Sabbatical

I have the next 5 weeks free and clear from my usual work. I’m sure we can guess why.

So, what should I do? Anyone want a book written? Should I perhaps drag out that idea of a little novel that’s lying around and have a go at that? Any other ideas?

150 comments on “Sabbatical

  1. You could increase your blog out put.

    And give us all the back ground for your feud with Ritchie-LHTD?

    If you wanted to make it a novelette it would but it for a couple of quid.

  2. I could do with a simple but entertaining economics manual illustrative examples as per your blog. If it’s any good I’d probably dish out a few to friends and family. I won’t read your novel though.

  3. I’ve written a few economics books and they simply don’t sell. Me rather than economics perhaps but it’s just not worth the effort without a decent publisher behind it. A month’s work to make £500? Rather go cycling.

  4. Go walking somewhere nice. Take private lessons in something you always wanted to try but never had time. Read some books.

  5. “the next 5 weeks free and clear from my usual work”?

    Maybe I’m misreading it, but in sporting terms that sounds like “a suspension”?

    Not a firing, not a fine, but perhaps either “you’ve been very bad, go to your room for 5 weeks”, or “shit, too much flak from the usual idiot snowflakes, we’re going to have to let this one die down a little, do you mind keeping your head down for a few weeks”?

    Bet it got loads of clicks for them all the same! I mean, it’s all about ad revenue isn’t it….

  6. Start doing XKCD style posts about economics? there are still so many things on here that i have to read several times and then google even more!!

  7. abacab: I’m clearly too thick and can’t guess why.

    You’re not alone: I’m similarly impoverished in the leetle grey cells dept.

    Incidentally, has Murphy had a holiday this year? Is there time for him to take his family to visit another concentration camp before term begins? Tuberlinka maybe?

  8. @PF-

    I was thinking the article has broken Forbes’ pay calculations: They’ve seen the clicks and can’t afford another column for 5 weeks.

  9. Isn’t it about time someone did an updated ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’? Off you go Tim

    “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.
    Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”

  10. Make up your mind, Tim. What is the question you asking?

    Are you asking: How can I spend the time most enjoyably?

    Or are you asking: How can I spend the time in order to make a lot of money?

    A rational guy like you ought to decide that first before going on to ask for advice.

  11. Give Martin Durkin a ring and make a documentary.
    – What went wrong in Venezuela (something to hammer the Cobynista’s who championed it)
    – How our banking system works (to correct the magic money tree stuff that’s been flying around).
    – Something like Milton Freidman’s I Pencil, only on the role of uncertainty in economics. Makes planning impossible etc.

  12. “I have the next 5 weeks free and clear from my usual work. I’m sure we can guess why.”

    Don’t think I’m even sure what the “usual work” is. Isn’t it trading obscure metals?

  13. Bart said:
    “Are you asking: How can I spend the time most enjoyably? Or are you asking: How can I spend the time in order to make a lot of money? A rational guy like you ought to decide that first before going on to ask for advice.”

    No, more rational to see what the money-making opportunities are, and then compare it to what he can do to enjoy himself. Hence his comment above: “A month’s work to make £500? Rather go cycling.”

    I’d rather do pretty much anything other than cycling, but each to his own.

  14. Charles is on to something. Crowd funded documentaries on subjects of interest can do very well.

  15. Richard

    “Don’t think I’m even sure what the “usual work” is. Isn’t it trading obscure metals?”

    I always thought it was baiting Richard Murphy…..

  16. To answer the question Tim has posited:

    A starter text on markets, price and trade. Oh, and things which get in the way, like tax. For Times Journalists, you can explain incidence.

    Present it as a starter text, light on graphs and (especially) Venn Diagrams, and use common sense and logic to show why this stuff is important, why it works and how it makes life better. A few case studies/recurring themes to show how newly introduced topics in the book fit into an overall scheme would be a neat way of doing it: shipping would lend itself to all of this, but your knowledge is broader

    I don’t agree that these things don’t sell- I think it’s more how they are positioned- look at Freakinomics.

  17. David Moore said:
    “I always thought it was baiting Richard Murphy…..”

    I assumed that was a hobby, not work.

  18. Didn’t you once talk about having a go at pulp fiction writing?

    Nick the plot from some old school thriller and write an updated version with lashings of intrigue, glamorous locations, dashing yet caddish scandium brokers and scores of sizzling gypsies.

