Wednesday, 25 July 2012

CIE, Making Us All Poorer, With Government Help

Yesterday the Government announced they were "giving" CIE* another €36 million.

Nothing says so much about our thoughtless, intellectually torpid time as the silence with which the theft of €36 million extra from the country was greeted. No outrage was voiced, no economist excoriated the government and no taxpayers rioted at the waste. Have we become inured to waste because of the colossal figures Government has burnt on the banks?

Let me translate the news story from offialese into some semblance of truth:
“Yesterday the Grand Panjandrum of Transport, Leo Varadkar, announced that in addition to the €242 million that the loss making Government “transport company” was to receive this year, another €36 million would be robbed as a gift to this waste-wealth.”

That €278 million must be robbed from wealth producing parts of the economy to subsidise commercial operations that customers do not want, that have no reason to exist & are merely waste of wealth to satisfy the political urges of the powerful.

How do we know this? Not just because passenger numbers are falling, and they are plummeting, but because of the losses. Economies are run on money prices. In a normal commercial operation, say a real transport company, declines in sales are the signal that something is seriously wrong. Losses are a signal disaster. The product is not attracting enough buyers to be viable.

Prices are pain, guiding resources into the best use. The market, not the Government, is the ultimate democracy as people guide the market with their power as consumers. Taking decisions over & over again consumers preferences guide resource to their most efficient use, making all of us richer. Government uses its coercive powers to buck that democracy, to force us to spend our money on something we clearly do not want. Instead of the decisions taken over and over again of ordinary people, CIE obeys the decisions of Trades Unions & bureaucrats in an unholy marriage of destruction.

The Social Engineers & know-betters insist they do know better how to organise the economy. They will say that there are “non-economic” values to be taken into account. What the mean by this is that THEIR issues are much higher in priority than everyone else’s, they are entitled to distort the economy, steal wealth and ultimately make us all poorer EVERY year in pursuit of their goals. 

 Economics is just the ONLY way of measuring the cost of various values. As the great Thomas Sowell said “There are, of course, noneconomic values. Indeed, there are only noneconomic values. Economics is not a value itself but merely a method of trading off one value against another. If statements about "noneconomic values" (or, more specifically, "social values" or "human values") are meant to deny the inherent reality of trade-offs, or to exempt some particular value from the trade-off process, then such propositions need to be made explicit and confronted.”

The KnowBetters have no intention of making anything explicit. By shovelling vast amounts of stolen wealth into CIE, some of it stolen from companies that compete with CIE, the Government distorts the economy, refusing to let the decisions of ordinary people have effect. What we are watching is the expensive fetishisation of some types of transport & their public ownership. Public transportation does not need to be publically owned or controlled: markets will provide a better & more flexible system than any the bureaucrats could design & do it without robbing the public.

Population densities in most urban centres are far too low for mass transit systems & this is especially the case in Ireland. Instead of thinking up schemes which require enormous transfers of wealth we would do much better to allow markets to solve those parts of the transport system that are seen as having problems. Every single task that CIE does could be done better, cheaper & with no theft from us all by private operators. CIE is a wealth waste that Ireland, particularly Ireland’s poorest people, cannot afford. Instead of stealing money on its behalf Mr Varadkar should be announcing its demise, break up & sale. Sadly a man who was elected for being an economic realist has signed off on nightmarish waste of wealth.

*CIE is Ireland's Publically owned Transport Company, operating the monopoly rail network & Dublin Bus among other transport interests.

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