Some still not getting it

Crisis loomed when global prices fell, production stagnated, the value of the currency dropped, and under Maduro, dependence on imports and retail monopolies meant shortages that hurt many. That responsibility lies with the government and the industrialist rightwing opposition.

Ho Yus. It’s the right wing, the industrialists, the wreckers, responsible again for the failure of socialism.

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera teaches human rights and philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London

Philosophy requires at least a working knowledge of logic, doesn’t it?

No, there is no comment section on this one, even The Guardian knows that won’t work.

Headmaster notices Mick Jagger of a popular music combo

Public schoolboys speak “mockney” to hide their privileged education, a former headmaster has claimed.

Barnaby Lenon, ex-headmaster of Harrow School, said its pupils, as well as Etonians, kept the habit years after leaving school.

“There has long been a tendency for schoolchildren at private schools to adopt their own language, and certainly with an emphasis on mockney,” he told The Sunday Times.

“It continues into adult life. George Osborne and Tony Blair are both prone to lapse into Estuary English so they resemble the Kray brothers rather more than the private school background they come from.”

Mr Lenon said the ex-chancellor and the former prime minister did not “appear to be upper-class, because being upper-class these days is not a good thing”.

Erm, yes?


So this is the plan:

For the sake of full disclosure I should note that I have formed a new company limited by guarantee called Corporate Accountability Network Limited. It was going to be called Accounting Standards Network Limited but the word standards is regulated and so a different name was chosen.

The company is not trading as yet.

It will be partaking in research grant applications and so might do so in future.


Rather fun

Modern monetary theory seems to be just macroeconomic populism:

Macroeconomic populism is an approach to economics that emphasizes growth and income distribution and deemphasizes the risks of inflation and deficit finance, external constraints and the reaction of economic agents to aggressive non-market policies

In more detail:

Macroeconomic populism is a term coined by Rudi Dornbusch and Sebastian Edwards in a 1990 paper.[1] The term refers to the policies by many Latin American administrations by which government spending and real wages increase in a non-sustainable way leading to inflation, then stagflation and ultimately an economic collapse that drops real wages to lower than they were before the populist period began. The paper cites as examples Salvador Allende in Chile (1970–1973), and Alan García first term in Peru (1985–1990). In 1991, Dornbusch and Edwards edited a book titled The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America which analyzed more cases like Argentina between 1973 and 1976, Mexico between 1970 and 1982, and Brazil.[2]

Cruel but true

The favourite banana republic leftie hero when I was a kid was Chile’s Salvador Allende, perhaps the first Marxist to be democratically elected to office. Sal set a great example — he was killed before he could wreak any more havoc on his lovely country and so is still revered today by the left.

After three years of redistributing wealth like Robin Hood on steroids, the country was hit by a wage freeze, food shortages, a vicious black market, inflation of 140% — while Chile’s debt soared and the government defaulted on its loans. In other words, it was going exactly — exactly — the same way as Venezuela has gone in the past 17 years. That’s all it takes, three years of revolutionary socialist largesse accompanied by the mimsy poetry of Pablo Neruda and the country’s well on the way to being a basket case.

A coup replaced Allende with the very rightish General Augusto Pinochet and Chile’s economy was back to doing just fine, very quickly. Admittedly, Gus also killed a lot of people.

Umm, yes

The most significant thinker in the Brexit movement went further. Richard North, the advocate of “Flexcit”, warned that,

Richard is many things including dogged and often correct but most significant?

Rationally, a flexible approach made sense. But by the winter of 2013 the market for rational politics was faltering. North described how Lawson and his fellow judges excluded from the shortlist entries that said the only way to leave the EU was to follow the Norwegian example. Until that point, he had had regular meetings with Arron Banks, Owen Patterson and Cummings. “But something then happened – I don’t know what. Cummings went dark on me and I was ‘no platformed’.”

Well, yes. To be perhaps a little harsh there’s a touch of the Ritchie here, in that Richard tends to work on the my way or the highway principle, leading to a certain difficulty in remaining in the warm embrace of an organisation. That he is indeed often right doesn’t change this.

There’s got to be more to this story, no?

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, is under fire over his former government’s connection to a so-called “freeport” which risks enabling money laundering and corruption.

In letters seen by The Telegraph, Mr Juncker has been told he is “morally and ethically” obliged to crack down on a legal loophole that potentially facilitates money laundering at the site next to Luxembourg Airport.

Le Freeport Luxembourg is a high-security facility for the storage of valuables indefinitely, including art, gems, gold, antiques and wine. Built while Mr Juncker was Luxembourg’s prime minister, it is exempt from the country’s usual tax and customs requirements.

