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Everything posted by aa3

  1. Yes in a free market there is natural balancing mechanisms. Too much currency and it loses it value, too little and it loses its value. I believe that allows for an arrangement that a force based system is not needed. Nations face this too in the marketplace of international currency and use by smaller nations all over the world. As the US dollar has become hard to get for peoples in some parts of the world, they have shunned it. I have read stories in places like rural Bolivia where people were switching to their local currency, and just accepting its instability, as they were not able to get enough US dollars to facilitate commerce.
  2. Ya for all the economic theories at the end of the day if you produce something, you can participate in trade.
  3. That is a good point. I tend to focus on social credit through the central banks, because it is the existing institutions. But it definately could come about through non-state voluntary currencies. For the state currencies if they do become scarce they ironically lose their value. Part of the value of a currency is that normal human beings can get a hold of them, to do things like pay you back for credit you extend to them. If a carpenter can't find work for pounds, but people are offering him bitcoins and the bitcoins can be used to buy anything.. then he takes that offer. Not on an individual level, but it is sort of like Greece and Spain and others are thinking. If they cannot get Euros they have to re-create their own currency.
  4. Not many people know this but through China's spectacular rise in manufacturing from 1990-2005.. they actually lost jobs in manufacturing. There was a world historic rise of like 16% compounding a year in factory output. In that neighbourhood. But factory floor productivity rose at an even more impressive 18% a year. Leading to a small net loss of jobs in manufacturing each year. The number I remember is a net loss of 45 million factory jobs in the period. But this real rise in production is allowing not only for many Chinese to get rich, but the government can afford a social safety net. Which will give Chinese people security to spend without fearing illness, death, job loss or other unforseen problems. Over the last 30 years the Chinese state has been focusing on delivering infrastructure. I can only guess at the number employed working on these projects. But there are things more important than free health care. Like clean water, sewage treatment, electricity, rail. A nation cannot make the production to afford a social safety net without the infrastructure. One of the new projects is building homes for poor Chinese people. In the range of 40 million low income houses are being built. Even in UK terms that is 2 million low income houses. A question I asked is we have so many unemployed young men, we have experienced contractors and building supply firms which are struggling or worse, and we have a housing crisis. It doesn't take a political genius to figure out what to do to stimulate things.
  5. When a couple of managers get promoted (for doing the same job), and then rise up the next pay band.. a couple nurses have to sadly be let go to make room in the budget. The people who make that tough call are the managers. In the empire days a captain was in charge of a whole Navy ship. Today the Navy has more admirals than ships. 100 years from now every person in the Navy will be some rank of admiral.
  6. Time is running out for this Tory government.. they've had a few ideas, none of which they have carried out. The question at this point is will Labour even have any substantial opposition in parliament when it gets elected. Those by-elections the Tories and Libdems were battling with the Peace Party and the BNP for about 6th place.
  7. Confidence is big.. Blair knew he could easily deflect, bs his way through any question or counter question the media drones gave him. And he could easily hoodwink an audience of normal people. But sometimes you come across a Titan on the other side. One time at a community political meeting a political science professor, a communist of course was arguing for the labour party and had the community people with him, and easily beating down anyone who questioned him, making them look like morons. He was calm and smiling and such, the leader.. then I came up and he mistook me for a typical university student, so I asked an innocent sounding question, then he answered, but I countered.. and it threw him off, I could see he got flustered. He didn't answer my counter just said 'next question' after a gap of regaining his composure. Which was pretty smart, I wasn't expecting that and I didn't press the issue. The lawyers have that advantage of facing tough people on the other side of arguments, so they have to survive a back and forth. Plus it is self-selecting most people could never become lawyers, let alone successfully argue a case. So we are talking about the darwinian survivors here. An issue professors face is they mainly have an audience that believes everything they are saying is the gospel. On the rare occassion a right leaning person sneaks into the classroom, we are still talking about someone who is 20 years old and hasn't had time to build the depth of knowledge and debate skills.
  8. Good points. Extending and pretending is not a bad strategy in tough economic times. Like in the US during the depression some families couldn't make their mortgage payments.. now these were good honest hardworking people that the bank had built up relationship over the years. So these are won customers. So farsighted banks just met with the people and figured out what payments they could make.. and shortfall to be added to the principal. Or if really far apart forgiven. Later when the war stimulus spending came people could easily pay off the mortgage, so the bank is whole or mainly whole. And importantly they have a customer for life. Where extend and pretend falls down is when the economy actually never comes back. Or the mortgage is so huge compared to the real value of the property that the people are not interested in trying to pay it off.
  9. Could be both like experience.. then in a really high pressure event popping something to take the edge off. There is some that take the edge off but you can still think normally. Sort of like pro-athletes.. ya they work out really hard and with professional trainers, yet usually have some chemical help too.
