30 October 2006

Stockbrokers assessing your "needs"

Ever since I was thrown out ruined at the end of my ‘education’ (actually a period of incarceration in which I had been deprived of freedom) I have found the only elements in the situation from which I could get any positive benefit in my efforts to repair my situation, were the higher level toleration and endurance of extremely negative circumstances, and the free market system, insofar as it was still free in a virtually communist society.

My efforts to get any feedback out of other people by trying to do work in bad circumstances, or write books in bad circumstances, that might induce them to reward me with status and income, have turned out so far to be absolutely abortive.

This country long ago passed the point of no return as a country in which I would be living except under duress. It used to be the case that, although everyone wanted to make sure you did not get any money (freedom of action), once it was in your possession you were free to use it to try to improve your position, or give it to other people to use as they saw fit to improve their position.

Now stockbrokers are supposed to ‘assess’ your position and needs, and prescribe for you what risks (as defined by stupid 'trained' financial experts – about as reliable a guide to beneficial outcomes as stupid educational experts) are appropriate for you to be permitted to take. This is, I have to keep repeating, a violation of the basic moral principle, which is that it is immoral to impose your interpretations and evaluations on anyone else, and you should always leave a person as free as possible to react to the uncertainties of the existential situation.

Now things have gone so far that a stockbroking firm is seen in the press defending itself from criticism by asserting that it refuses to sell speculative US shares to people over 80.

This is indeed an oppressive society. It could easily be the case that a ruined academic, having failed to make much headway over a grim lifetime, saw so-called ‘speculative’ investment as their last chance to become rich enough to set up an independent university department and residential college in which to live again, at least for the last ten years of their life, and if they failed in that before the age of 82 or 85, they might well prefer to commit suicide. Not that I would do so myself; I don’t have a suicidal personality.

Plenty of people, not only outcast academics, might well regard speculative investment as their last chance of having whatever they want to get out of life.

There are also increasingly penal restrictions on the amount of money which you are able to give to other people without taxation, depending on subjective assessment by tax inspectors (probably of working class origin) of whether you are giving money to another person ‘regularly’ and ‘without affecting your own standard of living’. Whether or not the recipient is in a disadvantaged position in society (relative to his actual and realistic needs) does not enter into it. In a civilised society, the donor should be free to form his own opinion of objective hardship which he is aiming to relieve by giving money to someone else.