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Posts posted by madpenguin

  1. I don't understand why the hell the IMF is even involved.

    Because this is about the saving the banks, especially the ones trading worldwide, has been from the start.

    The bankers greatest trick was to make people think this was all about failing countries, and get the populations of those countries to bail them out.

    How different would the British economy be now if we hadn't have had Northern Rock, RBS etc.?

  2. Mudguards is probably one of those thing that takes up large space (low value per m2) things that can be manufactured locally.

    No to mention you stand more chance of being run over by a push bike in Holland than a car :lol:

    Once again something that was deliberate Government policy, and hence there is a big market for spares so a home industry can still make money


  3. If we devalued the currency against the Euro, dollar and Asian currencies, then we could become competitive literally overnight and if this was consistent, manufacturing would slowly return.

    the problem is the "race to the bottom" situation being considered by all western nations except Germany who are happy where they are.

    We are not doomed - devaluation would be a good thing for Britain right now while the Euro is in stalemate.

    Earlier in the year the Pound was a lot lower than the Euro etc., I didn't notice an explosion of small businesses forming at that time or a boost in exports, the problem is the UK Government is big business centric as they are the people who speak to them on a regular basis and have key roles in influencing policy.

    We need pretty much an entire change in culture within politics, one of the things that impresses me about Northern European countries is they seem to run the country for the benefit and enrichment of the country, not as in England where I feel the entire emphasis of Government is to turn the country into a souless sweatshop for big business.

    As someone on one of the late night comedy shows said the other night:

    "We have to stop calling the countries that use the Euro the 'Eurozone', otherwise they are going to start calling us Poundland!"

  4. If I go to my bank's website, there's a link I can click which will take me to the BTL mortgage section. Clicking a few more links, a few phone calls and some forms filled out,

    and within a month I'm a professional people farmer, on the guaranteed path to riches.

    No red-tape, no business plan, I don't need a track record of any kind, I don't need any experience or skill, or an idea, and I don't have to do any work.

    Where do I click if I want to start a factory? Where does the money come from?

    The housing market has killed the economy, and will continue to do so until it gets put back in its box.

    Not to mention the Government and the grateful British people no doubt supporting you via your tenants housing benefits :D

  5. You hear it on Dragon's Den all the time.

    UK entrepreneurs: "How much does it cost to make? £10!!! We can make it for £5 in China"

    They think if they offshore all our jobs there will still be people who can afford to buy their products and make them lots of money via the higher profit margin.

    It's ok if a few people do it, but when everyone does it....?

    For people to buy your product they need money which usually means a job, between the offshoring, on-shoring, and "efficiency" culture in the UK, the economy has been driven to it's knees

  6. What are the features of the Mittelstand - family run concerns, many of a very decent size. Long term view. Commitment to staff and training. Good quality but represent good value. Close relationship with banks - not equity. Banks provide cheap funding via Landesbanken to stimulate regional businesses. Of course lower land prices and local planning focused on stimulating business rather than landed interests help too. Regional parliaments focused on stimulating their regions and setting strategies to help the local economies - rather than just acting as a dead weight on one area.

    This is not rocket science...we just need to take a look at what they do and try and replicate the conditions to rebalance the economy.

    The huge problem in the UK is that our Government is virtually run by large multinationals, I was shocked during the latest "The men who made us fat " episode where a researcher who had produced a report indicating fat and sugar was directly linked to obesity in children was told by the Health minister no less that he had "annoyed the food industry", and he had to sit through a meeting with this types grilling him over his "false assumptions" (kids are fat these days because they don't exercise apparently, despite evidence children's activity levels are broadly the same as years past).

    his report was never published.

    The industry pressure groups have the money, the power and the influence over the UK Government, and they don't want "small fry" muscling in on their territory.

  7. Guardian is reporting that 150K invested in a Brit film could net 1 million from the tax-payer - what the feck!? Now we know why so many cr*p British films are made.

    I hear the same thing happens in Germany, hence the reason directors like Uwe Boll still have a job, still keeps the bargain bins and video racks full in downmarket video rental stores and small independent corner shops :D

  8. Increasingly energy cost will cripple it too. I found it was not viable to even run a home server any more, and could rent several cheapo virtual servers for the energy cost alone.

    One of the ironies of goods or services in IT becoming freely available is the price tends to drift down, who even a few years ago would have thought you could get Gb of storage online free from the likes of Google or Dropbox, mobile phones at the low end are already disposable items, the savings made using hosting companies are also pretty impressive.

    Makes you wonder where this will end.

  9. I've taken delivery of a heat pad for brewing beer and a council wheelie bin. Both low tech manufacturing MADE IN GERMANY. What we lack is a thriving family run MIDDELSTAND where this sort of thing gets made.

