Through the eye of a Libertarian

I recently read an article on this wonderful website entitled ‘Through the eye of a socialist’, it contained all the usual Labour party rhetoric we’ve become so accustomed to; ‘Don’t let the Tory’s at the NHS again’ and ‘they’re only in it to look after their mates in the city’ yada yada. I won’t address the arrogant snobbish language used, such as his “Daily Mail reading parents” and that we’ll just accept that the poor should be poor and then “they’ll go back to an evening of champagne and sky one”. My god what a terrible childhood it must’ve been for the poor boy, it must’ve been hard keeping balance on that Ivory tower. 

No I won’t get bogged in language or party politics at all; I think we’re going to be hearing more than enough of that with two weeks and one day until the G.E. Instead I’d like to argue this; he claims to be on the side of the little man, but it is the free market that his party so despises that has elevated the little man and the poorest in our society to a standard of living that for previous generations would’ve seemed impossible!


I’m sure my socialist friend is a common user of the phrase ‘The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer’, but in fact that’s only half right. Let me correct it; the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting…richer! Over the past 40 years, average wages for the poorest decile have risen, at today’s prices, from £3.40 to £6.70. As Christopher Snowdon put it in “Selfishness Greed and Capitalism”, by the Institute of Economic Affairs, “While only 2 per cent of full-time workers earned the minimum wage of £6.19 in 2013, 45 per cent of full-time workers in 1975 earned less than £6.19 in 2013 prices”. This has not been done by government intervention, it’s been done in spite of government intervention in that greatest of inventions: the free market.
The idea that “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” is lifted directly from the writings of Karl Marx, who called his theory “immiseration”. Some of the people pushing this line are aware of its provenance, but I suspect that most are not. In any event, like every other one of the miserable old cadger’s theories, it turned out to be bunkum. The rich have indeed got richer. And the poor have got richer, too. That’s the wonder of the market.
It is perfectly true that this process has, in several countries, been accompanied by a growth in inequality. In other words, the rich are getting richer at a faster rate than the poor. For some socialists, this is a deal-breaker: they’d rather we were all worse off and more equal.


Me? I look at the extraordinary advances in longevity, literacy, infant survival rates and quality of life ushered in by capitalism. I look, not least, at the stunning fall in extreme global poverty, down by two thirds since 1990. And I ask myself what rival economic model could claim as much?


By: Ross BryantHistory Student, Libertarian @RossBryant01
Student Voices (c)
Through the eye of a Libertarian Through the eye of a Libertarian Reviewed by Unknown on 18:10 Rating: 5

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