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Wlad

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About Wlad

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  1. If interest rates have been generally low (i.e. the cost of money has been low) then surely this means greater than average supply compared to demand, or am I missing something?
  2. I am not sure what you are implying - that the liberal media should hold a different view or not? The concerns about a credit crisis being very undersirable are pretty much de rigeur across the financial press (e.g. The Economist, WSJ).
  3. US GDP is 13.8 trillion dollars, EU 11.9 trillion Euros, or about 18.5 trillion dollars. So the EU GDP is higher. Adjusted for PPP they are pretty much the same, but in nominal terms it is higher and the unfunded liability figures are in nominal amounts. Unfunded liabilities may be a problem, but they are a bit like an unfunded future food bill to be paid out over a number of years. I.e. what is more important is the projected ANNUAL cost against projected ANNUAL income. If I calculated my entire future food bill even without inflation it would dwarf my annual income, but be less than my projected total income over the same period. If the economy falls short, though, it will be an issue in paying those liabilties. In terms of UK state sector workers, a lot have funded plans, e.g. postal workers. Even some local governments here have investments to hopefully partialy cover future pension liabilities. Obviously to create such a fund requires income in excess of expenditure now, and it is hard for councils to acheve this as people then complain about council tax being too high. So in many ways it is hard for local or central government to create such funds in a general atmosphere that wishes for tax cuts, and so the more sensible step of investments has been sidelined. It was anticipated, though, that general GDP growth would allow the funding of such liabilities from future tax revenue, hence no need to increase tax rates to provide an investment funding (as it was argued this would put a brake on GDP growth and so make things worse in the end*). Also not all investments do well, as some cities in the USA have found out with holes in their workers' pension funds. It's a difficult one to solve, as a bit like the old joke about asking directions in Ireland it is a case of not wanting to start from here. * The idea also being that the government holding large reserves is also a brake on GDP as the money is not best allocated by being in government reserves, at least for the industrial and post-industrial economies. For economies that are based on the export of natural resources then different rules apply, but the logic was developed immediately after WW2 for Western economies where it was hoped that governments could act as a brake during too fast expansion by using various measures, including tax, as a brake, to then allow reflationary deficit spending in the slumps. From the 1980s it was felt that runing a government surplus meant that tax was too high, and so the consensus from 1945-80 changed. In Europe Germany is one that has a current account surplus, but there are lots of complaints that this is not what should be happening. Norway also has a surplus, but falls into the class of natural resource exporters.
  4. The idea of Brown being asked to leave been mentioned several times on Radio 4.
  5. UK Government debt was 40% of GDP, now up to 45% including Northern Rock. This is less than the typical Western European debt of around 60 to 65% (ditto USA), very much less than Japanese national debt (north of 150% of GDP). If PFI was brought on balance sheet it would probably add around another 2 to 5% (estimates vary about what counts as off balance sheet debt from PFI that would ordinarily be included). It's been in the 35-45% channel for most of the last 40 years. Assuming Northern Rock can be sold off it would put it back into the middle of the channel, excluding PFI. Norway managed to do the same thing with a bank nationalisation a few years ago, and made a profit, but whether or not this could be done with NR is another matter and too hard to tell. There is the matter of unfunded obligations, but it is not clear if it makes sense to include them. Including future state pension costs might seem reasonable, but some argue that would be like adding in all future food expenditures (to be funded from future wages) to your mortgage when calculating your net worth. Unfunded obligations are huge for all Western nations, but would be paid out over a number of years, to be funded from future tax revenue.
  6. Where on earth are you getting this idea from? If you look at the figures on GDP (PPP) per capita from the World Bank or IMF then the UK ranks pretty much equal to the main Western European nations, and China has around one sixth. There has been some revision of these figures since 2007 (size of the Chinese economy rounded down, GPD (PPP) per capita ever so slightly up) but not enough to change this overall picture, so your statement is way off the mark unless you are using figures not from one of the main world economic institutions.
  7. I can't see that scaring people into thinking there might be big falls in property and a recession exactly helps Brown very much.
  8. Most public sector workers don't get to draw a pension before 55. Given that a good number of these pensions (e.g postal workers) are through funded schemes they wouldn't be able to afford to let people retire before then, and then it is typically on a reduced level on years of service compared to retirement at 65.
  9. You might find that in reality middle managers earn more like £50k than £80k. Your point on taking equity forward from the previous property still stands, but the underlying base assumption has probably been wage rises keeping pace with inflation and inflation being high enough to erode the additional debt taken on, which was the case in decades past (pre mid 1990s), but one or more of the assumptions may not hold in future. Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.
  10. I somehow doubt there are enough senior DVLA and council managers on £100k+ to keep a property market going, and DVLA managers are only going to affect the Swansea market anyway. Head teachers on £100k would be very rare beasts indeed. Most IT contractors make a lot less than £100k - a bit more half that would be more typical, and they have to pay higher NI contributions, so effectively more like £50k nett.
  11. It's not. £1.3trn is all personal debt, secured and unsecured. Unsecured is around £225 billion.
  12. Average FAMILY weekly wage. The ONS stat for the average weekly wage per person is about £450, so here they are presuming that there are two people on the average wage per family.
  13. I don't see a problem with having backups. Granted this will tie up capital, but if you only run your backup (gas, possible some stored hydro) occasionally and the typical output from wind is sufficiently cheap per kWh then it works. If it turns out that the wind capacity is too expensive or if gas generation is cheap, or alternative forms of generation (e.g. nuclear) is sufficiently cheap then it doesn't. The fact that wind isn't on 100% 24-7 doesn't mean it can't be a useful component, if the economics stack up for backup and other baseload generation, using wind where appropriate.
  14. I'm not talking about grid balancing. If the unit cost from wind power is low and you have sufficient charging outlets then it is possible to use wind generated energy to charge the cars rather than needing higher base load PROVIDED that you have sufficient quick start additional generation capacity to cover any shortfalls. For example if gas gets expensive, and you have some nuclear and wind then you could have a scenario (figures are notional but not implausible) of nuclear at 0.15 per Kwh, wind at 0.10 per kWh delivered, and gas at 0.25 per kWh. Given this mix then you could potentially provide the base load with nuclear, then have things like electric cars being charged by wind reliably most of the time, with boosts from gas when needed. Depending on the costs of plants, load factors, etc., this might be cheaper than running enough nuclear to power the baseload AND cars. Whether this works out depends on the relative costs of the plants, the generation capacities, load factors, and the cost of the raw materials (e.g. natural gas). It also depends on what installations are possible, for example with nuclear you have to have sufficient water for cooling, natural gas needs supply lines, and of course wind needs wind and grid connections. So even if you can find a mix that works based on costs, etc., you also need to be able to actually build the capacity. Danish energy and car use has increased, so whilst there's been a lot of wind capacity installed it has been overwhelmed. To me that seems to be an argument for conservation too, e.g. Germany's PassivHaus. And also lots of solar. The decision to build the coal plants is down to the companies concerned, not government.
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