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dgul

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Everything posted by dgul

  1. Something I find interesting in this is that the time-to-build is cited as important (24 hours!). But once you get a machine building without any human input, then time-to-build becomes less important. Say you wanted this house -- does it matter if it was built in 24 hours vs start it March 1st, ready for detailing March 31st? Okay, you need more machines, but you could use smaller machines (less slurry in pipes, lower mass to support, lighter scale machine), slower setting slurry (possibly better for the environment or less prone to settling cracks). Anyway, we're clearly only just on the start of this 3D printing of houses malarkey. For a start, they should be printing components in the house (ducting for services, but maybe stairs, or even work-surfaces in the kitchen). But, from the point of view of this forum, it is all pointless -- prices are set by the availability and demand of credit, and it would only impact on the relative costs of each component of build (which equals the cost of the land). It'll have a big impact on builders wages, though (well, wages would quite possibly go up as it'll be a more technical role, but there'll be fewer jobs)
  2. Well, not really. Growth is getting more from what you've got. (or, in the case of employment, importing more of what you've got so that you get the growth even though per-capita growth stalls). Traditionally, you get that 'more' from investing in plant, innovation, products, perhaps even marketing, etc. That is 'good growth'*. The recent expansion (1996-2008, and sort of since) was a bit weird. That was expansion through credit growth without tangible expansion in productivity/output (apart from finsec, which doesn't count beyond providing credit services to good growth (innovation, say, which as been sorely lacking in the UK)). In that case, then you get the odd effects, like asset price inflation and pay stagnation. In that case the only real way out is to destroy the debt, either through bankruptcies or inflation. [*ahha! but you've still got to pay off the debt + interest -- so where does that money to pay off the interest part come from? You've got to keep on expanding, keep on supplying credit, or accept that some of it won't be paid. Eventually you get to the point where you're forcing credit into the market just to stop the bankruptcies/deflation. That can be done through government support (old-fashioned way, but it demands that somewhere in the world are people who want to buy that government debt issued), QE (government debt, but without needing the nice people to buy it), monetary support (where the banks are subsidised by the government somehow keeping headline rates low (see QE))... others? Anyway, eventually you have to have a bust, either through deflation** or inflation** -- you can't just keep on expanding forever... Although you might be able to rig things so that it looks as though you're expanding forever...] [** deflation works because you don't pay back the bit that requires new money; technically the interest component, but in reality this comes about because some debt isn't paid at all, about equal to the interest owed in aggregate (but there would probably be an overshoot). ** inflation works because they just keep on shoving 'money' into the economy until the value of money decreases (see Gresham***), allowing puny post-inflation-period growth to provide the money to pay off the interest from all the mucking about during the pre-inflation and inflation period (or, perhaps, to make any debt destruction from the pre-inflation period benign).] [*** Now this isn't a good citation as Gresham is about debasement of metallic currency, but it is a good citation in that it shows that it has ever been thus.]
  3. Won't make any difference to prices -- buyers will pay as much as they can get a mortgage for. I suppose SD might be more likely to be paid out of savings, giving more money for a deposit, leading to more money available to lend from the banks, but it is probably likely to be limited by salary multiples these days, not deposit.
  4. Sort of just increases IHT to 41% or so. Oh, apart from estates far over £2m, where it gets back to 40%.
  5. Probably be okay for housing -- better than using it for farming, say. It is leaching into the groundwater that's the main problem with low level waste. I've looked at worse -- I once looked at a place (with a huge garden), which was fine apart from the small-print in the particulars that stated 'no digging on site to a depth greater than 1.2m'. Because of the unexploded munitions. Funnily enough I didn't buy that place.
  6. Their target is 2%... We're not even there yet! 3% would be as tolerable (for them) as 1% -- perhaps more so, as 1% is halfway to problem (0%) from 2%, whereas 3% isn't anywhere near problem (7%, say). At the moment the central bankers are terrified of zero (and deflation). They're not at all worried about inflation. They'll start worrying about inflation just a little after it is too late to do anything about it.
  7. All their life pensioners were poor. And for a large part of it they were poor, especially if they relied on the state pension (which was originally it was sold as being a proper pension, so they couldn't be blamed too much for thinking they could rely on it). So, they're now pensioners, ergo, they're poor. And, as I mentioned up thread, if you point out to them that pensioners are now better off than workers, it is always other pensioners, not them.
  8. There are three pairs of curves. The middle pair (median) are for a pensioner and working person who both have as many people earning more than them as earning less than them. I'd guess that this is what most people would call 'typical'. For completeness, the top pair is the 80th percentile -- that is, those for whom there are four times as many people earning less than them than more than them. The bottom two pairs are the 20th percentile, for whom there are four times as many people earning more than earning less.
