How much more propaganda can we get into a university course?

The Senior Lecturer approves of this:

The following is a guest post from Professor Atul K. Shah of the University of Suffolk.

Business and professional education have become profoundly privatised and technical, detaching themselves from public values, public conscience and personal responsibility and accountability
Finance and financialisation dominates the culture of business education, which is very profit-driven, and the primary theory of wealth and profit maximisation. This ideology and logic is presented as unquestionable but is unsustainable and deserves to crash with #paradisepapers
By making the subject scientific and technical, it becomes very impersonal. In addition, business schools are highly profitable factories of education, where the teaching approach and content is formulaic, and the student is on a production line. How on earth are they going to develop a conscience, or personal values in students in such an atmosphere? Their vulnerability and innocence is being actively exploited by the experts, and this must stop.
Ethics, if taught at all, is a stand-along topic and not integrated with all the subjects taught in the business school. Its teaching tends to be philosophical, technical and legalistic, rather than personal, cultural, emotional and virtuous.
Tax is treated as a burden and a cost of business, rather than a share of profit given to government for its vast contribution to business infrastructure in terms of health, roads, utilities, transport, education and skills, legal protection and social cohesion.

Hmm. So, who wants an MBA from this guy? And who wants to employ someone with one?

Oh, rilly?

Lena Dunham has come to the defense of one of her show’s writers who is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2012.
Dunham released a joint statement on Friday with her co-show runner Jenni Konner expressing support for Murray Miller, who is being accused by actress Aurora Perrineau of sexual assault five years ago.
‘While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year,’ Dunham and Konner wrote in a joint statement.

Be interesting to hear the evidence which so convinces, wouldn’t it?

A surprise, yes?

The head of Puerto Rico’s power authority has resigned amid a scandal over efforts to restore electricity to the hurricane-hit island, its governor announced Friday.

Governor Ricardo Rossello told a news conference that Ricardo Ramos had resigned as executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to avoid “distractions.”

The power utility being one of the causes of the island’s bankruptcy, the mismanagement (for which read shading into outright corruption as well as incompetence) having been that extreme.

Or, as we might put it, the perils of a one party state where the placemen get to share the spoils.

The problem being, there’s no scientific controversy about this at all

In one of the most inflammatory sections, Damore wrote that women, on average, have “higher levels of neuroticism”,

Using neuroticism as the scientists do it’s one of those things generally accepted as being true rather. In fact, all rather akin to people complaining about economists and rationality. The word is just being used in a specific technical sense, not the wider and more general one.

This is a regressive view?

Simmons is well-known for his strongly held, profoundly regressive views on women. He did not hold back when visiting Salon. “Half the world’s population are the male of the species. We are visually stimulated,” Simmons argued.

Well, OK, it is Amunduh, but really….

Al Franken’s groping


Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Back in 2006, when a “comedian” and on a tour bringing “comedy” and cheer to US troops overseas, he shared the bill with a playboy model. A woman known for her tits (this is generally true of playboy models I believe). She is on the tour because her tits are famous.

There is a photograph of her asleep (perhaps), in a helmet and flak jacket, in which Franken mimics groping her tits.

A great joke? Perhaps not. Comedian mimics groping famous pair of tits. Oh my Benny Hill, eh?

There are other things being said, this is true. But seriously, no one’s stupid enough to take this particular bit as being important are they?

I’ve no love for Franken at all but really…..actually groping a sleeping woman, yes, obviously. But this?

Ooooh, this is good news!

Brussels does not believe it is possible to strike anything more than a limited Canadian-style free trade agreement with the UK, according to a leaked European Commission document.

The internal discussion paper stated that Britain’s rejection of membership of the single market and the customs union meant that co-operation would have to be restricted.

The paper, leaked to the Politico website, stated that “single market arrangements in certain areas” or the “evolution of our regulatory frameworks” could not be managed within EU law as it stood. It added that the UK would have to be satisfied with a “standard FTA (free trade agreement)”.

That closes off most of the fantasies of the Remoaners. So, great, we can just tell them all to fuck off and get on with leaving then, can’t we?

Stefan Stern swings and whiffs

DIY economics
The (genuine) economist John Kay has a term for all this: DIY economics. These are the things that we sort of think we know even if they have no basis in theory, or indeed practice. Like a dodgy shelf, DIY economics will come crashing down at your feet sooner or later.

