Saturday, 29 October 2011

A message to the "Occupy" movement: most of the 99% are doing just fine

Amongst the many infantile inequities to be contrasted with a predictably banal supposedly left-wing alternative that are levelled against capitalism is it’s inequity of benefitting the rich at the expense of or at least the poor. This is very prominent at this moment in the advent of the financial and economic crisis both in 2008 (and the bank bailouts) and currently in the Eurozone as well as most pertinently the consistent above average unemployment rates. At least one manifestation of this is the ‘Occupy’ movement across condemning this unequal inequity of global capitalism and corporate “greed”.

One of their more popular slogans is their claim to be representing the “99%” in their condemnation and a call for more to done to help alleviate their suffering by partially at least curbing the “excesses” of the corporate world and higher taxation which for them has been so absent in the past decade or so as to be criminal. However as is established by Charles Kenny in Foreign Policy (,0):

“At the same time, the top 19 countries in the world in terms of decade-long growth saw their GDPs more than double over the ten years from 2000 to 2010. And that top 19 included some really big countries -- not least India and China -- so nearly 2.6 billion people benefited from all of that economic dynamism.

Yet within the club of economies that doubled in size were no less than eight from sub-Saharan Africa, the region traditionally written off as a hopeless economic backwater. Indeed, that region took 17 of the top 40 spots in the decade's global GDP growth rankings; its GDP is 66 percent larger than it was in 2000. Populations have expanded there, too, by around 28 percent over the decade -- but even accounting for more people, the average income in the region is about a third higher than it was 10 years ago.”

What is more devastating for the protestors and to be frank much of current academic and mainstream media opinion (the BBC most certainly included) is that their policy mindset which deliberatively seeks to undermine private ownership and property rights are what are at the root of much of the crippling poverty we see and lament today.   

Which Robert Guest argues persuasively in his book "The Shackled Continent: Power, Corruption and African Lives" submitting that if African governments did a better job of upholding the rule of law and enforcing contracts and safeguarding property rights in other words allowing freedom to replace force then their people would be richer.  The countervailing approach of the protestors is one which has been followed up until now by most African governments since independence has retarded private sector growth and productivity and foreign investment. This is further scrutinised by Johan Norberg in his book “In Defence of Global Capitalism” and his documentary “Free or Equal”.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

What school vouchers would look like in practice

"This blog would support the passage of laws which would allow parents to have school vouchers in order to properly choose which school their children could attend."

The following are key provisions which could be contained in a potential Act of Parliament which creates a scholarship programme that provides all eligible student children the option to attend the public or private elementary or secondary school of their parents' choice. For the sake of clarity
“eligible student” means the student was eligible to attend a public or state school in the preceding
term or is starting school for the first time. “parent” includes a guardian, custodian or other person with the authority to act on behalf of the child.

Any eligible student will qualify for an annual scholarship in an amount equal to the lesser of:

the participating school’s annual cost per pupil, including both operational and capital
facility costs; or the amount in pounds the resident school district would have received to serve and educate the eligible student from state and local sources had the student enrolled there.

An important part of ensuring the crucial aspect parental control is the requirement that the scholarship is the entitlement of the eligible student under the supervision of the
student’s parent and not that of any school.

In addition, a participating school may not refund, rebate or share a student’s scholarship with a parent or the student in any manner. A student’s scholarship may only be used for educational purposes. Participating schools that have more eligible students applying than spaces available shall fill the available spaces by a random selection process, except that participating schools may give
preference to siblings of enrolled students.

If a student is denied admission to a participating school because it has too few available
spaces, the eligible student may transfer his scholarship to a participating school that has spaces

Eligible students shall be counted in the enrollment figures for their resident local education authority
for the purposes of calculating state aid to the resident local education authority. The funds needed for ascholarship shall be subtracted from the state school aid payable to the student’s resident local educational authority. Any aid the school district would have received for the student in excess of the funds needed for a scholarship will be kept by the local authority.

The local educational authority shall adopt rules consistent with this program regarding:
1) the eligibility and participation of non-public schools, including timelines that will
maximize student and public and non-public school participation;
2) the calculation and distribution of scholarships to eligible students; and

3) the application and approval procedures for scholarships for eligible students and
participating schools.

For further information it is possible to consult sections 4 and 5 of the Friedman Foundation for Educational choice's select school choice model legislation: "Parential Choice Scholarship Program Act" (Universal Eligibility)

Below is one of I suspect to be many videos to come from the thinktank Reason Foundation's Youtube channel Reason TV exploring the school choice revolution that has taken place in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It also examines the political aspect of the reform programme which followed and the relevance that has the educational reform debate in this country specifically concerning the role of teacher's unions.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

National Minimum Wage Act 1998

The NMWA states:

Entitlement to national minimum wage
1. Workers to be paid at least the national minimum wage

(1): A person who qualifies for the national minimum wage shall be remunerated by his employer in respect of his work in any pay reference period at a rate which is not less than the national minimum wage.
(3)The national minimum wage shall be such single hourly rate as the Secretary of State may from time to time prescribe.

(4)For the purposes of this Act a “pay reference period” is such period as the Secretary of State may prescribe for the purpose.

