June 2012

Feminism kills children

One of those little lessons about how everything is connected.

So, more women doctors, yup, great idea. Women doctors, like women in many/all walks of life, often take the decision to cut back on working hours when they have children. Yay for choice!

And, as you\’ll not be entirely surprised to hear, paediatrics is one of those specialties that tends to attract more women than men.


Paediatrics is currently a popular specialism, particularly among female medics, but she said that meant many work reduced hours in their 30s as they juggled their careers with young families. More were opting out of working a five-day week than before, she explained.

As a result, consultants were increasingly having to cover the role traditionally performed by middle-grade doctors, taking on some front-line out-of-hours shifts.

The end result of this stretching the senior people to cover those exercising their just right to a work life balance?

Dr Hilary Cass, who took on the post last month, said the NHS did not compare well with other Western European countries when it came to children’s health. Child death rates in Britain were higher than in Germany, France, Italy and Sweden.

She said: “If you look at the overall picture, we are performing very poorly when it comes to child mortality.”

Dr Cass, a paediatric disability consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’s in London, continued: “We have about 1,500 excess deaths over and above what we would have if we matched the best performing country, Sweden.

“These are things that should be avertable with medical care – like meningitis, pneumonia and asthma,” she said.

Or, feminism kills children.

Or, if you prefer, the planners in a planned system (and yes, oh yes, the number of doctors of different grades and specialties is very much the outcome of a planned system) have failed to plan for the effects of those wholly desirable choices that feminism has led to society offering.

Ritchie really has found the magic money tree

And as for sovereign debt; of course it is an issue, but the reality is that the reason why it is such an issue is that the EU insists that governments can only borrow from markets. This is absurd, as the UK has shown. The reason why the UK is avoiding some of the problems of the Euro area is because of our QE programme. £325 billion now, and rising, this has in effect done two things. Firstly it has paid for almost all the deficit for the last two years. Second, the debt is immediately written off in the case of the UK. Almost all the debt we’ve issued in the last couple of years is, in effect, now owned by the Bank of England, which is owned by the UK government and debt owed to yourself is debt you don’t have to worry about!


He\’s still not getting that QE is deliberately designed to be reversible, is he?

Ritchie solves the euro crisis!

We have the master\’s solution.

Recapitalise the banks through sticking new government bonds into them.

Then get all sovereigns to default on their debt:

Instead the debt has to be acknowledged, and be acknowledged to be due as nothing else will satisfy the German public. It must also be deferred. And it must also carry an affordable rate of interest. Dealing with this last point first, the inter government debts of these countries have to carry a rate of interest no higher than ECB base rate. Indeed, 1% seems more than enough. And no roll up of the underpayment should be allowed: this rate should be what is payable. That way the liability is recognised but at such an interest rate let’s also be honest, inflation will cover the cost.

There is of course a slight problem in that the debt that we\’ve just injected into the banks becomes a great deal less valuable once we stick a 1% interest rate on it. For, note, for the bonds to actually be viable as capital (which is the intention) then they have to be valued at what someone will pay for them. A Spanish long term bond paying 1% is not, as you might note, very valuable right now.

But leave that aside: and note what it is that he\’s actually suggesting. Deferral of principle, unilateral lowering of interest rates. This is default: exactly what Greece has just done.

And, err, what happens to the ECB, the Bundesbank, even the IMF, when their €hundreds of billions and trillions of assets take a 70% dive in value as this default would mean they would?

Quite, they go bust.

Thre\’s more than one Mafia in Italy

As a result of such nepotism, the Department of Economics at the University of Bari had, at one point, eight professors who shared the same last name: Massari. They were all related. Apparently this set a new record for Italy; the previous record was six family members in the same department or institution.

The paternity pay gap

When his five-year-old daughter Amelia was born, Keith took a paternity break to care for her upbringing, which lasted about two years. Unfortunately, when Keith was ready to start working again, the financial crash of 2008 limited the opportunities and he has struggled to find permanent jobs in his field.

Exactly what has been causing the gender pay gap all these years. That is, it\’s been very little to do with gender.

Well, of course it\’s pilot error

Information leaked to a Russian newspaper claims that recordings from the jet\’s \”black box\” flight recorder shows that both the automatic avoidance system and another member of the crew tried to dissuade the pilot from a risky manoeuvre minutes before the jet collided with the side of a volcano in Indonesia, killing all 45 people on board.

The newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets said it had been led to understand that at some point in the recording a crew member is heard to shout something along the lines of \”commander, we can\’t go there, there\’s a mountain,\” only to be ignored by pilot Alexander Yablontzev.

