We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Junk science and junk money are taking us back to the 1970s

“If you want to revisit the 1970s, you no longer need a history book or a time machine. All that’s required is a collection of today’s newspapers – Right- or Left-leaning, it matters little – together with a regular infusion of BBC agitprop. With a few notable exceptions, all seem to gravitate around a tediously predictable banker-bashing, anti-profit, bonus-hating, anti-big-business agenda which spins us 40 years back in time to one of the lowest points in British history. What goes around comes around, I suppose, so with inflation perking up again, it can surely only be a matter of time before the Government brings back a fully blown Prices Commission. I exaggerate, of course, but only to make the point.”

Jeremy Warner

He is broadly right, of course. Some of the “banker bashing”, though, has even come from the free market side of the fence, such as from the likes of Professor Kevin Dowd – who is known around these parts – making the point that banks operating with the implicit guarantee from the state and cheap money have been able to let their normally healthy instincts run amok. Alas, most of the attacks have focused on their allegedly big bonuses, which while it does not miss the mark entirely, is not really central to why we got into our current mess.

And Warner is interesting on how an energy sector, which has its problems, will not be in good shape if we keep hitting bank finance. There is another issue, meanwhile. What we might be seeing is a mixture of “junk science” (the notions that are leading us to turn our backs on cheap or at least reliable energy) and “junk money” (Quantitative Easing, etc).

It is interesting that he argues that there is a 1970s feel about the UK at the moment. He is right, although the private sector does not have the union militancy of back then, and the Cold War is over, and globalisation, for all its ups and downs, has taken more hold to the immense benefit of countries such as India and China. I see little sign of a move back to the 1970s in Asia.

 

38 comments to Junk science and junk money are taking us back to the 1970s

  • Michael Jennings

    No. Asia is a bit more like 1912.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly no Michael.

    India is a mess (and the latest budget will make it worse), Japan is also a mess.

    That is two of the three biggest economies in Asia.

    Even South Korea is promising to go down the destructive Welfare State road.

    And Indonesia faces the twin problems of nationalist nuttyness (such as action against Australian beef imports – actually that nationalism is a bit like 1912 or 1914) and the threat of Islamism.

    “But China Paul – China”.

    Good point – I am utterly ignorant of China.

    J.P.

    As you know people hate bankers not really because they are rich (some people hate them just because they are rich – but, I hope, not many people).

    Bankers are hated because of Bank of England subsidies (people do not know the details – but everyone knows a scam is going on, and that Cameron-Osbourne fully approve of the “cheap money” scam), and because even when the bank makes a loss bank employees get paid MILLIONS.

    The owner of the bank (even when that owner is the government) seem to have no control of the bank.

    The Financial Times newspaper may love a total division between “ownership and control” (with lots of money going to top employees – and the owners being ripped off), but most people think it STINKS.

    I am told that down in Hampshire the top people at RBS (80% government owned) getting millions (whilst the bank lost billions) was the last straw.

    No one blamed the Lib Dems (even though they are in government) – they blamed Cameron-Osbourne.

    Sorry – but after years in government, one can not carry on blaming Mr Brown for banker pay and bonus payments.

  • Russ in Texas

    I didn’t hate any banks, until I worked for Bank of America and saw the real-estate fraud firsthand… and then watched Helicopter Ben debase the currency (though debasing fiat money is a bit of a contradiction in terms).

    Hating that banks and central-banks are basically running the country? Ten years ago that was tinfoil-hat territory. Now? Nothing to do but keep your head down and hope we don’t get hyperinflation. Maybe my kid will get that shot at the High Frontier and some right-of-exit, while I’m battening down the hatches and becoming as self-sufficient as possible.

    70s attitudes are a completely legitimate reaction to 70s governance.

  • Paul Marks

    Russ.

    I do not hate the bankers – I just want them to be allowed to go bankrupt (really bankrupt). Even though I know the consequences will be terrible – because those consequences are comming anyway (the delays and bailouts will just make things worse in the end).

    Although, come to think of it, I would not like to sit a polygraph test on not hating the leftist (Obama supporting) crooks of Bank of America.

  • Russ in Texas

    Three words, Paul: “(negotiated) appraisal value.”
    Those purchasing the securitization packages thought they were getting a nonparenthetical two-word product.

