Greek questions we can answer

Powerful unions backed by militants who have successfully disrupted past privatisation plans have vowed to step up opposition. Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, a leftist alliance, and a vocal opponent, has already warned of the need for a referendum. \”What government has the right to give away our land?\” he railed in parliament recently. \”What government has the right to deny our children and the next generation our country\’s wealth?\”

The twats in government who borrowed against that future wealth and pissed it away have that right.

And now the Murphmeister misunderstands economics on Twatter

Glory be:

RichardJMurphy: RT @nils_gilman: Does the Modigliani-Miller theorem apply to black markets? ANSWER: No, it\’s never applied anywhere .
And that link is to here.
Where they discuss the way in which Somali pirate attacks are financed by syndicates. Stump up some of the cash necessary to get a raiding operation going, get a chunk of the rewards…..if there is indeed a ransom in the end.
Not unlike pirate style raiding was financed in our own dear land when we called them Letters of Marque and the like.
What that\’s got to do with Modigliani Miller I\’m not quite sure.
The basic theorem states that, under a certain market price process (the classical random walk), in the absence of taxes, bankruptcy costs, agency costs, and asymmetric information, and in an efficient market, the value of a firm is unaffected by how that firm is financed.
Anyone actually able to work out what Ritchie meant there? Maybe?
Quite apart from anything else, how does he get from a capital structure that we\’re not valuing (as there is as yet no transfer market in such pirate syndicates) to a disproof of a theory which talks about how capital structures change valuations….or don\’t?

In which we prove the efficient markets hypothesis with Willy Hutton\’s help

Now, as we all know, the efficient markets hypothesis does not say that all markets all the time markets is efficient.

It most certainly does not say that defence of the realm should be organised market stylee: nor does it exclude a welfare safety net (nor even a welfare state). Not even that justice sold in a market will be more efficient than justice not so.

What it actually says is that when trying to work out what prices should be in a market markets are efficient at processing the information about what prices should be in a market.

No more: the weak version says that a market will be efficient at processing the information everyone knows, the semi-strong that it\’ll be efficient at processing what is publicly available and the strong that it\’ll process all information, private, secret and little known as well.

That last is because those with private, secret and little known information will trade on it (yes, even to the point of insider trading) and thus the effects of that information will be reflected in market prices.

Which brings us to the markets\’ pretty much non-move in any direction following S&P\’s decision to list US Govt debt as possibly, maybe, about to get a downgrade. Perhaps, in a bit. And then Willy Hutton.

Maybe it\’s because Boston is different, a semi-detached city in one of the US\’s most liberal states. But the news that the world\’s biggest economy had had its creditworthiness challenged for the first time by the upstart rating agency Standard & Poor\’s (S&P) hardly seemed to register with the locals.

No one I met fulminated about loss of economic sovereignty or that S&P, whose purblind approval of junk mortgage debt as triple A was one of the causes of the financial crisis, had finally over-reached itself. Bostonians seemed unconcerned. Perhaps this was because it was just one more surreal moment in the pantomime that is American economic and political life.

That was how the markets judged the news. There was a momentary tremor in the Dow Jones. Some analysts shrugged it off; others thought it profoundly serious. But soon the markets were on the rise again as if nothing had happened.

Well, quite.

The information that S&P used to get to their reconsideration that might happen in the future of the US AAA rating is widely known. The government is spending like a fleet of drunken sailors on shore leave, no one really seems to want to do anything about it, over and above this in the longer term there\’s the dire necessity of getting a handle on entitlement spending and in the short there\’s a real fight going on about the appropriate level of taxation. Should the federal govt expand from its post WW-II roughly 18-19% of the economy up to 23-24% of the economy?

Erm, actually, should the federal taxation expand so so as to catch up with the federal spending already going on?

This is all well known and so, if markets are in fact efficient will already be in market prices. We only even need the weak version of the EMH to assume so.

Which is what leads to my amusement about those shouting about how the announcement hasn\’t moved markets. It\’s exactly those, Willy, the Krugster, who would adamantly insist that the Great Financial Crash proved the EMH wrong who are highlighting, right now, how the reaction to the S&P annoucement shows the EMH to be correct.

