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October 11, 2012



"Partly, it's because political reporting, for the most part, is too deferential to bother testing the factual accuracy of Prime Minister's remarks."

Shouldn't the BBC, as a public interest broadcaster, be challenging inaccuracies in its political reporting?

If Cameron et al are getting away with propagating inaccuracies and fallacies then the BBC, whose reporters are highly educated, is failing in its duty to inform and educate.


Chris, you've missed a golden opportunity to include a picture of Beyonce & co. Your hypothetical paragraph is, in fact, the main thrust of 'Bills, Bills, Bills' by Destiny's Child.


Thanks Neil. I always feared my ignorance of post-1990 pop music would prove my downfall eventually.

Tom Addison

Don't forget 'No Scrubs' by TLC


I am reminded of Hans Fellada's A Fine Circus, in which the Town Clerk makes the argument that a Farmer Boycott will end up saving the town money, and should therefore be encouraged because there will be less town girls impregnated by farmer boys on market days, and so the town will end up saving more on the upbringing of unplanned children than it temporarily lose in trade.

A well constructed argument, shouted down by the Bishop, ignored by everyone else.

It's likely to have been at least half-true as a story, as that's the way Fellada wrote.

We've not really moved on from 1920s German politics, have we?

Shane Taylor

For what it's worth, John Waters said people should not have sex with anyone who doesn't own books. I can't find the clip online, but it was in This Filthy World, his one man show as raconteur. Waters's reasoning was basically the same was the reasoning in the fictitious quote above.

Account Deleted

The problem with your hypothetical Tory is that he posits a society in which men have free will (they can opt to work or skive) but women don't (they must always refuse sex with skivers, in line with society's mores). Women in this world are purely instrumental, a bit like your occasional photo choices.

The reality, and therefore the reason why people would scoff, is that there are just as many female skivers as male. According to your previous piece on sex and growth, this should bias them towards hard-working males, i.e. wealth-creators that they could leech off. In other words, there should be no need for women to agree a Lysistratate policy, as the lazier ones should automatically gravitate to concubinage with successful males. Equilibrium is achieved and skiving males get their just (non-)deserts.

Of course, reality throws a spanner in the works in the paradoxical occurence of lazy women being attracted to lazy men, and vice versa. Bloody anarchists.


You might as well say that men shouldn't have sex with women who don't want to work or were poorly educated (and given that the woman is usually the primary child-carer, I suspect one could make a decent case that it's more important for her to be educated).

Whilst I grant the economic truth (if sex were only offered to people who strove to better their lot, there would be a lot more lot-bettering going on), it rather breaks apart in practice on the rocks of "people like sex". The tacit assumption in your opening statement is that sex is something that men always want, women have no real interest in, but offer up in exchange for security or whatever. This is Victorian nonsense - women like sex, too.


Sam - my point is that men engage in conspicuous consumption (and therefore work and entrepreneurship) in order to get sex, so if women give it up to anyone, work incentives are diminished.
Women who want to shag around, however, tend to use other strategies: if a woman wants to attract a fella, she doesn't buy a Porsche. So men who do or not shag them don't affect work incentives.
I'm not being sexist or Victorian, just recognising the difference between the sexes here.

James James

Insolvent != illiquid.

Surely it's clear that the UK govt is insolvent? Every now and then the Centre for Policy Studies or the Taxpayers' Alliance release a report about how the govt's real national debt is much higher than official figures, once you take pensions etc into account. These reports are obviously broadly correct: the official figures are grossly understated because they don't take into account liabilities falling due in the future, and the real figures really are multiples higher.

So the UK govt is insolvent, even though it is still liquid. UK gilts are a bubble.

Frances Coppola

James James

Insolvency is meaningless for a currency-issuing sovereign. It can always pay its debts unless they are in foreign currency. The risk is inflation, not insolvency.


Why do you think its social norms leading women to be more inclined to work with shiftless wasters?

It is far more likely due to economic reasons. Median female income has risen over the last fifty years. Sex is a normal or luxury good. Women beyond a certain level of income would rather have sex with people they find attractive than people they believe have money. So if you want to make women less receptive to the handsome but poor then women need to have less power and less wealth. This is a bad idea for moral reasons but also because this would require taking women out of the workplace and reducing the wealth of the economy.

The Argument that Chris puts forward (I suspect he doesn't put much weight on it) has been getting bandied around the blogosphere and has even made it into a few mainstream magazines (I think the WSJ). I suspect its success is largely due to hardworking middle-class men who suspect that the guy who serves them their coffee is getting laid more frequently and by hotter women.

I doubt there is much evidence for this argument. But it is very popular; because it appeals to a whole host of biases and resentments prevalent amongst middle-aged middle class males (and probably females too).


I meant "sleep with shiftless wasters"

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