Monday 20 June 2016

Noblesse Oblige

The term "Noble Idea" has appeared in the media recently to give a category for the views of many people.  I have had some down the years, not all have turned out as I might have hoped.  History is full of them.

What may start as a Noble Idea in its time can become a doctrine, dogma or fixation that in turn becomes perhaps a nuisance, a cause of unintended consequences or real difficulties  or even a major liability and in some cases seriously damaging.

In the Atlantic Isles between say 1550 and 1950 we had many noble ideas about religion and power. Sadly, there were profound disagreements as to the exact doctrinal packages which led to war, bloodshed, empire building and many adverse effects that have left their mark into even the 21st Century.

The matter of Empire brings us to the idea of "Open Doors" in its current form.  While many think that this is recent and the Left now regards it as its property it has been around for some time.  Back in the 1840's Lord Palmerston with his "Civis Romanus Sum" policies on British citizenship referred to ancient Rome, which we are told was open and very diverse. While it lasted.

Stanley Baldwin in his last speech as Conservative Prime Minister in May 1937 made an impassioned plea for the peoples of Empire, this version is quite short Baldwin Speech but it is the spirit of free movement. It was in this period that many people were crowding into London and other major towns from depressed areas of the UK, Eastern and Central Europe and Italy.

What has changed?  The world is not as it was in 1937 since when world population has tripled, see Wikipedia on the subject and for more information.  This does not mean that movement has trebled necessarily, it suggests only that the potential exists for more movement than there has been.

Whether it does or does not occur is another matter and even then what movement there is, to where and for what purpose are other things.  Has there been a proportionate increase in movement or a lesser one although possibly still meaning increased numbers?  Is it in fact more, arising from internal pressures in many countries either lacking in resources or other factors?

There is the theory that immigration is necessarily good for the economy.  Part of this is the "trickle down" thesis, or in the case of the lower paid "trickle around".  If you import additional people into states with extensive welfare systems and state subsidised services the more state money is needed to provide them and this will add to the trickle factor.

This extra money being moved around necessarily pushes up the GDP count which is a money figure.  So growth is claimed despite reductions in real incomes for many and a major decline in manufacturing.  Our younger generation faces financial difficulties.

What is little mentioned is the "trickle up" factor.  This financial activity must benefit somebody.  So the added monies being pumped in by state spending, often with borrowed money, with rising household debt from consumer spending and booms in property prices, and therefore more housing debt leads to more "trickle up".

This helps to explain the rising inequalities and concentration of wealth for the few at the top and the elite liking for immigration.   Part of the money go round has been to keep interest rates very low but at the cost of savings.  So as well as high debt there  are lower savings, in short costs deferred.

In addition, there are all the extra services required, drains, water, power, schools, medical, road, transport etc.  Many costs are often obviated in practice by shanty towns and slums but the creation or allowing of these means other costs, history suggests law and order among them.

At present it is claimed that our power supplies are close to the margins as is water during dry periods.  So where will the new power stations etc. be or the big new dams or the desalination plants on the coasts?

Rapidly increasing population means rapidly increasing demands.  In recent decades we have managed to supply a good many of those demands through technology and other advances.  Whether we can cope with major rises in migration is a key issue, in the past when such demands could not be met  serious problems have arisen.

Noble Ideas are usually easy answers or simple solutions offered to matters which are highly complex, difficult to work out or understand or have potentially unpopular features.  Often offered as a moral question, on inspection the questions arises moral for who?  Go to 2Wives dot com for marriage guidance.

Around the world politicians all like to have the easy answer and avoid the difficult questions.  Religions were once a main source for answers but recently, we have become attached to political philosophers of one stripe or another or celebrities.

As for migration, we are only at the beginning, Open Doors may have been a noble idea when I was young but I am in a different world from then and it is changing again and quickly.  It's day has gone and it is going to be very difficult to deal with.  But all we seem to want is the easy answer.

But this five minutes with The Dubliners will tell you, it never was.


  1. "rising inequalities" - Not true.

    The EU rose out of a noble idea. Monet's idealism has lead to bringing about a very damaging unintended consequence. He spurned democracy for technocracy as he new that his dream would never be fulfilled otherwise and so spawned an evil empire the EU.

    Indeed the welfare state has made free movement decidedly unwelcome. Without it it is quite possible it would be very welcome.

  2. "What is little mentioned is the "trickle up" factor."

    That happens when old sewage systems become overloaded.

    1. "Trickle down" turns into a torrent when free market capitalism is given free reign. It does accumulate some sewerage in it's path but the wealth becomes available to clean and contain it.

  3. All very glib.
    But London was not a foreign country until multiculturism was forced on the British. And 'hate crime law' stopped all and any protest.
    Talking as if Britain was profit or loss business shows the crass indifference to it people.
    Surrendering in WW1 and WW2 would have suited the aims of the 'remain ' people.