October 2018

Someone who likes MMT really should grasp this

I am finally back in the UK with time to notice the budget. And one of the most notable things about it was Philip Hammond’s discussion of the national debt. He claimed, as do the Office for National Statistics, that our national debt is now about 85% of GDP. That, he and they say, is about £1,764 billion.

Except that is simly not true. Near enough £435 billion worth of the UK’s national debt, which is supposedly owing by the government, is owed to the Bank of England, which is owned by the government. So the government owes itself. And debt you owe yourself is not debt at all. That’s because paying it off makes no difference to your well-being. You are in exactly the same overall state with the rest of the world as you were before you paid it if you do that. So the debt does not actually exist. That is the only obvious logical consequence of that fact.

In other words UK national debt is near enough £1,329 billion. Tht is 64% of GDP. Which is, in national debt terms, neither here nor there and certainly poses none of the threats to the UK economy that Hammond claims the national debt does.

On alternate days we’re told that the national debt is money that the government has pumped into the economy. We’re also told that if there’s too much money in the economy – which might happen if government pumps too much in – then MMT tells us that it should be taxed out again.

QE is indeed government pumping more money into the economy. A quick glance at the M0 or M1 aggregates will show that that QE debt is exactly that.

So, if that inflation ever does turn up – something rather essential to the basic MMT claims about inflation and tax that it will – then it will need to be taxed back out of the economy.

If QE is real debt, the national debt is the 1.7 trillion, then taxes at some point must rise to pay it back. If it’s not real debt but MMT is true then taxes must rise to cut the inflation from it not being paid back.

Ritchie’s claims of definitions change the real world how?

Not that national debt of £1,764 billion is a threat to well-being either. That is unless private wealth is a threat to well-being. Because the national debt is simply national savings because it represents the amount that people want to save with the government. It’s no more than people putting money on deposit in the safest account available in the UK economy. And what is so terrible about that?

If the government had the 1.7 trillion on tap then nothing would be wrong. It doesn’t – all it has is the future tax revenue it can gain from the population. If we all desire to save less with he government then what happens? Taxes must rise to pay us all back. For we do all agree that if we voluntarily save with the government then we’re equally at liberty to voluntarily dissave with he government, no?

Calling pendants

A man who “deliberately” infected two women with the HIV told a court he got the virus when a man sexually abused him.

the human immunodeficiency virus” yes, but “the HIV?”

Pendants want to know…..

And the grievance industry sails on

Talk about missing the point:

Swim England has apologised over advice published on its website for budding swimmers, which advised women to hide their “flabby stomachs” and “boyish figures.”

On a page promoting swimming as exercise, the UK’s official swimming body said women should “draw attention towards [their] more appealing characteristics” when choosing a swimsuit.

The article suggested how women could “accentuate curves” or hide a“boyish body”.

It also said that women with “flabby stomachs” should choose a “loose tankini instead of a bikini or 1-piece” and warned that bikinis “totally expose a jiggly belly, and trying to squeeze into a one-piece will not slim your stomach, only emphasise it”.

The article suggested that overweight women wear dark colours to “minimise” their shape.

The organisation’s stated aim is to “help people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely, and compete in all our sports” and to “inspire everyone to enjoy the water in the way that suits them”.

However, many complained that their advice about swimwear could put women off swimming.

PhD student Simone Webb found the page when researching how to get back into swimming again, and complained to the organisation about the “sexism”.

Do – some – women worry about exposing their bodies to public view? Those who say no are a little short in the meeting actual human beings department.

Advice on how to best present is thus likely to increase the number who swim, not decrease.

But, you know, sexism and grievances.

Perhaps the PhD is already gained, assuming it is in grievance studies?

Would a civilian court have reached the same verdict?

An interesting question:

A court martial took less than an hour to clear a Royal Navy Commander of sexual assault after he begged them not to ruin his career over a “schoolboy prank”.

Commander Steven Heap allegedly left a female colleague’s bottom sore after shocking her with two “firm slaps” during a Christmas party, in what he said was an “amusing not sexual” act of “drunken buffoonery”.

The 48-year-old, who received an MBE from Prince Charles, told the hearing he was very drunk when he slapped her backside on the dance floor but insisted it was a “prank” and he was “showboating”.

