* Posts by Tim Worstal

1183 posts • joined 12 Feb 2008

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So, was it really the Commies that caused the early 20th Century inequality collapse?

Tim Worstal
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Re: Where's the balance El Reg ?

1) I'm not an economist.

2) I'm just me.

3) My opinion pieces are my opinion.

4) If El Reg wishes to publish opinion pieces that don't agree with my opinions that's just great by me.

Actually, with point 4), I wonder if the powers that be would like to have, say, Richard Murphy.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Since the 80's

Hugely cynical but, umm, maybe.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Money has to go somewhere

Gold star there. The reason that the US has lower connectivity at high speed couldn't possibly, maybe, related to population density, could it?

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Where's the balance El Reg ?

Given my income sources ("being at" the ASI is an unpaid position, I get maybe a burger, but a nice one!, and a glass or two of wine if I'm in London) I'm rather more El Reg's rep to the right wing think tank world than the other way around....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Since the 80's

"one with no earners and one with a male AND a female earner, then the inequality is far higher?"

It gets worse than that: assortative mating. Lawyers marry lawyers these days, not lawyer the legal secretary who then retires to raise the kids. We therefore have much greater household income inequality simply because we get two professional income households up at the top in a manner we never used to.

And barring some form of state control over who one may marry there ain't much anyone can do about it.

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Tim Worstal
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"So how does it explain the sudden and accelerating increase in inequality"

I'm not trying to explain inequality, I'm trying to explain growth rates. Largely on the grounds that I don't care very much about inequality but do about growth rates.

But since you insist: standard models would suggest that if you add a few billion low productivity and low pay people to the economy then the low skill and low pay people originally in the economy are going to get the shaft. And that's what globalisation has done since 1980 or so (really, 1978 started it in China).

So, increasing inequality within rich countries is a result of globalisation. I've even written a piece about it for this very publication:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/09/28/inequality_rising_screw_the_one_per_cent/

For if I am to worry about inequality and or poverty then I'm not going to worry about within rich country inequality. I'm going to worry about global inequality and absolute, not relative, poverty. And since globalisation reduces global inequality and massively reduces absolute poverty then to hell with relative poverty in the UK and bugger rising inequality in already rich countries.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Not so much public ownership but public wealth creation

" From the 1920s through the 1970s, there was large investment in council housing. After 1947, there was also large investment in the health service."

Not so much really. The 30s housing boom was private sector driven. And the NHS was simply the nationalisation of previously extant health care facilities. The NHS didn't actually build a hospital until 1963.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: A bit simplistic

I generally argue that capitalism v socialism isn't the important part. It's markets v not markets that are. And yes, the SOEs are a large part of the Chinese economy and they are state owned enterprises. But they're also competing in what is possibly the most vicious free market on the planet currently.

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FORKING BitcoinXT: Is it really a coup or just more crypto-FUD?

Tim Worstal
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What's always puzzled me is, where are the fraudsters?

In the alt-coin world, just where are they?

I've still not worked out whether Karpeles was simply gloriously incompetent or what and of course there's been a few standard ponzi schemes like bitcoin hedge funds and the like. But where are the real financial fraudsters?

Given my interest as a connoisseur in financial "schemes" I can think of a couple of ways in which a small team (someone who actually understands the psychology of financial markets and a couple of tech heads) could wander off with a couple of $10s of millions by Christmas.

It would even, probably, be legal. And yet I can't see this being done, or at least we're not hearing about it. And I really cannot work out why.

And I don't mean running the usual scams just using alt-coins. The basic design of the very systems is an open invitation to anyone willing to try. So, why aren't they?

Just don't get it myself.

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Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

Tim Worstal
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Re: What should have been looked at

The general assumption here about the economics is that someone is on the fiddle. Which I'm happy enough to put in the comments as an opinion, but not in the article as a statement or rumination....

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

Tim Worstal
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"Can somebody say "squashed salamander"?"

Some days, before lunch, yes. After lunch, some other days, weeeeel.....journos do have a reputation to keep up.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: I'm shocked!

It's not " a taking" in law, no.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Insurance value?

Yes, you're right, sorry phrased that rather badly. Maxima culpa etc.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Ownership and liability

Well, sorta. Actually, the Rentenmark, and to deal with the Weimar inflation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Rentenmark

And sorta, sorta, a pledge of the land values. But also sorta a pledge of the tax revenues to be had over time from those recorded land values.

But Germany though.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: I'm shocked!