  10. Thats a lot of it.. if you are rich and powerful you want someone to get in who is not going to change well anything. Any change you might lose some of your position. So the ideal candidate is someone who is weak willed, but looks good and can speak well. You throw some money behind him and get the organization going for him, bringing in professional organizers and promoters. Meanwhile a natural leader who has force of will is dangerous, so they cut them off, or even better offer them a job in their corporate organization.
  11. Airfare is something the mass of consumers has decided they will always choose the cheapest option. Nearly everyone who travels brags about what a good deal they got on air tickets. They go online and price compare and choose the cheapest. So Ryanair makes sure they do whatever it takes to be the sh#tiest service, and their competitors try to out do them, by being absolutely garbage. Even if the choices are £240, £255, £270.. the consumers will choose the 240 choice. But in other areas of life people are different. For example when buying coffee not many people choose whatever is the cheapest option with no regard to the quality or taste. If they did, we would be having ghetto coffee with like sawdust and coal ash mixed in. Whatever the regulatory maximum coal ash allowed in the coffee grinds that is what they would go to.
  12. Maybe it is drugs or a certain genetic balance in the brain. I used to be so scared of public speaking. Unrelated to the public speaking, but over time I developed a bunch of physical ailments which my doctor diagnosed as being anxiety/depression related and put me on Paxil. The physical ailments went away, they were from an imbalance in the brain part of the stress system. Now I really like speaking in front of many people. Probably if I was in a debate versus someone who was going through the hormonal highs of being in front of many people, like seeing red when they were angry at something, being nervous and having trouble speaking coherently.. I would seem ultra-in control, like calm and answering the questions, maybe getting a joke in. The lawyers seem to have a big advantage because not only are they up there speaking everyday in front of a crowd, but they have to watch carefully every word, in case they get caught by the opposing lawyer. And sometimes they are in front of a highly emotional audience.
  13. I think he has a maturity of political thought.. but no leadership ability. He does not seem to be able to take an idea and make it happen. As can be imagined at the high level he is at, any decision is going to hurt some powerful rich peoples interest, and they are going to fight back. You have to be able to overcome that. And really to overcome that you have to be willing to use the full power of your position to smash anyone who opposes you, to teach a lesson for future people. See how Mr. Putin turned Russia around, it takes that level of force to move against the powerful people. As an example if I was the prime minister and I was trying to address the nation and the BBC wouldn't cover it.. the next day I would have a little talk with the executive team of the BBC. If next time they still went against me, the next day they would be escorted off the premises and a new leadership team put in place. The government can use increasing levels of power against people, for example that team escorted off the premises would expect generous severance and pensions, well are they going to make the government pay?... make them fight it out in court for years. David Cameron to me seems like a really nice, naiive guy who plays by all the rules.. in a world where everything is on the line and people will use anything to oppose you.
  14. I wonder if the new prime minister has put in place anti-business laws. Although when I read a speech from her it sounded like she had matured politically from young Marxist to a centrist person. The other thing is we will have to see the trend over time. This could be the downpoint of their business cycle where overcapacity in areas gets taken out, and labour moved to a higher value. The process is not pretty in the interim, but it works.
  15. To get that kind of return the whole nation has to be committed to serious levels of economic growth. But over the last few decades Britain has prioritized other aspects of life for better or for worse.. the carbon emissions, NIMBY rights, anti-industrial development, maybe more widely popular; limiting air pollution. A good example is to think in terms of energy. As ultimately larger and larger output will need more energy. Britain has made a concious decision to pursue a path of less energy production and usage. And to achieve that is willing to accept a much smaller economy. A smaller economy cannot afford such a large public sector, as the tax revenues will fall in real terms. Again these are choices, but human nature being human nature, the people assumed they could both follow their hearts for de-industrialization AND receive generous state pensions and salaries. Reality is not far off now though. It is already hitting countries like Spain which thought they could do that too.
  16. I've seen in the local newspapers one month.. steel mill shut down, 3,500 jobs lost. Then when the quarterly data comes out, economists baffled by rise in unemployment in local area. And trying to come up with theories like the credit availability, or business sentiment from a survey of local business owners. 'Unexpected' is sort of the modern default word I associate with the university community today. Now real scientists would have a look at their theories.. but since they already know the theories are right, they are constantly shocked by what happens in the real world.
  17. Good point. I was thinking about how sane governments could last in democratic societies. The Tories should not talk about this in public, instead do it hidden in vague parts of bills, ostensibly restricting land use. I was thinking of a right wing party that talked like devout Marxists/Maoists at all times in public. Like when the idea of opening up land for building middle income houses (with gardens!) came up, publicly the party would slam the idea. But hidden in the next restricted land-use bill, would be vague hard to interpret sections that somehow allowed a lot of new land to be developed on. While of course the party would rail against greedy developers and start a study to see how to reign it in. (that study would take many years). Its sort of like in the third world democracies there is the communist party versus the other communist party. But somehow whichever party wins the tax rate on business falls.
