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May 09, 2007


Mark Wadsworth

Here's what I posted on TW's blog...

"I can think of all sorts of ways of making the world a better place". That is a good place to start.

Your biggest stumbling block (apart from you're not a senior member of a large political party) is the mass brainwashing of the voters that has gone on since time immemorial.

They believe that the EU is good for us; that National Insurance is not a tax; that there's no room for any new developments because the UK is nearly concreted over; that Universal Benefits would be unaffordable; that Land Value Tax would increase housing costs; that cracking down on drug dealers reduces crime; that homosexuality is learned behaviour rather than being inborn; that sending $ billions to Africa every year will sort out poverty there; blah blah blah. Oh God, it's so depressing.

The key to any sort of change must be EDUCATING and DE-BRAINWASHING people. How many people's minds do you think you've ever changed with the more thoughtful posts here? Ten? Twenty? However many, I reckon you've still got about forty million to go, then things will happen.

Dave Cole

As Keynes put it, the received wisdom.


"Evaluate alternatives in terms of three criteria: desirability, viability, achievability." I'd rather that they wrote in English, though, than in that managerialist shite. How come you didn't moan about it, oh anti-managerialist sage?


People tend to confuse "very difficult in the near future" with "impossible".

Perpetual motion machines are impossible.

demand-revealing referenda/ school vouchers/ whatever are just very difficult. They may happen. Just probably not tomorrow.

BTW - I doubt many people have any strong objections to Land Value Tax. Most people have probably never heard of it.

Rob Spear

Not all policies are equally achievable: for a policy to be achievable, it either needs the support of a powerful political group, or else for the failure of the current way of doing things to become totally obvious in the eyes of the public.

In the '70s I get the impression that the failures of the socialist policies of the time were becoming increasingly obvious, so it made sense to work on alternatives. Presumably the same applies to the up-and-coming failures of our current system ...

Mark Wadsworth

Pseudonymous, I've stuck up plenty of posts on LabHome, ConHome and elsewhere supporting LVT and all you get is grief. Notwithstanding that two-thirds of households would pay the same or less as Council Tax (and SDLT), which LVT would replace (like in Northern Ireland where they have introduced progressive property tax instead of domestic rates).

Number one objection being "Oh, what about asset-rich income-poor pensioners!", something that Henry George described as an old chestnut over 100 years ago. The answer to this is easy - scrap IHT and allow pensioners to roll-up to be repaid on earlier of death and sale (with or without interest according to taste).

Birt suggested that they have PPT in Scotland and Jock McConnell threw it straight in the bin as they were scared of losing middle class votes.

Tim Worstall

Err, OK, but my definition of "achievable" is obviously somewhat different.

The "wouldn't the world be a better place if people weren't lazy and self-interested", the " what if politicians were honest"....those are unacheivable, and systems that rely upon making "New Soviet Man" won't work.


Was yesterday at a meeting where the host clearly believed absolute quality standards in service delivery by the public sector to be unachievable, and was thus contenting himself with the relative improvements in his area. He's retiring before the end of the year, so one would have thought he would have pointed the way for others. (No: he's not a politician; he's a salary man.)

Mark Wadsworth

Tim, what's wrong with being lazy and self-interested? That's basic human nature.


Mark said:

"I've stuck up plenty of posts on LabHome, ConHome and elsewhere supporting LVT and all you get is grief."

Sorry, I expressed myself badly. What I meant was that if you asked the proverbial man on a bus for his opinions on LVT, he would not have heard of it.

Politicians are reluctant to ask people to support policies they know nothing about.

The policy must be fairly widely understood (or misunderstood) to it to be a significant electoral issue.

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