ERM, I've not suggested that the current permission be withdrawn, which would indeed be a taking.

Instead, that they grant new permission on another piece of land.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Free Market Consistency

Umm, true, but I fear it's a little bit Randian even for me.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: so why can't

Taking away the permission in US law would be a "taking". Something that they must compensate for at full value. Creating new stuff they can do.

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Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

Tim Worstal
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Re: interesting on Murphy's education

"I'm not even sure if Tim has a degree in anything."

Amazingly, Murphy and I did pretty much the same degree. Accounting and Finance/ Accounting and Economics. He at Southampton, me at the LSE, about the same time too, early 80s.

Our technical qualifications in economics are about the same: pretty sparse in fact. Which is why I always say that I am not an economist, just someone interested in the subject.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: whereas ...

Quite, it isn't true. I've had one and it ain't.

Weirdly tho; the US does tax writers on their writing income made writing for American publications, even if you're not a citizen or resident. Or at least they try to....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Next time, do some research first

"The Bank of England published a report very carefully explaining the transmission channels through which QE was meant to work. The idea was to push down the yield curve and thus encourage borrowing, spending, and investment."

Err, yes, I say that, that they wanted people to move out along the risk curve in the chase for yield.

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Tim Worstal
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Not really, no......I can claim some credit for some of Ukip's income tax policies but more in a "Hey, this is a bonzer idea" sense than "I've worked this out and you should do it" one.

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Tim Worstal
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Just for the record, I do not stroke my lap.

I have people who do that for me.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: @Super Fast Jellyfish - John Lewis

Nope, because the Co Op is owned by the customers: thus the divi

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Bonds

Hmm.

"As an example, I don't believe that QE will in fact be unwound. "

Think it will be you know. Because those bonds mature over time. And in order to maintain QE that means that BoE must go buy more bonds to replace those maturing.

So, unwinding QE is as simple as not continuing to do QE......and just letting the stock mature.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: It's OK

The road that we're both talking about (A 22 through the Algarve) has only had tolls for 3 years or so. Maybe only 2.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Did anyone else...

That Steve Keen agrees with an economic idea is not generally regarded as proof of that idea's usefulness.

But obviously that's jut another axe being ground.

Yes, I do know Keen's analysis iof why standard economics is all wet, have discussed it directly with him and no, am not convinced.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: It's OK

This is EU law. Motorways built with EU money must be toll roads. A 22 was partly EU money. Thus....

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Tim Worstal
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If we're going to talk international economics, the current system which has just given us the largest fall in absolute poverty in the history of our entire species?

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Where next?

Markets do not equal capitalism. Ownership of productive assets by capitalists equals capitalism. JL and Co Op are owned by, respectively, the workers and the consumers. They're not capitalist organisations.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: MV = PQ = WTF?

Proper equation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantity_theory_of_money

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Where next?

"BTW, thanks for bringing the work of Ha Joon Chang to my attention. He's my kind of economist."

Might not be quite what I intended, given that I wrote a whole book arguing against Chang's ideas.....

"why not let a few small alternatives run to show what a disaster they are (e.g. the "nationalised" East Coast line)? Then we can all have a good laugh at this softy, leftie rot."

There's vast areas of the economy that are left to themselves in that manner. John Lewis, the Co Op, these are hardly capitalist enterprises now, are they?

The proper neoliberals (ie, me and my two mates) are the ones who absolutely delight in such too: we're not just fine with we positively glory in a market in methods of ownership and organisation as well as markets in goods and services.

Which is rather why we get so pissed off when people start to insist that one or another sector of he economy must be run in one particular manner. Let the different methods compete and see what works best.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: At least you declared an interest this time

Possibly because I take the worries here seriously, think that the issue is important.....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Did anyone else...

Well, yes. Although in my defence I'd point out that I've read and digested more or Murphy's output over the years than practically anyone else. Even possibly than Murphy: for I understand his mistakes rather better than he does.

It really isn't just because he's sorta lefty (Chris Dillow is flat out Marxist and yet has some very good policy proposals) it's because he's incompetent, in my opinion, as an economist. Which is not a notable recommendation in one who would recommend the economic course the Kingdom should follow.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: It's OK

"And remember Mrs. Thatcher's adviser who suggested all roads should be privatised and the owners allowed to put tolls on them, so you would have to pay a series of tolls to get to town in the morning? He'd obviously read about the 18th century and failed to notice what happened in the 19th."

Well, yes, but Alan Walters was also the intellectual origin of the London Congestion Charge as well. Tolls and fees are not an entirely barking idea....

