Friday , November 27 2020
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That planned economy nonsense again

Summary:
As you may be aware we here are not grand fans of the idea of a planned economy. On the simple grounds that a planned economy never does provide what is the aim of any economy, that the people gain more of what the people want. By definition planning can only ever provide what the planners think the people might want or, as it actually turns out, what the planners insist the people should want. This inevitably leading to some pretty weird ideas of what should be wanted and what won’t be planned for as a result of an insistence that people shouldn’t want it.The most recent example being the lockdown in Wales. Wales lockdown: Supermarkets told to sell only essential itemsWell, what is an “essential” item? Supermarkets will be unable to sell items like clothesClothes are not essential items.

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As you may be aware we here are not grand fans of the idea of a planned economy. On the simple grounds that a planned economy never does provide what is the aim of any economy, that the people gain more of what the people want. By definition planning can only ever provide what the planners think the people might want or, as it actually turns out, what the planners insist the people should want. This inevitably leading to some pretty weird ideas of what should be wanted and what won’t be planned for as a result of an insistence that people shouldn’t want it.

The most recent example being the lockdown in Wales.

Wales lockdown: Supermarkets told to sell only essential items

Well, what is an “essential” item?

Supermarkets will be unable to sell items like clothes

Clothes are not essential items. In late autumn. In Wales. Well, doesn’t that just kill the idea of the omniscient planner?

Yes, we do grasp the point that there’s a pandemic on. We don’t agree with this idea of lockdown but we do indeed still get what it is that people are trying to do. It’s the system, how it is being decided, that we’re objecting to:

There is no precise list of non-essential goods in the law coming into force on Friday, but any business selling goods or services for sale or hire in a shop will have to close.

But there are exceptions for food retailers, newsagents, pharmacies and chemists, bicycle shops, petrol stations, car repair and MOT services, banks, laundrettes, post offices, pet shops and agricultural supplies shops.

Under the law firms conducting a business that provides a mixed set of services will be allowed to open if they cease conducting the service that must close.

The aim is to stop the swilling of the virus through the crowds of shoppers. Thus limit which shops may open in order to reduce the size of the crowds. Yes, we get it even as we disagree. But to then say that a shop which is open, which people can visit, may not sell what is there, on the shelves, is ludicrous.

But this is what we get when we have planners deciding for us. A specific and weird form of pepper, as a comestible, may be bought and or retailed. A pot to cook it in may not. And a child’s coat is entirely verboeten. In late autumn. In Wales.

The Welsh polity has always been at the forefront of socialism in the UK. As it is now in showing, again, why it doesn’t work.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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