How damn bourgeois is this?

This has me laughing like a drain:

The leader of Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos party and its parliamentary spokeswoman are submitting themselves to a confidence vote in the hope of putting an end to criticism of their decision to buy a €600,000 (£525,000) house in the mountains outside Madrid.

Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero, who are expecting twins, have been accused of betraying the party’s principles and joining the petty bourgeoisie by purchasing the property.

Among those who have criticised the move is José María González, the Podemos mayor of Cádiz.

“Podemos’s ethics code isn’t a formality,” he said. “It’s a commitment to living like working people so that you can represent them.”

Imagine if the Momentum crowd were held to the same standard, eh?

There might be a reason for a lack of female directors

I know nothing about film nor auteurs. I do have at least a vague grasp of markets:

Twenty-five years ago this month, Jane Campion became the first, and so far the only, female director to win the Cannes film festival, with her wild gothic tale of repression and obsession, The Piano. When Campion broke through and was recognised as an auteur by her male peers – with the Palme d’Or and three Oscars in her handbag – feminists assumed that more women artists would follow in her wake. They were wrong.

There was no great bursting of the financial and cultural dam that held back women film-makers. Instead their work filtered through in drips, excluded from directing blockbusters, and excluded from competition at Cannes and other festivals. “I think we got caught in a complicated supplicancy, a very sophisticated supplicancy,” says Campion.

But now, a quarter of a century later, Campion feels that time is up for supplicancy as the #MeToo movement reverberates in the film industry and beyond. “Right now, we’re in a really special moment. I’m so excited about it. It’s like the Berlin wall coming down, like the end of apartheid. I think we have lived in one of the more ferocious patriarchal periods of our time, the 80s, 90s and noughties. Capitalism is such a macho force. I felt run over.”

Dipping croissants into coffee in Soho on a trip from her home in New Zealand to London, Campion seems the last person anyone would dare to run over, with her iron will, silver hair and ready laugh. But even after The Piano’s success, Campion’s journey was never easy, and her insistence on a stubbornly female gaze in her work did not translate into big box office returns.

That last line being fairly important, no? A film takes some multiples of decamillions of dollars to make and show worldwide. A major studio movie does at least. The people who cough up that cash would quite like to have their money back too.

If female directors making feminist films made beaucoup de cash then investors would line up to pay for them. They don’t, apparently, so…….

And, so?

The market – note, not capitalism – gets what the market wants. This is even so if there are some millions of women out there who wish to see a film based upon feminist principles and stories. Market demand rather calling forth its own supply.

How is Facebook to know who is a parent?

Facebook and other social media websites should require parents to confirm that their children are over the age of 13 before they are allowed to use the websites.

Matt Hancock, the Culture Secretary, criticised social media websites for only requiring children to tick a box to confirm that they are over the age of 13.

He said that social media means it is “one of the hardest times to be a parent”, with children using new technology that “we couldn’t have dreamed of” a generation ago.

So, how will it be done? Other than just ticking a box that is. Anyone going to have to start providing birth certificates or something?

Sigh. Either the system becomes horribly and expensively intrusive by requiring real world documentation. Or it’s just box ticking.

Can a tuber spit with rage or just sweat with it?

Labour was granted three nominations, and Jeremy Corbyn put forward the former party general secretary Iain McNicol and the race equality campaigner Martha Osamor, the mother of the MP Kate Osamor, as had been expected. The third nominee is Pauline Bryan, a Scottish campaigner and editor of What Would Keir Hardie Say?, a collection of essays once given by Corbyn to Barack Obama.

Vermine, when will it arrive?

Gissa Job!

The City great and good are to review the workings of the Big 4 accountants.
Let’s just look at who is missing.

First, an employee or union representative.

Second, a small business representative.

Third, an obvious pension representative in the sense of actually being an end user investor rather than being an intermediate manager.

Fourth, little sign of any attempt to reflect our diverse society.

And fifth, any accounting academic.

I wonder who he could have in mind?

So, these peeps, the usual nutters or what?

Electromagnetic radiation from power lines, wi-fi, phone masts and broadcast transmitters poses a ‘credible’ threat to wildlife, a new report suggests, as environmentalists warned the 5G roll out could cause greater harm.

An analysis of 97 studies by the EU-funded review body EKLIPSE concluded that radiation is a potential risk to insect and bird orientation and plant health.

However the charity Buglife warned that despite good evidence of the harms there was little research ongoing to assess the impact, or apply pollution limits.

Having absolutely no knowledge base from which to judge this, don’t know.