    A good way to spend a month I think…

  19. @John Square

    But all that stuff is easily available already. You can’t make the Left read & understand it – their religion won’t allow it. Those books are already on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for them. Tim would just be preaching to the reality crowd like now.

    As Thomas Sowell said “If Socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be Socialists”.

  20. @Interested

    Whilst I am genuinely sorry for the reduction in income Tim is suffering, at least it means I don’t ever have to go on Forbes site again.

    What a terrible dog’s dinner of a site it is. Awful, awful UX.

  21. “Or do a consumers guide to hookers and blow.

    Asking for a friend.”

    “That would be our friend in Spain who could write that, not me……”

    Don’t think I’m not tempted. But is there a market for an economics textbook come horror story? With no sex scenes. They mostly happen to other people.

  22. @Jack Hughes

    I’m not suggesting converting the unconvertable, but there’s a good proportion of the populace who read and loved freakonomics (my wife being just one of that rabble). The general public are also hideously poorly educated in the subject- go review the coverage of the last general election and the discussion of economics, specifically Corbyn’s campaign.

    This is despite the fact it’s a thing that literally every single person on the planet participates in.

    It may never knock kellerman off the number one spot, but a pop-econ book with a clickbaity title may do good business.

  23. Tim

    Could you draw up a few helpful Venn diagrams on difficult areas of economics. I find them most useful to explain tricky concepts.

    Many thanks

  24. “I’ve written a few economics books and they simply don’t sell. ”

    Well, yes.

    But what if they weren’t nakedly economics books? What’s the story of King Canute about?

    “And the wise old King turned to his advisors, emptied his boots of sea water, and said ‘don’t fuck with price signals, you bell-ends’.

    Ok, maybe not.

    But in Raiders of the Lost Ark, whatever Indy actually does, makes sod all difference to the outcome. Trying to buck the market? A market for lemons, with the King (failing) to hire a competent dragon-slayer? Robin Hood’s wacky adventures with the Laffer Curve?

    http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/King-Alfred-the-Cakes

    That page starts with nice Kipling quote.

  25. As for the novel (never mind your castles-in-the-air ideas), I have a Plan.

    1. Acquire a pulpy 1970s bodice-ripper or doctors ‘n’ nurses ‘romance’ novel, price 10p from your nearest second-hand bookshop or village fête.

    2. Destroy the binding.

    3. Scan each page into a jpeg.

    4. Use Tesseract or some other reliable OCR engine to convert to plain text.

    5. As far as possible, use a spell-checker to hunt down OCR artefacts and similar nonsense, then use speech-to-text to find the rest.

    6. Use search-and-replace to change all the proper nouns to something else. This can be automated using EMACS, BBEdit, or other advanced text editors; keep the script for use on other books.

    7. Eyeball the text, changing it here and there, spicing it up if need be. Introduce stuff of your own (e.g. a Martian joining the hero and heroine for a threesome, or asides about scandium or Mr Potato).

    8. Invent a pen-name.

    9. Knock up a cover image using Photoshop if you have it, The GIMP if you don’t.

    10. Format the book using Sigil and KindleGen

    11. Sign up to Amazon KDP.

    12. Upload the book and boast about it on Twitter and Facebook.

    13. Rinse, repeat.

    14. Watch your bank balance swell.

    Now you may think you’d be found out, but I know a woman author who writes this shit for Mills and Boon. She discovered a book, literally in her desk drawer, that she’d written some years before and assumed she’d put it there because it was too bad even for M&B to print. On flicking through the pages she thought, ‘Why not?’ so she sent it in and they published it.

    Three years later a reader complained that she’d already read the book under another title. Yep, M&B had published it twice and not even noticed themselves.

    An ideal, lucrative and, as the Americans would say, ‘fun’ hobby, especially now that the nights are drawing in.

  26. Crowd funded documentaries on subjects of interest can do very well.

    If Soapy Jo is anything to go by, so is crowd-funding dubious legal challenges where you’re the main beneficiary.

  27. Maybe you could surf on the current anti-Russian hype and write some juicy anecdotes about the glories of your days in Moscow?

  28. Happy to take you (and anyone else) sailing along the magnificent Jurassic coast for a few days. There’s plenty of 4G (I once hosted a webex whilst anchored in Studland Bay) so you could continue your blogging, twittering and its a great place for reading and reflection. Bringing the bike would be difficult but there’s some stunning walks.

    Is you golf venture still going? Maybe a bit more marketing?

    If you’re really stuck perhaps a bit of script writing for Rocco?

