March 24, 2008

The stupid party lives up to its name

Wow, the Stupid Party appear to be trying to live up to its name. When the very first paragraph setting up the argument is a fallacy then you know that the argument is going to go seriously wrong.
I believe all the proposed plans for welfare reform will fail because they do not tell us how we are to create the one million plus jobs needed to end welfare dependency. This is because the British economy no longer produces the jobs that the unemployed need.

So the hundreds of thousands of eastern europeans that have (thank the spaghetti monster) decided to come to this country are doing what exactly? Sitting around on the beach basking in our wonderful weather? No, they are working. There are jobs for people who are willing to actually work. Eastern europeans are, British born welfare dependents are not. That is the problem a lack of willingness to work not a lack of work, but on with the rest of the article.
Well, for a start we are not making the goods to supply our domestic market anymore, we are importing those goods. So a radio that could have been made in Britain is being made in China instead and a Chinaman has work while the Briton that could have made that radio remains unemployed.

There are other means of employment than manufacturing. There are all of the cleaning jobs (done by the eastern europeans), service jobs (done by the eastern europeans), agricultural jobs (done by the eastern europeans). There are the trades, such as that of the famous polish plumber, or they could get themselves educated and work their way up the value chain to something that pays even better. As no doubt the children of the eastern european immigrants will be doing.
When we have an economy that is reliant on imports it means that we have to pursue a strong pound policy to ensure that the foreign goods stay cheap. To have a strong currency we have to have higher interest rates.

Hello, this is the twenty first century calling! Anybody home? Obviously not. The government has no strong pound policy, it has no weak pound policy. the strength of the currency is handled by the markets and a good thing to. We now have a floating exchange rate and a good thing it is acting as one of the automatic stablisers on the economy. If perhaps there was some secret strong pound policy that nobody had actually noticed then you would think that should the pound start to fall, as it has done, then the Bank would increase interest rates to prop it up, as it has not done either keeping them the same or lowering them.
The answer given by politicians is because it's cheaper to buy them from abroad.

As unusual as it is in this case they are actually telling the truth. It is cheaper to import the stuff we want, and that is great. We get the stuff we want and don't have to do so much to get it.
So we get cheaper goods, but we pay for that in other ways, with unemployment, and we pay for that with higher interest rates too.

Not that again, there are jobs. They are being done. They are just not being done by those for whom sitting around and waiting for their dole money is a more attractive option. Make work more attractive and you might find more of the natives working, possibly for the eastern europeans for whom the hard work that they have already put will have hopefully helped them up the ladder.
So: What have our wonderful imports brought us?

You mean apart from wealth that our forefathers could only dream of?
Permanent mass unemployment and high interest rates or inflation. Rather a high price to pay for cheap goods don't you think?

No that would be the cost of autarchy, as demonstrated by all those that have been forced to follow that path like: Albania, Franco's Spain, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq under Sadam. Notice a pattern? That they where all monumentally shit places to live? Yes that is it, and that is why free trade is considered better than autarchy. Free trade delivers the goods, self sufficiency does not.
Already we can see that producing for our domestic market, that is having a home-market economic policy, has many advantages. The cheap Chinese radio may no longer be available but in its place we have people working, people no longer on benefit, people spending money that stays in Britain, money that British producers can use to re-invest.

Errrm, no actually not only wouldn't you have the cheap chinese radio but everybody would be so poor that it would seem like an extremely expensive luxury good thanks to the much, much greater unemployment. Like in Albania, Franco's Spain, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq under Sadam.

March 21, 2008

Obama, Clinton, and McCain passport records

Perhaps the fact that somebody has been rooting around in the data of
all three of the US presidential hopefuls will give our ones a little
pause for thought about putting everybodies data on the NIR when they
realize that their data will be there as well.

Prisoners 'may be released early'

This is being sent via email, hence the strange format. Now on to the
story about prisoners being released early. Personally I have no
problem with early release for those that have reformed. In fact the
prospect of early release is is a valuable carrot to help with reform
(hopefully to go with the stick of being locked up somewhere
unpleasant). If they have reformed and are nolonger a danger to
society then there is no point keeping them locked up, and plenty of
reason not to given how expensive prison is.

