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December 01, 2022



There is one question I have always wanted answered about this kind of thing. There are a lot of relatively low-skilled customer service jobs (say, library assistants) which always seem to be first in line to be cut. But does the "real resources" argument suggest that we should create more and pay more for these kind of jobs, since the workers in them don't have fungible skills which can easily be redeployed into 'green new deal' type jobs? i.e. it is this type of job or nothing. Hopefully that makes sense.


How can we be "closer to full employment" when there are 5 million unemployed people on out of work benefits?


Chris Wheeler

Because that article conflates a lot of different reasons for people not working : https://twitter.com/djmgaffneyw4/status/1588554866602844160


It should be fairly obvious from The Spectator's own graph that around 50% of those "unemployed" are on incapacity benefits, now being replaced by (workless) universal credit. If you remember that incapacity benefits are for those unable to work, your ideas are only one step removed from the Victorians' workhouses.


"But money is not the issue: governments can print limitless amounts of the stuff."

This is true if the operations of the central bank are under the direct control of the government. But under current arrangments, our government can not instruct our central bank to subscribe to a fresh issue of our government's bonds.


instead of using higher taxes to force employment in desirable sectors, we could increase wages in those sectors using the proceeds of a wealth tax?

Kevin Carson

It's also not about the money in the case of Muskbros and other billionaire apologists who, in response to arguments that Elon didn't actually build anything, say things like "The engineers and line workers at Tesla couldn't have created the cars without the 'capital' that Elon 'provided'."
But in material terms, the production tools, material inputs to production, and the workers' own subsistence comes from the production streams of other groups of workers. Elon's "money" and "capital" are just paper claims to the right to allocate these production streams. And they're rightfully subject to exactly the same level of scrutiny we'd give to the paper claims of a feudal lord who said the land he "provided" was what enabled peasants to produce food.


Non economists typically don't understand what 'rentiers' means


At some stage, high energy prices will push money and effort into productive areas - investing in energy, energy saving and energy security infrastructure, research and development and, in the case of energy saving, behaviour.

I guess it's not clear the extent this is true for the current situation, which is in a sense artificial. But in terms of energy security not so (relying on Russia is really not a good thing). And may actually be bringing us towards
the true cost of energy taking into account environmental externalities.

Of course, this all might have been much better achieved through government investment and incentives over the long term... such that we had clean energy in place instead of now having to invest in fossil fuels in a rush. My point is simply that energy is not *all* about rents.


What if you had followed Goldman Sachs's advice last year and bought TTF long calls to hedge rising gas prices? Would you be profiting from gas price inflation?

Also, why is there a physical resource problem when currently gas tankers are so plentiful off Europe's shores that next hour TTF spot prices went negative at the end of October because futures contract holders had to pay someone to take the surplus gas off their hands?

Simply put, is the resource scarcity story just rhetoric normalizing a very naive view of how inflation necessarily signals scarcity, while wilfully ignoring glaringly obvious evidence that prices are arbitrary, inflation psychological, and full indexation the natural solution?


1. How is it prices are arbitrary?
2. Can you explain how inflation is psychological?
3. What is full indexation?
Intrigued by your comment but didn’t understand these points.



"Nearly one in 10 young people never intend to start working, a survey has found."

Also linked in the story.


"In fact, all human jobs will be automated within the next 120 years,” says Badminton."

"Perhaps it is the conditions and wages, and the demands of employers that are creating a labour shortage and the hostile environment?

Dream Jobs? (Soft fruit Picker)



"Pickers at the farm in Kent were initially given zero-hours contracts, and at least one was paid less than £300 a week after the cost of using a caravan was deducted, according to payslips and other documents"


Ticky W
Are you sure about this? My understanding is that the government has significant control over the Bank's activities, not only through it's right of veto over any and all of such activities, but also through the right to instruct the bank in matters of policy, quantitative easing being an example of this. Alisdair Darling's letter to Mervyn King in Jan 2009 said, "In my statement to Parliament on 19th January 2009, I announced that the Government had authorised the Bank of England to create a new fund, the Asset Purchase Facility. He goes on to ask the Bank to set up and operate this facility, the Bank to be accountable for the operation of the scheme. The Bank was authorised to purchase up to £50 billion of high quality private sector assets, with the government indemnifying the Bank and the Facility from any losses.And this, of course, was the foundation for QE.
As far as I know, this hasn't been superseded by any other statement. Do you know? Or does anyone?

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