Saturday, October 05, 2013
How to Cut Government Spending 100% And Then Some
1 - Freeze civil service hiring, wages, promotions, benefits and require non-salary budgets to be cut 2% in each department for a year and fire 3%. This would cut, after inflation, salaries by about 11% and including benefits and budgets about 9% overall - £72 billion.
2 - Stop subsidisng fakecharities - save £20 bn.
3 - Fire useless quangos - £50 bn
4 - Fire the child "caring profession"/child buggering services - £20 bn.
5 - Hypothecation of pensions and the NHS i.e. that a set amount of national insurance and tax (probably combined into 1 tax) is automatically set aside for these and run without political interference - OK this doesn't end the cost but it does make it non-governmental -
£144 bn for pensions
£130 bn for health
(In 2008 Income tax and National Insurance was £260 bn making up £95% of these 2014 figures so it must slightly exceed those 2 now. Any change in pensions/NHS spending would depend on a popular referendum to change these rates)
6 - Cut £10 bn from overseas aid - £10bn
7 - Stop subsidising windmills - £25 bn
8 - Government owned factory mass producing nuclear reactor profits - + £50 bn profit
9 - Fire 200,000 elfin safety inspectors (government budgets seem to be at least £100k per employee) - £20 bn
10 - Fire the same again of other useless government inspectors - £20 bn
11 - Allowing shale gas to be produced and pay the current 30% extra tax - est +£30 bn - granted this is a new source of revenue not spending cut but it has the same effect on other taxpaying
12 - Quit the EU and end our direct payments - £16 bn
total so far £607 bn
13 - A second year of #1 (9% less than 1st year as starting for 9% lower base) - £65bn
14 - A 3rd year of #1 (out of a 5 year Parliament) - £58 bn
Total £730 billion. So we come out with a profit of £11 bn.
OK, OK, not entirely serious - I'm going for general effect not accuracy. I have been doing a fair bit of double counting - if you have already closed down quangos and inspectors you can't save more by cutting them another 9%.
But far from non-serious either.
I have taken no account of the greatly increasing growth we would get from cheap nuclear and shale; cutting destructive regulation; and the multiplier effect of this wasted money being released by tax cuts.
AND THEN THERE IS ANOTHER SPECTACULAR EFFECT
A 10% growth rate, which I have repeatedly shown is possible if we go for it, means government can produce 10% more money each year which has to be spent somewhere, without any inflationary effect whatsoever (indeed not doing so would be recessionary by making money scarcer than the goods it represents). UK money supply was £2,200 bn in 2010 (say £2.4bn by 2014) so that means it would be expected to print about £240 bn in the first year and growing proportionately to gdp thereafter . That would pay off the national debt in 4 years, (£240 + 264 + 290 + 319 = £1,113 bn).
Then we would have to actively find ways to spend it!
Friday, October 04, 2013
Scottish X-Prizism & How To Improve Our Standard Of Living
They have a number of relatively small prizes on offer. The biggest one seems to be the Google lunar lander one. Worth $30 million. They have 4 other active ones. So in total it is offering under $50 million (£30 million).
So a very small action on the British government's part would be to offer to award an extra 50% to any winner that was a British company. In theory that could cost £15 million but in practice odds of all 5 being won by British companies or organisations would be to small to measure even if we were the world leader in most sciences.
It is even something Scotland alone could do. The odds of us having to pay out anything would be up there with the odds of a windmill running 24/7.
But it would encourage scientists to move here.
And it would encourage countries worldwide to look at prizes as a concept.
I haven't changed my mind about wanting to spend 4% of gdp (app £65 bn) on prizes. But start where you are.
This comment on John Redwood. He had asked for ideas on how to reduce the cost of living for ordinary people. Although he didn't put a comment on it, it took 2 days for it to be posted which usually means it was severely critical of somebody (not in this case) or that he was looking closely at it:
"I agree about cutting electricity costs (90% is possible) and housing (at least 3/4 state parasitism).
