Tag Archives: opinion

What does inflation mean!


This week on Facebook: I am still being asked, “Who is it that this debt is owed to. The examples of  public debt that I referred to last Sunday appear’s to be of little concern to an electorate who assume that economic growth can continue unabated. The electorate’s assumption appears to be that the distribution of this perceived economic growth will be used to support the State’s spending on a social welfare programme. It ignores the history of their public administration’s attitude to debt and particularly to austerity. It was Germany that adopted the earliest modern social welfare programme under the aegis of Otto von Bismarck in 1889 (3).

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Sunday 4/8/2019


This Sunday on Facebook: It’s impossible to separate money from inflation in a fiat money world, then it is also impossible to separate money from the gold standard if the rate of exchange is determined by the State.

Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly, but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise, it’s no surprise
That they’re giving none away

Pink Floyd’s lyrics, “Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie“, hold as true today as nearly 50 years ago when the song was written. A ‘slice of my pie’ is always the issue. In my post of 2011, I wrote that the war reparations of WWI that were imposed on Germany 100 years ago caused the resignation of John Maynard Keynes from the British delegation. In Keynes’ book The Economic Consequences of the Peace Keynes pointed out that the principle of accumulated wealth based on inequality was a vital part of the pre-First World War order of Society and ‘progress’ as it was understood then. Echoing a principle common in todays world that it is unnatural for a population minority to accumulate such huge wealth when so few enjoyed the comforts of life.

The hyperinflation brought about by The Weimar Republic, compounded by the Treaty of Versailles a 100 years ago, being tempered by the thought that it couldn’t happen to money in the UK. Of course I didn’t count on the Bretton Woods Agreement introducing fiat money to the world in 1971.  In my naivety (I was very young at the time), I assumed that politicians acted as the representative of their electorate. Instead the State’s public debt is a common function of all working economies. There has been an increase in the debt to GDP ratios throughout the world in past decades and yet The U.S. Dollar Still Dominates Global Reserves.

Perhaps it is time that the eccentric heroine of Christopher Isherwood’s novella Sally Bowles is resurrected — thought I doubt very much that any new terms will be invented for the inflation created by the State in a fiat money world.

Part of the fascination of Weimar Berlin lies in the mirror it holds up to our own time. In Cabaret, fictional Nazis beat up the gay hero and kill cabaret owners who dare to criticise, or simply to make people laugh at, pomp and stupidity. If the musical is at last being staged in a Berlin that never made much of Isherwood, then it may be because the producers want to emphasise alarming parallels. A newly vibrant German and European capital, Berlin today has record unemployment and recession is a returning threat. Some of the young have embraced the violent right, with its hatred of foreigners and permissiveness, and parade menacingly through the streets. Wicked joys (2004)

 

Inflation!


This week on Facebook: Last Sunday I tried to show the inflationary effect of fiat money that was introduced at Bretton Woods in 1971. While I think it was something that I failed to do successfully, I may have indicated how difficult it is to arrive at a figure for inflation that is not subject to government fiscal policy. Read more of this post

Sunday 28/7/2019


I did consider withdrawing this post, but it has made me look at ‘Measuring Worth‘ in a new light and is useful to me. Specifically it made me consider how complex the issue of inflation actually is in a fiat money world. Especially in the light of the Retail Price Index and the Consumer Price Index that comprise the items making up the UK’s ‘shopping baskets’.

The best that I could do was to measure the value of one pound (UK) using three sequential periods from 1947 until 1970 and from 1972 until 2018. I missed out 1971 as it was the year that fiat money was introduced into the global economy. Even so the cost of inflation to the consumer for a basket of goods not included in the RPI or CPI indices was hard to identify. This is particularly true of groceries that are considered to be a necessary expenditure. Food is approximately 10% of the basket depending on the percentage variability of the other included items.  The following notes below point out that measurements of inflation are based on a fiscal policy that is related to the RPI, CPI indices.

