This is rather the point

Second, it is to effect the social, industrial and economic policy of the government. Fiscal policy is utterly different from monetary policy. It expects a government that intervenes to achieve its goals.

Yes, and when we see what Snippa, Owen Jones and John McDonnell want to do to society we understand why we’re against fiscal policy.

Quite amazing

Then we get tracker funds. Or, worse, the manufactured funds like ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts), which wrap equities and bonds inside a second vehicle which is itself quoted and charges a fee for the supposed insight that the managers supply (but rarely do) and we have an outcome that is opaque, potentially illiquid and very often downright exploitative. It is the place where the rentier goes when all else has failed.

So, without an ETF (or unit trust, or investment trust, both usually more expensive than ETFs) how is the retail investor to gain diversification? Without Reits how to gain exposure to commercial property at all?

Re Dominic

Seriously it is worrying that he’s after the ‘hard’ scientists with apparently no respect of social sciences. That’s a mindset I distrust. Where is the moral compass of social purpose to come from ?

I rather think that’s the sort of mindset that Mr. Cummings is rather against…..

Ritchie’s written a law

(6) Each local authority in England and Wales is required to inform the Secretary of State by 1 January each year of:

The number of homeless persons residing in its area; and

Anyone else spot a slight problem there?

Further. It sez the Sec State must build enough housing to eliminate homelessness. OK, so, there are circa 5,000 rough sleepers out there. Build 5,000 houses and we’re done, right?

Hmm, what, that doesn’t solve homelessness? Then it’s not a shortage of housing that’s causing homelessness, is it?

So, CbyC doesn’t work then

I argued for years that we needed country-by-country reporting. We did. We still do. And so far we have not got it. The only public country-by-country reporting data we have to date is from banks. And so that’s what we have to look at.


The data is interesting. I will get to it, in other posts. What really got to me when working on this data was just how poor it was

So, CbyC doesn’t work then as peeps don’t have that information to hand.

Presumably that’s the death of the idea then.

Well, the twattishness hasn’t stopped this year then, has it?

The idea is much more important.

That idea is that a great deal must change. That is the essence of the Green New Deal.

In the face of climate crisis – and Australia appears to be at the forefront of the immediate, or at least newsworthy, crisis right now – the idea that we can carry in as before is notjust absurd, but is profoundly dangerous.

OK, so let’s deal with climate change then.

Second, there is no market solution to this crisis: markets cannot cope with externalities of this sort.


As Nordhaus, Stern, Weizman, Quiggin, Tol and every other economist who has even looked at the problem insist, only markets can deal with such externalities. We add a Pigou Tax and then leave markets be to chew through the problem.

But then of course Snippa disagrees with the entirety of the economics profession – for he doesn’t know any economics.

Won’t work

Half of the nation’s farmland needs to be transformed into woodlands and natural habitat to fight the climate crisis and restore wildlife, according to a former chief scientific adviser to the UK government.

Prof Sir Ian Boyd said such a change could mean the amount of cattle and sheep would fall by 90%, with farmers instead being paid for storing carbon dioxide,

Sorry, can’t do that. Spudda insists that each and every business become carbon neutral. Therefore there’s no one to make carbon sequestration payments, is there?

Pillar, post

No one can win in direct argument against someone capable of being quite so illogical: they will persist with their illogicality come what may.

True dat.

That the outcome is absurd is apparent. As I noted last August, it is simply impossible that X% of the UK national deficit is produced by Scotland. If an accounting system produces such a ludicrous claim then it safe to say that the accounting system is wrong.

Erm, why? Why is it impossible that one part of the nation produces less tax, consumes more tax funded spending, than another?

Note what he’s not just said, what the x% is. Nor’s Snippa telling us that the reporting systems just aren’t good enough to know. He’s insisting that some portion of the whole nation cannot, possibly, be in fiscal deficit.

We know this is possible for people. We know it’s possible for organisations. But apparently not for a geographical portion of the nation, even as it’s obviously that it can be when we portion in some other manner.

Or, as some of us have been pointing out for years now

Saying that I do, of course, know the work of Mariana Mazzucato. I know that states have innovated. I am entirely confident that they still can. But adapting that innovation into useable products still seems to be a market function.

Governments can invent but not innovate.

No, not me, William Baumol. I’ve only been saying it because I know some economics, you know, have read Baumol – as Ritchie hasn’t been, nor Mariana

Fun question

The vast majority of right wingers also concede a role that is vastly bigger than that: they accept that unless the state both establishes the rules of trade, which is a function that goes far beyond enforcing contracts, and also corrects for the many externalities that business creates (including poverty, inequality, climate change, threats to health and much else)

How does business create poverty?

Willing to at least listen to the arguments about inequality, but poverty? How is that created even? Rather than assuaged by economic activity?


He’s not grasped it at all:

It suggests that large businesses should prepare a plan
to show how they would manage their transition to being net zero carbon
emitters. This requirement is consistent with the expectation that economies
as a whole achieve this state, which many governments have now committed
to. The plan would apply to the business and its supply chain.