    They’re bastards who knowingly sold pensioners poo and laughed about it, so I’m not even going to pretend to have a decent moral stance on them.

  • Laird

    I’ve been in banking or involved with it in some way for most of my 30+ year career, and I find myself in general agreement with both Russ and Paul. It’s important to keep in mind that there is a vast difference between Citibank, Wells Fargo, etc., and the local and regional banks. They are entirely different creatures, sharing only a name. (Just as the various central banks aren’t banks in any sense that you or I would recognize. And let’s not even get into the differences between commercial and merchant/investment banks.) The regulators are content to let small and medium-sized banks go bust, but they start wetting their pants when one of the mega-banks gets into trouble. “Systemic risk” is their cry, and if there is any truth to that (personally, I think it’s way overblown) the obvious solution is to break up the megabanks so that none of them poses such a risk. But that is not on the table, and will never be (notwithstanding all the wailing about “too big to fail” a few years ago and some weasel language in a few statutes).

    People do “hate” banks, but not their local banker who is in the same fix as we all are. Their hatred is directed at the mega-banks and their government protection, and in my opinion that is entirely appropriate. As Paul says, they need to be allowed to fail (i.e., suffer the consequences of their decisions), and no bank which is taking huge losses should be paying bonuses to any senior officers. And if a bank requires a government bailout every board member and senior officer should be summarily replaced, as they obviously were incompetent to the task. But that never happens, either, because of cronyism, political and otherwise.

    The banking system is immensely flawed, but it won’t be fixed until we suffer some massive systemic collapse. Which does seem to be drawing nearer.

  • rfichoke

    The banking system is immensely flawed, but it won’t be fixed until we suffer some massive systemic collapse.

    But who will be doing the “fixing”? That’s the fear I have.

  • the other rob

    “Their hatred is directed at the mega-banks and their government protection, and in my opinion that is entirely appropriate”

    Truly is it written: “There is nothing in this world so bad, that goverment can not fuck it up even worse.”

  • jerry

    I too am familiar with Bank of America.
    The first straw was –
    paraphrased –
    Hey illegals, you don’ need no stinking Social Security Number.
    We’ll set you up with a credit card – no problem – come on down !”

    The last straw was a few weeks ago when they froze the accounts of a
    gun dealer / manufacturer in Arizona and he was told ‘we don’t think you should be selling guns and gun parts on the internet’!

    I’m sure that statement was made by some middle manager who decided to put her OWN policies in place on the fly so to speak and should have been summarily fired for it, on the spot ( and then prosecuted for any damages caused – BofA is very protective of what they THINK is their shinning public reputation !!!!! )

  • mike

    Sadly, the answer is actually yes Paul.

    The 1912 comparison is presumably a reference to the military build-up over the international waters between China, Vietnam, the Phillipines and Taiwan. And then there are the Senkaku islands administered by Japan and claimed by both the PRC and ROC. It’s easy to get the impression that the Chinese PLA, PLAN and PLAAF are just itching to start slapping their neighbours about. A lot of people are getting nervous.

  • Jamess

    “Good point – I am utterly ignorant of China.”

    Key thing to know about China is its demographics (especially if we think the most valuable thing about a country is its people).

    In 1950’s – 1970’s infant mortality dropped and life expectancy increased. The government (Mao Zedong) encouraged people to have large families. The fertility rate was around 5 children per woman in early 1970’s.

    Then in 1980’s to today the one child policy has caused the fertility rate to plummet to around 1.2 children/person.

    Thus from the 80’s onwards there’s been a large increase in the workforce all with very few dependents.

    Now though the working population is actually decreasing whilst those who are officially retired will continue to grow rapidly.

    If the one child policy continues (whether through government action or as a result of people believing past propaganda) China will undergo a continual ageing process similar to Japan, though without the high-tech industry. If the one child policy is reversed China will face 18 years of rapidly declining working population as a percentage of the total population, before that generation even begins to reach the workplace.

    There is of course room for more growth coming on the back of economic freedom, but that is assuming that those in government who privately own all the key industries allow their monopolies to be dismantled. That though is unlikely to happen peacefully.

  • Michael Jennings

    China has had a huge monetary expansion and a huge credit led costruction bubble, just like a lot of other places. At some point it will become clear that the banks are bust, and everything will collapse. However, those banks supposedly contain the savings of China’s present working population, who need the savings for retirement, as they have very few children and grandchildren to look after them in the tradiitional way. It’s hard to see how the fallout of this will not be nasty.

