* Posts by Ossi

177 posts • joined 23 Jan 2010

Page:

A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

"Indeedy. And every day. Certain people in politics, often on the left but not exclusively, like to try to lay claim to the moral high ground. It is very annoying. I choose to challenge it. It's often used as a device to close down debate on topics they don't like. Or to try and win the debate by painting the opposition as 'nasty'. I think they should grow up, and try to win the debate by showing their ideas will work better than the oppositions'."

Hear, hear!

3
2
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

"All economists have 20-20 vision with hindsight. They are fuck all use at fixing problems."

Ironic, then, that your judgement that economists are useless depends on you having no hindsight whatsoever.

Economists can never reach the stage of perfection that would seem to be good enough for you because they're dealing with a dynamic and ever-changing system. But so used to rising prosperity do you appear to have become that a relative blip (our level of prosperity went back to what it had been a few years before) appears to you to be good enough reason to damn the whole field of economics. It's interesting that the rising prosperity is not credited to the economists (or simply ignored because it's just seen as normal now) whilst they're blamed for the blips.

Would you really prefer to live in a world without an understanding of economics? Do you really think economics has contributed nothing? I invite you to develop hindsight.

3
0

Guardian: 'Oil reserves will soon be worth NOTHING!' (A bit like their stock tips, really)

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Oh look...

"You have pointed out that they have incorrectly re-arranged the deckchairs on the Titanic!"

No, I think he's pointing out that the Guardian is claiming that rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic will help stop it sinking.

3
1
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: noise and mathematics...

@Phil Dude

"The problem is $Y is a complex function as it depends a great deal on the technology to extract as well as the location of the resources. Especially d$X/dT"

You've mixed up your 2 functions. "Y" does not depend on dX/dT. You've already clearly defined them as independent of each other. In fact, your Y function, the cost of production, can be known with some accuracy, especially after you start pumping...

"The reality of global energy, is that it is just that - global demand for a non-linear resource. But very few people get to choose the price they pay at the pump."

What is a "non-linear resource"? Do you mean a product whose price changes? That seems to more or less cover everything.

"Economics is as close to voodoo as you can get with a straight face and without a billowing cape."

Even ignoring my comments above, you've said nothing to justify this conclusion.

"The necessary descriptive differential equations rarely make it onto the Grauniad pages...."

The equations to describe what exactly? You talk as if something's being kept secret. Tim's argument only depends on the discount rate being applied. Feel free to Google the equation for 'Net Present Value'.

3
1
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Oh look...

Companies are valued according to expected returns. It's important to note that buying a company's stock does not change the balance sheet of that company nor it's profit and loss, so they'll still make the same profits. Therefore, if a large enough group of investors decide not to invest in a business so that its stock value falls, that raises the rate of return (since you would have to invest less to get the same dividend). Should there be enough 'ethical' investors around to actually affect the market, they'll face lower returns than the rest of the market. The bottom limit to those returns would only be what the ethical investors' would/could tolerate.

Now that level of toleration might turn out to be not very low at all, thus placing a limit on the amount of ethical investment that could be done - in all probability the limit would be one that would put no pressure on any of these companies at all, and even causing those small changes would require enormous financial firepower. You're basically talking about trying to 'outvote' all the invested assets in the world.

Of course, these are the technical economic aspects. The ethical investors might also find themselves pretty uncomfortable when they realise that they're increasing returns for people they possible aren't too keen on.

Invest ethically by all means - there are, well, ethical reasons to do so. But do it in the knowledge that it won't be able to change the world, and even if it was it might be simply reinforcing the position of those who you might not consider ethical.

4
0

Out of time: Huawei, LG unveil watches nobody wants to buy

Ossi
Bronze badge

A Smartwatch makes some kind of sense, but...

If you're happy to wear something in your wrist that's of very limited functionality - it can tell you the time and date only - then it's not illogical to wear something that can do more. From a purely functional point of view, wearing a smartwatch makes sense even if it can't do much more than a normal wristwatch; the point is that it can do more.

But I own a smartwatch (an LG G-Watch) and I don't often wear it. It has all the usual limitations - short battery life (not something that bothers me), bulky size (I'm pretty small - have smartphone manufacturers heard of "women"?) and crap UI.

But none of these are the reason I don't wear it. The reason is that it feels so conspicuous. Looking at your wrist all the time is just as noticeable as looking at your phone all the time, and as for talking to the damned thing, forget it. You also - and I didn't think about this - either have to keep tapping it to see the time or get a glow-in-the-dark wrist. E-ink is such an obvious choice for a smartwatch, but only one company's gone with it. I don't get that.

