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There’s ever such a slight problem with this industrial strategy for ARM

Summary:
Apparently we should try to sell what we don’t own. There’s a part of the criminal law that deals with that sort of thing:There’s one way to save Arm from Nvidia – sell it to someone elseWho is doing the selling here? As far as we can see that’s Softbank. So, who is this who should be selling ARM to someone else? Us? We don’t own it. Britain doesn’t own it, the country doesn’t, the political class doesn’t. So, how can any one of those “we”s sell something it doesn’t own to someone else? It has been said before but is worth repeating: selling to the highest bidder and crossing your fingers is not a credible economic strategy. For all the talk about the UK devising a proper industrial policy, we seem perfectly happy to stand aside while our best and brightest businesses are picked off at

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Apparently we should try to sell what we don’t own. There’s a part of the criminal law that deals with that sort of thing:

There’s one way to save Arm from Nvidia – sell it to someone else

Who is doing the selling here? As far as we can see that’s Softbank. So, who is this who should be selling ARM to someone else? Us? We don’t own it. Britain doesn’t own it, the country doesn’t, the political class doesn’t. So, how can any one of those “we”s sell something it doesn’t own to someone else?

It has been said before but is worth repeating: selling to the highest bidder and crossing your fingers is not a credible economic strategy. For all the talk about the UK devising a proper industrial policy, we seem perfectly happy to stand aside while our best and brightest businesses are picked off at will.

The point being that that is a credible economic strategy and it’s the only effective one in any long term manner. The underlying being that no economic system without private property manages the desired feat, of increasing the amount of property and riches that can be and are enjoyed by the general population. The ultimate definition of private property is that one may dispose of it as one wishes. Refuse to allow that and one is abolishing that crucial underpinning of the prosperity machine.

There are corollaries here. The highest bidder, putting down their own money, is by definition the person to whom that asset, that property, is worth the most. Economies function efficiently when those who can best make use of something are those making use of it. Moving an asset from a lower to a higher valued use is the very definition of wealth creation.

The long term effect of all of this is that more productive assets will be created by entrepreneurs over time if current and extant assets can be sold to the highest bidder. Rather than, say, with the permission and at the behest of whichever groupuscule of PPE graduates have managed to kiss enough babies to gain political power. GOSPLAN telling everyone what to make didn’t work out well. The same system applied to who may own it after it has been created won’t either.

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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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