Comment // Economy

The Disingenuousness Of Tim Worstall

In his latest blog post on the Telegraph website, entitled "Forward to Fascism with Compass and its 'Progressive Protectionism'", Tim Worstall offers a critique of a new report from Compass, the left wing think tank/pressure group.

Worstall opens his piece with:

It's a little strange finding the pressure group Compass actively promoting fascist economic policy, but that does appear to be what they're doing with this think piece from Colin Hines, entitled Progressive Protectionism.

Oh, the irony.

Tim Worstall says he is a Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London. He is therefore an evangelist for Free Trade.

Most people, when they think of "Free Trade", they think of "freedom". In fact "Free Trade" is the freedom of multi national corporations to rape and pillage nations, including our own. "Free Trade" is the basis of the entire morally and literally bankrupt financial system, the representatives of which are imposing bailout after bailout and the ever increasing weight of austerity, bringing poverty to millions as high quality jobs are replaced by shelf stacking and coffee serving, and death to hundreds of thousands as the health service collapses.

You might think that a "Senior Fellow" of such a venerable institution as the Adam Smith Institute would give a rational argument to justify his use of the word "fascist" to describe the Compass report, might you not?

Instead, he plays the BNP card:

Here's Hines:

Instead, what I propose is ‘progressive protectionism’. This encourages and allows countries to rebuild and re-diversify their economies by limiting what goods they let in and what finance they choose to enter or leave the country. Most importantly in the process they wean themselves off of export dependence. This would allow space for domestic funding and business to meet the needs of the majority in society. Such a policy, with its limits on imports and its positive discrimination for local enterprises…

He calls this a way to "beat the far right".

Here's the BNP (no, no link to them):

Britain’s survival depends on a technology-intensive manufacturing base, protected from globalisation and rampant internationalist exploitation – the core of the British National Party’s plan for rebuilding this nation’s economy after decades of Tory and Labour neglect.

Globalisation has caused the export of jobs and industries to the Far East, and has brought ruin and unemployment to British industries and the communities who depend on them.

Accordingly, the BNP calls for the selective exclusion of foreign-made goods from British markets and the reduction of foreign imports. We will ensure that our manufactured goods are, wherever possible, produced in British factories, employing British workers.

It's somewhat difficult to see a difference between these economic platforms.

So the entire basis of his argument is that if the BNP has a particular policy, then anyone else who has that same or similar policy must be a fascist. There's rational for you.

In fact, the "Free Trade" versus "Protectionist" argument has been raging since the dawn of time. On the Free Trade side you have oligarchy, empire, slavery and the idea that everything is done for the gratification of the individual, and to hell with everyone else. On the Protectionist side you have sovereign nations, national (not socialist, nor far right) economics, the general welfare of the citizenry placed ahead of the interests of a wealthy elite.

(For more on this, read our previous articles The Harmony Of Interest and The End Of Globalisation - Towards A Community Of Principle.)

At the end of his Free Trade hitpiece, Worstall lets the cat out of the bag:

exports are just the drudge work we do to send off to Johnny Foreigner so that we get what we actually want that he does better and cheaper than we can make ourselves.

Drudge work? This says it all really - rather than building the highest tech productive economy possible, modern economies are only there to throw a few scraps at "Johnny Foreigner" slave labour for our own pleasure and gratification.

Now that's fascism.