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]

The restructuring of capitalism as we know it

A new kind of capitalism. A new way to measure progress. An end to the obsession with growth. We know what they really mean. Once in a while they spell it out nice and clearly.

nothing short of dramatic structural change in the way capitalism works can deliver the 2030 target of a 45 per cent cut in carbon emissions. To deliver the net-zero carbon emissions demanded by 2050 will require an economy so different from ours that we are unlikely to recognise it as capitalism.

Very unlikely, I would say.

a Sustainable Investment Board, comprising the chancellor, the business secretary and the governor of the Bank of England. First proposed by City analyst Graham Turner, the board’s original aim was to achieve a 3 per cent productivity target by funnelling private sector investment into high tech.

The state telling the private sector where to invest its money. Fascinating; and I am sure far more productive than the private sector deciding where to invest its money. Why have billions of investment decisions made by millions of people when three posh blokes obviously know better? A different kind of productivity! Greener productivity!

a £250bn National Investment Bank, its money raised over ten years, to fund some of that investment, combined with regional development banks

This is just more of the state deciding where to spend money.

I am no fan of the Stalinist planned economy

I sense a but coming…

Yet the unpleasant fact may be that centralised state intervention, planning and ownership might be the only thing that’s going to achieve the rapid reduction in carbon emissions we need.

Oh, it will achieve the rapid reduction of something all right.

If millions of human brains simultaneously accepted the need for a survival level restructure of society, akin to a wartime mobilisation, the population itself would become the change agent.

Why can’t well all just get along? Also, bring back rationing!

we are going to need a transition beyond the market and beyond an economy where incomes are largely based on work.

To each according to his need.

The central bank becomes an arm of the state, its preoccupation becomes to direct capital away from carbon

Just when you thought central banks were a bad idea, someone finds a way to make them worse.

capital flight is the financial elite’s all-purpose answer to the shutdown of its gravy train. In which case, having created the carrot, a government serious about climate change has to create the stick.

Ok, no more Mr Nice Guy, I guess.

the left has to put it to people straight. The “rights” of global finance capital have to be subordinated to the needs of the human race, via the democratic states we live in.

I am sure it will all turn out lovely.

Who is saying all this? Some crazy fringe lunatic everyone will ignore? I hope so but I am not sure. It is in the New Statesman, circulation 35,000. Paul Mason used to be economics editor of two state-funded TV news programmes, Newsnight and Channel 4 News. He is not nobody. People will be listening to him. He might be saying things that even more influential people want him to say. It is a bit of a worry.

The thing is, even if the end of the world is now imaginable, even if climate change threatens an end to universal human rights, an end to development, and “the fracture of globalisation and multilateral systems” (whatever that means); even if it really is as bad as they say: making ourselves less free and therefore poorer is only going to exacerbate it. Economic growth is more important, not less, because richer people can build infrastructure to overcome the environment. Richer people can move around. Economic growth means more people (even poor people!) get richer. When there is a natural disaster in a poor country, far more poor people are harmed than are when there is a natural disaster in a rich country. That is the difference that old fashioned, bog-standard, neo-liberal economic growth makes. That is why I am against Paul Mason’s brand of communism: because by reversing ordinary economic growth it will be more harmful than the IPCC’s most dire predictions about climate change.

There is not even any reason to suppose that freedom and growth is incompatible with reducing carbon emissions: solar energy is undergoing something of a Moore’s law cost reduction; new technology means using energy more efficiently. And there are undoubtedly ways to turn things around that Paul Mason has not though of. He thinks a few hundred human brains can direct “millions of human brains” to solve problems; but that is not how it works. Millions of human brains are very good at solving problems if they are free to figure things out for themselves.

55 comments to The restructuring of capitalism as we know it

  • Gavin Longmuir

    “And there are undoubtedly ways to turn things around that Paul Mason has not thought of. Umm .. like nuclear power???

    We need to get serious about confronting Junk Science! No-on has ever presented a scientific hypothesis for Anthropogenic Climate Change — only for Anthropogenic Global Warming. And the scientific data has fairly well refuted Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    The usual suspects’ campaign against life-essential carbon dioxide is a rickety tower of Junk Science built on a foundation of sand. Let’s begin in good scientific fashion by roundly rejecting their failed hypothesis.

  • Mr Ed

    Hasn’t Mrs May left a ticking time bomb already, just the other day, Guido Fawkes reported a £1,000,000,000,000 cost Statutory Instrument waved through to set in slow motion a Khmer Rouge-type experiment with our economy being ‘de-carbonised’ (with off-setting).

    Even Mr Hammond appears to have doubts, doing a Sgt Wilson ‘Are you sure that’s wise, Sir?’.

    It’s a race to the famine.

  • Sigivald

    Screw these people.

    Double screw them unless the first thing on their “zomg stop carbons” plan is massive nuclear power investments (or, if they’re evil, “bomb china and india to the stone age” – evil, for obvious reasons, but it would actually have a real effect on carbon emissions).

    But their ludicrous control-freak nonsense won’t work and can’t happen, because people won’t stand for it.

    They are not serious people.

  • Itellyounothing

    Sometimes, they make it impossible to believe, they aren’t out to kill us.

  • rangingkraut

    Whenever a lefty rejects Stalinism, prepare for praise of any other socialist project, so long as Stalin isn’t personally in charge…

    As for zero carbon emissions: Isn’t carbon a primary element? In what sense can carbon be emitted? Surely the overall quantity of carbon atoms on earth is not something we can significantly change.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “People will be listening to him. He might be saying things that even more influential people want him to say. It is a bit of a worry.”

    Circulation 35,000? What’s the ‘circulation’ of the United Nations?

