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Selling up

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Everything posted by Selling up

  1. Agreed. Having started this thread, I've been lurking silently; and in fact the thread has confirmed what I suspected. Few seem to be able to give a coherent account of what they mean by 'creating wealth', and how this relates to the public and private sectors. Injin's view of wealth as a quasi-moral phenomenon dependent on freedom (if a house is built, wealth is created, if a house is built at gunpoint wealth is destroyed) has the virtue of being novel and interesting, but the failing of being frankly bizarre, and somewhat subjective (the distinction between freedom and slavery, for instance, is not always as clear as one might hope. Is 21st century consumer behaviour the epitome of freedom or of slavery?)
  2. For instance, if by 'wealth' you mean 'money' then this is evidently true. But it's equally true of any private sector business. Which takes in money from one group of people (customers) and hands exactly the same amount to another group (employees, suppliers and investors). So the transfer of money does not distinguish between a public and private sector enterprise. Both are redistributing a fixed amount of money. Along the way, either may or may not engage in beneficial activity.
  3. Clarify please: how are you defining 'wealth'?
  4. I want to examine something I read here time and again; where it seems to me that even posters I otherwise admire lapse into confusion and inconsistency. Again and again I read that the private sector 'produces wealth' and the public sector does not. But nobody ever explains what they mean by this phrase. It seems to me that 'Producing wealth' has at least 3 relevant meanings: 'increasing the amount of money', 'making a profit (IE transferring money from one person to another)' and 'producing a beneficial effect'. First consider 'producing a beneficial effect', which would include producing goods and services: It is clear that many human activities are can generally be considered to be beneficial: Baking bread, healing the sick and defending borders might all be considered beneficial to the citizens of a country. Other alleged goods and services might be of doubtful benefit: Heroin manufacture and diversity enforcement come in this camp. One can (and some will) quibble over the exact balance of costs and benefits, but it appears self-evident that there is no clear dividing line here between 'private enterprise = beneficial' and 'state-funded = non-beneficial'. Next consider 'increasing the amount of money'. Neither private enterprise nor state enterprise does this in general; only two activities do so: banks making loans and governments printing money. As it happens, the making of bank loans in the UK has historically been a private sector activity, but now that the government is a major shareholder in at least one bank, it can be seen that the making of loans can equally be a state-owned operation. Therefore there is obviously no clear dividing line here between 'private enterprise = creates money supply' and 'state-funded activity = does not increase money supply'. Most problematically, consider 'making a profit'. This means the transfer of existing money from one person to another. It does not increase the amount of money in circulation (except for the special case of profitable bank loans); it does not imply that beneficial activity is occurring (as witness the fact that I believe heroin manufacture for street use to be a remarkably profitable activity), nor is it a prerequisite for beneficial activity to occur (consider charities and free childcare by grandparents). I concede that private sector activity is more likely to 'make a profit'. But if economic liberals want to praise private enterprise on this ground alone, they will need to explain further why making a profit should be considered a good thing of itself, when it has no necessary connection with the production of beneficial effects. (By the way, I think there is a lot to be said for private enterprise, and I think it will often be more efficient than state activity. The quarrel I have is with the peculiar idea that the private sector alone 'produces wealth'.)
  5. Though it pains me to give a compliment to the Daily Mail, the system they use for reader comments (with the voting buttons) is excellent.
  6. Disagree ++. I'm loving listening to all this panicky whining. This is the music of The Day of the Bears.
  7. I've always thought it's a good idea. Some details are problematic though. Will it include a housing component? Because that will make it a pretty bloody big amount! (Edit: I just mean, will it be expected to cover housing as well as food etc?)
  8. I've been wishing the world would do this ever since I first learned the difference age 12 or so.
  9. Don't all get too excited. Remember that when Rightmove say 'prices are up', we all roll our eyes and say 'Rightmove measures asking prices which are meaningless anyway'. We can't suddenly decide that asking prices are important after all, just because they're going our way.
  10. You're being inconsistent here. If you (rightly) recognise that like-for-like comparisons are skewed because houses have become smaller, you must also recognise that this is (to some extent) compensated for by the presence of, say, central heating, loft conversions and inside bathrooms. While the reduced size has tended to decrease the quality of the property, said improvements have at the same time tended to increase the quality.
  11. Pointless statistic. Who gives a f*ck how many people "have considered" emigrating? It has nothing to do with how many people are actually taking steps to emigrate
  12. Hearsay-based (sorry, 'soft intelligence'-based) vetting for any adult who has contact with children. (Excluding family members of course, who commit over 90% of child abuse)
  13. This argument isn't supported by history though. The tulip boom? I bet all the 'mosts powerful VI's' were buying bulbs for all they were worth. Didn't stop the bust. Same goes for every boom in history.
  14. The economy is so f**ked up at the moment that 'best for the economy' is a difficuly concept. Personally, I think the best thing would be a hard fast crash, rather than a drawn out Japanese deflation. So anything that reduces confidence in the economy is best for the economy. So I'm loving this hung parliament thing.
  15. My 25k gold investment (2007 or so) just reached 50k. Now I don't know what to do. Like many goldbugs, I freely admit to not having an exit strategy. I bought the stuff because I wanted long term protection against inflation, not because I wanted to speculate in the short term. But now it's becoming tempting to cash it in (or half of it?) in favour of, say, index-linked bonds (edit: I mean certs) of which I've already got a bundle. Anyone want to help me make up my mind?
  16. I STR'd New Years Day 2007. It's working out well for me because I've relocated twice since then; however it hasn't at this point brought the financial benefits I hoped. Your choice seems to have been a good one.
  17. Although Hamish wasn't popular here (!), his advice on that MSE thread is good... he basically tells the OP not to go with their unconvincing plan.
  18. Oh wait, you said "comparable". Well that could easily make sense, if the public sector, for instance, had more low-end jobs... I take back my
  19. It's worth considering the role of LHA ("housing benefit"): If the government didn't pay highs rent for many out of taxpayers' pockets, market forces would ensure that rents would fall.
  20. I want to stay in Zone 2 London for the time being so it probably has to be a flat. Won't buy till I think I've got a bargain though... so am sitting on the sidelines patiently for the time being.
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