Is Oliver Kamm really this stupid?

Some degree of income inequality is healthy. The reason is not, as is sometimes argued by defenders of market outcomes, to provide incentives. It’s instead to provide a signalling device. If the rewards for one occupation rise markedly relative to another, then that provides information to workers that it would be worthwhile to acquire new skills. Equality of outcome in the wage distribution would, to that extent, make the economy less efficient.

What is that higher income signal to go get new skills other than an incentive?

Jeebus.

Second, there is no consistent pattern in advanced industrial economies to suggest lower taxes on high earners stimulate consumption and growth. Sweden has a 70 per cent effective top tax rate yet its economy has performed pretty well since 2016. Far more important has been the country’s supply-side reforms to make it more worthwhile to work.

Supply side reforms being lower marginal income tax rates.

Sigh.

American academic writing again

This week marks what would have been George Harrison’s 77th birthday. Back in February 1988, the Quiet Beatle marked the occasion with a bona fide hit record, “Got My Mind Set on You,” which was soaring among the American radio airwaves at the time.

That’s pretty cool. George celebrated his 77 th birthday 32 years early. Nowt’s beyond a Beatle of course.

The source of this is our old friend:

Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. He is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University.

Today’s noodle armed word salad

What we eat and the way we eat it has always told us a great deal about politics and society. The explosion of trendy food courts and walled-off markets is no exception. They are exemplars of the financialisation and privatisation of urban space, of a middle-class ennui and yearning for authenticity, and a profits-first, pick-and-mix version of diversity. And such small portions!

Yeah, being able to eat indoors. Such a perversion caused by capitalism.

Times Subs? Report for your beating

Bletchley Park codebreaker at the age of 20 who was on duty when the German unconditional surrender came through in 1945

OK, she was 20 in 1945.

It was summer 1943 and although her Foreign Office contact could not divulge what the job was, or its location, he was able to tell the 20-year-old that it was important war work.

Oh, she was 20 in 1943.

Tsk. I mean, Tsk.

Ailsa Maxwell, Bletchley Park codebreaker, was born on December 16, 1922. She died on February 10, 2020, aged 97

By which count?

Capitalist Oppression returns to Cuba

However, while most hosts were excited by Airbnb entering the market, they didn’t anticipate that, as hosts, they would often be expected to go beyond their traditional role of simply providing accommodations to their guests. In some cases, being a host required emotionally demanding labor, such as coping with exhaustion while “putting on a smile.” The costs of emotional labor stemming from the growth of access to platforms such as Airbnb affected not only Cuban hosts but also non-hosts impacted by the neighborhood changes.

Although Airbnb doesn’t acknowledge or address the emotional labor imposed onto Cubans, they have certainly capitalized on such labor by advertising the authentic experience. That’s a way to attract more customers and provide a unique experience at the exploitation of others.

American academia

Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography of the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. He is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University.

Err:

Recorded 50 years ago this month, “Maybe I’m Amazed” launched McCartney’s solo career in fine style. It would become a concert staple for the ages, a much-covered rock classic that would stand among his finest Fab Four achievements. In 2009, he acknowledged that it would be “the song he would like to be remembered for in the future.”

The point is that it’s not among his Fab Four achievements even while it can stand alongside them.

Sigh.

Of course it bloody is you screaming moron

Poverty rates are higher in every area of the UK for single parents and their families.

One income spread over many people is going to go less far than two incomes spread over many people, less far than one income spread over the needs and desires of the one person.

How isn’t it going to be true that, when poverty is set at 60% of median household income, poverty is higher in single parent households?

Someone should whisper in Gabriella’s ear

Of course, that could be seen as sexist oppression these days but a certain dropping of information into the shell-like would still appear to be necessary:

By
Gabriella Swerling,
SOCIAL AFFAIRS EDITOR
3 February 2020 • 3:57pm

Hmm:

Brexit has prompted a housing boom in the capital, experts claim, after estate agents reported their highest rate of buyer interest in 15 years.

Experts are reporting “unprecedented” levels of interest, with industry professionals forced to “stagger” their clients and extend their waiting lists. This comes following the general election in December last year, and ahead of Britain leaving the European Union last month. Experts are tentatively reporting that, finally, they believe that the commercial property downturn is being reversed.

Housing and commercial property are not the same thing.

Ah, yes, Carole

Carole Cadwalladr’s journey from obscure features writer to Orwell Prize-winner has been a glorious one. She shot to prominence in the months after the referendum with the stunning scoop that Facebook allows targeted advertising. A series of articles in the Observer followed, some of which contained claims that did not have to be corrected or retracted.

OK Dear

In 2020, I am vowing to only date men committed to prioritizing their emotional and mental health. If he doesn’t go to therapy, I’m not interested.

Right.

Shanita Hubbard is a former therapist, current adjunct sociology professor,

Adjunct means non-tenure track, paid by the semester, paid near nothing in fact. At a Community College too which means Fenland Tech and teaching Meat 2.

On the other hand she’s just scored what Ezra’s never going to let me do which is write at Vox.com

Oh, well done, well done

Ford’s Debt Will Get Downgraded

In September 2019, Moody’s delivered a major blow to the automotive giant by downgrading its credit rating to ‘junk’. The S&P followed suit and downgraded Ford’s debt to BBB-, just a notch above junk.

The news was not well-received by the markets, as Ford’s long-term debt has covenants that trigger when two out of four rating agencies deem it junk. The covenants, if triggered, will make it difficult for Ford to obtain funding in the future.

Ford's covenants
The covenants will likely get triggered soon. | Source: Form 10-Q

Me, I read that as saying that Ford’s debt is free of credit rating triggers. But then whaddaIknow?

To rewrite the article

Writing in The Guardian, august journalism commentator Roy Greenslade writes about a crisis that never existed: the supposed immigration crisis facing the UK.

“It never was news. It was a wholly media-manufactured ‘crisis’,” he writes. Editors “readily published evidence of individual misbehaviour as if it was a universal problem”, published “dodgy figures, as if plucked from mid-air” and ignored facts “in favour of appealing to public prejudice.” They published endless streams of thinly-veiled bigotry from their columnists. They were guilty of “ignoring rational arguments that exposed their distorted agenda” to inflame their readers against a group that in reality is a persecuted minority.

And it worked, because these papers also drive the wider news agenda: what they print is then picked up by the likes of the Today Programme and discussed on Question Time. It gets circulated on social media and regurgitated on talk radio.

At the peak of the anti-immigrant newspaper scare, 60% of people thought immigration was the most important issue affecting the country. Now the papers have largely stopped their scaremongering, that figure has dropped to 20%.

As Greenslade put it, the newspapers manufactured the so-called crisis “through repetition, disinformation, misinformation… and the omission of any positive material.”

Hmm.

So, Oz bushfires caused by not alleviating fuel load. The imminence of civilisational collapse from climate change. The rise in poverty and inequality. The epochally wide wealth gap. Britain’s racist. Blokes are birds.

Has the Guardian managed to be on the right side of any of these scares whipped up by the press?

How to kill your own argument

In each instance, the match may differ, but the kindling has (in most cases) been furnished by the gross inequality produced by global capitalism.

Consider Lebanon. The demonstrations that erupted there in October were triggered by the government’s plan to tax calls made through WhatsApp and other internet services, but they quickly mushroomed into a broader protest against high unemployment, sectarian rule, corruption, and the government’s failure to provide basic services like electricity and sanitation.