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Everything posted by Cogs

  1. "Atlas Shrugged" is to political/moral philosophy as the Da Vinci Code is to religious and historical scholarship. I seem to remember the last time it was very popular was during the dotcom boom where many a web designer raking it in saw himself as a modern John Galt. And then all of a sudden it went very, very quiet. Wonder why? In short, its a book for confused adolescents with angry little revenge fantasies on their minds and, well, Americans. If you want to read about Liberalism, read John Stuart Mill. And if you want to read all that superman stuff do it properly, read Friedrich Nietzsche first hand and then either get over it or invade Poland. Ayn Rand's work is pure drivel.
  2. I agree with you about the rhetoric VP. Although you get pretty much the same answer when you push a City guy into a corner, all of a sudden its some vague threat about if my bonus gets cut you'll wind up living a 3rd world country... Hardly a day goes by lately without someone holding a gun to the head of the general public and saying if they don't get what they want/need the world will end and it will be everyone but them suffering. I have to admit to feeling a bit fatigued with all this and beginning to hope one of these many, many groups has their bluff called. I have no particular animosity towards a particular group (most of them in isolation usually have some sort of point), any of them will do! Sad thing is I'm sure we really will all suffer, perhaps the truth is that in a modern society we are codependent on the efforts of others (this is usually the stalemate discussions of "keyworkerdom" end in as it is almost impossible to exclude anyone).
  3. I'm speaking from a position of ignorance here but wouldn't the sensible place to fit legal rules to the situation be at the level of the holding/sale of mortgage debt? So you could do it through setting down some technical requirements about the quality of what is held in accountancy or dealing regulations and let it have an influence on retail from there. I think if you limited things at the retail level it would be too easy for banks to squeak about doing hurt to consumers, nanny stateism (...yes from the recipients of corporate socialism no less) and some mugs would agree with them.
  4. I'm not sure what you are arguing against here. If the spread between rent and buy is small, then buy (although factoring in liabilities, costs, maintenance, insurance etc). It actually used to be negative in Ye Olden Days (ie. cheaper to buy than rent) hence the notion that renting = irresponsibility because you were spending money to avoid responsibility. Generally speaking I've found the spread to much wider than 150 quid a month, although various trolls claim this cannot possibly be the case (to which I can only say, have a gander on Rightmove for 20 minutes) and that is money I can invest and save which suits me better right now. YMMV, I'm sure it depends on circumstances and your area of the country. I don't see where the debate is to be had.
  5. Tut tut tut. How cheap people sell themselves to be turned on others. For the sake of maybe a couple of quid a month it turns out people will voluntarily write messages in support of charging the poorest and most vulnerable in society 30 quid for a computer to add a flag to a file and 20 quid to write to the person involved informing them. Because the banks which generate billions of pounds profit every years tell them to, they have decided someone else's private transaction with a bank somehow has something to do with them! Its all fiat anyway you know, you won't actually get 30 pieces of silver, just the cash equivalent.
  6. I'd be interested to know where you heard this. Socialists categorically do not believe that: Marx's theory of human nature
  7. Most people have heard of "Adam Smith" but they evidently haven't read either of his major works. I don't really see how Thatcherite economic policy stems from WoN (assuming ToMS isn't what you are referring to) more distinctively than say, Capital does. What tends to happen is it retrospectively justified with reference to a strawman-esque travesty of Adam Smith's views. A little while ago I saw a guy giving a speech from Wallstreet banging on about Adam Smith. I just kept thinking of that scene in Annie Hall... MCLUHAN (To the man in line) I hear-I heard what you were saying. You-you know nothing of my work. You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing. ALVY (To the camera) Boy, if life were only like this! It is my general feeling that Marx and Smith have a lot more in common with each other than they do with any of the people who claim to speak as their intellectual heirs. ...broadly speaking I think conservatives are pessimists and socialists optimists, primarily because of their views of human nature. "Conservatives" tend to believe people are, left to themselves, utter scum and that fair regulation of being scumbags by society is about as good as it can get. "Socialists" tend to believe people are left to themselves fairly decent until forced into conflict by society. The truth probably lies in between IMHO.
  8. Perhaps, but they aren't allowed to generate revenue in this way and I don't remember anyone in this country deciding banks were allowed/expected to be moral arbiters. The other thing is that because they have access to your savings they are allowed to punish you in a way even the police and the courts cannot by directly seizing your money. There is a thin end of the wedge issue here that needs to be fixed, it may result in banking charges for all but it is better that way going forward.
  9. Are you by any chance a wig owning Youtube enthusiast? Here is a clue, if you are going to play at being a "random punter" you are going to have to work a bit harder on varying your writing style. The title was an absolute give away, you have no excuses there, no first-poster would ever write that. The other thing is the opening was rather too pat and there is more than one contradiction in what you wrote; the character that wrote the opening paragraph would not have written the second. And to be honest: "I am a first-time buyer, and I am struggling to get on the property ladder. So it is very much in my interests for the housing market to 'crash'." reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer is pretending to be someone else to get into Moes after being barred. Must Try Harder. Actually don't, get help, you must see that this situation is very unhealthy.
  10. A nice idea but I expect you'd have trouble with their union, A.R.S.E. (the Association of Regulators, Surveyors Etc).
