back to article So Quantitative Easing in the eurozone is working, then?

Much as some of us love international biz editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard over in The Torygraph, it is true that he can occasionally get a little bit excited about whatever it is that he's spotted. His latest revelation about how eurozone money supply is growing is a case in point. Evans-Pritchard is looking at this information …

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I'm really starting to wonder what strings Worstall had to pull in order to get his polemics regularly featured on a tech news site. They always follow the same pattern - Worstall apparently reads something of a political or economic viewpoint he doesn't like (typically this is any economist more famous than himself that puts forward any view remotely more nuanced than remove all trade barriers and the market will solve everything). He then uses El Reg as a private platform to show everyone what is wrong with the article he has just read and most of us haven't. It makes me wonder if this is what I sound like when I start lecturing people on how a KB should 1024 bytes, not 1000.

Is Worstall part-owner of El Reg or something? Is there some reason a tech news site becomes his private platform everytime he reads something he doesn't like? Most of us make do with the letters page of the Economist.

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Anonymous Coward

He's an expert on something, so, understandably the journo's at The Reg are awed and put him on a pedestal.

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I don't have a clue about how one gets a journalist steady gig. The part I do know is that many of these topics were rather heatedly under "debate" when I returned to the university in 1993. I was a maths, stats, and comp. sci. guy the first time around, spent a career in the Navy mostly as a field engineer, and somehow drifted off in the dismal science. Econometrics but also every other field as I ran through them all (skipped Marxism, could have taught it). I had more than a few "debates" with my instructors which involved numerous appeals to authority (their side) vs. data analyses of historical events (my side).

Just background for the point that twenty-two years later, the same brigades in the mainstream press, more than five, regularly have a go at one another. I find Tim's "chalk talk" more interesting and often relevant to the tech sector which is interesting in another way. "Silicon Valley" is right next door and bizaare in more dimensions than I can manipulate mentally describes the political-economy.

As for letters to "The Economist", they've been disappointing since the late '90's. One more impact from the WWW I expect.

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Any economic analysis of QE that does not acknowledge the debt based nature of this unbacked privately issued river of gold and the problem of the interest payment is meaningless. While interest rates in the EU are somewhere around zero, once this tax payer funded bailout of the financial system is finished and we've all done with competitive devaluations of our currencies then the interest rates will rise. Those will be the rates at which the taxpayer will labour to pay for this theft of value. It is also dodgy relying on pseudo scientific analysis of a market environment when the market is now so sick or rigged that price discovery mechanisms are meaningless. The explosive increase in the money supply without the creation of corresponding units of value driven by demand is simply market fraud. Private European banking dynasties will do very well out of this - and that is the plan.

A little inflation does not grease the economy. Inflation is the price we all pay for allowing private individuals and corporations the right to counterfeit sovereign currency. Because money created as debt must be paid back with more money (interest) created as debt then there is no option but to steal someone else’s money or inflate your own. Deflation is merely the chickens coming home to roost - the credit card is maxed out. The real problem being that the profits of private central banks fall when the serfs are not able to pay and of course the destruction of political careers when people realise that none of the money in circulation is theirs. That the previous expansion of the money supply created by work was really just an expansion of debt, that the value has been stolen and the money now counts for nothing.

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I have no problem with this. Whether it is intended or not, one of the messages coming through from Tim's articles is that macro-economics is very *young* science and it is still perfectly possible that everything you ever learned about it at school will turn out to be wrong. Big names from only a few decades back are now taken with a pinch of salt.

You don't get that with physics or chemistry. It's pretty rare with biology, although Nature is a big tease and it has been fun to watch Lamarckism (er, I mean, epigenetics) re-appear in the years since I was actually taught how stupid it was. Computing is even younger, but we know the basic building blocks (since we built them) and so we can quite easily figure out which results from other disciplines (maths, language, ...) are applicable in any situation.

Macroeconomics is still at a stage where the interesting new results *can* be explained to a mathematically minded lay audience. It is ideal material for a site that claims to cover all aspects of science and technology for an audience that is willing to read articles with equations in them.

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Presumably El Reg uses various analytics, and the number of comments per article is obviously easy to measure. I would think that if Tim's articles attracted few comments, and low page views, they would dropped like the proverbial.

Indeed, by reading and then posting your comment, you're probably doing your bit to ensure that the articles keep coming.

