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March 08, 2024



Islamists are 75% of Mi5 caseload and 80% of terrorist incidents this decade to date, but it's the far right we should be troubled by.
Of course.


Tiktok & Twitter have bypassed the MSM. They only have the power to set the agenda now, and even that is slipping away (public sympathy with Palestine, more inclusive beliefs towards the disabled, ...).

Jan Wiklund

Not to talk about all these global issues where it is easier to moralize - "Putin is Evil", for example - than to suggest win-win-solutions.

But I think there is a wider explanation also. In the neo-liberal world where it is prohibited to do anything against the "market", even boast markets, the only thing that is left for parties to distinguish themselves with is moralizing and prudishness.

I suppose it was the same reason behind the prudishness of the Victorian era, the market ruled then too.


More people who didn't get the memo, poor distribution?

Neo-liberalism is dead! Both Sunak and Starmer both see the status quo, as the way forward. Both involving a competence they don't have!


"This, then, is what Thatcher knew: that an economy built on sound money, low taxes, and supply side reform was the best way to deliver low, stable inflation, encourage work, and drive growth. That was not just an economic but a moral vision for freedom, aspiration, and opportunity. A vision of the world that gave our country it’s confidence back. And a vision we must fight for again today."
Rishi Sunak (MP or PM or both?)

ROFL - The looters self-delusions - Immiseration - it's for you own good.

After all Neoliberalism (Thatcherism) is just the looting and asset stripping without obligation, and greed will not be satisfied while the poor are not completely destitute.

As we inevitably transition from Capitalism (profit from owning and operating the means of production in exchange for labour) to Feudalism (Rent seeking by virtue of ownership and asymmetric obligations - like slavery).

Of course what we need is a Paradigm shift, a wholesale change in approach, models and values. The last thing the elite wants.

Of course that brings us to the Overton Window, Pareto efficiency, and Ronald H Coase: are all restraints on the rate and type of change.

Win-Win assumes that we have not reached Pareto efficiency (there is still some resource to be allocated or distributed) and the Liberal Paradox.


"A simple example is the distribution of a pie among three people. The most equitable distribution would assign one third to each person. However, the assignment of, say, a half section to each of two individuals and none to the third is also Pareto-optimal despite not being equitable, because none of the recipients could be made better off without decreasing someone else's share; and there are many other such distribution examples. An example of a Pareto-inefficient distribution of the pie would be allocation of a quarter of the pie to each of the three, with the remainder discarded."

The Problem of the Social Cost (1960) where it is for the parties directly involved to allocate costs and a solution.


"The Judgement of Solomon is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which Solomon ruled between two women who both claimed to be the mother of a child. Solomon ordered the baby be cut in half, with each woman to receive one half. The first woman accepted the compromise as fair, but the second begged Solomon to give the baby to her rival, preferring the baby to live, even without her."

Sometimes zero sum, is really zero sum, with one or both parties implacable, few solution are possible. And Overton Window constrains the solution space, perhaps all moralist should stand back.

Some people do not distinguish between policing (individual) and war (collective).

Not Evil (Religious), Narcissistic is the psychological term.

Thatcher (Keith Joseph) just followed the Chicago school of economics and Blair, accepted Thatcherism with the Third Way so much Win-Win Clinton bullshit.

And how come all the Social Justice warriors are silent when it comes to Economic Justice?


"Alternatively, as one Ilkeston resident sagely suggested, how about summoning that much-vaunted Dunkirk spirit of ours and taking positive action? “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Someone pass the matches."


Democracy proper.
Tribal Democracy if you will.
Electronic Democracy or
Electronic Voting is available now.
Everybody votes on everything.


«But there's something else. Labour and the Tories are scared to look at the economy for fear of what they might find.»



«It's unlikely that productivity and real wages can be raised much by mere tweaks»

Productivity is very unlikely to be raised significantly for the foreseeable future as new fuels with better price/performance than oil and coal are yet to be discovered.

As to wages they need to fall substantially if the UK continues to be open to mass immigration and be part of the global market where the typical wage is 10 times lower, but then living costs should also fall substantially, and workers' living costs are largely the incomes of the rentier classes.

«acceptable to the forces of conservatism and their gimps in the media.»

What seems to be acceptable to them is slowly falling wages and rapidly rising living costs, which does not address the wage level difference with the rest of the world, and is unsustainable in the long term. What I suspect is the final aim is to turn the UK into a Dubai-like core in the M25 and a Moldova-like periphery outside it.


«As Lewis Goodall recently tweeted:
«The Westminster (and much of the internal Conservative) conversations continues to miss everything which is driving [the collapse in Tory support] - the quietly radicalising effect of a collapsed NHS, a broken housing market, near bankrupt local government, a still sclerotic economy.»

That is the usual "progressive centrist" imagination, where all/most voters care principally about such "nice to have" things. How do we know they don not? Well, Starmer's New New Labour is promising to continue all of that and they are getting according to the "aligned" aligned media a huge electoral success.

Ask a thatcherite voter something like "you can have a silver-plan NHS, silver-plan local council services, a growing economy but the price of your house will fall by 70%" and hear their choice. Vice-versa ask a non-thatcherite voter "you can have a silver-plan NHS, silver-plan local council services, a growing economy but rents and house prices will double and your wage will fall by half" and hear their answer.

Put another way: a minority of "progressive centrist" voters who are secure and comfortable in their incomes and housing situations care about the NHS, local councils services, etc., but not the majority who are far more dependent on booming rents and house prices or are worried about the insecurity and low pay of their current job and how much housing costs take out of that.


