Thursday, May 31, 2007

The McFacts About McJobs

Language is one of the best examples of a spontaneous human order. It occurs naturally. It quickly adapts to new circumstances. It is not the result of any one person's conscious design. And it stubbornly resists political tampering.

Nevertheless, the temptation to intervene in the natural order of language often proves irresistible, whether for political or other reasons. Consider what the editors at the Oxford English Dictionary have done to the word "McJob." The OED defines "McJob" as a dead-end job for an overqualified candidate who can't find something better.

The OED claims to be objectively documenting how people use the word. However, there are at least three documented uses of "McJob." Two are positive, and only one is negative. Yet, the OED never mentions the positive usages.

According to John Blundell, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs:

" a decade of studying McJobs I have found three different definitions. McJob was first used in Los Angeles in 1985 when a franchise holder adapted his restaurant so that disabled people could work there. So the earliest definition would be "a job specially created by the world's most admired food service company at great cost to give disabled people opportunities not normally available to them."Then there is the pejorative McJob as in the dead end label and finally there is the positive McJob as in McJobbers actually go further in life than their peers."

In choosing to feature only the negative definition, could the editors of the OED be guilty of an anti-American, anti-business bias? Even if they are innocent of political bias, they are certainly ignoring the career opportunities that stretch before every entry-level McDonald's employee. Every shift has a supervisor. Every supervisor has a manager. Every manager has a store. Every store belongs to a franchisee. Every franchisee works with corporate headquarters. Eventually, there are senior management positions, a CEO, and the board of directors. All of these can be reasonably called "McJobs."

In other words, there are no dead end jobs, only dead end imaginations. It is disheartening to find them at the esteemed OED.

For an analysis of the benefits of a McJob, check out John Blundell's paper McJob, McCheque, McWonderful.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why Americans Are Confused

The Bastiat Society invites you to our monthly meeting next Wednesday, June 6th. We welcome Dr. Edward Hudgins, the executive director of The Atlas Society and publisher of that organization's magazine, The New Individual.

Dr. Hudgins' topic for the evening is:

"Why Americans Are Confused About Freedom and What We Can Do About It"

Ever notice that many Americans in the same breath will declare their support for free markets and for restricting gasoline "price-gouging," or for free speech and limits on political messages sponsored by "special interest groups?"

We all know the reasons why governments should be limited to protecting our lives, liberty and property. But too often those reasons fall on deaf ears because of the intellectual and moral confusion or the serious blind spots of many Americans, including those in the business community.

A review of some of the most common errors will help us better make the case for freedom to the widest audience.

Please RSVP at 843.577.7501 or email
175 King Street, Charleston, SC
5pm – 6pm Drinks and Hors d'oeuvres by Tristan
6pm – 7pm Presentation and discussion

Koch CEO Says Business Must Show Leadership

In an interview in the Financial Times, Charles Koch, CEO of the largest privately held business in the world , calls business people to task for meekly accepting more regulation and taxation:

"They [business people] need to stand up and say: 'Guys, you do this [increase regulation and raise taxes] and it is going to hurt our ability to create value and create prosperity and make your lives better.' The leaders in business should show some leadership instead of being just victims....

What happens when the public loses faith that business people are creating value, if it starts saying, 'Well let's tax them all, let's take it away. If they are making our lives worse rather than better, who needs them?'"

Read his entire interview here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Business Owns the Moral High Ground

"The Bastiat Society was organized to promote awareness in the business community that the world is getting better, and it’s commerce that’s doing it. Trade is a fundamental and virtuous human activity.Those who trade are not villains, but are the actual owners of the moral high ground. Instead of abandoning it to glib academics, politicians, and other condescending pretenders who usually frame the terms of the debate, the business community should speak up and reclaim the moral high ground."

Walter O. LeCroy

Founder, Board Member, and Retired CEO of The LeCroy Corporation
Co-founder and Chairman of The Bastiat Society

Monday, May 28, 2007

What Will They Tax Next?

This video from 18 Doughty Street in the UK speaks for itself. A video is worth a thousand words.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Capitalists, Not Pilgrims, Founded America

America was founded by capitalists seeking a profit, not Pilgrims seeking religious freedom. English settlers founded Jamestown in 1607 as "a joint stock company looking for gold," says journalist and Virginia native Bob Deans.