  18. I don't think austerity in these type of conditions has ever worked. But that does not stop nations from trying it again and again. I think the allure of austerity is its moralistic aspects. After a good run, people believe they have had it too good, and now is the time to cut back. While that makes sense on an individual level, on a national economic level if everyone cuts back you can imagine what happens. The whole idea reminds me of communism's staying power. Why do nations keep going towards communism even as it has failed every time it is tried. Well the idea has emotional appeal. You can make all the rational arguments you want, but when people have decided emotionally on an idea, they believe it. They need to try it full out, before they can be shaken of the idea. The same thing happened with austerity as today during the 1930's. Nations had to try austerity and definitively prove that it doesn't work by first hand experience, before they were willing to accept the morally repugnant but true path of gargantuan stimulus. People during the early 1930's felt that they had had it too good during the 1920's, and now the pain was for the excesses of that period. They couldn't get their head around the idea that consumption and excess would have to go to a multiple of the 1920's level for the economy to function.
  19. In a capitalist society the government can own the operation, but contract out a lot or near all of the work to private contractors. Engineering firms, construction companies, even accounting companies to handle the books. France has some world leading electrical engineering companies. Another success story of government ownership I would give is Saudi Aramco. Again they are employing some of their industry's best contractors. It is different than say the Soviet Union, where the contractors and suppliers were also owned by the government. If you look at EDF it has hundred and hundreds of billions of Euros in capital. All the nuclear plants, transmission lines, substations, distribution system. That can capital can be used for the French nation, whether it is cheaper electric rates than otherwise, higher incomes and more jobs for the workers, a dividend to the government, or some combination. If you look at how capitalism is functioning in some areas, a private equity firm would try to buy it, then load it up with debt issuing dividends to themselves. Then cutbacks to try and keep up with the debt payments.
  20. Listening to the French I get the feeling an inflection point is coming. Soon they have to make a decision for where they want to go with their economy. I think the choice each nation makes has to be in line with that nation's culture and history. For Britain nationalizing industry is always a train wreck.. it just doesn't go with British culture. The best and brightest Brits always want to make their fortune in free enterprise. For France the results are different, look at the amazing success over the years of EDF. The problem with choosing the neo-liberal model, is it seems hopeless for the average person in the long run. Maybe with some deal a few jobs can be saved for a few more years, but I think we all know what the long term outcome will be.
  21. I know some elitist people, I sort of get along with them.. but I get the feeling their ideal society is something like Mexico or India, with of course them at the top. The dumb masses are easily entertained.. get them their teevee, beer, salt, sugar and fats.. and they are happy people. The chances of Mexico's elite being overthrown are next to nothing. What is scary is a big hungry middle class right below them fighting to move up.
  22. Something that will happen with automation in time, is in sheer energy terms the energy cost of moving 3,000 pounds of steel 50 miles roundtrip to work... will be more than the energy value of anything the person could produce at work during an 8 hour day. Thus the most rational course for the allocation of resources would be for that person to stay home. That hit parts of America in 2007, there were lower value people in market terms, paid near to the minimum wage, who had long commutes in their big trucks. It got to the point where they were losing money by going into work. So they did the rational thing and stayed home. And it wasn't just rational from their perspective, but also from the point of view of resource use in the economy as a whole. I partially or serendipitiously planned for this, it takes me 35 minutes to walk to my work. Eventually it might not be worth it for me to walk to work, but before that hits, 99% of people will have gone to the wall before me.
  23. Hehe the solution last go around.. if you want to understand human beings, realize this.. we are chemical robots, whose mission is to spread our dna. Whichever code is most successful spreads. I am enjoying this thread, it was a skeptic of automation's impact on society on this forum.. I think campervanman who came up with the idea of all we need is robots to consume the production of robots! And I thought that was quite clever, I laughed. But now with this wonderpup thread I am thinking a new thought.. what if that actually IS a solution? What if the robot I made is both a highly productive lawyer researcher by day(displacing human lawyers).. and a connosieur of human made Italian leather fashions by night? If a robot can be programmed to do things like IBM's Watson, (and that is 2012 technology).. surely robots can be programmed with wants too.
  24. As Britain becomes more and more collectivist in the nature of governance, car ownership will change from being affordable to the median worker, to fewer people year by year able to afford it. Behind the scenes in a capitalist economy a tremendous amount of real work has to be done so that 30 million cars are on the roads, maintained, fueled. In the Soviet Union by the end for the lucky few who could afford a car, it was an 8 year wait once they had filled out the requisite forms, paid the money, gotten approval from the local commisar, etc. Its sort of funny, but Brits are waiting over a year in some cases for operations in the collectivist health care system. Imagine if your dog needed an operation and the Vet told you sure, lets see here, we have an appointment in December.. December 2013.
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