At the End of the Day

Problem: On the whole, regulators of markets have no experience of commercial life….and thus they tend to both miss the villainy – and come up with daft regulations that just get in the way.

Neoliberal solution: Deregulation. No more regulators at all.

Just take a minute or two to interrogate the problem/solution connect contained in the above. And remember: this precise “argument” has been the driving force of many a Dan Hannan blog over the last three years.

Now, here’s a parallel:

Problem: People walking into hospitals ignore the anti-infection hygiene dispensers provided to protect patients.

Solution: Remove all measures aimed at protecting patients.

Here’s another:

Problem: The current legal system for dealing with casual crime is a shambles caused by the volume of crimes, and a lack of investment in the prosecution system.

Solution: Don’t prosecute casual crime at all.

I do not find any of these examples unfair: they are an almost perfect reflection of the childish, playground arguments put forward by neoliberal apologists aiming at the lowest common denominator mentality.

And yet another:

Problem: The Jews are so successful in the Weimar Republic, we are seeing the rise and rise of the Nazi Party.

Solution: Let the Nazis get rid of Jewish power: then afterwards, we can dump the Nazis.

OK fine – that’s a further extrapolation. But it finds out neoliberal thinking as follows: take the zero-thought for ramificatiions solution, and what you get is 100% propaganda.

Without zero examination, after all, what you get is effective propaganda. Nazi communications guru Josef Goebbels in 1937: “We are against all Jews and Communists, because all Communists are Jews”.

There is a step further back from this: to examine not just how puerile the solutions are per se, but also to think more about the true causality of the problem in the first place.

Taking all the examples above in order, I would suggest as follows:

1. Do not recruit regulators from the functionnaire class: set a thief to catch a thief.

2. Change the hygiene culture in British hospitals…and do not let ethnic pc get in the way of the learning process.

3. Invest heavily in the reform of casual criminals by skill schemes designed to raise their self-esteem – and instil the discipline of zero appeasement while doing so. These schemes work.

4. Kill the politics of envy by creating a culture of mutual responsibility, and respect for talent.

I suppose the tabloids would call it ‘tough love’. For myself, I would prefer to call it the application of empirical learning to seemingly intractable issues. Not quite so snappy as the average Sun headline: but then, the brainless instant solution hasn’t worked, has it?

Earlier at The Slog: Beeeeware the Beeeeleeeever