Nursery care in Britain costs 40.9% of average wages, an enormous burden. In Estonia, a very libertarian nation (also an EU member so for once they aren’t to blame) it is 6.6%. This can only be our regulatory parasitism. How about allowing an unregulated “child minding” industry and let parents choose whether they want regulated or not.
There are 200,000 elfin safety mafia. The rule of thumb is that each state inspector cost industry 20 times what they cost government so that is 4 million worker’s work destroyed. 18% of gdp. In turn, since wealth is correlated to safety that means they kill 1,000 times the 100 odd people they save annually.
I assume the government has at least another 200,000 regulators in other fields like environment.
A legal right to challenge regulations if they have a cost benefit ratio 4 times higher than in some comparable industry would exercise downward pressure on parasitism.
Automated rail would cut cost by about 1/3rd and more than double capacity, reducing fares and goods transport costs.
Go for land value tax with owner’s valuation and the right to buy at 3 times owner’s valuation. That would grease the wheels of progress.
All together that looks like it would more than double the individual’s disposable income even without cutting the 40% of gdp the state spends or making an allowance for increasing growth."
Thursday, October 03, 2013
Democracy Now - Comparing Judge Dredd and the British Establishment
So today I am going to draw a few comparisons to how our media are reporting UKIP and warming sceptics, and even Tories -
- with Ed Milband's dad.
This is a letter to all and sundry and not published (a variant went to the Mail but they didn't use it either):
"There has been some criticism, mainly by the state owned BBC, of recent reporting of the political views that Ed Miliband's father taught him.
However, a press release on Friday read: “Police Scotland can confirm that the submission of candidate papers relating to Mr Peter Adams for the Dunfermline by-election has been raised with them by Fife Council through informal discussion but can clarify that no complaint has been noted and therefore no police investigation has commenced.
“At this time, the matter remains in the hands of the council to clarify the circumstances.”
Mr Adams was elected to the board of NHS Fife as a non-executive member in June 2010. Under guidance issued in March 2011, board members were informed they cannot stand as a Holyrood candidate without resigning from their NHS board.
As a result, the general school of thought is it is necessary for members who wish to stand for election to quit prior to their nomination forms being lodged."
In fact Adams had done so before putting in his nomination. Obviously it is common for senior members of all parties, particularly those who are part of the ruling cartel, to hold such positions.
The Courier's original story has now been taken offline.
later stories would depict Dredd's profound regret for the actions he took to thwart the March, and his disillusionment with the Judge System would have very significant consequences for the strip.
Dredd used various "dirty tricks" to undermine the March. He blackmailed the organisers by fabricating evidence against them and threatening to leak it to the press. He told Gort Hyman that if he did not withdraw he would conscript his children into the Academy of Law to be trained as cadet judges (the Academy does not require parental consent). He arrested an elderly leader on a trumped-up charge (he found a photo of him in enemy uniform he knew was taken at a Halloween party) and made him stand all night without sleep or food, before releasing him minutes before the March was due to start, so that he would collapse from exhaustion along the way, undermining morale. Dredd ordered Weather Control to produce rain to reduce attendance. By the time the March started, numbers were well below the expected turnout. Undercover judges planted as agitators in the crowd first undermined morale by defeatist talk, and then incited violence by throwing things at uniformed judges, giving Dredd the excuse he needed to send in riot squads to break up the March and make arrests. The organisers were sentenced to significant terms of incarceration. Yet publicly, the Judges appeared to have the moral high ground."
Of course that is just a comic book fascist regime.
You wouldn't get anything like that here - except we already know of children being seized by "professional carers" to bully their parents into quitting UKIP or the EDL (still continuing with the EDL). We already know of faked photographs being used by the media. In Greece we know of politicians being arrested on clearly fraudulent charges, with the approval of the EU and I assume with rulers across the EU watching to see if they get away with it. In Scotland such smears are clearly government directed and we know that the governing part is inciting violence.
