Tim Worstall

Google Indexing

Hmmm. It\’s happened again.

Over at the other blog, had a piece insanely successful, about a certain Ms. Ashley Alexandra Dupree. It\’s not all that fascinating, being simply a link to a number of news stories. But it was a first page Google result for the search term and was bringing in the traffic (some 15 k page views yesterday).

Today it\’s not even in the Google index. But I think it probably will be again tomorrow.

What I think is happening is that Typepad isn\’t serving up the page fast enough when the Google Bot comes crawling by. If a page is getting a lot of traffic (as this one was) that is.

Anyone got any other explanations?

Phillip Pullman

As part of their own small contribution to the war on global warming, Pullman and his wife are having a ground-source heat pump installed in their home, a 17th-century farmhouse near Oxford: “It’s costing a fortune, but it will eventually mean that we burn much less fuel. I can only afford to do it because I’ve got enough money. There should be one in every house in the country – and there would be if the government had the sense to invest in such things. But they lack the courage to break away from this insane obsession with the market. They worship the market. It’s desperately destructive.”

His solution is both drastic and nostalgic, harking back to the era of his birth in 1946: “In the second world war people wouldn’t of their own accord have restricted their eating, so we had rationing. And it worked, because it was universal and everyone had the same rations and you couldn’t buy and sell someone else’s rations.” So we should bring back rationing and to hell with the market? “Absolutely.”

And that, folks, is why we don\’t get our economic ideas from children\’s novelists.

On the heat pump issue he seems to think that government has some magic pot of money, that they can spend upon things without having to take the money from elsewhere.

And abandoning the market in favour of rationing? Well, does anyone actually need to me to detail why this is insane?


Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain\’s most senior police forensics expert.

This is laughable. Eligible? So it\’s a privilege to be registered with the State?

Come on guys, Minority Report was a dystopian vision, not an operating manual.

Scum, Scum, Scum

How glorious, our Brussels Lords and Masters sacrifice a charity upon the altar of the Great Game:

No charity would be better placed to save lives in Chingai than ApTibet, of which the Dalai Lama is the patron. It has carried out more than 150 aid projects in India and Tibet, funded by many well-known trusts and individual donors, more than 50 of them co-financed by the European Commission (EC).

But this is no longer possible. Two years ago, after China and Europe became "strategic partners" under an agreement signed by Tony Blair, the EU\’s acting president, in December 2005, the Commission suspended ApTibet\’s operations because of its link to the Dalai Lama. Since then, it has done all it can to close the charity down, such as demanding repayment of €451,000 (£340,000) it had given ApTibet for a project in Chingai which it had approved, inspected and signed off as satisfactory.

The EC has become so ruthless in its desire to appease its "strategic partner" that it is now threatening to recoup a further £1.5 million from the charity it has already bankrupted, for other completed aid projects with which it had previously expressed satisfaction. It is also demanding legal costs of £75,000 for a court case brought by ApTibet\’s trustees in fighting for the charity\’s survival.

This is what soft power and aspirations to influence upon the world stage mean.

Scum they are.

Giving Away Tax Money?

He said: "When the money\’s piled up in the pot, then you give it away in tax cuts. It only makes sense to look at this over an economic cycle. You can\’t look at it in a single year, or even necessarily in a four-year parliament."

That\’s the new Tory Policy. Something of a sadness that it\’s informed by such an odd idea of whose money it actually is.

Cutting taxes isn\’t "giving it away", it\’s refraining from confiscating the money in the first place. The Shadow Chief Secretary still seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that it is the government\’s money which the supplicant taxpayer might be lucky enough to have showered upon him.

As long as you approach taxation from that point of view you\’re never goingto get policy right, are you?

That Pesky Gender Pay Gap

The G:

But this week, TUC research found the difference between men and women\’s pay still more than trebles once women reach their 30s, prompting the accusation that bosses enforce a "motherhood penalty".

Eh, it\’s the evil capitalist bastards enforcing a penalty?

How about it\’s people taking time out of the labour force, reducing their human capital, increasing the cost of employing them by demanding flexible working, part time working and career breaks, that causes the drop in pay?