    Specifically, the goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    Summary:
    * Developed nations to cut their emissions by more than 100% before 2040. That doesn’t apply to developing countries.
    * Developed nations are to pay into a Green Climate Fund (~$100bn/yr) to support developing countries green development.
    * Developed countries are to hand over all their intellectual property and technology to developing countries for free.
    * Developed countries are to disarm, and transfer their entire defence budgets to the green effort.
    * Developed countries are to report to a central global authority all the relevant details of their economy, their emissions, and their financial and technical support for developing countries.
    * Developed countries are to submit to a new ‘International Climate Court of Justice’ to guarantee their compliance with the treaty’s decisions.

    Highlights: …

    — p9

    17.Reduce global greenhouse gas emissions more than 100 per cent by 2040 by Annex I Parties; sustained by short-term mitigation by Annex I Parties of more than 50 per cent by 2017; ensuring stabilization of the global temperature at a maximum of a 1 degree Celsius increase; 18.Decides that Annex I Parties, in accordance with their commitments to Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention, undertake ambitious national economy-wide binding targets for quantified emission reduction commitments of at least 50 per cent of their domestic greenhouse gas emissions during the period 2013 to 2017 and by more than 100 per cent before 2040, compared with their 1990 levels;

    — p9

    (m)Social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing country Parties, the extent of developing country Partiesí contributions to global emissions reductions shall be consistent with the principles and provisions of the Convention, as appropriate to their specific needs and circumstances and dependent on the extent to which finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed country Parties. The extent of adaptation support to developing countries is contingent on developed country mitigation ambition and provision of support for mitigation in developing countries as required under the Convention and reaffirmed in the Bali Action Plan, to enable developing countries to achieve sustainable development;

    — p12

    39.Developed country Parties shall provide developing country Parties with new and additional finance, inter alia through a percentage of the gross domestic product of developed country Parties, for technology, insurance and capacity-building in order to enable and implement adaptation actions, plans, programmes and projects at all levels, in and across different economic and social sectors and ecosystems;

    — p13

    47.The provision of the amount of funds to be made available annually to developing country Parties, which shall be equivalent to the budget that developed countries spend on defence, security, and warfare. Fifty per cent of that amount shall be for adaptation, 20 per cent for mitigation, 15 per cent for technology development and transfer and 15 per cent for forest-related actions in developing country Parties;

    — p13

    53.Developed country Parties shall not resort to any form of unilateral measures, including tariff, non-tariff, and other fiscal and non-fiscal border trade measures, against goods and services from developing country Parties on any grounds related to climate change, including protection and stabilization of the climate, emissions leakage and/or the cost of environment compliance.

    — p15

    66.Consistent with the principles of the Convention and to enable meaningful mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries, the flexibilities of the international regime of intellectual property as articulated by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights may be used to the fullest extent by developing country Parties to address adaptation or mitigation of climate change, in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base; accordingly, consistent with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, each Party retains its right to grant compulsory licences and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licences are granted; specific and urgent measures shall be taken by developed country Parties to enhance the development and transfer of technologies at different stages of the technology cycle covered by intellectual property rights to developing country Parties.
    67.The removal of all obstacles, including intellectual property rights and patents on climate-related technologies to ensure the transfer of technology to developing countries.

    — p15

    75.The recognition and defence of the rights of Mother Earth to ensure harmony between humanity and nature, and that their will be no commodification of the functions of nature, therefore no carbon market will be developed with that purpose.

    — p16

    79.Requests the Conference of the Parties to develop, by its eighteenth session, an International Climate Court of Justice in order to guarantee the compliance of Annex I Parties with all the provisions of this decision, which are essential elements in the obtaining of the global goal;

    — p16

    80.Stopping wars, defending lives and ceasing destructive activities will protect the climate system; conflict-related activities emit significant greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. 81.The guarantee that all Parties shall cease destructive activities that contribute to climate change, in particular the activities of warfare, production of materials and services that support warfare, and to divert associated financial resources and investments into the shared global effort to combat a common enemy: climate change.

  • Itellyounothing

    Yeah, so green painted socialism with genocide as its result then.

    6 out 7 people will die to put that into practice.

    Just moving food to prevent a famine will be impossible.

  • Jacob

    Same thing was proposed by Ted Nordhaus in the US.
    Put the economy on wartime footing as in WW2, nationalize energy production, transport and all that is needed. Five year plans.

    Poverty definitely helps curb carbon emissions. Extermination of enemies of the People also helps.

  • DP

    Dear Mr Fisher

    Our ‘elites’ are proposing that we commit economic, national and racial suicide.

    The consequences of the orchestrated mass invasion of the West will, in the UK, result in native Britons becoming a minority by about 2050. Our heirs will be dependent on the goodwill of a majority who won’t like them very much, and will blame them for every ill.

    The economy will be trashed, starvation and diseases rampant, all to save the planet from a climate that will change naturally. There is the square root of bugger all that mankind can do to change the climate in any meaningful way. If we could, our ‘elites’ would be changing it the wrong way: warm is good, cold kills. All that lovely carbon dioxide which we are recycling into the atmosphere is plant food, and the plants love it. They also love being warm.

    If the ‘elites’ win, a future historian will write of this period: How The West Was Lost.

    DP

  • Runcie Balspune

    I am no fan of the Stalinist planned economy

    Because a “Stalinist planned economy” is pretty cr*p at achieving environmental goals, always has been, and always will be.

    Not like those free market leaning countries.

  • Fred Z

    “[Mason] is not nobody.”

    Horse puckey, he’s just another lefty dork winning and giving unceasing circular awards and accolades in the leftyverse.

    Have you ever watched lawyers and various legal institutions awarding each other Iron Crosses, Victoria Crosses and Blue Maxes for their fucking wonderfulness, notwithstanding that the rest of the populace loathes them?

    Same thing.

  • ‘Zero carbon emissions’ means you’re dead, right?

