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aa3

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Everything posted by aa3

  1. Yes like in digital cameras Japan had something like 12 companies making them. And independtly doing the research.
  2. Yes, we literally have millions of unemployed, including a substantial percentage who are university educated. And we have millions more who have useful scientific degrees but because of lack of opportunity work for near minimum wage in the service sector. Why doesn't the state step in and employ millions on public works projects. Today those public works projects are the great research challenges, instead of infrastructure of the past. Medicine seems near limitless with rejuvenative medicine, gene therapy, nano-medicine all in their infancy. Being someone from the right the state should fund most of it through contracts, like Arpa-E and DARPA in the US. Universities, non-profits and for profit companies would make proposals. And have many different grant issuing agencies.
  3. Good post. Most people who believe in a citizen's dividend want it to replace all welfare and social programs. So like you are calculating it would be very expensive, actually unaffordable. My own plan is for a much smaller citizen's dividend to start with. That would not replace welfare, healthcare and other programs. The main goal in the near term of my plan is to stimulate demand in the economy. There are indirect effects of this, like if everyone in your city got an extra £200 pounds a month, your business is going to see more customers than otherwise. Hopefully your business will even expand and be more profitable, paying some more taxes, maybe hiring an additional person. My starting plan would be ~£125 billion a year. £125b / 12 months / 60 million citizens = £173 pounds a month. For a family of four this would be £692 a month in tax free money coming in. I don't believe in the land value tax or otherwise taxing people more. Just using the central bank to add money as needed to control inflation. But instead of giving all the money to bankers, giving it equally to all citizens. Each year the money supply has to expand by ~£300-£400 billion to keep inflation at 2%. So still lots of room for the bankers. The beauty of this plan is that as automation grows more powerful, the dividend simply increases. Always having that 2% inflation target as the governor.
  4. It seems like 2013 is going to be a 'waiting game'. All the trends we talk about on HPCforum are still going strong. But none look yet strong enough to force a change. -In most of Britain the private economy ceases to exist as a meaningful driver of economic life. Its all government jobs for the connected and government contracts to friends of the party. There are some small employers and a couple big box minimum wage employers.. but nothing comparable to say the NHS, schools, police, army, councils, fire, various administrations, universities, and their contractors in terms of mass employment of people in decent/good jobs. -There are some rays of hope.. like every year 500,000 people move to Britain, most of whom are not indoctrinated yet by the ruling ideology. -The banks are still occupying the 'commanding heights' of the society.. but their moral legitacemy to rule has been broken in the minds of the majority of people. Propoganda becomes less effective the worse things get. Like if you have a good job, and read in the newspaper the latest government report of falling unemployment and rising tractor production, it can give you confidence, make you happy you voted the way you did, etc. If you are unemployed and many people you know are unemployed, the same newspaper report is going to be laughed at.
  5. I remember a year and a half ago President Obama mentioned the impact of job loss from automation, he used an unfortunate example in bank tellers and atms. I was heartened that at the highest levels someone is obviously thinking about this. The corporate media aka the mainstream media in a rare instance attacked and ridiculed President Obama over this. The right wing media of course brought up the luddite argument and as usual ridiculed the president. The example wasn't great because there are as many bank tellers today as when ATM's first came in. Of course adjusted for population there is about 25% less bank tellers, but that argument is too complex to get across. This could be a long argument across decades. Like the health care debate in the US, which arguably the last two elections have been decided on. As a right leaning person I have a sad feeling that the right will offer their usual plan of proposing no plan to deal with the challenges and opportunites. Just trying to block any reforms.
  6. Well they are getting closer to understanding the relationship between unemployment and automation. Its a good example for the economist everything is 'unexpected', while for mere amateur observers what is happening seems obvious. Going into the crisis America had ~152 million jobs, and a 50% labour force participation rate. Since it has been 4 years and her population has grown by ~10 million, we would expect ~157 million jobs all else being equal. Instead she has 140 million jobs today. 17 million jobs disappeared. Those jobs are never coming back, the only question to me is how long it takes to automate away the next 17 million. Maybe its easier for me to accept as I've known this for years and have come to accept it. Once you accept it with yourself, then you can think rationally about how we as a society can first off come out of the crisis, and then secondly prosper again with all this new technology.
  7. I've found the do-gooders to be the most emotionally driven/irrational people. In Africa they've turned a big problem, into a really big problem. Take Nigera in 1950 the nation had 37 million people. Quite big population, but a very fertile, tropical area. http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/p2k0data.asp With the help of the do-gooders, all those religions and charities that did everything they could to grow the population, in 2010 the population had reached 158 million. For every 10 Nigerians in 1950, there were 42 Nigerians in 2010. What should have happened with sane leadership is with money, food and medicine should have came an even bigger family planning effort, to get the birthrate below replacement. The whole African continent went from 229 million in 1950 to 1,022 million in 2010, with the religionists and secular humanists cheering every step of teh way.
