Umm, why?

“In proclaiming ‘Zeke is not the guy you think he is’ and that ‘there is deception on levels y’all don’t understand,’ Varner is saying that I’m not really a man,” Smith continues, “and that simply living as my authentic self is a nefarious trick. In reality, by being Zeke the dude, I am being my most honest self – as is every other transgender person going about their daily lives.”


“Zeke Smith, and transgender people like him, are not deceiving anyone by being their authentic selves,” said Nick Adams, director of Glaad’s transgender media program. “It is dangerous and unacceptable to out a transgender person.”

We must not speak the truth these days or what?

Bastard tax dodgers at Starbucks!

Just thought I’d get this in ahead of everyone else:

Starbucks, which came under intense fire in 2012 for the low amount of tax it pays in the UK, said it shelled out £6.7 million in total taxes last year versus £8.4 million in 2015.

Turnover also fell, from £405.6 million to £379.9 million.

Will you look at that the bastards! 1.8% tax rate. Outrage!

Our task, if we should care to take it up, is to find the idiots actually making that argument…..

United Airlines employs Vetinari to allocate seats

Canadian man stung by scorpion on United Airlines flight

And Vetinari thinks of his scorpion pit.

Something else now though. Not sure whether the dam’s been breached, we’ve just the necessary bolus of attention or whatever. But absolutely anything that goes wrong with a United flight is going to make the news for the next bit. Things which are common to all airlines will be flagged up if they happen on United.

And the thing is, there’re always things going wrong in an organisation that size. Not really sure than any large organisation will survive well the sort of scrutiny United’s going to get…..

Timmy elsewhere

Fortunately, we have a cure for all of this: education and experience. As Trump himself has just shown. And, in fact, as Twain pointed out in a story of his involving a young man who is permanently arguing with his parents, so leaves home at 18 and doesn’t see Pops again until he is 25. At which point, he is amazed at how much his father has learned in only seven years.

Or as we might put it, the reason that people become less utopian and more liberally conservative as they age, is education and experience.

Leaving only the final question: when is Owen Jones going to start?

Spud still doesn’t understand the word rational, does he?

The error was in basic economics and is telling. It tells us that the Treasury still clings to pure market theory. This says that people are rational and perfectly predict the consequences of the future in their current behaviour.

No, if people could perfectly predict then Keynesian stimulus would not work because Ricardian Equivalence (no Professor, go and look it up, you’ll learn something that way). That Ricardian Equivalence only partially works some of the time means that we don’t think that people do perfectly predict.

And that’s not what we mean by rational anyway. All we do mean is consistent. And that really is explained in he entry level text books. You should try reading one one day.

But what happens when the Curajus State is incompetent?

Concerns over HMRC’s IT ability should be growing rapidly. Recently it was revealed that some taxpayers are being asked to submit paper tax returns this year because HMRC’s IT systems cannot be programmed to correctly calculate the tax that they owe.

Today there are reports that brewers cannot submit their monthly duty returns for March online because the system cannot handle the change in rates during the month. Paper returns will be required instead.

That is, we’re ruled by fuckwits therefore they should have more power.

Not convinced myself, not convinced

Simon Saize says:
April 12 2017 at 9:19 pm
By the way, I thought this retort of yours to Hague was classic:

“I don’t care if anyone agrees with me. I’ve changed the World; I’m sorry for you if you haven’t”

Well said!

Richard Murphy says:
April 12 2017 at 9:35 pm
Let’s be quite clear: I was referring to the world of data, where I think I can justify that claim

I rather think we’ve had people making shit up for centuries now.

Snowflakes, snowflakes again

Donald Trump has performed a remarkable series of foreign policy reversals, cooling his ties with Russia over the Syria chemical attack

The ties with Russia were entirely fabricated by the snowflakes to cover the fact that Hillary just wasn’t a good candidate. At which point anything which isn’t fluffing Putin is a policy reversal……

Good Lord, he’s demanding Professor even in the headlines!

Professor Richard Murphy: Kevin Hague thinks Scotland should know its place – I don’t


You know, like Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz both insist upon headlines which read “The Nobel Laureate, Professor…..”

I’m the very model of a modern professor sorta stuff, eh?

