Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dead Economist To Blame For All Woes.

Neil Clark attacks Milton Friedman for being responsible for everything short of killing Bambi's mother and asks a series of rhetorical questions:
  • Do you ever wonder why British train fares are the highest in the world?
Half a century of nationalisation followed by a botched privatisation and a botched renationalisation would be my guess. But I'll accept that the fact of the matter is that the UK's rail fares are far too high, though how the blame can be laid at Friedman's door is questionable.
  • Or why gas and electricity bills now take up such a large part of our incomes?
Gas and Electricity prices have actually fallen steadily since privatisation in spite of a recent boom in the price of oil, as even people who are in the business of playing up the issue have to acknowledge.
Yet it is clear that since 1996, the liberalised energy markets has helped bring energy prices down and with it the number of fuel poor, and prices are still cheaper in real terms than before privatisation.
In 1991 there were 7.3 million households that were either fuel poor or were considered vulnerable to suffering fuel poverty. By 2002 this figure had fallen to just over two million.
So if Friedman is responsible for our energy prices then he has lifted millions of people out of poverty.
  • Or why the gap between rich and poor just keeps getting wider and wider?
It is true that the gap between rich and poor has widened, although the poor are still better off than they were. There is very little difference between rich and poor in North Korea this is a good thing in and of itself.

  • Or why British manufacturing industry no longer exists?

If by 'no longer exists' he means producing more than ever before in recorded history then he is right. Otherwise he is completely wrong.

(via Stephen Pollard)

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