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I like this piece

Yes, I know I wrote it. But beginning, middle, end, argument, facts and a couple of jokes.

The reason this is so important is that only with that general trust across the society can investment be made across the society. My savings go, in part, into a factory I’ve never been to, run by people I’ll never meet. If who I can trust is restricted to my family (and who really trusts all their cousins?) then a business can only be as large as the family can finance. Or perhaps we move out a little further, to the extended family or clan — but that would make us Pakistan.

The entire point of a stock market — of financial markets, more generally — is that we can assemble and then allocate the savings of millions across thousands of projects. This is only going to work if we can trust the system in general. Yes, of course, some of those projects will fail, some of those savings will be lost. But the system as a whole works and it’s that system — the mobilization of savings into investment — that makes our future richer.

Fraudsters in this system? Their crime isn’t just against those whose money they stole, it’s against the very system itself. Thus the punishment should not be the usual rap on the knuckles given to those who steal with paper. It should be a monstrous revenge precisely because of the danger to the whole economic structure.

Deffo in hte say so myself class but still…..

Capitalism is very responsive

Target has been celebrating Pride Month annually for more than a decade and this year’s prominent displays have included onesies and rompers for newborn babies along with other apparel for children of all ages.

Female-style swimsuits that can be used to “tuck” male genitalia led to a backlash on social media.

If it makes money then capitalists will do it – if it loses they won’t. Well, after trying it out at least.

Sure, niche brands will often find a market but mass market ones? Gotta go where the balance of the market is. This is actually going to be an interesting test. Bud and Target. Is the balance of that mass market running the rainbow flag way? Or anti- it? Because how that money flows is going to tell us and then change the behaviour of those brands.

So, thulium uses in portable x-ray machines

Active component of the instrument is a tiny particle (one-fifth gram) of thulium-170 which has been made radioactive in a heavy water nuclear reactor at Arco, Idaho.

Hmm, so unless there are millions of these machines around there’s no grand market for thulium to stick into rectors then…..


The Kremlin has drawn up plans to seize and even nationalise foreign companies that withdraw from the country in protest against its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s economy ministry has outlined new policies to take temporary control of departing companies where foreign ownership is more than 25pc.

There’s not really even that fag paper between that and the British government’s control of Chelsea, is there?

It’s an odd supposition

The minor party wants the government to establish a plan for how Australians will access essential information online, if the search was made unavailable.

This would include investigating how much a publicly owned search engine,

Well, that’s silly enough, But it’s this which really catches the eye:

Mr Bandt told ABC RN that the market shouldn’t be left to fill the void because the internet should be treated as a public good.

“Everyone in this country should have a right to be able to search the internet, own their own data rather than hand it over to a corporation or to the government, and know that what they are finding on the internet isn’t what Google wants them to see but what’s actually there,” he said.

Human experience really does tell us that governments are more open with information than competing private sector companies. Doesn’t it?

Ok then, yes, and?

Men like Mallya and Modi were members of India’s expanding billionaire class, of whom there are now 119 members, according to Forbes magazine. Last year their collective worth amounted to $440bn – more than in any other country, bar the US and China. By contrast, the average person in India earns barely $1,700 a year. Given its early stage of economic development, India’s new hyper-wealthy elite have accumulated more money, more quickly, than their plutocratic peers in almost any country in history.

The point rather being that the staggering economic growth in an economy of 1.2 billion people is going to produce some winners.

The Ambani Brothers for example, one’s lost a fortune, the other gained one, the competition between the two having brought lower cost mobile telecoms and internet to hundreds of millions. The winners being – the hundreds of millions of course.

Narendra Modi pledged to end a situation in which the country’s ultra-wealthy – sometimes called “Bollygarchs” – appeared to live by one set of rules, while India’s 1.3 billion people operated by another. Yet as they continue to hide out in cities like London, men like Mallya and Nirav Modi have come to be seen as representing the failure of that pledge;

That they’re in London hiding out would seem to show that the Indian authorities are no longer doormats for the rich….

If only Polly could understand

What happens at the top end of the market knocks on all down the chain – and what’s happening at the bottom is a disaster.

Quite so Polls, quite so.

Therefore if the Candys build more high end housing then that will knock on down the chain, won’t it?

That is, we don’t need to build more affordable housing. We just need to build more housing.

Not entirely sure about this Ambrose

A dramatic build-up in China’s strategic petroleum reserve and surging demand for imported crude oil are likely to transform the global energy markets this year, regardless of any production freeze agreed by OPEC and Russia this weekend.

Chinese credit stimulus and a 20pc rise in public spending has set off a fresh mini-cycle of growth that is already sucking in oil imports at a much faster pace than expected.