Who could possibly doubt that the crash of Russia\’ latest and greatest jet was due to anything else?

Something to remember from Ray Bradbury

For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangu­tan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversation­ist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mor­mons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent type-writers. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture. If the Chicano intel­lectuals wish to re-cut my “Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” so it shapes “Zoot,” may the belt unravel and the pants fall.


In sum, do not insult me with the beheadings, finger-choppings or the lung-defiations you plan for my works. I need my head to shake or nod, my hand to wave or make into a fist, my lungs to shout or whis­per with. I will not go gently onto a shelf, degutted, to become a non-book.

All you umpires, back to the bleachers. Referees, hit the showers. It’s my game. I pitch, I hit, I catch. I run the bases. At sunset I’ve won or lost. At sunrise, I’m out again, giving it the old try.

RIA and RIP.

Yes, this is very helpful Ms. Moore

Economics is not a science; it\’s not even a social science. It is an antisocial theory. It assumes behaviour is rational. It cannot calculate for contradiction, culture, altruism, fear, greed, love or humanity at all.

So, it\’s all toss. And what are we to do?

It must be for me to understand it, for though I am not an economist, I know what I like. Some sort of stimulus, please. Fiscal will do nicely.

Ah, right, follow the nostrums of a long dead economist then.

Oh well, that\’s that solved then!

Barack Obama and David Cameron discussed the advancing debt crisis in telephone talks on Tuesday night. The American president and British prime minister \”agreed on the need for an immediate plan to tackle the crisis and to restore market confidence, as well as a longer-term strategy to secure a strong single currency\”, Downing Street said on Wednesday.


So, err, what was the plan? Dave? Bo?

Fiscal union which requires treaty changes and probably a German constitution change? Three years time if we\’re lucky?

Monetary easing, QE in all but name, by the ECB? Requiring a treaty change?

Recapitalisation of the Spanish banks? Err, before we actually know how bad they are? Before the exposure of the regions\’ debts? And with whose money? The ERM and EFSF aren\’t allowed to do it.

That there ought to be a plan seems sensible. The problem is, given the institutional structure, that it might not be possible to have a plan.

Shrinking the tax gap

HM Revenue & Customs has admitted that as many as 3.5 million people should have been liable to pay just 10pc tax on their savings, during 2009/10 – rather than the 20pc tax that is automatically deducted. But a freedom of information request revealed that only 718,000 had applied to have this tax repaid.

Yes, we come to another conceptual problem with Ritchie\’s tax gap calculations. He doesn\’t take acount of those who overpay their tax.

And there are those who do.

Explaining sociology

Some serious Head Wallah of the profession:

Aditya Chakrabortty says that sociologists take refuge in debating quibbles instead of tackling the neoliberal economic and social disaster head-on,

So not at all biased one way or the other.

In fact our conference, to which journalists were invited, had three main sessions, each attended by hundreds of researchers: on private equity firms; the failure of Marxism to predict the downturn;

I\’m sure that you\’ll be quite amazed to find that the failure of Marxism to predict the downturn is not a refutation of Marxism in the same manner that the failure of neoliberalism to predict the downturn is an obvious and whole refutaiton of neoliberalism.

Academics – from sociology and other disciplines – and research funding bodies have to work together to ensure there is funding to tackle these issues in-depth.

And we need more taxpayers\’ cash.

The answer to free market surrogacy

If India doesn\’t pass the regulatory bill soon, the international community should pressurise it to do so. This is now a global industry so requires an international law and a global fertility body to regulate it.

Yeah, that\’ll do it. Pass the regulation over to the UN.

When Sudan chairs the committee perhaps they could insist on a clitorectomy with the caesarian?

What a strange idea

\”If it happens, and I say if, it won\’t lead to civil war,\” he says. \”If the state runs out of money, it can write short-term IOUs like California did a few years ago.\” But Greece has no Apple, which is worth many times Greek GDP, to back up its solvency.

Eh? Apple backs up California\’s State solvency?

It pays corporate income tax there, yes…..but that\’s it. Not really quite the same as backing the solvency though, is it?

This is going to piss off some lefties

But last night, after weeks of bitter campaigning that emphasised the deep ideological divide in US politics, the Republican candidate Governor Scott Walker scored a solid win with a seven-point lead over his opponent.

My favourite
part of the whole thing is that what really, really, pissed off the public sector unions was that he freed the school system from having to buy the teachers\’ health insurance through the union run monopoly.

You\’ll not be surprised to find that premiums fell for the same coverage: and that school districts actually ended up with more disposable cash within the same total budgets.

