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Ralph Musgrave
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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 7 days ago 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.
We have a recession sparked off by excessive and irresponsible borrowing. The solution adopted is to cut interest rates so as to encourage more borrowing. So far so logical. But when that proves inadequate, QE is adopted so as to encourage even more borrowing. Even more logical. And more logical still: the people who advocate more borrowing as a solution to excessive and irresponsible borrowing simultaneously give somber warnings about excessive household debts, i.e. borrowing. Or as I think Positive Money put it, “The Bank of England’s solution to excessive household debt is more household debt”. The moral: we can all sleep soundly in the knowledge that the great and the good know what they are doing.
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2017 on Asymmetric policies at Stumbling and Mumbling
TheBirmingham6, So what's wrong with the British National Party? If you're one of those leftie thickos who thinks the BNP is racist, how do you square that with the fact that Labour + Tories helped kill a million Muslims in Iraq for no good reason, while the BNP (like UKIP) opposed the war from day one? According to my calculations, that makes the Labour Party about a million times as racist as the BNP, though I'll settle for a hundred thoussand times or even ten thousand times, out of the kindness of my heart. You clearly have no grip on reality.
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2017 on On BBC bias at Stumbling and Mumbling
Dipper, I’m fascinated by your claim that FGM is “a cultural practice that has a long history that predates the religion of Islam.” Can you quote any sources to back that up? I’ve never come across any mention of FGM in Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, etc. But I’m not the world’s expert. I look forward to seeing your evidence. I agree that FGM is not a strictly Islamic practice: as I understand it, some Hindus go in for it as well. Thus my above description of FGM as a “delightful practice introduced to the UK by Islam” (and being pedantic) could be re-worded as “delightful practice introduced to the UK by Muslims and Hindus”. As for the fact that acid attacks took place in Victorian Britain, are we supposed to believe that white yobbos who have recently taken to doing acid attacks are all keen students of Victorian social history and decided to adopt this practice as a result? I suggest it’s a thousand times more likely that the yobbos saw stories in tabloid newspapers about Muslims doing acid attacks and decided to do likewise. Rawliberal, “Brighton Rock” is a novel. The fact that an acid attack takes place in the novel is not brilliant evidence that acid attacks were common in the relevant country at the relevant time. I’m sure there are loads of novels in which people travel to Mars. Far as I know, no one has yet travelled to Mars.
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2017 on On BBC bias at Stumbling and Mumbling
Dipper, Far from "neutralising" my point, that Guardian article CONFIRMS my point. The Guardian, as is entirely predictable, tries to argue that acid attacks are an inherently British vice by citing attacks that took place in Victorian times. Presumably you and The Guardian also think that having children work down coal-mines is a British vice in 2017. The reality, as you'll be well aware, though you're probably too dishonest to admit it, is that acid attacks were unheard of for several decades after WWII. Then Muslims arrived with their various delightful cultural practices (female genital mutilation, murdering cartoonists, etc etc)and acid attacks took off.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2017 on On BBC bias at Stumbling and Mumbling
A nice example of BBC bias done via FAILING to mention relevance facts: it's a report on acid attacks which fails to mention that this one of the delightful practices introduced to the UK thanks to Islam.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2017 on On BBC bias at Stumbling and Mumbling
“..higher interest rates. A mix of these plus looser fiscal policy would have some advantages” says Chris. Not a brilliant argument because it can easily be reversed: “lower interest rates (maybe negative rates) plus tighter fiscal policy would have some advantages” – which I’m sure it would. So the big question is: what’s the OPTIMUM rate of interest. Well economists long ago worked out the optimum price for anything, including the price of borrowed money: it’s the FREE MARKET PRICE, absent any compelling reasons for thinking social costs or benefits are so large that we need to overrule market forces - as is the case with for example kid’s education, which is available for free, or alcohol, which is only available at way above the free market price. Unfortunately, that conclusion leads to a problem as follows. The rate of interest is heavily influenced by the amount of government borrowing, and how much interest government pays for that. So what’s the optimum amount of government borrowing, and what rate of interest should it pay? Milton Friedman and Warren Mosler claimed the answer is “zero”: i.e. they argued that governments should offer no interest at all on their liabilities. That question is too complicated to answer here, but I think Friedman and Mosler were right, or least nearly so: i.e. there is no excuse for government paying more than one or two percent. Certainly government should not pay anything above the rate of inflation. Next, in advocating public sector pay rises, Chris needs to prove that public sector employees are paid less that private sector employess for given skills etc. Far as I know they aren’t. Blissex, your claim that interst rates are high is odd. Far as I know they’re lower then they’ve been for a good 30 years.
Toggle Commented Jul 5, 2017 on Money tree economics at Stumbling and Mumbling