    (Alas, I know well Mr Mason’s definition will not require him to cease troubling the earth with his presence. 🙂 )

    (As Mr Ed pointed out) Mrs May was keen on just this ‘zero carb by 2050’ nonsense. Brexit is (finally, with aching slowness) saving us from her, and is guaranteed to save us from her nonsense on any point of view, since if no-deal brexit has the effect Project Fear claims, that will do wonders for our carbon emissions, right?

    On the plus side, I grew up in a family that took the New Statesman and can report that their previous futures frequently had to be rescheduled or discarded. Rob Fisher may find today’s NS depressing but such readers as they’ve retained though the years find Trump, Brexit and the longevity of capitalism awfully depressing. The main thing I learnt from my youth of reading the New Statesman was the value of laughing at it.

  • pete

    It might be a good idea if the state nationalised the pensions industry.

    Perhaps then all retired workers could enjoy the superb pensions enjoyed by state employees.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    Fred Z I hope you’re right and I have wasted time fisking an irrelevant article. Nullius in Verba has me worried again, though.

  • Tim Worstall

    What’s so damned annoying about this nonsense.

    The Stern Review was the proof that we should do something about climate change (no, bear with me, the proof that is used.). The Stern Review also said don’t have plans, just stick on a carbon tax.

    Bill Nordhaus got the Nobel last year. For insisting that we shouldn’t have plans about climate change. We should have a carbon tax.

    So every damn idiot out there uses both as proof that we should have plans and not a carbon tax.

  • Rob

    I am no fan of the Stalinist planned economy

    Being a member of the Socialist Workers Party (don’t laugh) I think he prefers the Trotskyist planned economy instead. completely different!

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Fred Z I hope you’re right and I have wasted time fisking an irrelevant article. Nullius in Verba has me worried again, though.”

    I wouldn’t worry. The UN document describes what their plan was all along (some of them have been even more explicit about their intentions!), but none of the nations would sign up to it. Most nations paid lipservice so long as there was nothing in it that was actually legally enforceable, and the USA passed the Byrd-Hagel resolution that said they would only pay attention if someone proposed a plan that aimed to actually fix the climate and not simply destroy the Western economies. Since none of the proposals coming out of the international climate negotiations have done so, the USA has simply rejected them all. The entire scheme has been dead in the water since Copenhagen. But it suits people’s agendas to keep it going – one lot get greenie-points for participating and enthusing about all the wonderful progress they’re making, and others can still use it as an opportunity for attacking the USA, the rich countries, industry, capitalism and so on. But it’s all empty noise. Not even the politicians and activists running the scam believe in it, and nobody has been stupid enough to actually sign up to it in any way that can be enforced.

    “So every damn idiot out there uses both as proof that we should have plans and not a carbon tax.”

    Of course – because those plans were always the entire point of the exercise. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” If you ‘solved global warming’ you’d be getting rid of the hobgoblin – and what would be the point of that?

    Although nobody on either side is at all interested in a carbon tax, even if we take their aims at face value it’s still the wrong answer anyway, because the cost of the externality is under dispute. Pigou taxes wind up with some bureaucrat setting a price which everyone on all sides then hates. The correct answer in these circumstances is a climate futures market, where you use the market to set the price.

    Issue a negotiable ‘climate bond’ that pays out at different rates depending on whether global warming is true or not. (e.g. pay 10%/yr if sea level rises past one metre before 2100, and void the bond in 2100 if it doesn’t.) Believers think it’s valuable, non-believers think it’s worthless (or vice versa). So sceptics are happy to pay their carbon taxes in such bonds, and believers are happy to accept them. With vice versa bonds, believers are happy to bribe industry to stop emitting CO2 with bonds they think are worthless and sceptics think are valuable. The market value will reflect humanity’s collective belief in global warming, and as the date gets closer and we have more information, the market will move towards the higher or lower end, depending. The net result is that everyone thinks they’re paying a fair price, and whoever is wrong about global warming pays all the costs of dealing with it.

    When you want to bring the economic impact of uncertain future events into the present, so that action can be taken to respond to them before they happen, you use a futures market. Farmers sell next year’s crop today, at an agreed price. If the harvest next year expected to be bad, the price goes up, so farmers get more money right now to expand production. The investor gets an uncertain but on average high return; the farmer get a lower price on average but greater certainty and stability. Insurance works on the same principle.

    The only reason economists say a Pigou tax is the right solution here is that they are assuming, or want to maintain the position, that the future is objectively and reliably predictable and so everyone can agree on the price. They want to deny that many rational people reasonably disagree about that. And also, they don’t want to kill the hobgoblin. If they created a climate futures market, people’s real belief in global warming would be revealed by the market price. Words are easy – but putting your own money on the line exposes to the world what you really think. And if we create a capitalist market-based solution there is no longer any excuse for overthrowing capitalism and replacing it with “a supreme office of the biosphere” that “will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities”.

    Sure, you can point out that they’re being inconsistent in both demanding and rejecting a carbon tax. But for goodness sake, don’t go round telling people it’s the ‘right answer’!

  • neonsnake

    And also, they don’t want to kill the hobgoblin

    …not yet, anyway.

    Someone, somewhere, is currently beavering away trying to work out how to frame “automation” as the next hobgoblin which needs extreme government intervention to solve.

    Once all the jobs are being done by robots, how will the workers survive???

    As soon as they’ve worked out how to frame that, carbon taxes etc will be quietly forgotten in favour of, uh, robot taxes.

    (I’m reasonably confident I’ve seen an article somewhere saying that robots should pay taxes)

  • Itellyounothing

    Is there anything civil servants, socialists, thieves, knaves, MPs etc don’t want to tax?

  • neonsnake

    Is there anything civil servants, socialists, thieves, knaves, MPs etc don’t want to tax?

    Political donations (made via companies)?

  • ROBERT SYKES

    Europe’s future is its past, the Middle Ages.