Being exempt from the usual tax and customs requirements is the definition of a freeport. It’s an entirely normal construct too – the metals business relies upon a network of such around the world – LME warehouses are all outside local customs and tax. Equally, the booze and baccy industries rely upon bonded warehouses, the same legal construct.

What is it that is actually being blethered about here?

Am I making it yet?

From George Will:

She leavens her sentimentality with nostalgia: “When I was a kid, a minimum-wage job in America would support a family of three. It would pay a mortgage, keep the utilities on and put food on the table.” Well. The Adam Smith Institute’s Tim Worstall suggests some pertinent arithmetic: When Warren was 10 in 1959, the federal hourly minimum wage ($1, which would be $8.55 in 2018 dollars) for 2,000 hours (40 hours a week for 50 weeks) would provide $2,000 a year, below the poverty threshold ($2,324) for a family of three.

Yes, I know, I’ve been doing this a long time and I should be blase. There’s still a certain perking up at seeing a point being picked up and broadcast in this manner.

Thin is though Warren’s been repeatedly claiming this. And I seem to be the only person who went do the sums. Why?


An entire year group at a European state school in Oxfordshire could be forced to abandon their education in the event of a no-deal Brexit, school leaders have said.

Year 11 students at Europa school in Culham, Oxfordshire, are studying for a European baccalaureate (EB), but are currently in limbo, with many believing they will not be able to complete their education if the UK crashes out of the EU.

The school teaches a multilingual curriculum and is the only school in the country that offers the EB, a qualification backed by the EU that it would be unable to offer in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Why would it not be possible to offer it? No exlanation is given of course.

So, why?

Middle class people do middle class things

Terrible, innit?

He said a large proportion of bursaries were handed out to the “squeezed middle” – children of doctors, lawyers and owners of small businesses – who can no longer afford to pay fees in full.

“The majority of means tested bursaries will be topping up the squeezed middle who can’t afford £40,000-a-year fees,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“We are going back to the demographic profile that used to send their children to the local independent schools when I started in teaching – local solicitors, GPs, people who run family businesses, local farmers, people in the armed forces from the rank of, say, major upwards – the middle classes. They are being squeezed out of private education because of affordability.”

How appalling.

Not that I’m managing this myself, but….

On Wednesday, HuffPost’s parent company, Verizon Media Group, and BuzzFeed both announced plans to lay off hundreds of staff. The news signalled a collision between the dream of an online media boom and the accountants’ harsher reality: questions over the long-term profitability of digital media companies, and, as a result, concerns over the future of online journalism itself.

“What if there is literally no profitable model for digital news? Or none that actually scales and endures without, say, the established readership base and brand of the New York Times?” asked the MSNBC presenter Chris Hayes, summarising a growing fear among media executives that the current model of paying for journalism on the internet is broken.

Well, yes.

Or perhaps this should be viewed from the other way around? Why not look at the revenue and think about what can be done with that?

Had a few contacts recently. Emails from people at HuffPo, FastCompany etc. Journos looking to write a story. And they’re using the American methods. Nothing is ever actually just said. It’s always “So and so told us that”. Which is time consuming and expensive, you’ve got to go look for the quotes which build the story the way you want it. Takes days to stitch together something this way. It’s also the American way of journalism.

The English has always been a bit more direct. And perhaps online needs it to be even simpler?

Another way to put this is if online revenues won’t support the American newsroom techniques why not go look for the techniques that will be supported by the revenues?

Entirely agreed I’m not doing it either but someone, somewhere, will.

A most interesting number

£334 billion net tax revenues for the government from the oil and gas sector
since 1970-71

Helps to explain why we didn’t put it all into a sovereign wealth fund as Norway did.

Simply not a large enough number in relation to UK public finances or economic size.

Yes, yes, obviously, that’s a non-inflation adjusted number, doesn’t include what might have been earned on any investment fund etc. But still. The Norwegians were at times getting 30% of GDP from the oil. The UK peaked at what, 3%? Summat like that.

Is it legal to sell rats for human consumption?

A question. I’m looking for a food that it is entirely legal to sell but which isn’t sold because no one wants to eat the stuff.


Could use different example, sheep’s lungs for example. They are eaten, in haggis, but it’s extremely rare to see them alone – I have done, but 45 years ago. Used to be a specialist offal butcher in Green St in Bath.

But would like an example that would truly make the point. Rats would be good – is it legal to sell them, as long as properly labelled?

The argument, of course – chlorine washed chicken. If people want it then it will be on the shelves, it will sell. If they don’t then it won’t sell and it won’t be offered. So, the only reason to try to ban it – as part of the reason to not have a US trade treaty – is because you know people will want it.

Substitute rats and it makes the point nicely.