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Bear Goggles

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About Bear Goggles

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    Rentier Britain

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  1. Disaster capitalism is certainly appealing to Marxists. The first chapter of the communist manifesto basically describes capitalism as a deliberate attack on all stability in the lives of the poor: “All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned” etc. In that sense it is quite conservative - traditions, family life being constantly disrupted to keep the least fortunate down. In my view, having capitalism as the engine of wealth generation, balanced by a state that smooths out the lumps created by business cycles by providing a safety net for those at the margins, is a good compromise between the twin Utopias of right wing libertarianism and Marxist socialism. But we’re not in an era of compromise so I fear we’re going to end up with one or the other (or both) pretty soon. The sovereign individual is a fascinating book and I must re-read it soon. I haven’t read it since my own flirtation with libertarianism many years ago. It’s a dystopian vision of the future where society fractures and the intellectual prosper by their own wits while everyone else sinks into poverty and succumbs to animal instincts. IIRC it uses a lot of the language of Marx, ‘lumpen proletariat’ etc. too, and it’s all a bit rich coming from someone born into inherited wealth and privilege, but you know, welcome to libertarianism!
  2. My understanding is that disaster capitalism refers to the act of deliberately engineering a shock so as to be able to profit from it by buying assets at distressed prices, not just doing so as part of the normal ebb and flow of market capitalism. So the argument is that it’s a form of rigging the market and should be treated in a similar way as monopolies and cartels. As for JRM, his father literally wrote a book about how to profit from future social and economic breakdown, so the suspicion that JRM and his mob are trying to engineer a crisis isn’t totally outlandish. My feeling is that a serious economic crisis (engineered or not) will likely result in either right wing fascism or left wing socialism, and while I’m sure there would be opportunities for some under each of those, I’d kind of prefer to fix capitalism given the choice.
  3. Yeah, quality of life is subjective, and often has to be measured on a individual basis, this is a difficult thing for top-down healthcare systems to do and make decisions on. You can collect and put average life expectancy or average body mass index into a spreadsheet much more easily than you can put average happiness or wellbeing into one. And the actions required to improve wellbeing crossover into other areas (such as housing for instance). Agreed. But the fact is that those with more money have more motivation, opportunities and ability to eat healthily and get more exercise. That said... It seems to me that our political ideologies stop us from thinking clearly about all this and the battle of ideas creates a barrier to us acting in the right way. The Left tend to put it all down to resources. Just stop austerity and we’ll be okay. Where would you be without your council gym for example? The Right are obsessed with personal responsibility and the market. Most people won’t bother using the council gym anyway so you may as well close it, lower taxes and let people spend their earnings as they see fit, the market will then provide efficient services. The reality is that the fabric of certain areas has been torn over many years through deliberate disenfranchisement via things like the destruction of social housing, the rise of spiv BTL culture, throwing cash directly at people via tax credits, the casualisation of low paid work (let’s not gloss over high immigration) and now the erosion of services via ‘austerity’. All this has literally made people ill, both mentally and physically, it’s a massive failure and we are now reaping what’s been sown.
  4. And pretty much completely wrong in her conclusions in that 2016 article that once the novelty of Corbyn’s election as party leader fades, Labour faces many wilderness years of being ignored by everyone.
  5. I may regret adding to this thread, but here goes. Part of the work I do is with companies in the health and well-being space. Getting people to live healthier lives is difficult because it requires permanent behaviour change, which is tough for humans, particularly adults, and it massively exacerbated by lack of resources, which becomes self-reinforcing. There are 3 main areas: 1. motivation. You can’t get people to do the right thing if they don’t want to, or see the benefit in doing so. 2. Opportunity. There’s no point in suggesting people join a gym if they can’t afford it, or walk to work if they need to drive it etc. 3. Ability. Some people don’t know how to cook, or can’t ride a bike etc. All of these things are made worse by poverty, insecure housing, or poor working conditions. So it requires both political will AND personal responsibility to make things better, so just blaming stupid poor people, or ‘austerity’ or whatever is simplistic and usually counterproductive.
  6. I’m late to this thread, but reading it through from the beginning in one go, I must say it is a bit of an HPC forum classic: It goes like: 1. Rich people live longer than poor people 2. Poor people are stupid lazy fat bastards 3. Poor people dying earlier would be more efficient 4. Health and safety regulations are hindering the cull 5. THE GOVERNMENT IS STEALING FROM US TO BUILD ROADS. Kudos to anyone still arguing this out after 7 pages 😂
  7. Those that can’t afford a house might still not be able to afford a house in future - shocker. I reckon most of them would prefer to take their chances in a HPC than live with status quo. Also I reckon that article wins the largest number of metaphors per sentence award for 2018.
  8. Bear Goggles

    Let’s get LVT back on the agenda!

    I’d say there’s quite a lot of point in a Labour Party that isn’t all those things. It might even have a chance of winning a general election. But there isn’t any point in a Conservative party that doesn’t promote the interests of inherited and unearned wealth. I mean, it’s literally it’s raison d’etre. Besides who would fund it?
  9. Bear Goggles

    Let’s get LVT back on the agenda!

    To get your blood boiling, here’s an article about help to buy. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/09/housebuilders-tax-jeff-fairburn-bonus-windfalls the author calls for a windfall tax on developers, but also a LVT.
  10. Bear Goggles

    Let’s get LVT back on the agenda!

    Traditionally, the left have had a blind spot when it comes to land and rentseeking, LVT was originally a liberal idea, and was famously supported by Churchill. But with the exception of the “mansion tax” proposal form the LibDems the only party really talking about it now is Labour. The Tories have been assimilating a lot of Labours ideas recently, but attacking the wealth of landowners and rent seekers is probably a bridge too far for them. I mean, what is the actual point of the Conservative party if it can’t protect the right of those born into wealth to receive income from those who work?
  11. Bear Goggles

    Centre Point “silly offers”

    Yep agree with all that. You've kind of answered your own question. I guess in the long term it will all sort itself out, but in the long term... well, let's not go there!
  12. Bear Goggles

    Centre Point “silly offers”

    I know, it's a side track via a remark by happy guy that if you do any form of property taxation business will disappear and nobody will build any new housing. I don't know why I'm arguing for a LVT - I'm not "that guy", but there's always someone who comes long shouting that any taxation will ruin everything when anyone suggests that perhaps taxing an unused but in demand resource might be a good thing. Meanwhile, well all get on with paying up to 45% tax for our actual earned income and the Tories get a load of good press when they give us a tiny bit of our own money back during the budget. It's a funny old world.
  13. Bear Goggles

    Centre Point “silly offers”

    So all good then. HPI curbed, foreign speculation curbed, and the only people who seem upset are the investment research groups who give quotes to the business media. What's not to like? Singapore has consistently intervened in their property market to curb speculation over the past 40 years. The fact that they have a thriving business and financial sector suggests that curbing property speculation is positive rather than negative to wider business interests over the long term.
  14. Bear Goggles

    Centre Point “silly offers”

    Er. I do own my own business. So London isn't full of foreign investors laundering money? The actual article cites one of the £5m flats being bought by a Chinese investor FFS. You didn't read it did you?
  15. Bear Goggles

    Centre Point “silly offers”

    Yeah, like in Singapore where they have a LVT and absolutely no buildings are ever built. It's like an undeveloped wasteland.

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