It\’s just that they won\’t admit that what they\’re saying is in fact proof of the EMH. Which is fun, no?

If you\’re going to write about history at least know some history


Is it any wonder that St Patrick enjoys such popularity in comparison? He\’s a local boy made good, a saint the Irish can really take to their collective bosom.

Paddy wasn\’t in fact Irish. A Romano-Brit, almost certainly Welsh, who was carried off by Irish slavers. Came home again, then got the bug to go convert the slavers.

A more modern example might be someone enslaved perhaps on the Amistad, sent back to Liberia, who then returns to American to convert them all to Akan.

I wonder who this is?

A leading campaigner for the Alternative Vote is the latest public figure to secure a gagging order from the courts preventing the disclosure of details of his sex life.

Could be anyone really.

Well, it won\’t be John Hemming for he\’s quite open about his quite interesting family arrangements.

Won\’t be Clegg for he\’s already told us about his 30 or so. Horribly difficult to believe that amy woman would have sidled up to Ed for a legover.

I dunno, there\’s no real hints available here is there? \”Leading pro-AV campaigner\”?


Probably just some bloke looking for a cuddle while his wife recovers from giving birth. Reprehensible, yes, but not exactly the most unusual of behaviours.

Degrees of rank

So who does get invited to the royal wedding and who doesn\’t?

The royal wedding has suffered its first major controversy after it was confirmed that neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown had been invited to Friday’s ceremony.

Why\’s that then?

By contrast, both their Conservative predecessors, Sir John Major and Baroness Thatcher, received invitations. Lady Thatcher declined on health grounds although Sir John will be present when Prince William marries Kate Middleton.

A spokesman for St James’s Palace said Mr Blair and Mr Brown had not received invitations because neither were Knights of the Garter, unlike Sir John and Lady Thatcher.

Well, quite. Politicians are, after all, however grand they may be as politicians, the people we hire to do the scut work of society. Make sure the courts open on time, the bins are collected, that sort of thing.

A Knight of the Garter is far grander, someone who has actually managed to make something of themselves in this life.

OK, delightful snobbery/

The much more fun point is that both of them, as former PM\’s could be KGs if they wished. Yes, yes, it\’s in the Queen\’s gift, and really is in her gift unlike all of the other knighthoods (umm, except Victorian Order and Thistle, the Scots equivalent of Garter….for those not quite up to date with British titles, there are 21 different orders (even more accurately 21 different types, some very much grander than others) of knighthood in the UK with KG firmly at the top). But still, if a former PM indicated that he/she would be graciously willing to accept a KG they\’d get it.

All they\’d have to do would be to wait until there was a slot, as there can only be 24 (non-Royal) Garters at any one time.

And since they each resigned, there have been slots available. The last two went this year to a former Master of the Rolls and a former First Sea Lord. They could have jumped those two (and Blair even more so, he could easily have pushed aside a former Chamberlain, or a Lord Lieutenant, in 2008).

Now I can understand why they might not have wanted to. Sir Tony, Sir Gordon, not sure it quite fits in with their self-image as men of the left (in Blair\’s case, a snigger might be appropriate here) but these things do come in packages you see.

If you\’re going to not take one of the honours, the KG, then you\’re also not going to get the things that go with being a KG… an invite to the Royal Wedding.

Which is all rather convenient, given Blair\’s behaviour at earlier Royal occasions (was it Diana\’s or the Queen Mother\’s funeral he made a right tit of himself at?).

Anyone with access to Science Direct?

Would really love a copy of this paper:

Metallurgical processes for scandium recovery from various resources: A review


References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.

Weiwei Wanga, Yoko Pranoloa and Chu Yong Cheng\"low, a, \"E-mail

a Parker Centre/CSIRO Process Science and Engineering, CSIRO Minerals Down Under National Research Flagship, 7 Conlon Street, Waterford, WA 6152, Australia

Received 19 November 2010;
revised 13 January 2011;
accepted 5 March 2011.
Available online 17 March 2011.

