The real problem in Britain

When it comes to political analysis, a common mistake is to focus on leaders. I suppose this is hardwired into us, as in ancient times when people lived in small tribes it was true that leaders actually mattered a lot. Today, not so much.

Truss? Sunak? Who cares when you have a dysfunctional Conservative Party. Here’s Reason:

Truss u-turned on several tax pledges to restore market confidence, as Tory M.P.s made clear they would not tolerate any major offsetting spending cuts.

Read that again. Britain’s “conservative” party won’t even consider significant spending cuts in its bloated budget, which is much larger as a share of GDP (43%) than after Labour PM Tony Blair had led the country for three years (35%). This is what I keep telling you; there is no small government party. In the US, government spending grows just as fast under GOP presidents as under Democratic presidents.

Here’s the Financial Times:

“Brexit was based on an act of immense stupidity,” says one European leader (on the condition of anonymity). “It was sold by politicians who promised a sort of great Singapore but voted for by people who were unhappy about globalisation.” As the leader went on to spell out, this is an impossible mandate to deliver on.

I love that quote—it perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with Brexit.

OK, but how about supply side reforms? No luck there either. Conservative MPs strongly opposed Truss’s proposed deregulation to make it easier to build housing, or to allow for fracking to produce energy. And a lack of housing is far and away Britain’s primary economic problem.

You might wonder why I’m so pessimistic about Britain. Actually, in a relative sense I’m optimistic. The whole world is becoming more nationalistic, more statist, more stupid. Rishi Sunak is not ideal, but as world leaders go he’s well above average. The political situation in the US is much worse than in the UK. In China it’s far worse than in the US. And in Russia it’s far worse than in China.

Here’s the FT:

Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, has just firmly restated his belief in globalisation — in what felt like a rebuke to the US.

Belief in globalization is a rebuke to the US? Yikes.

I miss the 1990s. There’s only one endpoint for nationalism. Get ready for WWIII, regardless of whether Biden or (more likely) Trump wins in 2024.



26 Responses to “The real problem in Britain”

  1. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    28. October 2022 at 12:36


    There’s zero chance Biden is the nominee in 2024. Even if he wants to run, which I doubt, the party leaders will not allow it. He’s far too old and unpopular and a guaranteed loss.

    It’s more likely that DeSantis is the nominee not Trump, and I think DeSantis is our most likely next president.

  2. Gravatar of George George
    28. October 2022 at 13:06

    Globalist communists (e.g. central banks control governments, governments control people) has been responsible for every ‘national’ war since 1913.

    Greater nationalism is not at all a generator of wars between nations, just like greater individual economic liberties at the individual level in fact improves cohesion and coordination.

    It is globalists who infiltrated national governments launching wars to PREVENT national independence that causes world wars.

    Think Hitler wasn’t a puppet of the controlling families of the very same NWO now finally being dismantled worldwide that communists like the site owner are projecting a feeling of loss of ideological control and therefore the world must become paranoid and afraid of WW3 conspiracy theory pushing fear mongers like the site owner?

    Why is it that the entire media, the entire Democrat Party, the entire ‘woke’ left, are ideologically fixated their moral and intellectual energy on defending Ukraine’s borders but not the borders of the country they live in?

    Mass formation psychosis.

    The reason why msm trusting viewers are loud about Ukraine and silent about the borders of his own country, is because of the msm information operation outputting information of the form “this is the biggest threat in the world, and if you dissent in any way, we will smear and slander you”.

    Imagine there was no such thing as the msm.

    Imagine information came to you:

    1. Millions of unvetted people from other countries are pouring into your country, and it is an empirical fact that SOME in that group are killing innocent bystanders, and even killing your EMT workers like in NY, without any reason, just murder for the sake of ‘an idea’. The political party in charge of all three branches of your country WANT there to be more of this which you can see by the fact the federal government of your country is fighting against tougher border security to keep your country safer.

    2. One country on the other side of the planet sent in a few thousand military soldiers to occupy the regions of 4 republics who want to vote on whether to become independent republics.

