Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wingnut welfare benefit tourist

I was discussing this on Twitter with Jamie Kenny last night - Liam Fox does indeed have some serious questions to answer to the British public, and the first one he needs to answer is “do you think we're all simple or something?". If a mate of mine happened to bump into me when I was on a business trip by coincidence, and we met up for dinner and he brought along someone who I didn't know but who was a contractor lobbying for a huge amount of work with my firm, my reaction would not be "cor, great call, let's do this another forty times, assuming that forty more purely coincidental meetings happen". It would be "mate, love to the wife and everything, but Christ, don't put me in that sort of embarrassing position please". If (per impossibile, because apparently my mates have rather more class than Liam Fox's) I had a mate who I suspected was pimping out his connection to me for commercial advantage then … well, I don't know what I'd do because this would never happen, but I like to think I wouldn't sleepwalk into destroying my reputation.

So what gives, if we presume that they're not lovers, and that the innuendo in the press is dancing round the accusation nobody dares to make yet - that these meetings actually were what they very much look like. In other words, Good Old British Defence Procurement, the process whereby troops in the field are used as hostages by the defence industry to extract a ransom from the taxpayers. I presumed that it was.

Jamie's theory is a little more interesting, and I'm getting a little more convinced by it, as my original reason for rejecting it - that it's totally insane to pay that much money for access to Liam Fox unless you're on the defence procurement gravy train - doesn't necessarily hold water. It matters, I think, that Fox is specifically an Atlanticist and proprietor of the Potemkin thinktank par excellence "The Atlantic Bridge".

Because, of course, as one of the earliest posts to this blog noted, while the cash to support Adam Werrity's lifestyle is a crazy amount of money to pay for access to a minor politician in Britain, in America they do things rather differently. Since Fox is an actual cabinet minister, I can see how an American billionaire (ie, someone potentially in the habit of dropping large five figures on Senate races) might regard him as compellingly good value.

In other words, Liam Fox may be the first guy to have successfully arbitraged the wildly different valuation of politicians in Britain and America. And the fact that he was so keen on the "Atlantic Bridge" suggests to me that this trade might have been on his mind for quite some time. In any case, now that the gate's been opened between the British pool of labour and the American pool of wingnut welfare, you can bet that people are going to work it, particularly people who work for a British thinktank that is, almost unaccountably, named after an American politician. Lower tier wingnut pundits in the USA like Jonah Goldberg or Michelle Malkin ought to be very concerned indeed that they are about to face a wave of the pundit equivalent of Polish plumbers, prepared to churn out a somewhat higher quality of boilerplate hackery for much lower wages. And with Murdoch-level ethical standards too. The world is, as Thomas Friedman said while earning approximately twice as much as Martin Wolf, flat.
3 comments this item posted by the management 10/14/2011 01:50:00 AM

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