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Wednesday, November 09, 2005


This is a slightly extended piece from a discussion on economic freedom viv a vis social freedom from Freedom & Whisky.
This listing from the Economic Freedom Index is on countries.cfm & shows an extremely strong correlation between both freedoms. The exceptions are interesting but tend to prove (as in the sense of test) the rule.

(1)Hong Kong has limitations but these are entirley imposed by its boss.
(2)Singapore is rather more nannyish than I would entirely like but is a free democracy by any normal standards. For historical reasons I would be a bit nervous of Chile (11) but I am not sure this is justified. To me this is a particularly interesting example because Pinochet made economic freedom his prime objective while opposing social freedom with electrodes.

Bahrain (20) is the first non-democracy. El Salvador (24) has, at least, a history of repression.

Jordan at 58 is sufficiently dodgy that our government have to get them to sign a promise not to torture people we send to them, again.

Albania manages to reach (67) but I suspect there may be some political string pulling here - the World Bank recently praised Kosovo for its devotion to the free market- the major export industries of both places appear to be kidnaped girls & drugs.

At (72) we get only the 2nd country I think to be really vile & the 2nd last listed as mostly free - Saudi Arabia.

Beyond that the only countries that can class as passable long term democracies are Turkey (112), Argentina (114), India (11, Russia (124) & Venezeula (146) out of 83, none of are as close to social freedom as all the top 19.

The comparisons between personal freedom & economic freedom seem to me to be considerably closer than between economic freedom & current wealth, or even national wealth. Estonia (4), while growing very fast, is not rich. Armenia (42) is surprisingly high for a country surrounded by enemies & of which we hear little. Cambodia (63) is poor & may owe its relatively high position to UN guardianship. Saudi(72) is considerably richer than Jordan (58) but then Jordan has no oil. Russia (124) is doing much better economically than others in that position.


FREE Hong Kong 1 [1.35]
Singapore 2 [1.60]
Luxembourg 3 [1.63]
Estonia 4 [1.65]
Ireland 5 [1.70]
New Zealand 5 [1.70]
United Kingdom 7 [1.75]
Denmark 8 [1.76]
Iceland 8 [1.76]
Australia 10 [1.79]
Chile 11 [1.81]
Switzerland 12 [1.85]
United States 12 [1.85]
Sweden 14 [1.89]
Finland 15 [1.90]
Canada 16 [1.91]
Netherlands 17 [1.95]
MOSTLY Germany 18 [2.00]
FREE Austria 19 [2.09]
Bahrain 20 [2.10]
Belgium 21 [2.13]
Cyprus 21 [2.13]
Lithuania 23 [2.18]
El Salvador 24 [2.20]
Bahamas 25 [2.25]
Italy 26 [2.28]
Taiwan 27 [2.29]
Latvia 28 [2.31]
Malta 29 [2.33]
Norway 29 [2.33]
Spain 31 [2.34]
Barbados 32 [2.35]
Czech Republic 33 [
Israel 33 [2.36]
Hungary 35 [2.40]
Slovak Republic, The 36
Botswana 37 [2.44]
Portugal 37 [2.44]
Japan 39 [2.46]
Trinidad and Tobago 40
Poland 41 [2.54]
Armenia 42 [2.58]
Uruguay 43 [2.60]
France 44 [2.63]
Korea, South 45 [2.64]
Slovenia 45 [2.64]
Belize 47 [2.66]
Madagascar 48 [2.68]
United Arab Emirates 48 [2.68]
Bolivia 49 [2.70]
Mongolia 50 [2.70]
Bulgaria 52 [2.74]
Panama 52 [2.74]
Costa Rica 54 [2.76]
Kuwait 54 [2.76]
Peru 56 [2.78]
South Africa 56 [2.78]
Jordan 58 [2.79]
Greece 59 [2.80]
Jamaica 60 [2.81]
Oman 60 [2.81]
Cape Verde 62 [2.84]
Cambodia 63 [2.89]
Mexico 63 [2.89]
Mauritius 65 [2.90]
Nicaragua 65 [2.90]
Albania 67 [2.93]
Mauritania 67 [2.93]
Macedonia 69 [2.95]
Malaysia 70 [2.96]
Thailand 71 [2.98]
Saudi Arabia 72 [2.99]
Senegal 72 [2.99]
MOSTLY Croatia 74 [3.00]
UNFREE Uganda 74 [3.00]
Lebanon 76 [3.05]
Moldova 77 [3.06]
Swaziland 77 [3.06]
Guyana 79 [3.08]
Sri Lanka 79 [3.08]
Namibia 81 [3.10]
Qatar 81 [3.10]
Tunisia 83 [3.14]
Bosnia 84 [3.16]
Guatemala 85 [3.18]
Mali 85 [3.18]
Morocco 85 [3.18]
Colombia 88 [3.21]
Ukraine 88 [3.21]
Brazil 90 [3.25]
Philippines, The 90
Ivory Coast 92 [3.26]
Burkina Faso 93 [3.2
Fiji 93 [3.28]
Guinea 93 [3.28]
Kenya 93 [3.28]
Kyrgyz Republic 97 [3.29]
Djibouti 98 [3.30]
Ghana 98 [3.30]
Georgia 100 [3.34]
Mozambique 100 [3.34]
Lesotho 102 [3.36]
Azerbaijan 103 [3.38]
Chad 103 [3.38]
Egypt 103 [3.38]
Gabon 106 [3.40]
Gambia, The 106 [3.40]
Zambia 106 [3.40]
Tanzania 109 [3.41]
Honduras 110 [3.43]
Paraguay 111 [3.45]
China 112 [3.46]
Turkey 112 [3.46]
Algeria 114 [3.49]
Argentina 114 [3.49]
Ecuador 114 [3.49]
Central African Republic 117
Equatorial Guinea 118 [3.53]
India 118 [3.53]
Niger 118 [3.53]
Dominican Republic 121 [3.54]
Indonesia 121 [3.54]
Rwanda 121 [3.54]
Russia 124 [3.56]
Romania 125 [3.58]
Cameroon 126 [3.60]
Nepal 126 [3.60]
Benin 128 [3.63]
Malawi 129 [3.65]
Kazakhstan 130 [3.66]
Togo 131 [3.68]
Yemen 132 [3.70]
Ethiopia 133 [3.73]
Pakistan 133 [3.73]
Sierra Leone 135 [3.78]
Congo, Republic of 136 [3.80]
Vietnam 137 [3.83]
Guinea Bissau 138 [3.85]
Syria 139 [3.90]
Suriname 140 [3.93]
Bangladesh 141 [3.95]
Nigeria 141 [3.95]
Belarus 143 [3.99]
REPRESSED Tajikistan 144 [4.00]
Haiti 145 [4.04]
Venezuela 146 [4.09]
Uzbekistan 147 [4.10]
Iran 148 [4.16]
Cuba 149 [4.29]
Laos 150 [4.33]
Turkmenistan 151 [4.36]
Zimbabwe 151 [4.36]
Libya 153 [4.40]
Burma 154 [4.60]
Korea, North 155 [5.00]