OK, so, on his list of things which are DIY economics (what I refer to as folk economics) are the following:

Expansionary fiscal contraction
This is the theory, popularised by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, which holds that public debt levels of over 90% of GDP will lead to slower growth, and that therefore significant cuts to public spending – aka austerity – are needed before growth can resume. George Osborne built a political programme and reputation on it.

Embarrassingly, the distinguished academics had to concede later on that there had been an error in their spreadsheet calculations, and that the theory was not quite as robust as had been asserted. Voters are now taking a similar, but less nuanced, view on the benefits of austerity. So on second thoughts, wannabe chancellors might not want to trumpet this one too loudly.

No. It’s the idea that you can indeed have fiscal contraction but if you offset it with an even bigger dose of monetary expansion then you will get growth. It did actually work in 1932 as well, whatever we might think about it having done so more recently. That is, properly stated, it’s an entirely fine idea although whether it works in all and every circumstance is another matter.

Zero lower bound

Years of ultra-low interest rates produce this phenomenon, whereby the central bank (the Bank of England in our case) can no longer stimulate the economy as rates are at rock bottom. The recent tweak up to 0.5% is the first move away from the floor that had been established. But the fact that rates will probably remain low for many months to come is a sign of economic weakness, not strength.

No. Zero lower bound insists that monetary policy is ineffective if you cannot reduce interest rates again, as they are zero. QE has rather proven that that is wrong. Still entirely possible that fiscal policy would have worked better etc but the insistence that monetary cannot is proven to be wrong.

Laffer curve

This is a remarkable piece of economic wishful thinking, drawn up on a restaurant napkin, which states that cutting taxes for the rich will always and inevitably lead to economic growth, wealth trickling down and the reduction of government deficits. Ronald Reagan tried it in the 1980s. The deficit soared.

No, it’s simply the (true) observation that at times lower tax rates can increase revenue collection.

Forward guidance
This was the idea touted by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, that by indicating where interest rates and the economy were generally heading, more influence could be exercised without the need for market interventions. But markets and economic data have defied the guidance. We don’t hear much about this any more.

Expectations – if the BoE says interest rates are going to rise then market ones rise immediately. This works.

Stefan Stern is the co-author of Myths of Management, and a visiting professor at Cass Business School

Oh, he works with the Senior Lecturer…..

No, this isn’t what they’re complaining about

The proportion of Britain’s £13.4bn aid budget spent by government ministries other than the Department for International Development rose by almost 50% last year, sparking concerns about transparency and poverty reduction.

Roughly a quarter of the aid budget, which met the 0.7% target set by the government, was spent by non-DfID departments, official figures show.

Aid organisations criticised the government’s increasing tendency to channel aid though non-DfID departments as “out of step with transparency and the focus on the poorest countries”.

The aid organisations have a pretty good lock on getting the funds that pass through DfID. They don’t on those which pass through other departments. That’s what’s being complained about, that’s “our £13.4 billion” and it’s not remaining their.

Plant food, plant food

Trees grow more quickly in cities than rural areas, a new study has found.
Researchers analyzed tree rings in ten cities around the world, and discovered that urban and rural trees have undergone accelerated growth since the 1960s – and say climate change may be the reason for this.
The results revealed urban trees are growing even faster than rural trees, and it could be due to the urban heat island effect, which involves higher temperatures in cities compared to the surrounding landscapes – and that may stimulate photosynthesis to help the plants grow.

No, it doesn’t change my general view. But it is fun, isn’t it, how many different feedback effects we find?

It’s all almost as complex as an economy, you know, those things we know we cannot plan in any detail, all that’s possible to to set a few general rules and leave it to then get on with everything.

The one intervention, a carbon tax, then leave well alone……after all, a revenue neutral carbon tax isn’t going to do any harm either.

The Guardian’s editor

“Facebook has become the richest and most powerful publisher in history by replacing editors with algorithms – shattering the public square into millions of personalised news feeds, shifting entire societies away from the open terrain of genuine debate and argument, while they make billions from our valued attention. This shift presents big challenges for liberal democracy. But it presents particular problems for journalism.”