  29. John Square:
    The general public are also hideously poorly educated in the subject

    I’m not so sure. Most people, however ill-informed, do seem to have a grasp of the basics, even if they’re not well informed. Just knowing that you can’t have something for nothing is generally enough, while paying taxes and raising children provides plenty of experience.

    In evidence I offer the result of the last election. The well-informed will know that Corbyn should have done a lot worse, but on the other hand the Conservatives absolutely deserved the kicking they got.

  30. @Jack C
    “John Square:
    The general public are also hideously poorly educated in the subject

    I’m not so sure. Most people, however ill-informed, do seem to have a grasp of the basics, even if they’re not well informed. Just knowing that you can’t have something for nothing is generally enough, while paying taxes and raising children provides plenty of experience.”

    I think we are arguing the same point here- people understand it, to some degree, but they aren’t educated in it- the difference between knowing fire is hot, and why it’s hot, I suppose.

    People tend to respond well to books (etc) that takes their experience as a starting point and explains why that was their experience.

    The trick is scoping- try not to be encyclopaedic and instead explain the bits they experience. Or explode stuff that tends to be conflated/ treated as synonymous: trade vs capitalism, as a for instance.

  31. A very good friend of mine is about to have his first novel published

    £7.99 for an unknown author’s first novel? That seems expensive, did he do much research on pricing?

  32. John Square,
    I get your point, though a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. To quote some figures I’ve just made up, a) the average full-on Corbynista has an above average IQ, b) 89 of the nations’s 100 most stupid people have very high IQ’s. The other 11 are mystery.

    Bet I’m right too.

  33. “M&B had published it twice and not even noticed themselves.”

    I’m more surprised the reader complained. Haven’t they simply published the same book 8,000 times? Just with the occasional change of location, well-paid profession of the lead bloke, and automatically dialing the raunchiness level up or down?

  34. Interested’s friend:

    described by his commanding officer as ‘one of the most operationally-experienced SAS men of his era’

    I read this first, in proper cynical English English, as not very complimentary at all. But he tried hard.

    I won’t be saying this to his face.

  35. Maybe you could use the time to have a real hard think about why you’re so darn sure that poor people don’t deserve water?

  36. I’ve already thought about that, the answer being that allowing prices to change increases supply more than any other system we’ve ever come up with. Thus, allowing prices to change enlarges the supply of water to poor people.

  37. I remember after Andy McNab and Chris Ryan hit the bookstores the running joke in the army, at least for a while, was that the most oversubscribed course in the entire armed forces was the Creative Writing course.

    The other joke was that the hardest course was the cooking one: nobody to date had passed it.

  38. Tim W – Poor people deserve water – it’s better however if the first people to the store don’t buy it all so there is some left for those who arrive later.

    Surge pricing addresses this. It’s not about some daft lefty notion of ‘fairness’ – this is the market determining it.

  39. Something on the European Single Market would be nice.

    I’m well enough self-informed about what the European Customs Union is to be able to tell people off when they get it wrong and correct them, but I have no such firm enough footings in what the Single Market is to be able to correct people when I know they are gettings things wrong or just plainly bullshitting.

  40. @Tim Newman

    “£7.99 for an unknown author’s first novel? That seems expensive, did he do much research on pricing?”

    £12.99 actually (for the hardback, the paperback is £7.99). The price was set by the publisher, HarperCollins, and I imagine they do a fair bit of research on pricing…

  41. The clarify further, what does “being in” the Single Market mean as different from “access to” the Single Market and “trading with” the Single Market,and other such FUD that gets thrown around.

  42. Oh well, if Timmy W’s going to stay coy, I’ll suggest that he comes here and does my job for me for 5 weeks, and I’ll bugger off somewhere myself.

    Tim – can you write technical explanations in French? :p

  43. The price was set by the publisher, HarperCollins, and I imagine they do a fair bit of research on pricing…

    Fair enough. Good on him for finding a proper publisher.

  44. @Jack C

    “I read this first, in proper cynical English English, as not very complimentary at all. But he tried hard.”

    Very much not the case – they don’t dish out praise like that very often… He served in the SAS for 17 years, the bulk of it in a Sabre Squadron (as opposed to a role back at the camp), and saw action everywhere the Regiment was throughout that period. Very few can say that. He won the Military Cross and a mention in dispatches (neither of which are easy to do in a regiment in which you are kind of expected to do things a little bit out of the ordinary), was his Squadron’s Sergeant Major for a decade and left as RSM. He was the only member of the SAS to cross into Iraq as a fighting soldier in both Gulf wars. Very much the real deal. Ryan and McNab are generally regarded as a bit of a joke in the Regiment and both are persona non grata at Hereford but that is not true of this guy.

