Mucho elsewhere

At Cap X

Mining the truth about minerals.

That’s why, if you go and look at mineral reserves, you’ll find we’re going to run out of everything in 30 – 50 years. And that’s because the best definition of a reserve is what we’ve prepared for us all to use in the next 30 – 50 years. To complain about this is like complaining that the food in the fridge is about to run out – without referring to the supermarkets and food production system which exists to fill up our fridges again.

It’s this mistake which leads to the insistence that we must recycle everything for we’re going to run out. We’re not. That underlying contention is simply wrong.

At the ASI:

How would a planned economy deal with this problem?

One of the sillier critiques of free market economies is to look at the conditions for perfect competition, note that perfect information is assumed and thus declare that of course a planned economy is better as we cannot meet the necessary conditions for a market one.

But, of course, if we don’t know then how can we plan?

Further, as Ridley points out, if we don’t know what the new technologies will or can do then how can we plan what to do with them? This accords well with William Baumol’s more formal investigations of invention and innovation. The state, planning, can indeed invent as can markets. But innovations are something the planned economy simply cannot handle while they seem to be the very essence of market systems. That is, innovation appears to be an emergent phenomenon from people playing around, as they wish, with those inventions. That playing around being something which a planned system cannot, by definition, do.

In The Times:

Offshore investments aren’t illegal so why the song and dance?

At heart, the objection to tax havens and competition is the desire that we be subject to monopoly control by a taxing institution. As everyone from Marx to Friedrich Hayek has pointed out, monopoly is injurious to all of us out here – hence why we want multiple jurisdictions so that competition reduces the injury to individualsand the wider economy.

The other extreme would be as with the recent Saudi Arabian confiscation of rich people’s assets, possibly just because it can be done. Competition in the rule of law is as with that in tax; something that protects us from the state.

20 thoughts on “Mucho elsewhere”

  1. It’s a good point about the fallacy of judging markets as failed by comparing with the perfect theoretical example, yet claiming socialism is still viable despite its failure in every country it has ever been tried in.

  2. The thing with recycling if it made sense people would be paid to do it as and we would be mining landfills.

    The minerals aren’t going anywhere in many ways they are just being communally stored until it is economic to extract them.

    All of recycling to me is a government inspired religionous level con.

  3. Off topic and I posted it in the ‘Paradise papers’ blog below but worth reopreatng anyway, I think, as we finally seem to have had someone fighting back and it shows the ridiculous hypocrisy of the BBC in reporting this and Labour in attacking it. Two snippets in particular:

    Very good interview on Radio 5 just before 6.00 a.m. this morning which won’t be repeated much, I am sure.

    They had a representative of the Guernsey authorities and from the OECD.

    Guernsey bloke was great. Denied wrong doing, said that this was a political attack on off-shore finance centres, pointed out there were 7,000 people employed doing real jobs in Guernsey, pointed out that Guensey was cooperating with OECD, pointed out that part of the BBC pension fund was located in an off-shore finance centre, pointed out that John McDonnell was being paid a pension the fund of which was located in an offshore finance centre. Explained that the idea of these arrangements was that the income was only taxed once (and here the BBC interviewer snidely muttered “in Guernsey, in Guernsey” – showing bias and ignorance) and that was when the pension was received by the pensioner. BBC interviewer asked whether Guernsey ‘could survive’ without finance sector. Guernsey bloke asked why that should be an issue, again pointed out that real 7,000 people were employed doing real jobs on the Island.

    Interview moved swiftly on to OECD representative who confirmed that Guernsey was cooperating, started to explain that lots was being done in the field of anti-avoidance, BBC interviewer interrupts “but only because of the Panama papers and the Paradise papers”, not so says the OECD person, this initiative has been going since 2009 and predates Panama. Generally lots of good news on this front.

    Program moved swiftly on to something else. Probably about how nail bar slaves are being used as part of a tax dodge.

  4. The BBC is always asking people to suggest things that BBC news could investigate so I have asked.

    “Could you investigate whether the BBC pension Fund invests via off-shore finance centres?”

    If anyone else wants to cut and paste the query, feel free.

  5. Reading about reserves & resources & nickel took me back to the Australian nickel mining share ramps of the early 70s. Oh happy days! Oh sweet Poseidon! And that confusion between reserves & resources. For the story was about all the wonderful nickel strikes being made out in the far bush by intrepid geologists & how nickel mining companies would be rolling in dosh. But some of the more alert of us noticed that said nickel was out in the middle of nowhere, a thousand miles from anywhere & most particularly, a thousand miles from any adequate water supplies or transport links. And quietly unloaded our nickel shares before the rest of the market caught on to the difference between having the nickel in the ground & actually having big piles of the metally stuff to flog.

