June 2017

Teens are still having sex

We might file that under the least surprising headline in all of history. Even better than “things have not moved necessarily to Japan’s advantage” and certainly competing with that one from A Hitler, “But what are these Russian tanks doing here?”

One of Spudda’s problems is that he’s got absolutely no economic hinterland

He just doesn’t get that other people have chewed over these problems before him and that they also had some useful insights. This isn’t written by Snippa but he endorses it:

The first thing to understand is that land is not like other forms of capital in the economy: it has unique qualities which have to be understood. Land is finite – there is a limited supply of it – and it is permanent – it does not depreciate.

This means it is a uniquely desirable type of capital; as long as populations continue to rise it is likely to rise in value too. As Mark Twain said over a century ago, “buy land, they aren’t making it anymore”.

Land therefore plays a very different role in market economies to capital: whereas Apple will produce more iPhone’s to meet demand, more land cannot be produced to meet housing demand.

This gives land and property owners special power in the economy: their monopolisation of the fixed supply of land can mean they extract the surplus value produced by growth in the economy through charging rent on use of their land.

Sigh, this is just Ricardo on rent. Everything just ends up as land rent in the end. Something which we now know to be empirically wrong. Because we do make more land, by trading with it. The steamship, the railway and the opening up of the prairies and steppes did more to destroy the great aristocratic fortunes than anything else, certainly more than any tax or government intervention. It’s even in the Saez and Zucman work on the subject.

Remarkably, the unique role of land in the economy is ignored in mainstream economics:

Bollocks, it has been endlessly chewed over.

From the late 1970s and early 1980s to today, a great transformation has taken place in housing – land and property values have gone through the roof. The rise in property value has significantly outstripped rises in incomes and growth.

This has created a surge in wealth inequality between property owners and renters, and is the central finding of Thomas Piketty’s globally renowned book, Capital, which used historical data to show that asset price inflation now outstripped profit, making capital investment in the real economy a loser for any business man or woman compared to rentier exploitation.

Twattery. One of the great failures of Piketty’s thesis is that he doesn’t account for the rise in property wealth at the household level.

This transformation has been driven by financialisation – the turning of social goods into financial assets. UK banks’ main role used to be as lenders to businesses. While lending to non-financial corporations has remained fairly static, mortgage lending directly to workers has surged, from 20 to 60 per cent of GDP.

Mortgage lending is now the main function of British banking. Once again, mainstream economics is unequipped to understand the role of financialisation in the modern economy.

Banks’ role is seen as recycling savers’ money to borrowers as credit for productive investment, oiling the wheels of the economy. But what the banks do with mortgage loans has little to do with investment, and even less to do with existing money in circulation.

Idiocy. The “Anglo Saxon” financial system uses public markets, equity, to fund business, not bank loans as with the Continental system. Sure, we can argue about which is better but not to note this is just idiotic.

First, it’s important to understand not all of the world is like Britain. While rising house prices has been a global trend, in countries like Japan and Germany house prices to earnings have been in decline since the 1970s, the reverse trend of the UK.

Germany is a society where most people still rent in a well-regulated sector, the mortgage market has more strict limits on it and most banks are public or co-operative owned and do not engage in land speculation.

The point is that there is different ways to do things, and if we want things to change we have to be open to thinking fundamentally differently about how we do things in Britain. Tweaks will be insufficient.

Fuckwittery. Germany and Japan have “can build” planning systems. Want to build a house on your land? Go ahead. Make the British system like that and we’d be settled. What’s the one thing they don’t advocate? Freer planning permission. Fuckwittery.

Which universe was this phoned in from?

Fourth, some shibboleths need to be faced. Grenfell Tower is already symbolic, but it also represents a reality in UK housing policy. This now subsidises private landlords and not tenants. It is biased towards home owners and not those who aspire to a secure home for their families. It promotes the myth of property as wealth, and not as homes. It does, therefore, divide society. The best indictation of change will, then, be the willingness of people to not only become involved but to also demand that these divisions be removed. So the question is whether or not politics can move from being about reinforcing the power of particular interest groups to an alternative based upon the promotion of broader communal values.

There will be very obvious indicators that will suggest if this is happening. So, for example, will funding for social housing be made available?

A tenant managed block of council flats went up in flames. After said council had spent £70,000 per flat tarting it up. Within a fortnight a local council (The City Corporation) had bought replacement flats in the locality to offer, as social or council flats, to all those displaced.

This shows subsidy to private landlords, does it?

UN population predictions

The world’s population is projected to
increase by slightly more than one billion people over the next 13 years, reaching 8.6 billion in 2030, and
to increase further to 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100


….as well as a slight increase in fertility in countries where women have fewer than two live births per lifetime.

