It’s the golf cart, stupid

It’s the golf cart, stupid

by Eben Wilson
article from Monday 6, February, 2017

THE LEFT always does outrage well. The waving placards, vicious tone and bereaved blurting of those who see Brexit, Trump or capitalism as reasons to grieve in a sea of their own assertive self-righteousness never ceases.

Should we be bothered? I think we should, because the left has it too easy; being allowed to see the howling made into headlines on the basis of a negative and shallow world view too often based on a herd-like thoughtless support of banal and highly conservative, statist, ideas.

Well, let a liberal do outraged assertion here in return; given power, the left has in the past century wrecked swathes of the developed and developing world; its advocates turning their perennial hunt for “social justice” into mass unemployment, centralised governments that create endemic poverty – and a lot of death.  

Outrageously, and usually with a deep unpleasantness in their views of others who disagree, the left also absolutely refuses to accept these facts, or read any of the right books that might let them learn why this happened. 

Stuck in their inward-looking world view focussing on their claim to want justice and equality disciples of the left pay no attention to how such aspirations might be achieved.

Well, principles and process do matter and today a lot of people are coming to the conclusion that the promises of the statist left are simply blancmange and froth.  Trump did not shoot his way into the White House, he was voted there; and Brexit was not decided upon by numpties but working people who were mad as hell and not going to take the EU any more.

When organisations like Oxfam report that “62 people own $1.76 trillion dollars”; with eight people seen at Davos in a golf cart purportedly owning “the same wealth as half of the world” – we can predictably cue more howling from the left. In response genuine liberals should be shouting “Oh come on … get real”.

The UK government alone has amassed debts of $2.16 trillion[1]; and the government debt of the world as a whole is £57 trillion[2]. Interest payable by central governments on that lot drains at least the total wealth of the top 62 each year from people who are a lot less rich, and for no outcome other than helping make other rich bond holders richer.  

Get real, lefties, your public debts are creating wealth for the well-off.

As for the idea of the rich “owning” vast wealth; rich people have title to wealth through legal property rights, but their only access to that wealth is limited by whether they can exchange it with someone else. Their wealth is shared between millions of people; Microsoft has 7.7 billion shareholders, Bill Gates owns 4 per cent of its equity and he isn’t the largest shareholder. And the company he started is now far, far larger then him. It has 100,000 employees and supports millions of others by making them more productive.

What is Oxfam suggesting, that we could somehow forcibly strip millions of workers and savers of this wealth and re-distribute it? That’s farcical.  Revelling in the false statisticism of eight billionaires in a golf cart at Davos is simply illiberal leftist vandalism; the seeking of aspiration through coercive re-distribution of imaginary “rich people’s wealth” to other people.

What Oxfam should be focussing on is the golf cart.  The cart in question is an eight seater; not used on golf courses, but in hotel complexes and traffic-free ski resorts to move guests about.

Just think about that. An electric buggy created to help older folk around golf courses in hot weather adapted to offer quiet, clean, efficient transport for eight, half way up a cold snowy mountain.  In the language of the bureaucratic planner that’s “an environmentally friendly transport infrastructure system adding value through social support for isolated communities”.  

Except that no planner thought it up and it was capitalism that developed it on the basis of charging wealthier people to use it. No taxes were used in this product. Lots of people make money building them.

And ask yourself another question; why don’t we make these in Scotland? Here we are; the internationally known home of golf, replete with engineering and electrical skills, lots of hills on our golf courses, and an ageing population; and we didn’t come up with this idea? Don’t blame Westminster for this; blame a psyche that thinks golf carts are for rich people and is dedicatedly non-entrepreneurial[3] because it hates liberal capitalism and the dedicated focus of capitalists on the practicalities of industrial progress; a learning process called capital deepening.

The Scottish left are busy destroying our nation’s wealth by focussing on yet more re-distribution. Their idea of entrepreneurialism is to create corporatist quangos that will somehow perform state-sponsored industrial miracles while surrounded by environmental and regulatory agendas enforced by the leftist consensus in Holyrood. This is madness.

Ironically, the reason Scotland is a wealthy nation at all is that from around 1800 it had the opposite idea – focussing internationally, manufacturing locally, private ventures innovating on their own or by buying in new ideas from abroad. That was truly progressive; from a nation dominated by poor scattered farming communities, we became a global leader in trade and technology. And in the process, the average hourly working wage increased 300 times by the year 2000. Yes, three hundred, in real terms.

Many of us are completely fed up with empty aspirational guff about being a civilised, sharing, sociable people. We can all agree with the sentiments and indeed we can choose to be such people, but we don’t need an elite cabal of politicians to force it on us. And that elite are also finding that many who make golf carts and think about how to create wealth rather than just re-distribute other people’s money are clear that much of the sheer grinding sameness of perennial poverty and dependency in Scotland is a result of socialism not capitalism.

Promise these people more of this illiberal nonsense and they’ll mount their golf carts and drive away to make them elsewhere.

[1] http://www.nationaldebtclock.co.uk/

[2] http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock

[3] https://www.strath.ac.uk/media/departments/huntercentre/research/gem/gemscotlandreports/GEM_Scotland_2014_Combined.pdf (Table 3.2)

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