Unfortunately this isn't that kind of early release. We don't know if
they have reformed or not. The release has absolutely no relation to
reform and is simply because the state has not built enough prison

Defending its citizens is one of the few legitimate actions for the
state, and providing enough prison places is part of this duty. The
courts should be able to sentence a criminal to however long they
think is needed to reform them and know that the only reason that they
are coming out is because the have either done this or done enough to
really demonstrate that they have reformed. The prisons themselves
should not be so overcrowded that they are merely warehouses for
people and actually get on with their job of trying to reform these

The state has ignored its duty and despite huge levels of tax and
massive levels of debt there are not enough prison places for the
prisons to do there job properly. Where this money has gone is a
mystery, it does not show up in the quality of the services it
provides. Armies of bureaucrats and subsidies for the underclass mainly.

March 12, 2008

The EU and Xenophobia

Once upon a time I was mildly pro-EU, not strongly but just with that vague idea that it was somehow a good thing. Rather like how it is always presented on the BBC. This changed when I started to look into what it actually was and for arguments to defend this view. Quite simply there aren't any that stand up.

As Dan Hannan and the Devil point out one of the common arguments, if you care to call it such, used by the Pro-EU is that anybody that has any problems with the EU must be xenophobic and by implication racist. The correct response to this should probably be to simply thank them for conceding the argument so ungracefully. However if one was to really want to it is quite easy to just throw it strait back at them.

The EU state is being built from a customs union, this is inherently a protectionist structure is there to defend 'fortress europe' from the outside world. It is there to try and insulate the countries in it from all those nasty anglo-saxons in northern america, from the Hispanics in south and mezzo America, from all those Asians and Chinese, and of course all of those people in Africa. If a Pro-EU argument ends up degenerating to the stage where the xenophobia card gets pulled a free trader could simply reply that he has absolutely no problem working with any European, but he also has no problem working with anybody else in the world and would just like the EU to get out of his way and let him. You could also slip in that this would mean you are happy to work with anybody of any race rather than trying to shut out anybody that isn't white, if you really want to descend to their level of name calling but that really isn't necessary.

March 11, 2008

Diseconomies of scale

One of the scary myths of the anti-capitalist movement is that companies grow ad infinitum, and in the end you end up with one single giant corporation that runs everything in much the same way as a soviet command economy. This is not the case in reality, and for many of the same reasons that the soviet command economy failed (but with a lot fewer dead people along the way).

As a company gets bigger the bureaucracy needed to run it also gets bigger, and as the bureaucracy gets bigger the entity as a whole becomes less efficient. To begin with these bureaucratic inefficiencies are overwhelmed by the new efficiencies of scale but eventually you reach a point where there are no more efficiencies of scale to be had and the inefficiencies of bureaucracy dominate.

Companies are not motivated by becoming as big as possible, but by becoming as profitable as possible and there comes a point where by becoming any bigger they become less profitable. Cadbury/Schweppes has gone beyond that point and so is not splitting itself up to try and become more profitable in total as two smaller companies than as one massive one.

Anything run as a function of the state however does not have this luxury of trying to find the point where it operates most efficiently by growing or shrinking its total output. It has to generate enough output for everybody that it serves, and have the level of bureaucracy needed for this level of output no matter how inefficient that this makes it.

The NHS, for example, is enormous and controlled by dikat from the centre. It is the third largest employer on the planet behind the Indian railways and the Chinese army (both of which are also state controlled). In it money is spent where the central controllers think the money should be going. Where the people on the front line think this money should be going is rarely the same, and it is the people on the front line know what is needed. Thanks to the layers of bureaucracy and simple numbers involved it is very hard for these signals to get back from the front lines to the people controlling the budgets in any meaningful way.

You can hose the NHS down with money, just as Labour have been doing, and have it disappear without any gain in productivity at all because it is not going to where the people on the front line know it needs to go for that goal. It is hugely unlikely, for example,that when confronted with the need to be more efficient the first thing that GPs would think of would be to pay themselves far more money for doing exactly the same things, and then start a media witch hunt about it. However that is exactly what the government forced upon them.

Only by reducing the amount of bureaucracy between the desires people that pay for and consume its services and those at the front line will it ever even begin to satisfy them, and that cannot happen when it is still this bureaucratic colossus.

