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Key Stakeholder

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Everything posted by Key Stakeholder

  1. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. Aberdeen now 17% higher prices than the capital. 52% higher than Dundee. 55% higher than SW Scotland. Bubble? Fact.
  2. I probably agree with this point. Given the propensity for illegal tax evasion and immoral tax avoidance which is one of the defining characteristics of our times, the introduction of punitive taxes would be tantamount to inviting lawbreaking and immoral behaviour. Its interesting, though, that this is framed in the language of 'workability' and 'bureaucracy', rather than morality and criminality. As if moral restraint or the need to obey the law were not enough to ensure compliance with the tax. Right enough. So let us have a bonfire of bureaucracy, and say that all properties are taxed in their respective bands, irrespective of occupancy status. How would that be? More workable surely than the existing rebate system. Less bureaucracy, more justice, less lawbreaking "Essential services", though. Mmmmm. I suspect that there's plenty wriggle-room in those weasel words. In your home town, for instance, it is said that incompetence and mismanagement has led a shortfall of some £70m in the council budget over the next 10 years. Aberdeen City Council are considering the closure of many of that city's famous parks and gardens, and selling the land. Essential services? They are also mooting the closure of all of that city's community libraries. Essential services? It is likely that CfE training in modern foreign languages will be stopped. Essential services? Class sizes in primary schools are to be increased by 78%. Essential services? Aberdeen City Council have signalled their intention to implement all these measures, while signalling their reluctance to implement a reduction in council tax relief on empty homes. I wholeheartedly agree with the desire for less government bureaucracy, and less bureaucratic impingement on our lives. But, this should be done with justice, or it runs the risk of consolidating the near-plutarchy like Aberdeen into open kleptocracy.
  3. Resentment? Yes indeed, I resent the fact that the number of homeless children in emergency accommodation is at highest ever levels, while others enjoy and indeed are happy to boast about taxpayer-funded subsidies on their EMPTY HOMES. Asserting that taxpayers do not subsidise your empty home (for which you revel in the hope of getting a 100% council tax rebate), asserting that empty properties do not 'consume' local services is a self-serving fallacy, for empty homes continue to served by the emergency services and infrastructure which is the major part of LA spend. Perhaps you would have law enforcement and fire services operate on a subscription-only model, like last seen in the eighteenth century? Perhaps you are an advocate of comprehensive road-charging? Perhaps this empty home of yours has its own completely independent water-supply and sewerage infrastructure? Perhaps you believe that your empty home does not benefit from general and universal refuse collection from neigbouring properties? For only then could you reasonably suggest that no-one subsidises your empty home.
  4. How nice that you should be subsidised by taxpayers. Well done.
  5. Yes, if it's any sort of administrative challenge at all it'd be better not to implement this measure. Particularly if it affects me. ;-)
  6. Aberdeen City Council have signalled their reluctance to implement any such measure.
  7. Via the already-existing army of crowdsource-enabled volunteer busybodies? http://reportemptyhomes.com/ Oooh! It's that "big society" in action! :-)
  8. Sam Knight in Prospect mag Splendid article on the roots of the particular flavour (literally fishy) of the Icelandic problems. They call it the "Hrun", a word with no direct english translation, but which comes out at something approaching "humiliating downfall caused by excessive hubris and/or dishonesty". http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2011/07/caught-out/ That bit, right there: "The right to fish a single kilogram of cod—handed out for free in 1983—was changing hands for as much as ISK3,500 or £30 (around ten times the market price of the fish)." Reminded me of the radio play The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/radio/great_hargeisa_goat_bubble/ The mind-bending problem faced by Icelanders is that their only possible hope for redemption, the "return to fishing", is through the industry which blew the bubble that bankrupted them.
  9. Wonk-mag "PLANNING" http://www.planningresource.co.uk/Policy_and_Politics/login/1102116/ Registration required, but here you go: Dry-as-sticks ScotGov material here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/10/17105007/0 My thirst for justice would have been slaked by an end to discounts for empty homes. An excess charge, IMHO, is unjustly punitive. Get yourself over and fill in the consultation online form: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations/government/counciltaxltep.asp Participative democracy. You gotta love it!
  10. I read this: http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/7001 Interested in the possibility (or otherwise) and potential sources of future economic growth and the link to energy availability and cost. (Not all costs are financial.) More interested yet in the fact that this question is not the one which heads the news every singe day. Instead, they talk of bits of paper. And bits of paper with writing on them about other bits of paper. Some energy discussion to be had in Oil-Boom-Aberdeen thread here "but it's hard to get someone to understand something when their salary depends upon them not understanding it".