  11. In the car this morning I was flicking between stations and the latest financial news was oddly suited to The Jam's "Beat Surrender". Beat surrender - Come on boy, come on girl Succumb to the beat surrender All the things that I care about (are packed into one punch) All the things that Im not sure about (are sorted out at once) And as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end That B------t is B------t, it just goes by different names [edited for the profanity filter] All the things that I shout about (but never act upon) All the courage and the dreams that I have (but seem to wait so long) My doubt is cast aside, watch phonies run to hide The dignified dont even enter in the game
  12. Try this: Environment Agency flood map
  13. Whilst we are Millarding, here is something from her "Thrifty Living" column that amused me back in May. There is one line that is a clear easy howler but that is not the main attraction: you may need to read the whole thing a couple of times so as to fully appreciate the multiple levels of twisted genius at work.
  14. The unmitigated gall of the woman! I'm glad it was you who posted this Bearfacts, there are many I wouldn't have believed if they'd posted something this ridiculous! Attempting to give it a little analysis I suggest this: she is rattled and to the extent that she is already looking around for someone to blame even if she has to defy logic to do it. I'm not surprised she is worried though, arguably moreso even than Krusty (who advises silly things to do with property) Rosie is the prime postergirl for the big mortgage/BTL/get into debt mentality. Remember Krusty for all the nonsense she spouts doesn't even have a mortgage and never has whereas Rosie boasts about how much money she owes. She has been all over Radio 4 as the talking head for "owing lots of money to the bank but its cool". On a related topic (ish) I'm already mentally preparing myself for having to read articles about how "we all" borrowed too much, "we all" got into BTL and how "we are all" feeling the pinch. Thats the other thing with the Millard mentality, when times are good its her personal good judgement held up as a lofty example, when times are bad, well "we all" fell for it didn't we, what were "we" thinking eh! Look out for that slip of the pen from many a journalist in the coming months.
  15. No sense of humour eh. I think you missed my point. I'll leave you to go back to your "Dr Evil" plans regarding all that lovely oil.
  16. Thats good news, a Scottish parliament can put that towards paying back the Darien money they owe to the English people. And then away ye go! The amount given to the Scottish parliament was approximately 50 million pounds in today's money although of course there are 300 years of compound interest to add on as well. I make that out to be somewhere over 100 trillion pounds but we'll round it down to show there are no hard feelings. No cards or fiat thanks, although given its about 30 times the total amount of gold in the world so we'll have to work something out.
  17. HIPS is one of those situations where I actually blame the media rather than the policy. EAs are obviously at the centre of it because it hurts them (insofar as they lose their percentage of kite-flyers who do genuinely decide to shift on receiving an offer) but I don't think it means much to genuine sellers and buyers. My understanding is that the HIPS vision was watered down between inception and delivery which weakened its usefullness which was a genuine policy mistake though. I actually think HIPS should be extended to property lettings, particularly the energy efficiency stuff. This is more important and relevant than in the case of property sales. I remember renting a "bargain" in Glasgow and getting crucified on the heating bills. But how is a renter to know this sort of thing in advance? In the long term the OO can act but the renter can hardly invest in a new central heating system or fit double glazing, they are stuck. Also, if the government's intention was that HIPS should lead the market towards to greater energy efficiency I think you'd see a faster rate of reform amongst landlords reacting to voids than you would OOs.
  18. I'm not so sure. Dear Sir, As you will no doubt be aware, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. That is why I'm delighted to inform you that...
  19. I think that is broadly my view as well. 9/11 called for some emergency measures, fair enough. The problem was either that people either didn't want the special circumstances to end or else the powers that be couldn't figure out how to safely slam on the brakes. Personally I'm not inclined to believe Gordon Brown deliberately did much at all, I think people here give politicians far too much credit for having control over anything. Yes they have ultimate authority but the truth is that their room for manoeuvre is very limited, they are in general pretty useless. Thats the nature of modern politics, perhaps there is some comfort in people believing there is a hand on the tiller and that things could be better if the ship were steered correctly but I think its more realistic to say we are buffeted around by things and none of us, even as a nation state, are really masters of our own fate. I think Gordo was effectively functioning in the same mode as BTL investors were, as a "consumer" of world events rather than as a driver of them. It seemed like a sunny day so he thought it was summer. I'd criticise him for not being a bit more critical (although which politician is going to get up and say "things seem great right now but really we're way up sh1t creek without a paddle folks"?) but I don't agree with various shadowy conspiracy theories.
  20. Tell you something blummin' ironic, I knew three people that into the NHS manager programme. All three of them now work for private consultancies PFIing away, they did their three years and out. Thus the NHS is constantly desperate to recruit management trainees...who don't know what they are doing and then clear off as soon as they do. And so the cycle repeats itself on and on and on. And thus, rather ironically, the NHS suffers from... a lack of professional management. Despite churning through tens of thousands of them every year. How can the problem be solved? Problem is there, er, aren't any experienced managers to solve it.
  21. Very interesting argument. And I think there might be some truth in it because Toyota management model (The Toyota Way) particularly emphasises the opposite of the above and seems pretty succesful. I think it is right to recognise management as a distinct skill but maybe there are better ways of training people in it.
  22. You also have to factor into the equation the non-financial aspects e.g. freedom that comes from renting, occupational mobility. The fact they don't have to deal with maintenance, hidden costs etc etc. To many people, this practical aspect of home rental is v important. Well OK, it doesn't entirely equal out but still.
  23. Remember to play "spot the pavement" and then you can play the game of spotting the pavement that ends in the most illogical, stupid place (ie. 200 yards short of the shops). I've asked about this and the outcome was basically that there is no support for spending public money on 'sidewalks' that only poor people (ie. can't afford a car) will use... Before now I've had to take a taxi to carry me a distance of less than half a mile in the US. There was simply no way through and this was going to a conference venue from the conference hotel that was supposedly on the same site!!! Theres almost a special kind of genius to that level of pro-big oil urban planning. I'm not so much a green as someone who has an old fashioned aversion to waste, I find it quite offensive really.
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