So, here's my advice to smartwatch manufacturers - make your devices more subtle, smaller, and cheaper - basically start to use E-ink - and then the fact that they don't do much will matter less because the alternative that everyone happily wears does very little at all. Pebble are the only guys who get this.

0
0

Delving into Office 2016: Microsoft goes public with new preview

Ossi
Bronze badge

My prediction as a non-techie user of Office:

Have they fixed all the faults that have been around since year dot like problems with handling numbered lists in Word? No, thought not.

Have they added in fairly basic features that users have wanted for years like mail merge that can send an email with an attachment and a message, or an ability to easily animate individual cells in PowerPoint tables? Nope, thought not.

Have they added in a load of features that have little to do with user need but a lot to do with Microsoft's 'strategy'? Yep, thought so.

15
4

Galileo! Galileo! Galileo good to go after six-week recovery effort

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Inservice dates anyone?

OT I know, but I'm not surprised this was railway renewal. Who'd think that a privatised railway with huge bureaucratic intervention is perhaps not the best way to do things? Not our political classes, apparently.

2
1

Improved Apple Watches won't get more expensive? Hmmm

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Tell your stories to the millions of workers...

@well fuck you

Plucking the only thing that can be called an argument out of your comment, Craigness is not saying that he supports any such thing. He's simply a realist.

Idealism is both lovely and dangerous. It's lovely as it's obviously well meaning - and people like to think they're fighting for something. It's dangerous as it tends to (rather uncritically) assume that the ideal is possible and - as you comment demonstrates - has a possibly violent intolerance of the thought that it can't be done.

No one supports inequality per se. The more intelligent argument is the one that Craigness is trying to have - which is 'how do we do the best?' and 'what is the best that's possible?'.

0
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Define vast majority

I read that as meaning 'the vast majority of people with health insurance' rather than 'the vast majority of the population', so in my reading it's a true statement. It's ambiguous though, I'll grant you.

0
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Just a thought

@AC: What makes you think that the indices are 'clearly massaged'? Do you have any basis for saying this?

And why is Tim being downvoted for stating a fact? Condemning people for simply telling the truth is not a healthy precedent to be setting. If you have any evidence that he's wrong then please post it: we'll all benefit.

1
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Why is that rigging, unless you define the inclusion of any items that fall in price as 'rigging'? The TVs or whatever are there because we, you know, sometimes buy TVs. Their weighting in the index is appropriate to how much of our income we spend on TVs.

3
0

Google gives Microsoft office an awkward hug with new plugin

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Not Free

Do Microsoft claim 'free' storage? The article called it that, but I'm not sure that Microsoft do. Certainly the Microsoft store doesn't use the term.

Regardless, 'free' is often understood to mean 'included in the price' as in 'free delivery' or 'free support'.

0
0

$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Perceived value

"So your basic argument is, I should buy one to make shallow, vapid (albeit probably quite pretty) idiots shag me?"

I don't think he's arguing that you "should" do that. I think he's arguing that people "do" do that.

4
0

The secret of Warren Buffett's success at Berkshire Hathaway

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Money, it's a crime...

I feel that we're going round in circles. What you've explained is their reserve - the 10% in my example. This is the proportion of their deposits kept aside, but it doesn't represent all their deposits. They would match their lending.

Please read Tim's explanation of the difference between leverage and FRB.

3
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Money, it's a crime...

"A bank issuing a mortgage loan does not borrow the amount it lends out from someplace else. It lends this money as a multiple of an existing capital base. Hence the term "bank capitalization". A bank's capitalization determines how much - in Fractional Reserve Lending - a bank can lend."

Sorry, but you've misunderstood. As I explained above, banks can only lend what they borrow - they're balance sheets have to - you won't be surprised to hear - balance. If they take a deposit of £100, and keep a reserve of 10%, then they can lend £90, and that's all:

asset (the loan and reserve) = liability (the deposit) = £100.

The creation of money, as I tried to explain above, comes about as a result of the interaction of the bank and the wider economy.

5
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Money, it's a crime...

"That's true, with full reserve a bank couldn't make a single mortgage at all. Because it would only be able to lend out money on the terms that money was lent to it. Given that no one at all makes 30 year deposits in banks then a bank would never be able to offer a 30 year mortgage."

@ST - This is a very important point, and one that should interest you. In 'the bubble' banks were offloading assets (and liabilities) into the securities market so they were, in effect, acting as intermediaries rather than as traditional banks - they effectively were just passing the money from the securities market to the mortgage borrower. A full reserve banking system, which you're a proponent of, would almost enforce that role on the banks - or some other intermediary - as banks' ability to originate loans would be severely curtailed. Are you sure that's what you want?