  8. I spent ~4 years debating on a libertarian forum. To my real life friends at the time I was a radical libertarian, on that forum I was a 'statist'. I believe in copyright laws, private property ownership and intellectual property rights. There is a reason Britain and her children have invented and created the majority of ideas over the last two hundred years, yet only have ~5% of the global population. Allowing the copyright on art allows someone to make a living practicing their craft. Like the painters who limit copies to 250, and charge £400 each. Art is an important part of the life of a nation, so should be backed up by the protection of the law. With revenues from licensing comes the ability to hire professionals, like a curator such as tiremola. It creates economic activity, even a non-artist could make their living as say a auctioneer of art, an owner of a gallery, a writer in an art book, publishers, framers, etc. Of course I also support peoples right to copyright something, and then give it away freely. I personally would choose option 1, and then find a professional company who promotes artwork and arrange a fair % with them. And of course have the agreement written by a law firm experienced in copyrighting of art legal contracts.
  9. BTL would not be so bad if we actually had broader property rights. For example in Texas they have an incredibly pro-development government, so they are always building new housing units. When prices get really high, they build upwards. Surely there are BTLers in Texas, but they have to make it work on a cash flow basis, as there is little appreciation in the house.. the house often depreciates as it gets older. Where I see the problem is when you combine BTL with heavy restrictions on building of housing units. What should have happened in the face of a 240% rise in housing prices, is a massive boom in building. Like condo towers in London. To give an analogy I don't care if someone is buying clothes and renting them out, making a profit. Actually I would be happy they found an interesting service to provide. But if there was a national limit on clothing, and because the limit was lower than the number of people..some people had to go around half naked, or in potatoe sacks. And BTLers would buy up the clothing and then rent them out to people. All we've done is create a completely useless middle man. Now of course this doesn't happen in clothing for a simple reason.. there are no legal restrictions on production; unlike housing.
  10. Sad reality is on a personal level we did miss the BTL boat. Irish, US and Spanish BTLers may feel differently though. People who did buy BTL in the late 90's saw huge returns on their capital. Like 10x increase. It was a good personal investment then. Maybe it is now, maybe not, depends on the inflation rate mainly. On the other hand on a societal level Germany was probably the one large European nation which didn't put the majority of its capital into real estate, and invested in industrial machinery and research. Its financial position is unimaginably better than other European nations.
  11. “The stock that is laid out in a house, if it is to be the dwelling-house of the proprietor, ceases from that moment to serve in the function of a capital, or to afford any revenue to its owner. A dwelling-house, as such, contributes nothing to the revenue of its inhabitant; and though it is, no doubt, extremely useful to him, it is as his clothes and household furniture are useful to him, which, however, makes a part of his expence, and not of his revenue. If it is to be let to a tenant for rent, as the house itself can produce nothing, the tenant must always pay the rent out of some other revenue which he derives either from labour, or stock, or land. Though a house, therefore, may yield a revenue to its proprietor, and thereby serve in the function of a capital to him, it cannot yield any to the public, nor serve in the function of a capital to it, and the revenue of the whole body of the people can never be in the smallest degree increased by it.” - Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations”, 1776 The plan to increase the wealth of Britain through increasing house prices.. using Adam Smith's analogy is the same as trying to increase the wealth of Britain through increasing the price of our clothes. (which with restricted supply by fiat, and the fractional reserve monetary system could be done).
  12. One thing I don't understand is why elderly and their children are so eager to go to the care homes.. when I reach the end of the road, you know mid to late 80's.. body has hit the end of its useful life.. I just want a bunch of narcotic medications and accept the end. On a philosophical level, I have to wonder why the western world is so terrified of death today. Oswald Spengler wrote about how 'panem et circus' was the new mythos. The idea to maximize the pleasure you get through your life. While that has always been a part of the human condition, it hasn't always been the dominant mythos. He describes the Norse ideal to have strong sons, who would carry on the family line, and to be remembered for your deeds.
  13. According to our media Zimbabwe has been on its last legs for a decade now.. no electricity, barely enough food, no clean water. Yet your story paints a completely different(and believable) picture of how it really is.
  14. Lots of good points on this thread.. I think they are coming to see someplace new and the status to tell their friends back home they visited England, and show them all the photographs. And I'm not sure about Chinese culture but I know in much of Asia it is customary to bring back gifts to all your friends and associates. Of course if you are a big shot, that probably means £1000 per gift. I bet a big seller was UK made spirits. They can say how authentic the Scotch is. That former shoe factory seems perfect. When tourists come to England they want to feel England. They want cobble stone walkways, quaint architecture, metal lion head adornments, buildings that look like they might have been a castle, rolling fields with meadows, the snaking streamings.
  15. I did read a few years ago before the crash about a German bank which moved its entire back office to India. The back office in Germany had 6,000 highly paid people, like HR, accounting, IT, buildings maintenance, councellors, etc.. The Indians replaced them with 1,200 Indians. I'm not sure how it turned out, but it couldn't be any worse than the brilliant highly paid managers at the other European banks. Offshoring makes much more sense for semi-skilled white colar work, than it does frontline lowly paid workers.
  16. This could be more a statement of the razor thin profit margins.. an unsustainable situation for a business. If the profit was zero, the ratio would be infinite. My own opinion is the number of working class people on good solid incomes is in severe decline. So for businesses whose customer base is that demographic they will have to shrink in the coming years.
