So, just get it over with then

Sterling could fall to its lowest level since 1985 if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, as the Bank of England warned the pound would probably fall, inflation rise and growth tumble if no agreement is reached.

Even with a deal, the economy is not out of danger. Officials slashed forecasts and warned there is a one-in-three chance of the economy recording no growth or even shrinking, as business investment is paralysed and the US-China trade war hits exports.

This means there is a rising risk of recession this year.

The biggest concern being uncertainty. Meaning that whatever it is that we do – sure, we’ve all our own desires here – we need to get it done. And now. Because continuing to shilly around without making up our minds is the very thing causing the economic constipation.


Asian stock markets plunged on Friday after Donald Trump’s surprise threat of tariff hikes on additional Chinese imports.

In early trading, Tokyo’s main index tumbled 2.2% and Hong Kong’s benchmark lost 2%. Markets in Shanghai, Sydney and Seoul also fell.

The US president’s announcement of 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods, due to take effect on September 1, surprised investors after the White House said Beijing promised to buy more farm goods.

Trade wars don’t work anyway. And while uncertainty is a great negotiating tactic it plays merry havoc with economies and markets.

Someone really should take Peter Navarro out back and – metaphorically of course – pound some economic sense into him.

Dunno about Art Laffer

A bit after 9.30, as I headed up Regent Street to the BBC I thought it may be safe to tweet that I was going on air. The BBC had booked me a hotel for the night by then, as I could not get home after the programme. It seemed it was going ahead.

And then they said Laffer had pulled out. No reason had been given. I could suggest one. He’d learned who his opponent was.

I do know a number of people who refuse to appear on programmes with the Senior Lecturer. Just as the Senior Lecturer has threatened to pull out of a conference if I were to actually speak as I’d been invited to.

Of course, when he does it to me it’s just a spiteful insistence that no one who might show the holes in his arguments be allowed. When others do it to him it’s a righteous insistence that no one’s interested in such a rude man spouting drivel.

But, you know, chacun a son gout.

Quite joyous

The Senior Lecturer posted something to Brave New Europe. I then commented. The comment hasn’t appeared. I get an email:

Thank for reaching out to us. Of course we wish to have hobby economists participate in the discussion on our website, so your comment is very welcome.

Unfortunately the chap who does the comments is on his annual summer holiday, so this may take some time.

They’re absolutely correct that I am a hobby economist of course. No advanced qualification, never worked as an economist etc.

It’s just that if I’m a hobby one then what is the SL?


Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, reached by phone on Wednesday,

It’s true that he no longer sits in the House of Lords. But he is still, properly, Baron Lloyd-Webber, or Lord Lloyd-Webber. Justr as Earl Nelson is still an Earl, even without a seat in the House.

Something I don’t know

But if Brexit does mean Brexit, we are determined that the negotiated withdrawal agreement, including the backstop, which safeguards the Good Friday agreement, cannot be discarded as Johnson has requested.

What is it that makes the EU responsible for safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement?

Isn’t it actually an agreement between the two sovereign nations, Eire and the UK?

Well, yes, except

Depending on how countries classify waste, only about 0.2–3% by volume is high-level waste, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), a London-based industry group that promotes nuclear power.

Mostly derived from civil reactor fuel, this is some of the most dangerous material known on Earth, remaining radioactive for tens of thousands of years. It requires cooling and shielding indefinitely and contains 95% of the radioactivity related to nuclear power generation.

Well, no, not really.

But the idea was boosted in December 2018 by French Nobel prize–winning physicist Gérard Mourou, who, in his acceptance lecture, said laser beams millions of times brighter than the surface of the sun in bursts that last a millionth of a billionth of a second had the potential to neutralise nuclear waste, reducing its half-life to a few years and its radioactivity to very little.

Largely speaking and not wholly and exactly the higher the radiation danger now the shorter the period of time for which it is dangerous. And vice versa. The not wholly is because plutonium is nastily poisonous without radioactivity etc. Thorium poses heavy metal poisoning dangers rather greater than its radioactivity etc.


We don’t know what it is at the moment, but we have our concerns. There is a strong chance it could be a bad batch of heroine. There is also a slight concern that fentanyl could be playing a part in these deaths,” an anonymous source told the Daily Telegraph.

The Capitol One hacker

Umm…. Well:

Thompson began the tweets by saying “tomorrow I’m going to call in ahead and schedule a euthanasia for my cat.” It’s unclear what happened to the cat, named Millie.

“After this is over I’m going to go check into the mental hospital for an indefinite amount of time. I have a whole list of things that will ensure my involuntary confinement from the world. The kind that they can’t ignore or brush off onto the crisis clinic. I’m never coming back,” one tweet said.

Rightie ho

Sending women to prison, and removing them from their children and families, has long been seen as a contentious issue. Particularly given that women are predominately nonviolent offenders and tend to commit “victimless crimes” – such as theft – that are often survival based.


Gillian McNaull
Lecturer in Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast

So I’ll send some bint around to steal your car and you won’t be a victim, right?


The profit maxim is paramount and is reflected in well established economic theory of supply and demand – holding back supply when demand is high, keeps prices high.

But only a monopolist – or a cartel – can do that. In a market high prices stimulate new supply, see?

James Somerville
Emeritus Professor of Construction Management , Glasgow Caledonian University

Ah, right, another proof that the expansion of the universities wasn’t a good idea.

