Oop North

This is not, however, a complete answer. We cannot leave the North of England with a 19th-century economy of whippet flanges and barm cake production purely because it’s more lucrative to upgrade southern commuter lines. And IPPR North are quite correct that at a more basic level, it is supply-side reform that we need.

Fake News Scandal!

One of Britain’s most successful orchestras is moving to Belgium amid fears that its musicians may be among the victims of a post-Brexit crackdown on immigration.

The European Union Baroque Orchestra has been based in Oxfordshire since 1985, but will give its last UK concert in its current form at St John’s Smith Square, London, on 19 May, before moving to Antwerp.

Ha, great headline

Warren Buffett’s Dealmaking Ketchup Giant Kraft Heinz Heads Abroad In The Age Of Donald Trump

So, Kraft made a bid for Unilever, so that’s what the story is about. Donald Trump these days in a headline always gets more traffic. Warren Buffett has been driving search engine traffic for as long as I’ve been on this here internet. The only wondrous buzzword that’s missing there is Apple which can’t quite be shoehorned into this story.

Nor, actually, the 100 character limit on headlines at that gig.

A masterpiece….

Hans Rosling

The essential lesson on offer being, and one without which we simply have no hope at all of deciding what to do next, that the good old days are right now. Further, that as long as we don’t mess up there is no reason why they shouldn’t keep getting better off into the future.

That is, roughly and imprecisely to be sure, with backsliding here and there, we’re on the right track with this economic development thing, with that just passed greatest reduction in absolute poverty in the history of our species.

Rosling wasn’t feted and awarded in the same manner that Paul Ehrlich, who has been wrong on every point concerning the same matter, has been but then that’s just how society seems to work. Gloom sells better than optimism.

All (all!) that Rosling did was stand up and tell us the truth about our world. A worthwhile thing to do with a life, don’t you think?

That housing paper

Likewise its insistence that, “Up-to-date plans are essential because they provide clarity to communities and developers about where homes should be built and where not, so that development is planned rather than the result of speculative applications,” is little different to Nicolas Maduro insisting he knows what the correct price of rice in Caracas is.

Finally, I make the Mail! Woo Hoo!

At least one journalist thinks the claim is ‘ludicrous’ and picks apart the charitable organization’s numbers.

Using the start date Oxfam uses for calculating Gates’ wealth growth rate, 2006, when he left Microsoft, the organization notes that the computer whiz’s wealth rose 50 percent or by $25billion in 2016.
That’s a four percent rate of return, compounded, not 11 percent, says Tim Worstall, a Forbes contributor.
Using the same rate of return, and assuming Gates doesn’t do something like suddenly give away most of his fortune, and using the same start date of 2006 when Gates was worth a mere $50billion, that means in 25 years, he would be worth $133billion.

I’m so proud…..


They’re never going to believe this but it is true all the same:

The existence of Walmart is positive sum for Americans. That’s why so many of us go shop there. The existence of imports is positive sum for Americans. That’s why so many of us buy them. And just as insisting, as some areas of the country do, that Walmart will never be allowed to sell nice cheap stuff there makes those areas poorer so too does insisting that imports will never sully our purple mountains make all the inhabitants of the fruited plains poorer.

Solving Oxfam’s problem

Oxfam has told us all that 8 people have as much wealth as the bottom 50% of humanity and this is an outrage, Something Must Be Done. OK, so, let us think about what must be done then. The most obvious point being that we should reverse the outrage. Take all the money off the rich people and give it to the poor people. At which point that 50% of humanity would each get $100 or so.

This is not actually a solution to anything at all, is it? Thus the original problem being complained of is not a problem, is not an outrage and does not require that something be done.

What motivates Oxfam?

At which point we have to ask why Oxfam is perpetrating this drivel upon the public sphere. And I’m afraid that the only answer I can come up with is a very cynical one. Drawn from the insights of that arch-cynic (although he was also right) C. Northcote Parkinson. No bureaucracy is ever ready to go into that long dark night, the aim and purpose of a bureaucracy is simply for the bureaucracy to perpetuate. And anti-poverty campaigners in my native UK back in the 1950s and 60s realised that they had a problem. Absolute poverty was essentially beaten in Britain in the 1930s. Thus they couldn’t really campaign against something that didn’t exist any more. So, some moved to campaigning about the absolute poverty that persisted in other parts of the world (and Oxfam, among others, did some very good work here) and others set about redefining poverty to mean relative poverty. Or as we can also call it, inequality. For while we did manage to prove Jesus wrong, the poor would not always be with us, inequality most certainly would be.

And the current prediction is that we’ll pretty much wipe out global absolute poverty by 2030. One of the few global targets that does in fact look achievable too. At which point, what is a bureaucracy campaigning against poverty, one perhaps called Oxfam, to do? Who will provide that indoor relief for the dimmer scions of the establishment that is a campaigning NGO when there is no poverty to campaign against?

Quite, change the problem from poverty to inequality and the grandchildren of Jocelyn and Jocasta will still have someone to fund their gap yah.

On that dribbling idiocy from Oxfam

Sam Walton’s heirs have some $100 billion between them, vast piles of cash. But that is a one off sum; they’ve got that wealth the once and the once only. Out here, we consumers are getting over $250 billion a year of value from that same creation, Walmart. Over the past couple of decades we’ve had $5 trillion and they’ve had $100 billion. Surely the bargain of the century?

I’m not talking about whether the rich deserve their spoils. We are not talking rights or morality here, just pure pragmatism. The reason we’re cool with the Walmart heirs having $100 billion is because we’ve had $5 trillion out of the arrangement. And we’d like the next person who has an idea to make us $5 trillion richer to think that their kids, or even they themselves, might be allowed to keep some fraction of it.

Poverty exists and obviously we’d prefer that it didn’t. That’s why we need more rich people not fewer: because we need someone to create value for the rest of us to consume.

Seriously, who cares if they get three per cent of what we do?

Timmy elsewhere

To claim that anyone’s Brexit strategy is in crisis is to misunderstand what a strategy is. It is the goal that you have decided to reach.

Britain’s strategy in World War II was the unconditional surrender of Germany – everything else was tactics. Hulk’s strategy is “Smash!”. Britain’s strategy with respect to Brexit is: “Thank you, it’s been great, we’re leaving. Maybe we can do lunch some day?” Everything else is simply tactics.

Timmy’s far Asian tour

Would appear to be on. Business class flight, reasonable per diem, not exactly looking forward to 12-18 hours on a plane each way but, you know, per diem.

Hmm. Vaccinations, eh? And health insurance. Plus, looking at the list of available airlines ….biman looks a little too exciting really, but anyone flown Turkish long distance? Etihad is of course just fine. Any other tips?

Only been doing short haul for the past couple of decades so which airlines to use and which to miss tips welcomed.

Sayonara to the round pound

Fiat Money Problems – Goodbye To The Round Pound And Welcome The More Difficult To Forge One

Thus the reason for this new pound is simply that there’s an arms race going on between the coin makers and the coin forgers. And it’s central to a basic problem about fiat money. As soon as the government declares that this, this thing here, is worth money then there will be people trying to make more of that thing. It is never possible to make something which is impossible to forge. But it is possible to make something difficult to fake and that’s what is being done. Perhaps difficult enough to fake that no one will ever try or more likely so difficult that it will be a couple of decades before it becomes cheap enough to try. But a world of fiat money is just always going to end up with changes in the design of that money. Just because it’s too tempting to just go and make money rather than go earn it.