The Pilgrims landed thirteen years later.

So why hasn't the capitalist origin of the American nation received more attention? Deans says it's because founding a nation on religious freedom sounds nobler than founding a nation on the desire to make a buck.

And there was a little regional jealousy at work after the Civil War. The victorious North didn't want to cede the creation of America to the vanquished South, and least of all, to the heart of the Confederacy, Virginia.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Study Finds BBC is Too Easy On Business

The BBC's coverage of business isn't critical enough, according to an independent review, reported by TheFinancial Times.

The report found no systematic bias against business. However, it did express concerns about business journalism that was a little too friendly. The report highlighted an interview with Bill Gates that it said was "at times sycophantic in tone." It also pointed out a number of interviews with Stuart Rose, CEO of Marks and Spencer as being "too uncritical."

No doubt this comes as a great surprise to business people. They didn't realize the BBC was such a chum.

For a different opinion on bias at the BBC, check out this interview with Robin Aitken, author of the book Can We Trust the BBC? Mr. Aitken spent 25 years at the BBC.

The video comes from 18Doughty Street, a UK web site that advertises itself as "politics for adults."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Legal Sanity "Discovered"

Professor Richard Epstein, of the University of Chicago School of Law, says the U.S. Supreme Court may have started "a welcome revolution in civil litigation."

In an editorial in The Wall Street Journal (24 May 2007), Professor Epstein discusses the implications of the Court's dismissal of an anti-trust class-action suit against telephone companies, Twombly v Bell Atlantic, without requiring the expensive and time consuming legal process known as "discovery."

All too often, defendants find it easier and less expensive to settle a case rather than submit to discovery, even if the case against them is flimsy. This might be a practical solution, but it isn't justice.

In the Twombly case, the Court dismissed the case without discovery and saved "millions in legal fees and potential billions in treble damage awards." This decision marks a break with a long-standing interpretation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that allowed each party to probe its rival's case before going to trial.

It's too early to tell whether the thinking behind this dismissal will spread to other class-action lawsuits. But it is a step in the right direction. Anyone who wants to start a class-action lawsuit should be prepared to justify the costs in terms of time and money.

In addition to his many honors, Professor Epstein is a member of the Advisory Board of The Bastiat Society.

Read his comments here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fed Watching

Question: How do you get into Columbia Business School (CBS)?

Answer: With a sense of humor.

Check out this video, "Every Breath Bernanke Takes," sung to the tune of "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.

The singer is a student who looks like Glenn Hubbard, the Dean of CBS. After watching this, I think you'll agree these students are wasting their time in Business School. With a sense of humor like this, they should have their own show on CNBC.

Watching the Fed is a major entertainment industry around the world. It employs thousands of people who apply millions of kilowatts of some of the best available brain power, all trying to answer a simple question: are rates going up or down?

The old saying on Wall Street is, "There are only two people who know the direction of interest rates. Unfortunately, they don't agree."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wealth and Sex, Part II

In the previous post, I argued that wealth is the ownership of socially desirable property. That assertion begs the question, "Is wealth, therefore, a limited resource?"

The answer is "It doesn't have to be." The great genius of the free market is that it allows humans to engage in wealth creation, an activity far more socially beneficial than wealth redistribution. Even if the benefits of wealth creation are skewed to the wealth creators themselves -- and who better deserves them -- the mere fact that wealth has been added to the world is nothing short of wonderful.

Wealth creation occurs when individuals pursue rational self-interest, engage in a division of labor, and trade freely among themselves, all under the rule of law. In other words, business creates wealth. On that basis alone, business is an institution of tremendous social benefit for mankind. Rather than attack business people as greedy, we should be celebrating business people as heroes.

However, when individuals pursue their own advantage at the expense of others, use force to assign and control the labor of others, and limit the freedom to trade, they engage in wealth destruction. This does, indeed, make wealth a limited -- and vanishing -- resource. Witness the history of Argentina.

At the time of the American revolution, Argentina was as prosperous as the new American nation. After generations of anti-business government policies and the inevitable destruction of vast and vital stores of wealth, modern Argentina finds itself in the precarious position of an emerging economy.

Emerging, yes. But only after a terrible and senseless submergence.

Image property of Walter O. LeCroy

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wealth and Sex, Part I

Humans think about wealth almost as much as they think about sex. Sex we know pretty well. But what, exactly, is wealth?

