Day: April 28, 2018

Oxfam is as economically illiterate as it is morally purblind

Fans of Theodore Dalrymple

We know a little — and it is not very edifying — of Oxfam’s ethics. What of its economics? The ‘charity’ states in its propaganda that the eight richest men in the world own as much as the poorer half of the whole of humanity combined:

As growth benefits the richest, the rest of society – especially the poorest – suffers. The very design of our economies and the principles of our economics have taken us to this extreme, unsustainable and unjust point. 

Dalrymple examines this incitement to envy — incitement of the type also practised, of course, by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn — in the 2017 essay The Wealth Gap, animated and read for us here by Weg Zorn:

On Weg Zorn’s YouTube channel: Dalrymple’s exposition of how Oxfam’s propaganda is an incitement to envy

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What’s wrong with this picture?

Fans of Theodore Dalrymple

Answer: It is not staged, but real — it offers a rare glimpse of reality. How does Dalrymple know? He explains: ‘The side-rail of the bed in which the patient lies is in terrible condition. Its white enamel and blue paint are as chipped, and the metal underneath as rusted, as they would have been in, say, Mauritania or the Central African Republic. If it had been a proper North Korean mise-en-scène, the bed-rail would have been gleaming. The chipped enamel and paint, and the rust, give the game away.’

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Serious under-estimates if you ask me. No revealed preference

THE TYRANNY OF METRICS, Jerry Muller, Princeton, 220 pp.


by Edward Chancellor*

Once upon a time, there was a factory in the Soviet Union that made nails. Moscow set quotas on nail production. When the quotas involved quantity, the factory churned out many small, useless nails. When Moscow realised its error and set a quota by weight instead, the factory produced big, equally useless nails that weighed a pound each.

This much repeated tale of Soviet industrial inefficiency is an urban legend. But it contains a large grain of truth. Communism failed in large measure because central planners had inadequate knowledge of conditions on the ground and their attempts at control were generally thwarted. It would be nice to think that we have learnt from the mistakes of Stalin’s Russia. This is not the case as Jerry Muller explains in his book, “The Tyranny of Metrics.” The world remains in thrall to what Muller calls “metric mania.”

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Earth Day 2018 Was About Plastics Pollution—But Greens Missed Target

Watts Up With That?

Biodegradable Plastic Articlei

Guest essay By Steve Goreham

April 22 was designated by the Earth Day Network as Earth Day 2018. This year’s Earth Day was dedicated to ending global plastic pollution. While efforts to reduce plastic pollution are needed, the campaign missed the mark by emphasizing measures to eliminate the use of plastics.

Earth Day Network’s “Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit” identifies important problems such as litter and accumulating plastic in the ocean. It proposes effective measures to reduce plastic pollution such as local beach clean-up and recycling. But then the primer goes overboard, promoting radical proposals such as “whenever possible, refuse plastic” and “living a plastic-free life.”

Plastics are essential to modern society. We fabricate food containers, boat paddles, shoes, pipes, toys, smart phones, and thousands of other goods from plastic. Plastic is integral to medical services, used in heart valves, artificial joints, and catheters. Every day, society consumes approximately…

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