Basics Here, Basics, They Do Matter

I have heard it said that only the mad and economists think that perpetual growth is possible in a finite world.

Kenneth Boulding but still.

(Chart of rise in GDP per capita.)

Is that growth mad?

Is it unreal?

Is it unsustainable?

Is it time economics realised that this cannot continue and ask, in stead, what else is possible?

The answer to all four is yes.

At which point we need some basics. What is GDP? It is the value added in the economy over a set period of time.

Is adding more value mad?

Is adding more value unreal?

Is adding more value unsustainable?

Does economics need to realise that this cannot continue and instead ask what else is possible?

The answer to all four is no.

Consider this for a moment. The next argument – we can see this one coming down the pike from a mile away – is that instead of increasing GDP we should be trying to increase security, or love, or community because these add real value to our lives. Sure, so, we’re increasing value then, right?

But then Spud never has bothered to find out what economics is trying to tell him, has he?

Odd this

The UK government always said it could not legislate for Jersey.

Can’t think of any UK government who would ever say something so stupid.

The 1973 Kilbrandon Report stated that “In international law the United Kingdom Government is responsible for the Islands’ international relations” and “also responsible for the defence of the Islands”.[37] The United Kingdom is responsible for Jersey’s international relations as an aspect of the island’s status as a Crown dependency. It is now normal practice for the UK to consult the Jersey government and seek their consent before entering into treaty obligations affecting the island.


The truth is, of course, that it could always have legislated to stop tax abuse and corruption, but it chose not to.

That it now thinks it can legislate on fish proves that.

And shows that it never had any intention of beating tax abuse and corruption.

Which does, of course, show how corrupt it is.

Who gets to fish what, where, being one of those international relations things. That’s why the UK and rEU are discussing it right now, see?

Las Ramblas

Not to be missed from Baron Jackfield:

One of my friends recently had his pocket picked there… Nothing out of the ordinary really, except that he’s a Spanish plain-clothes policeman and a member of the team targeting pickpockets on Las Ramblas! 🙂

My own experience of the street goes back 30 years or so. The once, 30 years ago that is.

A major memory is that the further down toward the Chris Columbus thing you got the less likely it was the whores were female. All presenting as such but the ability to do so declined markedly.

The observation coming not from being a likely customer you understand, it was just rather obvious. Presumably it becomes species that is called into question right by the statue.

Well, yes, but……

Davis might have fared better if he had not rejected a young hopeful named Reg Dwight, who auditioned to replace Winwood.

The impression I get is that Reg auditioned for everyone and everything back then. Undoubted skill and talent etc but no one was really quite sure where it was going to fit in….

Err, yes?

Donald Trump maintains a bank account in China where he pursued licensing deals for years, according to a report that could undermine the president’s election campaign claim that he is tough on Beijing.

Tax records reviewed by the New York Times showed a previously unreported bank account in China controlled by Trump International Hotels Management. The account paid $188,561 in taxes in China between 2013 and 2015 in connection to potential licensing deals, according the newspaper.

Earlier reporting by the Times showed he paid just $750 in US taxes in 2016 and 2017.

If the NYT actually thought about this they’d realise that the taxes Trump paid in China come off his US tax bill…..

14% eh?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Protection has found that 300,000 excess deaths were recorded in the US this year – 66% of which are accounted for by the official coronavirus death toll of around 220,000. Excess deaths refer to how many more deaths have been reported in total this year compared with the same period last year. Usually, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are reported. This year, it is closer to 2.2 million – a 14.5% increase. The remaining deaths, the CDC wrote, “provide information about the degree to which Covid-19 deaths might be underascertained”.

So, is that more or less than the normal variabilty seen over time?

Follow the logic here

La Rambla: plans to transform Barcelona’s tourist rat run into a cultural hub

An ambitious project is under way to turn one of the world’s most overrun streets into an the ‘immersive art centre of southern Europe’

So, logically, they’re saying that more arts means less people. That art itself repels?