Really, if you want to take aim anywhere take aim at the securities market, not the banks. I think you'll find that the problems were largely there.

5
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Money, it's a crime...

Thanks Tim for saving me the effort.

4
2
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Money, it's a crime...

Fractional reserve banking is a much misunderstood idea. It is, in a sense, a 'licence to print money', but it doesn't enrich banks, or anyone for that matter. Money, at the end of the day, is just tokens that you pass around. Briefly, the idea behind fractional reserve banking is that banks only hold back in their vaults a proportion of their deposits as they don't expect to pay out all their deposits at the same time (if they did, that would be a run on the bank and that would be the end of the bank). Imagine, for simplicity, an economy where there is only a bank and one person, and all money is held as bank deposits.

We start with person A, who has £100 - so there's £100 in the economy. She puts the money in the bank, the bank keeps, say 10% as a reserve, and it can now lend £90. It lends £90 to her and that's deposited in the bank, so there's now £190 in the economy. The bank lends £81 of that etc.

Now, one important thing to realise is that the bank has not created free money - it has to pay interest on all that money deposited. The other important thing to realise is that the bank itself has not made the money - the interaction between the bank and the economy has made the money. My model had to have 2 actors in to work. The depositors are playing an equal part to the bank. Note that net assets in the economy are still £100, and that belongs to the person, not the bank.

Finally, both the bank and the economy have not in any sense been enriched. The assets in the economy have remained the same. The output of bread, hammers or whatever in the economy is the same. To see this, imagine a prison where cigarettes are used as currency. If there was a sudden influx of cigarettes, the prices would all go up but there wouldn't be more stuff to buy and sell in the prison 'economy'. The economy wouldn't be 'better off'.

This is why governments need monetary policy to control prices - they don't have direct control of the money supply, but they do need to control it.

7
4

Forget 1,000 lashes for Facebook posts, Saudis now want to behead blogger Raif Badawi

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Women driving

Nice theory, but unemployment in the UK is lower than in Germany:

Unemployment in Germany: 6.5%

Unemployment in UK: 5.7%

I don't have figures for Muslims alone. Perhaps you would like to point me to where you got those from? However, it would be wrong to say that it's not a problem in Germany:

http://www.euro-islam.info/country-profiles/germany/

The proportion of Muslims in each population is approximately the same.

It might have more to do with the fact that Germany's Muslims have a largely Turkish heritage whilst the UK's have a South Asian one i.e. it has more to do with the culture of the Muslims than the host country. That would seem not entirely unlikely to me.

By the way, is there a kind of Godwin's law for blaming Thatcher?

2
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Reproachless

It's not an 'either...or', it's a 'both...and'. Criticise corruption, despotism, inequality, and injustice wherever it is. Why confine yourself to one place? Does the rest of humanity not matter?

2
2

C'mon! Greece isn't really bust and it can pay its debts

Ossi
Bronze badge

"The statement that "low interest rates screwed Ireland" seems to be one of those shortcuts. I thought it was Ireland taking advantage of those low interest rates without any thought of the future that screwed them."

I think you're rather anthropomorphising a complex system there. It seems that by 'Ireland' you mean the Irish economy, which you can't credit with consciousness. It's odd to try to blame it. The reaction of the Irish economy to low interest rates was simply exactly how any economy would react.

If by 'Ireland' you mean the Irish government, then I think you'll find that it was fiscally responsible during this period and ran a surplus.

1
0

He's baaack: Microsoft's axeman Nadella to give Chinese staff the chop

Ossi
Bronze badge

Nokia had started to make Android products, and wanted to sell its phone division. Microsoft really didn't have any choice.

The biggest problem with Microsoft's phone strategy is that they were far too late to market. That's a constant with Microsoft. When Microsoft do finally enter a market they get obsessed with a 'strategy' (to the exclusion of, you know, what the customer actually wants). The irony is that they're clearly a company with no forward-looking strategy or sense of direction at all.

4
0

Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

"Er, this is kind of how public service and taxation works (for tax is what the license fee is).

See also:

Roads

Railways

The NHS

Schools

etc etc."

So your argument is that we pay for roads out of general taxation; therefore we should pay for a broadcaster out of it? Am I missing something here?

2
1

Didn't the Left once want the WORKERS to get all the dosh?

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Captialism got rid of Racism!!

Erm, the 'spade' was clearly allegorical in both the above posts. He wasn't actually claiming that 'the' capitalist had invented it.

