Interesting assertion

What it implies is an attitude that Scotland should not tax companies, capital and wealth too heavily for fear it will relocate. That there is almost no evidence that real wealth does relocate for tax reasons does not matter to those who promote these arguments.

That it’s a basic assumption in all economics about taxation seems to escape the Murphmonster. All those very bright people filling libraries over the centuries, they’re all just wrong. Because.

Gordon Brown actually proved it for us as well. North Sea taxes were raised above the level where companies said they would invest. Companies didn’t invest, North Sea tax revenues fell.

But, you know, reality and the Great Tuber.

In particular, there is a worrying suggestion that the so-called ‘Laffer Curve’ might be relevant in a Scottish context and that there are limits to the tax rates that it might wish to consider. I suggest that this is wrong. The work of economists working with Thomas Piketty has made clear that there is no tax rate that Scotland might reasonably consider where an increase in tax rate would reduce tax yield.

There’s reasonable – not conclusive I agree, but reasonable – evidence to suggest that current UK top income tax and capital gains rates are at the peak of the Laffer Curve. It’s even true that the major theoretical paper of recent years, Diamond and Saez, concurs. Taxes upon income – note taxes upon income, not income taxes, therefore add in NI – peak at 54% in a system with allowances. The ability to leave the country and remove oneself from the tax system by changing residence is an allowance in this definition.

Err, Saez works with Piketty, no?


These mid-career actresses do all look the same, don’t they?

Actors and actresses are used to being recognised and approached by fans who feel they know them.

But as Victoria Beckham knows only too well, a case of mistaken identity can prove more than a little embarrassing.

Thandie Newton, who stars in Line of Duty and Westworld, has revealed that the former Spice Girl was “mortified” when she engaged her in conversation after confusing her with Zoe Saldana.

There began an awkward exchange that left Newton baffled before it dawned on her that Beckham thought was talking to someone else.

Although both women are actresses, one is British and the other American.

That annoyance at finding out that what they were renting out all those years were the fading youth and beauty, not actual talent.


I want to make clear I am not just talking about some recent failing here: the succession of firms that KPMG seem to have audited that have gone to the wall after their audit reports have been issued; the disaster of Carillion, and the dismal failure of the Financial Reporting Council to show any initiative at all in the face of such issues arising are not what has created a crisis. Important as all these things are I suggest to you that they are symptomatic of a much greater malaise that is what really needs to be addressed.

The greater issue is one that I suggest that anyone who has interest in saving the market economy should rally to support. That issue is that without data; without is verification; and without trust that the data supplied is both useful and reliable, then markets as we know them will cease to exist.

What do I mean by that? I suggest that:

People will stop saving – at least in shares;

But isn’t he running a campaign to stop people saving in shares?

This is the patriarchy, is it Rhiannon?

When is the right moment to reveal the full horror of the patriarchy to your daughters? According to BBC historian Dan Snow, you don’t. The “grim realities” of gender relations won’t encourage them to follow their dreams, he reasons, and so he fibs. This week, on an episode of the Parent Hood podcast, he said that during a visit to an aviation museum his six-year-old daughter pointed out that all of the photos of Spitfire pilots were of men. Snow told her that women also flew Spitfires in combat in the second world war, which is untrue.

“Having to then explain to her why all the pictures of women are of them in ball gowns or in formal dress looking quite wooden and all the pictures of men are of them rampaging around having a great time, being heroic and climbing mountains, shooting things, being soldiers. That is something I struggle with,” he said. “Now at some stage she’s going to learn that I lied to her and she’s going to find out that women weren’t allowed to do active frontline service so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”

Millions of men forced – yes, forced into state slavery to then go die – into the military and active service is patriarchy is it?

Does he even read his own stuff?

Second, the IFS defines health care affordability in terms of capacity to tax. This too is quite simply wrong: health care is affordable if there is the capacity to supply it within the economy. That is what limits the health care we can supply, and not tax. It really is time the IFS looked at the real economy and not just the money.

But third, and worst, is the sheer poverty of the IFS thinking. Paul Johnson admitted on the Today programme this morning, which I endured on my way down to Stansted, that he might suffer from a lack of imagination. Let me assure you, I agree. And the reason is obvious. Johnson simply cannot imagine the world changing. His whole analysis exists in a world where ceterus paribus holds true. But it does not.

I have not checked the report as yet to see what it says about automation so I will stick to discussion of tax where what the IFS is saying is that nothing will change. Johnson’s commentary made this clear. We can’t tax business: he thinks it will run away. Land and wealth taxes won’t collect much, he says. And as for changes to allowances and reliefs, most especially when it comes to subsidising the already wealthy? Of that there was not a hint.

