Erm, well……

Governing for the interests of those northerners who have “lent him their votes”? Pull the other one! How does that compare with his plans for deregulation, closer alignment with Trump’s America, and the opportunities for profiting from Brexit to which his financial backers look forward?

Perhaps being more American, less European, more free market, will be beneficial to uppity northerners as well as everyone else? After all, the European method ain’t so great for those in the other rust belt areas of the continent, is it?

Well, no, not really

UK has lost trillions by letting ‘home-made’ innovations slip through its fingers

This is the usual we’re great at research, at inventing stuff, but not so good at making or owning it.

The mistake that is always made here being that it’s the existence of the thing, the possibility of it being used, that creates the wealth. As Bill Nordhaus has pointed out the entrepreneur usually ends up with about 3% of that total value.

Which does mean that it doesn’t actually matter who owns, we’re much more interested in whether the product hits the market or not. It also means that the Mazzucato like stuff that govt should gain more of the value created is nonsense. At least, if anything people do to gain a greater portion for govt reduces the amount of or speed with which stuff hits the market then it’s nonsense. For whatever might be gained oin the 3% will quickly be swamped by the losses on the 97%.

And we all do believe that government is equally efficient at launching new products, right?

Oh dear Polly

This manifesto makes practical sense of green necessity, turning housing need and decarbonisation into an industrial strategy with a million good jobs.

A million good jobs is a million costs of the strategy, not a benefit of it.

If we’re not getting you to understand that then it’s difficult to have a chat about economics…..

The two Harolds, first Macmillan then Wilson, both reached more than 300,000 new homes a year, many of which were council-owned, in an era when the country was by many multiples less wealthy – but paid higher taxes.

Tax as a percentage of GDP – the only useful measure – wasn’t higher back then. Sigh.


Of necessity, that means more public spending and borrowing and the rules Labour proposes serve that goal. The framework – a cap on public debt interest of 10% of GDP,

How in buggery does that work? We repudiate debt when interest rates rise?


‘People are dying every day’: the perilous job of sanitation workers

The fatbergs are fighting back?

Sanitation workers – people whose job brings them into direct contact with human waste – are risking their lives through accident and disease because of poor workplace protection, a report has warned.

The report highlights the plight of workers in some of the world’s poorest countries and is the most indepth study to date on a group of people who do vital but dangerous and dirty work, risking their lives every day.

Ah, right.

Yep, shitty job in poor place. The solution is? Make the place less poor.

Economic ignorance


It’s the second point which is more interesting. If we use pre-tax income as our measure of inequality then changing the taxation system doesn’t change inequality, does it? We could double the taxation of the rich and the Gini, as we’re measuring it, would still be 0.50. We could halve the taxation of the rich and our Gini would still be 0.50.

That is, the action you’re proposing would have sod-all effect on the problem you identify and wish to correct.

Now, it’s true that you made good money in business. Well done you. You didn’t have that success by diverting scarce resources to pissing up a rope. So, why are you proposing for the body politic what you’d laugh out of your own boardroom?

Will Hutton

The role of government is not to subsume markets. Rather, it is to set vigorous regulatory frameworks that attack monopoly, promote competition and outlaw noxious practices. It can also empower countervailing forces, notably trade unions

Thought we were against monopoly and privilege? And a trade union is?

This could be a problem

As the mayor explained to journalists, “No-one owns a permanent property in any part of Istanbul.”

Not sure whether that’s just a reference to how places always change, nothing is permanent. Or that it really is true, that there are no secure property rights. If the second that would seem to explain some of Turkey’s problems.

As is too infrequently noted, the Ottoman Empire is what you get with a 100% inheritance tax.

Explaining Dorset

Motorists are being sent on a 41-mile diversion because of a 65ft stretch of roadworks.

The small section of the A352 in Godmanstone, Dorset, will be closed between Monday and Friday next week for work on a sewage system.

Just over 65ft of the carriageway will be closed off by workmen but Dorset County Council have given an official diversion measuring an incredible 41 miles that goes via another county.

Be the first time many of the locals will have been out of the county.

One of the things many don’t know. Dorset was one of the poorest places in England from the industrial revolution up to, hmm, perhaps the 1960s? Precisely and exactly because it didn’t actually take part in that industrial revolution.

From a book I recall – agricultural wages there were some 8 shillings a week when up north, in Lancashire and the collection area of labour for the mills they were 25 shillings. Meaning that one group of beneficiaries from the Satanic excrecences was the peeps who didn’t go work in them but could have done.

Or, alternatively, Marx was right about what raises wages, capitalist competition for the profits to be made by employing labour.

Predictions for what will happen next?

Berlin’s state cabinet has agreed on a rent freeze for five years to counter rising housing costs in the German capital.

The city’s leftwing coalition government wants to freeze the rent for apartments built before 2014, according to a report by the German news agency dpa.

Only a minority of Berliners own their homes or apartments and rent has been rising sharply in recent years, forcing many to move outside the city.

The city had been a low-rent mecca for many years, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 opened the gates to the economically depressed former communist east of the city. This gave rise to an influx of artists and others seeking a more bohemian way of life.

I’ll go with a curtailment then ceasing of all maintenance on buildings from before 2014. Thus the progressive – in both senses, for it’s a result of a progressive policy – return of the city to East German standards of housing.

Yes, of course they’re lying, why do you ask?

