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Ralph Musgrave
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The Merkel / Macron plan is to turn Europe into something resembling the Islamic part of Nigeria in 50 years time. I want no part of that, so I voted Brexit. I notice that much of Eastern Europe doesn't want any part of that either. But what's truly hilarious is that Merkel and Macron's schizophrenic supporters don't want that either, is is evidenced by the fact that not one in a thousand of them chooses to migrate to the alleged nirvana that is the Islamic part of Nigeria.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2018 on Brexiters' blind-spot at Stumbling and Mumbling
Chris could well be right to claim grid girls will not get “as good” jobs when they quit “grid girling”. But isn't that in a sense half the purpose of banning grid girling? I.e. the purpose (as I understand it) is to curtail the supposedly immoral practice of girls with nice assets flaunting their assets in public. Obviously if a grid girl gets £50 an hour for doing that, and then has to resort to a MacDonalds job, she doesn’t get “as good” a job to use Chris’s phrase. But that, to repeat, is the object of the exercise, isn't it?
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2018 on Brexiter feminists at Stumbling and Mumbling
Test post. (Couldn't place comment here the other day, so test is to see if problem is still there).
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2018 on Brexiter feminists at Stumbling and Mumbling
Can’t for the life of me see why open minded Marxists are any more open minded than open minded Keynsians, open minded MMTers, open minded you name it.
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2018 on Marxism as anti-ideology at Stumbling and Mumbling
It is nonsense to suggest Conservatives support austerity any more than the political left: the left supports the “balanced budget” idea which in turn leads to inadequate demand and austerity just as much as Conservatives. For a lot more on that, see articles by Bill Mitchell (Australian economics prof) here: Matthew Moore: Congratulations on realizing there are two quite distinct meanings of the word “austerity”: 1, inadequate demand, and 2, “less public spending than I would like”. Unfortunately much of the political left is simply into chanting fashionable words, like austerity, progressive, inclusive, sustainable, racism etc etc. Careful definition of those words is far too much like hard work for the “chanters”.
"High rents and mortgages force people to work long hours...". The decline in interest over the last 30 years or so has mean that mortgage payments as a percent of income has remained unchanged, far as I can see.
Simon Garrett, Obviously not - or at least not necessarily. However about 99% of the population think that humans are "better" than other animals because of humans' superior brains. So IQ is fairly important. Also my claim that some races are "better" than others was not supposed to hinge exclusively on IQ. E.g. it would seem that some races are more musical than others: Whites and Blacks have produced far more music than Arabs.
Toggle Commented Dec 4, 2017 on On moral self-licensing at Stumbling and Mumbling
Just one teensy flaw in all the above: there’s not necessarily anything wrong with racism, if one is using the word as per Oxford dictionary. My Concise Oxford defines it as, 1, the belief that some races are better than others, and 2, hatred based on the latter belief. Clearly hate is wrong, though it’s not illegal: there isn't actually a law which says you can’t sit around all day hating your next door neighbour. As for “1”, there are psychologists who claim some races have higher IQs than others. They may be wrong of course, but certainly the belief that some races are better than others would seem to be not unreasonable, in view of that IQ evidence. For more on this, see:
Toggle Commented Nov 30, 2017 on On moral self-licensing at Stumbling and Mumbling
“This, however, is what the debate should be about: how big is the multiplier?” Actually the multiplier is irrelevant. The multiplier is the eventual increase in GDP that results from £X of deficit, divided by £X. E.g. the “eventual increase” can be £2X or £3X, which sounds good. However, assuming to take a simple case the deficit funded simply by printing and spending money, as advocated by Keynes, the real cost of creating that money is nothing (as Milton Friedman pointed out). Ergo if the multiplier is a miserable 0.5, it really doesn’t matter. The solution is simply to print and spend more money, as doing so is costless.
Wren-Lewis’s twitter point is suspect. He says government can borrow at around a zero real rate of interest, ergo a small return on public investment (3 or 4%) means such investment pays for itself. Problem with that argument is that governments can borrow at artificially low rates of interest because everyone knows that if their investments are a failure, they just confiscate money from taxpayers with which to pay creditors. A realistic rate would be what a private infrastructure provider would have to pay to borrow. Given that the original Channel Tunnel investors lost their shirts, I suggest a private infrastructure provider would have to pay a hefty rate of interest.
The word austerity has two quite separate meanings: 1, inadequate demand, and 2, inadequate public spending (assuming constant demand). The standard of debate on this issue would rise hugely if folk differentiated between those two meanings. Unfortunately, for 95% of the population, it’s the EMOTIONAL thrill derived from a word that matters: by contrast, its dictionary definition is almost irrelevant.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2017 on The politics of death at Stumbling and Mumbling
Agree basically. However it's very questionable whether "government must borrow more to invest". Milton Friedman and Warren Mosler advocated no government borrowing at all. I debunked the main arguments for government borrowing here:
Capitalism brings about far and away the biggest increase in living standards in human history, and allegedly the fact that capitalism has not resulted in a productivity increase in a limited number of countries over a ten year period is a significant criticism of capitalism. Not sure about that. (Not that I'm suggesting capitalism is anywhere near problem free.)