  9. I think that's right. I remember back in the early 1980s, there were many news reports about pensioners in poverty. Now, they really were in poverty. So, they changed the system to support the pensioners. It looks like they're getting ready to reverse this. We'll have the next 30 years with pensioners having lower support. Okay, right now it'll not have that great an impact, but the changes made will still be in place in 30 years time when there will be pensioner poverty again (because pensions won't be giving good returns and pensioners won't have had a massive rise in property values to support them).
  10. I found this graph interesting: If you speak with a pensioner about it the excuse always goes that it is the rich pensioners that are doing well, but that 'they' aren't doing so well. But this graph shows that the poorer pensioners have been better off than the equivalent sector of the working age population since 2003.
  11. I find it amusing how the question raised is always 'who's going to pay for it', when the 'generous' inventive is so often lower than the VAT that they get on the purchase regardless.
  12. They'll use fiscal policy next (this) time. Starting with Son-of-MIRAS, perhaps extended to all (including unsecured) debt. Also lots of fiscal stuff to support the economy in general. We'll have a diesel scrappage scheme soon, etc. The big deals will be in infrastructure -- lots of lovely jobs building fantastical new bridges or whatever. [I'm of the opinion that they'll just about manage to support property prices in sterling, but there'll be some significant inflation that they'll conveniently ignore for quite some time).
  13. Of course, my earlier answer nonwithstanding, I'd imagine that the car companies will do something to support the prices of their fossil fuel cars against the onslaught of an enormous subsidy for electric&hybrid -- particularly where the manufacturer doesn't have any electric/hybrid in the range. So, while not £5,200, I'd imagine that Suzuki will have a deal on along the lines of 'standard trade in price +£1500 for diesels over 10 years' or something. Funnily enough, I'd imagine that these deals might also apply to new diesels... This might well not actually be better than a dealer miles car, let alone a 12 month, 10,000 miler, but they'll have to compete somehow.
  14. Cloudy days? Night time? An efficient setup might be nuclear supplying a reliable base supply, solar and wind supplementing this according to conditions, ramp up/down nuclear according to the weather forecast, and then have standby GT systems for when demand is particularly high. Arguably, we're getting fairly close to this.
  15. Yes. That is what I meant by using tax changes to affect house prices. The effect on house prices is exactly why they won't do it (or, at least, won't do it sufficiently to kill the problem). But I don't think we'll need to worry about it too much as, as Spy says, we're in for a miserable 10 year adjustment.
  16. Well, they've really sh*gged the used diesel and new electric/hybrid markets until they release their fantastic plans. And they'd better be good, because the public now have raised expectations. But -- there are indications that they'll implement something close to the French model, which is 10k euro payment if you replace old diesel with an electric, less for a hybrid (7,700 euro for < 60g/km), and doesn't apply to sort-of-efficient petrols (60-110g/km). It is possible that they'll also replicate the old scrappage deal just for getting rid of an old diesel (replaced with a car with <110g/km, say), but IMO it is unlikely.
  17. Yes. That statement is pretty much nonsense. I'd agree that a healthy lifestyle can keep you away from the 'health service' -- what proportion of the NHS is diabetes these days? -- but a very high proportion of surgery is due to emergency or disease. Going back to education (oh, sorry, forgot that that has nothing to do with the OP) -- the main problem we've got in the UK re. higher education is that the vast majority of people with a higher education don't use what they've learnt in their first job after graduation, let alone 20 years after. This has given us the idea that higher education is everywhere a useless phenomenon, whereas it is essential to many many fields. Oh, people do go on about how a degree in history and philosophy gives you the ability for rational thinking, and that it is particularly useful in middle management where... Sorry, I've lost the will to continue. It is all guff. We need engineers, surgeons, scientists, historians, artists, musicians -- the list goes on -- but don't think that it is useful to society to create these talents only for them to be spent on becoming quants or whatever. I'd be a fan of a system whereby the government 'invests' in an individual's education, but then demands repayment if you don't use it in something at least vaguely related. Okay, it would be a nightmare to administer, but all this higher education that goes on is not adding any value to our society.
  18. Well, a super clapped out car will be costly unless you're handy with a spanner, but... ... a normal car can be fixed by a guy down the road. He's cheery, cheap and I can walk back if I leave the car with him for the day. With an electric car I'm committed to the dealer network, which is considerably more hasslefull.
  19. Yes. I'd be happiest with a £2k (well, or more) incentive to scrap the diesel for an up to date petrol, as at least then I'd be a bit more environmentally friendly and I'd be a £k up on the deal (again, only bringing the deal down to the level of a 12 month old second-hand car), but I really think that the scrappage scheme would be only for fully electric or hybrids, where there is no financial gain to be made. And, anyway, since when did my happiness mean anything to them... And insurance is a big deal -- the electrics seem to be middle-ground insurance groups (14 for a Zoe), whereas I could buy a cheap petrol and get the insurance down to group 3-4. I'll probably just ask my wife for her preference, and then we can simplify the decision by just buying based on the range of colours available.