Barclays estimates that the country will import an average of 8m barrels per day (b/d) this year, a huge jump from 6.7m b/d last year. This is arguably enough to soak up a big chunk of the excess supply currently flooding global markets.

Standard Chartered said Chinese imports could reach 10m b/d by the end on 2018, implying a supply crunch and a fresh spike in oil prices as the market is turned on its head.

I’ve seen (briefly, so cannot be sure about it) that a lot of that is refineries taking advantage of changing margins. And they’re exporting the processed fuels. That’s not a change in end demand for oil, just a change in who is refining it.

A fascinating map: comparing County economies to Country economies

Did you know, for example, that the economy of Northumbria is of about the same size as that of Zimbabwe?

London of Nigeria or South Africa or Egypt? Lancashire of Libya? Oxfordshire of Mozambique?

Now you can see it all in graphic format here.

The genesis of the project being:

…..a map of England showing a comparison of the English county economy to African country economies, showing just how small some African economies are and therefore the slight strangeness of insisting in trade barriers between African countries when we would laugh off the idea of a trade barrier between Norfolk and Suffolk.


Oh my!

More than 1,500 square miles of land — more than twice the area of Greater London — needs to be earmarked for new homes to solve Britain’s housing crisis, the planning minister will say today.

Gosh, that is a lot, isn\’t it? As much as 1% of the country.

“In the UK and England we’ve got about 9 per cent of land developed. All we need to do is build on another 2-3 per cent of land and we’ll have solved a housing problem.”

That\’s developed at all: that\’s all factories, all housing, all roads. Going from 91% undeveloped to 89% undeveloped will be the very death of all that is green and lovely, won\’t it?

“Land is expensive but to some extent [developers] are just lazy. They didn’t talk to local people or get involved enough. But also it’s just bloody expensive to build because land is expensive,” he said.

Ah, no, you\’re wrong there. Land is cheap. £10k a hectare or so. It\’s land that you\’re allowed to build on that\’s expensive. That scarcity value of planning permission.

News Corporation and Sky

Prompted by this, another in our series of idiot questions.

Umm, isn\’t the point of the system that those who are making the best profits, those profits reflecting their delivery of the most value with the least use of inputs, expand, while those losing money, reflecting their production of less value with greater use of inputs, should contract?

Talkin\’ \’bout kidneys

A comment I left on a CiF piece about kidney transplants:

\”the issue certain CiFers here have with the Iranian system is possibly the additional payments a recipient can make, in addition to one made by the state – this for obvious reasons could inform a decision on who gets an organ. There is no mechanism in place to stop the highest bidder being awarded an organ – it\’s not a sound system.\”

Fair point…..but only if you\’re prepared to accept the corollaries of that point.

The Iranian system works…..they do not have a large group of people slowly dying on dialysis machines. They do not have a long waiting list for kidneys. The system is also hugely cheaper….transplants are cheaper than dialysis after about 18 months.

Now, if you want to say that a cheaper, better system, better in the sense that it is both cheaper and saves more lives, cannot be allowed to happen because of your ethical concerns about rich people being able to benefit from being rich, well, go right ahead.

I\’d just like you to go and make that case in a renal ward. Go explain it to someone dying because dialysis is no longer working and they\’re too far down the list to get a transplant. Lay out your ethical concerns to them. Tell them the truth, what you really believe.

They must die because you think it\’s icky if rich people get to live as well.

You could even take it further. Stand up at the funeral of one of those kidneyless patients. Tell the mourners that it is righteous and just that their loved one died so that your own conscience could be clear.

Then, if I might polititely suggest this, go and hang yourself out of shame that you would kill people in the name of your \”ethics\”.

I entirely reject the contention that you have the right to turn other people into corpses in order to salve your own conscience.

This is interesting

We can actually see the value of being a monopoly supplier.

According to the NHS drugs price list, in October last year a 125ml course cost the NHS around £4 a bottle. Now, the NHS price – which includes the wholesale cost set by the drugs company and a built-in profit for High Street chemist shops – has risen to £21.87, a more than five-fold increase.

The NHS price of the 250ml course, also branded as Floxapen Syrup, has risen from £8.02 last year to £26.87.

Until last year, the medicine, which is prescribed to more than two million patients annually, was made by two of the world’s biggest drug companies, Teva and Actavis.

But the price increases coincided with a decision last year by Teva to stop making the drug – claiming it was too expensive and unprofitable – handing its rivals a virtual monopoly.

The subsequent price increase could cost the NHS and the taxpayer an estimated £44million in extra prescription costs for this drug alone.


No, not the idea, but the place it\’s seen.

What we need is a good idea. Lots of good ideas.