Wealth can be defined as the ownership of socially desirable property. This definition presupposes three things.

First, there must be a network of humans in social relationships. A man on a desert island cannot be wealthy. Wealth is a social phenomenon.

Second, there must be some kind of property law. It might be at the individual level, the family level, or even the small group level, but at some point, there must be a clear line drawn between "mine and yours" or "ours and theirs."

Third, the property in question must be desirable to other members of the society. Just because you have a lot of stuff and you really like it doesn't mean you're wealthy. Wealth is more than just what you like. Other people have to like it, too. The greater the number of people who like it, and the greater the intensity of their desire, the more valuable that property becomes. That's why an ounce of gold is more valuable than an ounce of silver. Value is a function of desire.

Once all of these conditions are met, humans can identify and accumulate wealth. That wealth might be measured in cows, cacao beans, baskets of fruit, bars of gold, stock certificates, brokerage statements or any of the thousands of other kinds of property humans have adopted as wealth throughout history and into the present day, but the essential nature of wealth remains the same: it is the ownership of socially desirable property. But that leaves us with another question. Why do humans desire wealth in the first place?

The answer is biological. There are two biological imperatives in the natural world. All life is driven by the desire to survive and the desire to successfully reproduce. Wealth enables humans to do both. At all times and in all societies, wealth is first and foremost a means survival. After that, it is a means of taking care of other socially important individuals.

In the final analysis, humans desire wealth because they want to live, and because they want to take care of other people who are important to them. And who are the most likely beneficiaries of their care? Why, their children, of course.

It turns out wealth and sex aren't so unrelated after all. Think about that the next time you think about...whatever.

Image property of Walter O. LeCroy

Monday, May 21, 2007

Does Pope Benedict Condemn Capitalism?

Major news services have reported that Pope Benedict XVI blasts capitalism for its "cruelty." But what does the Pope really think?

Socialism cannot save the poor. It produces "economic and ecological destruction." Its view of human history is contrary to the human heart. It tries to build a heavenly kingdom in this world.
Faith should not be politicized. Justice for the poor does not depend on a theology of ever more power for the state.

These are the views of Pope Benedict, as summarized by Father Sirico, a Catholic priest, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal Europe.

Father Sirico is the founder and President of the Acton Institute.

Image property of Walter O. LeCroy

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism

John C. "Jack" Bogle, the founder and former Chairman of the Vanguard Group, is known for speaking his mind clearly and unequivocally.

In his 2006 book, The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism, he draws a sharp distinction between the way capitalism worked in the past, when it was controlled by owners, and the way capitalism works today, when it is controlled by managers.

While publicly traded securities markets distribute shares of ownership over a large population, thereby giving more people the opportunity to participate in the historic returns on equity, publicly traded markets diffuse ownership and control, making it difficult if not impossible for the legitimate owners of a public company to have a significant say in running the company.

The result, according to Mr. Bogle, is a "pathological mutation" of capitalism that erodes the most essential social requirement for healthy financial markets: trust.

The solution is for shareholders, fiduciaries, and government regulators to act solely in the best interest of the actual owners of the company.

Listen to his comments here, introduced by Princeton professor Burton Malkiel.

Mr. Bogle is also an advocate of a liberal arts education (c.f., my post on "Business and the Liberal Arts").

Saturday, May 19, 2007

John Allison, CEO, Defends Moral Basis of Capitalism

John Allison, the CEO and Chairman of BB&T, the 11th largest financial holding company in the US, was the keynote speaker at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation's Liberty Forum in Philadelphia in May, 2007.

Allison said free markets have won the war of ideas, but only on a practical basis. It is far more important to win the war of ideas on a moral basis.

Listen to him here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Business Meeting to Remember

This video clip from "Saturday Night Live" should strike a chord with anyone who has suffered through at least one business meeting.

While peaceful commercial activity has done wonders for the world, it cannot eliminate human folly. Humanity is accident prone, in the boardroom, in the legislature, and on the battlefield.

The amazing thing is not that we live in a world with so many mistakes. Rather, it is that the world works so well.

When mistakes occur at the individual level, the consequences are often inconspicuous, at least to the rest of the world. When mistakes occur at the level of small groups (like the ones in the video), the mistakes are more visible, but the consequences are relatively contained. But when mistakes occur at the level of the state, two things happen.