This was, of course, such an outrage that a recall campaign must be launched to reverse this terrible attack on the workers\’ rights.

Dr Ha Joon Chang appears not to know his economic history

The remedies on offer are well known. Reduce budget deficits by cutting spending – especially \”unproductive\” social welfare spending that reduces growth by making poor people less willing to work. Cut taxes at the top and deregulate business (euphemistically called \”cutting red tape\”) so that the \”wealth creators\” have greater incentives to invest and generate growth; and make hiring and firing easier.

It is increasingly accepted that these policies are not working in the current environment. But less widespread is the recognition that there is also plenty of historical evidence showing that they have never worked. The same happened during the 1982 developing world debt crisis, the 1994 Mexican crisis, the 1997 Asian crisis, the Brazilian and the Russian crises in 1998, and the Argentinian crisis of 2002. All the crisis-stricken countries were forced (usually by the IMF) to cut spending and run budget surpluses, only to see their economies sink deeper into recession. Going back a bit further, the Great Depression also showed that cutting budget deficits too far and too quickly in the middle of a recession only makes things worse.

Umm, the UK\’s reaction to the Great Depression was to cut the deficit and devalue the pound. Worked very nicely, much better than the US response. Immediately post WWII Major Atlee reduced the budget deficit to a surplus: economy grew quite nicely as well.

It\’s just fine to have different views but you\’re really not allowed your own facts you know….

The Guardian on economics

That is because we nowadays produce so much more, thanks to the genius of technology and science.

How much less assured, by contrast, is the progress of the social and economic sciences over the decades.

Erm, well, yes.

Except, of course, much of the progress in economics over these decades has been in, well, you know, what are the circumstances which produce technological growth and scientific advance?

Like, Yaaay! for markets and Yah Boo Sucks! to planning, just as one example?

Umm, Polly, about this Orange Book thing…

Let\’s not delay long over the what-ifs and who-did-what. Suffice it to say, leading Orange Book Lib Dems on the right – Clegg, David Laws, Chris Huhne and Danny Alexander – were already planning a Lib Dem-Tory coalition:
So here is their last chance. This is what Adonis urges, along with many dissident Lib Dems: Vince Cable finally rebels against an austerity that is destroying the economy. He can reasonably claim to have given Osborne\’s plan A a fair chance, but with the country deep in double-dip recession, he calls for the only budget U-turn that really matters. Time for plan B and an emergency autumn budget establishing an industrial bank, infrastructure investment, house and road building and a massive jobs programme for young and old, a Keynesian resurgence. His business department has overseen a collapse in manufacturing, and he should resign to rally the centre-left of his party against a government that is wrecking any chance of restoring healthy growth.

Umm, just a thought though.

In 2004, Cable contributed to the Orange Book and is identified with the economic liberal wing of the party. He believes that the Liberal Democrats should stand for \”fairer taxes, not higher taxes\”

Umm, St Vince is an Orange Booker……

Guardian argle bargle

Jeez, these people just cannot stop with the cant, can they?

All the women belong to the Wapsala Association, a 33-strong agricultural collective created to boost local smallholders, ensure a steady, year-round, supply of high-nutrition foodstuffs in an area prone to chronic shortages, and help end the curse of malnutrition that affects about 44% of all Mozambican children under five.

The Wapsala project is seen by some Mozambican nutrition experts as a paradigm to be emulated in similarly disadvantaged areas of the country and other parts of southern Africa.

The collective\’s approach, rooted in public and international funding, contrasts sharply with the prioritisation of private-sector investment, as proposed at the recent G8 summit.

Instead of perpetuating the western focus on food security, the farmers of Wapsala provide a working alternative – what Graciela Romero, the international programmes director of War on Want, calls food sovereignty: a move to promote agrarian reform that favours small producers and the landless, and emphasises local markets and self-sufficiency.

OK, so we\’ve got all the buzz words. Cooperatives, self sufficiency, food sovereignty, local markets and it\’s very much anti private-ector investment.

And what is it that they actually want to do?

\”We would like to process other people\’s cassava but we have no capacity,\” he said. \”The South Africans want dried cassava and cassava leaves. Market demand is high but we cannot supply it. We are also expanding our nursery business with trees and other plants – they expand our fruit production. But we are limited due to lack of water. It costs a lot to dig a borehole. The nearest is two kilometres away.\”

They, err, want investment so they can export. You know, undermine someone else\’s food sovereignty?

So, leaving aside the cant what they\’re actually doing it trying to create a community of yeomen farmers who trade in local and regional markets. Not a bad idea at all but entirely different from that cant being spouted.