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Assets for all

The trouble with capital assets is that too few of us have them. New Labour's child trust fund, providing cash for future 18 year olds, is revolutionary.

By Samuel Brittan   August 2003

The 19th-century French anarchist-socialist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, achieved fame with his dictum, “property is theft.” Karl Marx, who had contempt for Proudhon in everything else, took over the idea and believed that problems of poverty and inequality would be solved by collective ownership of the means of production.

Marx’s diagnosis was wrong. The trouble with capital assets and investment income is not that they exist but that too few of us have them. The traditional European upper-middle classes derived enormous benefits from having a nest egg to fall back upon. This was useful not only in providing collateral for home loans…

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