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Just been watching Kirsty Wark on Newsnight spending most of the programme on China (& a bit on France). In the normal impartial Beeb way they put both sides - either China is a dreadful foreign country we must openly be rude about at all times or China is a dreadful foreign country with a vulgar amount of cash we must be quietly rude about at all times. This included a talking head section with a dissident & a silly woman to put the former view & a Chinese businessman & a government minister to put the latter. Speakers to put the suggestion that China is actually doing rather well, better indeed than us, has a higher level of crime-free personal safety than us, a greater respect for the rule of international law & an infinitely better level of respect for human rights than our Nazi leaders responsible for genocide in Krajina & Bosnia & the killing of possibly 100,000 in Iraq were not present.

Kirsty, of course, while keen to mention Chinese dissidents being (formerly) imprisoned never mentions our imprisonment of Fikret Abdic for not supporting al Quaeda when we did. There were also, of course, mentions of the alleged desire of the Tibetans, those living in Tibet that is, for independence & the restoration of the Dalai Lama's feudal rule that these cute native people so enjoyed. The truth is more complicated but, for some reason, not one our "free media" report.

So to (slightly) balance the censorship of the BBC I am reprinting a letter I had in Spiked recently:
The corollary of China having grown by exporting to us is the degree to which, over the last decade, its price competitiveness has suppressed world inflation, which has saved us from having to do it (China: threat or opportunity?, 13 October).

As regards environmentalism, there's no moral or legal duty for China to be subject to our Luddite fantasies. As regards human rights, I don't think even the most rabid Westerner could claim that the people of Krajina have been treated a thousandth as well by NATO as the Tibetans have been treated by China. This being the case, no Westerner can honestly claim moral superiority. As regards the military threat, while a growing economy automatically produces military power, it's undeniable that China has shown infinitely more respect for the rule of international law and the rights of other nations than have the NATO states.

Indeed, it could well be argued that the growth of a country which has respect for international law is an absolute necessity. Even China's growth wouldn't be a threat to us, if we decided to match it. Ireland, the Baltic states and Russia have proven over the past decade that it's perfectly possible to achieve growth close to China's level, if you just practice a relatively unregulated pro-growth policy. That we choose to hobble ourselves means that it's our governments, not that of China, which are a threat to the West.

