I Wonder Who is Right Here?

So, lots of newly qualified GPs don\’t and won\’t have jobs as GPs.

One fully qualified GP is driving a taxi because he cannot find enough work as a doctor despite Government pledges to increase access to primary care and extend surgery opening hours.

Next week 2,500 doctors will qualify as GPs and the vast majority have not found full time jobs and will have to live \’hand to mouth\’, the British Medical Association has warned.

It costs the taxpayer around £250,000 to train each graduate to junior doctor level and many are considering travelling abroad or working in another speciality even though there is predicted to be shortage of GPs.

Dr Alex Smallwood, chairman of the GP trainees sub-committee at the British Medical Association said the problem was rife and was a \’huge betrayal\’ of junior doctors who had been encouraged into general practice.

He said: "Doctors will be stacking shelves, cleaning and driving taxis to make ends meet. If they can\’t get work as a doctor they have got to do something."

There are two explanations offered and one I\’m adding.

Mine is that markets, while pretty damn good, aren\’t in fact perfect. There\’s always a lag between people being qualified and their getting a job suitable for that qualification.

One of the other two is that extant GPs are greedy bastards and don\’t want to share the profits of their partnerships.

The second is that:

Prof Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of GPs said practice partners were tightening their belts as income has dropped for the last three years and fears over the destablising effect of the Darzi polyclinics makes them reluctant to take on anyone long-term.

Now which you believe will probably depend upon your priors, but the idea that the market is just about to be comprehensively shaken up might make people hesitant to take on new partners seems likely enough to me.

Would you agree to expand production and share your income for the next 20 years with someone at a time when you\’re unsure what effect upon the business the building of a new large competing unit is going to have on that business?

Do we see fruit and veg shops expanding when Tesco builds next door?

UUP Merger

Whether it\’s the UUP that he should be merging with is one thing:

David Cameron is to launch the biggest shake-up of the Conservative Party for decades as part of a bold plan to win support across the whole of the United Kingdom.

The Tories are to forge a new party with the Ulster Unionists to try to secure broader backing for Mr Cameron before the next election.

It might have been better to simply run Conservative candidates there. As they\’ve consistently (as has Labour) refused to do.

But to make Northern Ireland politics "normal" seems like a dman good idea.

Me being nasty

From a comment on an earlier post:

As a third-year student at the LSE and Heterodox Economist….

One thought occurs: wouldn\’t it be worth graduating and thus proving that one understood non-heterodox (or "standard") economics before assuming that one understood it well enough to know where it was going wrong?


Jonny Porritt

Aaargh! Stop, the pain, the pain….

Jonny Porritt is still claiming that the creation of jobs by various green schemes is a benefit of such schemes, not a cost!

Big emphasis in his campaign on jobs – and I’ve no doubt that’s going to become a huge issue here in the UK too. The Prime Minister himself is clearly alert to that reality, and liberally peppers his various energy–related speeches with references to the number of jobs that will be created in promoting different strategic priorities.

Sob…sob. Look, does any economist actually know the Baronet? Can they go and give him a good going over with the cluebat?

Much better to work with the facts rather ditzy dreams. Where I am in the South West, for instance, there are now 2,900 FTE jobs in the renewable energy sector, up from 1,140 in 2005 – equivalent to an annual growth rate of around 37%. This amounts to £215 million of Growth Value Added today, up from £34 million in 2005. And that’s just the start – if the Government gets really serious about renewables, as indicated for the first time in the new draft Renewables Strategy.


Seriously, is he trying to equate value added with the number of people employed? We can employ people to dig holes and fill them again but that doesn\’t add value now, does it?

In fact, given that all those jobs in the renewable sector have to be subsidised, it\’s entirely possible that there is value destruction by creating those jobs, not value added.

If it were some random Old Etonian holding these absurd views it wouldn\’t matter…..there\’s enough barking mad Old Etonians to go around, after all.

But this is the man in charge of the Sustainable Development Commission.

We\’re doomed I tell you, we\’re doomed.

Yes, It\’s Richard Murphy!

Our favourite retired accountant was one of the contributors to the Green New Deal thing announced on Monday.

No, really.

One of the things they recommend is that there should be capital controls so that the money needed for all their green investments can be found.

The UK has been running a trade deficit for some decades hasn\’t it? The UK has therefore been running a capital account surplus for some decades.

That is, that foreigners send us money to invest in things in the UK.

So, we\’re going to increase the amount of money available for investment in the UK by insisting that Johnny Foreigner cannot continue sending money to invest in the UK?

Sounds like a plan, eh?

Dr. Dragan Dabic

Via Tom Paine, here\’s Dr. Dragan Dabic\’s web page.

They, umm, really were looking hard for him all those years, weren\’t they?

Dr. Dragan "David" Dabic was born some six decades ago in a small Serbian village of Kovaci, near Kraljevo. As a young boy he liked to explore nearby forests and mountains, spending a lot of time on Kopaonik mountain where he tended to pick the omnipresent, natural and potent medicinal herbs that grew at those green pastures. As a young man he moved to Belgrade, and then on to Moscow where he graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree (spec. in Psychiatry) at the Moscow State University (Lomonosov). After Russia, Dr. Dabic travelled around India and Japan, after which he settled in China where he specialized in alternative medicine, with a special emphasis on the mind-body control, meditation, Yoga, spiritual cleansing, as well as Chinese herbs. In mid-1990s Dr. Dabic returned back to mother Serbia for good, and ever since then emerged as one of the most prominent experts in the field of alternative medicine, bioenergy, and macrobiotic diet in the whole of the Balkans, and is frequent contributor to the regional alternative health magazines, and guest expert with numerous TV appearances and on many public forums, seminars and symposiums (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Pancevo, Sombor, Smederevo, Kikinda…) dedicated to these issues and topics.