It’s been known for people over here to do the same thing:

The eye-catching result here is they have consumption taxes being *sharply* regressive, e.g. 12% for the lowest income group. I’m not aware of any US state that has state + average local sales rates tax that high. And lots of goods are exempt from sales tax. So how do they get this? Well, suppose someone earns $1k in labor earnings and gets $9k in transfers, and consumes it all paying a 5% sales tax = $500 in tax. What sales tax rate have they paid (as a % of their income)? The method Treasury uses says 500/(1k+9k) = 5% (this is also what Auten-Splinter do). Saez-Zucman exclude transfers from the denominator, and thus say 500/1k = 50%. This is a matter of definition, so it’s hard to call it right or wrong, but it does seem misleading and yield some rather nonsensical implications. For example, it means that if welfare to the poor is increased, this will be measured as an increased tax rate.

Pikety, Saez and Zucman just aren’t even trying to do science. They’re just politics.

And get this:

As I noted the other day, excluding the EITC breaks from multiple standard tax-data reporting conventions including the treatment that the CBO has been using for the past 40 years. Zucman’s defenses of making this change amount to a tendentious argument that the credit — as a transfer — cannot be differentiated from other forms of public spending such as defense and health care. He therefore claims it is necessary to remove the EITC from consideration as a feature of the tax system

Yet on their new website, Saez and Zucman are all too eager to incorporate different aspects of health care into their total “tax” estimates — provided it further augments the patterns in their new data.

This practice may be seen through their bizarre treatment of private health insurance premiums as a component of taxation. A PowerPoint slideshow on the new website includes an Orwellian rebranding of private insurance payments as a “health insurance poll tax,” and Zucman has deployed similar language while defending this designation.

Tax credits aren’t part of the taxation system while health care insurance is?


Millions more people in Britain are without a job than shown by official unemployment figures, according to a study that suggests the jobless rate should be almost three times higher.

According to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Cities thinktank, large levels of “hidden” unemployment in towns and cities across Britain are excluded from the official government statistics.

The study found that more than 3 million people are missing from the headline unemployment rate because they report themselves as economically inactive to government labour force surveys, saying that they believe no jobs are available.


Unemployment is not having a job and desiring one sufficiently to go look for one.

Not economically active is not desiring a job sufficiently to go look for one.

We collect figures on this:


Claiming that people without a job are unemployed is wrong. Because our definition insists that they must desire one sufficiently to be looking for one.

Worth noting two other things here. Even if we accept that definition being used, it’s still true that the level of such unemployment is the lowest it’s ever been. Because that employment to population ratio is higher than since we started measuring it.

That is, we’re getting the labour market right even by this critique.

Oh, and from the report:

While the UK has one of the lowest levels of economic inactivity across the OECD

We’re getting the labour market right even by the standards of this report……

Owen Jones’ weird definition of investment

First, why politics is a lousy way of running things:

Labour MPs who vote for a Johnson Brexit deal should lose the whip
Owen Jones

Whether or not to Brexit is now a party political issue. To be determined by which political party wins on it. Not by the merits – or demerits – of the policy itself.

Which is why politics is a crappy way to run things. Decisions will be made by which political party benefits rather than the actual merits of the underlying proposition.

But then there’s this:

(Even New Labour, which struck an accommodation with Thatcherism, invested in public services, the minimum wage and tax credits to improve the lot of millions of working-class people.)

Tax credits are not an investment, they’re current spending. There is also no return from them.

And the minimum wage? Forcing other people to spend more of their money as you desire isn’t investment, is it? Ad theft normally isn’t…..

A question we can answer

Why is it so hard for economists to get their forecasts right?

Because economies are complicated things. The interactions of 7 billion people simply are tough to predict.

And, obviously, if you can’t predict an economy then it’s not possible to plan one either…..

We can tell what comes next

Living next to green spaces such as parks, allotments, golf courses and playing fields can boost the price of a property by £2,500 on average, statisticians have found.

Living within 100 metres of a public green space can add thousands of pounds to property prices, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported.

For I actually have seen the argument made. Which is that if parks make properties worth more then we should have lots more parks. Thus all properties will be worth more.

Err, no, the parkside thing is a relative good, the one with more parkside is worth more than the one with less. This doesn’t change according to the absolute number of parksideness, only with the relative.


Despite its myriad problems, the Cuban economy has proved resilient when times get tough, according to Pavel Vidal, a former economist at the Cuban Central Bank who now teaches at the Javeriana Cali University in Colombia.

“In normal conditions, Cuba’s centrally planned economy impedes economic growth, progress and innovation,” he said. “But in times of crisis, having a plan to assign resources where they are needed is an advantage.”

Prices allocate resources efficiently. So, when we’re short of resources we shouldn’t use prices?

No wonder the place is fucked with that sort of insanity.

Piketty? Sowell? For the Nobel?

Big names in the economics world have missed out. Thomas Piketty, the French economist, has just published his follow-up to the bestselling Capital. Titled Capital and Ideology, it expands on the themes of the first book. Sales of Capital topped 2m copies but have not put him in the running, possibly because at 48 he is too young to have built up enough citations among economists.

Thomas Sowell, 89, has the track record and another bestselling book under his belt, but fails to make the cut. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover institution, Stanford University, and his brand of laissez-faire, anti-government economics is at the opposite end of the spectrum to the leftwing Piketty.

Err, no, don’t think so. Only a few hours to find out but I really seriously doubt either of them.

Especially Piketty. As part of the process of waiting a bit is not so that the citations can build up, rather to see if anyone shoots own the hypothesis. Which ,given that most of Piketty’s data is wrong is likely to happen.