And the totalitarian Fascist BBC propaganda organisation knowingly promotes any lie, even obscenities, to promote Fascism and false ecofascist scares and censors to hide the extent of state power (even to the extent of censoring mention of the size of the £3.7 billion subsidy) but censors also any attempt by dissidents to speak.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Glasgow University European Society Debate
I am certainly convinced we won the intellectually. I intend to post my speech tomorrow.
It was divided into 3 sections - 40 minutes for 4 speeches, the same for debate on the platform and a bit longer for questions/points from the floor.
It was also done with good manners on both sides though at one point I was forced to object to a claim by John Purves, former Tory MEP, that if UKIP took power we would be attacking Syracuse (Sicily) pointing out that his party supported wars against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and (at least the party leader) Syria whereas UKIP had opposed them all. He was perfectly entitled to approve of those wars but he was not entitled to say that UKIP were the warmongerings.
The other 'phile speaker was John Brand, a former British diplomat and now leader of the (partly EU funded) European Movement in Scotland, which arguably says something about the impartiality of our foreign office.
Their arguments were largely about the benefits of a free trading zone and how much good it had done us. I believe this was negated by my speech and indeed during the 2nd section I asked if they disputed my figures of the EU zone massively economically underperforming the rest of the world and likely to do worse in future. John Brand said this was because it is easier for poor countries to grow and I replied that this is an excuse popular with politicians in wealthy but failing countries and very popular in Britain but is not true. History shows that it is actually easier for already rich countries to grow than poor ones because they have the education, spare capital and infrastructure thus the industrial revolution happened in Britain not one of the poorer nations of the time. That it is confirmed by the fact that back then the disparity in income between Britain and Senegal was only about 3 times but is now 200 times. I said that the reason for the current faster 3rd world growth is that they have adopted the Washington Consensus, which is basically what Adam Smith taught 200 years ago, while we have adopted Luddism instead but that we could achieve world average growth any time our political class allow it. As confirmation I pointed out that Singapore, Hong Kong, the US, Canada, Australia and now Taiwan are richer per capita than us and still growing faster, indeed that Singapore recently achieved 14% growth in 1 year.
That later brought a question from the floor by somebody who said Singapore allows unlimited immigration, unlike UKIP's policy. I'm afraid that I got a bit shirty about that when, after I said it is very careful about limiting immigration to skilled workers and that it is quite obvious, since they are surrounded by poor countries, that if they allowed unlimited immigration they would quickly be swamped by millions of immigrants. He again insisted they did and I simply said that was a silly assertion, which was not courteous but is true.
Mr Brand also complained about how the media is biased against the EU - ie the Mail and Mirror and I said that the BBC, which is far more important is overwhelmingly biased in favour of the EU.
Professor Curtis, who regularly, on election night, explains the trends on the BBC, moderated with patience and courtesy keeping even Christopher Monckton to time (and firmly asking a questioner making what appeared to be a personal attack on Monckton whether this was about the EU and excluding it when, despite the questioner's assertion, it turned out not to be).
Lord Monckton was far and away the best speaker, eschewing mere microphones to march to the front of the stage and speak from there. I won't even attempt to repeat his definition of what the EU call a spade since it must have run to 100 words. He knows his facts and he knows his anecdotes and he knows a dozen languages. He dominated the debate and clearly knew it (but this is my blog so I get to big up me ;-) ).
I took half a minute from Chris's summing up (he is a gentleman and agreed though he was clearly the right person to do it) to say that, since it was agreed by all, that this debate had been informative as well as entertaining, and since free debate is a necessary condition of a real democracy, that I hoped everybody would agree that it would be a good thing if the BBC were to follow the example and actually broadcast some formal debates where both sides were present.
And so to the beer bar.
According to this the audience was 269 which feels about right.
BBC Scotland Newsnight - Arts and Independence
I was in the audience in this debate last night. I assume they selected me because I am a bookseller and that makes me artistic. It could be simply that they liked my question. Or being cynical it could be that since I listed my party as UKIP, it allows them to put the token UKIP audience member into a relatively non-party programme.
