Anorak | The Blinding Stupidity Of Jonathan Porritt

The Blinding Stupidity Of Jonathan Porritt

by | 6th, January 2014

HE’S written a new book he has, Jonathan Porritt, that leading environmental thinker of our age. And in it he’s described how we’re all going to get poorer. But the really crazy thing is that he’s just too dman stupid to understand why his suggestion makes us poorer.

Here’s the Mail giving an outline of it all:

In the vision of the UK in 2050 humans are doing less work – and not just because of robots.

In the fictional future, the EU’s ‘Maximum Working Time Directive’ is introduced and in 2045 people work for just under 25 hours a week in their regular job, compared to an average of 36.4 hours in 2010.

Alex writes that the change came about as unemployment continued to rise in the 1920s and there were protests to distribute jobs more fairly, resulting in GDP being scrapped in 2029 as a way of measuring a country’s wealth.

The ‘index of sustainable economic well being’ and a new model of working came in, which saw people swap labour for services via a local ‘time bank’ and earn extras outside their regular work.

Now it’s possible that you are also an environmentalist so I’ll explain very simply why this is a not very good idea: and Porritt’s stupid for not understanding the point.

To start at the beginning, we humans are lazy sods. We’d always prefer to have more for having had to do less. So, for whatever amount of work that we do we’d like to gain the maximum reward possible from having done it.

PA 10060120 The Blinding Stupidity Of Jonathan Porritt

A robot called a domestic android by its developer is shown in a household situation, Oct. 27, 1977. Made by Quasar Industries Inc. of Rutherford, N.J., the 5-foot-2, 180-pound robot can serve your dinner, vacuum your rugs, babysit your kids and insult your enemies. A spokesman for the firm says the robot should sell for about $4,000 when production begins.


We can also play the same argument the other way around: whatever lifestyle we want then we want to do the least possible amount of work to gain that lifestyle.

We all agree so far, yes?

Right, well, as Adam Smith pointed out the secret to more productive work is the division and specialisation of labour. That bloody pin factory thing again. It’s better for you make shows and me to make socks and we’ll swap them that it is for either of us to try and make both. Or it’s better for me to make billions of the little things that do on the end of laces and trade those for shoes, food, socks and all the rest of it with people who similarly specialise.

And the increased efficiency (which is exactly the same as saying less work for the same standard of living) is greater the larger the market. If we can divide and specialise labour among 7 billion people we will all be richer than if we can only divide and specialise it between the 2,000 people in our local time bank.

So, what does Porritt say we should be doing? That’s right: limiting, artificially, the amount of time that we can spend in the global economy and instead increasing the amount of time we spend in a very small one. Where there is less division and specialisation of labour.

That is, the man is deliberately insisting that we must become poorer. That we do less efficient work and more inefficient work: that is, we get less of everything per hour we work.

And it’s not the suggestion itself that’s stupid, that’s merely odd. It’s that the bloke proposing this scheme is too stupid to understand that that’s what he is in fact proposing.

Simply a dimbulb.


Posted: 6th, January 2014 | In: Global Warming, Money, News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink