News & Analysis
For Fraser Nelson, the Glass is Half Full, but Not for His Feedbackers
Ignore the prophets of doom – this is a golden age for the world ... Despite what politicians say, most people are richer and freer than they have ever been ... The purpose of government is to solve problems, which is why it is prone to exaggerating them. It is easy to conjure up a crisis if you extrapolate a trend far enough into the future. It's always pointless: as the Yiddish proverb has it, man plans and God laughs. History is dictated by the unpredicted, and a government's best hope is to give people the security and freedom to improve the country in the way a bureaucracy never could. The great irony of politics is that those nominally running the country are often the last to work out what direction it has taken. This was, in a roundabout way, the point the Queen made when she addressed the United Nations two years ago. She had witnessed incredible change, she said, and much of it for the better. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: The world is a great place and getting better all the time.
Free-Market Analysis: The Telegraph rarely disappoints, even when it seems to be trying to. In this case the culprit is Fraser Nelson, author of one of the more surprising articles we've read recently.
Sorry, Mr. Nelson, but it really is over the top. More on that in a minute.
Who is this gentleman columnist who has turned his audience into a combustible mix of outrage and obloquy? His Telegraph bio describes him thusly: "Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator and a columnist for The Daily Telegraph. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies."
And what is The Spectator? Here's Wikipedia:
The Spectator is a weekly British conservative magazine first published on 6 July 1828. It is currently owned by David and Frederick Barclay, who also own The Daily Telegraph newspaper, via Press Holdings. ... Its editorial outlook is generally supportive of the Conservative Party ... Editorship of The Spectator has often been part of a route to high office in the Conservative Party in the UK; past editors include Iain Macleod, Ian Gilmour and Nigel Lawson, all of whom became cabinet minister or a springboard for a greater role in public affairs, as with Boris Johnson, the Conservative Mayor of London.
From this we gather Mr. Fraser is being groomed for higher things. Perhaps this is why he wrote such an article. It has the feeling of, well ... a campaign speech. Here's some more of it:
It feels almost indecent to enjoy the Olympics so much. To spend a day at the Games is to move into a parallel universe, where things are actually going right for Britain and some mild rejoicing is justified. The Olympic motto, "Faster, Higher, Stronger", strikes a depressing contrast with a British economy showing none of these characteristics.
The idea that the world is going to hell has been hard-wired into the psyche of most political leaders throughout recorded history. Archbishop Wulfstan of York declared in 1014 that "the world is in a rush and is now getting close to its end". Similar prophecies exist now: that the environment is being despoiled, climate chaos is claiming an ever-increasing number of lives, the rich world is leaving the poor to rot and our energy supplies are soon to be exhausted.
Take global poverty, a subject we have heard plenty about from ministers justifying the £9 billion overseas aid budget. Britain has signed up to the so-called Millennium Development Goals, set in 2000 and accompanied by sermons from Gordon Brown about the "arc of the moral universe" bending towards justice. It was the beginning of boom times for the overseas aid industry, despite its woeful track record.
The first goal was to halve the proportion of the world's population living on a dollar a day by 2015 – an undeniably noble aim. Earlier this year, the World Bank made an astonishing discovery: the target had actually been met in 2008, seven years ahead of schedule.
This staggering achievement received no fanfare, perhaps because the miracle had not been created by Western governments but by the economic progress of China and India. Their embrace of capitalism had invited a flow of trade and investment, which was not halted by the crash. Capitalism meant that houses replaced mud huts and vast swathes of the Third World rose from their agrarian knees. British consumers buying cheap shirts in Asda were, in a very real sense, helping to make poverty history.
This has narrowed the gap between rich and poor. While the West was using cheap debt to fake economic progress, the developing world has been doing it for real. The so-called Gini index, the standard measure of global inequality, fell steadily during the boom years and has continued to decline during the crash. And little wonder, at a time when the Indian economy is literally growing faster in a week than Britain does in a year. The economic aid that Britain gives to India is now the same size as India's own international aid budget.
We hardly know where to start. This provides a proverbial "embarrassment of riches" for an analyst of power elite dominant social themes. It is also a sad discourse.
We've been to Africa and other places where people have lived on a dollar a day. Mr. Nelson is trying to tell us that it is progress that such people no longer live on such. No, Mr. Nelson. Now maybe they live on two! That's not much of an improvement.
Nelson wants us to believe, as well, that Third World economies, the BRICs in particular, are exploding with previously unseen wealth. But what's exploding in the BRICs is money creation. Central banking has run amuck in Brazil, India and perhaps China. That's how modern capitalism works in the era of the global conspiracy, after all.
In fact, it is from our point of view a power elite that has grafted its central banking paradigm onto these countries and then boosted money-printing sky high. It is monetary "crack" that has given the BRICs a false "feel good" sensation. But that will end soon enough just as it has ended in America and Europe.
There is no mention of monetary stimulus at all by our intrepid columnist, however. The UN Human Development Index has hit new records, he writes, as if we ought to believe the UN. Nelson's approach is curious because it combines free-market optimism with an acceptance of so many elite promotions.
In the article he appears to accept global warming but argues that such "climate change" will diminish British deaths annually. On and on. He even finds a way to quote the Queen, mentioning that she believes the world's manifold improvements came "because millions of people around the world have wanted them."
The Queen was too polite to spell it out: don't listen too hard to the politicians. It will just depress you. They do their best, and sometimes even help things, but play a minor role in the development of nations. A country is not shaped by manifestos or five-year plans, but by the courage and ingenuity of its people.
Actually, Fraser, the Queen is part of the problem, a figurehead intended to deflect attention from Western Money Power. And Western Money Power has caused quite a bit of misery in the past century with its globalist agenda.
Today, Europe is aflame with the bitter results of austerity, America is mired in an ever-enlarging depression and the BRICs themselves are struggling with price inflation that is the result of a larger monetary over-stimulation.
This should be evident to Nelson and yet he is so concerned with promoting his larger thesis of optimism that he ignores what is real in order to promote the fantastical.
It is, in fact, an old dominant social theme, and one that is supposed to distract us from the larger globalist conspiracy.
Of course, as a columnist he can presumably write what he wishes but those who provide feedback return the favor. When we looked, there were something like 300 feedbacks and none seemed especially positive. Many were vitriolic.
This is surely the result of what we call the Internet Reformation – the dispersal over the past decade of real information about the way the world really works.
Articles like this and the feedbacks they receive remind us again that our views are not merely theoretical. People actually do understand the manipulations that are taking place and how their lives have been affected by them.
Conclusion: In an era when the power elite is relentlessly attacking the Internet and trying to eradicate free-market thinking, it is inspiring to see that such a campaign is probably too little and possibly too late.