First, thanks to the taxpayer, the mistakes acquire a much longer life. Second, the consequences are felt by everyone. Imagine, not a building imploding, but an entire nation-state, and you get the picture.

This leads us to an important conclusion: the most adaptable form of social organization is one that encourages risk-taking and mistake-making at the lowest social cost, i.e. at the individual level or the small-group level. In other words, social organizations that distribute decision-making, risk taking, and the information feedback we call failure will be more innovative and successful than social organizations that centralize decision making, risk-taking, and information feedback.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Moderately Well-Off Society

The Communist Party in China is shopping for some new ideological duds. They got rid of Marxism-as-we-know it in the late 1970s. They got rid of Mao suits in the 1990s. The Party gave the people one commandment, "Make as much money as you want, but leave politics alone." Then it sat back and watched the population spring into action.

Isn't it amazing what people will do once you stop making them wear their pajamas to work? And you stop seizing their property, threatening them with jail, and forcing them to attend re-education camps?

China is not an economic miracle. It is an example of what happens when individuals taste a little freedom. And that's exactly what worries the Party: where will all this stop?

In an effort wrap itself in a new ideology of authority and control, the Party is turning to China's great sage, Confucius. The Economist reports that Confucius is experiencing quite a revival in respectability and popularity, with the Party's blessing. The magazine reports:

"Since becoming China's top leader in 2002, President Hu Jintao has promoted a succession of official slogans, including “Harmonious Society” and “Xiaokang Shehui” (“a moderately well off society”), which have Confucian undertones."

When powerful governments stop talking about getting rich, and start talking about harmony and being moderately well-off, it is because they are threatened with imminent and overwhelming social change. This will be the next Chinese revolution.

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Texas Says "No" to Private Toll Roads

The Financial Times of 14 May 2007 reports that down in Texas, they don't have enough public money to build enough public roads to accommodate all the public that wants to drive on them.

The problem is fuel efficiency. As cars have become more fuel efficient, the amount of fuel tax received for every mile driven has dropped by half. Add to that a booming population, more traffic, and very little increase in road capacity, and you have the recipe for a Texas-sized case of gridlock.

The solution, at least for awhile, appeared to be private toll roads. These are roads built with private capital, not taxpayer dollars. The roads are owned by the state but leased to the private operators.

Private toll roads are a clear win-win for commuters and the state transportation authority: the commuter gets a choice (public and crowded roads or private and not crowded) and the state saves the cost of building and maintaining a road.

But, of course, in politics nothing works out the way you would expect.

The Texas House came up with its own plan to solve the problem. It passed a bill to eliminate the gas tax altogether for the summer. Then it approved a moratorium on privately built toll roads.

In effect, the House said it could solve the problem by bringing in less money, building its own toll roads, and by eliminating the competition. The details of this economic miracle remain unclear.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Texas, commuters are waiting...and waiting, and waiting.

For some cogent commentary on the roadblock in Texas, check out Robert Poole. Bob is one of the world's foremost experts on transportation privatization.

Bob was a speaker at the Bastiat Society in February, 2007.

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Climate Control

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many intellectuals believed that scientific methodology, which had enjoyed incredible success in explaining and controlling the natural world, could be used to explain and control human society. Scientific theories of history and human society blossomed.

The 20th-century result was a horrible waste of precious time, money and lives.

What we learned from that painful experience is that human society is a complex, adaptive system that adjusts to new conditions in surprising ways and with unpredictable systematic consequences. The same is true for the economy, itself simply a subset of human society.

There is a growing body of study that focuses on the similarities of complex, adaptive systems. World climate is just such a system. Some aspects of climate are suitable for scientific analysis. For example, we can scientifically document the temperature, just as we can count the number of men and women in a population. As a result, there is no question that the climate is changing.

But can we scientifically attribute the cause of climate change, or scientifically control the direction of change, or scientifically guarantee there will be no unintended consequences? I believe our experience with complex, adaptive systems requires us to admit the answer to all of these questions is "No."

The only thing we can say for certain about a world-wide effort to control the climate is that, at best, it will be expensive and it might work. At worst, history will repeat itself, and it will be a horrible waste of time, money, and -- yes -- even lives.

