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Bob Piper gets it about socialism and starvation

On Worstall's blog

Bob Piper comments "under free market economics there were never hundreds of millions who died of starvation, disease and malnutrition, I suppose."

Yup - I think old Bob has got it, I can't think of any mass starvation that happened under free market systems - Ireland cames closest I suppose but it was more of a feudal system. If you can think of a better example then please tell me, otherwise reflect on how easy it is to think of socialist examples.


B O B who?

Oh!..... HIM!

What's his mission statement again?............

"Not New Labour, Not Old Labour, Just Dead Labour" LOL

The famine and death caused by capitalist free market economics doesn't have to be IN the countries which cause the famine.


Perhaps you would furnish us with some examples? From my, admittedly threadbare, knowledge of history the major famines of the Twentieth Century were all caused by government either deliberately or due to cock up. Russia (1920's and 30's) - state collectivisation and confiscation of harvests. China (1950's and 60's) - fucked up thinking by Chairman Mao. Bengal (1940's) - the British government deliberately removing food supplies from the region (to deny food to potential Japanese invaders) but not evacuating the people who needed that food. Ethiopia* (1980's) a deliberate policy of restricting food supplies to "troublesome" regions combined with the usual disasters and corruption of socialism. Somalia (1990's) - ditto.

*If you ever get the chance to read Ten Thousand Mile War by Brian Wynne Garfield, do. It describes how an East African farmer (the author) attached to the British Forces kicking the Italians out of that country conducted a survey and assessed the country to have a food production capacity greater than most other countries on the continent.

Do you not count the Chinese famines prior to Mao? Or Biafra, Bangladesh, India? Nor the estimated 200 million defined as suffering from malnutrition in India in the 21st century. Garfield's example, of course, is similar to the Irish famine, where food was being exported to Britain by absent landlords whilst the Irish starved. Oh, I forgot, those landlords were communists.

I make no ridiculous claims to support communist tyrants, despite what you appear to imply... you are of course, perfectly entitled to defend yours though.

Remittance Man:

I really wouldn't waste time trying to have a coherent argument with ...B O B....!

It will only end up with him sending you abusive e-mails to your private e-mail address! LOL


Only 21 months left at the trough Bob............better slurp up!

Still trolling Mr Howell? Still, I suppose it means you can give your wrist a rest.

Have to say I've never really run across this Piper fellow before: he seems to be doing a sterling job of challenging the two Neils (Harding and Clark) for the title of 'Internet's Stupidest/Most Unpleasant Man'. RM is right: there have been NO famines in the 20th Century that were not the result of government malfeasance or ineptitude. No less a luminary than Amartya Sen has stated that famines do not occur in functioning democracies (and all functioning democracies are more or less free market). Free markets may not be necessary to avoid famine, but they seem to be sufficient. And I'd take the views of a Nobel Prize-winning economist over those of a paleosocialist knobwipe any day.

As for the Irish famine - it was precisely the move towards a freer market in agriculture that motivated the repeal of the Corn Laws. This was of enormous benefit to the Irish and went a great way towards ameliorating the effects of the second famine (and ensuring there wasn't a third). So Piper has it exactly backwards. To the extent that trade practises affected the Irish famine, it was that they were unfree.


Assuming you are refering to Twentieth Century famines, as I did, let's work through your list:

China pre-Mao: In an almost constant state of war (civil or otherwise) since 1911.

Biafra: Ditto

Bangladesh: Okay, I have little knowledge of the Bangladeshi famines, but would suspect that they had something to do with the tensions between Pakistan and India coupled with frequent flooding.

India: Agreed India was supposedly a free country after independence, but you don't hear about famine in that country often. Indeed since the 1970's I don't think I've heard of one major famine in the former Raj. Oddly enough wasn't it the early eighties that India dropped all the rather restrictive socialist inspired economic policies of Nehru?

And finally, are you sure about that 200 million number? That would be approximately 20% of the population? That seems a bit high for a country which is a major foreign aid donor. Are you sure your references aren't guilty of inflating the definition of malnutrition? Sadly some organisations with agendas have been found guilty of such sins in the past.

Ooops, my apologies, my reference to Biafra makes it look like Nigeria was in a state of war since 1911, which obviously isn't true. But the famine there was caused by war and a deliberate policy of isolation and starvation of the secessionist state by the Nigerian government, backed by the international community.

I think I might be suffering from Pavlovian Tourettes, everytime I see the names Bob Piper or Neil Harding, I think tosser! The response to hearing or seeing Brown, the Miligit, Charles Clarke (I shouldn't have typed that odious scum's name, now I won't be able to be in polite company for a week), Blair, John Reid or Harman is much stronger.

Talking of Pavlov, the response of this young Australian Labor hopeful to a question about Pavlovian responses is a delight. As South Africans would say, Ag Shame. (I know she's young but she's a big enough girl to be on ABC and want to run other people's lives)


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