Wednesday, 3 April 2013

"A modern form of serfdom"

Local ward resident Jim Sillars has a thoughtful piece in today's Evening News which is well worth a read.

Noting that philosopher and economist Friedrich Hayek foresaw the damaging consequences of the good intentions of socialism, Jim Sillars says this:
"His (Hayek's) point was that the more the state expanded into the lives of people, and the more the state controlled the economy and social aparatus, then we are heading for a modern form of serfdom. . .   Hayek was right and the left was wrong. . . Remain with the welfare system we have, and the road to serfdom has no ending."
So there is much to agree with.  The cost of housing benefit has doubled over the last decade.  For a country with net borrowing of around £121bn it doesn't make sense to continue the spending spree.  

However, in acknowledging the problem of over dependence on the state in the case of housing benefit, Jim finds it a step too far to welcome the UK government's measures to reduce that dependency.  By removing the subsidy paid by the public purse to those in social housing who have a spare room, more efficient use is made of the public housing supply.  

It is also fairer for at least two reasons.  There are many people on the housing waiting list who will benefit from the larger homes freed up.  In addition it is a subsidy which is not available to tenants not in council or housing association property.

Thoughtful piece, Jim.  Just a little bit further to go on your journey from the 'democratic socialist left'.


Alastair said...

I wonder, Mr Rose, if you could provide us with figures for the number of vacant social houses there are in Edinburgh with 1 and 2 bedrooms into which all the people who currently have a spare room can move.

I assume that you've considered this properly and aren't just mindlessly trotting out the party line.

Cameron said...


Thanks for commenting.

I'm thinking from your comment that you have dismissed the thrust of the argument Jim Sillars makes - that dependency on the state (another form of serfdom) is not generally in the interests of those who find themselves in that position.

Amongst the bigger issues in play here, many wish to elevate the simple question of whether there is enough housing stock to maintain the status quo, into the defining issue. All the issues need to be weighed and considered. BTW, moving is not the only option.

I expect to do a subsequent post shortly giving some of the figures.

Good wishes

Anonymous said...

Odd the Scottish contradiction;Hume now the doyen of certain forms of capitalism,did infact write against serfdom,which was prevalent at the time; Hume was the significan influence for hegal.Ah simplicities.Sillars article should be more widely circulated and so read

Anonymous said...

Letter in papers today OK Good

Alastair said...

I was reminded of this issue this afternoon, and I realised I never saw your post about the number of empty, smaller properties available in Edinburgh. Could you post a link, please?


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