In this regard, we just may be in luck, because we are higher primates, with enormous frontal lobes, capable of dazzlingly complex thought. And while we wouldn\’t even be able to make a pencil if left to our own devices – no single person knows how to mine graphite, make rubber or paint etc – we\’re not individuals, we\’re a species. Our collective intelligence is both extraordinary and infinite.

Which is just as well. Because if it was left to our governments, we might as well get in the suicide pills now.

Have we really just had the Observer editorial telling us that markets work and planning doesn\’t?

So, you want to raise wages do you?

Its certainly a valid objective. Raising the wages of manufacturing workers….I\’m all for it, assuming that it\’s not at the expense of others. You know, like price policies that benefit the urban worker at the expense of the rural (like, say, price caps on farm outputs).

So, how might you go about raising those industrial workers\’ wages?

Yup, you liberalise the capital account. You let those filthy foreign capitalist bastards come in and exploit those industrial workers by investing in the companies they work for. You let the running pig dogs grow fat off the expropriation of the workers\’ labour.

For three years after the typical developing country opens its stock market to inflows of foreign capital, the average annual growth rate of the real wage in the manufacturing sector increases by a factor of seven. No such increase occurs in a control group of developing countries. The temporary increase in the growth rate of the real wage permanently drives up the level of average annual compensation for each worker in the sample by 752 US dollars — an increase equal to more than a quarter of their annual pre-liberalization salary. The increase in the growth rate of labor productivity in the aftermath of liberalization exceeds the increase in the growth rate of the real wage so that the increase in workers\’ incomes actually coincides with a rise in manufacturing sector profitability.

So would all those who insist that the problem in poor countries is too much exploitation by top hatted plutocrats please bugger off? You\’re making people poorer than they need to be.



Senators Carl Levin and Dianne Feinstein intend to close the "London loophole" by empowering the CFTC to impose speculative limits on US traders who use London exchanges. The move is aimed at helping to prevent price manipulation and excessive speculation in the oil market.

The senators\’ aim goes one step further than the CFTC\’s current investigation into the US crude oil market, which was announced on Thursday, by giving the American futures regulator the power to intervene in trading activities that occur outside its own legal jurisdiction.

Both politicians are keen to reduce the amount of speculative energy trading, which they believe pushes up the price of crude oil, and so petrol prices, unfairly hurting their constituents.

They are of course perfectly at liberty to impose restraints on trades by those in the US. It won\’t have much effect for if it is seen as a burden by said traders then they\’ll simply open a desk in London or Zurich.

But the real fuckwittery comes from the attempt to curb speculation. Speculators smooth out prices over time….they move shortages and gluts and the associated price rises and falls intertemporally, something that we all rather desire should happen.

But then they are indeed politicians so perhaps we shouldn\’t expect them to understand anything about the real world.

Scriptwriters\’ Strike

So, err:

With those contracts due to expire at the end of this month the writers, who can earn anything from $10,000 to $200,000 per episode are arguing for a share of both income streams.


Tim Adler, editor of TV magazine Screen Finance says one of the concerns will be that with many top British writers forced into membership of the Writers Guild of America in order to sell their work to US studios, they could be forced to turn down any work that does drift across the Atlantic.

Hmm. How does one become a script writing scab? Of course, there\’s a basic assumption here that (having seen a lot of US TV I do so assume) talent and ability are not a necessary requirement.

Investigating the Supermarkets

How glorious this is and how silly of me not to have seen it coming.

So, the allegation is that the supermarkets are doing two things. Firstly, that they\’re oligopolists of a kind, carving up the shopping market between them and there\’s not enough competition. The second is that they\’re driving the smaller retailers out of business….that is, that there\’s too much competition (which is an odd thing to accuse of happening but there we are).

So those fighting either side of that argument (actually, I think the review was demanded by those representing the smaller retailers) ask for someone to go and have a look at the market.

The planning system will also be criticised and is likely to be revamped. The commission will suggest that the "needs test", whereby a new entrant has to prove that a town requires a new supermarket, is a barrier to entry and could be axed. The needs test is unpopular as it hands a big advantage to the incumbent in any town. Abolishing the test would create a level playing field between the big four by making it easier for them to open stores.

However it could prove unpopular with small, independent retailers, who have been put under unprecedented pressure by supermarkets\’ unrelenting expansion.

Aha! There\’s isn\’t enough competition and it isn\’t because of collusion amongst the supermarkets themselves, rather, it\’s the planning system itself. So, loosen that system, allow, even promote, more competition and see the consumers revel in further surplus.

Pity about those small retailers who are going to get steamrollered of course…but then they did ask for the review in the first place.

A little lesson perhaps: if you\’re a lobbying group you might not actually want someone to have an impartial look at you. Might be better just to keep screaming emotionally from the sidelines.