This is a must-watch video. It comes from an Oxford Union debate on the propriety of the Occupy movement, and European Parliament member Daniel Hannan – an American avatar of whom is sorely, sorely needed – took the part of the pro-capitalist side.
Hannan’s argument spelled out three fallacies which have for too long emanated from the Left since the 2008 financial crisis. First, that it signalled some sort of failure of capitalism. Second, that the banking collapse was caused by a lack of regulation. And third, that somehow greed has brought us down.
Those are all lies. Hannan disposes of the first by making the argument that in a capitalist system, rather than what we actually have in the West, inefficient producers being driven from the market is regarded as a feature rather than a bug in the same way that a properly weeded garden presents an opportunity to grow something beautiful. He debunks the second by noting that a surfeit, rather than a deficit, of regulation brought on the financial collapse – because the cost of compliance with 10,000-page regulatory manuals drive smaller producers out of the financial services industry and consolidate that industry into the very “too-big-to-fail” oligopoly we’re supposed to despise.
And Hannan slaps down the “greed” argument by noting that capitalists succeed not by taking advantage of others, but rather by exchanging value for value. Hannan uses the example of buying Microsoft computer programs. In buying one, he might be enriching Bill Gates, but Gates is also enriching Hannan by supplying him with software to make him more productive or his leisure time more enjoyable. And he also notes that in every other economic system, the mutually beneficial transaction between himself and Gates is intervened upon by a third party – a commissar or king – who decides how and if the transaction should take place, and all enrichment is bestowed only on the whim of that third party.
It’s a sparkling takedown of the premises of the Occupy movement, but yet it’s done in a pleasant and agreeable manner.
There may be no more articulate happy warrior for the cause of free markets and free people than Daniel Hannan.
We need him on this side of the pond, but if that’s not possible we must have him inspire our people to match his passion and intellect. His arguments win, and our side needs victory.
Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.