    Of course, it won’t be to everyone’s taste but he doesn’t need the cash, he is doing it for the enjoyment.

  45. Tim W

    “Maybe you could use the time to have a real hard think about why you’re so darn sure that poor people don’t deserve water?”

    Perhaps you would like to look to Venezuela and explain why your so damn sure that keeping prices low gets poor people fed?

  46. He was the only member of the SAS to cross into Iraq as a fighting soldier in both Gulf wars.

    He might find the publishing world more treacherous than anything he’s encountered to date!

  47. Henry C – I’ve read it and it’s very good. Strictly beach reading, not Dostoevsky of course. Second book in the series is just being edited now. As I say, not everyone will enjoy it – it’s just a disposable thriller.

  48. @JackC
    “To quote some figures I’ve just made up, a) the average full-on Corbynista has an above average IQ, b) 89 of the nations’s 100 most stupid people have very high IQ’s. The other 11 are mystery.”

    Experience would tend to indicate there’s very little correlation between measurable intelligence & “smarts”. I’ve thought long on this. Smarts seems to depend on an ability to learn from experience. The quicker you learn, the smarter you are. Measurable intelligence seems biased towards the accumulation of knowledge. Learning from other people’s presumed experience.
    Problem being:
    1) Did those people learn second hand? At what point does this supposed knowledge touch down with reality?
    2) Maybe they were simply lying. They’re being told what someone would like to be true. See the entirety of the LHTD’s output.
    3) Does any of this knowledge actually apply to the situation here & now? Does the knowledgeable person have the experience to judge?
    4) No doubt others…

  49. @David Moore

    Superb. Chapeau! And all that.

    I take it that this whole water price thing has really upset people.

    I can only assume, having missed reading the article, that it means it’s correct.

    As an aside, I like the way that explaining how something works has marked our host out as the architect of the harm said thing may do.

    Anyone get the feeling that (if modern more’s had been in force back in the 1680’s) had some guy hurt himself falling over, everyone would have gone round and beat the shit out of Isaac Newton for inventing gravity?

    I’m reminded of the Julian riots.

  50. Back on topic, isn’t the problem that normal economics goes out the window when you have such severe disruption to supplies of inelastic life essentials at insufficient notice? There is a point at which it becomes economically rational to kill for a can of coke.

    Pricing can’t enlarge the supply by much, mostly it will ration the existing supply. At which point there are those without the means to pay – and they could actually be very rich people who don’t keep much cash in their purses. But we also don’t have the infrastructure left to do rationing any other way.

  51. @BiG

    “Pricing can’t enlarge the supply by much, mostly it will ration the existing supply. At which point there are those without the means to pay – and they could actually be very rich people who don’t keep much cash in their purses.”

    What’s wrong with rationing the existing supply, though? And there must come a point where it is uneconomic to buy stuff to resell it. You might pay £5 for a £1 bottle of water for yourself but you are unlikely to buy all 50 bottles in the shop because there is going to be a limit to the price you can charge for a bottle of water in almost any circumstances outside the Sahara desert. We’re not talking about people who literally cannot get hold of water and are dying of thirst, we are talking about people who want clean water rather than to take their chances with rainwater.

  52. BiG,
    Maybe, but aren’t you missing the way people actually behave?

    A higher price will encourage increased supplies to that area. But what we’re really talking about is maybe a doubling or tripling of the price to make it worthwhile. So not the end of the world.

    Then add the fact that most people are not actually selfish, that many individuals and organisations will in fact pay the extra and then distribute to others.

    Proper gougers will pay the price in lost future business.

  53. BiG

    Not good practice, but I’ll repeat what I put on the other thread:

    If the state does feel the need (for all sorts of perfectly good reasons), to step in, then there is nothing to stop it doing so.

    But not with fascist measures, rather, “in addition”. Why not simply helicopter in their own supplies, for free if they want? Sure, that will affect “the market”, but then so could anyone. Indeed, any of us, or a charity, could hire a truck (helicopter?) and altruistically ship in bucket loads of all sorts of free stuff.

