Oh yes, very good, very good indeed

No, don’t ask, just go read it.

America was the most important thing in the world at the turn of the twentieth century, but no one knew it yet. It took World War I to demonstrate what paper tigers the European empires had become. America flipped the 19th century script and went to Belleau Wood with all the fury of a father turning the car around. When it was over, we shirked the big mantle and went back to our cornfields. We avoided the responsibilities of a great power until the hakenkreuz and the rising sun were waved right in our faces. We shrugged and rolled up our sleeves and pounded the world flat again, because that’s the way we liked it. It’s easier to drive on.

Then came the fifties. The Soviets stood there, leering over half the globe, and said they would bury us. We yawned. We had the sobriety of Eisenhower on our side. We had the muscle of finned cars rolling off assembly lines uncounted with a sunburned arm out the window on day one.

The perfect typo

I have recently tired my hand at writing

From here.

No, I’ve checked, it was a typo. But what a lovely one, he’s trying to point out that this classical liberal thing is the way to make the poor richer, to allow the dispossessed to possess and so on and the slip from I have tried to I have tired my hand is simply lovely.

He’s not entirely right as I’m not and nor are you. But try it out, anyone capable of creating, by a slip, a phrase that I’m going to steal (and oooh, I will) is worth a try.

I recognise these two

Nor do entry barriers guarantee quality. Indeed, many of the faults blogs are accused of apply as much to old media, where they played out in elephantine slow motion and with a tenured complacency symptomatic of a medium blessed with too much protection from competition. Some of the most questionable analysis I have ever read came dressed in academic clothing, and is all the more dangerous for that. One paper from Sheffield academics, for example, purported to prove that Britain doled out £93bn of corporate welfare and had Labour politicians hopping with excitement. Another I recall from 2009 was an analysis issuing from a “radical” think-tank, claiming to show that childcare workers generated £7 for every pound they are paid, while advertising executives destroyed £11.

That seond was described by Giles himself as “not economics frankly” and I was one of those who leapt in upon the first.

Not a great job recommendation this

We will be optimizing your website in the major search engines like: Google, Yahoo & Bing which results in improvements in keyword ranking, traffic, link popularity, goal conversion, and ROI in the first month of our work.

For more details please reply. We have 24×7 supports, so you can contact any point of time with your website issues.

OK, so spammer looking for SEO web work. Here’s the bit that’s not a great recommendation:

Hello, libertarianview.co.uk Team,

Hope you are doing well.

I thought you might like to know some reasons why you are not getting enough hits/visitors and conversion for libertarianview.co.uk.

I have absolutely no connection whatsoever with that website.

Question for libel lawyers

What’s the definition of “substantial” in “substantial undisclosed donation to charity” in settlement of a libel claim?

Is it one of those things like “he remained unmarried” which means “gay as a nine bob note” or does it have a more variable meaning?

News story for the VX Boy

This article in the today’s NY Times discusses how musicians who play near the site where John Lennon died have had trouble managing the common resource of a strategically placed park bench. Currently, however, they have worked out an informal arrangement that appears to work well. The article reminded me of the work of Elinor Ostrom, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in part for her work on self-governance of the commons.

Given that said VX Boy is the economics professor who has actually done this very thing, shared dogging busking sites.

These people are insane

I’ve done a few pieces over at Forbes about shipping prices, Baltic Dry and so on. Zero Hedge is saying that world trade has stopped. I say that trade volume is slightly up, shipping supply is largely up, prices of shipping thus fall.

And I have people quoting things like this at me:

Maersk owns the world’s largest container shipping company and is seen as a bellwether for global trade, which it estimated grew just 0-1 per cent last year against double-digit growth before the financial crisis. It forecast an increase of 1-3 per cent this year, still below its post-crisis estimate of 4-5 per cent growth.

From the FT to prove that I am wrong and ZH and the catastrophists are right.

These people are insane, right?