The panel of five senior male officers cleared Cdr Heap of two counts of sexual assault after 57 minutes of deliberations.

Assistant Judge Advocate General Robert Hill said: “To convict him, you must be sure there was a sexual purpose to the slaps”.

Prosecutors had alleged the Commander, who joined the Navy as a submariner 30 years ago, had been sexually motivated when he slapped the woman’s backside.

Given the current hysteria perhaps not.

Easy enough to do

A MARRIED couple from Shropshire were “groomed” into supplying parts for Iran’s nuclear programme, a court has heard.

Paul Attwater, 65, and Iris Attwater, 66, smuggled prohibited aircraft parts from their company Pairs Aviation to Alexander George, 76, in Malaysia who supplied Iranian aviation firms.

Concluding that the couple had been “very, very naive”, Judge Michael Grieve QC yesterday handed the couple suspended sentences after Mr Attwater insisted he had no idea the parts he was exporting had a military application.

What might have a military application – “dual use” items – can have a very wide definition. I know this very well indeed.

Way back when it was Iraq, not Iran, that was the concern. There’s a specific alloy that is used only in Soviet style nuclear plants. Western use a different alloy, each is only used in nuclear. We had a nice little business buying the Soviet stuff as scrap – usual destination was aluminium alloys for boy racer car wheels. All entirely legal and kosher.

However, if we’d sold the tubes, as tubes and so not as scrap, to people who then put them into the Iraqi nuclear program (can’t recall if there ever was one but at the time all thought that….) then that was a possible 20 year sentence.

To the point that there was a stash of such tubes in Cyprus which we made repeated attempts to buy as scrap, at the scrap price. Never got anywhere as it appears that this was, even if a real stash, a temptation being monitored, to put it lightly, by security types to see who would buy as tubes and try to ship to Iraq. I’ve seen at least one trial reported where people did try to buy as tubes and ship.

Have also dealt with radiation hardened chips for rockets and satellites. If they went into Soyuz to go to the space station then that’s fine. If they got diverted to military use then potential 20 years jug time again.

That is, exactly the same item can be entirely legal or horribly not so dependent upon who is the buyer. And no, you don’t get to claim ignorance of the end user. Strict liability applies here, if the bad guys get it then you’re guilty. The sentence might mitigate, the jury might, but not liability.

It’s an interesting area of business. Ahem.

We’ve not heard from Nancy for a bit, have we?

The billionaire was at the centre of more lurid claims yesterday. The Sun on Sunday reported allegations that he had offered Nancy Dell’Olio £1 million to spend the night with him. The Italian lawyer, 57, who first came to attention for dating the former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, said that the alleged proposal made in 2010 at a nightclub left her feeling “shocked and humiliated”.

“Philip pawed at my wrist and told me, ‘If you come with me now to my apartment, this night will be worth a million’. He was tipsy, but I felt he wasn’t joking,” she said. “It was disgraceful. I have sex with who I want to, when I decide, for my pleasure.”

What are the odds on if she’d said yes the price dropping to £5? Sir Philip being a cultured man who knows his GBS*.

*Maybe, might just be the famous name the story has migrated to.

Economic calculation

Trejo may now be clean but there is still one addiction in his life. “I love working,” he says, though this is partly because he has concluded that crime really doesn’t pay. “I realised that if I rob someone for $800, that may only take two minutes – but the other price is probably five years in prison. If you divide $800 into five years, it’s not a very good hourly wage.”

The level of punishment times the probability of punishment is the cost of crime.

Which does mean that if you raise the probability of punishment then you can reduce the duration of it. A guaranteed week inside for burglary might do more to reduce the incidence than 10 years applied to only 1% of those who do it.


The village was originally home to 40 staff and their families, as well as the hub of activity for the 1,200 workers who laboured on the dam. Waitaki Dam was the last in New Zealand to be constructed using , as part of a government initiative to reduce the unemployment rate.

Well, yes, but

Many Brazilians are concerned that Mr Bolsonaro, an admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship and a defender of its use of torture on leftist opponents, will trample on human rights, curtail civil liberties and muzzle freedom of speech.