As in backfilling and fluffing:

I would have thought anyone who values good government would agree with what I said. What I offered was my professional opinion as a chartered accountant and professor of political economy (which is a pretty rare combination) on what might make for the best decision-making for the benefit of the people of Scotland. The result may show a deficit, or not. That was not my point. That point was we need to know using the best data available and we need to know what can best be done about it – GERS does not permit that.

Well, no, that’s not actually what he said.

But, as I stressed, I’m qualified to offer opinion on this issue, and have not been frightened to challenge vested interests on data issues over the last 15 years or so.


All I am interested in is getting that information so life in Scotland is better for everyone. I hope all politicians who are committed to the future of the country share that view and demand better data now.

The original complaint was rather that better data did not and could not exist….

And back to the beginning here. Our professor of practice of international political economy does not know that there are three ways of determining GDP. He is demanding information about taxation and spending which is indeed difficult to work out at the sub-national level. Which is why the GVA figures, for regions and smaller statistical areas, relies on the other two possible ways of measuring GDP, incomes and production. Both of which are very much easier to locate geographically. That’s why ONS uses these two methods to work out GVA down to something like local authority level.

He’s wrong, as we know he must be, our task at any one time only being that we’ve got to work out why he’s wrong in this specific instance.

I wonder if Owen has ever thought about this

It’s difficult to disentangle this result from the fact Sheffield is the low-pay capital city of the country: its average hourly rates are 10% below the British average.

Is the cost of living in Sheffield 10% lower than the national average? More than that perhaps?

I’d think it entirely possible, using some local area PPP adjustments, that many areas of the south offer less disposable income after housing costs….

In cities such as Sheffield, low-paid and insecure jobs have filled the vacuum instead. A young woman speaks to me as she pushes a pram. She was a duty manager at a supermarket. Even though she had many responsibilities and “worked all the hours God sent me”, she languished on the minimum wage. They make a lot of money, these big supermarkets, I say. “Yes – off people like me, working their arses off.”

What, 3%, 4% of turnover?

Cheryl is right, of course. The research on immigration does suggest it can suppress wages at the bottom end of the labour market.

Without an inspiring message from the left, the danger is that backlash against immigrants will grow. Blaming foreign workers for shrinking wages is, after all, a simple and easily digested message.


You’re not really understanding economics matey, are you?

Progress has been made – fur farms were banned in the UK in 2003, and selling cat, dog and seal products is also illegal. But imported fur from other species, including fox, rabbit, mink, coyote, raccoon dog and chinchilla, is still allowed. And this week an investigation by Sky News found that supposedly “fake fur” products, including gloves, hats and shoes, at leading retailers actually contain real fur from cats, raccoon dogs, rabbits, mink and fox.

This discovery has upset shoppers who thought the fur they were buying was synthetic. Never mind the labels, they assumed the cheap price tags alone meant the fur couldn’t be real.

If you restrict the markets for real fur then it becomes cheaper…..

Silly people

Seeking to quell the uproar over a man being dragged off a plane, United Airlines announced on Tuesday that it would refund the tickets for all customers who were on the flight when the man was removed and that it would no longer ask police to remove passengers from full flights.

The airline said that passengers on United Express Flight 3411 on Sunday would be compensated equal to the cost of their tickets and could take the compensation in cash, travel credits or miles.

If you’d offered just a bit more cash back then this would never have happened.

And why are you compensating those who did fly?

Some grand gesture probably is needed but this almost certainly isn’t it.

Pity really, Hillary’s such an excellent manager

Hillary was so mad she couldn’t think straight. She was supposed to be focused on the prep session for that night’s Univision debate in Miami, but a potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation bubbled up inside.

She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. How could she have been left so vulnerable? She knew — or at least she thought she did. The blame belonged to her campaign team, she believed, for failing to hone her message, energize important constituencies and take care of business in getting voters to the polls. And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.

“That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.

“Really?” Hillary snapped back.

The room fell silent.

“Why don’t you do it?”

The comment was pointed and sarcastic, but she meant it. So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.

Oxfam are just amazing

Companies were able to lower their rates in part by stashing $1.6 trillion offshore and relying
on a massive network of 1751 subsidiaries in tax havens. This marks a $200 billion increase
in funds stashed offshore and 143 additional subsidiaries in tax havens disclosed by these
companies since Oxfam’s 2016 report.

So, the stashing is $200 billion a year.