  • Itellyounothing

    I fear you are right. With all the war, famine, pestilence and death that goes with that……

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Someone, somewhere, is currently beavering away trying to work out how to frame “automation” as the next hobgoblin which needs extreme government intervention to solve.”

    Mmm. ‘Plastic’ appears to be the next one. Automation was actually one of the first (cf the Luddites) and is currently bubbling away with concerns about AI taking over the world or automating all the low-paid jobs away. Its time will come again.

  • Lloyd Martin Hendaye

    For decades now, crony-socialist climate deviants have pushed “anthropogenic warming” via CO2 as a smog-blanketing “greenhouse gas”, when in attested fact any “warming” represents a 140-year “amplitude compression” rebound from Earth’s 500-year Little Ice Age (LIA) that ended 1850/1890. Meantime, CO2 at 425 PPM is a benign trace-gas currently below one-tenth Mesozoic levels prior to Chixculub’s K/T Boundary extinction-event 65-million YBP.

    For the record, Australian researcher Robert Holmes’ peer-reviewed Molar Mass Version of the Ideal Gas Law (pub. December 2017) definitively refutes any possible CO2 connection to climate variations: Where Temperature T = PM/Rp, any planet’s near-surface global Temperature T equates to its Atmospheric Pressure P times Mean Molar Mass M over its Gas Constant R times Atmospheric Density p.

    Applying Holmes’ relation to all planets in Earth’s solar system, zero error-margins attest that there is no empirical or mathematical basis for any “forced” carbon-accumulation factor (CO2) affecting Planet Earth. To say that commentators of all stripes have studiously neglected this definitive insight is an extreme understatement: When facts don’t matter, myths sow Cadmus’ dragons-teeth that spring up as armed men.

  • neonsnake

    ‘Plastic’ appears to be the next one.

    I thought plastic was one of the current ones?

    I mean, you all know that every time you buy a coke from McD’s, you might as well be murdering a baby turtle with your bare hands, don’t you? You monsters.

    How could you?

  • Paul Marks

    Bank of America, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan (amongst other banks) are already saying they will not do business with people or business enterprises who are against “Social Justice” – if you have the wrong political or cultural opinions or are engaged in such things as private prisons or border defence then DEATH TO YOU! No bank account or anything like that – and Mastercard insists that you should not have access to payment services and there should be a “cashless society” to prevent “Reactionaries” being able to buy food and so on. Very Chinese “Social Credit” system – which Big Business (such as the Silicon Valley Cartel) fully support.

    The “Green” agenda will fit into all this well – “Woke” Big Business will be happy to work with government to crush all liberty (in the name of “Social Justice”), after all Corporate Managers and Civil Servants go to the same universities and have the same attitudes. And any competition from “reactionary” business enterprises will be crushed by regulations (Silicon Valley and the Bankers LOVE regulations) and by the denial of financial services.

    The future is plain – the future that this CULTURE will produce.

    A human face with a boot coming down upon it – for ever.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “For the record, Australian researcher Robert Holmes’ peer-reviewed Molar Mass Version of the Ideal Gas Law (pub. December 2017) definitively refutes any possible CO2 connection to climate variations”

    For the record, it does no such thing. Density isn’t fixed.

    “I thought plastic was one of the current ones?”

    Sorry. I was thinking “next after global warming”, not “next after now”.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Is there anything civil servants, socialists, thieves, knaves, MPs etc don’t want to tax?

    Oldie but a goodie https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2tx2pr

  • APL

    Rob Fisher: “An end to the obsession with growth.”

    There hasn’t been growth in the economy for about 40 years. Instead, Western governments have devalued their currencies. In the UK, the British government is ‘in your face’ with an inflation target of 2 – 3 % per year. Which they’ve exceeded by a considerable margin.

    According to the Bank of England inflation calculator you’d have to spend £5.64 to get the same value in 2018 as you did for £1 in 1978.

  • There hasn’t been growth in the economy for about 40 years

    Er… wut? I suggest you get out more and look around.

  • APL

    PdH:”I suggest you get out more and look around.”

    There’s been plenty of spending. Growth, not so much.

    British government debt 1995 47% GDP*
    British government debt 2018 86% GDP*

    (If the economy had grown, spending could have been funded out of revenue, but clearly it hasn’t been. )

    And the unit of measurement, Sterling measures 80% less than it did forty years ago.

    *Source Eurostat.

  • And the unit of measurement, Sterling measures 80% less than it did forty years ago.

    And yet the UK is palpably more prosperous, so might I suggest the figures don’t mean what you think they mean. That is not to say I think levels of state expenditure are sustainable, but there has been a lot more ‘growth’ than you seem to think.

  • APL

    PdH:”And yet the UK is palpably more prosperous, so might I suggest the figures don’t mean what you think they mean.”

    The UK government, doesn’t agree with you. Having forced interest rates to all time lows since the banking crash. That’s hardly a vote of confidence in our ‘prosperous’ economy.

    But it has had the effect of incentivizing private industry to load up on debt to the extent that, should rates normalise any time soon, a very significant recession would occur.

    If ‘living on tic’ is your definition of prosperous, have at it.

  • biff

    The smart people keep telling me how silly and naive Ayn Rand was, then they go and propose a “Sustainable Investment Board” that might as well be Atlas Shrugged‘s “Unification Board.”

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The UK government, doesn’t agree with you.”

    So? Do we think the UK government is competent to know?

    “Having forced interest rates to all time lows since the banking crash.”

    Interest rates are to do with the supply of money. We’re not interested in money – it can be rescaled arbitrarily. What we’re interested in is the amount and quality of goods and services produced, with reference to the effort expended producing them.

    And compared to 1978, the amount of goods and services produced today vastly outstrips what people could get back then. There are whole categories of goods and services that were simply impossible in 1978, and others that only the super-rich could obtain, that nowadays are an everyday staple. (Computers, for example.) And even in goods that existed back then – food is cheaper, clothes are cheaper, except where supply is deliberately being kept scarce or being taxed into oblivion, goods and services generally are far more available. The poor of today live better than the rich of yesteryear.