Not enough of them though:

With 94 percent of the ballots counted, Mr Bolsonaro had 56 percent of the votes in the run-off election against left-wing hopeful Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT), who had 44 percent, according to the electoral authority TSE.

Not entirely great but

“Lots of older people used to cook tinned tuna and mushroom soup in a pasta bake.”

Not much wrong with it either. Great way to stuff hungry kids.

She argued: “There’s a lot of myths in tinned food – it’s quite surprising, tinned potatoes are a really good source of vitamin C, and tinned sardines give you your full daily allowance of vitamin B12, tinned fruit and veg is just as nutritious for you as fresh. Tinned tomatoes contain more lycopene. Because of the canning mechanism it retains nutrients.

This is Jack Monroe of course. Lycopene, well, it’s processed tomatoes. Ketchup is the same, more of it.

But an interesting point behind this. Some things are going to be better – in that mixture of cost and flavour/quality – when tinned than “fresh.” Much more used to be, that’s why canning arose in the first place. Because tinned sweetcorn was better than no sweetcorn out of season. But now we’ve frozen, world transport systems etc. So, there are things we used to can but which aren’t as good on that cost/quality axis as the alternatives.

Note that the same can be said about any food preservation method. Are strawberries better than strawberry jam?

But this does lead to a question. What things are still available canned which really aren’t as good as the newer methods? Either fresh or frozen etc. Alternatively, perhaps because the list is possible shorter, which things are in fact better using the older preservation technique of canning?

Baked beans – sure, make your own, but it’s a hell of a bore. Sardines? Fresh are lovely but even today getting today’s fresh across the country is not possible. Tuna? Again. fresh is possible but…..peas, no canned peas aren’t as good as frozen. Except for mushy peas but then that’s a style almost caused by canning itself.

You see what I mean? Where does the older technology of canning still hold sway? Soups?

Oh, but we’re the good people!

Officials who have been paid off since Corbyn’s allies seized control of party headquarters have signed clauses that stop them going public on the scale and severity of sexual harassment, bullying and anti-semitism cases against members. The party made extensive use of non-disclosure agreements despite Labour’s outrage at such contracts being used to conceal the identity of a leading businessman accused of sexual harassment and racism. He was named in the House of Lords as Sir Philip Green, the billionaire boss of Topshop. He has denied the claims.

Might be worth a go

Petition to Parliament:

Stop possible second referendum on E.U. membership
There is a growing band of people that want to reverse the result of the democratic vote of this country to leave the European Union and are calling for a second referendum. This is mainly by the people that lost the vote two years ago and cannot accept the democratic vote of the majority decision.

Although not legally binding the referendum on whether we stay or leave the EU carried out on the 23rd June 2016 was the clearest indication of the will of the electorate. At that time our Prime Minister David Cameron assured us that the result of the referendum would be carried out. We must ensure the democracy rules

Americans, eh?

Founded in 1989, the company now employs 1,000 people, according to the grocery chain’s website. There are 20 Bónus stores in Iceland, and 12 in the Faroe Islands.

The store might not boast an international presence

Given that the Faroes and Iceland are different countries, they’ve got an international presence, no?

Dunno really

I have lost count of the number of times over the last twelve years that I have been told that if only I was more reasonable I would be so much more successful.

Fine with unreasonable. I’d hope for informed – maybe not ignorant is a more realistic target.

And that if only I realised my arguments were wrong I could achieve so much more.

Well, yes, having the right arguments might indeed mean that more useful was achieved.

Perhaps he wasn’t?

There are two great lessons. One is the depth of misogyny – some conscious but a great deal unconscious – that exists in too many workplaces. Green would resist the idea that he is endemically sexist; assertive aggression, he would say, is his style to men and women alike. The womenswear buyer and the male director who he humiliated got the same treatment. But the evidence of sexism is too overwhelming. The male director Shah quotes him bullying was not called fat.

Imagine the State fully in control of health care

We don’t actually have to imagine. People in prison are fully under the control of the State. Health care there is fully state controlled:

Almost half of England’s jails are providing inadequate medical care to inmates, whose health is being damaged by widespread failings, the NHS watchdog has told MPs in a scathing briefing leaked to the Observer.

Healthcare behind bars is so poor in some prisons that offenders die because staff do not respond properly to medical emergencies, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) says.

The State is so good at doing things.