So, does anyone out there?

This the power lines cause leukaemia crowd? Or something even vaguely plausible?

Isn’t this a fascinating little kaffeeklatsch?

The twelve founding economists of the Forum are:

Dr Ha Joon Chang
Ann Pettifor
Prof Daniela Gabor
Prof John Weeks
Lord Robert Skidelsky
Dr Johna Montgomerie
Prof Stephany Griffith-Jones
Will Hutton
Prof Simon Wren-Lewis
Prof Danny Dorling
Prof Guy Standing
Prof Richard Murphy.

Several of those aren’t economists. And I expect some interesting ructions when those who are suss those who aren’t.

A mild little thought

The TV manufacturers are spreading the news of the Royal Wedding. With the offer that you can upgrade your TV to whatever today’s new lovely standard big screen is just in time to watch it.

We do have the historical story that people bought TVs to watch QE II’s wedding (or the Coronation?) and that this was one of the kick starts of adoption in the UK.

So a mild thought. How much of the current pushing of the current standards for the current event is going to work and how much of it is some folk memory of that historical tale?

Second order effects, second order effects

The more people save the less economic activity there is in the UK. That is for two reasons. The first is that savings take money out of the economy: they are not spent, so that has to be true. And second, because savings do not fund investment (they go into second-hand shares and property in the main, instead) they do not add value to the UK economy. They do instead simply inflate the value of financial assets.

Creating more investments which can then be transformed into those financial asserts now makes more money. Therefore more real investment will take place as a result of high financial asset prices.

He doesn’t even get the basics, does he?

There is good reason for this. Of course it makes sense for an individual to save. I do not dispute it. But as I say time and again on this blog: just because something makes sense for an individual does not mean it makes sense for an economy as a whole: in fact the opposite is often the case. And that is true here. So long as everyone does not save then saving for retirement can work because the assets into which money is saved are not overvalued enough, and the economic effect of saving in the current period is not big enough, for massive economic distortion to result. But is everyone does it then the opposite is true: total economic distortion results: asset bubbles are created whilst current incomes are suppressed and the result is an inevitable economic meltdown when it is appreciated that there will never be a market able to buy the assets that must (in the case of pensions) be sold to provide an income for a person in retirement. And I stress, pension calculations do assume that the capital is consumed and so assets must be sold.

That assets must be sold in order to fund pensions is a good reason to have markets in secondary investments, no? So they can be sold to fun pensions?

Haven’t we now just justified the existence of stock markets? And even just said that if we all invest in local authority bonds and direct investments in hospitals, then we’re still going to want a secondary market in them?


G Hewitt says:
May 15 2018 at 2:00 pm
I would have thought that a bank’s overheads, (it’s branches – if it has any – employees, overpaid CEO, computer systems and so on) would imply that creating loans has a cost.

Richard Murphy says:
May 15 2018 at 3:15 pm
To manage default risk: yes. I agree.

The only costs banks incur is default risk?

So, this central computing system that all banks will use, provided by government. It’ll cost nothing to use then, will it?

My word, this really does surprise me

Mental health has a hell of a lot to teach the acute sector,” says Bev Humphrey, the outgoing chief executive of the Greater Manchester mental health NHS foundation trust. “It needs to sit up and listen.”

Humphrey believes that truly integrated mental health teams – involving psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and dietitians – that provide services around the clock are the way forward across the NHS. “We have crisis intervention teams working 24/7, helping to reduce the pressure on inpatient beds. If you had that for older people, you would have fewer emergency admissions to hospital.”

Three in four Britons felt overwhelmed by stress, survey reveals
Read more
Although Humphrey wants more integration on the frontline, she does not think that health and social care organisations should merge. “What makes me incredibly nervous is any talk about integrating commissioning and funding of services,” she says. “If the funding is shared between clinical commissioning groups and local authorities – when I see that those same local authorities have had to decimate their adult and children’s social care services due to cuts – why would I want to merge? It would be like getting into bed with a bankrupt brother.

Outgoing NHS chief executive thinks there should be much more planning and strategy, the sort of thing NHS chief executives do, but not fewer organisations because that would mean fewer NHS chief executives.

It is a shocking set of views, isn’t it, from such a source?

Something more than slightly dodgy about this

A second amateur rugby player has died after being admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties during a tour of Sri Lanka, a Durham rugby club has confirmed.

Thomas Howard and Tom Baty, both 26, fell ill on Sunday morning having been to a nightclub until the early hours.

