Blogging to be slowish for a while

So for the last month I’ve known I’ve got an essay due on the 3rd, an essay due on the 4th and a presentation due on the 7th, but have I got them out the way nice and early?

I would like to find an image to represent my answer “no”, the facepalm this implies, and the irony that this blog is itself distracting me from my essays, but I really must go now now now.


Why Fiat Money is Awesome

If the title makes you bristle, you are probably a libertarian. If the title invokes no emotions in you, then congratulations, you are probably a person with adequate social skills.

Fiat money refers to an item which acts as a medium of account, medium of exchange and store of value for the sole reason that people believe it performs in those ways. Often this is backed up by the state.

Some people prefer commodity money to fiat money because they believe that fiat money is too easily open to fraud by the government issuing it. Iron Pyrite can never be turned into gold, but governments can turn paper and ink into fiat money.

Commodity money, normally in the form of gold, has had some pernicious consequences. The traditional complaints about the Gold Standard have been covered before, but I want to raise other objections.

Gold, as a commodity, promotes violence. As a physical store of great wealth it induced a colossal state supported system of piracy, murder, pillage and theft throughout the early modern world. England robbed Spain, France robbed England, Black Beard robbed everyone, and they sodomised one another all round the rum soaked West Indies.

Both counterfeiting, and inflation, can be transfers of value from holders of currency to producers of currency, but neither is inherently violent. Ill gotten gain must be far more ill-ly gotten in commodity currency regimes.

There’s a reason all Bond villains once planned to rob Fort Knox, it was where all the gold was kept. These days there’s no point in doing that, all you need to do is hack into a computer and add a few ,000s to your bank balance. Generic guard #3 gets to live.

There is an incentive to steal money under all systems of monetary exchange, money is lighter than a cow, but it can become a cow when you need it too. However, commodity money systems induce violence in ways in which fiat currencies do not and this is a draw back of the system rarely acknowledged.

Fucking Idiots

You can be pure, or you can be a human being, but you can’t do both.

Apparently some people are concerned that the boycott  Census [whoops!] is being conducted with Lockheed Martin, a horrible weapons manufacturing. By filling in the Census there will therefore be nondescript bad things.

Lockheed Martin bad! Therefore census bad! Lockheed Martin, outcast, unclean!

You know who else is bad? GlaxoSmithKline, urgh, horrible big pharma! You know who deals with GlaxoSmithKline?  The NHS. Boycott the NHS! Outcast, unclean!

As I said, fucking idiots.

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative have post after post on why Censuses are one of the least worst, even actively positive, elements of the modern states, and I beseech vulgar libertarians to read through the posts.

As to lefties who worry about their purity or conscience, pur-leeez, give me a break! The census isn’t something lefties of anything other than the most revolutionary persuasion need worry about.

Who cares about Sabbatical Officers?

Sat in the LSE’s noisy library I can overhear somebody talking to their friend about their intention to run for some Sabbatical position or other in the upcoming elections.

For those long out of university or who never went, a Sabbatical Officer takes a year out, or stays an extra year, to act as a sort of MP for students working at the students union.

Thus far my potential Sabb has discussed…

  • …giving healthy eating advice which is like, you know, relevant for students…
  • …trying to communicate with people who are, like, you know, out on a saturday night…
  • …planting questions in the audience for the upcoming hustings…
  • …whether Salmon is vegetarian if it is halal or kosher [1]…

…in great detail. However, until potential Sabbatical Officers discuss…

  • …that 90% of students don’t know or care who they are…
  • …that they will have at best no effect on the lives of the students they represent…
  • …that they are not worth £27,000 a year for a glorified admin role with no democratic legitimacy…
  • …that being elected on 20-30% turnout indicates you are unimportant…

…they can all fuck off.

In all seriousness, and intending insult to no one, I have never read a manifesto commitment which has not struck me as asinine, nor have I noticed an improvement in my student experience from the actions of sabbatical officers. I’d like to call this a failure of communication, but there are full-time Communication Sabbs, so this would be an equally appalling indictment.

I don’t feel this way because democracy is bad – democracy is very good as a meta-institution to pick other institutions, for example. But democracy requires both legitimacy and power to be of any value, and Sabbs have neither.

My principle problem is not that Universities have too much democracy, but that they have too little. The decisions the union must make are perfect for referenda, a small polity of 10,000 is pretty much the perfect Athenian size for direct democracy.

Rather than take advantage of this we have representatives who are never elected with a majority, never elected by people who have any idea of what the union i) should do ii) can do iii) won’t do, and who substitute and crowd out an actually effective, beneficial governance structure.

Some of the most vibrant protests and movements have come out of the campuses of this country, but it has not been sabbatical officers who have led this. Where Sabbs have been involved it is because people who tend to want to be Sabbs tend to be politically active anyway.

Norm and Chris have hinted on the fact that different electors have different strength preferences, but this misses something very important. Sometimes preferences expressed may be strong and irrelevant. Whoever the Irish elect, they will be subject to grinding austerity for years on end. Whoever is elected as sabbatical officers will have next to no impact on my life.

An election held under a condition of almost complete ignorance, in which nobody really cares, nobody has anything on the line and which distracts from better alternatives ain’t much of an election in my book.

Any clever bugger who comments to tell me to run so I can “be the change I want to see” will be deleted mercilessly.


[1] Irrelevant to our discussion here, but an indicator of the inanity of the conversation which my potential representative felt acceptable in public. They decided it wasn’t.

Suggestions Welcome from Clever People

Good afternoon one and all,

I have an essay due in 3 weeks which is actually assessed, any contribution of ideas, inspiration, theories and papers on the below topic is welcome.

How did institutional conditions shape farmers’ ability to produce for the market in the nineteenth century world? Answer with reference to at least two examples

My readings are below the fold, followed by a skeletal essay plan.

Continue reading

Cunt Watch: Melanie Phillips

If still in doubt, try this thought experiment. Imagine the Government was planning to recognise polygamy and polyandry (marriage with more than one woman or man), or marriage between ‘zoophiles’ (people who have ‘loving and committed relationships with mammals’, or bestiality to you and me) and their, er, partners.

That’s correct, she comparing homosexuality and bestiality (via).

On a more serious note, I don’t have much problem with polyandry or polygamy, so long as all partners consent and the washing up is distributed fairly.