Criminally unjust

The latest criminal [in]justice proposal kite is having a test flight. It will crash and burn way before it hits the courts (hopefully) but it does show the desperation of the government when they have to include measures like this:
Thieves who target vulnerable victims, such as the elderly, may not be sent to jail in future - if it is shown they were motivated by desperation or need.

What the fuck? What else are they going to claim?
"Well yes M'lud, I brutally assaulted that sweet old grandmother and then stole her handbag because I didn't like the colour of her shoes."
No, any scrote is going to come out with:
"I didn't want to, but I was desperate because of my [insert dependency de jour here] addiction."
You can also see the fingerprints of trendy anti-capitalists over this one because those who shop-lift from large chain stores will get even lower sentences that if they ripped off a small, independent trader. Stealing from shops will, under these proposals, will not mean prison even if they injure people during the course of their theft.

There is no mention, of course, about the real reason that these measures are being proposed. That the government has not built enough prison cells, and so because of its own incompetence the government has decided to relieve itself of the hassle of actually trying to deal with crime. One of the very few legitimate activities that the state actually has. All these measures will do is reduce the risks of crime for criminals and therefore increase the risk of becoming a victim of crime to everybody else, especially vulnerable victims such as the elderly.

documenting the trough

A little good news from Westminster that should reduce the amount of our money that the little piggies can stuff in their pockets. From April the 1st MPs will have to produce receipts for any expenses claim greater than £25.

Certainly a good thing, though the members of the fig-leaf parliament of our true government (the one in Brussels, or Strasbourg depending on which week of the month it is) will still be able to gorge themselves on their expenses without ever having to produce any kind of receipts.

March 08, 2008

good news from the EU

There are very very few good things about the EU. Those that exist are grossly out weighed by the bad points, and soon there is to be one fewer. The Constitutional Lisbon Treaty is to abolish the right to free movement in the case of sport. Just a little nibble at those few good things that the EU does. Not much really, and about nothing of importance, but it does show that it is possible to occasionally get powers back from beyond the one way valve into the cess pit of the acquis communautaire. Now we just need to get a few more things back, like everything. However that is not going to happen, a state or empire does not give away important powers lightly. Most likely this is simply another step to the EU divesting itself of anything good, much as the Common Market (which British where lied into believing was all the EEC was at the only referendum we have ever had on the EU) is in theory a good idea but in practice has the costs out weight the benefits.

March 06, 2008

EU Constitution, Round 1

Once again we are lucky to have the House of Lords, they will almost certainly be putting in amendments to force the parties in the commons to actually follow their manifesto pledges, and next time this comes back to the commons the Lib-Dems might be voting for it which with a rebellion amongst Labour ranks could even have a referendum on Lisbon forced upon the political elite, as they promised but as only a few really want. If there is no rebellion it will certainly be fun to watch this Bill bounce between Commons and Lords with their Lordships trying to keep the elected chamber to their electoral promises. It will certainly show up the contempt that the general public are held should it eventually reach the stage where Gordon Brown is forced to use the Parliament Act in order to break one of his manifesto pledges.

The rebellion over the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty was certainly impressive, very large numbers considering how few parliamentarians they have and that this was against a three line whip. Either this a cynical ploy based on the fact that the Lib-Dems main problem is that they are ignored and simply by getting more airtime on the broadcast media their poll ratings will go up, no matter whether the story is good or bad. Or there are some Lib-Dems that actually believe in representative democracy and therefore acting the way that they told the electorate they would the last time we got a chance to choose our the people to represent us. Not matter what the reason their actions where a good, if futile, attempt to bring a little democratic accountability to the deeply un-democratic (even anti-democratic) EU and the processes building it.

March 05, 2008

Gordon, the earth needs you

This has got to be one of the stranger space mission plans that I have heard of, yet oddly compelling for an astronaut with the right stuff. A one-way, one-person mission to Mars. Not just (unflash) Gordon, armies of other socialist functionaries could eventually be there pioneering there way on the red planet. "McLane’s hope is the solo astronaut would be joined by others shortly in the future. Orbital mechanics provides a desirable launch window from Earth to Mars every 26 months. 'This person wouldn’t be there by himself for very long. It’s just returning home that would be impossible,' he said."