Most people remember the line “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. This comes at the end of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, when the idealism of the original Seven Commandments has degenerated to this last, cynical, depressing “rule”.
But earlier in the tale, the animals do their best to learn the original seven. The sheep, bless their dear, stupid woolly socks, can only manage to bleat “four legs good, two legs ba-ad”.
Which reminds me of something…
The FMFs Again
I wrote about Free Market Fundamentalism (FMF) in my post Why George Osborne Is Only Half Human. The FMFs make a number of assertions:
- Societies work best when markets are free from government interference
- Private sector organisations work better than public ones
- Salary is a reliable guide to someone’s worth to the economy
- Making poor people poorer by cutting benefits incentivizes them to work harder
- Making rich people richer by cutting their taxes incentivizes them to work harder (or stay in the country and add value)
- Wealth trickles down naturally from the richest to the poorest
- Using the law to settle disputes works better than regulation
- Taxation should be as low as possible (and ideally at a flat rate for all)
- Government spending crowds out private investment
- Consequentially, Governments should shrink.
That’s a long list for people to carry around in their heads all the time, unless they’re professionally involved in economics: people have busy lives. But busy people such as politicians, business leaders and journalists, just like the sheep in Animal Farm, do seem to keep one idea in their heads:
“Private sector good, public sector ba-ad”.
I’ll comment more on the assertions listed above in future posts. But, for now, I say: “Ba-ah, humbug!!”