«You might think there's a way out of this dilemma: politicians should show some intellect and courage. But then, to call for this in the absence of socioeconomic conditions that produce such people is itself another form of lazy moralizing.»

Another form of lazy moralizing is to hope that there be the “socioeconomic conditions” under which politicians be (philosopher-kings) endowed with “intellect and courage”. But the job of politicians is to represent interests groups rather than being intelligent or courageous.

What seems bad to me is that “the absence of socioeconomic conditions that produce” interests groups with “intellect and courage” as many voters and "sponsors" are corrupt and have excessively myopic and narrow minded self-interest. Unfortunately "excessively myopic and narrow minded" often describes well aging societies.


Is "capitalism" proving to be a barrier to US growth?


«a barrier to US growth?»

"US" is an abstraction like "the national interest" or "the economy" that obscures many different subgroups...
The same for "capitalism" but that is a losing fight.



Here is one argument for US (American) exceptionalism.


"Given these trends, Europe and the east Asian allies need to think not about how to ‘Trump-proof’ their countries. No, they need to find incentives to keep North Americans in the game. In the struggle against the authoritarian states, only North America has the resources and heft to lead a democratic resistance.

Hating America may still be fashionable, particularly in Europe. But it is also fundamentally shortsighted, unless one wants to side with Putin’s Russia, the Chinese Communist Party, or the Islamist fanatics of the Middle East."

Seventh Century here we come...

The number of people benefiting from House price (Asset) inflation keeps shrinking, so will support for the status quo.

How many more cycles through the financial ringer (crisis) can the economy sustain?

Will we have another financial crisis before the next election, how about in the next term of Parliament?

But don't worry the treasury has it in hand, as Labour micromanage sexism as well as racism with identity politics, shame about poverty.

London is becoming a city state after all.

Jan Wiklund

Blissex | March 10, 2024 at 11:03 AM:

Sun and wind are already much cheaper than oil and coal, see https://ourworldindata.org/cheap-renewables-growth.

But of course they need a lot of investments to produce quantities.


What if productivity (absurd as that goal is to me) is actually rising because of AI (see https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/OPHNFB ), so that we can in fact easily provide "a life on benefits" to whoever wants it?


«Sun and wind are already much cheaper than oil and coal»

Only if one disregards storage costs (batteries) and the wind the solar devices are costed as built with cheaper oil/nuclear/coal, plus they hugely more polluting (even if arguably less so than coal). Coal and especially oil are amazing: easily fractionable, huge calorie density, can store energy pretty much indefinitely, and oil/petrol is liight and cheap enough that it can power aeroplanes.

Jan Wiklund

rsm | March 11, 2024 at 11:54 PM:

What if? We can look, for example at OECD's statistics, "OECD Compendium of Productivity Indicators 2024" and we see a slight upward bend since 2022. But it hasn't recovered to the numbers of 2020.

In North America it's still at zero, in Europe about 1.

We shouldn't be surprised. Computerization was thought of as giving a huge boost to productivity; it didn't. Probably because it was used to control employees instead of increasing productivity. Technical fixes rarely do wonders by themselves.


«What if productivity (absurd as that goal is to me) is actually rising because of AI»

This is what productivity means:

"The Economist" (2016): “poor Andean farmers. They grow quinoa because little else thrives on their steep, barren plots. Their new competitors, tilling better soil with modern farming equipment, manage yields that are up to eight times higher. An ox takes six days to plough land a tractor can handle in two hours”

That's all because of the fuel:

"Fossil capital" (2016): “One method used by Wrigley and his followers to illustrate the logic is to convert coal into acres of land required to generate the same amount of energy. In 1750, all coal produced in England would have equalled 4.3 million acres of woodland, or 13 percent of the national territory. In 1800, substituting wood for all coal would have demanded 11.2 million acres, or 35 percent of the British land surface; by 1850, the figures had risen to 48.1 million acres and 150 percent, respectively. As early as in 1750, then, a hypothetical total conversion from coal to wood in the British economy would have ‘represented a significant proportion of the land surface for which there were many other competing uses’; in 1800, it would have been ‘quite impractical’; in 1850 – the threshold of 100 percent crossed – ‘self-evidently an impossibility’. [...] estimates that in the absence of fossil fuels, Europe would have needed a land area more than 2.7 times its entire continental surface in 1900, rising to more than 20 times in 2000.”

"Energy and the english industrial revolution (2013): “Noting that one steam horse power was estimated as providing the power equivalent of 21 manual labourers, he suggested that in France ca 1840 steam engines were performing the work of 1.2 million labourers but that by the mid-1880s the rapid expansion in the use of steam engines meant that this figure had risen to 98 million labourers, ‘two-and-a-half slaves for each inhabitant of France’ [19, III, p. 74]. [...]
A coal miner who consumes in his own body about 3,500 Calories a day will, if he mines 500 pounds of coal, produce coal with aheat value 500 times the heat value of the food which he consumed while mining it. At 20 per cent efficiency he expends about 1 horsepower-hour of mechanical energy to get the coal. Now, if the coal he mines is burned in a steam engine of even 1 per cent efficiency it will yield about 27 horsepower-hours of mechanical energy. The surplus of mechanical energy gained would thus be 26 horsepower-hours, or the equivalent of 26 man-days per man-day. A coal miner, who consumed about as much food as a horse, could thus deliver through the steam engine about 4 times the mechanical energy which the average horse in Watt’s day was found to deliver.”

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