Every day millions of lawyers are completely wrong – unlike me

Moderating the opinions of commentators on this blog reminds me of a story I was told a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I think it was by my father.

Every day two lawyers go into court rooms all over the world to argue their case and every day 50% of them are proved to be wrong. Therefore, we know that lawyers are wrong about everything exactly 50% of the time.

One lawyer will cite the correct facts of the case and apply the correct law. The other lawyer will cite untruths and apply law which doesn’t exist in a completely illogical manner.

Half of all lawyers are always wrong. QED

Some who comment here would be wise to remember that disagreement is fine. Persuading me I am wrong can happen. It hasn’t ever happened, but it can*.

But pointing out that I am not qualified, by experience nor by education, as either a tax expert or an economist is not an argument. It is just an insult. Just because it is a fact, it is an insulting one to mention in relation to my thorough research on tax and economics.

And they’d also be wise to note that my aim is to change the law. So most of what I write is written on the assumption that the law has changed to what I think it ought to be.

So when I appear to not know how dividends are taxed, or how arms length prices are determined, or how Venn diagrams work, or what the Laffer effect actually is, or what neoliberalism is, or how to reconcile obvious numbers in the accounts of companies, or how ISAs are not tax avoidance but tax relief on charitable donations isn’t, or whether deferred tax exists, or how corporation tax works at all, I am simply flying a kite to find out what alternative opinion is.

I am not wrong by doing so, I just learn as a result.**

And like the lawyer who was wrong, though without actually being wrong, I brush myself down, have supper and move on to write something of profound importance the next day. Because that is what my job*** is.

So far as I am concerned, whether there’s agreement or disagreement, everybody else is wrong.




*It won’t happen.

**This is just an expression. It would be pedantry to suggest that I learn anything from comments on this blog. If anything, I teach.

***It is not actually a job. As I have said previously, I do not actually get paid for blogging. Blogging just happens to be something I do that I get paid for and refer to as ‘my job’. And the money I get is a grant that is completely unconnected to the blog. I am definitely not an employee.


10 thoughts on “Every day millions of lawyers are completely wrong – unlike me

  1. May I ask a question Murphy?

    I am a tax adviser and economist, but have no qualifications in either field. I will shortly be starting to write a book on economics that I hope will contribute to change the current predominant neo-liberal thinking that is so afflicting this country (although I know it will not be as authoritative as your own masterpieces). In order to get me in the right frame of mind, I am considering a possible relocation from my current residence. Two areas that are of particular interest to me are Wandsworth or Downham Market.

    I wonder do you have views on which of these locations would be more conducive to my literary endeavours?

  2. Neither, you should live in Milton Keynes which might have been named after the world’s second best ever economist (despite him being qualified and trained in economics). Do NOT live in Downham which has clearly had its name added to by neoliberal sophists. Also do NOT live in Wandsworth; I only need to quote from their website I have just meticulously reseached which states that “A study of council tax levels over the past 20 years shows that Wandsworth Band D payers are £10,054 better off over that period than taxpayers in Merton, £11,741 better off than Kingston taxpayers and £12,108 better off than Richmond’s.” NO ONE would want to live in a despicable tax haven such as this.

  3. Stephen

    Thank you for your thoughts. I regret, I have to say I would feel very uncomfortable indeed setting my knapsack down in a place that contained the name Milton (as in Friedman). A by-word for neo-liberal economics, a major influence on Thatcher (I find having typed that name I now have to wash my hands). A monetarist icon. In fact I wonder if the name Milton Keynes was thought up as some sort of sick attempt by a member of the far right to sully the name of Keynes by marrying him up with Friedman. The very thought makes me want to heave all over my carefully ironed pink cardigan.