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Auto erotica bonk shocker: ja das ist gut, say 56% of Germans

Tim Worstal
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There was a story about this......

Bloke had a crash on the M4 (I think it was) and he and the bird with him were dead. But his penis was severed and in her mouth.

So, reconstructed, she's giving him a blow job as he's driving. Crashes. Steering wheel hits her in back of head, slamming jaw shut......

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Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

Tim Worstal
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Re: Wait a minute

That's a reasonable alternative model. And I guess my assumption is that the car manufacturers want to avoid that one happening.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Descisions

This is the "trolley problem". And there's not really a solution.

I did once write a piece called "When Should Your Google Car Be Allowed To Kill You?" because one possible solution (obviously, depends upon the set up but....) is that your car drives you into a wall so as to kill you but save more other people.

Tricky really....

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Australia to capture biometrics at the border under new law

Tim Worstal
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I thought the drop bear used its comfy bottom to stun its prey by falling onto it.....

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You gotta be in it to win it: The Register presents its official Programming Competition

Tim Worstal
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Re: No scruples

"and really shouldn't pose a problem to anyone here."

Hmm....I'm still struggling mightily to find a supplier of the 1s and 0s that I'm told code is made of. And where is the tank on the computer that you pour them into?

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

Tim Worstal
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"The idea was that blind people could write something that sighted people could read."

And isn't that a bloody marvelous idea? Something that came from someone with experience I'd bet, not a committee.

I still recall that our piano tuner (sisters were tyros for the instrument, father had played professionally too) was blind. It was a standard training course wasn't it?

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Hedonistic Adjustment

Good question. I don't know of any serious studies on this. There's the usual dyspeptics (Monbiot etc) bt formal studies?

Would be interesting if anyone's got any hints.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: A Couple of Random Thoughts...

Rings bells:

"I've never had a typing lesson in my life but, over years of prodding clumsily away on a computer keyboard have progressed from one and two finger typing to using most of the fingers both hands. By classical type training standards, I'm doing it all wrong. But I reckon I probably average about 40-50 words a minute "

There's no way I could have been a journalist 30-35 years ago. Well, not without learning to touch type at least.

I'm not perfect by any means today on a computer keyboard but I can happily compose for publication at 1500 words an hour. That's a vast change for me at least.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Ice on the inside of the window?

Ha Joon Chang and Hans Roslin both refer to all of these as "the washing machine" and almost certainly the technological advance that has made the largest difference to modern life. For a start it's allowed the economic emancipation of women.

It's also the bit that Keynes got wrong. He wrote and essay arguing that by about now we'd all be working only 15 hours a week. And he did get it right that working hours would decline immensely. It's that it was those household hours that did, not the market working hours that we get paid for.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: <pendantry>

Quite. Polly Toynbee once, in a column asked "And who are you Tim Worstall, you pendant?"

Meaning that I am something valuable, jewelry, to be kept and treasured by the heart.

Or something close to a tit.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: <pendantry>

"</pendantry>"

I'm very happy to see that Polly's typo is spreading in use.

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Get thee behind me, Satanic mills! Robert Owen's Scottish legacy

Tim Worstal
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Re: WORSTALL! Please expound . . .

"And what about companies that have social responsibility at their core? Ben and Jerry's perhaps?

What are the economic drivers? What makes it possible or not?

"

The desires of the shareholders. It is their company, after all.

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Social agenda

Most businessmen do actually get it.

Because it's not "paying enough so the cattle get a decent life".....it's "paying a bit more to the good staff than anyone else will".

Pay or conditions a bit over market average will enable you to pick and choose who you employ. Henry Ford got it with his $5 a day (nope, it were nowt to do with the workers buying the cars) and the tech companies all get it with those ever spiralling wages for engineers.

It's relative wages that count there, not absolute levels.

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Perhaps middle-aged blokes SHOULDN'T try 34-hour-long road trips

Tim Worstal
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Re: Pop quiz

Been down here around Messines for years now. Yes, N 125 in Aug is either a death trap or static. Tend to stay up in the hills this time of year....

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Tim Worstal
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Re: Lane merging

A2- the motorway? Or IC 1, the "A" road as it were.

The motorway (I am currently sitting about 800 m from both roads) doesn't have that many passing lanes, while the A road does, it's one lane each way with passing lanes on many of the hills.

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Aussie bloaters gorging on junk food 'each and every day'

Tim Worstal
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"Professor Nanny Moakes"

Had to be done....

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