This links to the video up for 6 days
Monday, September 30, 2013
Free Markets Should Be The Default Position - Many Supposed Market Failures Aren't
"I can think of three important exceptions. One is where the externalities are diffused, making it hard to identify a specific victim: acid rain, say, or leaded petrol. A second is where the cost falls upon something other than a legal person – the suffering involved in battery farming, for example. A third is where ownership rights alone cannot prevent the depletion of a resource: quotas to keep fish stocks sustainable are the obvious instance. In these cases, even the most ideological libertarians generally allow that state regulation is beneficial."
The thing is that I found 1 1/2 of them wrong and commented (a week ago today).
"Looking at Dan's 3 exceptions:
Fishing is an example, not of market failure but of the failure of a lack of market. This is a "tragedy of the commons" situation where, because nobody owns the fish, nobody has the incentive to conserve. the best solution would be establishing property rights - selling an appropriate number of licences for particular areas & times and using GPS monitoring to police it.
As regards acid rain - this has been proven a false scare, though obviously among the journalists, beeboids and ecofascists who promoted it only those who were in any slightest way honest ever reported it when it was found to be a bust.
Anybody ever seen a journalist, beeboid or "environmentalist" who was in any way honest? me neither which is why nobody much has heard that "acid rain" actually turns into nitrate fertiliser which helped the trees. http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/acid-rain-iis-good-for-trees.html
Which is why the story disappeared from the news.
So only 1 1/2 out of 3 left. Now if Dan, a who is as market orientated as one is likely to meet has fallen for these as part of the only examples of market failure it shows how rare such failure is, how often apparent failure can be solved simply changing the rules a little and how strongly our culture has become biased against having market freedom as our default position."
Underlining added because that is the main point I was making. I suggest that free markets should always be the default position until a conclusive case has been made of a market failure which cannot be dealt with in an easier way.
This does not mean that I believe the market never fails and I mentioned 3 cases, different from his, where I believe it does.
"Just in case anybody thinks I am an absolute libertarian I consider the advertising industry a market failure (it makes money by increasing rather than satisfying demand); the news media to (the big profits are made by gaining political brownie points, but unfortunately state owned media are a far worse failure than privately owned); and that X-Prizes are needed to address the market failure to adequately reward invention, which is the ultimate source of virtually all wealth."
In the case of news media it is because gains from political schmoozing are not included and if government had less power and were spending less of the money and if less of government's power were personal decision making and more laws to which even the state defers, those gains would be reduced, though not eliminated.
In the same way X-Prizes are a way of making up for the failure of markets to defend inventor's rights to the wealth they create as well as the other factors of productivity are rewarded - a failure I think is inherent because their contribution is less tangible. I have said that X-prizes should be awarded up to 3 times what patents currently provide.
Even advertising sometimes is worthwhile if it brings people's attention to new products they would not have heard of and would like. It is only when it is trying to persuade you that not having their product makes you less sexually desirable, happy, or otherwise socially undesirable.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Patent Rights - Are They The Ultimate Example Of Property Rights Being Human Rights Or Are They An Infrinigement Of Traditional Property?
He, like many other libertarians, believed that patents do not represent legitimate personal "intellectual property" but consider patents to be a government enforcement of monopoly. They limit property to the traditional economic definitions of land, labour and capital.
I think that invention is not only a factor in production but the most important factor and the one to which the individual should have greatest rights.
Beyond that there is the question of what are proper property rights - some countries include minerals under the ground as the landowner's property, some don't, some allow common ownership (ie common land) some limited common ownership to limited companies & partnerships. Heinelin once wrote of the equatorial countries having legal ownership of the Moon because it is always in their airspace (spacespace). And so on. I would say property rights are not inherent but derive from value produced and contracted for and that if, by defending property rights social wealth is increased (as ensuring inventors get the benefit of their invention does) then those are property rights that should be defended. This is anathema to those who say property rights are intrinsic and not differentiable from human rights.
Good ideas are indeed scarce - and valuable.