Well, of modern art that probably is true, yes.

Those new Scottish Bawbies

Let us assume, just for a moment, that Scotland becomes independent, issues its own currency and then follows Snippa’s advice on how to manage it including all of his joy over modern monetary theory.

The pound Scots (Modern Scots: Pund Scots, Middle Scots: Pund Scottis) was the unit of currency in the Kingdom of Scotland before the kingdom unified with the Kingdom of England in 1707. It was introduced by David I, in the 12th century, on the model of English and French money, divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. The Scottish currency was later debased relative to sterling and, by the time of James III, the pound sterling was valued at four pounds Scots.

In addition to the pound Scots, silver coins were issued denominated in merk, worth 13 shillings 4 pence (two-thirds of a pound Scots). When James VI became King James I of England in 1603, the coinage was reformed to closely match that of England, with 12 pounds Scots equal to the pound sterling.[1] No gold coinage was issued from 1638 to 1700, but new silver coinage was issued from 1664 to 1707.[2]

In 1707, the pound Scots was replaced by the pound sterling at a rate of 12 to 1 (1 pound Scots equal to 1s 8d sterling)

The odds we’re offering on it taking 6 centuries to do that again are?

Wait for the response here

First all-online global school launches, offering private education at fraction of the cost
King’s College Online will give pupils access to more than 60 prestigious schools to complement new digital learning programme

It actually seems to run very much like the Open University. Online lectures and classes, some visits to campus maybe. Just for GCSEs and A levels.

We can expect massive amounts of botching over this. And no comparisons at all to the Open University of course. For that second is the state which makes it Good.

A hole in the reporting

The Corporatization of Nursing Homes
A tragic history of how we’ve treated elderly citizens, for profit


OK, maybe, let’s see.

Roughly 70 percent of the nation’s 15,400 nursing homes are for-profit, and the gross understaffing on display at Colonial Hill is the flip side of extreme profiteering.

Guess what the one thing we don;t see, anywhere, is? That’s right. A comparison of state run with private run homes on this very metric she claims is important.

Wonder why.

So here’s a prediction

There is not the remotest chance that any of these rep[urcahsed gilts will ever be sold back to financial markets. Nor is there ever going to be reason why they need to be so.

Well. Even MMT would say that if we get to full employment there is a chance that the increased money supply will lead to inflation. Something that is solved by reducing the money supply. Which could – not necessarily will but could – o done by selling the gilts back into the market.

You know, the same way the Federal Reserve shrank its balance sheet?

To answer a question

From BiS:

One despairs. I have a Bolivian friend here & yes, she’s in favour of MaS despite not having an atom of actual socialism in her. It’s a something for nothing culture. Like all of Latin America. And they’re not a stranger to it here, either.
Question for Tim. The entire culture is riddled with Catholicism & it’s moral teaching. So why does it fail to instil some actual morality into its flock? Anyone who gets themselves into any position with power immediately starts enriching themselves & their cronies at the expense of the people they’re supposed to be serving. Lying is virtually automatic. The truth is whatever they want it to be. And they have no shame when found out. It’s your fault for discovering it. With their politics, the best you can hope for is ones get in are a little less venal than the ones who didn’t. And the other side of the coin, why are they so gullible? They must know they lie. So why do they believe these assholes? Or do they not actually believe they themselves are lying? That somehow reality will rearrange itself in-line with their promises? So it might for others. Whatever, there seems to be an enormous disconnect with the real world.

We can approach this from the other end, the ultimatum game. That foundation of behavioural economics.

We’ve $100 and two players. The first player gets to decide how much of the $100 he keeps, the second gets to decide whether the deal happens or not. If it doesn’t happen then neither gets anything.

We find out that deals offering less than $30 – maybe $40 – to the second player get rejected and thus no one keeps anything. This is taken as evidence of a sense of innate fairness in human beings. Also of our willingness to undergo personal pain – the loss of $30 – in order to teach someone a wider social lesson – don’t be an unfair and mean git.