    Now, whatever or however the information ABOUT one country’s borders being ‘breached’ with intentional state action is communicated, whether it is communicated from any one person as because of this or that reason, the MOST COMPASSIONATE thing to do would be to at least make your own country’s borders FIRST focus, because this impacts your colleagues, family, everyone you consider friends whose lives matter and whose lives are impacted by whether you SPEAK in ways that put them as important to you,

    If on the other hand information came to you in this form, not ‘organic’ but controlled and coordinated on a MASSIVE SCALE worldwide such that we strangely see LESS vocal ‘compassion’ for the citizens of your own country, and MORE vocal ‘compassion’ for the citizens of a country that ‘coincidentally’ is the very same country that has politically compromising information about the current ‘President’?

    And now we have information of the form: “borders/walls are bad attack borders/walls” AND “borders/walls are good defend borders/walls” FROM THE SAME INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE?

    That is logical/mathematical proof of an inconsistent source of intelligence.

    Well yes when you INVOKE NARRATIVE LOGIC of a contradiction, a DIALECTIC set of opposites, e.g. borders good borders bad, if that logic was then implemented by ‘national’ intelligence sources, they would conflict because the implemented logic presupposes it when it wasn’t there to begin with except in the flawed inconsistent dialectic logic.

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    28. October 2022 at 14:43

    msgkings, You said:

    “the party leaders will not allow it.”

    They don’t exist. If they did, they would have stopped Trump in 2016.

  4. Gravatar of seer of things seer of things
    28. October 2022 at 18:40

    A semiconductor and semiconductor equipment embargo isn’t likely to reduce the risk of WW3 and make Taiwan safer. It’s speculative whether advanced semiconductors will be decisive in a U.S. China war. It’s unlikely that supercomputing and artificial intelligence will be decisive in a U.S. China war. Cruise missiles and GPS have existed since the days when semiconductors were not anywhere near what is considered to be “advanced” today. Artificial intelligence saves labor and the PLA isn’t going to lose a war for lack of labor. Maybe in 50 years this kind of technological blockade might matter or IT MIGHT NOT. Regardless, in the next few decades how can this tech blockade make the world safer?

    The plan that does make the world safer… A conditional embargo of trade and cross-border investment, education, and tourism. The condition for trade and investment is freedom of expression within China which in some aspects is hard to monitor but it is easy to monitor freedom of the internet and freedom of visiting foreign journalists and the treatment of some dissidents.

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    28. October 2022 at 19:36

    seer, You said:

    “The plan that does make the world safer… A conditional embargo of trade and cross-border investment, education, and tourism.”

    Oh yeah, that’s a great way to bring world peace.

  6. Gravatar of BC BC
    28. October 2022 at 22:47

    Why are UK Conservatives opposed to fracking?

  7. Gravatar of Brandon Berg Brandon Berg
    29. October 2022 at 02:33

    Without wanting to defend Republican administrations, the low spending growth under recent Democratic presidents has been due to either Republican control of at least one house of Congress (6/8 years reach for Obama and Clinton) or in Biden’s first two years a very narrow majority in the Senate plus a couple of delightfully noncompliant Democratic Senators.

    The first thing Obama did when he took office was pass a permanent major new spending program. Biden tried to do the same, but didn’t have the votes. Most of our major budget items were created under Democratic presidents. Republicans don’t cut these programs, but at least they rarely create them.

    Also, Bush II and Trump’s numbers were inflated by huge temporary spending programs created in the last year of each one’s administration in response to unusual economic situations. Those are expensive, but they don’t have the lasting impact of permanent welfare state expansions.

  8. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    29. October 2022 at 04:47

    It’s globalism, not nationalism, that brings nations to war.

    We have borders for a reason. Historically, borders protected groups of people with certain cultures and traditions from other groups. Borders were designed to create peace between warring factions with different cultures, not to start war. Over the course of time people have agreed to a certain standard of rules. Those rules are passed down from one generation to the next, and this is what we call “culture.” When you put outside pressure upon a culture; when you seek to destroy the communities in which people live, and replace their way of life with something homogenous, something global in structure (i.e, imposition in the form of U.N, NATO, etc), you are tearing at the fabric of society. Muslims don’t appreciate that. Russians don’t like it. Chinese don’t like it. Most of South America doesn’t like it. Latin America doesn’t like it. India doesn’t like it.