Surprised you missed that.

5
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Captialism got rid of Racism!!

"The problem is that the Capitalist uses their financial power to exploit the workers who are more important to the creation of wealth than those who simply move money around."

I always find this 'the boss is an evil exploiter' talk curious. At what point do they become evil exploiters? When they've got a market stall and hire an assistant? When they've got a shop and they've got ten workers? When they get their second shop? Is there an 'evil boss' induction ceremony they have to attend?

Do you really think dividing the world into good guys and bad guys is a good way to understand it? Do you really think it's that simple?

10
3
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Free markets or competitive markets?

"The author seems to ignore the Marxist policies of today"

In what sense has he 'ignored' them? In the sense that he hasn't discussed every single economic policy of government?

4
0

Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

Ossi
Bronze badge

Too late

I live in a part of London with high density expensive new housing. It sounds like an ISP's delight. However, all those brand new blocks had direct (and very long) lines to the exchange. No cabinet meant no FTTC. Broadband speeds were pathetic. Low hanging fruit for a company like Virgin, which had adjacent networks, doubly so when you consider they closed down an analogue network here, so presumably still have some infrastructure.

So what did they do with an area full of well-off people crushed together in a small space and desperate for decent broadband and with no effective competition? I'll tell you what - nothing. Other operators have moved in now and it's too late - the freeholders wouldn't let them in the building now. Idiots.

0
0

It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Let me get this right:

@Neil Barnes

Time is a scarce resource, so its value is never zero. In order to spend your time on one thing (and isn't it interesting that we can 'spend', 'save' and 'buy' time?) you have to give up another thing. There's a cost to using time. There's no revealed monetary value because there's no transaction, but that's the only reason.

In fact, we do put monetary value on our free time all the time. A simple example is when people choose to hire cleaners. I hear the objection that you might simply not like cleaning - but that is, in fact, the point: you value the time spent not cleaning higher than the cost of the cleaner.

I wonder how many parents here decided to look after their own children rather than send them to a nursery and go to work? That's what the article's getting at.

3
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Yeah well...

Tim is not saying you shouldn't do your own plumbing. That's the retort.

0
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

"A large assumption there. Want me to point it out to you? That only occurs if the benefit from that increased efficiency is shared equally among those contributing to that gain. But since the world now has 1% of the population claiming 50% of its wealth, it's pretty evident such benefit is not being equally distributed.

And thus, you've glossed over the greatest failing of modern capitalism."

It doesn't 'only occur' if there is an equal distribution - that's just simple maths.

Aside from that, it's naive to think any system will produce an equal distribution of wealth or income (note, they are not the same thing). It's a flaw of capitalism for sure, but one shared with every possible alternative.

5
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: So, in other words...

"Because commentards know how to fix computers ourselves we are poorer as a result. We should take them into PC World who would sell us another one and we would be richer.

Is that right?"

You know how to fix your computer. Good for you. But lots of people don't - if everyone decided to fix their own computer, then they'd all have to first learn to fix their computer. Most people find that it's a better use of their limited resources in terms of time and money to send it to PCWorld. That's Tim's point.

Let me make this clear - Tim's point is not that doing anything for yourself outside your working hours makes you poorer. Fix your own computer. Bake your own bread. Fill your boots. But that's not what the article is about.

7
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

"The problem is that large scale production pushes the supplier towards evil."

It really isn't unambiguously the case that small enterprises have a greater incentive to produce 'trusted' goods. Consider an airline with one aircraft. It may skimp on safety so every time it flies it has a 1% chance of crashing. It may be some time before that plane crashes. If a large airline with 400 aircraft took the same attitude its aircraft would be falling out of the sky constantly.

5
0

Skin colour's irrelevant. Just hire competent folk on their merits, FFS

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: How to accurately measure diversity?

"While not relevant to every medical issue, your ethnic background predisposes you to certain conditions. Knowing which conditions a patient has a genetic predisposition to can be extremely important in making sure you get diagnosed and treated quickly and effectively."

I appreciate that, and I can see how it would be useful. Curious then that the form wasn't designed for that purpose, and it seems that separate clinical data are kept:

http://www.england.nhs.uk/iscg/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2014/06/20140625_SCCI_Item_7_SCCI5566_SoN_2011_

Ethnic_Category_Coding_DSCN112008.pdf

[join 2 parts together]

0
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: How to accurately measure diversity?

"Yes WHITE treatment fast and good.

NOT WHITE not so fast or so good."

Very good - painting the whole NHS as racist.

2
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: How to accurately measure diversity?