Image property of Walter O. LeCroy

Monday, May 14, 2007

Got Hair?

Why should we be skeptical about embracing a national health care plan?

Check out what's happening in Germany, where the state-funded health insurance plan provides generous benefits like spa treatments.

A bald man had the nerve to ask the taxpayers to pay for his wig. The health plan said no. The bald man sued, but a court agreed with the health plan .

I guess you could say he wasn't covered.

Although this is a silly case, you can easily see how much time and money are wasted in a politicized system that is supposed to be more efficient than a consumer-driven system. Simple decisions like "Do I buy a hat, a wig or go bald" become "I deserve a wig and the government should pay for it."

Image property of Walter O. LeCroy

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism

Dynamic change is a basic feature of a healthy economy. If new industries appear, and old ones disappear, the system is working the way it should

Arnold Kling, at Econlib, quotes an interesting fact from a new book "Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism:"

Of the twenty-five largest firms in the United States in 1998, eight did not exist or were very small in 1960. In Europe, all twenty-five of the companies that were the largest in 1998 were already large in 1960.

Rather than spending precious time and money propping up big, old companies, we should be building an entrepreneurial economic system that encourages innovation and improvements. When business loses its entrepreneurial spark, it becomes a bureaucracy. And the safest thing to do at a bureaucracy is exactly what has always been done.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Big Business Proposes Health Care Reform

Some interesting thoughts from Ronald Bailey in the pages of Reason magazine.

He asks a provocative question: is the proposed reform true market-based health care reform, i.e., one that places purchasing power in the hands of the health care consumer, or is it a worker -- and taxpayer -- rip off?

By the way, Ron Bailey spoke to the Bastiat Society in September of 2005.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Political Gas

When gas prices go up, people use less. Higher prices eventually equal lower demand. No legislation required. No enforcement. No bureaucracy.

Of course, there is an inevitable delay in the adjustment. People logically wait to see if prices will come back down, or they wait until it is more economical to replace their current car with a more gas efficient model. Why buy a new car if you don't have to? A family can regulate the use of an old car -- even a gas guzzler -- far more efficiently than it can regulate the rapid depreciation of a new one.

Yet, impatient to "solve the problem" and gain political capital, politicians have jumped on the issue of gas prices with the conviction that they are the only power that can truly curb demand. Rather than relying market forces, they craft legislative plans to "cut future US gasoline demand and improve the fuel economy of cars and trucks" (see Harry Reid's and Nancy Pelosi's comments at CNN).

The political message is clear: in order to save Americans from the painful choice of using less gas or sending more of their money to the companies that actually make the gas, the politicians are going to make Americans use less gas and send more of their money to Washington.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Business and the Liberal Arts

Many business people view the liberal arts -- here defined as the study of literature, history, and languages -- as nearly useless knowledge. If not useless, than at least not practical. They ask, "Aren't there more valuable returns on subjects like accounting and engineering?" Or, as one recently spied tee-shirt put it, "Friends don't let friends major in liberal arts."

We can draw a valuable lesson from -- surprise -- history. The French Revolution violently swept away the old system of learning and replaced it with schools that taught almost exclusively scientific subjects. The test of the educated man was no longer his knowledge of history, Greek or Latin, but his knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, physics and natural history. Education became, in a word, "scientific."

What was the result?

In his 1952 book, The Counter Revolution of Science, Friedrich Hayek summarized what happened in France:

"Thus, a whole generation grew up to whom that great storehouse of social wisdom, the only form indeed in which an understanding of the social processes achieved by the greatest minds is transmitted, the great literature of all ages, was a closed book. For the first time in history that new type appeared which as the the product of the German Reaschule and of similar institutions was to become so important and influential in the later nineteenth and the twentieth century: the technical specialist who was regarded as educated because he had passed through difficult schools but who had little or no knowledge of society, its life, growth , problems and values, which only the study of history, literature and languages can give."

An emphasis on scientific knowledge and the deliberate exclusion of the liberal arts led to mis-guided attempts to apply scientific terminology and methods to historical and social analysis. As a result, French science went from being foremost in the world to middle of the pack, and French social thought paved the way for totalitarianism in the name of science and the immutable laws of history.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Old Whig: F. A. Hayek's Birthday

Today, 8 May, is the birthday of one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, F. A. Hayek (1899 - 1992).

