Director breathes sigh of relief

Ian Stevenson says:
March 18 2018 at 9:36 am
Last night I saw on one of the Sky channels “The Spider’s web’ about the secrecy jurisdictions. I was able to put faces to people you have written about.

Richard Murphy says:
March 18 2018 at 11:21 am
I was asked to be in it and did not have time….

A shame. It is very good


It is good because who did not have the time to be in it?


If you don’t know the underlying economics of an issue or subject then it’s going to be easy enough to be confused by what happens surrounding that economic issue or subject. And so it is with the Taka against the US dollar exchange rate.

The rate has been declining over time — good, it should be. That isn’t quite how most think of it but that’s just because most haven’t grasped those little subtleties of what is going on.



Defined contributions pension were made legally possible in the UK by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1986. Workers were told these new kinds of pensions would give them more individual choice. But individuals proved to be much less economically rational than Thatcher assumed. When given control over their pensions, people tended to make naive financial decisions based on rules of thumb, which led to smaller pension pots. Workers on defined contributions pensions also found themselves at the mercy of the market. If they happened to have the back luck of retiring during a recession, their income was going to be far lower than it might have been. Finally, many employees with defined contributions pensions found their employer was putting much less towards their pensions. According to one analysis, employers spent on average 15% of their earnings on people with defined benefits pensions and just under 3% on people with defined contributions.

This leaves today’s young people with four options. The first is exit. Many skilled young people have realised that things are getting worse in the British workplace, and have decided to head for more attractive places such as Australia – which also happens to have one of the world’s best pensions systems.

The Australian superannuation system is defined contribution……

Hurrah! Scotland will do the experiment

In the last day I have speed read two versions of the new book by Robin McAlpine from the Scottish think tank Common Weal entitled ‘How to start a new country’.
Having addressed the transition in an appropriately robust fashion that I think soundly legally grounded the book makes four things clear. They are that Scotland must have its own currency. It must have a strong macroeconomic framework. This must work for everyone. And at the heart of making it do so there must be a robust tax system based on a proper understanding of the role of tax in a modern economy. I confess that the last issue, as addressed in the longer version of the book, appears to have been influenced by my thinking. This is a new state to be built on the understanding that MMT coupled with modern tax practice can deliver.

Super, so the Scots can do the experiment and we can all watch, right?

If the rich bugger off we’ll be better off

Well, maybe:

The rich and wealthy are also not that valuable because their low overall rates of tax compared to both income and wealth suggests that our dependency upon them is tenuous, and that their replacement by lower paid, but likely to be as ambitious and in truth equally competent people of sound judgement, might in the event that there was an exodus from the country of the current incumbents of the highest paid posts actually be for the overall best of the country by creating a considerably improved income distribution.

Didn’t we try this? Didn’t we have a brain drain? And did it make us better off?

Well, umm, 1976 was when this country was most equal……

Fun with mathematics

A new analysis of some of the world’s most popular bottled water brands says more than 90% contain tiny pieces of plastic.

Analysis of 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands found an average of 325 plastic particles for every litre of water being sold.

The paper is here.

Looks rather like contamination from the packaging process – it’s higher than in tap water for example.

My own reaction was we’ve an average of 23 pieces per litre of water (median, I think) and pieces are divided into more than 100 nm and less than (so, perhaps 50 nm on average for the smaller group). nm is a millionth of a metre.

Me, I’m going to go with this being equal to nothing in the vernacular. But I’ll admit that I get lost in 10-6, volume and length measurements and so on. Anyone like to tell us all what this actually is as contamination in ppm, or ppb?

It would be fun if this plastics concentration was less than, say, the allowable levels of As in drinking water…..

Banks create money so Moar Tax!

The second is that the current role of private banking in money creation is wholly dependent on central bank support: by themselves they do not create this value.

Second, why aren’t we taxing the seigniorage that they enjoy now but which is very clearly not theirs?

What seigniorage profits?

No, I get the theoretical arguments, creating money ab initio is a profitable thing to do. Banks create money apparently, therefore they must profit from doing so.

So, where is that profit? How much is it?

Ah, there’s the problem. They don’t make excess profits, do they? Return on equity in banking is, I think I’m right, below the national average. Thus there aren’t such seigniorage profits. Either the process costs as much as it makes, or they’re not making money itself.

Bit of a problem for the theory really.


It’s hell for Cheltenham bookies as fans and favourites make light of wet
There was no hiding place for the layers on day one of the Festival as, despite the soggy conditions, punters cashed in and had a day to remember

Apparently the Guardian has never heard of the idea of a bookie balancing his books……

Still, congratulations to the bookie’s PR firm for placing that story……

Sigh. Just Sigh

Given that large companies are paying less tax the time has come for a corporation tax increase

The point of large companies paying less tax is so that large companies pay less tax.

Thus not something that needs correction, is it?

Caveat Emptor

A graduate is suing her university, claiming boasts in its prospectus about high quality teaching and excellent career prospects were fraudulently misleading after she ended up with a “mickey mouse” degree.

Pok Wong, 29, is seeking more than £60,000 in damages from Anglia Ruskin University for what she says was a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.

But it is a mickey mouse degree……