  11. Wow. Never have I been more comprehensively (wilfully?) misunderstood. I'll need to work on increasing the pellucidity of what I say. Remember what I said about cost externalities? Sir Nicholas Stern, speaking at the Royal Economic Soc. in Nov '07 Were oil industry externalities monetised, less of a bubble would be seen. But no, these cost externalities are instead socialised. And (as we all pay for their social, environmental and ecological effects) the oil industry - and, by extension, the Aberdeen property market - is the beneficiary of a vast socialistic subsidy. Therefore, for someone who's 30-year oil industry career has been subsidised by the socialistic absorbtion of the unmonetised costs of this market failure to complain of others "expecting everything on a plate" is more than just a little bit dissonant. I clearly call for full cost accounting. Quite the opposite of social engineering. Is that so difficult to understand? Upton Sinclair, author of "Oil!" (filmed as "There Will Be Blood")
  12. I'm also hoping to suggest that the 'costs' to those for whom of the accumulation of affluence is the primary aspiration are greater to them (as well as to others) than they acknowledge - even to themselves. But hey, that's tough to take.
  13. Cristopher Brookmyre, A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away
  14. As I mentioned earlier, costs are not always monetary... Paul Theroux, "The Kingdom by the Sea" And earlier this year, a local Aberdeen newspaper reported: (my emphasis) Unsurprisingly, the Aberdeen press fail to point out that the same phenomenon of high oil and gas prices has been elsewhere a major source of price inflation, a break on recovery from recession and a sink for wealth - draining it from economies and communities throughout the entire country and wider world. For the vast majority of people, high prices for necessities are unquestionably bad news. The phenomenon which delivers affluence for a relative handful of hubristically acquisitive Aberdonian hydrocarbon insiders (who mistake that affluence for wealth, and then go on to confuse acquisition with aspiration and so are happy to trumpet bubble-prices for housing in Aberdeen) is the self-same phenomenon which simultaneously impoverishes the living standards of all others here and elsewhere through high prices for energy, food, clothing and transport. But it's that use of the word "achievement" in the local paper report which is most telling (and troubling). For in what way can a price surge in an internationally-traded commodity possibly be claimed as "Aberdeen's achievement"? Now, of course its an ill wind that blows nobody any good and, in this case, the Aberdeen-based oil and gas industry just happens to be the recipient of that 'good'. But, to extend the metaphor, this is just economic 'weather'. Certain types of Aberdonian - the ones we see, hear and read the most of (more's the pity) - are fools to allow themselves to be seen to be revelling in something so whimsically changeable. Worse, they are bloody idiots to allow their local press to suggest that the town can collectively take credit for it. It is not something for which anyone should want to claim credit, because worst of all this "I've got mine" hubristic streak is in poor taste as the rest of the world suffers the effects of high oil prices. As hunger prompts political revolution and military instability in the maghreb, as economic contraction forces hundreds of thousands of young people onto the dole at home and as the #occupy movement spreads through the towns and cities of the west - the oil-people of Aberdeen are happy to tell you that they're better than OK - they're "making hay" and "reaping the benefits" because "Aberdeen's booming". Yeah; booming, as a handful of its inhabitants do ever more damage to the atmosphere at highest-ever record prices. As those highest-ever record prices do ever more damage to the economy. Costs are not always financial, and hubris tempts the gods.
  15. Is "disposable [income]" a prerequisite for wealth creation? Is RoI the same as wealth creation? Is wealth truly measured by digits? Is aspiration solely linked to acquisition? I guess it depends on whether you can discern between price and value. I guess it depends on whether you understand that costs are not always monetary.
  16. I guess it depends on whether you can discern between affluence and wealth.
  17. But that's not really the point. The question is: Does the energy bubble make Aberdeen different? Is there an energy bubble? Are "suicidal flows of capital" into energy businesses in Aberdeen (be that either filthy-atmosphere-destroying-carbon-energy or subsidy-junky-low-bang-per-buck renewable energy) buoying that town's domestic property market into a secondary hyperbubble. House prices in that town are almost twice those of similar towns elsewhere in the UK (Cardiff for instance, which is a much nicer place, better connected, not so grey, capital city, cultural centre, on the motorway network, 2hrs to london on HST, proper international airport, opera house, etc etc). Torryloonmadegood appears to confirm the fact that, indeed, there is an energy bubble - the market for capital in the energy sector having detached itself from fundamentals. So thanks for the example, Torryloonmadegood. So, the supplementary question (the question which almost doesn't need asking) is: In Aberdeen, where domestic property prices are supported by a bubble market in energy capital, what happens to the property market when the industrial bubble market supporting it collapses? To ask the question is to answer it.
  18. Oh, I see. You discount the cost of damage done to the atmosphere, then?
  19. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21031-carbon-bubble-could-threaten-markets-maybe.html
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