  54. I take your point entirely, mine is that economics mostly concerns itself with how to get richer under normal circumstances. The trade and market freedom stuff is established, the spats are over how much redistribution of wealth and income is optimal (or a reasonable tradeoff compared to higher gross wealth production but some people not seeing any of it), minimum wages, regulations versus consumer responsibility. Details in other words.

    This doesn’t work at the margin though. When you are happy to get less rich to just stay alive another day. I might well buy more water than I need in case the disruption lasts even longer than expected. I’d be happy to get the taps on with 50 spare bottles on which I have now lost a heap of money.

    Hedging is the closest you get to in the financially-focused economics we are more used to thinking about. But it’s hedging you have to do physically and in situ – unless your options trader is capable of helicoptering Perrier to you.

    Price rationing of existing supply is fine except for the people who are not in a position to meet the price – including the millionaire who only has bank cards. I’m not saying I have a solution. Perhaps the gouger should price by ability to pay (to the extent he can assess that).

    And you do have to remember humans are first emotional animals. They are only economic animals by accident, by deeper programming than emotions; the appearance of profiteering from misery appeals very heavily to the emotions. It explains why people hate lawyers among other things.

  55. @PF,

    It’s a little difficult when areas are totally cut off. Not many copter pilots happy to fly into a hurricane.

    You see this at a smaller level in a little mountain village where folks of mine live – regularly gets cut off by snow. The first sign of that is usually that hte local supermarket has been stripped bare by the 6 people in the village who first heard the weather forecast.

  56. David Lesperance: I am finally utterly convinced that price gouging is a very good idea because the dishonest idiot Michael Hiltzik says it’s not.

  57. BiG

    Hovercraft / boats (if extreme flooding), etc… There are always ways, usually coordinating quite closely with just how seriously an area needs immediate additional supplies?

    If one is saying that the state (and this is Texas, USA – not Somalia) was not in any way capable, I don’t believe that.

  58. Where are the private suppliers shipping in bottled water on their handily-available hovercraft?

    Seriously. The US marines can’t get there but you (or anyone) can just float over on the hovercraft parked in your garage?

    It’s not just the anti-gougers coming up with hypothetical extremes detached from reality.

  59. Interested, I’m more a Lee Childs, Stephen Leather, Michael Connolly, Don Winslow kind of reader, so sounds right up my street.

  60. Tim, I heard @Gavin_McInnes (one of the original founders of vice) is starting up a new media venture

  61. Having now read it, can anyone explain why Forbes took it down / gave Timmy a 5 match ban (or whatever)?

    What’s the problem? Tim even goes out of his way to say “it’s a balance – efficiency versus equity” even if he makes it clear where he stands himself with regard to that balance.

    Have we really turned into such useless spineless snowflakes that we can’t even talk about issues like this?

  62. BiG, bet there’s plenty of fellers down Texas way with those swamp boats – the ones that are basically a pontoon with a huge fan on the back. Don’t necessarily need a hovercraft.

  63. Stephen Leather

    He stepped away from his usual stuff to write the excellent Private Dancer about the dangers of expats in Thailand falling for the local bar girls. You can find it free online somewhere.

  64. “Seriously. The US marines can’t get there ”

    If that really is genuinely true, then frankly the US might as well be Somalia.

    “but you (or anyone) can just float over on the hovercraft parked in your garage?”

    Now you’re being childish! If you can be bothered to both read and comprehend, I am saying that if there is a (real) need a country with the resources of the USA can find a way. Ie, if it’s still not clear, “if it wants to”.

  65. I’m surprised no-one’s mentioned Colombian Marching Powder along the way. It’s a fine example how the market will match supply to demand. The harder the authorities try to interdict the supply side the higher the price to the consumer. And the more incentive their is for smugglers to beat the interdiction. Considering how much effort governments expend on their “war on drugs”, the street price is remarkably stable.

  66. Crikey

    I managed to miss the fall-out from the Forbes water article.

    Well done Tim, you’ve finally become famous.

  67. Considering how much effort governments expend on their “war on drugs”, the street price is remarkably stable.

    I remember reading an article on drug smuggling once. it said the authorities try to estimate the quantity of drugs on the street by watching for price fluctuations when they disrupt the supply. They’d not done it for a while when they stumbled upon an absolutely unbelievable quantity of cocaine, basically an entire boat load running into several tonnes. The street price didn’t budge, which gave them an idea of how hopeless their efforts were.

  68. @BiG, you say:

    You see this at a smaller level in a little mountain village where folks of mine live – regularly gets cut off by snow. The first sign of that is usually that hte local supermarket has been stripped bare by the 6 people in the village who first heard the weather forecast.

