User reviews for Life After The State

This book has 4 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

This book is well written and referenced and from the extensive bibliography you would believe the author was well read but it soon becomes evident that he has focused on self-reinforcing right-wing economists with little grasp of the sociological implication of his proposals. The first few chapters feel like a rant in which the increasing size of the state is blamed for the decline of Glasgow. The omission of any reference to the revolution in Russia and growth in communism worldwide leaves the reader screaming at the author for more balance. There is no mention on how the excesses of unrestrained capitalism would be restrained in a “Free Market”. Dominic does speak out against the imbalance of wealth but does not identify this as an imbalance of power and seems to believe that each individual is capable of negotiating everything for themselves. He gives the example of the simplicity of buying bread but fails to see how complex this actually is: does the seller own the bread, what is it made of, how fresh is it, how long will it keep, who else is selling similar bread, can it be returned, and is the money genuine and worth something, are a few questions that come to my mind. A better illustration is that no one but a corporation has time to read and understand all the legal contracts they accept when for example joining a website or installing software Dominic would do well to add to his reading. Dominic does see a need for the State to protect property rights and then suggests all taxes could be replaced by a Land Value Tax. Annoyingly he doesn’t acknowledge that we already have Unified Business Rates and Community Charges in the UK and therefore doesn’t consider how much is already raised by this means. He makes the error of believing that Land has some intrinsic value when he should recognise that whilst supply is fixed, it is what someone does to the land that makes it valuable. If you tax land you will reduce its value and people will do things elsewhere. He repeats this error in suggesting metal, specifically gold, has an intrinsic value. He claims gold has very few uses overlooking jewellery and electronic components. This rather ruins an otherwise excellent discussion on the nature of money. Using metal as money, or money tied to metal prices is therefore meaningless. Fundamentally Money is a token of exchange of labour; if you do this for me, I, or someone else you give this token to, will do something for you, because I will do something for them when I’m given it back. Printing money is a promise to do more and more things in the future and we have now got well beyond what we can do in our own lifetimes. The question is how many future generations can we commit for our benefit today? I was fascinated by the chapter on Education and the merits of home schooling. Perhaps it is the fact that Dominic, who professes to be home schooled in Economics, is lacking the breadth of understanding or a context to his proposals, that leads us to favour a more collective education. Perhaps most disturbing is that whilst Dominic talks freely of killing “zombie” companies without much consideration of why companies fail and the pain of the death of a company, he must also believe we should kill or let die people who can no longer provide for themselves and have failed to make adequate provision for their perhaps unforeseen circumstances. He fails to see that although Banks were saved by the State, the shareholders where still wiped out and senior managers punished. Only the customers where protected by a continuing service. The jungle may be in harmony but it is a vicious place where most die young. Its laws have no place in a civilised society. With a decline in religious conviction and charities already struggling we cannot hope they will step up to protect the weak as the State is rolled back. There are no natural charities in the jungle and Dominic’s suggestion that everyone will be rich is fanciful. Wealth is relative and wages in a “free market” will be bid down to the minimum the weakest need to subsist… and then some!
I enjoyed this book from the start and the author provides a lot of useful back up and references for all of his arguments. It will be an anathema to statist collectivist pre-programmed socialists but they've all had 100 years to convince and convert and succeed and they self evidently haven't wherever you look. It is always impossible for them to admit this but for example the banking crisis happened on their watch. I'd have liked a broader historical approach to linking natural law with justice for all human beings from illustrated reason alone for everyone to take away with them as a real gain of having read the book. The section on taxing land value is useful, a good intro for those who still need it as none of the existing property taxes in the UK have anything at all to do with allocating universal rights to natural resources for example as LVT does. But overall this is a good update for those seeking solid reasons for why we are all so browned off with the 'LibLabCon' trick which central banking is foisting on the western world currently, a scam from which the low paid and the poor and the poverty stricken have most to fear
Six Stars from me. If you have an enquiring mind this books says in a highly readable and plain common sense way what we all feel and sense but do not know how to articulate: that something is wrong with the state we endure. Dominic argues, correctly I think, that it's the bloated size of the state itself that is the direct root cause of our current economic and often social woes. The answer is to return to a smaller state to set the balance right again and Dominic articulates this case so simply and yet comprehensively that it is a page turning joy to read. Crammed full of facts and myths yet without any of the torrid jargon and distracting technical guff of experts he demolishes our big state sacred cow and ignorance on big subjects such as education, health, money, tax, freedom, in turn, myth by myth, arguing for adoption of the total opposite of what the current political, social and economic establishment urge us to do - largely no doubt in order to keep their own bloated state privileges and 'we can fix it' careers afloat at the expense of every one of us, including themselves if they did but think about it. I don't believe in compulsory educational standards much beyond the 3 R's but if I did this would be it. It should be an O'Level paper taken by anyone standing for Parliament and anyone voting them in! Buy, read, pass on. Once read you'll never forget this book's explanations and messages.
Thought provoking to the point I have bought several copies and gifted them to friends.
Publication date: November 2013
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