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George Carty
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Greece is little better than a third-world economy, whose true status was disguised by Western aid (given due to "cradle of Western civilization" nostalgia as well as due its strategic position in the Eastern Med), as well as by tourism revenue. Joining the Euro was counterproductive for Greece as it made it uncompetitive with non-Eurozone destinations, particularly neighboring Turkey.
«If that's the case, the voters, who are adults and can make their own chices about the importance of voting and how much effort they put in it, are being served right. Democracy makes voters pay the consequences of their choices.» I thought your view is that post-1979 Britain is essentially a tyranny of the (South-Eastern Boomer homeowner) majority.
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2015 on Origins of bad policy at Stumbling and Mumbling
Blissex, Why should the most right-wing segment of the UK electorate (pensioner or female-divorcee Southern homeowners) be the key to winning General Elections in the UK? Normally, I'd expect the "swing voters" in any country to be in the (local) centre, between the left-wing loyal voters and the right-wing loyal voters...
As I see it, George Osborne is completely obsessed with the wrong deficit. We can't get the budget deficit down without getting the CURRENT ACCOUNT deficit down. Are our current economic ills an argument that should prevent Germany and the East Asian countries running a trade surplus against us by leaving the EU and heavily taxing (if not outlawing outright) imports from those countries?
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2014 on Osborne's idiotic idea at Stumbling and Mumbling
Ben, which countries would you suggest for young people considering emigration? It seems like the main reason why young people are increasingly squeezed (an ageing population) is a factor pretty much everywhere outside the most benighted parts of the Third World...
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2014 on Advice for youth at Stumbling and Mumbling
I'm hoping that was satire, Icarus Green...
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2014 on Why Freud's wrong at Stumbling and Mumbling
Are you sure that the media was actually promoting the wearing of the niqab*, rather than just opposing its prohibition by law? *The niqab (veil with slit for the eyes) is the most common form of face veiling that is often misnamed "burqa" in the West. Actual burqas have only a grid mesh for the woman to see through, and are worn almost exclusively in Afghanistan and bordering regions of Pakistan.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2014 on The Ukip question at Stumbling and Mumbling
Don't know about the others, but FATE's blog is at
If oil consumption (much of which is surely for commuting to work by car) is the problem, then it makes sense to go after the NIMBYs and the Campaign to Protect Residential Equity, as these are the groups preventing us from densifying our built environments where necessary to make people less dependent on their cars.
Toggle Commented Oct 5, 2014 on Why not wage-led growth? at Stumbling and Mumbling
Isn't the root cause of Britain's budget deficits the fact that Britain imports too much? A current account deficit means that the government's budget can only be balanced by gradually impoverishing the private sector.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2014 on Bubblethink at Stumbling and Mumbling
Deviation From The Mean: "I am still struggling as to why Boffy is against federalism because he thinks that objectively capitalists will seek to locate in the areas of the lowest pay and conditions but on the other hand he claims big capitalists objectively want higher pay and better conditions? His theory is a mess and a mass of contradictions." Workers' pay and working conditions are a kind of Prisoners' Dilemma scenario -- an individual employer benefits by paying poverty wages and imposing bad working conditions, but the capitalist class collectively is worse off due to the reduction in aggregate demand. An extreme example of this was in the early 19th century, where English workers were virtually being worked to death (as Marx described in his "The Condition of the Working Classes in England"), but the wages and conditions could only be improved by legislation, because no individual employer dared improve wages and conditions unilaterally for fear of being outcompeted.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2014 on Capitalism & the low-paid at Stumbling and Mumbling
Yes, but to implement such unilaterally we'd have to leave the EU. And UKIP aren't advocating this (or any other protectionist measures) AFAIK...
Benefits Street is in my view the real cost of cheap Chinese consumer goods. Why do few people advocate for tariffs in terms of correcting the negative externality (ie higher unemployment) caused by unbalanced trade?