    Surely this just makes Tim’s point? To stop the first few residents clearing out the shop and hording all the supplies ‘just in case’, the shopkeeper raise prices so that the customers only take what they need.

    The other option is rationing by the shopkeeper. Personally I wouldn’t like to be in that position. The accusations of favoritism would be endless.

  69. John Square said:
    “I’m reminded of the Julian riots.”

    About the calendar change? Give us back our 11 days, or however many it was?

    Thing is, there was actually a point to that – when work is paid daily, but rents are due quarterly, changing the calendar without changing the rent day actually means you’ve got 11 days (9 allowing for Sundays) less income to pay the rent out of.

  70. But that’s a much easier one? If the village is “regularly” cut off by snow, anyone who has not learned to be effectively self sufficient has probably got other issues.

    Hence, there shouldn’t be regular cases of panic buying (and the rest)…

    Raffles

    And – if the residents are that dim – the shopkeepers will quickly learn to carry extra supplies (where appropriate) in anticipation (going back to the earlier argument)?

  71. Bloke in Germany said:
    “Pricing can’t enlarge the supply by much, mostly it will ration the existing supply. ”

    Depends how much it goes up. If water is selling at $50 a bottle, and that’s widely reported, and there are copious supplies not that far away, there will be enough nutters ready to risk the trip to make a quick profit.

  72. PF said:
    “if the residents are that dim …”

    This is a small isolated mountain village. Probably historically had nearly Norfolk levels of inbreeding. They could well be that dim.

  73. Most of the small isolated Alpine villages that I know of are full of million Euro properties and Russian tarts in mink coats. This goes double for anywhere snow sure enough to be regularly cut off from the outside world.

  74. “Tim will be delighted to be called an economist.”

    And a conservative one at that.

    “Have we really turned into such useless spineless snowflakes that we can’t even talk about issues like this?”

    It does appear that we’ve forgotten Aristotle’s teachings:

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

    Perhaps that needs displaying aboute every door at our universities.

  75. “russian tarts in mink coats”

    the cleverest thing the tourist board did around here was to heavily promote Interlaken to furriners, thereby concentrating them into one very “meh” town. I wouldn’t say it’s a dive, but it’s very, very “meh”. This means that the majority of them day-trip out of Interlaken and avoid us completely.

  76. Who says price doesn’t work as form of rationing:

    “Police were called to an Essex branch of Lidl today after a mass brawl broke out that was sparked by the manager announcing that all £1.50 bottles of special offer prosecco had sold out within five minutes of opening.

    ……

    ‘There was a massive bottleneck at the front door and by the time I regained consciousness I noticed that all of the boxes had been picked up the guy who owns the local off licence and his 36 grown-up children.’

    http://southendnewsnetwork.com/news/five-arrests-after-17-injured-in-lidl-prosecco-riot/

    Isn’t this Julia’s neck of the woods, literally and literally?

  77. @Interested,

    Unfortunately for me, the village in question is closer to Norfolk than Neuchatel.

  78. “Essex Police confirmed that a number of arrests were made from a variety of offences including breach of the peace, violent disorder and penetration with a part-baked baguette.

    🙂

  79. I think a lot of folks are leaning toward Tim doing a book, but as Tim says, they just don’t sell. So how about conveying the information in a different format? Something along the lines of “Economix”, or a “Story of Stuff”?
    Those present complex information in a simple, illustrated manner to make it accessible to a broader audience.
    Tim’s approach could be to partner with a non-traditional publisher (Zenoscope, for example), where Tim would be the writer, and the publisher would provide the artist(s) to create the “graphic novel”.
    Thoughts?

  80. Well Tim,

    you could spend the next five weeks digging over my garden or a better idea would be to get on the phone to some agents in the US and get on some TV shows whilst you have some notoriety, it never did Milo any harm.

  81. If you have indeed been suspended by Forbes for that article, you now have a first hand example of why 64 million chose Donald Trump over Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and the rest of the Republican Party’s gutless wonders. Forbes mirrors the current state of the GOP to an uncanny degree, which is why the only thing I read there is your column. It appears that the leadership at Forbes, like the GOP, is more worried about being invited to D.C. cocktail parties than defend the principles it claims to hold dearly.

  82. An economics writer getting suspended for opposing price controls, how bizarre. Our public life seems to resemble the late stage Soviet Union more and more as time goes on. I guess it’s nice that you weren’t banished to Siberia.