Ah, no, so I don’t believe a word of it. There ain’t a single rich country above the replacement rate. And there’s nothing in any human history to suggest that any ever will be either. And we do know that poor places are getting richer at a very encouraging rate…..

Rilly Polly?

This government staggers on, still trying to strike a costly and disreputable DUP deal, blackmailed by a party of Christian fundamentalists whose laws enforce childbirth on raped underage girls.

They do? Do we know the number of rapes of underage girls in NI? The number who go on to give birth as a result? And do the DUP come around to ensure pregnancy if the rape doesn’t take?


Amazingly Polly, this is a democracy, one in which even religious bigots both have the vote and the right to representation. We are not in an ideological state, where only those with GoodThink are allowed to speak up.

Was ever a government in such chaos? Was ever a party less fit to govern? Was ever the country brought to such a state, by the wanton fanaticism of Tory ideologues, with their toxic combination of state-shrinkers and Europhobes?

Err, yes actually. ’76 to ’79 was worse, The Brown Terror as well……

So, the Council inspected and yet it’s still neoliberalism to blame, eh?

Grenfell Tower renovation works were inspected 16 times by Kensington and Chelsea council, but these checks failed to prevent the use of the flammable cladding being blamed for spreading the fire that killed at least 79 people.

Inspections were spread over almost two years during the £10m refurbishment project between 2014 and 2016, but these appear not to have spotted that the building was being clad in a material effectively banned on tall buildings by the government.

Conservative-run Kensington and Chelsea council told the Guardian that the first inspection took place on 29 August 2014 and the last was on 7 July 2016, at which point a completion certificate was issued. It added that building inspectors working for the council undertook the work.

Because The State failed therefore more must be done by The State.

Not many people raging that day

Around 100 protesters gathered in Shepherd’s Bush from 11.30am before starting their march to Downing Street at shortly after 1.30pm – delayed by 30 minutes due to a low turn-out.

Within an hour, the protest swelled to around 200 people and began taking up three lanes of the road as it forced drivers to slow down. The group arrived in Westminster at around 3.45pm, with smoke and flares set off in the crowd on Whitehall.

How The Guardian lost America

Supposedly, at least.

To hear management tell it, the US operation is swimming against tough financial tides, with the Guardian’s global finances in repair mode and the US display ad market going sideways. This narrative, an investigation into the company reveals, is incomplete. Conversations with more than 20 current and former employees, internal documents, and financial figures paint a different picture — one of overspending and missed opportunities by those currently in power, particularly Guardian editor Katharine Viner, global CEO David Pemsel, and Glendinning. The thirst for global expansion was so strong, in fact, that the Guardian’s former US CEO says he was pressured to make unattainable business projections to fuel the growth.

Lefties never have been very good with money, have they?

Won’t this piss Spudda off

So, Grenfell tenants will be rehoused in Kensington. In flats, social housing flats, coming from the affordable homes part of a development already near completion. No need for a suspension of civil liberties therefore.

Oh, and the financing part of it is coming from the City Corporation. You know, those appalling types who give away the entirety of their rates income and live purely off the land value tax they gain as the owners of much of the freehold of The City.

Just about everything he didn’t want, isn’t it?

Not a great understanding of capitalism here

The impact of the Whole Foods acquisition has already been dramatic. After the deal was announced, the value of Amazon’s stock went up by more than the purchase price, which means the deal paid for itself. The value of Amazon’s closest competitors, including Target, whose stock dropped by 10 percent, and Walmart, whose stock dropped by 5 percent, fell by an even larger amount.

This is not what is supposed to happen. Amazon’s stock is supposed to drop with the acquisition of a troubled company.

Err, why?

Something which increases the value of Amazon should make the stock price rise, something that diminishes it fall. Very much he majority of corporate purchases destroy value for the purchasing company thus the general observation that the stock price of the acquiring company falls. But there’s no “should” about it, it’s just a general observation. If it is though that this deal will boost Amazon profits then the price will rise. As people obviously do think because the price has risen.

How the hell does the US work these days?

Just tried to find out some stuff. How do I get translation rights to some media stuff. But it’s an odd request, not standard at all.

And no one at all ever answers a phone anywhere. You must know the name of the person you want or you’re not going to get anywhere. General numbers simply don’t get answered at all. And sure, standard requests are well handled by ‘bots. Tell us the name of the piece you want, what you’re going to do with it, the website will send you a quote. But obviously that cannot handle anything non-standard.

Given that you can’t ever get hold of a human who does know how to handle non-standard, how does non-standard ever get done?

Letter in the FT

Political choice is not a question of what we can afford, it is only a question of what kind of society we desire. After all, as a matter of fact we know that money is not scarce: quantitative easing proved that forever.

Charles Adams

Professor of Physics,

Durham University, UK

Richard Murphy

Professor of International Political Economy,

City, University of London, UK

Two people who know nothing about economics then.