Without, that is, having to pay 40 bucks for it.

From the abstract I can see they\’ve come to the same comclusion that I have through my own independent research, but would love to see the details of what they say.

~Update: this paper has now arrived, thank you Paul. And I find that I\’m quoted in the opening paras as a source. So, I wonder how much I\’m going to learn from it?

Raise a glass to The English


Yes, \’tis our day.

Not that many of us take much notice mind. Unlike the Celts who make so much of their national days. They have to, poor dears, while we do not, for as Cecil Rhodes pointed out, to be born an Englishman is to have won the lottery of life.

Archbishop doesn\’t understand Christianity

Not a great surprise in the Church of England of course:

Dr Williams said the Bible made clear it was the duty of the powerful to ensure ordinary people were \”treasured and looked after\”, particularly those without the resources to look after themselves.

\”What about having a new law that made all Cabinet members and leaders of political parties, editors of national papers and the hundred most successful financiers in the UK spend a couple of hours every year serving dinners in a primary school on a council estate, or cleaning bathrooms in a residential home?\” he suggested.

One of the things that rather marks out Christianity from certain other religions (yes, this is a very broad brush statement) is that what you do isn\’t thought to be the most important thing.

Because the duty to serve would be compulsory, those involved would not be able to make political or personal capital from doing it, he added.

Why you do something is thought to be the important thing.

Take, for example, Jimmy Carter\’s (much derided) statement that he had committed adultery in his heart. He had not acted upon the lust he felt for a woman not his wife, but he had lusted and imagined.

Similarly, take John Paul II\’s comment (again, much derided) that a man can committ adultery with his own wife. If he has sex with her as if she is just meat, as a satiation for his lust, then this can be considered as adultery. Only if it is love, sexual love to be sure, making love to a person, is it not.

OK, slightly weird examples, I know, but they do illustrate the point that it\’s what you think about something, the reasons that you do it, that make something a Christian act. Saving a child from drowning is of course an entirely respectable act. But it only becomes a praiseworthy Christian one if it is done to save the child, if done to impress onlookers then, while the act itself is still respectable, praiseworthy, the motivation leaves you open to the sin of pride.

Complicated business, but that latter shows that passing a law stating that the Prime Minister has to go and clean the vomit off Piccadilly Circus once a week would mean that the Prime Minister cleaning vomit off Piccadilly Circus was not a Christian act. For the motivation is that we\’ll jail him if he doesn\’t.

Odd that an Archbish doesn\’t know this really…..

This subject always rather amuses me

But there the similarities with papa seem to end. While the marquess, also known as the “Loins of Longleat”, keeps an estimated 75 “wifelets”, the viscount remains unmarried (though perhaps for appearance’s sake he has been accused, wrongly it now transpires, of fathering a daughter out of wedlock).

Not just because he\’s the Marquess of Bath of course. But because I know (perhaps knew is better) one of those wifelets. At around about the time that she started being one of them.

One could see what he saw in her of course: it was working out the other way around that was more difficult. A quick flick around the web  now answers that question quite nicely, but no names, no pack drill, no details that could lead to identification.

From what I recall she was also at one time dating one of the more dreary of Britain\’s socialist film makers. An od pairing of companions really.

Maybe Libya\’s all about the central banks?

Sent in by a reader:

What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland.

The most renegade of the lot could be Libya and Iraq, the two that have actually been attacked. Kenneth Schortgen Jr., writing on, noted that “[s]ix months before the US moved into Iraq to take down Saddam Hussein, the oil nation had made the move to accept Euros instead of dollars for oil, and this became a threat to the global dominance of the dollar as the reserve currency, and its dominion as the petrodollar.”

According to a Russian article titled “Bombing of Lybia – Punishment for Ghaddafi for His Attempt to Refuse US Dollar,” Gadaffi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Gadaffi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency. During the past year, the idea was approved by many Arab countries and most African countries. The only opponents were the Republic of South Africa and the head of the League of Arab States. The initiative was viewed negatively by the USA and the European Union, with French president Nicolas Sarkozy calling Libya a threat to the financial security of mankind; but Gaddafi was not swayed and continued his push for the creation of a united Africa.