Ralph Musgrave, I think Chris is trying to suggest that Tory apartheid-symps are in some ways similar to the leftist "useful idiots" which became apologists for Stalinism in the 1930s, in the sense that they only saw what they wanted to see when they examined the foreign society in question. The attitudes of liberals and left-wingers to Islam are rather different, based more on the fact that they are intimidated by the sheer tenacity of Islamic belief (NOT by Muslim terrorism may I emphasize). Note that no Muslim population has ever abandoned Islam -- "de-Islamization" of lands (such as the Iberian peninsula and much of the Balkans) was only ever achieved by outright ethnic cleansing. In its bluntest form, the liberal-left attitude to Islam could be described as "better a dhimmi than a génocidaire". FromArseToElbow, The face that the ANC really was dominated by Communists also drove Tory support for apartheid, but the ANC's Marxism was completely understandable for three reasons: 1) After the civil rights movement was brutally smashed post-Sharpeville, it looked like violent revolutionary struggle was the only way forward. And that would require help from the USSR. 2) The "capitalism" of the apartheid regime was hypocritical. Like the Gulf Arab states where citizens live in luxury on the back of brutally exploited immigrant workers, apartheid was in practice Peronism for whites, paid for by semi-slavery for blacks. 3) South Africa was a mining-based economy, and such an economy naturally lends itself to statism. You can hardly move a mine to a lower-tax area!
Why are the good jobs becoming more and more concentrated in London? Could it have been the result of corrupt politicians seeking to maximize the value of their London property portfolios?
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2013 on Price signals vs culture at Stumbling and Mumbling
I can't understand why Chris wondered why protectionism was popular with one post, while in another claiming that mass unemployment was here to stay. If it isn't possible to do anything about unemployment on a global scale, then this means that countries are locked into a zero-sum competition for jobs. The only way any country in this situation can reduce its unemployment rate is by stealing jobs from foreigners, which is exactly what "protectionism" is all about (and where the Chinese government excels).
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2013 on Help to work? at Stumbling and Mumbling
Surely people oppose immigration because immigrants increase Britain's benefit bill (either by claiming benefits themselves, or by taking jobs that would otherwise have gone to British citizens).
«Suppose that the USA, Europe and Japan, which are the biggest economies on the planet, all devalued by the same amount to export more: to whom? To North Korea? To Afghanistan? To Somalia?» They probably wouldn't export more, but they'd import a hell of a lot less from China, India and other low-wage countries. Which is kind of the point isn't it?
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2013 on Origins of the crisis at Stumbling and Mumbling
Actually, the Nazis were supported not just by the lower-middle classes (who were motivated by bigotry), but also by the peasantry (who were motivated by hunger for more land). The Nazis held an annual harvest festival at the Bückeberg (near Hameln) which had an even bigger attendance than the more famous Nuremberg Rallies. They also helped the peasantry by fixing food prices artificially high, with the result that urban workers under the Nazis had to spend almost half of their entire income on food.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2013 on The hollowed middle at Stumbling and Mumbling
Oops, I was trying to link to -- does XHTML markup not work here any more?
Toggle Commented May 18, 2013 on Adam Smith on immigration at Stumbling and Mumbling
Forced marriage in British Asian households (Hindus and Sikhs have been doing it too, not just Muslims) is itself a kind of immigration racket, designed to secure British citizenship for the spouse back in the mother country.
Toggle Commented May 18, 2013 on Adam Smith on immigration at Stumbling and Mumbling
"A" clearly doesn't understand the Reformation -- Martin Luther was of course a vicious Jew-hater, and Calvinist Geneva was almost as repressive as Taliban Afghanistan. What the Muslim world hasn't had is Enlightenment and secularization -- something which perhaps only happened in the West because Western rulers (sickened by the carnage of the 30 Years' War, which dwarfed that of any Sunni/Shi'a conflict) secularized their regimes to prevent a repeat. "Modernity: the nuclear winter of the Reformation." -- Abdal-Hakim Murad (aka Timothy Winter)
Toggle Commented May 16, 2013 on Adam Smith on immigration at Stumbling and Mumbling
Wasn't there a very simple and cynical motivation behind Thatcher's Right to Buy programme? "Once they have mortgages, they'll never strike again!
I'd argue that one of the main drawbacks of religion is that it can freeze in place anachronistic values. Some examples: * The harsh hudud punishments in Islamic law make sense in a time when it was very difficult to actually catch criminals in the first place. * The Judeo-Islamic pork prohibition made sense in the ancient Middle East because pigs competed with humans for grain crops * The natalist bent of Catholicism made sense in a time of high infant mortality, a heavy demand for manual labourers, and an impoverished zero-sum economy which incentivized aggressive war.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2013 on Some benefits of religion at Stumbling and Mumbling
Why do so many people view regulatory capture as an insoluble problem? If we can track down and prosecute bent cops, why not captured regulators?