Neil Craig, A Place to Stand, UK

I was in China for one year in the late 1980s and for one year in the early 1990s, and I recently spent a month in Shanghai (China: threat or opportunity?, 13 October).

The main reason why the country has achieved so much in those 17 years is the people and their culture of hard work and self-sacrifice, not the politicians. That said, I find it odd that the role of the Chinese Communist Party is always viewed negatively in the West. The communist dictatorship, resented though it is by many, has helped China in at least four ways. First, provision of basic universal education, ensuring high literacy and a focus on technology. Second, creation of a modern Chinese identity. Third, eradication of big landowning and other vested interests, that have obstructed or distorted development in other countries and have hogged power and resources. The party is, of course, guilty of this itself, but is genuinely interested in national progress for its own survival. Fourth, the ability to force through comprehensive development plans into the long term, something that - democracy with its four- or five-yearly regime changes - doesn't encourage.

I still say that the people should take most of the credit for what's been achieved, but these are four other reasons why China has done a lot better than India and the Philippines, the two longest-established Asian democracies. It wasn't a coincidence that Taiwan, South Korea and arguably Japan did their economic heavy lifting under enduring one-party rule.

Ian Channing, UK

The original article is here.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Scotland's premiere judge & Bliar's creature on the bench of the Milosevic "trial", Lord Bonamy, has stated that Islamic fundamentalism is not a danger to world peace. He should check with his master who wants to introduce internment without trial here on the claim that it a worse danger than the IRA, or Soviet nukes (or even global warming) ever were. Clearly Bonamy is not only corrupt enough to serve on this show trial but stupid enough to make it obvious.

Milosevic asked if any of what was written about the areas where he served was true.

At this point Judge Bonamy intervened, completely out of left field, saying that the question was foolish because the witness would have had to be in every part of Kosovo at once in order to answer.

Milosevic calmly repeated the question, which was; Was anything that “As Seen As Told” wrote about the areas where Col. Vukovic served true? The witness responded that almost none of what was written in the book was true, but this latest episode raises certain questions about the mental competence of Judge Bonamy.

Judge Bonamy frequently loses the point of the most obvious discussion. At one point during Wednesday’s hearing the witness commented that Islamic fundamentalism constituted a significant danger to world peace. Judge Bonamy angrily responded that he did not share the witness’s view. Bonamy proceeded to base his position on the fact that not all Muslims support terrorism. Of course the witness never said that all Muslims supported terrorism. The witness explicitly used the term “Islamic fundamentalist,” he never insinuated anything against Muslims as a group.

While Milosevic was comparing the orders with the war diary Judge Bonamy absolutely could not understand the point, even though it was easy as pie to understand. The witness was ordered to search out and destroy terrorists in certain villages, and when he completed his orders he would write in his war diary that the village had been “cleansed,” cleansed of the terrorist forces that he had been sent there to find and destroy.

The simplest of concepts escape Judge Bonamy’s understanding. The man is constantly making foolish interventions. When you hear the dumb things that come out of his mouth you just have to be amazed that he ever got to be a judge in the first place.

It says nothing creditable that the rest of the, not quite equally corrupt, Scottish judiciary keep quiet about this buffoon - these are the scum who will have to enforce Bliar's laws.


Meanwhile I have had another mention on Jerry Pournelle's site where there has for some time been a debate on Europe (& America's) problems with the problems of an ever growing ethnic group alienated from European society. This debate was partly inspired by the riots in France which, after several days, are now starting to be reported in the official media.
Have just finished watching a programme on the Christian reconquest of Spain (being BBC it was a fairly PC item making clear that the barbarians at the gates were Christian, with which, in this case I agree). The point however being that there is nothing inherently inevitable about a Moslem 5-10% taking over.

On the other hand the more recent example of Kosovo, where in 1945 moslems formed 40%, & before we joined in, allegedly, 90%, achieved by a process of low level violence, corruption, unrestricted immigration & a government that refused to recognise racial allegencies existed.

If you look at Milosevic's speech at the Field of Crows < > he appears to have been, sincerely, dangerously liberal & indeed his major fault may have been an unwillingness to fight hard. Still we have produced NATO defended al Quaeda states in Bosnia & Kosovo & must accept it. At least 50% of local moslems, the female half, lose drastically out of this but thats western democracy.