Hayek consistently championed the spontaneous order of free individuals over the conscious order of Utopian social scientists.

In The Road to Serfdom in 1944, he succinctly stated the economic and moral case for free markets:

"Economic liberalism....regards competition as superior not only because it is in most circumstances the most efficient method known but even more because it is the only method by which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitrary intervention of authority. Indeed, one of the main arguments in favor of competition is that it dispenses with the need for 'conscious social control' and that it gives the individuals a chance to decide whether the prospects of a particular occupation are sufficient to compensate for the disadvantages and risks connected with it."

Hayek did not like to hear his views described as "conservative," "classical liberal," or "libertarian." He suggested the description "old whig." Pity it never caught on.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Free Trade

An article by Kerry Howley in the May 2007 edition of Reason magazine asks the question "Who Supports Free Trade?"

The answer? According to a survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, "Better educated and more affluent Americans, regardless of party, generally view free trade more positively."

Free trade is not the captive issue of any political party. Free trade is simply consistent with human nature and the social institutions humans have developed to increase their odds of survival and happiness.

Free trade is one of those rare issues where the right and the left can agree. As the world grows more affluent and better educated, popular support for free trade will grow, too. However, free trade always faces a threat from a small but vocal segment of the population, and from politicians willing to pander to that segment. For example, the Bush steel tariffs. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Business as Usual


  1. Nationalize electricity business
  2. Nationalize healthcare business
  3. Nationalize banking business
  4. Nationalize mining industry
  5. Nationalize oil industry
  6. Nationalize gas business
  7. Nationalize telecommunication business
  8. Nationalize steel business
  9. Blame international big business for ruining the lives of the people
  10. Call Barney Frank. Compare lists.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Business School Prof Says Business Destroys the Soul

Dr. Pritam Singh, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Oxford Brooks University School of Business, must think of himself as a missionary among heathens.

Either that, or he is a hypocrite.

In a letter to the The Financial Times of London on 27 April 2007, under the title "Commodification of Life is What Robs Capitalism of its Soul," Dr. Singh wrote:

"The growing body of academic literature on the crying need for business ethics is a manifestation of the essentially unethical and soul-destroying nature of modern businesses..."

How long will his students stay in business if they believe they are acting unethically and destroying souls? How successful does he expect them to be, burdened with the belief that business is a crime?

Friday, May 4, 2007

John Blundell at the Bastiat Society

John Blundell, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, spoke to the Bastiat Society on 2 May 2007.

His topic was "Achieving Change: What We Learned from Margaret Thatcher."

During her tenure as Prime Minister, the UK went from being a political and economic mess to being a model of free market governance.

The Iron Lady left a legacy that continued long after she left office. Consider the difference in these measures of economic health between 1979, when she first came to office, and 1997, when New Labour triumphed:

  1. The middle class as % of the population went from 33% to 50%.
  2. Home owners as a % went from 53% to 71%.
  3. Share owners as a % went from 7% to 23%.
  4. Trade unionists who are share owners as a % went from 6% to 29%.
  5. Days lost to strikes per anum went from 30M to 1/2M.
  6. The % of workers self-employed went from 7% to 14% (current).
  7. The % of workers in a trade union went from 51% to 19%.

How did she do this? John offers ten lessons from "The Book of Margaret:"

  1. Govern with a strong moral compass.
  2. Simplify and communicate with conviction.
  3. Lead but always listen.
  4. Use policies consistent with human nature.
  5. Think about strategy ahead of time.
  6. Build a good team.
  7. Use circumstances.
  8. Make good allies.
  9. Prepare for power when you don't have it.
  10. Have patience.

In the words of John Blundell, "The story of Margaret Thatcher is the extraordinary story of a country saving itself."

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What is the Bastiat Society?

The Bastiat Society is named after the great French economist, Frederic Bastiat. Bastiat was famous for making complex ideas easy to understand.

One topic widely misunderstood today is the morality of business. While businesses compete to feed, clothe, shelter, entertain and empower individuals of every age, occupation and nation, academics, intellectuals, popular artists and ambitious politicians portray business people as villains or buffoons.

It is time for business people to counterattack these gross distortions of the truth.

The Bastiat Society proclaims the productive, humane, and moral leadership of honest business people.