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March 11, 2009



Lady Thatcher increased house price inflation... by increasing the supply of houses to the market.

Care to elaborate?


KMcC, if someone buys the house that they currently rent, it can't really be said to have increased supply, or at least it has created matching demand in a 1:1 relationship.

However if the stock of social housing is run down in quantity and quality, people become more likely, through desire or necessity, to take on large debts in order to go through the ownership route.

For those who can't manage to buy, but have no hope of securing one of the increasingly scarce socially allocated rentals, more will be forced to rent privately as less housing is available to rent socially, sowing the seeds of a boom in buy-to-let.


The council house sell-offs involved an outward shift of both demand and supply curves. Council tenants who bought their homes were not previously in the housing market, so they represent increased demand, which matches the shift in the supply curve caused by the sell-off.
House price inflation came not from selling off council houses, but from financial liberalization after 1981 and Lawson's easy money policy in the mid-80s. The larger number of home-owners had an interest in supporting these policies.


Not quite, Lord Dillow.

Parties can create reliable voting support (reliable at least for the time being) by helping people to manage their lives more in the way they want to. That is why the right to buy your council house was such a success. It is why creating the NHS was such a success.Just redistributing wealth - still less just redistributing income - is a weak and relatively ineffective way of doing that.

Redistributing while you tell people what to spend it on - the usual Labour recipe - will discourage all voters except those who agree with you about what it is best to spend on. Labour have even more of a problem than you suggest.


You want to rob Peter to bribe Paul?

And this will make the world a better place because it will keep Labour in power?

(And what happens with worker ownership when you are hired, fired, or change jobs?)

Cap'n Mubbers

Better still, put the state in charge of health care, so that you can easily and efficiently bump off those members of society who don't tend to vote for you. Oh, and make sure you have an estate tax set up first, to maximize your returns.



Have you not considered that re-distribution leads to just as much hatred by other groups? Also that to achieve these things the government has to put in place annoying managerial structures.

Maybe you should consider that these socialist ideas are always doomed to fail.


"Have you not considered that re-distribution leads to just as much hatred by other groups? Also that to achieve these things the government has to put in place annoying managerial structures"

Well, yes. only the re-distribution that has happened in the last generation has been from (relatively) poor to the rich (both relatively and absolutely).

As it happens I have in front of me a recently read paperback copy of the late Andrew Glyn’s ‘Capitalism Unleashed’ (2006). Table 7.1 shows the rate of Corporation Tax in the UK fell from 36% to 26% between 1982 and 2001. Table 7.3 sets out the ratio of post-tax incomes at 10% from the top of the distribution to 10% at the bottom in various OECD countries. In the UK this ratio shifted from 3.5 to 4.6 between c1980 and c2000. In other words if one ignores the very rich and very poor then post tax income differentials have increased by about a third. & of course we know that the very rich’s position has shifted much more than this: witness the obscene salaries that the top bankers have routinely paid themselves.


When so much vote-gaining policy is focused on marginal voters in marginal seats, politicians rather miss the bigger picture. But perhaps NuLabour is still right to ignore it natural supporters. Are most of the 74% who say they don't support the Government actually going to vote for the Tories?


Have you not considered that re-distribution leads to just as much hatred by other groups?

Yes - but do they have enough votes compared to the people who benefit from redistribution?


I think the CBI could be workable but points two and three are just theft.

You cannot "create assetsfrom nothing", there is always a cost. Ignoring that obvious truth seems to be something the left is addicted to.


“Have you not considered that re-distribution leads to just as much hatred by other groups? ”

Actually, it is worse than that. Suppose the government robs Peter to pay Paul and, before the election, announces that it has done so, and will do so again if re-elected.

Peter will certainly vote against the government. But Paul has no reason to vote for the government – his single vote is unlikely to swing the election. The only reason to vote is to demonstrate how civic-minded you are, to yourself and others. But if Paul were to vote for the government, he would demonstrate to himself that he can be bought with stolen money. Who wants to do that?

To get Paul’s vote, the government has to find a way to persuade him that he deserves to be given Peters’ money.

Admittedly, Paul will much easier to persuade than Peter. And with luck, the theft can be hidden from Peter, at least until after the election, or blamed on someone else.


I'm not entirely sure I buy that Thatcher's discount flogging of council houses created vast swathes of new Tory voters - I'd say that you'd get more votes by promising jam tomorrow (or at least after the election), not giving them it today...

Chris - delightfully cynical though I find your list of policies bribing voters, I've got a couple of queries:

1 - CBI: what's to stop people voting for ever more generous income? To the limit, I guess, of bankrupting the government. Sorry, I'm guessing you've covered this previously, but it's the one thing about CBI I can't work out...

2 - Worker ownership: The owner of the council houses - the tax payer, via the government - was the one selling them. Your proposal seems to have the government selling shareholders property; a slightly different proposition.

3 - You can create assets from nothing, but someone always has to pay for them, one way or another. Creating a group of winners will create a group of losers who will be voting for the opposition, so this has the danger of being a draw in the bribing of voters...


Stuart - as for point 2, it is much cheaper (for yourself) to bribe people with someone else's money. Ask Mobutu.

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