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dissident junk

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  1. Basically, a lot of Cypriot law and administration still dates back to the Ottoman era (they still have muktars, for example). For political reasons, the Ottomans treated ownership of land and ownership of buildings upon the land very differently to the West: they were treated as quite separate legal entities in some ways, but buildings were subordinate to land ownership in other ways (think of it as land overlord and house tenant to get a better idea). Unfortunately, this has meant, today, that a developer or land owner can take out a debt on land and the bank has a primary lien on the land
  2. I knew Cyprus joining the euro would be bad for the country, but I did not think it would come to something like this. I remember back in 2005 telling my Cypriot students that the country should not join the euro, that it would suffer the inflation Greece did. But no ... all my students parroted what their parents thought: joining the euro would make them all rich. Regardless of whether they pull the levy or not, this is going to cause carnage. It will be seen as the last straw for many decent Cypriots. They have been expected to deal with a Russian/mafia/migrant crime wave for the last eight
  3. Going back to the OP vid, I seem to remember a similar argument being made about the cause of the Great Depression -- that the US economy was too heavily reliant on the consumption patterns of the very wealthy in the 20s and when they got smashed in the Wall Street Crash, the economy just vanished. The suggestion was that for a robust economy that can deflect shocks, you need significant purchasing power at every income stratum .. in the "a rich man will never need 100 washing machines, but a 100 working class households will each want one" vein. It is essentially about breadth of demand, an
  4. I think we have to be a bit careful about this, ST. The notion that women en masse suddenly flooded the labour market in the 70s is largely a myth, created by the politically-forced withdrawal of women from the labour market postwar and the collapse of more traditional industries and services that gave pre-war women employment. We think of the 1950s as the way things always were, when, in reality, it was just a blip. If you go back to the 1930s, or even further to the mid to late 19th century, the number of women in some sort of paid work is significant. There were mills and factories in Brit
  5. Back in the early noughties, I was a governor for a primary school in Tottenham. I was asked to do it by a work colleague because they were under the legal requirement for governors and it was getting to the point where the school might be forced to close. It was an eye-opener, I can tell you. Some of the teachers had to spell things out because my brain just could not comprehend some of the things they were saying. One of them was that a significant number of parents just did not feed their children. I am not talking about not making family meals, or not making balanced meals, I am talking a
  6. It has taken us about eight years to save for a deposit, and now we are thinking of buying, it is clear we will still need some help from parents. I am gutted about this situation, by the way, but the problem is that eight years is a long time and your needs change - though you might be a FTB, you are no longer "young". Though we could do a typical FTB property easily (say, a one bed flat or a two-up two-down), somewhere like that is now too small as we both work from home three times a week -- so we stay in our rented, larger house. Likewise, an absolute dump that needs serious renovation
  7. It's a huge illusion that I think is causing deep ruptures in the social fabric that aren't quite visible yet, but are definitely there. One of my oldest friends is 36 and married to a chap that earns about £80k a year. He is in the top 10 percent of earners in the country anyway, but, for our region, it's more like the top one percent. She cannot understand how on earth, considering her household financial situation, other people are able to purchase some of the fairly okay family homes in our area that are now priced at £300k+ (the really nice ones are now at £500k) -- and her husband bou
  8. I second this. £1000 a month is a lot for a graduate couple where I live. Even for someone on £30K a year, it is two thirds of take home pay. Then council tax and basic utilities (gas, electric, water) eat another £300. A chap full time on gross £30K would be left with £200-ish and he hasn't even bought any food or paid for transport yet. So that's where the other half comes in. But here you strike a problem. Not only are transport costs increased if the OH works, but you introduce a child into the equation and woah ... you end up with the part-time work/childcare juggle, or the full-time wo
  9. I remember back in the noughties, Madonna said something similar about being shocked at London house prices. But Robbie says the key word: "Oligarch". Add to that "global-super rich" and you have the cause of the problem. Hate to say it, but I think the development of the noughties and the super-rich have killed London. The place has no soul anymore. Everyone with a bit of something about them under 35 is priced out or struggling to service ludicrously high rents or mortgages in tiny homes. A lot of the 35 to 50 something quirky folks have jumped ship to other regions where they can afford
  10. Marriage has always been a transaction for financial purposes. It is just in the western world, Christianity fused with old classical notions of "the whole pulled asunder", and developed this whole "divine union in the eyes of God" concept, which, when them radical preacher folk started drumming it in during the 19th century on accounts of the desire for "spirituality" in Ye Olde Industrial Englande, complicated everything.
  11. If you are in a long term relationship, particularly if you have children, you need to do your research before you decide not to marry. Marriage or civil partnership is NOT just a piece of paper -- this is the biggest fiction ever foisted onto people (possibly by people who have a vested interest). It is a legal agreement that gives you rights as a spouse. I wasn't a marriage person, but when I started looking into it, and asking people about it, I realised that not being married can really screw you if your partner dies and visa versa. Even if you have a will, it can get very difficult. So
  12. To add to this ... if you control a sizeable area, have enough control over resources (imperial or otherwise) and have enough population, you can essentially operate an entirely internal economy, isolated from everything "outside". The Ottomans did this up until the 19th century. They had no foreign debt before this era because they simply didn't export or import outside their imperial zone. The interesting thing here is that it was industrial and technological advances in the West that started to weaken the Ottoman economic set-up. So if China wishes to become the globally ruling empire over
  13. Taxes have a lot to answer for. My OH came back from a poker night and told me a chap he knows there has said he will have to wind down his business (self-employed). Reason: it's now costing him £400 a week in diesel. He is working purely to pay for the cost of his fuel. I have noticed this year that retailers and businesses are discounting constantly. Every day, I get another offer in my inbox. In fact, there are so many continual sales that I am not buying what I actually need (new skirts for work, as we had a mishap with some bleach ) because I've seen continual discounts on new season
  14. It will cover rent, if you ask me. The idea is to stop the state paying housing costs for someone over the entire course of their adult life. This is moving towards the "safety net" notion of the welfare system, rather than the redistribution notion. It also looks like the spaced childbirth approach to secure consistent levels of benefits will no longer work either. Some people are going to get an enormous shock. They will have to find work ... and it will put an enormous downwards pressure on wages as the supply of labour expands dramatically. I can't see the NMW being increased in these ci
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