    EDIT: Oh and long mudguards for the useless things on my 'mountain bike'..MADE IN HOLLAND.

    This is the thing which depresses me about the UK at the moment, it's always "Someone else can do it cheaper and better", and workers from other countries are "smarter, more reliable, more intelligent".

    The UK (and our politicians in particular) have talked ourselves into this position, all there is is resigned defeatism (and admittedly poor regulation by successive governments ).

    Go to places like Germany and thriving small shops and workshops contributing to the economy are there for all to see, and from memory that used to be us too, until the UK was handed to businesses like Tesco

  10. Transport; you're right I've omitted it. Let's chuck in an extra £10pm for bike maintenance and shoe leather and call it quits!

    Sorry but most people I know don't live within reasonable walking/cycling distance of work, I suspect you realise this but don't want to add a fairly hefty rail or fuel/car bill to your calculation, if you have these circumstances good luck but you're in minority especially for people who have to commute in to places like London.

  11. As far as i am aware, the group is / was a western intelligence service agency that is / was used to subvert groups not aligned with western policy.

    the way I heard it the name Al Qaeda was dreamed up by the US government, in the US the legal system requires a definite name you can give to a group in order to get legally authorised action (laws originally drafted to tackle organised crime like the Mafia), trouble was the Islamist militants resembled the groups in Monty Python's Life of Brian (Judean Peoples front, Peoples front of Judea etc. :D ) so they use the name Al Qaeda as a blanket term to cover everyone they want to go after who is in the same category.

    Most commentators on the subject seem to agree Al Qaeda as an organisation doesn't actually exist

  12. But 29k pa is more than is needed to simply be free of the demands of employers.

    I just fired up rightmove and explored a perfectly adequate new build estate on the edge of the countryside in Peterborough that I once briefly stayed at. You can buy a flat there for easily under £100k or rent somewhere for £525pm.

    What other essential life costs does one have?

    Council tax : £100

    Insurances: £25 (total guess)

    Maintenance: £50 (another guess)

    Utilities: £75

    Food: £75 (you can eat well for that)

    Clothes etc: £25

    Total: £350

    That's a "getting by" budget; less than £900pm or a capital pot of circa £200k. Call it £250k and have £150pm to spend on T&E. "Life's a doddle".

    You've left off transport (don't know many people in the UK who live in walking distance of their workplace) and your utility calculation looks on the low side to me (unless you forgo heating, live by candlelight, and cook on a camping gas stove) :D

  13. Whilst you can imagine this is nice to have, is now the time to be erecting further barriers?

    My wife cares for the elderly, She had to do a BTEC recently too, seem like BTECitus is sweeping through what are traditionally unskilled jobs, particularly in the caring professions, probably local authorities and Government covering themselves for when they get some failure "well they were fully qualified" :angry:

  14. That said - even back then I wasn't without riches; I may not have had much economic capital but I had my health, intelligence, some contacts. All forms of capital that the truly poor do not possess.

    One of the big problems with employment today is companies only want to hire the top 10%, everyone must have a degree, at least 2:1 preferably a 1st, I even saw a news story they are suggesting pre school staff must have at least A level education (allegedly so they are literate and can read kids stories properly!, even the thickest people I was at school with could read!!).

    This elitism is making it harder for ordinary people to get even mediocre paying jobs, in our grandparents era obtaining work for the majority was a lot easier.

    Agree about the Wealth calculation but all it's saying is in comparison with most other people you are getting pretty good take home pay, not that you're mega rich :)

    FWIW if they included asset & other wealth the graph axis would probably take 4 screens worth in both directions with me and probably you squeezed in the first graduation at the low end! :D

  15. For a generation or two in the UK we enjoyed a very high standard of living for various socio-economic-demographic reasons, most of which are now unravelling, and we are facing a new reality of a lower standard of living. I'm not blaming anyone in particular for this, but there seems to be a huge amount of denial and pretence that we can all go on as we did before.


    Not least from Governments :D

    People usually stay quite optimistic "Something will show up" etc. think it takes some sharp adjustments to alter this perception and our Governments (of all political colours) seem more interested in restoring the boom than being realistic

  16. This debate has been going on since time immemorial - are people poor because they are feckless and can't manage their money, or are they victims of an unjust financial and social system? Before the advent of the Welfare State I would have had more sympathy with the latter argument. A working man whose boots had worn out couldn't work, for example; a week's illness or the death of a breadwinner could mean penury for a family. Food and clothing were also major expenses.

    But that isn't the case now because food and clothing cost practically nothing, and welfare provides a safety net for the major shocks in life such as illness - I suspect the problem is more that people are living beyond their means because of the property bubble, desperately clinging on to their 'investment', unable or unwilling to downsize. Once again it all boils down to the filthy property boom.