Neil Craig

Most of the French seem cowed, but the Normans never were; and historically the Anglo-Saxon-Normans are the most warlike people of history, largely because we like war; it took all the superstitious awe the Church could manage to tame the Normans (Frenchified Danes and Swedes) and even then the whisper of a Crusade where they could fight for God -- God wills it! -- was enough to get them moving. William Rufus "feared God little and man not at all, and so stark a man was he that a widow could travel the kingdom with gold in safety." His brother Robert of Normandy at Doryleum stood all afternoon fighting on the defensive. "Why run? Their horses are better than ours." Until Tancred the Great came over the hill behind the Saracens.

No, I do not think it inevitable that Western Civilization will crash, but I do have my doubts about liberal democracy. Something will stir the blood before it is too late. Something always has. But it will not be politically correct.

I don't relish such a politically incorrect solution but far less do I relish, even though there would be some national justice to it, Paris & London being eventually ethnically cleansed as we did to most of Kosovo.

PS If putting comments you will see that you now have to be able to prove you are a real human rather than a spammer. I regret this but I was getting to many comments from people who "really like your blog & what it really needs is a link to my bicycling naked ladies selling real estate". Never never buy anything from a spammer.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I just saw the 2 Tory contenders on the Not-Frost on Sunday show. David Davis said he wanted to cut taxes to stimulate growth (no specific mention of corpotation tax which was not good economics but may be good politics) & held up Ireland as an example.

David Cameron boasted that somebody had said he had the biggest global warming programme of any major UK politician.

I hope we don't end up with a spin master & public schoolboy on both sides of the despatch box.


This is a speech by Michael Crichton which I have just read & which gives, as well as I have seen it put, the case for how political correctness has been allowed to subvert scientific truth. It is fairly long but I strongly suggest you read it.

In precis he says that the initial acceptance of SETI as a scientific discipline when there was no facts available about aliens set the precedent.

In turn we have the the nuclear winter scenario which was scientifically unproven but, since everybody is against nuclear war, few scientists except Teller were willing to say so. He goes into some detail as to how nuclear winter was sold by Paul Ehrlich & Carl Sagan (Ehrlich who has made numerous predictions, all rubbish, such as the claim that pollution would reduce US life expectancy to 40 by the 1980s & thus remains a well funded green guru, Sagan publicly predicted that smoke from oil fields burning during the Kuwait war would produce massive famines).

Some of this is hard to take since Frank Drake of SETI & Sagan are in many ways admirable people but the point is that scientific truth is never altered by niceness.

Having allowed nuclear winter to be sold through press conferences, media glitz & only long after by producing the scientific papers & the use of the term "concensus" to suppress disent the same tactics have been used to sell global warming, passive smoking & the attack on Bjorn Lomberg.

(Ehrlich)was asked, how accurate were these findings (nuclear winter)now?

Ehrlich answered by saying "I think they are extremely robust. Scientists may have made statements like that, although I cannot imagine what their basis would have been, even with the state of science at that time, but scientists are always making absurd statements, individually, in various places. What we are doing here, however, is presenting a consensus of a very large group of scientists…"

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

Read on.........


I am putting up figures from a Royal Academy of Engineering report on electricty generating costs. This is about as definitive as it gets for recent UK figures. As you will see nuclear comes in 2nd to gas but since this was published gas prices have rocketed so nuclear must be clearly lowest.

Gas Fired 2.2p
Nuclear 2.3p
Coal pulverised 2.5p
Coal fluidised bed 2.6p
Coal gassificatio 3.2p
Poultry guts bio 6.8p
Onshore wind 3.7p with back up generation 5.4p
Offshore wind 5.5p " " " " 7.2p
Wave & narine 6.6p
Note since wind doesn't work when there is little wind, or a lot, back-up is not an optional extra.

I have no doubt that nuclear electricity could be made cheaper, probably very much cheaper if the political will was there. Modern reactors are cheaper & more reliable as most current technology is better than that of the 1960s. Much of the cost is in the construction & in Japan, where building reactors is primarily an engineering problem it takes 4 years, ours are expected to take 10 years, where it is primarily a lawyering problem. We have a regulatory system which vastly increases running costs & which is clearly inspired more by hysteria than a real assessment of risk - nuclear has killed 4 people worldwode since Chernobyl, blacklung & emphysemia caused by acid rain kill 150,000 annually. This cost is also based on expensively decommissioning reactors - the sensible way to do it is to lock them up for 50 years until the radioactivity is down (highly radioactive material has, by definition a short half life) to safe levels at which point there is no problem.

Considering that Help the Aged say we have 24,000 pensioners dying every year from fuel poverty, the equivalent of a Chernobyl every 4 HOURS of the winter months, I believe it is grossly immoral, as well as stupid, to refuse to build reactors.

For more on nuclear see the Professor John McCarthy nuclear FAQs

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