Economics isn't my field, but I think the articles are still interesting to read, and they mostly seem to generate some debate - higher quality than the Windows/Mac/Linux wars at that.

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Keep Tim

I for one want these articles to keep flowing. I need some sort of enlightening explanation of the shenanigans that our monetary authorities get up to.

Tim could you comment on the ideas floated in the book: "La guerre des monnaies - La Chine et le nouvel ordre mondial" by Hongbing Song. Unfortunately it's not available in English but the general gist is that the Rothchilds/Bilkenberg meetings operate a financial hegemony that effectively enslaves governments?

Keep up the articles.

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Re: Keep Tim

"According to the book, the western countries in general and the US in particular are controlled by a clique of international bankers, which use currency manipulation (hence the title) to gain wealth by first loaning money in USD to developing nations and then shorting their currency. The Japanese Lost decade, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Latin American financial crisis and others are attributed to this cause. It also claims that the Rothschild Family has the wealth of 5 trillion dollars whereas Bill Gates only has 40 billion dollars.[14]

Song also is of the opinion that the famous U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, is not a department of state functions, but several private banks operated by the private sector, and that these private banks are loyal to the ubiquitous Rothschild family."

I would file this along with the Grey Alien Lizards n'stuff. Without having read any more than the Wiki piece on it. On the grounds that it's hardly new for someone to be saying "It's all the Jooos!"

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Go on then, this should be good: Why should "computery things" be this special little snowflake in which "kilo-" means 1,024 instead of 1,000 in every other engineering discipline and everyday use? A "kilo of sugar" is not 1,024 grams, for example.

That it's a power of two and "computers work in binary" is hardly sufficient justification, as most of it's abstracted away by operating systems. There are a few places where power-of-two sizes can leak out of the abstraction, but the fugly "kibi-" and friends suffice for those cases. Better that than be left guessing what number of bytes a piece of software actually means when it says e.g. "1.44MB", just because weenie programmers are wedded to this bizarre shibboleth, but can't even use it consistently.

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Playing the man

So you don't have any rebuttal to the points he raise, so you attack the man.

Here have a biscuit.

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"Because money created as debt must be paid back with more money (interest) created as debt then there is no option but to steal someone else’s money or inflate your own."

Here's a non economist, layman's take on this.

Interesting use of the word "more" there which shows your being uneccessaily melodramatic. The money created as debt and interest paid are on different sides of the balance sheet, so the word "more" doesn't really apply. So yes the cost is the interest paid, the benefit is monetary liquidity. So the interest paid is akin to the cost of buying oil and paying over the odds for servicing the engine which you have to do because you allowed it to run dry.

The money created as debt is lubricating the engine, so that's a good thing right. Whilst I'm no economist I do understand a nations finances, unlike a companies finances are like a balance sheet, but where - amongst other things - there is a factor, growth, that it gets fed in from a special account where the feeding tube is invisible and that we are only ever getting a best guess as to how much has been fed in (good of course but not good if you like the certainty of double entry bookkeeping)

The interesting bit with macro economics, it seems to me is that this opaque feeding tube (powered by they way by private enterprise and the workforce in private enterprise), means there is a feedback loop. If growth slows, it can choke off the working economy. Sometimes borrowing can be used to keep the economy moving so it doesn't lose momentum. All the political debate really pivots around this and how to "use" this knowledge. Do it well and there's the potential for a kind of slingshot effect (though that imagery is actually far too strong).

It seems to me centre right economists say ok there 's this feeding tube and were never sure how much has come in, but we know it's a specific amount and we have to be respectful of the balance sheet. Whereas leftist economists tend to say, borrow, puff up the economy, it keeps things moving so the real engine of the economy keeps moving without stall. Have confidence the growth will continue. Behave too much like accountants (knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing) and you will kill the economy. And actually most economists, left leaning and right leaning, see this mechanism has a role to play.

So when you say payment of interest on QE is stealing someone else's money, is demanding all travellers in the bus pay extra because the engine needed an extra service stealing money (when we all own the bus)? Incompetence by the person in charge, yes, but is the garage stealing? We want our bus to work and the garage are doing the work so no.

You also say "or inflate your own" as a way to denigrate current liabilities that have to be paid as a cost of QE. Well if you have produced money as debt, then you aren't cheating the balance sheet. The reason for doing quantitative easing is distinct from just printing money, is precisely so that doesn't occur.