    But it’s all judged relatively. People don’t care that they’re far richer than they were in 1978 – what they care about is that they’re not as rich as the Joneses next door today. They’re not as rich as they want to be, or feel they deserve to be, or as they were last year. The graph wobbles up and down. Sometimes for a few years we surge ahead, then for a few years fall back again – resulting in widespread panic! But progress is generally up, and has been for a very long time.

    I remember 1978. And I’d not want to go back.

  • Bruce

    Once more, with “feeling”:

    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” – Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.” – Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    They are all quite open about putting civilization through the log chipper.

  • Itellyounothing

    Isolationism is looking better and better, even if it’s not what I would want.

    What else is left?

    Gonna be a shame when the Green revolution kicks out Billions of corpses. I hope the survivors remember to Nuremberg the instigators and their puppeteers.

  • mickc

    Off topic, but according to the State broadcaster the offspring of a fabulously wealthy family is calling for a wealth tax.
    Whenever I am told that “we should all pay more tax”, I invite them to get out their cheque book and immediately write out a cheque to H M Treasury for whatever further amount they believe they should pay. The same invitation should be issued immediately to this particular virtue signaller.
    I have never known anyone accept the invitation.

  • APL

    NiV: “Do we think the UK government is competent to know?”

    Not particularly. But since they impose a monopoly on the supply of money, in the Sterling zone. Anyone not wishing to be impoverished by the UKG would do well to take notice of what they are doing.

    NiV: “Interest rates are to do with the supply of money.”

    In part yes. But it reflects the opportunity cost of the owner of that money, combined with the premium for inflation. So just calculating rates on that basis alone, interest rates should be more like 3 – 4%, given that inflation is 2 – 3%.

    The government has forced the rates below the appropriate level so that it can continue to stop the the economy from collapsing – 0.25% is an emergency rate of interest.

    NiV: “What we’re interested in is the amount and quality of goods and services produced ”

    Which are largely produced abroad in China at slave rates of pay.

    NiV: “with reference to the effort expended producing them.”

    Aah, yes! That’s where the slave rates of pay come in.

    NiV:“People don’t care that they’re far richer than they were in 1978”

    Because people don’t believe they are far richer than their parents were in 1978. In the ’70s a manual worker might still, just, raise a family on one income. That’s not possible today. And the fact that it requires two incomes to live and many people barely live on two incomes is not a reflection that we are richer.

    There is too, anecdotal evidence that fractions of the population are much poorer. Food banks have greatly expanded operations. One, the ‘Trussell Trust claiming to be the largest food bank network in the UK, reports it handed out around 41,000 food packs in 2009/10 compared to 1.2 million in 2016/17’. ( The Trussell Trust accounts for about half the total of food banks operating in the UK )

    NiV: “I remember 1978. And I’d not want to go back.”

    As do I, there was nothing particularly wrong with ’70s other than the Socialists were in control.

  • APL

    mickc: “I have never known anyone accept the invitation.”

    Agreed. Likewise, I have never known anyone who threatened to leave the country if ‘so and so’ gets elected, to follow through either, no matter how desirable their departure might be.

    John Cleese, is apparently going to the Caribbeaan to protest BREXIT. Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out John.

  • I though it might be worthwhile us here considering this plot of world energy consumption and ‘fuel’ type, year by year up to 2015. I would like to use something less than 3-ish years old, but have not found it yet. Note that renewables represent around 4% of the total.

    Just below on the source Wikipedia page is a pie chart for 2015 energy ‘fuels’, showing renewables at 9% in total, but over three quarters of those renewables are hydro, leaving less than a quarter for wind and solar.

    Now this stuff presents a very different picture from the various (optimistically motivated, though perhaps true) spoutings that UK grid electricity generation is now (2019) running on around 50% non-fossil fuel (including nuclear and hydro, domestic and imported). Such electric grid generation represents a very modest fraction of total energy requirements, and much of the world uses a far smaller proportion of grid electricity (as a proportion of their total) than does the first world.

    From the first linked plot, does anyone actually believe that ‘eco-improvements’ to the UK’s 1% of the world’s total energy consumption is going to move (by 2050) those plots (in overall shape and proportion) by more than a very modest amount. This especially when the developing world (especially south and south-east Asia) is, you know, developing. And mainly through increasing use of fossil fuels!

    Best regards

  • Nullius in Verba

    “But since they impose a monopoly on the supply of money, in the Sterling zone.”

    Most money isn’t supplied by the government.

    “Which are largely produced abroad in China at slave rates of pay.”

    On the contrary. They’re quite well paid, by their standards. They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t think they were getting a good deal out of it.

    Also, again this is the error of seeing ‘pay’ and ‘money’ as being the measure of wealth, rather than goods produced for consumption. The free market ideal is that everyone gets paid the minimum, and goods and service are so cheap-verging-on-free that everyone can live comfortably. Wages being high means prices are high, which means goods are scarce. Lower wages are a sign of economic progress – it means there’s no scarcity of the goods those people produce.

    “Because people don’t believe they are far richer than their parents were in 1978. In the ’70s a manual worker might still, just, raise a family on one income. That’s not possible today.”

    Yes it is. The problem is that it would mean living a 1978 lifestyle, which the British nowadays wouldn’t put up with.

    That’s why the immigrants are taking the low-paid jobs – because they *will* settle for a 1978 lifestyle. In fact, they’ll not only live on lower wages than the locals do, they’ll send half of it to their family back home in their country of origin!

    We have rising expectations. Kids today feel deprived if they don’t have their own mobile phone – which has more power than a 1978 super-computer! They expect foreign holidays and nice clothes and central heating.

    “There is too, anecdotal evidence that fractions of the population are much poorer. Food banks have greatly expanded operations.”

