Spud desperately wriggles

Now we know that there is no increase in profit rate.

And we know wages are lagging behind inflation whilst raw material prices are stabilising.

So, given that the number of cost inputs into a corporate income statement are limited in number, what can be causing the increases?

Might it just be interest costs, as I suggested recently?

If, as companies rationally expect given Bank of England commentary, these interest costs are going to keep rising, and most of the UK’s largest companies are by far the most leveraged (i.e. they have a greater degree of borrowing than average, and so borrowing cost), are they pricing that interest rate rise into their product pricing to maintain profits, and as a result is it possible that the Bank of England itself might now be the biggest driver of inflation in the UK? I think so.

The Bank will dismiss this, saying that in competitive markets companies could not pass this interest rate cost on to consumers. That is what their theories say. But their theories ignore the fact that most larger companies in the UK, who dominate the price setting agenda, have monopolistic characteristics and so of course they can do this.

I am not saying that my hypothesis is proven. I am saying that it is plausible.

No, it’s still ignorant. Because if companies had monopoly and thus pricing power then they would use it to increase profit rates. Which they ain’t – therefore they don’t.

Macroeconomics really ain’t for Spud

Second, there is no reason for £20 billion to equate to 3p on income tax. The country desperately needs a bigger deficit to stimulate appropriate economic activity to mend all the broken parts of the country that the Tories have made their legacy. Running a deficit will be exactly the right thing for Labour to do,

We have inflation. Standard Keyneszioan models suggest that the deficit is therefore too large. Too much stimulus to the economy. MMT models insist that when inflation arises you must increaes taxes – to collect back the excessive money supply causing the inflation. Which does, as all will note, have the effect of reducing the deficit.#

Spud wants to spend more money. Therefore a deficit at a time of high inflation is the things to do. Despite Spud flitting between Keynes and MMT in his descriptions of how the world really works.

Macroeconomics seems not to suit solanums.

A cockapoo is not a hybrid

Ligers, mules and cockapoos are some of the world’s better known hybrid animals.


Two baby “shalais” lambs have been born at Farmer Palmer’s petting zoo in Poole after their mother, an unnamed Shetland ewe, got into the neighbouring enclosure of Hank, the Valais ram.

That’s not a hybrid either. Might as well say some bird from Bristol getting knocked up by someone from Bath is a hybrid. That would be a horror of course, but not a hybrid.

How many blokes are in the female prisons now?

Female prisoners are much more violent than men in jails, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures.

The rate of assaults in female jails rose by 21 per cent last year, to 419 per 1,000 women prisoners – the highest since records began more than 20 years ago.

This was 65 per cent higher than the rate in male prisons, where there were 255 assaults per 1,000 inmates. This represented only a marginal rise of 3 per cent on the rate in 2021.

That’s not actually it of course, it’s just that women too can be violent…..

But, but, why?

Why would a good looking young woman agree to have a child with an 83 year old decamillionaire?

Al Pacino is set to welcome his fourth child at the age of 83 with girlfriend Noor Alfallah, 29.

It’s mysterious, isn’t it?

Ms Alfallah was previously linked to Sir Mick Jagger and billionaire Nicolas Berggruen.

Just so confusing.

Wouldn’t want to be in this logic professor’s classes

Those are the wrong questions. What I want to know is why would any sensible people allow the US petrochemical industry annually to produce 7.2 million metric tons of a poison that causes liver, lung, and brain cancer, and to distribute it as polyvinyl chloride in water pipes, gutters, rubber duckies, and My Little Pony dolls?

Because people like having water pipes, gutters, rubber duckies and My Little Pony dolls.

These types of prohibitions prompted a similar brand of handwringing — the question being posed in op-eds and comments sections running along the lines of, “How can anyone ask us to sacrifice our gas stoves, just to cut carbon emissions?”

That’s the wrong question. What I want to know is what sacrifices we are already making to support a fossil-fuel industry that earned $4 trillion in global profits last year, an industry whose control over us extends even to how we cook bacon-and-eggs.

Because people like being able, to cook bacon and eggs.

How Big Oil is manipulating the way you think about climate change
A logic professor explains how a persistent, subtle fallacy has infected public discussion of climate change

Yet asking how you, individually, can calculate and reduce your carbon footprint is very much asking the wrong question. I don’t want to know what I can do to reduce my estimated 0.00000005 percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. I want to know what Big Oil is going to do to phase out the 73 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that they empower — which was 37,190,000,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2021. Of course, the fossil fuel industry would rather send me nosing into the compost in my backyard, than sniffing under the closed doors of political dealmaking that props up the hegemony of the fossil fuel economy.

They’re entirely an idiot, aren’t they?

The reason Big Oil exists is because people enjoy the things that the use of fossil fuels provide. Perhaps it should be so but the logic is really pretty simple, no?

The best way to defend against a red herring fallacy, I tell my students, is to call it out by name — “Oops. That’s a red herring, a question that is intended to distract us from the central issue” – and then to restate the central issue – “Let us focus full attention on the real issue here, which is, how can we stop the fossil-fuel industry from destroying the life-sustaining systems of the planet in their seemingly endless, and certainly shameless, quest for profit”?

By, err, changing the behaviour and desires of 8 billion people, actually.

Laffer curves abound

But France’s cigarette wars are a sign of deeper problems running through society. International criminal gangs are putting millions of euros into setting up secret illegal cigarette factories in western Europe and France is a key target market – it has among the highest taxes on cigarettes in the EU with the average price of a pack about €11. At the bottom of the chain, the young men selling a handful of packets on the street – many from Maghreb countries or Afghanistan – are often without legal papers and unable to find other work, vulnerable to gangs and making a tiny profit to survive. Those who buy the cigarettes say they cannot make ends meet so have no choice, despite risking a €135 fine if they are caught purchasing illegal tobacco.