Dunno why folks but this blog isn’t telling me, via gmail, when there’s a comment. It appears to be still set up so it should but it doesn’t.


Ahh, OK, Gmail was thinking that everything , but everything, is spam.

Well played sir, well played

Someone, who shall remain nameless, has left their email addy on this site as being:


I’ve dropped the final part of the identifier for obvious reasons.

Just, well played sir, well played.

Any other mashings together that might amuse?


No one showed the little guy how to use the software. Homeschooling teaches people that learning is an approach, not a curriculum to be memorized. He just found what he needed on YouTube and then got underway. He worked entirely by himself with no input from any of us. He laid out the sort of little visual story he wanted, drew all the cells with his computer mouse, and aligned the music to the visuals. It only took him a few days to get it all done. When I first saw it, I asked him how he was able to get the mouth shapes to align perfectly with the words being sung. He said he looked up some form of encyclopedia that showed pictures of mouths as they form phonetic sounds, and memorized it.

I asked him how it was possible for him to do all this. He said, “Well, I’ve had the program for almost a week now.”


And the older brother has an interesting voice there too. Don’t know if they will “go far” but there’s definitely basic talent there.

There’s not a lot of hope left really

In the comments:


Hi Tim!

Yes, it’s me. The guy that you obviously love insulting.

First, let me thank you sincerly for pointing out the obvious error in my blog post http://simonthorpesideas.blogspot.fr/2015/06/a-message-for-alexis-tsipras-tell-your.html

You are indeed correct that with the Basel Banking regulation stipulating that the risk-weighting for sovereign debt for a CCC country like Greece is set at 150%, the amount of capital required to hold €1 billion of Greek government debt is not €150 billion. I have thus corrected the figure on my blog to €150 million. However, your claim that I was “out in capital requirements by two, count them two, orders of magnitude” is actually wrong too. A billion is THREE orders of magnitude larger than a million.

Anything else that I got wrong?

Do you deny that when commercial banks buy sovereign debt for AAA to AA- countries (like the UK, France, Germany etc), they need no capital at all (because the risk weighting specifiied by the Basel rules is set at 0%?

Do you deny that this is likely to be one reason why Banks like
Société Généale can have assets worth over 1200 times their capital ($1.7 trillion vs $1.4 billion) – see

Do you deny that the increase in UK public sector debt from £975 billion to over £1600 billion in the period from end of 2009 to end of 2014 was financed by commercial banks using money that they didn’t actually have to by UK bonds?

Do you deny my claim in that post (that you neglected to include in your edited version) that UK taxpayers have been paying an average of 4.4% of GDP every year since 1694 in interest payments on public sector debt?

Do you deny that the money lent by the Rothschilds to finance the Napoleonic wars, and which meant that UK taxpayers were paying over 9.0% of GDP every year between 1815 to 1822 was money created out of thin air?

Do you deny that the money used to finance the 1st World War was also created out of thin air by Banks, and that this meant that UK taxpayers paid between 8.5% and 9.6% of GDP in interest payments to the banking sector every year from 1922 to 1933 – the roaring twenties for those close to the people with their hands on the money tree that David Cameron claims doesn’t exist?

(If you do want to deny this, please take the question up with the person responsible for the data set you can find herehttp://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_1692_2016UKp_14c1li011lcn_97t#view
not me).

I’m looking forward to a real debate on this one, Tim. Like the other debate we had where you finally gave up – the one where you claimed that even a 0.01% tax on the UK’s £2 quadrillion a year in FInancial Transactions would make the sky fall in, and that it is far better to use Corporation Tax, VAT and Income Tax “because corporations don’t pay taxes, only people pay taxes”.

Come on Tim. Let’s have some real fun.

But here’s a warning to all the commentators on your Blog. I’m not stupid. I’ve read one hell of a lot in the last 4.5 years. And the detailed and carefully researched arguments on my blog now run to over 300,000 words. You can download the whole thing here http://bit.ly/1NzgKaf

With very best wishes to all your readers