  17. I'm not sure the average person can even comprehend where money comes from.. And I don't mean that as a riddle for our monetary system. I mean the basic relationship between production of the nation and its abstraction of money. I think they view these things in more simplistic terms. Like they know there is a list to get on to get free housing from something called the government. Deep down they know they are deserving and entitled to get free housing. They are frustrated that another person got chosen ahead of them.
  18. Life is about choices. You can go into a care home in the last days at extreme old age, but it will cost 150k. Alas that is 150k less you can give away in your estate.
  19. You are right, only the marketplace can deliver actual results. Its why the socialism I believe in is like old age pension and welfare cheques. As opposed to government collective farms, food ration cards, government ran medical care, etc. The NHS is a textbook example of what happens in socialism. When first nationalized the original private organizations are still functional. And there is wide popularity in the program. In time costs keep rising and rising, and the quality of care declines. Shortages eventually emerge, it is inevitable in a monopolistic environment. Politically connected people rise up through the ranks, bureaucracy gradually takes over. People who try to reform the system within, and there are thousands of them, are fighting a losing battle against human nature. Eventually the system is unable to carry out its basic functions. That socialist answer that we must pay whatever the new peak always wins, and taxes go up.. until the society actually is incapable of paying more taxes. When taxes are raised now in the UK, tax revenues actually fall, as we are past the 'peak taxation'. Yet the costs of the system to deliver per unit of service, keep rising. So it becomes untenable.
  20. Even as a voluntary option millions would probably take it.. Do you want to be treated in Thailand, where you get a personal nurse, live in the sun and beaches, or go to a dreary, cold underfunded hospital, and hopefully one of the elderly overworked, union nurses can find time for you. Basically Europe is at the point where the taxes/rentiers have made the cost of living so high, that nothing makes sense to do at home.
  21. Amongst our free press there seems to be even less debate on the important issues of the day, than in nations with a controlled press. One of the issues for a private press is their customer's are the corporate advertisers. And those advertisers want 100% political correctness at all times. For fear their product be associated with something controversial. The corporations stand for no ideology or ideals, and they insist the same for where they advertise.
  22. I don't particularily agree with him on this one.. but I am happy to see someone on the new left breaking from orthodoxy and debating the ideas. An issue the green movement faces, and I am including here the lib/lab/cons which have near fully embraced it, is that if Britain has dramatically higher costs for things like energy, housing, raw materials, etc.. because of their green policies; it would make us much less competitive in the global marketplace. But just as global warming is a central pillar of their ideology, so too is free trade. In a university classroom you can believe whatever you want to believe, including two incompatible ideas. But when actually governing reality is faced. Like making payroll for all the people working in all the social programs they believe in.
  23. The plans to limit supply below demand have been very profitable for the corporations who hold the existing supply. Just as limiting housing development is exceptionally profitable for those who do hold the planning permission for development.
  24. Electricity capital is generally divided into 3 categories. Generation, transmission and distribution. A system must be designed to handle the peak load. So what areas do is have baseload generation, aka coal and nuclear, usually enough capacity in those to provide above the peak load. But always plants will be down for maintenance, refurbishment, environmental tech upgrade, etc, so they won't be able to quite hit the peaks. The cheapest plants by capital cost by far are natural gas plants. But in most of the world they are expensive to operate because of the price of natural gas. So areas will have natural gas plants on the grid which ramp up ahead of peak times. Natural gas plants can also come online quickly, because of the way natural gas burns. Whereas for coal and nuclear it is more economic to run them around the clock, even if it means dumping excess power into the ground. Areas with hydro-electric have more options. Long story short, this was working fine all over the world, no need to panic and change course. But for our modern leaders, the idea of cheap, abundant electricity, affordable by all, was heretical. There is only one way to get people to use less electricity, and that is to make it much more expensive. An analogy I would give is computing, imagine if our politicians got involved in deciding which technologies our society was allowed to pursue, like while the rest of the world was researching x87 or ARM we would go for a more egalitarian technology.. And legally capped the number of calculations done per day. Well that is exactly what they are doing in electricity, with predictable results.
  25. In 1984 Orwell makes the point that since the first invention of the machine it was obvious to every thinking man that we would eventually live in a world of permanent surplus. Which indeed has come about. But class loses most of its meaning in such a world. America was near that point in the 90's, where being poor in America meant owning a 2200 sq/ft house in a not nice area of town, having 1 car, probably a used car, having all the appliances, having so much food that obesity was prevalent, having a closet full of clothes, etc. So the only way to enforce a class society is to use the power of the state to create shortages, and then the state decides who is less or more inconvenienced. You can see it in many policies, like intentionally restricting the supply of houses below the basic housing needs of the population. Starting to go after cars with ever more fees and taxes. And restricting electrical supply by stopping any new power plants, and closing existing stations. Thankfully they haven't started on food yet.. but soon enough we will hear about how fat needs to be taxed, how meat production causes global warming and carbon taxes needed. Of course people close to the inner party will still have enough money to afford all those things however they want. But people a little further out like teachers or nurses will be inconvenienced. Aka you will feel your station.
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