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January 14, 2018


Luis Enrique

So if I hold "external goods" in low regard, does this mean I am not, after all a neoliberal?

Bob Rogers

This is of course why some people are libertarians - they think politics is so hopeless that as much should be removed from politics as possible.

Diarmid Weir

Hi Chris. Some thoughts on what is needed to make democracy work here: http://www.futureeconomics.org/2017/09/equality-of-voice-an-introduction/


I really do hate the term, out-of-touch elites. It implies a blanket destain while hiding sectarian motive. At a stroke it dismisses the desire to discuss Useless Public Servants – to be 'allowed' to engage in democratic debate – Because who can debate a mob that hates everyone and everything!


If the EU referendum went to the highest bidder, surely that means Remain won right????? It not only had its campaign budget of £7m it also had a £9m expenditure by government on its behalf too, sending leaflets to every household promoting a Remain vote.

So it is lies to say Leave was a 'bought' vote. Leave had far less money overall than the Remain camp did.

Arthur Murray


Is it possible to put a cost to all those anti-EU stories ("Up yours, Delors!") put out by the UK's many Conservative newspapers over the last four decades?

Lidl Janus

"Worse still, the result conveyed very little information. What sort of Brexit did voters want?"

Maybe, but at least part of the problem with what's unfolded since is that, regardless of whether the public wanted to leave via the door, the window, or even the roof hatch, the government has insisted on going face-first through the wall (and the Leave side has kept insisting it's possible).


"Is it possible to put a cost to all those anti-EU stories ("Up yours, Delors!") put out by the UK's many Conservative newspapers over the last four decades?"

How about the cost of the State Broadcaster's pro-EU bias for the same amount of time?


The only useful referendum is when Your Choice is between
A: Status Quo
B: A specific change to status quo
Anything else is just playing games.


Farage must be missing his pay from the European parliament, the only elected job he ever got. He's been living off that for 20 years...

Or he realizes that once he can't blame the EU for the misery of the UK, he will have to work hard to change his business model.


Bob Rogers

Who was it who said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” ?

So, is there a definitive specification for just exactly how much "hopeless politics" can actually be removed ?

Is there any way that 'libertarianism' can be started from scratch ? Or do we have to first create a lot of politics so that much of it can later be removed - by wiser heads, of course.


What seems to happen is that we end up with around 50% of the populace in favour of politic A and 50% in favour of politic B. There then ensues the heavy use of mis information, manipulation and so on to grab the essential few % points to get over the line. Once over the line the danger is that the electoral setup can be manipulated such that the incumbents stay in power.

The key danger is allowing the split to become 50/50 by restricting the number of viable political parties. This seems to be a long run game by political parties, eliminate the smaller parties. But of course any political debate is nuanced, politic A is really a collection of many shades of political opinion and so is politic B. But to allow nuance is to allow complication and is politically inconvenient and the cry does up 'weak government'.

Therefore it seems to me that to protect democracy we need to ensure there is a multiplicity of political parties - more competition. Around six parties looks to be a good number, sufficient to allow nuance. Perhaps the way we fund political parties is at the root of the problem, a winner takes all approach is bound to be bad for democracy.


I am not sure Remain are up to winning a second referendum. The people making the case will again be Goldman Sachs executives together with economists and their models - I am not sure people are ready to be persuaded. In any case their is the problem of free movement - since the expansion of the EU eastwards this has become an irresolvable problem.


Voting should be replaced with spending...



"In any case their is the problem of free movement - since the expansion of the EU eastwards this has become an irresolvable problem."

The expansion eastwards of the EU was strongly supported by the UK (especially by Conservative governments). The newer members of the EU in eastern Europe (and southern Europe) favour free movement of labour because that was one of the main attractions of joining the EU, and the EU is unlikely to change its policies about free movement of labour because it has been a long-standing objective of the European project and because the newer members of the EU are in favour of it.

The UK has helped to create the problem that it is now complaining about. Arriving at good decisions (when they involve negotiation with other stakeholders) requires understanding how they see us, which in turn involves remembering what we have agreed with them previously. In the UK there is very little awareness of what has been said to, and agreed with, the EU and almost no understanding of how the EU sees us.

Jim Harrison

Neoliberalism is such an elastic term of abuse the its use covers up important difference. A lot of the people tarred with that brush, for example, are very much interested in non-external goods. In fact, many of 'em remind me of the Senatorial Romans of the early empire who recognized that an imperial order was inevitable and endeavored, with mixed success, to maintain an ethic of public service in an era of general corruption. That's an unhappy but not unintelligent stance for them and perhaps for us since a decent oligarchy may be the best outcome on offer.Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, she didn't work all those hours to get her butt on a golden toilet.

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