We don’t want each component of the economy to be carbon neutral. We desire the economy as a whole to be so.


Boundary reform

Approximate equalisation of numbers of voters per seat has this consequence:

Labour, LibDems and PC lose significantly: relatively Tories win.

OK, that means the current system without approximate equalisation means the Tories lose out significantly, doesn’t it?


Clive Lewis announced his bid to lead the Labour Party yesterday, and I admit to two things. The first was knowing he was going to do so. The second is pleasure that he is.

Clive is a member of the Green New Deal Group. He gets what is required. And he has risked the wrath of existing leadership to stick his neck out for it.

Clive had also been willing to work across party lines. Hallelujah!

Well no, not really

The message of Christmas was, and is, revolutionary. It was about freedom from debt and good news for the poor.

Actually, it was about the Son of God and eternal life.

Dunno, perhaps Quakers do that New Testament thing differently?

Instead go and read the real thing (and reading the Bible won’t make you a convert, and I am certainly not seeking anything of the sort) and what you see is that the real story that a chap whose name was Jesus (who I think probably did exist and who probably did teach at pretty much the time scholars suggest likely) was actually delivering was about emancipation from the yoke of economic oppression.

Odd. He did say Caesar’s is Caesar’s, didn’t he? And I’m sure there’s lots about don’t worry about the details of this world it’s getting to the next that matters.

The depressing part is that this oppression continues.

The good news is that, despite all attempts to clamp down on those who question it, some are still willing to do so.

They don’t always succeed.

But the practical expression of hope at Christmas is that we have to keep trying.

Sermon over.

Is, he? Really? Yes, yes he is. He’s comparing himself to – now, where’s that tree, the nails?

Snippa on the EU

Concerning Britain’s place in the European Union:

It wants to be independent because it is an identifiable nation state that thinks quite differently from the country that is seeking to control it.

Scotland’s place in Britain:

It wants to be independent because it is an identifiable nation state that thinks quite differently from the country that is seeking to control it.

Fair enough to the man, he’s being consistent.

Oh, this is great, truly lovely


In 2017 I wrote a blog on an obscure subject: Japanse Exchange Traded funds. I said at the time:


The second is broader, and is a liquidity issue. If there is a run on these funds in the event of a stock market downturn I can see them adding to liquidity pressure as they effectively leverage the underlying assets by double quoting them. This could ratchet a downturn in market sentiment and add to instability, effectively reflecting the burst of a double bubble. Anything that can do that is dangerous.

Well, no, that’s nonsense, but OK. Now, today:

The Bank of Japan has launched an unusual lending facility for exchange traded funds as it tries to mitigate the market impact of its ultra-aggressive monetary policy.

Under the new facility, brokers will be able to borrow some of the central bank’s ¥28tn ($256bn) holdings in equity ETFs for up to a year, at interest rates to be determined by auction.

The new facility, first announced in April, is intended to boost liquidity in a Japanese ETF sector dominated by the central bank, which owns two-thirds of the total outstanding stock and has come under fire for allegedly distorting the market.

Hmm, interesting. The connection between those two is difficult to see. Other than that they’re both about Japanese ETFs. For one is about the EFTs themselves contributing to a lack of liquidity in the event of a market downturn. The other is the BoJ saying that their own buying is leading to a lack of liquidity in ETFs. Therefore they’re launching a borrowing program. You know, just like institutions do, lending stock and all that.

So, Spudda:

So, they admit the policy was a mistake.

And they admit that there is a real problem with liquidity.

I rest my case.

Those who devote themselves to dogma cannot see real issues arising. Thankfully, some of us can.

Remarkable, isn’t it? ETFs causing a lack of liquidity is different from the BoJ causing such a lack in ETFs. But The Murphmeister is still right. ‘Cuz, you know, something happened in Japanese ETFs.

Spudda’s rallying cry for the left

Get to work, peasants.

Nope, really, that is what he’s saying:

My suggestion for the over-arching narrative is straightforward. It is ‘Jobs in every constituency’.

For he refuses to recognise that jobs are a cost of production, not a benefit. Still, get everyone building those windmills with teaspoons and we’ll be golden, right?

Snippa will disagree

In 2018- 19, Scotland ran a budget deficit of 7 per cent of gross domestic product, compared with 1.1 per cent for the whole of the UK. Scotland’s revenue per head, even including a geographic share of North Sea revenues (ie the overwhelming majority of them), was £11,531, compared with £11,838 for the whole of the UK.

Scotland’s public expenditure per head is significantly higher than the whole of the UK — £13,854 versus £12,193. Higher spending and lower taxes mean that Scotland has a fiscal problem. Nobody, including the SNP’s Growth Commission, has come up with the answer to this. Scotland needs either substantially higher tax revenues or an austerity programme much more severe than that experienced by the UK over the past decade.

The disagreement being rather that he doesn’t want to believe it instead of any actual reason.