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Even the question of "what you want" is interesting, because in other spheres of life, you don't find out what people want by asking them. You use much more effective feedback loops to work out what they *really* want. It's so odd the vehemence with which the idea that "people say what they think they want in the future" is a settlement to defend.
David Friedman - I know I would say this, as the author of the tome in question, but I think you'd find a lot of what you look for in the book. I think it is a mistake to assume that democracy and individual liberty can't be reconcilled. It's an argument that has similar countours to the one about popular sovereignty v national sovereignty. I'm opposed to Brexit on the grounds that it will increase national sovereignty but reduce popular sovereignty. As a democrat, I hate nationalism. I hate the idea that, under all circumstances, we have to assume that the nation state is the default locus for most of our popular sovereignty. If a democracy is unjust (i.e. an individual has their interests advanced or defended more than another because they, and individuals that they have an affinity with have more resources such as time, money, political skills and expertise, etc at their disposal) then democracy is an imposition on those people and can be tyrannical towards people who aren't as resourceful/connected. If you remove that source of tyranny, the net benefit of being in a democracy is that the social contract works and any trade offs you make are unlikely to be 'unjust'. d - there's no question that popular reflexes are as important as 'lobbying power' (for want of a better term). I think it's important that people make a concious decision in how much they invest in decisions though and how far good democracy is about giving people what they say / think they want as much as it is about giving people what they *actually* want. People who moan about how arrogant do-gooder governments are about making assumptions about what the proles want are the same people who happily shop with retailers who make much more high-handed decisions about what choices to offer us without ever having to publicly justify themselves (quite rightly, btw). Your point about how government isn't "the sort of government that we *ought* to have (by anyone's standards) is one that I make in the book, and I think we agree on this. Jim - we know even less than you think about what both remainers and leavers want as a result of the referendum. We will never really decode that. My objection to referendums goes way back to the point at which the Labour government (I'm a long-standing Labour member) was using referendums to do things I approved of. I'm objecting to referendums - not just particular outcomes. Apropos of nothing, I *would* want to stay in the EU if it were a deeper democratic union, as it happen (see above for why). Ducky, it is my argument that we shouldn't be electing politicians in the first place. So no Trump (or Blair / Obama / Farage / Corbyn etc) for me. Especially Trump. And Corbyn.
Chris, your oversight in linking to Phil McDuff's article - it's here. On a wider point, raised by commenters here: Can anyone tell me what the moral argument is that would tell anyone that they can't live in a country of their choice? I mean, I understand that there is a moral argument to be made about regulating the speed of migratory flows because of the disruption that they cause, and this argument could even be used to limit migration a lot more than it is limited currently. But apart from that, what is the moral argument against free migration? If one argues to for free migration from one place and not another, it starts to tip over into outright racism, I'd have thought?
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2016 on Whose racism? at Stumbling and Mumbling
There's a shorter version of Massie's argument. Are Owen Jones & Laurie Penny saying the fox hunting ban should have been abandoned after the Countryside Alliance marches?
There's one fairly straightforward way of squaring the demand for a more participative politics with the competing demand for better decisionmaking. The problem with participative decisionmaking is (at least in part) that it tends to select out social or economic groups. It's only better than representative democracy if it involves lots of people in making better decisions than politicians can. One way of stepping closer to this is to find a playful way of getting a diverse group of disinterested people to play games with data In order to cast new light from many minds on a problem. MPs can't defensibly ignore such evidence in their deliberations. It's not easy but it's do-able. Every attempt I've seen at participative decision making seems to attempt to side-step this.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2012 on Interests or preferences? at Stumbling and Mumbling
Thanks for the link Chris. I think this comment - above - is another way of putting what I was trying to say there: Also, you do have to wonder what planet some people are on when they say "Government decision to "save" said organisations does not demonstrate market failure." I suppose it's an accurate thing to say, but it's a bit like saying that - just because the wheels on a car aren't going around any more, it doesn't prove that there's been an engine failure.... Anyhoo,
"Of the 3000+ new criminal offences created by New Labour, how many have been repealed?" Or 'no matter who you vote for, The Government always gets in.' Isn't it annoying that the last few years of New Labour were marked by a combination of liberals (including many of them within the Labour Party) and Tories squealing about New Labour's 'authoritarianism' - it was such a misdiagnosis, and the result was to lionised politicians who would bring back hanging and allow the party of Section 28 back into power. It was managerialism all along.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2012 on Capitalism against freedom at Stumbling and Mumbling
Aside from your arguments here, I can barely think of any reasons why Labour shouldn't embrace an attack on managerialism. It's not something that has any appeal to ordinary party members, it would be lapped up by most Trades Unionists once they understood what was happening. It would give the party an enemy (as with businesses, this is always a good thing) and it'd provide ideological consistency and focus. I don't agree with you that Labour MPs necessarily come from the managerial class either. I just don't think they're yet as immune to the overtures of managers as they are of out-and-out capitalist bastards. The one good thing about the way that the political class behaves is that they can turn quite quickly. A few spiky newspaper columns attacking managerialism is almost all that would be needed to get that particular ball rolling.
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2012 on Biased towards bosses at Stumbling and Mumbling
I'd agree with this post (and it seems to be part of your extremist/fanatic meme which is a really good one). The line about "we live in an era when such posturing is the norm" is a timely one. Last week, I stopped turning to my favourite bits of newspapers (the football bits) because they were entirely devoted to John Terry's selection and England being allowed to wear poppies on their strip. Not sure how a political life that's entirely devoted to posturing can be discouraged, but it would be a useful application of the 'hive mind' of the internet, if such a thing does exist.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2011 on In praise of disengagement at Stumbling and Mumbling
@Cathal, "Say"? Thought it was a typo first time. Who s/he?
If I can play devils advocate here, surely the state only behaves in this way when capitalists are better at ideological warfare (and having the resources to conduct it helps here)? Is the problem really the state, or the way that the state is coerced? Are you saying that an instrument like this should be weakened because it could be abused?
This... "When we compare the poorest with the richest nations, it is hard to conclude that social capital can produce less than about 90 percent of income in wealthy societies like those of the United States or Northwestern Europe." ... is a stunning conclusion if it stands up. Surely is also applies in some measure to places where a sudden economic jolt has led to large-scale emigration as well?
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2010 on Why history matters at Stumbling and Mumbling
Kevin McGuire was a lot more cynical than you are about the whole 'I'm going to be a community organiser' claim. He saw it as a respectable fig-leaf behind a retreat into the private sector. On your point about over-powerful state / market, Tom Powdrill crystalised something for me recently in this post: ... discussing the Kraft / Cadbury takeover: "I think any radical reform of the financial system must focus on fees. Because no-one is really acting in the ultimate owners' interest, no-one challenges all the money leaking out to advisers of various kinds - because it's not their money. According to one estimate £250m will have been peed away on fees in this deal." Tom consistently argues for a reform of the way that shareholders powers are exercised. Perhaps the implication of what he's saying that the lack of responsible ownership of businesses is replicating the 'tragedy of the commons' problems with the public sector. That *both sectors* have been captured by budget maximising bureaucrats. That, in some ways, the left v right arguments are partly irrelevant (or surrogates for more naked tribal materialism in which tories object to bureaucrats protecting OUR interest while we lefties object to bureaucrats protecting the historical advantages of the already-wealthy.
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2010 on politics against politics at potlatch
Slugger will certainly miss you. Don't stop taking our calls in four weeks time will you? We'll still want to pick your brains....
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