Quality and standards have drifted over the last 40 years with house prices rocketing despite their diminishing size. The Parker Morris space standards of the 1960s are not difficult to achieve, nor would they slow down production. Several housebuilders have tried minimalist approaches to new homes, such as “tiny homes” for solo living, but many buyers have quickly realised that these were not a long-term solution.

We can expect that we will require more flexibility from our homes in the future, as technology drives changes to how we interact and socialise. Reasonable living space such as under Parker Morris standards would be well-placed to accommodate future changes.

Similarly, quality standards are required. Consumer protection law exists to ensure consumers are treated fairly when buying goods and services, and that businesses operate within the competition law. Yet despite a new home almost certainly being the largest purchase most people will ever make, new homes are not explicity protected by the scope of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The home buyer has little means of redress when something goes wrong.

In order to ensure the rights of homebuyers are truly protected, the Competition and Markets Authority should examine the concentration of shareholdings within the industry with a view to limiting the direct influence of a small number of large institutional investors, and to expand the remit The Consumer Rights Act to include new homes.

And maybe we could get the government to stop insisting upon 13 dwellings per hectare in order to gain those:

the Tudor Walters Report recommended that new homes were not to be cramped terraced houses packed into available space, but rather open and airy, low-density garden suburbs.

As far as I can tell it’s actually illegal to build to those post WWI standards of garden size etc.

Err, yes

So the US government ould rather profit from money laundering than take the bills out of circulation.

Which says rather a lot, I think.

That the American government is rational. For there’s only that seignorage profit if the $100 bills are used outside the US and don’t return. Meaning that the profit comes from people dodging taxes in Russia and the like. And it really is Russia etc. I recall well when the $100 bill changed. A friend ran the bank note importing company into Russia – all legal – and the US Treasury was sending billion upon billion of the new notes into the Russian system.

The US government profits from foreigners skimming their own governments. Given that the US government is supposed at least to be working for Americans this seems like an excellent deal.

My does the Senior Lecturer complain

So whilst Labour has been going round writing fiscal rules that it knows are meaningless because they could never apply and at the same time they have been rubbishing modern monetary theory when they know that it describes how the economy really works Johnson has been absorbing all this. And like the Republican glove puppet he really is he has decided to do what every GOP President has done in recent decades, which is ignore all financial constraints. That is because he knows, first of all that, he can because deficits can be covered by quantitative easing, and second that buying the electorate is the result and that’s what he wants to do.

The analysis being that Boris is now doing this MMT thing of just creating money to spend on lots of lovely hospitals etc.

Which is just what the Senior Lecturer has been telling everyone to do forever. In an entirely non-partisan manner of course. He doesn’t mind which party enacts his righteous ideas!

Of course I am annoyed with Labour. For a long time it’s been known that ‘How are you going to pay for it?’ is stupid question. The answer has always been ‘By putting people to work to do it’ and now it is the Tories who are going to exploit that fact for populist gain, with outcomes that will overall most likely be deeply prejudicial to many in the UK. But Labour has never had the courage to break the austerity narrative and now Johnson will. It’s deeply discouraging.

And isn’t the Senior Lecturer pissed!

This is fun

Tetsu Yamauchi

With Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit
Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit (1972)
with Free
Heartbreaker (1973)
with the Faces
Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners (1974)
You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything (1974)

OK, so, been there, done it.

He retired from the music industry in the mid 1990s and moved to the countryside with his family to live a quiet life, refusing to speak to anyone from the press. He considers it juvenile and vain for people his age to still be performing rock and roll, and refused invitations to take part in a Faces reunion.


Nice comment from Petula Clark

Billed as “Britain’s Shirley Temple” and “the Singing Sweetheart”, Clark went on to record hundreds of songs for the forces and toured the UK by train. She recalls sleeping in the luggage racks alongside Julie Andrews, three years her senior. “Now, she could really sing,” says Clark. “We’d get off the train, do our little things, get back on and go home. It was fun – and not a lot of kids were having fun.”

If you’ve got someone like that saying you can really sing then I guess you really can sing.

Very tee hee

Eco-activists targeting fossil fuel firm barricade offices of green energy company by mistake

Sigh. But ain’t this the truth:

A worker at the company told the Evening Standard: “They’re protesting against Drax, but they don’t live here anymore. I understand [the protester’s aims] but it helps if they check the facts.”

But then if they checked all the facts then they’d not be eco protestors, would they?

What the Senior Lecturer fails to understand

Well, everything, fnarr, fnarr.


The Green New Deal requires wealth taxation

Wealth taxation is generally contraindicated in economics. Because it makes the future poorer than it need be.

Thus we think that wealth taxation is a bad thing.

Ritchie thinks that the Green New Deal is a good thing – on balance. Sure, he recognises there are costs to it as well as benefits.

At which point he fails to understand – the more contraindicated things you add to the Green New Deal then the more the costs rise as against the benefits. So, insisting that we must have wealth taxation as a part of the GND means that we get, at minimum, closer to the point that we shouldn’t have the GND.

Then there’s just stupidity:

Tax avoidance is another form of rentiersim. Remember that this activity is not things like using an ISA or paying into a pension. Tax avoidance is about exploiting loopholes in the law to not pay tax in ways that legislators never intended. The use of tax havens – that have been deliberately created in most cases to facilitate this process – is an obvious (but not the only) indication of this activity.

Legislators create tax havens. Therefore the use of them must have been intended by legislators.

Oh, and the reason why we need wealth taxes? Because rich people might get away without having to do what they’re told by the Senior Lecturer. Therefore we must have no rich people.