    These people don’t mind trade. They don’t mind hanging out with you for a few hours. But at the end of the day you are different. You look different, you talk different, you act different. You are a big tall, arrogant, white guy that doesn’t belong there. Its annoying. It bothers them.

    Peace is a derivation of RESPECT! Respect for other cultures even if they differ from your own. So stop dreaming of a one world NATO or godforbid what else goes on in that mind, and respect their desire to protect themselves from people like you!

    Women’s rights in Saudia Arabia will change when Saudi Women want it to. Amazon tribes will enter modern society when they want too.

    At the moment, 95% of Saudi Arabian women subscribe to the qoran’s view. They don’t need you to save them. And that is precisely what liberals fail to grasp. It’s precisely that imposition that creates conflict, not just abroad but here at home too.

    You must learn to respect the community and their desire for liberty, and the right to self determination, or we will never have peace!

  9. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    29. October 2022 at 04:58

    Sara nailed it.

    People living in the Andes don’t want a bunch of Sumner’s coming to live there because he thinks open borders is a cool idea. I can assure you the mountain people think otherwise.

    They have a culture and a tradition and a language, and they want to keep it.

    In other words, we can collaborate on all kinds of projects on earth and beyond, but don’t harrass us. Don’t try to centralize, because we will go to war to protect our way of life.

  10. Gravatar of George George
    29. October 2022 at 05:02


    “It’s globalism, not nationalism, that brings nations to war”


    Trump the ‘nationalist’ started no wars, and world leaders are saying if Trump was President Russia/Ukraine War would never have happened.

    Fascism is not accurately labelled ‘national socialism’. Fascism is inherently globalist, as is communism, as both are ‘totalitarian’ in their views and treatment of ‘humanity’ as such. They do not stop at country borders.

    The following the fake news msm will smear as a ‘conspiracy theory’:
    The same family bloodlines Trump and military information operations are exposing as globalist pedophile satan worshipers (NWO), the same families, control the narrative and implementations of both communism AND fascism.

    Hitler was a puppet of the same NWO families who controlled the communist countries. WW1/WW2 deaths and destruction were real, the wars were ‘fake’. Depopulation events to prevent the world from learning who are pulling the strings, and to create mass dialectic ‘narratives’ to ideologically enslave the world.

    The same ‘criticize us and you’re a nazi’ cult are themselves responsible for promoting nazism.

  11. Gravatar of George George
    29. October 2022 at 05:09

    “If they did, they would have stopped Trump in 2016”

    Presidents are elected by the people. If the people voted for Trump, then ‘stopping Trump’ would mean stopping who the people voted for.

    Trump had more votes than HRC 2016 and Trump had more votes than Biden 2020. Trump won 2020, Biden cheated. Information is already open source. It is not necessary for msm to acknowledge this before it’s truth. It’s truth now and has been since 2020.

    You need to inform yourself with the court filings rather than listening to failing msm ‘op eds’

  12. Gravatar of Edward Aldecoa Edward Aldecoa
    29. October 2022 at 06:49

    I think what Sara is trying to say is that many people feel that liberals are not giving the community the opportunity to piece together legislation that resembles their beliefs.

    Evangelical’s, for example, don’t want to live under sharia law. And Muslims don’t want to live under evangelic laws. When left alone, they are happy. But when forced to adopt each others culture there is inevitable conflict.

    Filipinos, like myself (I’m actually filipino/american), for example, don’t want atheist liberals with pitchforks outside our churches. I think just a few weeks ago there were liberals outside an Alabama church, threatening the people inside, because they didn’t support abortion. There is an old saying “when in rome” which really boils down to adopting a culture while there.

    Thai’s recently made it more difficult for Tourists to arrive, as did my home country of the Philippines, because many tourists were abusing visas and causing chaos.

    It really just boils down to values. This is one of the reasons I support states rights.

    So if the above is true, which I believe it is, then open borders would lead to war.

    But we cannot close ourselves off either, which I don’t think Sara is suggesting, but I think there has to be a balance of some kind. Denmarks recent law to keep foreigners below 30% might be one option to keep the peace. Not permitting 100% foreign ownership of companies might be another option.