A Nobel was gained on this insight.

Then someone thought hmmm. This game was played with upper middle class American university students – the sort of subjects that a US professor with multiple $100 stashes for experiments would have access to at Yale, Harvard, Princeton. What happens if we play this with other people?

One such was – I think I’m right here – with Peruvians over the other side of the Andes. Not sure if on the slope down into the Amazon or still up in the mountains but really, very close indeed in culture to those Bolivians who have been screwed over for the past thousand years. Yes, thousand, because the Incas weren’t exactly democratically inclined free market capitalists when they expanded – that was closer to what Pol Pot tried to bring in than anything else in this modern world.

So, different people, different culture – different results. The second party in the game would accept pretty much anything. Hey, a $’s a $. And the first parties would offer $99 for me and $ for you and expect the split to be accepted.

It is a very different economic culture.

The next question, something where the answer is not as yet known, is how this works. Is that “fairness” and so on a result of seeing that something akin to a free market capitalism works and that this don’t fuck me over response is behaviour learnt from that? Or, perhaps, is it necessary for the belief to exist first before anything close to a modern economy works?

Dunno, no one does, but it’s sure an interesting question.

We are all so surprised by this, aren’t we?

Scientists who specialise in climate change fly more than other researchers, according to a study by Cardiff University that has prompted calls for them “to look in the mirror” before demanding that others cut emissions.

Climate scientists take about five flights a year on average for work while other researchers take four. Climate professors catch nine flights a year compared with eight for all professors.

Even when trips for fieldwork were removed from the comparison, climate scientists still flew more than scientists from other disciplines.

The difference could be that climate scientists attend more international conferences, according to Lorraine Whitmarsh, an environmental psychologist and lead author of the study.

Such conferences never, ever, taking place in Nome in December, or Dhaka during the monsoon or – nope, always in places convenient for whores and good restaurants jet travel

Raise the voting age to 40

Millennials in democracies throughout the world are more disillusioned with their system of government than any young generation in living memory, a study has found.

A survey of nearly five million people showed that those in their 20s and 30s, born between 1981 and 1996, had less faith in democratic institutions than their parents or grandparents did at the same stage of life.

The collapse of confidence is particularly pronounced in the “Anglo-Saxon democracies” of Britain, the United States and Australia.

That’ll larn ’em.

This will be interesting

Bolivia election: Evo Morales’s leftwing party celebrates stunning comeback
Exit polls for presidential election project win for Luis Arce as rival concedes defeat

Will the new government actually allow Morales back? It being possible to sketch scenarios in which they don’t. The new President would be overshadowed if he does come back. For example and yes, personal matters like this do make a difference. And there was a reason – other than some coup by righties because that alone wouldn’t have gained the support it did – to toss the bugger out in the first place.

Err, yes

The New Yorker magazine has suspended one of its long-time staff writers, legal expert Jeffrey Toobin, while it investigates a report that he was allegedly masturbating during a Zoom work call earlier this month.

“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera,” Toobin said in a statement on Monday about the situation, first reported by Vice.

He added: “I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers. I thought I had muted the Zoom video, I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me.”

He has so far declined to confirm details.

Whether the camera was on or off it’s an odd thing to be doing during a work call. although, people who work at the New Yorker……

Setting up a working lunch on Tinder

Working lunches could be exempt from Covid lockdown restrictions after an apparent “loophole” emerged.

Meeting people inside pubs and restaurants in tier 2 and tier 3 areas such as London, York and Manchester is not allowed as part of efforts to try and contain the spread of coronavirus
But last night No 10 and local authorities suggested that such meetings were permitted so long as they are for work purposes.

There are undoubtedly professionals who use Tinder to set up working lunches. Expect those not actually professional to claim that the Tinder meets – and andless other kinds of non-professional meets – are in fact working lunches.

Incentives, they matter.