  • He is right, although the private sector does not have the union militancy of back then

    Bankers aside, I think the bigger problem is that public sector unions are blocking necessary reductions in public sector costs by threatening to strike / striking over any attempt to reduce the burden of public spending through staff reductions and reform of gold plated pensions. I for one objected to paying more for public sector employees pensions through council tax, income tax et al than I was able to pay for myself.

    Any truly reforming government must tackle the power of public sector unions as part of a massive reduction in the power of the state.

    For myself, I would ban unions and resolve disputes through binding arbitration.

  • Tedd

    I would ban unions and resolve disputes through binding arbitration.

    I think a better approach is simply to remove the monopoly protection that unions enjoy. People have a right of free association, but that right doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t also include the right not to associate with people you don’t want to associate with.

    I once worked in a place that had a society for employee collective bargaining. Membership was voluntary, and many employees did not belong. The management of the company agreed to apply the terms agreed to in collective bargaining to all employees. That seemed to work well, although an improvement might have been to allow employees to opt out of both the society and the collective bargaining agreement.

  • Paul Marks

    Jamess and Michael – many thanks for making things clearer for me on China.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Tedd.

    And if people walk off the job – that is up to them and their employer.

    If the employer can hire other people to do the job fine (and the government should not prevent the employer doing so).

    If employer can not hire replacements – then the employer will have to pay more to get the people who have walked off the job (“gone on strike”) back.

    As for “picketing” (that is a military term – being on the picket line), that is OBSTRUCTION and should be dealt with as obstruction.

  • Steven

    My dad was working for the FAA when PATCO went on strike. He wasn’t an air traffic controller so he wasn’t part of the strike. He worked on the field equipment (runway lights, tower electronics, radar stuff, those kinds of things). So when PATCO called Reagan’s bluff and Reagan fired the lot of them my dad kept his job until new controllers were hired.

    The funny thing is a lot of the FAA equipment is as smaller, private airfields. He’s run into the guys he used to work with. All of them thought Reagan would buckle because that’s what the union leadership told them he would do.

  • Paul Marks

    Steven – the union told the Boston police that in relation to Governor Calvin Coolidge.

    “He would not dare fire you” – but he did.

    “We have a right to strike”.

    Someone has a right to LEAVE WORK – they do not have the right to force their employer to keep employing them.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @Johnathan Pearce:

    …It is interesting that he argues that there is a 1970s feel about the UK at the moment. He is right, although…

    Well, yes, partly right, but the UK does seem to be playing its part well on the global stage, in what rather looks like an act in a play called The Age of Unreason, but it’s not really a ’70s look/feel.
    Quite the contrary, my recollection of that period is that – with some exceptions – the ’70s was essentially a time of reason and forward-looking economic development, despite the attendant old friends of corruption, avarice, and politics. One of the classic exceptions would likely be Harold Wilson’s 1967 speech where he said:

    From now on, the pound abroad is worth 14 per cent or so less in terms of other currencies. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the Pound here in Britain, in your pocket or purse or in your bank, has been devalued.

    No, the sophistry employed now (e.g., in propaganda via the Guardian, the BBC, Greenpeace, Islamic stealth jihad, IPCC/CAGW and New World Order and Socialist/Fascist/Collectivist religio-political ideologists/alarmists, WWF, Bank of England, World Bank, British/European politicians), compared to then, seems to be astoundingly more prevalent and seemingly accepted by increasingly accepting/submissive and mute/gagged members of society.
    It seems to be an avalanche of Unreason, accompanied by the slow death of Democracy.

    If the times are indeed winding or unwinding back to the ’70s, then they arguably won’t be allowed to stop there anyway. With the increasing selling of the idea – the call – to institutionalise Islamic Shariah law in the UK, we could expect to see the windback continue to circa 7th century.

    If/when the UK is bombed back to that age, then at least, there will finally be Peace under the Caliphate.
    Allah is wise and all-knowing.
    Allahu akbar!

  • I’d go and cut my wrists now, but I did pay for the ticket…

  • Paul Marks

    If the 7th century is mentioned then we must be clear eyed about it.