Let me put this in context. The IFS seem to be looking for about £30bn a year. That is, as I have shown, half the sum that subsidies to pension and ISA saving in the UK now cost each year. All of that sum goes as a subsidy to the City to effectively over inflate the price of shares. Johnson should know that. But he said on Radio 4 that there was nothing he could imagine cutting now that could meet health care costs. The only explanation for that is that he is not thinking, or cannot think, or wants to perpetuate the tax inequality we have in the UK where the wealthy pay no bigger a share of their income in tax than most in the population do.

And as I have also shown, we could raise this money from additional taxes on wealth.

Whether we tax or not, how we tax, is not the determinant of whether we can have more health care or not. Rather, it’s if we’ve got a few spare doctors and nurses lying about which does determine that availability.

But don’t worry folks, I’ve found a way to tax more even if I’ve not got more doctors nor nurses. So that’s alright then.

Time has costs does it? My, my….

Let’s for a moment assume, as they do, that the number of clearances will not reduce (which they seem to have ignored – oddly) that means the cost will be £100 a clearance. That is made up of an assumed £32.50 charge on each side of the import or export plus, I guess, a broadly similar cost to business to actually complete the forms.

So the rational question to ask is whether it might cost £35.00 for business to complete a customs declaration. Even if large parts of this could be automated the whole process will take time, effort, management, communication, systems, checks, audits and delivery so that the right person has the right form on the right consignment at the right time. Of course costs will vary. But allowing for overheads and on costs of employment £35 seems entirely fair for business.

In which case it seems fair for processing too. Twice over, of course.

So my gut reaction is that HMRC may well be in the right area with this one.

But to do country by country reporting to sate the delusions of one monomaniac has no costs at all.

This from a Professor of Political Economy

First, capitalism is killing itself. Since, as a matter of fact, capitalism depends upon the existence of markets in which there are many participants, and the whole trend within our current economy is for there to be fewer and fewer meaningful participants, with the sole remaining companies servicing some sectors looking more and more like monopolists with the absolute power to abuse consumers for their own private gain, then capitalism is dying from within.

Jeebus. Capitalism and markets are not the same thing. There is no requirement for there to be markets in capitalism. We’ve actually got some rather fierce warnings about what happens with monopoly capitalism.

We also don’t require capitalism to have markets.

They’re just different things. And a Professor of Political Economy doesn’t grok this?

That expansion of the universities wasn’t a good idea, was it?

Second, in that case it is for the Tories to say what they going to do to regulate markets to ensure that they are effective when every current trend shows that markets are trying to destroy competition which is the only thing that neoclassical economic theory says makes them efficient.

The capitalists would destroy market competition in a heart beat. As would all too many socialists of course. It’s not the markets trying to destroy the competition, it’s the other lot, those people entirely orthogonal to markets and or competition’ existence.

Third, it is absurd to claim that either capitalism or socialism provides a single, simple answer to the future nature of the UK economy. The truth is that the free market is a myth: there is, quite simply no such thing, and nor can there be without effective regulation. And at the same time, there is absolutely no appetite in the UK for a socialist economy where the right of a person to undertake trade on their own account, or with others, is denied.

That last sentence has absolutely nothing at all to do with socialism of any form. It has to do with hte absence of markets an the entry of competition into them.

To put it in a nutshell then, Danny Finkelstein’s argument is nonsense

Rich considering the preceding, isn’t it?

How bloody stupid do you have to be to believe this tripe?

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee concluded in April 2018 that overly optimistic passenger forecasts were to blame for the collapse of the East Coast mainline franchise.

The franchise’s repeated collapse highlights two key flaws with Britain’s rail model: it incentivises overestimating to win bids, and the government ultimately holds all the risk. Since transport plays too vital a role in keeping the economy going and all of us moving, the government cannot allow the railways to stop running.

The Franchise holder is taking a certain amount of risk, no? They’ve agreed to make payments, passenger numbers don’t turn up, they still have to pay.

Yes, they do. Stagecoach and Virgin are taking a thumping loss on the East Coast line. They’re being let out of future losses because Network Rail, the government owned bit, has fucked up over upgrades.

Someone was always going to try this

A local Labour party has suspended a man who previously made it onto the list of candidates for women’s officer because he “identifies as a woman on Wednesdays”, under their “self-id” rules.

In order to stand for the women-only position, the candidate has to self-identify as a woman, but there are no other stipulations about gender.

David Lewis, a Labour activist, told the Spectator he identifies as a woman “on Wednesdays, between 6.50am when my alarm goes off and around midnight when I go to bed.”

Some feminist activists have raised concerns about self-identification, arguing it could cause men to stand on the all-women shortlists the Labour uses to improve gender equality. They have tried to bring a legal challenge against the party, saying where transgender women do not hold a gender recognition certificate, they should not be allowed to stand in posts the law reserves for women.

Mr Lewis said he stood as candidate to: “inform the CLP, and maybe some other people, about what this policy means, about what happens when you say that someone’s gender depends only on what they say and nothing else.”