Rigged tax rules cost Americans approximately $135 billion each year in corporate tax
dodging and sap an estimated $100 billion every year from poor countries.

$200 billon in stashing a year causes $235 billion of tax revenue losses each year.

They’re not even reading their own shit, are they?

A delightful little metals point

British scientists exploring an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean have discovered a treasure trove of rare minerals.
Their investigation of a seamount more than 500km (300 miles) from the Canary Islands has revealed a crust of “astonishingly rich” rock.
Samples brought back to the surface contain the scarce substance tellurium in concentrations 50,000 times higher than in deposits on land.
Tellurium is used in a type of advanced solar panel, so the discovery raises a difficult question about whether the push for renewable energy may encourage mining of the seabed.

That’s super, isn’t it?

Dr Bram Murton, the leader of the expedition, told the BBC that he had been expecting to find abundant minerals on the seamount but not in such concentrations.
“These crusts are astonishingly rich and that’s what makes these rocks so incredibly special and valuable from a resource perspective.”


He says he is not advocating deep-sea mining, which has yet to start anywhere in the world and is likely to be highly controversial because of the damage it could cause to the marine environment.
But Dr Murton does want his team’s discovery, part of a major research project called MarineE-Tech, to trigger a debate about where vital resources should come from.
“If we need green energy supplies, then we need the raw materials to make the devices that produce the energy so, yes, the raw materials have to come from somewhere.
“We either dig them up from the ground and make a very large hole or dig them from the seabed and make a comparatively smaller hole.
“It’s a dilemma for society – nothing we do comes without a cost.”


Hmm, Te crustal concentration is thought to be 0.001 to 0.005 ppm. 50,000 times that is 50 to 250 ppm. Last I looked Te was $13 a lb or so. Could be anywhere now, that was a few years back.

And we tend not to mine stuff which is 250 ppm for something worth $13 a lb. The processing is too expensive.

Which is why we take the copper sludges from the production of anode and cathode sheet and send them off to a plant in the Philippines. Because they’re 0.5% to 2 %, or 5,000 ppm to 20,000 ppm, Te.

And having checked the price again ($11 to $22 a lb over the year) there’s no real evidence of any great shortage from that source. Especially since it’s only one form of solar cells which uses Te…..

The Doughnut Economy

George Monbiot is very taken with a new book, the Doughnut Economy.

So what are we going to do about it? This is the only question worth asking. But the answers appear elusive. Faced with a multifaceted crisis – the capture of governments by billionaires and their lobbyists, extreme inequality, the rise of demagogues, above all the collapse of the living world – those to whom we look for leadership appear stunned, voiceless, clueless. Even if they had the courage to act, they have no idea what to do.

The most they tend to offer is more economic growth: the fairy dust supposed to make all the bad stuff disappear. Never mind that it drives ecological destruction; that it has failed to relieve structural unemployment or soaring inequality; that, in some recent years, almost all the increment in incomes has been harvested by the top 1%. As values, principles and moral purpose are lost, the promise of growth is all that’s left.

Richer countries tend to have better environments, unemployment is falling, so is global inequality. The really remakable thing about the last 40 years of economic growth is how pro-poor it has been…..yep, reality ain’t getting a look in there, is it?

We cannot hope to address our predicament without a new worldview. We cannot use the models that caused our crises to solve them. We need to reframe the problem. This is what the most inspiring book published so far this year has done.

In Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, Kate Raworth of Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute reminds us that economic growth was not, at first, intended to signify wellbeing. Simon Kuznets, who standardised the measurement of growth, warned: “The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income.” Economic growth, he pointed out, measured only annual flow, rather than stocks of wealth and their distribution.

And absolutely everything in the book is standard economics. It’s a slightly different emphasis, yes, but that’s all it is. Sure we should be using NNI not GDP and so on but it’s a tough thing to calculate and it takes some years. Thus as a management tool it’s not all that good. Why not value household labour as well? We know how to do that, it’s at minimum wage. Yes, externalities exist and we’ve known for a century how to deal with them, Pigou Tax.

It just ain’t different.

But the opening chapter is absolutely glorious. She notes that since 1990 extreme poverty has halved around the world – you know, this neoliberal globalisation thing, the greatest reduction in human misery in the history of our species.

Therefore, and it is therefore, we must entirely change economic policy.