The actual complaint is that the people are determining the conversation rather than as it used to be, when those who had climbed the greasy pole to become editor of The Guardian did. You know, the peasantry get to talk about what they want to talk about instead of being told what to think?


England will unleash one of the fastest back-three units in the history of the game against Australia on Saturday after Jonny May revealed he had just clocked a sprint record that was faster than Usain Bolt’s average speed when the Jamaican set his 100 metre world record.

May was in a state of shock after he recorded a personal best of 10.49 metres per second in a 40-metre speed test last Saturday, which would equate to a time of 9.53 seconds over 100 metres. Bolt’s world record is 9.58 seconds, which he set in 2009.

How do they do a 40 metre speed test? Is it a standing start? Or accelerating to a mark then measuring speed over 40 metres?

The only statement anyone needs to make about Roy Moore

Donald Trump has backed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore remaining in the election race despite multiple claims of sexual harassment of teenage girls.

Mr Trump believes that “Alabama should take the decision” about their next senator and that Mr Moore should only quit if the allegations are proved.

Weird that it’s The Donald making it but still.

The important concept under discussion is “democracy.” That means that it’s the voters who get to say. There are no – barring actual proved criminal activities – preconditions upon who they may decide among. Because that’s what the system is, the voters getting to decide. Maybe they do care about a bit of ephebophilia, maybe they don’t – as with the Ten Commandments stuff for which he was rightly fired as a judge, not a politician – but it is up to them what they care about.

Displacement activity, displacement activity!

Elon Musk, the Chief Executive of electric car maker Tesla, unveiled a surprise new vehicle on Thursday night – a roadster that he said would be the “fastest production car ever” made.

Capable of going from 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, the Tesla Roadster would be the first such car ever to break the two second mark, the entrepreneur said at a launch near Los Angeles.

He also said it would climb from 0 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds and clear a quarter mile in 8.9 seconds. “This will the first time that any production car has broken 9 seconds in the quarter mile,” he said

With a 200 kilowatt hour battery pack, the Tesla Roadster will have a range of 620 miles on a single charge – another new record.

“The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” he said.

“Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

The solar roof is way behind schedule, the Model 3 is having appalling manufacturing problems, the company’s burning through limited capital – great, upgrade the software and put a bigger battery in!

Fiddling and Rome come to mind.

It’s obviously possible that Tesla’s going to make it but that’s not the way I would be betting at present.

Anyone want to have a stab at this?

The number of victims of sexual offences rose to 1.7 percent in 2015 and to 2.4 percent in 2016 from an average of 0.9 percent between 2005 and 2014.

“Young women aged between 16 and 24 is the group that’s most subject to sexual offences, with 14 percent of young women stating that they were victims of at least one such crime during 2016,” the council said. “Among men in the same age group, 1.2 percent said they had been victims.”

Young women are also subject to harassment to a greater extent, the council said. They survey contains no answers as to why a certain type of crime increases, and analysis is needed to improve understanding of the reasons for the increase, it said.


Well, yes, except all of this is actually explained in the report

The National Audit Office published a review of UK debt last week. It was an incredibly important document, and I managed to miss it at first. Its relevance comes down to one key issue. It tells the truth. This is rare on this issue. By this I mean it reports the true level of UK government debt. This is its opening presentation of key facts:

£1.3 trillion in net debt in Whole of Government accounts

This suggestion that the UK government’s debt is £1.3 trillion contrasts dramatically with the Treasury view of debt, which is reflected in this data, issued recently, and which is what the media usually report in their desire to suggest that the UK economy is being crushed by a government debt mountain that is apparently unsustainable and a burden on generations to come

Therefore Spudda is right and we can borrow much more! Because, you know QE debt doesn’t count.

Might be worth giving the next few lines from the same NAO report.

£1.6 trillion 2015-16 public sector net debt
£2.0 trillion 2015-16 WGA net liabilities
£47,000 2015-16 WGA government debt per UK household
£28 billion interest cost of government debt in 2015-16
2.2% implied interest rate on government debt in 2015-16 WGA
£47 billion forecast central government net cash requirement for 2017-18
£80 billion cash needed to repay the principal of gilts falling due in 2017-18

Oh, NAO agrees with the Treasury then? In the footnotes we get the explanation:

The difference in borrowing in the WGA in comparison to public sector net debt is mainly due to the elimination of
debt holdings by various parts of the public sector, most notably the Bank of England through its quantitative easing
programme and the Debt Management Office’s holdings that are used to manage the government’s short-term cash
requirements. The WGA borrowing figure, therefore, represents the debt held by private sector investors, domestically
and internationally.