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Screwtape revisited


This week on Facebook: Any human thoughts on Theism present many different conclusions, as do human thoughts on the subject of Atheism and you must draw your own conclusions. To a certain extent the Inklings shared religious views¹, particularly on Christianity. Views that were certainly more prevalent than they are today, I mention this because their shared religious views was probably the glue that held the Inklings together, that and the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien)². Read more of this post

Sunday 14/7/2019


I essentially use Facebook as a repository for my WordPress account, having had my fingers slightly burned by the demise of a previous social media site. Last week I was looking at some previous postings on C.S. Lewis that I was going to make reference to and found that some of the url links were ‘lost’, which is a common feature of social media. I replaced or deleted the links and next week intend to revisit C.S. Lewis with a posting titled ‘Screwtape Revisited’. most, if not all, of my C.S. Lewis reprises refer to Screwtape. Not long after I started seeing with my ex colleague for a ‘pie and a pint’, he remarked that any theist must lack intellect to believe such nonsense. I would not say that C.S Lewis and his ‘Inkling Friends’ lacked intellect. Read more of this post

We the People


This week on Facebook: I would venture that there never has been a time in history of mankind when there was not a wealthy Aristocracy. The Encyclopaedia Britannica opens with the definition that aristocracy means, ‘government by a relatively small privileged class or by a minority consisting of those felt to be best qualified to rule’.

Of course the vast majority of people supporting this ‘privileged class’ have no desire to rule, they are only interested in their own welfare. However, the even smaller privileged class¹ that they currently support most certainly do. Furthermore, be they capitalists or socialists, or even the demos (whoever they may be), the ruling elites always claim that they represent the views of ‘we the people’.

It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. (Aldous Huxley – Berkeley 1962)

Written nearly 500 years ago and preceding Aldous Huxley’s remarks, the prescience of Étienne de La Boétie ought to be remembered for his essay The Politics of Obedience — The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. Both are now largely forgotten by a demos that loves its voluntary servitude under a controlling oligarchy. However, searching for a political system on which there would be a consensus in the nature of a more perfect union is a fruitless task, as is any reliance on ‘we the people’ seeking political solutions to their subjugation. Read more of this post

Aasof on English expletives


This week on Facebook: English language¹ has always been replete with expletives and having spent from 1956 to 1969 in the forces I am no stranger to their use. I posted Philip Larkin meets the moderators, remarking that the now defunct My Telegraph site would arbitrarily imposes automated censorship by deleting expletives², which seems like a neat solution but it completely disregards the context.

Moderation unconnected with context made me unable to call King Charles II ‘a bastard’, an expletive that I had cause to believe was an apt description of his vindictive pursuit of the ‘regicides’. By way of a response to this unwarranted moderation I posted ‘Everything in moderation?’. It may even be that the general use of expletives as imprecations — with their ever increasing use on social media — become simply adjuncts to the development of the English language. Read more of this post

Aasof: “You know how to whistle don’t you?”


This week on Facebook: My post last Sunday brought home the fact that I belong to the Pinocchio generation, that of the Walt Disney era but including Sabu and long before Disney’s Jungle Book. I now realised why my mum took me to the pictures so much during WWII, but that’s an anecdote for another time. Lauren Bacall belonged to my mum’s generation and the memories of the films she took me to see live on my mind. Excerpts from the films may be enhanced by references in the social media, but I now belong to a generation whose memories increasingly have little in common with my children and nothing in common with my grandchildren.

Why coming to see death’s naturalness should have caused belief in an afterlife to melt away, I am unsure, but it did. Diana Athill¹

Born in May 1939, on becoming an octogenarian I thought it an appropriate time on Facebook to at least mention the inevitability my demise. I know that some of you have already passed the octogenarian milestone — as had my mother-in-law, whom I told a story about in 2016 (encounter with the dying). I trust that demise never become millstone, like a dead albatross hung around the neck².

The following video by Peter Saul talking about dying was really enlightening and had a profoundly serious effect on my approach to the subject, increasingly so in my attitude towards others. Among the many articles that I found ‘Talking about death and dying’³ seems an appropriate adjunct to Peter Saul’s talk.

In the event that you became too sick to speak for yourself!
Who would you like to speak for you?

Peter Saul


1. “Memento more.” It’s time we reinvented death: (2012) As if we needed any reminder. While few of us know exactly when death will come, we all know that eventually it will. It’s usual to talk about death overshadowing life, and the passing of loved ones certainly casts a pall over the lives of those who remain behind. But contemplating our own deaths is one of the most powerful forces in our lives for both good and ill driving us to nurture relationships, become entrenched in our beliefs, and construct Ozymandian follies.

