultimately control is a self serving illusion.
  6. Reading it it could mean both interpretations ie it reconciles both public and private interests and also the "home bias" point I made. He makes the point about not producing abroad but then says that in this as in many other cases led by an invisible hand. The "in many other cases" could cover the private/public interest point - and others. IIRC Chomsky's interpretation is on the home bias point only.
  7. Download a pdf copy and search on "invisible hand"; it only appears in one place. I've done it but can't copy the para where it is. Your quote is correct and you are right; this is Chomsky's interpretation.
  8. The thing about Smith is that the system he advocates rests on morality. His most important book is A Theory of Moral Sentiments. As I said the "invisible hand" is a moral concept whereby the entrepreneur ignores his self interest in not producing in the cheapest place. No econometric model is going to capture morality. Today we forget morality but what many do not realise is that the economic system depends on it.
  9. Actually you're right - as in fact I acknowledged in my post;my fears were seriously overblown. My objections were cultural on the basis that diversity is better. However, in some ways I'm not sure that we're not worse off. In a bloc like the EU business has tended more to oligopoly with increased barriers to entry, a threat which might not exist to anywhere the same degree in the absence of frictionless trade and the SM generally. There would be more friction and possibly less concentration as a result if there was no EU. Whether this is a cogent argument I've no idea but a prime requirement of a capitalist system that delivers is competition. Does the EU encourage that or not. I don't know but it is an open question. So culturally my fears were overblown but were they economically?
  10. Indeed and you may well be right. However, I voted for a variety of cultures but the UK cultures are broadly similar; the differences between UK culture and Italy is greater than the difference between Welsh and English.
  11. I voted No in 1975 and the odd thing is I voted for exactly the reason you state. I believe variety is good. I actually think I was too pessimistic though because there hasn't been much mingling in the interim and some of the institutions of the EU are actually driving it apart not together, making a reform into a free collection of nation states more likely than even ten years ago.
  12. The country was already massively divided. The EU has been polling since 1992 and in most years since 1996 people have voted either to leave the EU or require reform (which is arguably unlikely) at over 50% of those polled. Brexit has merely brought those divisions to the surface.
  13. The whole direction of the EU politically is centripetal. You may have derogations but there remains tremendous pressure to conform to the other 27. If we seriously want to opt out of things like "ever closer union" then you have to say ask not: is this a good deal but rather : if were not going along with some of the basic precepts of the EU should we stay at all? It's not so much an argument for staying but rather begs the question what we're doing there in the first place.
  14. The vote was to stay or leave the EU. What difference does it make if people vote for different reasons? And really what is the alternative:Remain and 25 varieties of Leave? This wording was, presumably decided by the Electoral Commission. And you appear to forget that we had a campaign during which this issue was discussed extensively. In any case it's no different with any other vote; people have their own notions of what Labour or Conservative means. It is patronising - and typical.
  15. Cameron's deal was so underwhelming, and seen as such by many, that it would be hard to distinguish it from the status quo. I suspect most people saw it as making no difference.

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