Ooooh, Dear.

Mark Braund.

allowing privately owned banks to create money at will

I may well be wrong here but I take it as a basic guide to the opinions of others that when people start complaining about fractional reserve banking that rants on the Rosicrucians and the Bilderbergers aren\’t far behind.

It\’s not quite Grey Aliens and the Lizardoids territory, milder than that, but as a rule of thumb it\’s not failed me yet.

Readers Elsewhere

So, is this Our Kendrick then?

Dear Economist,
A single Milky Way costs 20p in my local corner shop. A twin pack costs 47p. I’ve made a habit of checking the prices in other shops and a twin pack invariably costs more than two singles. What could be the cause of this apparent madness?
The madness in pricing, that is, not the madness of a twenty-something compulsively checking the price of children’s sweets.
Kendrick Curtis, via e-mail


The swap spreads on Lehman Brothers rocketed to 465 yesterday, mirroring the moves in Bear Stearns debt days before. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the venerable agencies created by Roosevelt that underpin 60pc of the $11 trillion mortgage market – had a heart attack on Monday. Their bonds were in free-fall, threatening to set off another cascade of bank writedowns.

Monday mornin\’s gonna be interesting. 11.30, 12 am UK time. As the US debt markets wake up.

Two Stories

Bear Sterns

Millions of British households face soaring mortgage rates and tumbling house prices after the global financial crisis triggered the near-collapse of one of the world\’s biggest banks.


MPs are demanding large pay rises to compensate for having their much-criticised system of perks and allowances scrapped, it emerged last night.

Put that way it ain\’t gonna happen, is it?

One thing that does amuse: why, when the discussion is held about what pay MPs should get, does everyone assume that it should be what, or more than, they get now? Why is a pay cut never being discussed?

They are, after all, since they passed the Lisbon Treaty, simply a provinciail council, are they not?

Bear Sterns




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The Federal Reserve responded swiftly to pleas from Bear Stearns that its coffers had "significantly deteriorated" within a 24-hour period. Central bankers backed an arrangement to bolster the company, and stood ready to provide extra resources to combat a credit crisis that now threatens one of America\’s biggest financial institutions.

Bear Stearns, the nation\’s fifth-largest investment bank, made its fortune dealing in opaque mortgage-backed securities — a strategy that might be its undoing amid the worst housing slump in a quarter century. The bank has racked up $2.75 billion in write-downs since last year, and faced a possible collapse without some kind of lifeline.

Bear Stearns lost half of its value within 30 minutes of the market open, before clawing back a bit to be down 41 percent, or $23.51, at $33.49 by midday. The news rattled investors, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average down about 150 points.


Excellent Question of the Day

Shtupping the secretary was no barrier to Paddy Ashdown becoming de facto ruler of Bosnia and now Afghanistan; a similar offence cost John Prescott little more than widespread ribaldry about cocktail sausages.

Steve ‘Shagger’ Norris and ‘Bonking’ Boris Johnson – hey, just what is it about Tory London mayor wannabes? – content themselves with knocking off political journos, councillors and local party activists.

In an era when it is possible to be president of France and still get off with a supermodel, just why do our leaders set their sights so low?

Umm, Gordo?

Gordon Brown re-launched a joint proposal with French President Nicolas Sarkozy for reduced VAT rates on eco-friendly appliances but it failed to gain widespread support at the leaders’ spring council meeting in Brussels.

There\’s a much simpler solution. One you can do on your own (for you can raise VAT rates as you like, it\’s only cutting hem you must have permission for).

Raise the current 7.5% VAT rate for domestic fuel and power consumption to the full 17.5% rate.

After all, if the aim is to cut consumption, which it is, this would be a good green tax, wouldn\’t it?

In Which I Agree With Karl Marx

Bit of a shocker, I know, but this from the old boy I agree with absolutely:

Economy of time, to this all economy ultimately reduces itself.

Right, so that\’s the Slow Food movement, growing your own veg and recycling, along with anything else which refuses to consider the value of your time, dealt with.