  83. “I’m no longer sure which of Southend and North Dorset is the most inbred.”

    I’m an ex-pat Yorkshireman. Round here I’d say that 80% are from outside the region and mostly of a mature age, which is why it features well on longevity tables.

  84. BiND

    It does appear that we’ve forgotten Aristotle’s teachings:
    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

    Sorry for the pendantry, but Aristotle didn’t write that. In Book 1 Chapter 3 of the Nicomachean Ethics, 1094b19ff, he says in effect that the mark of an educated man is to demand no more exactitude than the topic at hand admits. The pseudo-quote is a garbled summary of his argument.

    That said, the pseudo-quote is true. It’s just not by Aristotle.

  85. @BiND – in my defence it’s late here but I read quite a lot of that article before I realised it was a wind-up.

  86. How about some titles of novels we’d like to see penned by Tim:
    “Post-EU France is a harsh mistress”
    “Elon Shrugged”
    “The HS2 to serfdom”

  87. PF,

    “Have we really turned into such useless spineless snowflakes that we can’t even talk about issues like this?”

    it’s not “we”. It’s old media. Organisations that are heading for destruction, run by people who are parasitic on investments made decades or centuries ago.

    These are the people who are in shock over Trump and Brexit, because they have not grasped the shift away from they and their friends setting the narrative in the media to anyone being able to do it.

  88. Late to todays caper but the question of interest is surely this: Why is everybody reacting to the sqwarking of leftist scum by acting like cowardly and headless chickens?

    What does Forbes FFS care about SJW shite whining on twatter? Why should it piss its pants over the numbuts opinions of some Kalifonikation arsehole spewing from the LA Times?

    You should spend your time penning a refutation of his crap Tim and demanding the L A Turd publishes it.

    Why is everyone seemingly running scared of leftist scum?

  89. Bloke in North Dorset said:
    “http://southendnewsnetwork.com/news/five-arrests-after-17-injured-in-lidl-prosecco-riot/ ”

    I got a frighteningly long way through that before I started to wonder whether it was a spoof.

  90. Recreate the Black & White or Roller Coaster Tycoon video games with more of an economic slant? Everybody who owns a more-than-calls-and-texts mobile phone is a potential customer.

    Additionally I’d personally enjoy write-ups, or will settle for some trivia, about metallic chemistries.

  91. David Farrer

    Christ, Murphy always seems to be covered in sweat. Maybe it’s a glandular condition?

  92. @BraveFart,

    He has admitted to a skin condition that makes his forehead and half is face glow red. One select committee meeting he looked like he had the plague as he hadn’t used his cream (yes, my various personalities on the TRUK blog have dragged that out of him!)

    Meanwhile, the wedding ring is definitely gone. I wonder what the missus said as she walked out of the door.

  93. “Give Martin Durkin a ring and make a documentary.
    – What went wrong in Venezuela (something to hammer the Cobynista’s who championed it)”

    Do it. Just do what the guy suggested

  94. Nocturnal Nightie,

    “Recreate the Black & White or Roller Coaster Tycoon video games with more of an economic slant? Everybody who owns a more-than-calls-and-texts mobile phone is a potential customer.”

    The problem is that the game market on mobiles is brutally competitive. The only way I’d develop an app would be if I thought of something pretty simple, like Tetris, Dots, Picross, Ballz, Something that would take only a few weeks only to code, and almost anyone would play.

  95. W. Joseph Campbell has made a pretty good job of setting up a blog called Media Myth Alert and authoring a related book off the back it. Maybe something similar for economic myths?

    Also, I’d love to see Timmy engage with the LA Times and get them to publish a jolly good fisking of that Hiltzik article. Should be both worth a bob or two and educational.

  96. Walk the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela. I completed it in 29 days in May-June, and it was a delightful experience, with friendly people everywhere.

    (Other caminos are available, including one starting in Lisbon.)

  97. @BraveFart,

    Like many speakers at the Book Festival the great man was suffering from a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome and the associated Brexit Derangement Syndrome. That may account for the sweating. Poor AC Grayling was similarly afflicted on Friday morning. Now that the Festival has finished the Scottish NHS can enjoy a well deserved rest from dealing with these seasonal outbreaks…

    On the other hand, despite being a Remainer, Rory Stewart speaking on Friday evening seems to be a remarkably sane fellow and had the Edinburgh bourgeoisie eating out of his hand.