More than one-third of cigarettes smoked in France in 2021 were bought illegally, according to KPMG research, funded by the tobacco industry.

Wonder how tobacco tax revenue is looking? NY State certainly managed to puch the price up so far that revenue fell.


The AI is getting better, isn’t it?

The UK needs an ambitious industrial strategy more than ever. To achieve this, the government needs to take a systematic approach, forming symbiotic partnerships with the private sector and investing in the state’s capacity to create mission-oriented policies and effectively engage citizens. Backroom deals are no substitute.

Mariana’s articles are now just cliches rather than actively wrong.

Ouch, that hurts

FT editor chose not to publish
The claim has been made by The New York Times (NYT), which reported that Madison Marriage, an FT journalist, had investigated the Cohen affair and had on the record interviews with two named women and documentary evidence on others, but Roula Khalaf, the FT’s editor, chose not to publish it.

Sources told the NYT that Ms Khalaf said Mr Cohen did not have a high enough profile in the business world to make him a story for the publication.

I should mention that Nick Cohen was extremely kind to me when I was just starting out as a scribbler. Not quite mentoring but certainly supportive. Whether that has any relevance right now I’m not sure but did want to mention it.

Last summer, The Telegraph disclosed that Mr Cohen’s suspension from The Observer came in the wake of a row over trans rights with Jolyon Maugham, a campaigning lawyer. Mr Maugham, who represents Ms Siegle, appealed for other women with complaints against Mr Cohen to come forward.

Yea, but, yea, but

Using orbital solar panels and microwaves to send energy to Earth was first proposed in 1968. Since then, a few countries, including China and the US, have spent time and money pursuing the idea. The technology is appealing because orbital solar arrays represent a potentially unlimited renewable energy supply. In space, solar panels can collect energy no matter the time of day, and by using microwaves to beam the power they produce, clouds aren’t a concern either. However, even if Japan successfully deploys a set of orbital solar arrays, the tech would still be closer to science fiction than fact. That’s because producing an array that can generate 1 gigawatt of power – or about the output of one nuclear reactor – would cost about $7 billion with currently available technologies.

A big chunk of that is launch costs. And what actually is the value of 1 GW of consistent power, as opposed to variable, anyway?

There is no lithium shortage

Fun little thing from Wildcat Resources:

Previous exploration focussed on tantalum mineralisation and the majority of samples were not assayed for lithium

This is a potential mine just over the hill from Greenbushes, one of the world’s largest hard rock lithium mines. It’s got the same mineralisation (the tantalum is a big clue). But no one has ever bothered to even check for the lithium content.

This would not be part of lithium reserves yet, not even lithium resources. This – assuming it’s there but the asnwer is that yes, it is – it’s not recorded in any database at all. There’s a lorra, lorra, minerals out there.

These are just incompetents

First Minister Humza Yousaf is facing millions of pounds of compensation claims by shops that have installed recycling points for his botched deposit return scheme after the UK Government ruled glass bottles cannot be included.

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) said its members would require compensation from the SNP-Green administration at Holyrood after they installed “expensive” reverse vending machines to handle glass returns by customers.

Dr Pete Cheema, the trade body’s chief executive, lambasted the Scottish Government for forcing retailers to install the machines without ministers first obtaining a required exemption from the UK Internal Market Act (IMA).

Great, innit?

We’re getting to the point where we do have to wonder whether the SNP would be able to successfully masturbate.

They’re idiots, really, idiots

The head of investment giant Schroders has warned against meddling after Labour unveiled interventionist plans to dictate how pension funds invest £50bn.

Chief executive Peter Harrison says that retirement scheme managers must not be inhibited in selecting investments amid a wider backlash over the unintended consequences of restricting investment decision-making.

Writing in The Telegraph (below), Mr Harrison said that “we need a change in our whole investment culture” if Britain is not to fall further behind on the global stage.

He added: “We need to ensure their pension managers are not inhibited in selecting these investments on their behalf.”

It comes after the think tank the Tony Blair Institute on Monday called for thousands of UK retirement schemes to be merged into just half a dozen £400bn superfunds to turbocharge investment in businesses and infrastructure.

Labour MP Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has also backed proposals to create a £50bn “future growth fund”, with every defined contribution pension fund forced to divert 5pc of their assets into it.

Why not change the incentives to invest – say, restore the dividend tax relief – and just watch the money flood in?

Namibia about to get much poorer in 3…2…1….

Namibia is considering taking minority stakes in mining and petroleum production companies amid increasing concerns over local ownership of valuable resources.
“We are making a case that local ownership must start with the state, which holds ownership of our natural resources,” Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo told lawmakers on Monday. “The proposed state ownership should take the form where the state owns a minimum equity percentage in all mining companies and petroleum production, for which it does not have to pay,” he said.

They already gain the royalties over value produed. In economics terms that is a share of ownership.

But here they come again, violating contracts already signed. Is it any wonder that so much of Africa is piss poor?

Oh, yes, elections are next year…..

We know what Mark Drayford means here

The UK could break apart unless it is rebuilt as a “solidarity union” where every citizen’s rights to public services and financial security are protected, the first minister of Wales, has warned.

He’s run out of Welsh money to spend in Wales so he’s insisting on having more English money to spend in Wales. Otherwise he’ll take his ball home.

Rich folk, well I never

How a tech mogul’s murder exposed Silicon Valley’s underbelly of sex and drugs
San Francisco’s tech boom has fuelled a culture of debauchery known as ‘The Lifestyle’

You mean rich people shag and take drugs?

Well, well, I never…..