26 July-26 October 2020
In the closing passages of Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons (1990) she states that the “intellectual trap” of much of … public policy is that scholars “presume that they are omniscient observers able to comprehend the essentials of how complex, dynamic systems work by creating stylized descriptions of some aspects of those systems.” The implication for public discourse is damaging because this enables the … scientist to assume the mantle of advisor to a government presiding over a society. “With the false confidence of presumed omniscience,” Ostrom continues, “scholars feel perfectly comfortable in addressing proposals to governments that are conceived in their models as omni-competent powers able to rectify the imperfections that exist in all field settings.”
It is not [ultimately viruses that kill us, or] our ignorance that kills us, it is our arrogance. This is Hayek’s “fatal conceit,” and it is not limited to the would-be socialist planner, but permeates modern social science and politics. Rather than trade-offs, we get one-size-fits-all solutions. Rather than binding rules, we get [arbitrary] authority …
It Is Not Our Ignorance that Will Kill Us, But Our Arrogance
(4 May 2020)
A Colossal and Destructive Overreaction:
An Investor Analyses the Global Viral “Crisis” (GVC)
In Parliament on 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said:
With the rest of the world, we face an unprecedented challenge; a once-in-100-year event; a global health pandemic that has fast become an economic crisis, the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. Life is changing in Australia, for every Australian. And life is going to continue to change. For many, young and old, 2020 will be the toughest year of our lives …
Forget the Cuban Missile Crisis, moon landings, 9/11 and GFC: in February and March the COVID-19 pandemic quickly became the most momentous event since 1945. Around the world, governments shuttered large segments of economies (and in countries like New Zealand, virtually all businesses), imposed draconian personal restrictions that in many places were tantamount to house arrest, and unleashed a tsunami (ca. $25 trillion and rising) of fiscal and monetary intervention. Only the Great War (1914-1918), Spanish Flu pandemic (1918-1920), Great Depression (its start and end remain arguable) and Second World War (1939-1945) adversely affected more people.
To read the entire Newsletter, click here (pdf).
I have always enjoyed reading your letters this one I find spot on, totally agree with your summary.
The situation we are in is due to the Governments ignorance, stupidity, arrogance and authoritarianism. Have you entertained the idea that the situation is due to their insanity, dishonesty and possibly nefarious intent?
Brad Wrightson says
I look forward to reading your newsletters and enjoy them immensely.
I wish you continued success.
Almost a decade ago, in The Evil Princes of Martin Place, I noted that the separation of church and state allows everybody to worship as they please, and that the separation of economy and state enables them (as long as they neither harm nor coerce others) to create property as they please and to exchange it wherever, whenever and with whomever they wish. These two “separations” are pillars of Western liberalism.
Alas, centuries ago governments corrupted the currency. I therefore posited the separation money and state – in effect, the privatisation of money. Because the unit of account (currency) is dishonest, economy and policy are dishonest. A corollary is that, until and unless currency becomes honest, economy and policy will remain corrupt.
At risk of predicting the future, surely this problem is only going to get worse.
Brett Stevenson says
An excellent article Chris. Needed to make some time over the weekend to give it the time it deserves. It’s a sorry tale in so many ways. Thanks for the time you have taken to write this.
Melissa Murphy says
Chris, thank you for your candour and insight. I have read your books and newsletters over the decade and they have helped sustain me and ensure I do not graze with the heard. Melissa
Andrew Neil says
September 1st and Chris’ newsletter only rings truer, with governments racking up billions of dollars of debt daily. We are on the verge of Dan extending the SOE by 6 months, he is also inserting a new section into the State of Emergency Act that can be enacted
…. “Even when the rate of community transmission of COVID-19 is low or there have been no cases of COVID-19 in Victoria for a period of time.”
“Governments love pandemics. They love pandemics for the same reason they love war. Because it gives them the ability to impose controls on the population that the population would otherwise NEVER accept. To create institutions and mechanisms for orchestrating and imposing obedience.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Berlin, August 29 2020
The quicker I give all my rights away, the quicker I will get them all back …… said the person who has never read one history book in their entire life.
Look forward to your next newsletter Chris, I can only imagine what will be in it.
Ross Williamson says
Chris should be published more widely. I do try…