  13. Gravatar of TGGP TGGP
    29. October 2022 at 07:46

    Get ready for WWIII, regardless of whether Biden or (more likely) Trump wins in 2024.

    I bet you $10K there will not be WWIII by the end of the term of whoever wins in 2024.

  14. Gravatar of George George
    29. October 2022 at 09:11

    Edward Aldecoa:

    This goes beyond all religions.

    This is good against evil.

  15. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    29. October 2022 at 09:57

    Maybe the best way to explain the anti-globalist position is to point to the Harvard law review.

    In this paper, the author attempts to use a vague clause in UNCAT, to justify her claim — and by vague I mean words like “ill-treatment” and “emotional distress” — that the second ammendment is null and void under UNCAT because people who are victims of gun violence experience “ill-treatment” and “emotional distress” which is indeed written in the treaty. If that position were to be adopted, politicians who support gun rights could be prosecuted using this vague clause. This is the type of imposition I’m referring to. This new liberal order is not liberal at all, because it does nothing but seek to centralize power into the hands of a few organizations and, in the process, destroy cultures and traditions along the way, including those who subscribe to certain religious views.

    Here is another example:

    In this study, the author at Harvard attempts to make the claim — and quite elegantly — that one who owns a property has no right to self expression when it comes to architecture — that community comes before individual, that state comes before community, that supra national comes before national.

    For those who support individual liberty, and decentralization of power and self expression — essentially lockean ethics — this is a clear attack upon their rights. And so this has become a common theme amongst globalists, in which they seem hell-bent on attacking these rights in favor of a centralized power. That is not real liberalism.

    Here are the titles of a few other papers:

    Race, guns, court and democracy: “guns are racist according to the author”

    inequality, anti-republicanism, and our “unique” second ammendment: interesting how the word unique was chosen here. As you can imagine, the author is against the second ammendment.

    There are even more, but I won’t bore you. The point is that there is a clear attack upon inalienable rights.

    And this is NOT just taking place in our country.

    Globalization doesn’t just threaten us, but the inalienable rights of the countries I mentioned previously which of course are different than our own. It’s this type of centralized imposition that will lead to war.

    the anti-globalist movement has nothing to do with race or xenephobia. It’s not about black or white; it’s about protecting community values over supranational ones — and to some extent even national ones, because decentralization is more liberal than centralization.

    I don’t vote conservative because I’m a racist thug that wants to destroy democracy; I vote conservative because I want to protect real liberal values: that is the values sought by our framers and by the enlightenment figures. If democrats were voting for decentralization, and they actaully believe in self determination and self expression, I’d vote for them. But they don’t stand for any of that.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. October 2022 at 10:11

    BC, I assume the same reason as in other European countries, the environment. (Or earthquake risk.)

    Brandon, Sorry, I’m not buying that at all. Nixon and both Bushes created expensive new programs, and Trump ballooned the deficit even before Covid. We are not that different from Britain.

    And how many Republicans are running on the platform of repealing Obamacare?

    Edward, I see you are new here. So you arrive with your first post claiming that tourists are causing chaos in the Philippines. Something tells me that Filipino’s don’t need any help, they can produce plenty of chaos on their own.

    And yet, the following isn’t so unreasonable, so maybe you won’t end up like the other trolls:

    “Denmarks recent law to keep foreigners below 30% might be one option to keep the peace.”

    TGGP, LOL, you are offering me the choice between losing $10,000 and getting nuked?

    Didn’t you used to be sort of reasonable?

  17. Gravatar of TGGP TGGP
    29. October 2022 at 11:15

    I didn’t say anything about getting nuked. Nuclear powers have fought each other without using nukes. Do you think you’re getting nuked, and if so are you investing in fallout shelters? I know that Bryan Caplan has bet Eliezer Yudkowsky that AI won’t kill us all by 2030, thus requiring him to first send money to receive a promise of payment later:
    I wouldn’t be willing to send $10K right now, but I could make a bet like Bryan’s (modified for WWIII instead of rogue AI). Bryan has another bet against a civil war with 10K casualties in a European country which was not formerly communist, but that would hardly rise to the level of “World War 3”. Metaculus has a WW3 question whose definition I would be willing to use:

  18. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    29. October 2022 at 16:07


    You know we’re talking about the Democrats, right? You’re correct, the Republican party leaders couldn’t figure out how to stop Trump. He was and is an outsider who doesn’t give a crap about the Republican party. Joe Biden is a life long loyal Democrat. If the party tells him to stand down, he will. And I don’t think they will have to.