    Lefty propaganda from charities trying to big up the donations. Food banks are mostly about filling in short-term holes in the welfare system, and making sure the kids don’t suffer when their parents are wasters. In the old days people relied on friends, neighbours, and family to fill those gaps, or church charity, or went to the payday loan sharks. When I was a kid, we several times got packed off to my grandmother’s for two weeks because money was short and my father didn’t have enough to feed us. It’s nothing new. And it happens a hell of a lot less often now than it did back then.

    The scale of operations is limited not by the need for their services, but by the supply of charity. If they’ve expanded operations, it’s because people are giving more.

    “As do I, there was nothing particularly wrong with ’70s other than the Socialists were in control.”

    Oh, there was nothing *wrong* with it – apart from the socialists it was far better than the 1950s, which were better than the 1930s, which were better than the 1890s, and so on back to the start of the industrial revolution. But they were a hell of a lot poorer conditions than today.

    We progress, but people tend not to notice because they measure their wealth with respect to where the rest of society is now, not where we were 40 years ago.

    It’s one of the main problems with inflation indexes that statisticians and economists complain about. Today, the ‘basket of goods’ contains things like mobile phones. How do you measure and compare the price of that against times when mobile phones either didn’t exist, or were so expensive that virtually nobody could afford them? (in 1983, Motorola released its first commercial mobile phone, known as the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. The handset offered 30 minutes of talk-time, six hours standby, and could store 30 phone numbers. It also cost £2639.) The ‘basket of goods’ changes to reflect the response to goods getting cheaper, but the index itself doesn’t capture this improvement in our circumstances. A huge slice of economic progress is left out of the measure. It’s a useful indicator for the short term, but becomes meaningless when accumulated over long periods. The same applies to other measures of poverty – they’re all measures of relative poverty, not absolute poverty, because absolute poverty is a solved problem (bar the hard cases of mental illness, crime, and drug addiction), and the lefty charities would get no donations if they told people the problem had been solved.

  • APL

    APL: “Because people don’t believe they are far richer than their parents were in 1978. In the ’70s a manual worker might still, just, raise a family on one income. That’s not possible today.”

    NiV: “Yes it is. The problem is that it would mean living a 1978 lifestyle, which the British nowadays wouldn’t put up with.”

    Don’t be ridiculous. That’s the same argument that was used in the 50’s in order to justify bringing in immigrant workers. The British are too lazy and too greedy to do the work, odd how they weren’t too lazy and greedy to die in front of Hitlers guns tho. No! Then, the British didn’t want to do the work at the rate of pay British managers wanted to pay them. So British managers brought in foreigners to undercut them rather than pay a reasonable salary.

    NiV: “That’s why the immigrants are taking the low-paid jobs – because they *will* settle for a 1978 lifestyle. In fact, they’ll not only live on lower wages than the locals do, they’ll send half of it to their family back home in their country of origin!”

    No, immigrants are taking the low-paid jobs because the UK government lets them in on government subsidised work visas. I worked with a perfectly nice fellow in one of the more notorious British banks a couple of years ago, he was over from India on a work visa, his job? filling out an excel spreadsheet, (1) there is no way a moderately intelligent British kid, fresh out of school wouldn’t have picked that task up in two weeks, it certainly didn’t need the degree this fellow boasted. (2) It was a ‘make do’ job for the British government anyway, and should have been automated years previously – there was a strong suspicion that the British authorities did nothing with the data they were given.

    NiV: “We have rising expectations. Kids today feel deprived if they don’t have their own mobile phone – which has more power than a 1978 super-computer! They expect foreign holidays and nice clothes and central heating.”

    What is your sample of ‘kids’, for that assertion? You been watching too much BBC children’s TV?

    NiV: “Lefty propaganda from charities trying to big up the donations.”

    Or they are actually handing out the food parcels they claim to be.

    NiV: ” (in 1983, Motorola released its first commercial mobile phone, known as the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. The handset offered 30 minutes of talk-time, six hours standby, and could store 30 phone numbers. It also cost £2639.) ”

    Can we actually have an exchange where you don’t dredge up a twee little anecdote that adds absolutely nothing to the discussion?

    Last time it was the kind old gentleman Marx in the pub, gettin’ ‘real’ with the British working class.

    I also had use of one of the Motorola ‘mobile’ phones, its transceiver sat under the drivers seat of my vehicle. Probably irradiated my knackers too.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    NIV: “The free market ideal is that everyone gets paid the minimum …”

    I always wondered if free market extremists were leveling with us about their real goals. 🙂 So the Rolling Stones should get paid the same as my garage band!

    More seriously, even free marketeers have to accept that price signals are essential to the functioning of any market, such as people earning more for jobs that fewer people can do because of difficulty or unpleasantness — but enough about politicians! All markets have dysfunctions — Mozart dies in poverty, while Taylor Swift is a multi-millionaire. But in general, people earning above the free marketeers’ minimum is an important element in making markets responsive and efficient.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Then, the British didn’t want to do the work at the rate of pay British managers wanted to pay them. So British managers brought in foreigners to undercut them rather than pay a reasonable salary.”

    Ah, yes! I remember that from the 1970s! The unions used to say that a lot!

    The problem is that “a reasonable salary” is code for “to each according to his needs”. “Reasonable is what people want. It’s what they feel they need to meet their current expenses. But it’s not what their labour is worth in the current market. You can get it cheaper elsewhere. The protectionist thinker automatically responds to cheaper competition by trying to get the competition excluded, so they can maintain the shortage and keep prices high. Hence union ‘closed shops’ and 20% inflation.

    But when scarcity is what you need to keep your prices high, scarcity is what you get. That’s socialism, and the story of the 1970s.

    “No, immigrants are taking the low-paid jobs because the UK government lets them in on government subsidised work visas.”