Because it’s not money that is scarce, never has been, it’s resources. Changing the number of pieces of paper chasing the resources doesn’t change the number of resources. Just the number of pieces of paper you need to gain the resources.

Again, no knowledge of history here is there

Which is odd for someone whose degree was modern history really:

To look after its properties, the council created the largest management organisation of its type in England – unfeasibly large, it turned out, and unaccountable to its own tenants. This was the £11m-a-year body that handed the £10m refurbishment contract to the builder Rydon. The best that can be said of such outsourcing – whether in managing flats or running council departments – is that the public ends up paying more for a service that’s worse. It allows big companies to profiteer from basic public needs, and to evade democratic control.

Just to point out:

The 24-storey tower block was designed in 1967 in the Brutalist style of the era by Clifford Wearden and Associates,[5][6] with the council approving its construction in 1970 as part of phase one of the Lancaster West redevelopment project.[7][8][5][note 1]

Construction, by contractors A E Symes, of Leyton, London, commenced in 1972 under the council housing system with the building being completed in 1974.


Which parts of elections is it that these people don’t get?

:: Day of Rage: A march from Shepherd’s Bush Green to Downing Street from 1pm. On its Facebook page, MFJ references the Grenfell Tower fire and “brutal austerity, cuts and anti-immigrant attacks”.

It states: “Politicians and many community and religious leaders will be looking to divert our rage and fury into inquiries, investigations, reports, court hearings, and parliamentary processes.

“We will not accept those brush-offs and diversions, we will not settle for less than the destruction of May’s coalition of austerity and bigotry – we must bring down this Government.”

I’m really quite certain that just a couple of weeks back we were all asked our opinion on this matter.

The Doublethink is impressive here

I worked with a group of residents living in Grenfell Tower through my involvement with the Radical Housing Network, a network of housing campaigns across London. The first meeting of tenants in early 2015 was attended by around 100 residents. Each spoke of the historical neglect of the building, of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) failing to undertake basic but vital maintenance or improvements. Residents recounted incidents such as disturbing power surges in which appliances “blew up”.

I’d been asked to help the residents organise and campaign on the specific issue of a major refurbishment of the building being undertaken by a private contractor.

They just spent £70,000 per flat on hte place. Admittedly, not very well which was the cause of the problem, but it’s still not ignoring them nor is it neglect of the building now, is it?

Jesus Owen, get a grip

Britain’s far right is desperate, angry, cornered, and dangerous, as the Finsbury Park atrocity may well show. In just a year, the number of far-right extremists referred to the government has jumped by nearly a third. Social media abounds with frothing far-right fanatics, screaming about betrayal and vengeance. Both Muslims and the left are firmly in their sights – and we urgently need a strategy to deal with it.

There really are times when it’s random nutters driven by the voices in their heads…..

Err, yes, this is why we want to leave the single market lads

Because if we leave the single market, whatever the level of access is negotiated, working people across Britain will be worse off and revenue to the exchequer will plummet – revenue the next Labour government will need to bring an end to years of damaging Tory austerity.

The single market is not a simple free trade zone. It is, uniquely, a framework of rules that protects people from the worst excesses of globalisation and unfettered capitalism, in addition to easing trade across the continent. If we have mere access to the single market, we are talking about leaving this framework of rules and achieving mere reductions in tariffs for trade with the European Union.

If Britain stays in the single market, we will continue to benefit from EU laws and court judgments that outlaw discrimination in the workplace; deliver vital rights to workers on holiday pay, maternity and paternity leave, the right to join a union, and much more; protect our natural environment from pollution; and keep workers safe through stringent health and safety requirements. Large multinational companies work across borders to maximise their profits to often reduce these protections; the next Labour government, as a member of the single market, can work with other European countries to resist this and advance social justice. If we leave the single market, and ask for mere “access”, we will be compromised in achieving these goals.

By leaving we can enact ourselves those things we desire and not enact those things which we don’t.

That’s rather the point of leaving.

BTW, Labour Laddies, only by leaving can yu enact your own manifesto at this most recent election…..

Just no memory some of these people

To look after its properties, the council created the largest management organisation of its type in England – unfeasibly large, it turned out, and unaccountable to its own tenants. This was the £11m-a-year body that handed the £10m refurbishment contract to the builder Rydon. The best that can be said of such outsourcing – whether in managing flats or running council departments – is that the public ends up paying more for a service that’s worse. It allows big companies to profiteer from basic public needs, and to evade democratic control.

Chakrabortty obviously has simply no knowledge at all about how appalling the direct labour organisations were in local councils.

And, umm, well, how many residential towers does K&C have? And is that enough to warrant a full time, long term, labour force able to do such renovations? For labour isn’t some homogenous grouping any more. You don’t just have 300 navvies on hte staff and they get the stuff done any more.