  98. It’s rather appealing to tell a chap how to spend well-earned leisure time. I’d like to see a second peer-reviewed paper to nail home whether central heating and it’s sister air-con is a strong cause of obesity. To be scientific it would have to start by attempting to prove the opposite, or to prove there are stronger causes in play such as lots of free parking or farm subsidies or anti-market health care.

  99. Umm, write some puff copy for theguardian.org?

    The donors need the tax deductions and the Graun needs the tax free cash in order to vilify those corrupt organisations that avoid tax.

  100. @DavidF

    Grayling’s probably on the next desk to Snippa signing his new book “Democracy and Its Crisis”. Apparently, the crisis is that people have voted for outcomes of which he, personally, disapproves. It’s an outrage!

  101. … Grayling thinks that Brexiteers influenced the result of the referendum by “betting heavily on a Remain vote to encourage complacency”, demonstrating that he doesn’t understand betting or, indeed, people.

    The Scotsman

  102. Someone let me know when the five weeks are up so that I can restart visiting Forbes regularly.

    Timmy, If I were you, I’d use the five weeks and the notoriety to grow your brand. Ending gouging laws is so simplistic it just makes sense to do it. It’s not like the poor can’t simply fill up a few empty 2-liters before the storm and have the water they need at an affordable price. It seems to me that a PSA advising people to create their own reserve using cheap, pre-storm resources would be a far better use of tax dollars, assuming we want water available. Who in their right mind thought that having cops waste time checking prices during a storm was a good idea anyway?

  103. benaud: “You could increase your blog out put (…) And give us all the back ground for your feud with Ritchie-LHTD? (…) If you wanted to make it a novelette…”

    I must admit I’m curious about the back-story, but my feeling is it would be more like an opera.

  104. Ah, yes. Rory Stewart. Still can’t figure out what to make of him. Curious, even fascinating, career. Thoroughly interesting chap. And hot AF. But rather dodgy on Brexit. Still making up my mind….

  105. IIRC it goes back to the early days of blogging when everyone had visit counters. Snippa was always boasting about his numbers and our host in response stopped linking because a non trivial amount of Snippa’s traffic was from links on here.

  106. Only an absolute economic illiterate would argue against price gouging after an emergency. Ignoring the immediate effects on supply (let’s get this shipment of food / water down there as quickly as we possibly can so that we can make loadsa money) and demand (a couple of customers not stripping the shelves bare but instead trying to work out what the absolute minimum that they require is); there are longer term effects too.

    Next hurricane season some shopkeepers may get a bit more stock in – they can cope with the wastage if it means the possibility of super-profits. Next time a hurricane is forecast to hit this area then they may pay their suppliers more to get some rush shipments in. People may remember the last time a hurricane hit and so store some bottled water and dried / canned food in their lofts just in case.

    The whole point of price gouging in these situations is that it changes behaviours – both short-term and long-term.

  107. Walk the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela.

    That’s on my things to do after (early) retirement list.

  108. I see precious little in the way of alternative suggestions to the price surge.

    If you impose price controls (the $1 bottle of water stays at $1 rather than go to $7) what happens to the stock in the store? It would be foolish to imagine any other scenario than the first people to arrive will buy it all. Also likely they would then sell it on at $7 or more.

    So how to ration? Limit each customer to a small number of bottles? Can you come back multiple times? How does the store keep track of you?

    What about the hypothetical example from the LA Times of the poor mother with lots of children. Does she get more than the usual limit? What if its still not enough?

    How would you ‘prove’ you need more than someone else? Bringing your kids with you seems impractical and open to abuse (bring someone else’s kids). Bring some pictures of your kids – same problem. What if they have a medical requirement that needs more clean water?

    A government mandated document with a declaration of ‘your need’ would involve a large amount of bureaucracy and that extends to all types of goods in short supply (gas/petrol, food etc).

    The uproar is just usual virtue signalling from the left/SJW types who have no real answer to the problem.

  109. have the next 5 weeks free and clear from my usual work. I’m sure we can guess why.

    Paternity leave. Congrats.

    Tim has stated on here that he hasn’t any children because he (they) can’t. Of course, I have possibly got the wrong end of the stick: – but this could be seen as a bit awkward.

    Paternity leave. Congrats.

  110. I would absolutely buy a book titled “the ‘terribly, terribly simple’ rules of economics” (a Breitbart quote from your Forbes article) written in your style i.e. by you.

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