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George Carty
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Isn't much of America's rust belt (except for single-industry cities like Detroit or Gary, Indiana) recovering now though, due to cheap property prices there which don't really exist even in the run-down bits of the UK?
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2015 on The London paradox at Stumbling and Mumbling
Ralph, do you think that greedy BTLers may have actually encouraged mass Third World immigration in the first place, because Third World immigrants are more willing than British-born people to live in extremely overcrowded conditions (and are thus more profitable for landlords)? That could go some way to explaining why 50% of London's population is foreign-born...
Ralph, Hitler and (to a lesser extent) Mussolini required a military response because they were rulers of powerful industrialized states bent on aggressive war. I don't see any evidence that Islamic extremists are on the verge of gaining that kind of power (especially not that they could build the kind of navy they'd need to force a crossing of the Mediterranean and invade Europe). It also seems to me that al-Qaeda and its spawn do best in desertifying areas. For example, Da'esh took over parts of Syria and Iraq devastated by drought (caused by Turkey's Southeast Anatolia Project), while Boko Haram is based in a northern Nigerian region which is part of the Sahel. Perhaps the answer for Syria would be to ally with Assad against Da'esh, temporarily taking in refugees, and then solving the problem on a longer-term basis by installing some (preferably nuclear- or solar-powered) desalination plants there?
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2015 on Tories against freedom at Stumbling and Mumbling
> You mean all that talk about Britain's farmers being squeezed virtually to death by the greedy supermarkets is just propaganda then?
Toggle Commented May 11, 2015 on "Aspiration" at Stumbling and Mumbling
North Yorkshire certainly isn't like the South East in the most obvious respect (you'd find it extremely difficult live to live there and work in London, unless you were so super-rich you could commute by helicopter!) Are you saying that the economy there (and in other rural areas outside the London commuter belt) lives not off agriculture, tourism or the normally-cited "main industries" there, but rather off MEWing fuelled by property price inflation driven by rich Southerners wanting second homes there?
Toggle Commented May 10, 2015 on "Aspiration" at Stumbling and Mumbling
Blissex, how would you explain why the Tories get so much support outside the asset-rich South East? (Especially in somewhere like Hexham or North Yorkshire, from which no-one could practically commute to London...)
Toggle Commented May 10, 2015 on "Aspiration" at Stumbling and Mumbling
Matt Moore: "I would definitely add 8) comparative advantage -free trade is beneficial for both parties even if one is absolutely more productive at everything." WRONG!! Comparative advantage theory actually says that both countries can benefit if balanced trade takes place with each country exporting whichever product has the greater relative advantage. What FREE trade actually results in though, is the more productive country exporting BOTH products though, in exchange for the importing country's IOUs. This benefits the exporting country at the expense of the importing country (which finds itself saddled with higher debt and/or higher unemployment).
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2015 on Economics for politicians at Stumbling and Mumbling
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