Have you noticed every time you go to hospital, before any medical professional has seen you, you have to fill in the damn diversity form? This happened to me even when I was covered in blood after one of the good burghers of leafy Walthamstow had decided to administer a beer bottle to the back of my head. It completely defeats me how this information is useful. Are they going to demand more injured Chinese or something? How much money is spent on collecting this information and could, possibly, the NHS have better things to spend it on?

If the data are really useful (if), then do some sampling occasionally.

7
1

Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Ossi
Bronze badge

Thanks Tim. Really nice thought-provoking article.

Never going to happen, of course. There's no way that politicians will be be able to resist the temptation to take away from one group and/or give to another.

7
1

SamSUNK! Korean giant's electronics biz takes punch to the smartphone profits

Ossi
Bronze badge

A few pointers Samsung:

1. People do care about how their phones look. Make an effort.

2. Stop putting duplicates of Google services on the phones. It fills them with them crud and, let's face it,the Galaxy app store etc. are just never going to happen. Give in.

3. At least give an impression that you support your old models, and get your updates out in a timely manner.

4. You've got falling market share, and yet somehow you've convinced yourselves that you've got the market power to push people into Samsung-only ecosystems. You really haven't.

Phones are pretty much commodity items these days, so you just have to do the basics really well.

Have I missed anything?

8
1

Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Economy

@Lysenko

"Mathematics? (2 + 2 = <some value>). It doesn't matter what I want or need (2 + 2) to evaluate to, it IS "4" whether I like it or not (and trust me, I have frequently wished I could bend arithmetic to be what I want it to be)."

You're obviously confused by words having more than one meaning:

Value (noun)

(1) Relative worth, merit or importance

(2) Magnitude; quantity; number represented by a figure, symbol, or the like

1
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Economy

@Lysenko

Let's talk common sense. Nothing has a value unless someone wants or needs it. This is not an idea unique to economics. What other determinant of value could you possibly have?

Economists don't attempt to magic up a value for something - they wait until there's a trade. The person buying then reveals, by how much they're willing to spend, how much they want or need something. Money is proxy measure for this - you'll pay more for things you want more. The value is determined by how much somebody wants or needs something - their 'psychology', if you want to use those terms. The value is measurable in the price.

If no one wanted or needed cancer research then its value would be zero. It turns out, as you've pointed out, that we do want and need it. Economists don't decide what the value of things are - people do.

2
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Economy

@ Yet Another etc. If a trade takes place, then value has been created. A seller will sell only at or above the cost of inputs. A buyer will only buy at or below the value she places on a good or service. Both buyer and seller benefit from a trade otherwise, in free market, they will decide not to carry out the trade. Common sense really, but I think you appreciated that in your post.

What, I hear you say, about all those taxi drivers losing out? Yes, they'll lose, but the gain to consumers will be greater. It's difficult to explain why without drawing graphs, but consider the ad absurdum situation of regulations saying that there can only be 10 taxis in a city. It might be easier then to imagine how the profits of the few are easily outweighed by the lost benefit of the many. The same argument holds with larger but restricted numbers of taxis. The maximum value is not realised until the total number of taxis is such that the very cheapest taxi meets the very meanest consumer, so to speak. All value has then been rung out of the system.

That's not to say that regulation is a bad thing or Uber is a good thing, just that the economics are on Uber's side. There are other extremely good reasons for regulating taxis.

3
0
Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: Economy

"But we've already established in previous discussion here that economics is not yet, and may never be, a science. Economists talk about wealth depending how it advances their arguments..."

They've got a single and very clear definition of wealth, and it's pretty much the same as everybody else's: the total value of a person's net assets.

"One might make the point, for example, that 'wealth' in the end comes down to how many megajoules one is able to command"

There were economies before there were megajoules. And if you think that's pedantic, consider this: Da Vinci might use the same amount of 'energy' producing a painting as Rolf Harris, but Da Vinci will produce a lot more value.

So let's talk about value. Everything an economy produces is ultimately satisfying human beings in some respect: someone (or some organisation) somewhere will only pay for something if they want or need it - money is a proxy for the amount of "satisfying" something does: you would be willing to pay more for something you really enjoy than something you rather enjoy. Thus, the value of something ultimately is related to how much "satisfaction" it creates. That's why Mr Da Vinci's work creates more value than Mr Harris's.

2
0

Is Windows RT not invited to the Windows 10 upgrade party?

Ossi
Bronze badge

Re: RT seems pointless now

Bugger - my comment was aimed at a reply (the 'total dog' comment), not the original comment. I have a cheap Windows tablet and it's perfectly usable, and very useful.

0
0

Page:

Forums