    What’s a “government subsidised” work visa? Are you saying that when the government give you a work visa, they also give you extra money? So far as I know, that would be illegal. I’m interested to know what you’re talking about.

    And I’m definitely against subsidies, so no problem there.

    “I worked with a perfectly nice fellow in one of the more notorious British banks a couple of years ago, he was over from India on a work visa, his job? filling out an excel spreadsheet, (1) there is no way a moderately intelligent British kid, fresh out of school wouldn’t have picked that task up in two weeks, it certainly didn’t need the degree this fellow boasted.”

    OK. So why didn’t a moderately intelligent British kid come in and offer to do the same job for less money?

    I’m not sure what you’re complaining about now. Previously you was saying that the foreigners did jobs for less than they were worth. Now you’re complaining that a foreigner was being paid more than the job was worth. Which is it?

    “What is your sample of ‘kids’, for that assertion?”

    The local ‘rough’ housing estate.

    “Or they are actually handing out the food parcels they claim to be.”

    ?! Of course they’re handing out the food parcels they claim to. But the more charitable donations they get from a concerned and sympathetic public, the more jobs there are for them handing the parcels out. The more self-important publicity they can generate about how socialists are helping the poor and needy. The more propaganda they can generate against capitalism.

    If the public donate a thousand food parcels, you can help the thousand most needy. If the public donates two thousand food parcels, you can help the two thousand most needy. It doesn’t mean the number of needy people has increased. In fact, by that measure, the better the situation gets, the more people are getting fed, the worse the situation looks.

    “Can we actually have an exchange where you don’t dredge up a twee little anecdote that adds absolutely nothing to the discussion?”

    My point was simply that by modern-day standards it was a pretty crap phone, and it still cost more than a car. No way would you give one to the kids.

  • neonsnake

    Mozart dies in poverty, while Taylor Swift is a multi-millionaire.

    Hey, don’t be dissing the Swift, Gavin! 1989 is a great album.

    *ahen* to less important matters: the minimum is “the minimum the market can bear” – my job, literally, is to pay the bare minimum I can get away with, and charge the maximum I can get away with. That minimum varies by company – company X will have a minimum of A, company Y will have a minimum of B.

    The Rolling Stones has a minimum above your garage band (despite, undoubtedly, being lesser in talent!)

    Minimum does not, in this instance mean “equalisation”, if that makes sense?

    NIV, can I throw a couple of contrasting things into the conversation?

    Firstly: time. When we talk about “then vs now”, we often forget to talk about time and hours worked – our mums and grandmas undoubtedly used to work harder at home than we have to now. Washing with a board? Haha. Dishwashers? Brilliant. My mum used to spend a whole day every week shopping and then butchering whole animals in order to save money. That’s no longer a thing. We’ve progressed enormously in terms of “gadgets that save us time and take a load of our shoulders.”

    Mobile phones, frankly, are fricking brilliant.

    On the other hand, to the “people don’t feel richer” point – housing costs. They’ve massively outstripped wage inflation, and I believe that contributes hugely to the idea that people don’t feel as rich as previous generations.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “On the other hand, to the “people don’t feel richer” point – housing costs.”

    Housing (along with cigarettes/alcohol) was exactly what I was thinking of when I wrote “except where supply is deliberately being kept scarce or being taxed into oblivion, goods and services generally are far more available.” The government keeps planning permission in short supply to keep the price of houses high. (Largely, I suspect, because driving the older generation into ‘negative equity’, wiping out the larger part of the investment of a lifetime’s earnings, would not be a vote-winner.)

    If they granted planning permission to keep up with demand, house prices would be what it costs to build them – about £50k instead of £200k – and for future generations every household in Britain would be £150k richer. But that’s what you get when you think higher prices due to artificial scarcity is somehow good.

  • APL

    NiV: “OK. So why didn’t a moderately intelligent British kid come in and offer to do the same job for less money?”

    Oh for gods sake, honestly! Because he doesn’t know the job exists, and it’s been filled by an import from a country the other side of the world, probably, wasn’t even advertised in the UK, rather than someone out of school three miles down the road.

    NiV: “Now you’re complaining that a foreigner was being paid more than the job was worth. ”

    No. I said the job was so simple it could have been completed by a lad fresh out of school with two weeks training. There are two categories of job, low paid – I’ll include taxi drivers and cabbies as an example. These sorts of jobs are often filled by people illiterate in their own mother tongue, let alone English, there is no hope this category of individual could open an excel spreadsheet. And the other category, Degree educated who are working in the UK doing jobs that could be done by someone fresh out of school.

    Would it be legal to pay this degree educated fellow from abroad, a lesser wage than someone else working at a desk next to him in the same office?

    No, your characterisation of my position is inaccurate, at best.

    So, it’s not a question that someone from abroad was being paid less – that’s your distortion of two different scenarios for your own motives. It’s a question – is it necessary ( economic even – without government subsidy ) to employ someone from the other side of the world pay his or her air fare, accommodate him or her for a week or so until he finds his own accommodation, pay the government for his work visa, rather than the kid who has just left school, and can do the task with two weeks training, and lives three miles down the road?

    NiV: “The unions used to say that a lot!”

    Says the guy who lauds Marx.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “It’s a question – is it necessary ( economic even – without government subsidy ) to employ someone from the other side of the world pay his or her air fare, accommodate him or her for a week or so until he finds his own accommodation, pay the government for his work visa, rather than the kid who has just left school, and can do the task with two weeks training, and lives three miles down the road?”

    “No! Then, the British didn’t want to do the work at the rate of pay British managers wanted to pay them. So British managers brought in foreigners to undercut them rather than pay a reasonable salary.”

    So apparently the kid down the road didn’t want it, yes?