    Why did the Christians suffer defeat?

    Christian intolerance and persecution is part of the reason.

    The persecution of one Christian sect by another – that led to Christian Arabs switching sides in the middle of battle.

    And the intolerance and persecution that meant that Christain Byzantines and and Jewish Berbers could not really cooperate in North Africa – indeed ended up fighting each other.

    The forces of Islam are not supermen – they can be defeated. But only if people will stand together.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul, thus:

    The forces of Islam … can be defeated. But only if people will stand together.

    Yes. Which means that there must be a rallying point. The Left and the Islamics have a common rallying point: The destruction of Western civilization.

    We need to gather everybody who is in thrall of neither Islam nor the Left to some rallying point, which would really be composed of sub-points which are more meaningful to subgroups of our intended forces. As our enemy’s rallying point is really divisible into those who fight for control of the world by Islam, and those who think they or some Exalted Select among themselves should control the world.

    It is much easier…more familiar…more comfortable for some (not all) atheistic Libertarianish types and some (not all) Christian evangelists to squabble with each other, than for them to make common cause to fight the main enemy. (How in the name of reason can you see a Christian theocracy in the U.S. as a real threat, and more fearful, than a Shariah-following world-wide theocracy???!!!)

    There are “patriots” in both groups, so, for instance, patriotism might be one sub-rallying-point. Of course, the Left has thought of this and attempts to turn us away from patriotism by conflating it with militant nationalism.

    The idea that “we should all live in peace with each other” is seductive. It makes us feel all warm and furry inside and forget that before we can do that, we will have to do something about the folks who are inside the city walls, bombing everyone in sight and poisoning the water supply. We have to keep this fact front & center before the public….

    I really wish the other Western countries could develop their own versions of the Tea Party. (And that ours could pull itself together and reinvigorate itself.) Do Samizdatists think this is possible, or are the countries insufficiently united each within itself to make common cause of needing to preserve its heritage and its sense of itself as a worthwhile sub-civilization? (I’m thinking of the fact that various “countries” are really glued-together former countries, or principalities, or whatever. Scotland/UK; Belgium; like that.) Then there’s the horrendous EU which is supposed to be The Answer and is, in my kibbitzing view, a whole megabomb of typhoid in the water supply.

    Still, if the various historical geopolitical groups whether within nominal “nations” or not could come to see that they have a common stake here….

    Which I guess brings me back to where I started, which was with Paul’s observation.

  • Food for thought, that.

  • Paul Marks

    Julie – I believe the rallying point is clear. The left and the Islamists wish to destroy Western Civilisation – that is their rallying point. So the rallying point of their foes should be saving, indeed RESTORING, Western Civilisation.

    However, Western Civilisation is not held in high esteem in the West – the young (for several generations now) have been taught that it is vile, and stupid, and a joke.

    This is why the cultural attack from the 1960s to now(Frankfurt School inspired) has been so much more effective than the previous economic attacks.

    Under Prime Minister Atlee the government made up over half of GDP (counting nationalized industries and spending), and there was conscription and rationing and ……

    But Britain was still Britain – the society remained, so it could recover

    Is Britain still Britain now? Is the CULTURE fundementally strong? Of course not. The culture has, to a great extent collapsed.

    And, as you know, the aame is true in the United States.

    Franklin Roosevelt stole all the gold – but America was still America.

    Is America still America NOW?

    The cultural attack has proven to be more deadly than the economic attack.

    Meaning that recovery from the present economic attack (the present rise of statism) is far less likely.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Devout Christians (real ones, not Leftish/Progressive/Social-Gospel types) will fight for their religion, and most aren’t all that focussed on forcing it onto the unbelieving masses–but they do ask that it be respected by the rest, and there are a few of its tenets that they do think should honored; in particular, “thou shalt not murder,” and especially “thou shalt not murder innocent babies, even the as-yet-unborn.” Some of them may proselytize, but few will clunk you on the noggin with a cleaver should you fail to be persuaded.

    That’s why they’re our best defenders of Western Civ. Jewry ought to be another group of natural defenders. Unfortunately so many (or at least, so many of the public-intellectual leaders) are Leftish and also refuse to acknowledge the Islamic threat. “There is none so blind as him who will not see,” I guess. It does seem that the above segment of Christians has its counterpart in Orthodox Jewry. May its tribe increase.