    • Naturally, I stand corrected and must make a New Year’s resolution to think more deeply about such matters. Inexclusably, I had failed to see this connection and I thank you for enlightening me. Someone told me once that M…F… (I cannot bring myself to type that name) once said that inflation was a consequence of excess money supply! I wonder whether he was too ignorent to understand or too devious to publically acknowledge that inflation is obviously created by Anglo-American businesses deciding (in secret) to inflate prices to extract a ransom from the consumers and workers to the advantage of their handful of neoliberal shareholders who own businesses such as Ford, Vodafone, Apple, GSK and Microsoft.

      • Didn’t you know that with modern monetary theory such activity is simply impossible. The Government has to print more money and create more debt to create the money for us to pay out taxes with. If there is no money and no debt then there cannot be any tax revenue. This theory proves that all money belongs to the State and we are only allowed if for a short time in order to pay out taxes so that the government can then issue more debt and print more money.

        Modern Monetary proves that there can be no consequences from deficits, and that recessions are simply figments of our imagination and don’t exist in reality, it is just something that neo-liberal sophists say to make everyone get a but depressed but they don’t actually happen in reality. I mean look at Greece, Portugal and Ireland, if they had just ignored the neo-liberals and listened to Murphy then they would not have had recessions. Deficits don’t matter, all money belongs to the States of Courage and Government Deb is necessary to ensure there is money to pay taxes to the Government.

        Milton Friedman was right that the money supply is important but he was wrong in thinking it should only grow slowly, there are no consequences from printing money or government issuing debt. MMT says so.

  4. Indeed I am aware of Modern Monetary Theory economics. As far as I know, it was invented by Murphy Richards himself in disillusionment at the Chicago School far right economics taught at his alma mater but maybe Murphy himself could confirm?

    It would not surprise me if Murphy picked up a Nobel Prize for his MMT work. Imagine, he proved that governments who are sovereign currency issuers are completely unconstrained in their spending. This is work that is frees humankind from the yoke of capitalism and the slavery of markets forever!

  5. This post* puts forth, accurately, two key components:

    1) The encapsulation of the holiday season spirit
    2) A sea change in the view of peoples everywhere, on the issues Murphy deigns upon

    As it relates to the holiday season spirit, it is safe to say, candidly, that it has been approximately two millennia since a sage as giving, forgiving, caring and understanding as Murphy has trodden upon terra firma. Of course, the previous sage was from Galilee and did not have both a UK and Irish passport, nor a blog and of course there was no fully-funded grant agreement for our carpenter friend. Murphy takes the best of the previous sage and expands upon that via his eponymous website, the drafting of several white papers, providing innumerable rent-a-quotes to journalists far and wide, not to mention the seminars attended and symposia draft agendas proof-read. Murphy gives of himself like no other, bar the previous guy 2000 years ago. However, and this is key, given the use of modern communication, it can arguably be said, no, it must be said, that Murphy is far more effective in delivering the message of peace, harmony, fellowship of (wo)man, cutting and pasting, and the importance of grant tranches being delivered on schedule.

    This item is so important that readers should savor this knowledge (Bask in His light, I say!) and forget about component #2

    *Side note to Murphy, “post” is such a vulgar term for what You offer from the sweat of Your brow, Your deep, and trenchant, thoughts as well as pristine logic. A more suitable term for Your writings would be that of “epistle”.

  6. WT

    Indeed. In fact the previous sage you mention had some trite admonition “render unto Caesar that which is his and to God that which is his”. Was that not a call for tax evasion, given that everything belonged to Caesar, as the state?

    And was that previous sage not in fact crucified for trying in effect to claim non-domicile status (ie he would not pledge allegiance to the Roman state which provided the public services where he lived)?

    I think I know who is more worthy of admiration, and it’s not some beardy weirdy who never did a day’s work in his life.

    • BF,

      I agree with your assessment. I would also posit, frankly, the pertinent, thus true, statement and/or question: Dis the previous sage ever have a signed, and fully funded, grant agreement? It is from these grant agreements that civil society denotes, and deigns, value* in our broader society.

      *not in the sense of tax purposes (either version: pure spirit of the law -or- the neoliberal pedantic ‘rule of law’ version)

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