    Kind of surprised by your comment, we weren’t talking about the Republicans.

  19. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    29. October 2022 at 16:19

    Scott, I suspect no Tory in the UK wants to shrink the government because of the terrible electoral fallout from the time they shrank the government budget slightly: the reaction to the austerity of the early 2010s still haunts them today.

  20. Gravatar of John S John S
    30. October 2022 at 04:48


    Roughly speaking, what % probability would you assign to the outbreak of WW3 before 2030?

  21. Gravatar of George George
    30. October 2022 at 06:24


    “He was and is an outsider who doesn’t give a crap about the Republican party.”

    Correct! He cared more about the country, exposed the RINOs, and literally helped save the GOP.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. October 2022 at 08:52

    TGGP, You know full well that I never do money bets.

    msgkings, You may be right–we will see.

    John, Fairly low, but the probability is rising, and when you multiply probability times cost in lives lost, it’s something people need to brace themselves for. An increase from 0.1% to a 1% chance of nuclear war is orders of magnitude worse than a 100% certainty of another 9/11.

    Obviously I don’t know the probability of world war, but the risk is rising. Lots of leaders in our foreign policy establishment are now openly advocating going to war with China if China invades Taiwan, after telling us that going to war with Russia over Ukraine would be too dangerous.

    BTW, How many people expected a major world war in 1910?

  23. Gravatar of George George
    30. October 2022 at 12:13

    “BTW, How many people expected a major world war in 1910?”

    The bloodline NWO families knew, they orchestrated both world wars.

  24. Gravatar of TGGP TGGP
    30. October 2022 at 15:07

    I didn’t “know full well”, and if I ever did know I must have forgotten as I assumed you were fine with bets. Your former EconLog co-blogger Bryan Caplan has made numerous monetary bets on such topics, and his colleague Robin Hanson recently won a number of them on COVID. “A bet is a tax on bullshit” is part of the ethos of the econ blogosphere that has spread out to rationalist circles. Your own work has relied on speculative markets representing the aggregate information people have about what we should expect the future to be, and you have tried to foster means for people to bet on things like NGDP. I normally think of you as superior to the typical pundit, because you so often look to market prices reacting to events rather than relying on your gut feeling, so I expected you would prefer to see disagreement expressed in the form of a bet vs a lot of blahblahblah. Now hearing that your actual expected probability of it is low, I would have needed to alter the payoff ratio from what Bryan proposed, but I count it as a gain in information that you have now stated that.

  25. Gravatar of John S John S
    31. October 2022 at 06:02


    Sincere question: What does “bracing oneself” for a nuclear war entail?

    I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my days in a bomb shelter, so “prepping” is out. Perhaps I should invest more energy in going through my “bucket list.” (I hate this term, btw; isn’t there a better alternative?)

    I always wanted to progress beyond novice-level chess, so I recently bought a few books. If I could understand a few of the great games within a year or two, that would be nice. (Ditto for piano — I’d like to be able to play a few of my favorite songs.)

    So all I can come up with is “focusing on enjoying my life.” What did you have in mind?

  26. Gravatar of John S John S
    31. October 2022 at 06:42


    I think betting has some merits, but I’m often shocked at the unsophisticated nature of blogosphere betting. Caplan crows about his undefeated record, but over half of those wins came from good-natured suckers who took even-money when they should have demanded extreme odds for backing longshots. (I think this happened b/c the stakes rarely exceeded the cost of a meal at Cracker Barrel; most ppl sharpen up considerably when the stakes > $100, and they get very serious over $1,000.)

    Also, I believe Hanson got stiffed for $10,000 by the hedge fund guy. Surely the sensible thing would have been to have the funds held in escrow by a trusted 3rd party? (Someone like Marc Andreessen would probably do this.) Looks pretty dumb to me.

Leave a Reply