    People who make the feckless poor argument I suspect are generally fairly comfortable financially, the majority of people do not earn megabucks, from time to time I take the "Where do I fit in" test on the IFS site:


    For quite some time I came in on the top 5% - 10% on this graph, now thanks to taking perm job top 15%, that doesn't mean that because I can save I assume someone on 15k a year automatically can, I have been on both ends of the scale in the last 5 years having had work dry up and having to take some very low paid jobs, and had periods out of work.

    Anyone who thinks households on £15-20k total income lead a life of luxury, and should be saving or that benefits are easily acquired is delusional, particularly under current economic conditions.

    Putting some of these people on £300 a week or less for a few months and seeing how much they save would be an interesting experiment

  17. How many of these folks have been on a foreign holiday in the last few years? How many of these folks have a car that is less than 3 years old? How many of these people have the latest ipad/xbox/iphones/etc? How many of these people spend at least £50 a week on booze+cigs?

    How many of these people had hours or money reduced?

    How many of these people lost a job because it's cheaper to hire foreign labour?

    How many of these people had mortgage/rent and utility and travel bills rise higher than inflation while their wages stayed static (I know a number of people getting stung with higher rates now their fixed rates are coming to an end)?

    How many of these people had a close family member suffer a serious illness meaning the loss of a wage?

    There are lots of reasons people get in financial trouble, it doesn't all boil down to foreign holidays, iPads and playstations, and in any case these gadgets are often not that expensive considering peoples debts as a whole, often people will splash out when they feel secure, couple of months down the line their employer institutes new policies or gets acquired and their circumstances change drastically.

    Playstation £300?

    Ipad £500?

    would have to buy a lot of them to rack up the kind of debts some people I know have, most of it is due to a spell out of work, bad luck, and the outrageously high cost of living in the UK

  18. The country has bigger problems than educated people coming here to work and pay taxes.

    Allow me to laugh scornfully at this point.

    You really have no clue about how Intra company transfers work do you? :angry:

    As I said in my previous post :

    "I've seen more British jobs lost through ICT than any other single cause, and as for them coming from "good careers" that's laughable, most are green new entrants who are as thick as mud.

    Could go down most local Jobcentres and find more capable and intelligent staff (and no I'm not kidding, when I was unemployed in 2009 my local Job centre had loads of experienced British IT guys ousted by this scam)"

  19. So the British IT workers at one place I worked who lost their jobs in a 'redundancy' round only to see the same posts resurrected some months later and taken by Indian programmers engaged on the old inter company transfer visa scam did not lose their posts at all.

    I must have just imagined it.


    There's amazing abuse of ICT in the UK IT industry by companies exploiting the loopholes on tax, (apparently with HM Governments full agreement), I've seen more British jobs lost through ICT than any other single cause, and as for them coming from "good careers" that's laughable, most are green new entrants who are as thick as mud.

    Could go down most local Jobcentres and find more capable and intelligent staff (and no I'm not kidding, when I was unemployed in 2009 my local Job centre had loads of experienced British IT guys ousted by this scam)

  20. My wife has a good friend who emigrated to the USA and recently had kids. A work colleague of hers bragged that she wasn't going to take the full maternity entitlement and would be back in the office in two weeks. The "full" maternity leave, was 8 weeks unpaid. The yanks just love it though... it's something in their brain wired the wrong way and is the reason I chose not to live in the USA when I had the chance.

    Is this where this attitude is originating from? "lunch is for wimps" etc.?

    Puritan work ethic

  21. Yes and no. Generally more physical work doesn't have as much mental stress. In my experience stress can also very adversely affect your health in long-term. The other thing about stress is that it's often with you all the time... even when you leave work it's there at the back of your mind, an insidious force eating away at you. Contrast that to work on a building site where you just leave when the site closes up at 17:00 and don't think about your job until you arrive back again the next day at 07:30.

    Of course some people soak up stress, just like some people can lap up physical labour.

    Granted, bad example on my part, but even between similar types of workers there can be widely varying levels of effort and activity, however there are few people who would say they don't "work hard", it's just socially acceptable to say so

  22. They were saying on the radio the other day that some office workers working in New York were not taking their full holiday entitlement....this guy said they were afraid they would NOT be missed if took time off, or that they feared they would be passed over for promotion, for not dedicating themselves to the company 100% or having strong enough work ethic...... :wacko:

    I remember in the nineties when things got tight in the City of London people started taking the odd file home, this escalated to several box files, until at the height of the job layoff panic people were taking little trolleys on trains stacked with paperwork. :lol:

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