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2017 on How to defend capitalism at Stumbling and Mumbling
Like the the "economically literate" are regarded as outsiders by the elite according to Chris. As an illustration, Positive Money has been trying for years to get it into the thick heads of MPs that the vast majority of money in circulation is created / printed by private banks, not government or the Bank of England. A large majority of those Westminster based dim-wits still don't understand the point. God help anyone trying to get a more complicated point into their heads.
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2017 on Yes, the BBC is biased at Stumbling and Mumbling
Patrick, What's so "muddle through" about being outside the EU (as per before the days the UK joined the EU or as per after we leave in about 18 months time)? Trading with the rest of the world under WTO rules, assisted by sundry special agreements with sundry other countries worked before we joined the EU. It can work afterwards. The OBR estimates the cost of Brexit at £5 a week per head I think. Not a disaster.
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2017 on Brexit & risk attitudes at Stumbling and Mumbling
The Baumol disease argument is weak. How about this: Productivity in connection with computers has increased at astronomic rates over the last 30 years compared to the equivalent increase for house construction. Ergo everyone should be induced or forced to buy ten times as many computers as they actually want.
Very interesting point by Chris in the above article. It should be possible to test his hypothesis, if only in a rough and ready way, by seeing whether those who have studied science at school or uni are better able to distinguish truth from fiction than those who have studied an arts subject. I suspect they are because those doing a science subject are taught what an experiment is, what statistical significance is, what double blind is, and so on.
“Why have we seen a recrudescence of a discredited and harmful economic ideology? H.G.Wells gave the answer: “Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe.” I.e. we can educate all we like, but there’ll always be a plentiful supply of bores, idiots, etc on both the political left and right itching to scrub all that “education nonsense”. And then there are religions (no names mentioned) which go in for barbaric practices and ideas straight out of the 13th century.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2017 on On zero-sum thinking at Stumbling and Mumbling
Actually the real problem is Owen Jones and his leftie friends whose grasp of economics is so poor that all they've done for the last ten years is ape Tory austerity policies, as pointed out over and over by Bill Mitchell (Australian economics prof).
Also guilty are the significant proportion of economists who supported austerity or at least opposed full blown stimulus. Strangely there's a gaggle of them at Harvard: Kenneth Rogoff, Carmen Reinhart and Alberto Alesina.
Jim, You're spot on. The studies I've looked at which relate types of degree to subsequent earnings have found that arts degrees for males bring no increase in earnings. All other degrees do (i.e. science and vocational degrees for males and ALL TYPES OF DEGREE for females). Incidentally when looking at those sort of studies, see if they control for family background. Half of them don't. I.e. the fact that people with degrees earn more does not prove a causal relationship because kids from stable middle class backgrounds tend to go to university and that type of kid also tends to earn more even if they don't to university.
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2017 on Job polarization at Stumbling and Mumbling
Capitalism is a system under which one man exploits another. Under communism, it's the other way round. Groan.
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2017 on Entrepreneurial Marxism at Stumbling and Mumbling
“I’m thinking here of the concept of the structural budget deficit. This is an estimate of how much the government would borrow if the output gap were zero. Conventional wisdom says that the bigger is this structural deficit, the more likely we are to need to tighten fiscal policy.” If that’s what “conventional wisdom” thinks, then CW needs its head looking into. If the output gap is zero, i.e. if we’re at full employment and inflation is not excessive, then whatever deficit obtains at that point must be the right deficit. Thus the idea that in those circumstances we might need to “tighten fiscal policy” makes no sense: if the deficit is right, then it’s right. Obvious innit? Chris then tries to justify cutting that structural deficit in his next sentence. He says “One reason for this is that if the output gap is zero the economy is unlikely to grow quickly, so we can’t rely upon growth to narrow the deficit.” But whence the assumption that the deficit needs to be “narrowed”? To repeat, if the deficit is right, then it’s right. Chris does not seem to have got the point made by Keynes (which has been fully taken on board by MMTers and Positive Money) which is that the deficit needs to be whatever brings full employment (without exacerbating inflation). If that means a deficit of 2% of GDP, so be it. If it’s 4% or 6% so be it. As Keynes said: “Look after unemployment, and the budget (i.e. the deficit) will look after itself”.
Tut tut. Criticism of Tories by Labour supporters (and vice versa) is not allowed because it might "divide our communities". More lessons in dick-head leftie logic coming up shortly.
Guano wants a “model of the UK outside the Single Market”. I know of one: it’s called “New Zealand”. NZ has a similar land mass to the UK. Its people speak English. It’s standard of living is higher than the UK. It does little trade with any country within 2,000 miles (the average distance the exports and imports to Australia and New Zealand travel is around 6,000 miles). And the clincher is that NZ’s population is around 5 million. So on that basis, if the UK had no net immigration for decades, and instead had net EMIGRATION, it might eventually enjoy the same standard of living as NZ. Or perhaps I’ve missed something.