    The Hindus, Sikhs, and some Buddhists might join (and increasingly are joining–I think) the fight against Islam in the name at the least of destroying its persecution of them as non-Muslims. Unfortunately they too have often drunk the toxic Lefty Kool-Aid. But where they haven’t, they’re also natural allies.

    Then there are the outlier atheistic subgroups, like sensible atheistic/agnostic Libertarian-ish types. What is our rallying point? Why, just that we don’t want to control nor to be controlled. If we really mean it, we won’t be taking leftish positions and we won’t be arguing that the Islam problem is just “a few bad apples.” But insofar as we’re really interested in rescuing Western Civ–even with all its faults, even though it’s not Libertopia by anyone’s definition–we will be focussed first and most importantly on that mission.

    And we will see it and feel it as a Mission.

  • Paul Marks

    Of the atheists – Randian Objectivists can be relied upon.

    Practicing Jews can also be relied upon, and not all nonpraticising Jews are leftists (a certain lady will box our ears if we imply that).

    There are leftist Protestants – but yes most practicing Protestants are not leftists (including most of the quarter of American hispanics who are Protestant – the media, and everyone else, tend to ignore them).

    That leaves the Orthodox Christians – too few in the West to matter much (but they tend to be interesting).

    And the Roman Catholics……

    The last Pope was strong in his faith – but did not enforce it (leftists still allowed to come into Catholic Churches and pose as Catholics and……).

    Will the next Pope just give up on principle altogther – and allow the left to carry on the Vatican II take over? The left are predicting this – starting with wedge issue sexuality stuff.

    But the next Pope could prove to be strong in his faith – and young enough to actually get a grip on the Catholic Church.

    I suspect that a lot rests on who is chosen as the next Pope.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, Paul: ABSOLUTELY!!!

    The only thing is, “Saving Western Civilization” is too big a project, too amorphous in the minds of most people (especially given today’s sorry state of ignorance), to have mass appeal as a rallying point. Most people take it for granted. “Save Western Civ? Yeah right. Meanwhile, who’s gonna shop for dinner? Also, I’ve been thinking about how to defeat this anti-Christian stuff in Susan’s 6th-grade geography book. The Pilgrim Daughters are getting together after supper to brainstorm.”

    That’s why I think we need the rallying sub-points. The devout really can relate to fighting for their religion, if they think it’s endangered.

    And there are some devout Libertarians and Classic Liberals. :>)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul–I know that right now Catholic pronouncements are swinging away from the leftish stance, mostly in opposition to abortion and homosexual “marriage”…but to me the American Council of Bishops (I think it was–some august American body of Catholic bishops, anyway) really really soiled themselves a few years ago when they came out against the anti-illegal-immigration position.

    And these issues over giving Communion to Pelosi, Biden, etc.

    And the Sojourners. Which includes the (in)famous Berrigan Brothers. I had thought that they were originally a Catholic organization, but I can’t verify that. Anyway, the Catholics I know (a very small sampling, and all family members!) are at a minimum Liberal Kool-Aid drinkers, and my brother is a rabid Catholic Progressive and Sojourner.

    It makes me hesitant about relying on the Catholics, is my point. But you’re probably right, and heaven knows I hope you are!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Naturally, I would never cross the Lady Who Would Box My Ears. Still, she’s an ocean and a half away from me (and now I suppose the Phoenicians are mad me–“1/2 an ocean,” so forth), whereas right here in Arizona there is Queen Klee, whose Powers are mighty; and in this very house the God-King Neko rules as Pharaoh.

    Now THEM are the kinda cats you really don’t want to cross!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sojourners: Update: Started by a group of students at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, a suburb of Chicago, in 1971, as an anti-Vietnam-War club. They put out the cutest little newsletter, entitled “The Post-American.” What a hoot. *sour expression*

    According to Wikipedia,

    The mission of Sojourners is “to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world.”

    Well, you got to think big I guess.