  6. It’s a good point about the fallacy of judging markets as failed by comparing with the perfect theoretical example, yet claiming socialism is still viable despite its failure in every country it has ever been tried in.

    Real socialism has never been tried.

    All of the failures you describe were the subversive efforts of counter revolutionary Trotskyite revisionists supported by Western imperialist running dogs who used a façade of Marxist/Leninism as a cover for capitalist kleptocracy while simultaneously attempting to subvert the will of the people as represented by tireless and selfless efforts of the International Soviet.

  7. Tim

    Loved the first article. When I think of the anti-Murphy a name that always comes to mind is the late Lord Peter Bauer, an economist who was as consistently right about everything as Murphy is wrong. However, your article brought to mind another sadly missed economist, the late Julian L. Simon whose work was a welcome antidote to the consistent Socialist doommongering that was a staple of ‘education’ even back then.

    Anytime someone says, “we’re running out of ‘rare earths'” I always compliment them on looking good after trips to such tough climates. When such a response elicits (as it never fails to do) a puzzled look, I point out that temperatures/ general climate in remote parts of Australia, Kazakhstan, Greenland, Canada and Russia is quite inhospitable and to confidently say we are running out they must have done extensive geological surveys of all those areas. At this, they invariably look bemused and a rather lengthy explanation ensues. The level of ignorance promoted by the Green blob/ Corbynism in general is really quite terrifying and given this editorial by a ‘Conservative’ paper augurs very badly for the UK – 16 year olds (other than those in the armed services) should not be allowed anywhere near a ballot box….

  8. Sadly, the “Red Box” part of The Times isn’t a paying gig. I am still in high dudgeon there for having self-plagiarised near a decade back. Mistakes, eh?

  9. I got edits to a Wiki article referencing my original research reversed on the grounds of “doesn’t reference original research”. Seems people will only accept a reference to your own work if you reference somebody else referencing your own work. Which is difficult when people delete references to your own work.

  10. 🙂 you may be in high dudgeon where you are. They can be in high dudgeon where they are. I don’t think you can be in their high dudgeon. I think you mean in the sin bin, or persona non grata, and the real point is not to use a word like dudgeon in the first place .
    I’ll take a pendant badge to pin to my high hat, if you’re still handing them out.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    On the technology thing, I’ve just been listening to a couple of programs on the the start of self driving cars. The focus on the team that did best in the first DARPA race in 2004. I say did best because nobody go even close to the starting line.

    I remember writing in about 2012 that I didn’t expect to see self drive cars, or autnomus vehicles as they prefer to call them now.

    Now we have insurance companies offering Tesla owners insurance discounts based on the amount of autnomus driving they do.

    A lot of those original guys are still working on various projects and they talk to some other entrepreneurs who are entering the market.

    its good stuff and there’s no doubt that left to the State we wouldn’t be anywhere near the current point.

    On the mining issue, there used to be a very good blogger, whose name escapes me but he worked in mining and wrote what must have been the definitive explanation on what counts as reserves and resources and how the mining industry evaluates them. IIRC the ASI picked it up but I can’t find it.

  12. But Tim, we have ~250 years of cobalt reserves at 2016 usage without recycling. You claim that there is only 50-60 years of reserves for every metal so obviously your entire argument is wrong.

    Replace Tim with Liberal Yank and this actually happened last week.

    Oh, and it will take at least a decade before we can increase production at all. We’re all doomed to ??? because we’re going to run out of cobalt tomorrow.

    It’s a good time to invest in cobalt. The idiots should pump up the price for at least several more months.

  13. Further, as Ridley points out, if we don’t know what the new technologies will or can do then how can we plan what to do with them?

    There’s a genre of video game (well, probably more than one genre) where you actually play as the controller of a society as they expand across the world/galaxy and try to conquer everything (or, at least, try to prevent the other civilizations from conquering you). It’s not my thing, but I’ve seen some writers make entertaining stories out of them: for example, here, here, and here.
    I always feel awkward about them, though, because I suspect they encourage dirigisme by making it look like it’s possible to do effectively. Usually, part of the control is a “technology tree”, where you get to decide what technologies your society is researching. Experienced players know what stuff they have to research (or steal from other players) in order to get the good stuff. I just wonder if these experienced players end up thinking that real-life state controllers also know what things to research in reality to get “the good stuff”.

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