    I agree. Employers are not generally crazy – they want to lower costs, so they can employ more people with the money available. So why deal with all the paperwork, language problems, culture problems, travel costs, and so on unless there’s a good reason? That the foreign worker is so much cheaper that even with the costs it’s worth it, makes sense. The the British kids don’t have the same work ethic, a common complaint, makes sense. That there is some sort of “government subsidy” to employ foreign workers makes sense from the point of view of an employer, but I think would mean the government was breaking international trade laws on equal treatment.

    If you’re complaining that the foreign worker gets the job because he does the work more cheaply, then I applaud the fact that he did. Only socialists would object. If you’re complaining that the foreign worker got the job at greater expense to the employer for no particular reason, then I’ve no idea what’s going on but I’ve got no reason to approve. More information needed.

    And I didn’t laud Marx.

  • Mr. Caligari

    So, do I understand it right? The united kingdom truelly discussed the idea to become a socialistic system?
    Of cource, the European Union is on the same way but I’m a bit shocked about England.

    Socialism is not the answer, not the answer to the social question and finally not the answer to the clima question. What we need are new and better ideas.

  • APL

    NiV: “So apparently the kid down the road didn’t want it, yes?”

    I’m going to repeat what I wrote, slowly so you can understand it.

    APL @ June 30, 2019 at 10:31 pm “Because he doesn’t know the job exists, and it’s been filled by an import from a country the other side of the world, probably, wasn’t even advertised in the UK, rather than someone out of school three miles down the road.”

    Do you understand the difference between, ‘I don’t want that job’, and ‘I don’t even know that job existed, mostly because it was advertised in Lahore rather than Glasgow’.

    NiV: quoting APL, “No! Then, the British didn’t want to do the work at the rate of pay British managers wanted to pay them. So British managers brought in foreigners to undercut them rather than pay a reasonable salary.”

    That excerpt relates to the ’50s, the first time the globalists put forward the lie that British workers don’t want to work at any price. It was a lie then and it’s still a lie today. You should stop repeating it if you have any interest in honest discussion.

  • mickc

    APL
    An argument frequently employed is that “East Europeans work harder than British “.
    I work with both and unsurprisingly the industrious are industrious and the lazy are..err…lazy. Who’d have thunk?
    One point I certainly don’t understand…how can the East European elderly parents and grandparents be in any way productive? Answers on a postcard….

  • neonsnake

    But that’s what you get when you think higher prices due to artificial scarcity is somehow good.

    Sure, I don’t disagree.

    But, our erstwhile friend Mark from Purchase Ledger doesn’t care (even if he knows). What he cares about is I bought a 3 bed semi for £60k in 1999, and had zero student debt. He has £60k student debt, and that house would probably cost £320k now, according to a swift google for house price calculators.

    Even if he does care, or does know (and doesn’t blame it on rampant capitalism by the mortgage lenders, which why wouldn’t he?), it doesn’t help his immediate situation, which is that he has to spend disproportionately more of his salary on rent or a mortgage than his elders.

    So, whilst I think that technological progress has improved quality of life in enormously non-trivial ways, by eradicating a lot of “the work hours that people used to have to do outside of work” (and this is an argument I take very seriously indeed), do you not sympathise with the idea that “the kids” don’t feel as rich as their parents?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Do you understand the difference between, ‘I don’t want that job’, and ‘I don’t even know that job existed, mostly because it was advertised in Lahore rather than Glasgow’.”

    Ah. So you’re objecting to the way jobs were advertised? Well, nowadays we’ve got the internet to solve that little problem.

    “That excerpt relates to the ’50s, the first time the globalists put forward the lie that British workers don’t want to work at any price.”

    First time I’ve heard it.

    “You should stop repeating it if you have any interest in honest discussion.”

    You should stop accusing me of repeating things I haven’t said if you want an honest discussion.

    So far as I was aware, we were discussing the socialist/protectionist wish to keep the price of labour high by restricting supply, by excluding cheaper competition, and justifying this on the basis of “to each according to his needs” or other expressions of an identical meaning. Wanting to sell at above the market rate is obviously not the same thing as not wanting to sell at all. Someone who wasn’t even looking for a job, having no wish to be employed, wouldn’t have any reason to care about foreign competition.


    “So, whilst I think that technological progress has improved quality of life in enormously non-trivial ways, by eradicating a lot of “the work hours that people used to have to do outside of work” (and this is an argument I take very seriously indeed), do you not sympathise with the idea that “the kids” don’t feel as rich as their parents?”

    Do they know that in 1978 is was also normal for people not to be able to afford houses? It was only after Maggie brought in the ‘Right to Buy’ in 1980 that home ownership took off among the poorest, and a lot of labour voters were able to start accumulating value rather than expending it all as rent. For many of their parents, such wealth is a more recent thing.

    Kids are obviously not as rich as their parents are now – there’s 40 years accumulation between them. Do kids really think they’re poorer than their parents were when their parents were kids? Do kids really think that in 40 years time, around 2060, that they will not be richer still?

    Well, judging by the evergreen popularity of socialism, I don’t suppose people’s tendency to believe odd things should surprise me. It reminds me of the Environmentalist litany of doom, or Hans Rosling’s on the disconnect between global poverty and people’s beliefs about it – there’s a streak of pessimism in humanity a mile wide.

  • neonsnake

    Do they know that in 1978 is was also normal for people not to be able to afford houses? It was only after Maggie brought in the ‘Right to Buy’ in 1980 that home ownership took off among the poorest

    Anecdotally, I don’t believe they know that it was “not normal”, but they do know that home ownership took off in the 80s – and that’s when most of their parents bought their first house and had the children that are today feeling that they’re not as rich today as their parents were at the same age.

    They’re comparing average housing costs in the 80s as being maybe 2-3 times the average yearly salary, and nowadays being more like 5 times (ignoring London, which makes the picture much worse).

    Again, I still think there’s much more to life than owning a house (easy for me to say), and that in so many ways quality of life is better than you had growing up, or I had growing up, or even that we had in our twenties.

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