Tag Archives: opinion
Sep 22, 2019Posted by on
On looking at some of my ‘drafts posts’ I came across one that included the case for HS2 and decided to post it this week. I am reminded of an article that I read some time ago when an Englishman was bemoaning the fact it took so long (with the appeals procedures) to get things ‘done’ in England. He was engaged in a conversation with a Frenchwoman on train journey through France, in which the Frenchwoman said, “Monsieur, in France, when we want to drain a swamp, we don’t tell the frogs what we intend to do.” I’m not sure if the remark was true, or the Frenchwoman was simply poking fun at the Englishman. Either way, I thought the Frenchwoman’s remark quite funny and recounted it to my colleague when we met for our monthly ‘pie and a pint’.
The subject came up when I asked him about HS2. He is a model rail enthusiast and knows far more about trains than I do, so I assumed that he would know about the HS2. It apparently is not a subject that appears great deal in model railway magazines and my colleague knew less about the HS2 than me. We did however end up discussing high speed rail in the word today (which he knew a lot about), and specifically in relation to the notion of comparative advantage (which I knew a lot about). Incidentally, I did remember an article that I had read on Japanese Bullet Train — probably attracted to it by its reference to the kingfisher.
On Friday morning I sat at my computer (unable to sleep) and searched for articles that may support the case for HS2. Clearly I am influenced by my own views, an Independent newspaper article appealed to me claiming that HS2 won’t improve Government’s poor record on infrastructure. Although I’m not quite sure if this is not simply a left wing newspaper popping at an austere right wing government, or if it is seriously intended to address the lack of rail infrastructure in the UK.
The Independent article fails to mention that in practice that any UK government always spends more money than it receives as revenue and mentioned a report that predicted and expected economic growth in 2025. Economic growth? I live in a State dependent on deficit financing in which the public administration must raise the necessary finance. I have to wonder just how much I am influenced by what I choose to read on social-media.
Sep 21, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: It was only casually reading about the Lloyds bank case that I decided to research some of the government’s financial losses¹ for which no one, and especially not a politician or apparently any other public servant is ever held responsible (the original can be viewed here).
I read that the fraud scandal carried out at Lloyds bank took the police six years to investigate at a cost £7 million (excluding the cost of the trial). The case was dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) which, regardless of its successes and failures, as part of the public sector, has an impact on a seemingly inexorable budget deficit.
Certainly some investigative journalism usually results in a story reaching the public, it may even create a furore for a time, but the government know that any furore will eventually subsided and its cause forgotten. The fraud investigation by the SFO at Lloyds bank (a bank involved in a government £20bn bailout) resulted in six fraudsters being sent to jail and a possible £100 million compensation paid to small-business victims by Lloyds bank (1). Read more of this post
Sep 14, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: I never paid a great deal of attention to the issue of forbidden drugs and legislation but age has not only enfeebled my body but also my brain. Some time ago my attention was caught by an article linking cannabis and ageing (the original can be seen here) and it was curiosity that drew me to read the article rather than any desire to smoke pot.
This week I had a conversation with an artisan who does some work for me, and he was making the case against the legalisation of cannabis. This started me thinking about the subject for another post. Is there a connivance by the government to make Aldous Huxley’s 1962 prediction a reality?
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
Aug 31, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: I have to think very hard about whether I am a monetarist or not, the answer seems to depend on how strongly I believe that the State guides its political economy by changes to the monetary supply and other forms of fiat money creation. It was an article or remark of Mervyn King in which he displayed misconceptions about money velocity, particularly with regard to quantitative easing, that first brought the Irving Fisher equation of exchange (MV=PT) to my attention. Economist vacillate over measuring Instruments in economics¹ and while I would hardly call myself an economist — I share in their vacillations. Read more of this post
Aug 4, 2019Posted by on
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)
Jul 28, 2019Posted by on
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.