I propose for the full repeal of this Act and any relevant EU primary or secondary legislation including the European Social Chapter (1961 and 1996) which will if neccesary be slated for repeal later on this blog. the NMWA as other minimum wage laws are a straightforward violation of an individual's (or group's) property rights which as stated in the introduction is entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. It is my commitment to property rights which in my view are indeed the "guardian of all other rights" that lead to my support for the repeal of all controls on wages amongst other controls.

Opposition to minimum wage law has been based on the grounds of utility in that has the increased unemployment in that impededs the ability of people to find employment. This argument has been more prominent as increasing and immovable unemployment has been an intractable problem in recent times. Worthwhile an argument though that is it shouldn't deflect from what should be the central focus and critique of minimum wage laws which is it's serious violation of liberty.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

What is classical liberalism?

What is classical liberalism? by John C. Goodman, National Center for Policy Analysis:

John Goodman's article is a lucid and sophisticated elucidation of the notion of liberty and rights in the classical liberal tradition within a specific American context. One of his most valuable contributions in the article in terms of giving people an idea of the history of liberalism is his succinct description of the shift in what constituted 'liberalism' from what is widely understood to constitute in the mid to late 19th compared with the middle to latter stages of the 20th century.

Another text I would recommend to understand this shift further would be a speech given by 19th century British Liberal political activistand philosopher Thomas Hill Green at the Leicester Liberal Association on the freedom of contract. Here Green explains and tries to justify how the Liberal party which had supported near complete freedom of contract had come to the position of supporting state imposed limitation of contracts on the grounds of it;s contribution to freedom. (“Liberal Legislation and freedom of contract”, January 1881)

Another important contribution to the furtherance of understanding of the classical liberal tradition Goodman makes in his article is his clear explanation of where individual rights derive from according to the classical liberal tradition and the implications that this has for the public policy positions classical liberals or libertarians take.

Goodman’s article does precisely what I believe is required to begin the process of changing the dominant tone of the debates surrounding public policy, politics and the role of government on both sides of the Atlantic. He does this primarily highlighting and critiquing the shift in what being liberal means to one to which I would subscribe. Which is largely concerned with putting what I would contend to be the most neglected factor in our public discourse, the individual and their liberty, at unifying centre of our public discourse about what we want our society to look like and how we seek to achieve that end.  

Friday, 21 October 2011

Links to external sites

Aside from proposing legal reform this blog is going to post links to similar and like-minded thinktanks, blogs, articles, videos and websites here are my initial selection of them:

Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman :
Reason Magazine:
Reason Foundation:
Direct Democracy UK:
Friedman Foundation for educational
Institute for Justice:
Taxpayers Alliance:
Institute for Economic Affairs:
United States Libertarian
Daniel Hannan's Daily Telegraph blogs:
Toby Young Daily Telegraph's blogs:
Hoover Institution Youtube:

The proposals for legal reform will made according to each single principle established in the above post.

An Introduction to the blog and its guiding principles

The Legal path to liberty blog is a blog intending to slowly but surely establish the legal (both domestic and EU law) path to a freer society according to libertarian/classical liberal principles. Firstly however, it is important to set forth what preciusely these principles are. (as adapted and amended from the platform of the United States Libertarian Party). The creation of this blog stems in large part to frustration and disillusionment with the debate surrounding what the law should and can be and debates surrounding public policy generally and to try and steer a new and more innovative course to a more free, prosperous and just society.

Personal Liberty:

Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the
consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government should be able to initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Support of an individual's right to make choices in life doesn't necessarily mean that I am expressing approval or disapproval of those choices.

Expression and Communication

This blog will seek promote legal reform to ensure that the law protects full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. It will support the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. I would oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.


Individuals should secure in their homes and property and in their persons this includes a right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. This blog will argue in favour the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Personal relationships

Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices
and personal relationships.

Crime and Justice

Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or
deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves. I support restitution of the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer.


The only legitimate use of force is in defence of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired
property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. I am not yet at least fully committed to repealing all laws surrounding gun ownership although this is not to be ruled out.

Economic Liberty

A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. Most if not all efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

This blog will try to articulate the legal path to the enactment of my desire to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. I oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets.

Property Rights and Contract

Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others. I oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates and would support the repeal or the elimination of them. This blog will argue in favour of the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services.

I oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever the protection of this right would require the repeal of all 'anti-discrimination' legislation which outlaws private property-holders being able to decide whether or not to decide whomover they choose. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, I would favor restitution to the rightful owners.

Energy and Resources

This blog will support the repeal of any law which allows government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production. In addition, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy.

Goverment finance and spending

Governments should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. This blog would support (and this blog will propose a model bill) the legal enactment of a balanced budget requirement for governments. Only through the eventual divestment of all government functions which could and should be provided by non-governmental organisations the income tax could then be justified which runs contrary to the earlier statement regarding property rights.

Labour Markets

This blog would advocate for the repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. I oppose government-fostered forced retirement. I support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. I oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.


This blog would support the passage of laws which would allow parents to have school vouchers in order to properly choose which school their children could. Furthermore, I would support the passage of laws which would allow schools be managed locally in order to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognising that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, I would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children's education.