Dr. Dragan Dabic currently resides on Yury Gagarin street in New Belgrade, but for public forum invitations, television appearances or private consultations he can be reached directly at the following contact:

healingwounds @ dragandabic . com

And a Blog Too! (Ta to George in the Sandbox).

The Times is Trying to Poison Us!

Musing about uses for salt that don\’t include eating it The Times tells us:

For dads who don’t believe in best-before dates. Put your ageing egg in a cup of salted water, if it floats you can feed it to the wife and children, if it sinks you need to go shopping.

It is, of course, the other way around. If it floats, the air sac has got larger as the egg dries out.

They\’re trying to kill us I tell you!

Computer Security

Cyber-criminals have attacked key government and consumer websites, allowing them to steal the personal details of anyone browsing the sites, The Times has learnt.

Eastern European hackers are suspected of placing the Asprox virus on more than a thousand British websites, including those run by the NHS and a local council, in the past two weeks.

Isn\’t that National Database going to be a wonderful thing?

Public Transport

It\’s so much cheaper, isn\’t it?

Householders wanting to live in Gordon Brown\’s pioneering eco-towns face service charges of more than £500 a year on top of their annual council tax bill.

Developers in several of the 13 proposed sites are planning to levy annual charges for subsidised bus travel and management costs to be paid to a local community trust.

So much cheaper that you have to pay extra for it!

What Service!

Residents in a hamlet in the Yorkshire Dales are furious after being told that they would have to push their wheelie bins 1½ miles miles to a nearby village to be emptied.

The residents of Litherskew, in Upper Wensleydale, were told by Richmondshire District Council that their bins must be taken to Sedbusk for collection. The alternative was for them to leave their bins in the village and transport their rubbish by car.

Worth paying your council tax for, don\’t you think?

Cross-Price Elasticity of Demand II

A British schooner docked in Penzance yesterday carrying 30,000 bottles of wine on a voyage that enthusiasts believe will herald a return to wind power in merchant shipping.

The first commercial cargo of French wine to be transported by sail in the modern era is due in Dublin this week after a six-day journey, which is being touted as a green and ultimately cheap alternative to fuel propulsion.

Hmm, how green and how cheap?

“Originally this was intended as an ecological project enabling producers to put a label on their goods saying they had been moved by a clean means of transport,” said Mr Albert.

“But it could become economically interesting as well given the high price of fuel.” He said CTMV had chartered five sailing ships to transport products such as Fairtrade coffee, jam and alcoholic drinks. “We are 5 per cent more expensive than standard merchant shipping companies at the moment. But we are going to build our own ships and when they enter service, we will be cheaper.”

5% eh? We\’re obviously not going to see the container ships from China being replaced with tea clippers, but this is an interesting idea all the same. If, for example, sea freight were brought under on of the carbon trading schemes or carbon taxes (although it\’s very tough to see a mechanism by which they would) then for certain journeys sail probably would be cheaper.

The actual trade off though is the usual one with green projects: at least here they\’re properly accounted for. More labour is required to sail a ship and that labour is required for longer as compared with diesel engines. If prices move so that said labour is cheaper than fule, all well and good….we can leave the markets themselves to both work that out and do something about it.

There\’s also something rather grand about seeing one of these ships in full flight: but that\’s an externality, a positive one perhaps, but still one not captured by the price system.

Number Crunching

OK, so this story of twins marrying twins and having twins is fun but

Soon afterwards, despite a million-to-one odds, Diane and Craig went on to have identical twins of their own – Colby and Brady, now seven.

Odds of monozygotic twins are some three in a thousand. So the odds of this couple having such is indeed three in a thousand. The one in a million might be reached by counting the odds of the parents being twins, but as that had already happened that doesn\’t influence the odds of their having twins themselves.

When actually checking these numbers I was a little surprised to see that monozygotic twins are not thought to be influenced by genes (unlike non-identical such) but that i in a million is wrong all the same.

Matthew Croucher

This was always likely, wasn\’t it?

L/Cpl Matthew Croucher will become part of a select of group of just 20 living George Cross holders when the Queen awards him the medal, which is given for acts showing the same level of heroism as the Victoria Cross.

The Marine had less than seven seconds to make up his mind on whether to risk sacrificing his own life to save his friends when the hand grenade rolled onto the ground during an operation in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Without hesitating he chose to chance death and save his three fellow Royal Marines.

A Bit Odd

Mr Justice Silber, sitting at London\’s High Court, ruled the Iraqi national, known as AE for legal reasons, had taken part in terrorist activities and knowledge from such courses could be used to make explosives.

However, AE said his purpose for studying the courses was to continue his medical studies.

The judge dismissed AE\’s appeal against Home Secretary Jacqui Smith\’s decision last September refusing to permit him to undertake the AS-level courses in the 2008-9 academic year at a regional college.

He had acted on the basis that the Home Secretary had reasonable grounds to believe AE had received terrorist training and had taken part in terrorist activities.

So, we\’ve not proved that he\’s taken part in terrorist activities. At least, not to the point that he has been charged, let alone convicted of any such.

Even so, the Home Secretary is allowed to dictate what subjects he may or may not study? On the grounds that he might use them in the activities which we haven\’t proved that he is involved with?

The bloke wants to be a doctor, and he can\’t study chemistry?

This is consistent with being innocent until proven guilty in what manner?

And what other powers does the Home Secretary have to limit who may study or do what on such hearsay?