Well, no.

Strangely, I\’ve actually been on a TV talk show with one of the gold dinar advocates and he, at least, was a loon. Tehre\’s a fairly good reason we gave up commodity based currencies: it makes the money supply dependent upon how fast people can produce the currency. Which really isn\’t what we want at all, as the Spanish inflation of the 16th century showed us and to a lesser extent as the opening up of the Witwatersrand did in the 1880s.

True, governments can be worse with fiat currencies, but that doesn\’t make gold (or any other such commodity) good money either.

But the bit that proves that this is looney tunes time is that bit about euros for oil.  That the US $ is the world\’s reserve currency is true. But it\’s not actually all that important to the US that this is so. The profit they make out of it is \”seignorage\”, the differrence between the costs of barrels of ink and reams of paper and what they can sell the newly printed hundred $ bills for. This is usually estimated at some $20 billion a year.

Nice cash to have, sure, but in the context of a $14 trillion economy it\’s a rounding error.

Even if the world did start trading oil exclusively in euros, that $20 billion\’s the maximum they could lose as a result of the loss of \”petrodollar\” status. And no, the reserve status of the dollar is not linked in any but the most tenuous of ways to the fact that oil is traded in it anyway.

Any conspiracy theory you see with this in it can safely be dismissed as Woo.

Will Straw: can he read?

Apparently not:

As the chart below shows, in his short tenure as Prime Minister, David Cameron has already created 117 new Lords. Indeed, David Cameron is creating peers at a rate ten times faster than his predecessor, Gordon Brown, and three times faster than Tony Blair.

Well Will, let\’s have a look at what the report you\’re referring to actually says, shall we?

The most problematic category in the present context is perhaps
the resignation honours list, made by a departing Prime Minister. Many of David
Cameron’s first group of appointments were in fact Gordon Brown’s resignation honours.
It has become an established convention that a departing Prime Minister should be able to
leave such appointments for his or her successor, though (probably due to the controversy
over ‘cash for honours’ shortly beforehand) no resignation honours were made after Tony
Blair stepped down. David Cameron’s first block of 56 appointments in May 2010 included
32 resignation honours, 23 dissolution Honours (see below), and one other (a peerage for
retiring Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair, falling into the category above).

Yup. Some half of \”Cameron\’s\” appointments are actually nothing to do with Cameron. Of that half, around half are in fact Gordon Brown\’s appointments, to make up for those years of lips firmly fixed to his posterior. The other half being the kicking upstairs of the usual riunks and wastrels who couldn\’t manage to keep a Commons seat even under our current electoral system.

The other half of that massive number of appointments?

Yes, the working peers:

Blair made several rounds of such appointments (as demonstrated by Figure 1), and David
Cameron appointed a group of 54 in November 2010.

And not even a plurality of those were Conservatives.

A small suggestion for Our Will. Do try reading (and if you can\’t get someone to read it to you) the report you\’re commenting on, there\’s a good lad?

Otherwise people might think you\’re just spouting propaganda rather than \”evidence-based analysis on British politics, policy, and current affairs.\”

Lenin Speaks!

Yes, apparently, the Labour Party, the historic party of the organised working class, frequent party of government, creator of the welfare state, and the outright poll leader du jour, needs the ordure, the fascist, semi-fascist and pre-fascist residues, the most outright reactionary, thuggish and ignorant shit in the country. Without appeasing the scum, it seems, Labour will never be a winner.

For all their interest in the proletariat Marxists have never been all that interested in the lumpen proletariat.

Might be something to do with the way they don\’t espouse the correct opinions I suppose.

Wet houses

Excellent piece here.

What do you do with alcoholics who don\’t want to be cured?

Get them off the streets of course, out of the emergency rooms, stop arrresting and jailing them. Put them in a \”wet house\”. Just like sheltered living for addicts who want to get off the juice, but let them drink while they\’re there.

If they want to drink themselves to death, well, fine, just don\’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.

Now all we need is for the same logic to extend to drugs…..