  20. Just to make you feel a little better: I've just (6 months ago) bought a 12 year old diesel. I never buy diesels (I just don't do the miles to justify them), but it was local and convenient and I couldn't be bothered to look any further. It was a short term purchase to tide me over by a financial year (complicated reasons). Idea was to sell it for ~purchase price, and it only cost a £k, so fairly risk free. I'm in the market for a new fuel efficient small car to replace it*, from April 6 this year, but I'd be content to push this out by another 6 months. So, you'd think I'd be an ideal candidate for the deal. But, as far as I can work out, I could buy an entry level Fiat Panda for £7k (lots of others options available), so £6k after trade in. A Renault Zoe (cheapest electric car) is, say £16k (normally prices are quoted after the current incentive, but the £8.5k would replace that, not be in addition to it) -- so £7.5k after the deal -- but this the battery lease version, which would be about £70 a month for the miles it would do. This would probably be similar to the petrol costs for the Panda. The Zoe would save a little in road tax, I suppose. OTOH, Pandas seem to have far better residual values than Zoes. So, I could get the electric, but a cheap petrol would work out as about the same running costs and would give the option to go on longer journeys. I'd say the electric would only really be a no-brainer for those living in London (congestion charge). Which I don't. Now, I might well go for it if it is as good as currently indicated, but it isn't some fantastic deal which saves me £££s. It would only bring the deal to broadly the same price as an equivalent petrol... which is, I suppose, the point. Or, I might just buy a low miles Panda, which would be a couple of K off again. The scrappage deal would only be for new cars, which takes away the option of taking advantage of the dreadful residuals of electrics -- the residuals are so bad that I'd probably be better off just getting a second hand Zoe and selling the diesel privately... [*the additional complication is that I was going to put this through as a company car, for which the hybrids are currently a fantastic deal. But the scrappage scheme would only be for normal privately owned cars, not company owned cars... Whatever I do I can't 'win' with this deal. Again, though, any scrappage scheme wouldn't be about winning, only bringing the prices of the electrics to the point where there is no additional pain in their purchase.]
  21. I've said for years that there is a fundamental problem in that rolling ASTs are used to get around the rules which should offer security of tenure for longer term renters. The law usually works to protect the little guy from too-clever interpretation of the rules from the people/institutions with the legal nous. For a very good example, as an employer I'm not allowed to use rolling short term contracts with my staff to get around my obligations as an employer. No matter how watertight my legal contract of employment, no matter how much the law allows me to employ people on short term contract, if someone is employed by me for 5 years they've got 5 years worth of rights -- I can't get away with employing staff on 180 day contracts. Quite why the law is quite so asinine when it comes to security of shelter is beyond me*. [* well, the argument is that some tenants quite like the benefits of AST. Great, let them take those AST benefits (whatever they are, they're not obvious) -- but give the security to the majority who would benefit from it.]
  22. The HMRC would regard this as tax evasion, do their own valuations and bill accordingly. The (world, let alone UK) economy has been completely unbalanced by CB actions since 2007. If house prices crashed, even a little, wealthy people would come in and support it. You could crash it by changing tax policy by various governments, but they don't want to be responsible for the crash, so won't instigate it. The easiest way to get a 'crash' at this point would be to have a currency crash.
  23. It is just mucking about, though, isn't it. Do you think the country would be in fine health if the gov. support was reduced to zero and interest rates went back up to (a low) 4%? Even with this massive stimulus the UK economy is only just in the black. I'll accept that they could wind down the stimulus fractionally and end up with zero growth, which wouldn't be dreadful, but it is a fine balancing act and it is helpful if the economy doesn't actually start sinking again. I would agree that Carney was premature when he reduced interest rates after the Brexit vote -- this was a political move and bad economics. Nevertheless, he is right when he says that the time for monetary stimulus has passed, and it is time for fiscal stimulus; I doubt we'll UK gov debt going down any time soon. I don't know why people here argue about reducing the stimulus and returning to a balanced budget regardless -- that would just crash house prices, but also kill the working economy while preserving the wealth of the wealthy. Okay, a few overleveraged BTLs would go bankrupt, but for every one of them there would be two wealthy people desperate to take their place. The way to sort the UK economy out is to reduce the wealth of the unearned wealthy, while increasing the purchasing power of those in work. The current policies are more likely to do this (through a bout of inflation and other effects), compared with the crash-the-economy approach.
  24. The 3 will upset the market when it comes out. But I'm not sure that he'll bring it in under £35k or that if you order one right at the start of the scrappage scheme it'll turn up by the end. I'm even doubtful that if you've already got one on order that it'll turn up in that timescale.
  25. I think there is an assumption that there aren't many people driving around in 10+ year old diesels that are thinking of trading in for a £60k new car. I'd also assume that they'd have the same £60k threshold as the current schemes. Of course, things could change when the 3 comes out -- but we don't know when/if that'll be, particularly in the UK.
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