26 June 2005

When words become deeds

It was interesting watching Jonathan Dimbleby this morning where it was suggested several times that lifting trade barriers to Africa might actually be a better way of alleviating poverty than simply throwing more money at the problem. This is to be encouraged as free trade (free trade IS fair trade) is what is really needed in Africa, which will itself encourage the toppling of corrupt dictatorships. Interestingly enough in Somalia where western interference was bloodily put down there are areas of increasing wealth with no effective government. People often suggest that Anarcho-Capitalists might like Somalia, well although I would not personally like to live there, it is interesting to note that Somalia has a flourishing mobile phone network without any government to control the airwaves. Many more 'stable' African countries have nothing like it. A provisional conclusion might be that what Somalia needs is not more government, but less impediment to trade with the west.

Unfortunately all this good work on Dimbleby was undone by the usual socialist 'pie in the sky' economics where privatisation was an evil forced upon African countries in return for debt cancellation and liberalisation is used as a dirty word.

Over on the BBC libertarianism was even mentioned in connection with the Conservative party, although frankly I am sceptical. I seem to remember being told of other Conservatives claiming to be libertarians whilst simultaneously clamouring for more state intervention. The media love to lump Libertarians together with Conservatives as 'the right', but, if those terms mean anything, then Libertarians are most emphatically not right-wing (as a previous essay on cuthhyra makes clear). Having said that one of the commentators was correct in saying there is a large libertarian streak in the British people that is woefully under-represented, but if the Conservatives are going to make any inroads into it they must be much more forceful. Schemes like school vouchers should be non-negotiable and implemented as soon as the Conservatives are in government, tax cuts should really be cuts, 1% of tax returns is pitiful it should be along the lines of 10% if they expect to be taken seriously (with more cuts in the long term). Privatisation and closing down of civil 'service' bureaucracies should be a priority.

There are some interesting noises in the media today, which I wholey support, however, I don't hold my breath that words will translate to deeds.

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