2. What Good Is Thinking About Death? (2015) But we’re not always actively thinking about it. When people are reminded of death, they employ a variety of strategies to cope—not all of which are as well-adjusted as Stoic gratitude. That many kinds of human behaviour stem from a fear of death is the basis of one of the most prominent theories in modern social psychology—terror-management theory.

3. What It’s Like to Learn You’re Going to Die: (2017) The shock of confronting your own mortality need not happen at that instant, Coyle notes. Maybe you look at yourself in the mirror and suddenly realize how skinny you are, or notice your clothes no longer fit well. “It’s not necessarily verbal; it’s not necessarily what other people are telling you,” Coyle says. “Your soul may be telling you, or other people’s eyes may be telling you.”

4. How to Recognise When Your Loved One Is Dying: (2018) Death is a personal journey which each individual approaches in their own unique way. Nothing is concrete, and nothing is set in stone. There are many paths one can take on this journey but all lead to the same destination. What happens in the journey of dying, beginning one to three months prior to death, during the last two weeks before death, and during the last few days of life? In this continuum, how can you know when your loved one is dying?

5. Let’s talk about the art of living and dying well: (2019) In a society that struggles to view any death as “good”, it is also an unmistakeable opportunity to share what at least constitutes a better death. Acceptance is foremost. Some of my most remarkable patients have accepted early that they have not been singled out by misfortune, that suffering in different shapes is the course of humanity.


Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:

  • A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download that is usually free.
  • Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular article (1-5).
  • Links reference a source and where necessary, those words that include a link in italics are intended to indicate its context.
  • A long read url* is followed by a superscript asterisk.
  • Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
  • JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.

¹It’s silly to be frightened of being dead (url*): Death is the inevitable end of an individual object’s existence – I don’t say “end of life” because it is a part of life. Everything begins, develops – if animal or vegetable, breeds – then fades away: everything, not just humans, animals, plants, but things which seem to us eternal, such as rocks. Mountains wear down from jagged peaks to flatness. Even planets decay. That natural process is death. Killing is the obscene intervention of violence, the violation which prevents a human being or any other animal from reaching death as it should be reached. Killing certainly did affect the minds of those exposed to the first world war. It shocked most of them into silence: many of the men who survived fighting in it never spoke of it, and I think it had the same effect on most of those the men returned to. It was too dreadful. They shut down on it.

²An introduction to death, dying and grief (url/OU Free Course): Explore interesting and challenging ideas around death, dying and grief. This free course, An introduction to death, dying and grief, invites you to think more deeply about death and dying and encourages you to think about it in different ways. This course will introduce you to different perspectives on death; ethical issues related to dying and end-of-life care; as well as expressions of grief. Please note that this course includes video about people talking personally about their experiences in relation to death and dying. If you have been affected by the issues in these videos, there are resources included in the course for further information and support.

³Talking about death and dying (url): It’s not always easy to know how to talk about dying. Awkwardness, embarrassment and fear means we tend to shy away from connecting with those who are dying or those who are grieving. But when we don’t talk about what matters it can increase feelings of isolation, loneliness and distress.

 

Are Lyricists Poets?


This week on Facebook: Perhaps two of the thing that have stuck in my mind associated with music was listening to an aficionado who was in raptures about the tune ‘Begin the Beguine’ and someone writing about lyrics, especially opera, being transposed into english. I don’t remember the sources of either, but the aficionado thought that Begin the Beguine was the only complete story line reflected in the lyrics of a tune and the other writing that words set to music in a foreign language needed great care to be taken when translating the lyrics into english. The latter sentiments intimated in an article written on operavore:

It struck me that opera in English is particular, and often challenging, because our vowels are not always beautiful and unfriendly consonants tend to intrude. The Problem with Opera in English

I can’t answer the question, ‘Are Lyricists Poets?’ with so much obvious disagreement. Latouche and Sondheim clearly disagree but perhaps the question is a lot more complex than it first appears — Latouche may have thought the term lyricist to be somewhat demeaning.

His friend the novelist and composer Paul Bowles recalled that Latouche “made his living writing song lyrics, although he called himself a poet, and bitterly resented my calling him a lyricist.” Words and Shadows

Lyrics, even poetic ones, are not poems. Poems are written to be read, silently or aloud, not sung. Stephen Sondheim

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Martin Widlake's Yet Another Oracle Blog

Oracle performance, Oracle statistics and VLDBs

The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

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