Both were taken to hospital, but Mr Howard died on Sunday and after being treated by medics for two days, Mr Baty has now passed away.

One fit young man falling over dead happens sometimes. Two? Together?

Mr Pooter’s Omnibus to Parliament

For those reasons I could live with an EEA deal.

In my opinion this is now the only tenable Brexit solution.

And if Corbyn won’t have it, then I think his Party has to tell him that is unacceptable. And his MPs will have to ignore his whip. They would have a duty to their consciences, their country and the people that they represent to stand alongside other parties, as a coalition in the House of Lords did, to impose upon the UK’s failing political leadership a solution that is in the best interests of this country as a whole.

Frankly I just giggle at this sort of stuff.

Blimey, you’d have thought he would understand Marx

Or even diminishing returns?

What, I suggest, is that this chart shows something quite staggering. I call it the death of interest. The trend is long-term and inexorable, in my opinion. The simple fact is that the so-called ‘risk-free’ interest rate is disappearing.

I stress, this does not mean that interest will not be charged in the future, but to understand this it has to be appreciated that the interest rate charged on most loans is made up of two components. One is the cost of money, and since for most banks the cost of money is little different to the ‘risk-free’ interest rate this charge is tending towards zero over time. That’s precisely because, as modern monetary theory explains, there is no cost to creating money and as a consequence there is no cost to lending it, meaning that its price should, in fact, be nothing. That is a fundamental reason why, overall, interest rates remain low now, on average, when compared to long-term norms when different money creation arrangements prevailed.

The second component is not really an interest charge at all: it is a risk premium to cover the chance that the borrower will default upon their loan obligation, and leave the lender with a bad debt. This is, of course, why many loans still carry quite exceptional interest rates when official rates are almost non-existent.

Marx pointed out that profit rates would decline as the amount of capital increased. You know, what we call diminishing returns? There’s more capital around these days – the price paid to borrow something in greater supply falls. This is not an oddity.

Note that he also fails to understand that the interest rate spread pays for the bank. And we are going to have banks – even if they are nationalised – which will cost something to run. Interest ain’t going away.

There is another reason for this redundancy: if interest rates decline so does inflationary risk.

Yes, he really does say that.

The risk-free interest rate is declining in the UK and wholly unsurprisingly so too are oscillations in inflation rates, especially if war and the world crashing out of the gold standard and the UK leaving other exchange rate mechanisms (such as the ERM) are taken out of the trend, they being the only real explanation for significant inflation hikes since the 1860s.

I have already suggested today that monetary policy now seems to be a wholly irrelevant mechanism for economic policy control, but so too, I suggest is inflation targeting. The reason is common between two: if interest rates are tending toward zero, and I think they are, then inflation is inevitably going to tend in the same direction, external shocks apart, which can never be corrected by monetary policy.

The time to bury monetarism really has arrived. And in that case the day of the independent central bank is also over.

Low interest rates deliberately engineered as monetary policy by a central bank show that monetary policy and central banks are just so over.


Sure, maybe you or I or we really do want the poor to have more. That means we’ve got to tax ourselves so that we can give them more money. Messing with markets through price fixing just means there’s none for anyone, not more for the poor.

No wonder he thinks demand curves slope upwards

Quite stunning really

To which is appended the comment:

In 2000 there was one company for every 37 people (near enough) in the UK.

Now the number is one for just under 17 people. The number of companies per head of population has doubled this century.

Corporatisation is rampant.

Data is from Companies House and the ONS.

Note that this is excerpted from academic research by someone called a Professor in a modern British university.

He’s got it the wrong way around of course.

Now, anyone can be in error, Lord Knows I’ve been known to make the occasional or more booboo. But it was actually pointed out to him:

dave rigden says:
May 14 2018 at 7:40 am
respectful suggestion- think your title should be heads/company ie reversed

Richard Murphy says:
May 14 2018 at 8:26 am

The number of companies has doubled



So why are there warning balls on electric power lines?

Driving around here in Sunny Portugal we’ve become a little puzzled.

So, high energy – voltage? – power lines have little balls on them. Different colours, red and white perhaps. OK, that’s fine, it’s obviously a warning. “Here be high voltage power lines.”

And it’s on the top strand of the set going from pylon to pylon. That’s fine.

Could be for birds I guess, something that scares them. Maybe planes? Dunno, but that’s not the question.

Observation (two incidences, you can tell we’re doing science here) says that these balls are only on that line when the lines cross a road. But they’re far too high up to have anything to do with the road. The spans away from the road don’t have the reflectors/birdscarers/whatever on.

So, err, why?