He added: “anyone else’s criticism or questions about my gender identity are just not relevant to the Labour Party at the moment, given the current policy. If I say I’m a woman, I’m a woman.”

And of course no one is happy that he’s exposed the contradictions in the policy. Everyone would rather he just shut up.

If it is possible to gain privilege through simple self-identification then people will self-identify in order to gain privilege. You know, incentives matter?


Marcel Marceau says:
May 22 2018 at 12:53 pm
Freedom under law, economic freedom, personal freedom, fairness, happiness and equality of opportunity.
Is there a place for these?

Richard Murphy says:
May 22 2018 at 1:41 pm
I am not sure anyone could flourish without them – so yes

Although what is economic freedom?


Might be something to work out before designing an economy, no?


Global Destitution Now is arguing that none of this should happen. That the new technologies which will increase economic growth, will reduce abject poverty, be allowed into the poor countries which can make the most use of them. Instead barriers must be placed in the way of the people who know how to do these things in order that, well, in order that what? It all happens more slowly and thus people are poorer for longer?

That is what they are effectively arguing. We human beings collectively now know how to do some pretty cool things, but poor people should apparently not have access to said knowledge and techniques. We should instead have the sort of self-contained economy that made Cuba so rich. How much do you have to hate actual poor people to argue in this manner?

How damn bourgeois is this?

This has me laughing like a drain:

The leader of Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos party and its parliamentary spokeswoman are submitting themselves to a confidence vote in the hope of putting an end to criticism of their decision to buy a €600,000 (£525,000) house in the mountains outside Madrid.

Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero, who are expecting twins, have been accused of betraying the party’s principles and joining the petty bourgeoisie by purchasing the property.

Among those who have criticised the move is José María González, the Podemos mayor of Cádiz.

“Podemos’s ethics code isn’t a formality,” he said. “It’s a commitment to living like working people so that you can represent them.”

Imagine if the Momentum crowd were held to the same standard, eh?

There might be a reason for a lack of female directors

I know nothing about film nor auteurs. I do have at least a vague grasp of markets:

Twenty-five years ago this month, Jane Campion became the first, and so far the only, female director to win the Cannes film festival, with her wild gothic tale of repression and obsession, The Piano. When Campion broke through and was recognised as an auteur by her male peers – with the Palme d’Or and three Oscars in her handbag – feminists assumed that more women artists would follow in her wake. They were wrong.

There was no great bursting of the financial and cultural dam that held back women film-makers. Instead their work filtered through in drips, excluded from directing blockbusters, and excluded from competition at Cannes and other festivals. “I think we got caught in a complicated supplicancy, a very sophisticated supplicancy,” says Campion.

But now, a quarter of a century later, Campion feels that time is up for supplicancy as the #MeToo movement reverberates in the film industry and beyond. “Right now, we’re in a really special moment. I’m so excited about it. It’s like the Berlin wall coming down, like the end of apartheid. I think we have lived in one of the more ferocious patriarchal periods of our time, the 80s, 90s and noughties. Capitalism is such a macho force. I felt run over.”

Dipping croissants into coffee in Soho on a trip from her home in New Zealand to London, Campion seems the last person anyone would dare to run over, with her iron will, silver hair and ready laugh. But even after The Piano’s success, Campion’s journey was never easy, and her insistence on a stubbornly female gaze in her work did not translate into big box office returns.

That last line being fairly important, no? A film takes some multiples of decamillions of dollars to make and show worldwide. A major studio movie does at least. The people who cough up that cash would quite like to have their money back too.

If female directors making feminist films made beaucoup de cash then investors would line up to pay for them. They don’t, apparently, so…….

And, so?

The market – note, not capitalism – gets what the market wants. This is even so if there are some millions of women out there who wish to see a film based upon feminist principles and stories. Market demand rather calling forth its own supply.

How is Facebook to know who is a parent?

Facebook and other social media websites should require parents to confirm that their children are over the age of 13 before they are allowed to use the websites.

Matt Hancock, the Culture Secretary, criticised social media websites for only requiring children to tick a box to confirm that they are over the age of 13.

He said that social media means it is “one of the hardest times to be a parent”, with children using new technology that “we couldn’t have dreamed of” a generation ago.

So, how will it be done? Other than just ticking a box that is. Anyone going to have to start providing birth certificates or something?

Sigh. Either the system becomes horribly and expensively intrusive by requiring real world documentation. Or it’s just box ticking.

Can a tuber spit with rage or just sweat with it?

Labour was granted three nominations, and Jeremy Corbyn put forward the former party general secretary Iain McNicol and the race equality campaigner Martha Osamor, the mother of the MP Kate Osamor, as had been expected. The third nominee is Pauline Bryan, a Scottish campaigner and editor of What Would Keir Hardie Say?, a collection of essays once given by Corbyn to Barack Obama.

Vermine, when will it arrive?