Or, as we might put it, Treasury owes the BoE the difference. And we’ve been told a number of times that that BoE QE debt is going o be released back into hte markets at some point. The Federal Reserve is already doing it with the American equivalent.

So, Snippa’s distinction between what is owed to BoE and what is owed to the general public doesn’t work then, does it?

Misunderstanding the news business

Is the British fashion industry racist? Well, it’s a bit like asking whether a British sky is blue – in theory, yes, although in reality, it’s often a dismal grey. Brief bursts of translucent pink and cloudy lemon drift through and for longer, more reliable periods, it’s a deep ink. But then, sometimes, as The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly might lecture, it is undeniably cerulean blue. How blue? Ask Alexandra Shulman.

Formerly the most powerful woman in the industry as editor of Vogue UK, Shulman gave an eye-watering interview to the Guardian last week on the publication of Edward Enninful’s first issue heading the magazine. It was an excruciating unintended trashing of her 25-year legacy in which she appeared to confirm the worst of her blinkered privilege.

In more than 300 issues of Shulman’s editorship, only a dozen covers featured a black person. Two were Beyoncé and Rihanna, who had to become the most famous women on the planet before they were deemed worthy of British Vogue. Campbell – permanently in the world’s top 5 most famous models throughout her 30-year career – featured on five.

This is to entirely misunderstand. Newspapers and magazines chase their readers, not form them. Viz does not cause men to be giggling schoolboys, it appeals to that part of us. Shooting Times does not onvert people to the joys of shotguns, it appeals to those who already have it.

Concerns about who goes on a magazine over should be directed at those who buy – or crucially, don’t – magazines. That is, if there’s any racism here (and quite why a majority white country shouldn’t have majority white people on the cover, well?) then it’s of the people, not the editors.

She would say that, wouldn’t she?

Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, said that the web giants had a responsibility to subsidise investigative reporting.

Newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic have been forced to cut budgets as advertising revenues increasingly move online. The “duopoly” of Google and Facebook will receive more than half of all money spent on digital advertising in Britain this year, according to recent forecasts. Asked if she was concerned about the future of journalism, Brown told Time magazine: “I do worry very much about the business model. I think it’s high time that Facebook and Google created a vast philanthropy fund to fund journalism. They have stolen so much that it’s high time they gave some of it back.”

It is interesting how profoundly conservative people can be, isn’t it? A little more Marx might be useful here, technology determines social relations. Ad supported investigative and long form reporting is really a transient thing, perhaps a century of it? And it happened just because that’s the way technology was then – and it ain’t now.

Cut or uncut

The newly appointed editor of Gay Times has been suspended after it emerged he tweeted a series of antisemitic and misogynistic comments as well as attacking gay people, homeless people and disabled children.

Josh Rivers, who took the position in October, is the first BME editor of a gay men’s magazine, and took on the role with a mandate to promote inclusivity and diversity.

However, he published a series of incendiary comments on his Twitter account between 2010 and 2015. The tweets, which have since been deleted, show Rivers describing Jews as “gross”, and sending numerous messages directing hatred towards lesbians, overweight people, and Asians and Chinese.

It would appear our lad has strong views on the subject.

What it really does though is expose the fragility of the strategy of sweeping all the non boringly hetero whites into the one coalition. No, not because being oppressed by The Man might not work as a strategy, rather because prejudice seems to be equally distributed. I’ve, for example, seen absolutely no evidence (not that I’ve gone looking for it) to suggest that gays are any more or less racist than the rest of society. We might well find they’re more misogynist, don’t know. Equally, there’s nothing to tell us that racists or non- have similar views on abortion, the gender pay gap or anything else.

There are so many axes along which attitudes, from preferences to prejudices, can be measured that there’s simply no assurance at all that they’ll align. Which is a bit of a problem for a coalition really.