Archive for the ‘The Age Of Enron-cence’ Category

A Metatactic

Our lords and masters keep telling us that “the economy” (their name for their own income and assets) is not a zero-sum game; that is, we should not think that everything they get is something of which we are deprived. That is because they are in fact playing a zero-sum game with us; everything they […]

Evil Dictators And Cultural Heritage

The American invaders were pleased to show us Saddam’s many opulent palaces. But when more fortunate Evil Dictators have been dead and buried a couple of centuries, their immense and overwrought palaces become National Heritage, and those same Americans pay to visit them. A review of a book about dictators’ homes describes how much they […]

Back To The Citadel

There has been some comment about both the fortified “Green Zone” that the Americans have created in Baghdad and the temporary “wall of steel” erected in Sydney for a summit conference. I do not, however, recall anyone observing that this is merely a return to a pattern so antique and universal that we take it […]

Remind You Of Anything?

Once upon a time much English land was common, which meant that all the peasants of a community had a right to use it – for grazing, and for many purposes other than digging and growing, as the medieval economy was by no means a monoculture. Then came the Enclosure Acts, whereby former common land […]

“Purpresturists Out!”

I came across an obscure word the other day – “purpresture”. It is a medieval term, to be found in Richard fitz Nigel’s handbook to the Exchequer, and signifies encroachments on the royal demesne. Or as we would say now, when politicians sell state assets to their cronies at knockdown prices. Hey, now we have […]

The Thackeray Economy?

If anyone should think that self-improvement guides built on one simple idea are an invention of the twentieth century, they should note Thackeray’s reference in Vanity Fair to the secret doctrine of “How to Live Well on Nothing a Year”. Never pay debts to your social inferiors, he says, rob your retainers and cheat your […]

Are You Being Served?

Perhaps one of the most fatal social changes of the second half of the twentieth century was the deification of the “consumer” in place of the “producer”. We heard no more of the dignity of labour, and all the more about the duty to serve the customer. Our error here was to assume that “consumer” […]

Sumptuary Legislation

It may come as a surprise to anyone who came of age in the Eighties or in the Noughties, but there was once an institution called “sumptuary legislation”. This forbade conspicuous consumption, out of a concern for the social order. That is to say, back then even rich people realised that provocation of the poor […]

Posted on July 15, 2009 at 11:40 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 2 Comments
In: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!, The Age Of Enron-cence

The Tax On Innocence

It has rightly been said that gambling is a “tax on stupidity”. Income and other personal taxes, however, are set up as a tax upon honest ignorance. That is, anyone who follows what the tax office tells them are the rules, pays extra to subsidise the people with sufficient connections to find an accountant who […]

Human Rights – Against The State Or One Another?

It is a journalistic cliché that progress will come from the growth of the new middle classes in what used to be called the underdeveloped countries. Not only will this vitalise the economy, it is claimed, but these middle classes are said to be the guarantors of political reform and human rights. In my opinion […]