If they weren't any idiot could think what Einstein did (I mean think it first - any idiot can think E=MC^2 but few understand it).
Most of the rest of this article comes down to assertion that people have no right to their intellectual property because they have'n't.
In fact people are more responsible for their own invention than for land and equally responsible for their labour and capital. Of these 4 factors human brains are far and away the most important factor in production or cavemen would all have been billionaires.
Ethically wealth creators have the right to, at least, a fair share of the wealth they create, whether they create it by brains, brawn or machinery.
In practice if people don't benefit from their inputs to productivity they have no incentive to produce & indeed that the price they can charge should equally related to the wealth they create, irrespective of method - the entire private enterprise system is based on this.
What we are seeing is, as always, special pleading from one section of society that all the benefits should come to them. As is normal with lobbying of government, the section of society demanding special rights is the one that has long been in power. In the same way the aristos objected to the French Revolution's assertion that long established aristocratic rights shouldn't guarantee their right to the peasant's surplus - with disasterous results.
There is, at least as lawyering is currently run and probably inherently, a difficulty in defending the immaterial property rights of the inventor - land, labour and even capital are more easily defended. However this does not affect the principle that the workman is worthy of his hire even when working with his/her brain.
Refusing to reward invention equally with other factors has been such a disincentive, as anybody knowing any economic theory should expect.
Certainly inability to defend a birthing tongs patent caused the deaths of over 100 million women over generations http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/st... and I believe that the lack of patenting alone at the time of the antikythera computer http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/an... , delayed human progress by about 1,500 years. X-Prizes would have improved progress even faster.
Besides that, if we go back to E=MC^2, it's not like if Einstein would've kept his mouth shut that it wouldn't exist today. He was a leading figure working in that field of science, but he was not the only one. Other people would've figured it out eventually.
So I concede that the existence of IP can have positive effects (it probably does incentivise people to invent things), but the non-existence of IP on the other hand, will make it possible for much more people to work with existing ideas (the 'two know more than one'-principle)
Anyway, like I said in my other post, Boldrin and Levine were not able to prove that IP is beneficial
From Boldrin & Levine's 'Against Intellectual Monopoloy':
In late 1764, while repairing a small Newcomen steam engine, the idea of allowing steam to expand and condense in separate containers sprang into the mind of James Watt. He spent the next few months in unceasing labor building a model of the new engine. In 1768, after a series of improvements and substantial borrowing, he applied for a patent on the idea, requiring him to travel to London in August. He spent the next six months working hard to obtain his patent. It was finally awarded in January of the following year. Nothing much happened by way of production until 1775. Then, with a major effort supported by his business partner, the rich industrialist Matthew Boulton, Watt secured an Act of Parliament extending his patent until the year 1800.
Once Watt’s patents were secured and production started, a substantial portion of his energy was devoted to fending off rival inventors.
More dramatically, in the 1790s, when the superior Hornblower engine was put into production, Boulton and Watt went after him with the full force of the legal system.
After the expiration of Watt’s patents, not only was there an explosion in the production and efficiency of engines, but steam power came into its own as the driving force of the industrial revolution. Over a thirty year period steam engines were modified and improved as crucial innovations such as the steam train, the steamboat and the steam jenny came into wide usage. The key innovation was the high-pressure steam engine development of which had been blocked by Watt’s strategic use of his patent.
If the work of a man is to reduce personal scarcity he should work in the optimally rewarding business which is less likely to be invention if the laws prevent him receiving as high a proportion of the increase in wealth he creates as in other lines. If the work of Man is to relieve scarcity and improve our condition, & I believe it is, then NOTHING contributes more to that, over time, than technological improvement (indeed one can argue that it is virtually 100% responsible). In which case a wise society will organise itself to encourage a wise man to maximise his contribution to Man.
There are a number of other points on both sides. Mine here are in normal typeface, the other useful contributions on the other are in italics.
As with all such debates no unequivocal conclusion is reached but I think the majority of those persuadable broadly agreed with my point.
The entire comments are worth reading - go to the link above and click the comments section.