    There’s a photo of the newsletter (note the hyphen: “Post-American”) on their History page, and the site’s masthead reads, “Sojourners: Faith in Action for Social Justice.” Goody.

    http://sojo.net/about-us/history

    So no, not Catholic in origin. Apologies.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    “Why Nations Fail”, a great book which is now out and about, is well worth your buying. It explains wealth and prosperity as due to institutions, such as a body (like Parliament, or Congress) which listens to people and is made up of people from all parts of society. Inclusive, as opposed to extractive, which is where the government doesn’t need to listen to anyone but itself, and doesn’t.
    The authors think that The Glorious Revolution of 1688 gave Britain the right set of institutions so that the Industrial Revolution could take off.
    So long as we don’t let jihadists ruin our institutions, then we should prevail.

  • Paul Marks

    Julie I believe the Catholic Bishops really “showed themselves up” (as we say in Britain) when the supported Obamacare – and then (when it was used to attack the freedom of their own institutions) were all shocked and upset.

    The freedom of other people did not seen to matter to them (then it was “compassion means supporting Obamacare” just as “compassion” meant an open door policy for illegals to get “free” education and “free” ER care – at the expense of the taxpayers – the sort of weak thinking that goes back to Cardinal Manning and Leo XIII in 1891), only their own freedom mattered to them.

    I hope they change – but they could change the wrong way, i.e. cease to care even about their own freedom. And give in on the sexuality wedge issues – “build bridges to the …… community”.

    If you hear that – then they really have sold the pass.

    As for ……

    Sojourners.

    Hard core Liberation Theology (Marxist) Collective Salvation types.

    Behind their smiles and soft words they are ruthless (indeed vicious).

  • Paul Marks

    Nick (nice guy) Gray – again my apologies for confusing you with the person who attacked me (in my defence a big storm hit Queensland – and the Cats blog went down).

    The British Parliament.

    Well the House of Commons has a few good people in it (Steve Baker being an obvious example – but there are others).

    But they are tiny minority – most people in the House of Commons are actually professional policitians.

    They go to university, then become reseach people for politicians, then get given a chance at a seat……

    The American Congress?

    Again some good people – but only a minority of the Senate and only a minority of the House.

    A lot of professional politicians (whatever they were before – they become full time pols). The establishment (the Economist magazine and so on) actually want to redraw the boundaries so that EVERYONE is terrified of losing their seat.

    This would mean “compromise” you see.

    Translation – those Republicans who actually do have some backbone (and stand against ever more government spending) would be denounced as “extremists” and lose their seats.

    Real reform would be very different.

    Real reform would be make serving in Parliament or Congress UNPAID (that would need a Constitutional Amendment in the United States) and restricting the hours and days these bodies sat – so that people could KEEP their normal jobs (if they had normal jobs).

    There should not be a full time “legislature” making ever more “laws”. Or (even worse) passing vague “Enabling Acts” which allow administrators to make “laws” (which is what happens now).

    Parliament and Congress should meet to pass a budget (something that Congress has not done in years) – and that is about it.

    Instead Congress meets to pass things like the “Violence Against Women Act” (Tenth Amendment? What Tenth Amendment? The Federal government writes the criminal law now), but the United States Senate has not passed a budget in years.

    Yes the American government runs on “continuing resolutions”.

    Do not try looking for “continuing resolutions” in the Constitution – like “Executive Orders” (and on and on) they are not there.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Dear Paul, no worries mate, apology accepted, so long as you fax me some beer.
    As for Parliament and Congress, the book mentioned them as being better than other arrangements of none-inclusive institutions- such as the Chinese ‘People’s Congress! Even if both do have their faults, it is no coincidence that true democracies are where people want to emigrate to, and live in.

  • Paul Marks

    Nick – if you ever come to England (or I finally go to Australia to see my friends), I will buy you beer all evening.

    I do owe you – and I am very sorry for my stupidity and ignorance.

  • To box the hobbit’s ears? God forbid:-)))

  • Paul Marks

    Never mind my ears Alisa, a sign of Fey ancestry I am told – of course I was told that by a story teller who had indeed “kissed the B. Stone” hung from the castle wall and twisted round to do so, with a couple of fellows holding his feet.

    As for my large (and hairy) hobbit feet – the least said the better.

    They go with my thick neck and spade sized hands (as well as my pale eyes).

    “An Irish peasant” – as my father used to say, with a (quite understanable) mixture of horror and disgust.

  • Jamess

    As a PS to my previous comments on China, this story is a good illustration of what “free markets” looks like in China. Notice Li’s connection with his business, his connections in the government and the way the state sponsored news agency is reporting it.