I'm a realist. I don't believe in magic money trees. Money is a token of value which ultimately has some real basis in real assets and real work capability. Print money and you are watering down the value of each unit. Problem is, there is a lag. Money as tokens of value is worth what people believe it is worth and it may take time for the belief to adjust especially if the people are unaware of the extent of the printing of money. But adjust it will. So the BoE has to keep (liquid) money supply (one component of our national assets) in proportion to a balance sheet, the total value of which we are not quite sure.

So there is natural inflation which is a consequence of the market hedging against miscalculations in the rate of growth and consequent mismatches in money supply. This is ok, as natural consequence of unavoidable uncertainty and not knowing the variation in the value of your assets (not knowing quite how diluted they are if at all) and isn't indicative of an economic malaise. However if you print money, inflation occurs unnaturally as actors in the market hedge further to protect the value of their assets, which they *know* are being watered down, but just not by how much. Put simply you have paid x to produce and sell y, but while it's sitting in the shelf, the value of you liquid assets is being eroded so you edge the price up to protect yourself. As there is more uncertainty you hedge harder and build in greater margin for error. All your suppliers are doing the same, so the cost of x is also increasing by an uncertain amount. There's a name for that. A positive feedback loop. In this context most unwelcome.

Now quantitative easing increases the money supply, and can cause inflation if the authorities get it wrong (are wrongly guessing the rate of growth). But that isn't its intention. It isn't a necessary consequence. However if you simply print money, as a realist (e.g. One who believes there is a real value to the balance sheet even if we are never quite sure exactly what that value is) then you have to believe inflation *will* be a direct result.

So actually if you are arguing for unrestrained, Corbyn style, printing of money (which I suspect you are), then you believe in magic money trees and think you can get something for nothing.

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@GrumpyOldBloke

Quite.

I can only asume the downvotes are from Canary Wharf.

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Re: Keep Tim

Pre-Snowden I would have agreed with you Tim. Now?

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Interesting use of the word "more" - yes because more money is required. In our debt based system money is borrowed into existence and destroyed when it is paid back. Because the principle is destroyed when paid back you need more money for the interest - more money than was created when the loan was drawn. The interest, which has also been borrowed into existence, can be recycled a few times but is destroyed when the loan that created it is paid back. QE is the stated hope that if money is cheap enough it will encourage people to borrow even more (fractional reserve multiplier) and offset the liquidity problem caused by deleveraging (paying back and thereby destroying money) during austere times. The problem is that during austere times people do not have the confidence or capacity to borrow so all this free liquidity stays at the top where it is used for speculation and asset accumulation by the few but paid for in central bank debt by the many. You suggest that this does not cheat the balance sheet - that depends on who you are and whether you are securing the full value of the debt (taxpayer) or playing in fields of leveraged money across borders (banker). It also depends on where the securities that drive the system derive from (local or international). What Corbyn is arguing for is not the unrestrained printing of money - which is the path we are on now - but the realisation that the debt based system is a ponzi that can only end in tears and that we should incorporate a value based system - in Corbyn's case that value is infrastructure. This is not without precedent. Adolf Hitler did the same thing and took Germany from an economic basic case to a world super power in about 5 years. Obviously that didn't sit well with those of us on the debt based system and war ensued.

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@h4rm0ny Re: kB

The only place where 1024 makes sense for defining 'kilo' is when the attribute is addressed by a binary array. So really only RAM/EPROM/etc with an integer number of address lines are used and no sane designer would leave part of a decoder to unassigned storage.

For everything else k = 1000 is the sane choice for us creatures with 10 digits that originally assisted our counting and became the basis of our number representation. It is used for kilometres, kilograms, kilobits, kilowrists, etc.

The weasel-worded aspect is when talking about storage and some assume that k/M/G/T are all 1024 and forget that for both SI and marketing reasons they will be 1000. Oh, and not to forget the overheads in a file system...

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Sorry - principal

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While GrumpyOldBloke's analysis of who benefits and why may be open to question, I have to agree that there is a fundamental flaw in economic policy when it thinks that playing with money can fix problems. The problems are created because the money system stops reflecting real value being produced. Then we get re-adjustments when people stop believing in the game.

Our problem is debt. We've overspent and now we have to pay. Perhaps the previous expansion was fake and now the debt has to be paid. What if there is no "expansion in the economy"? What if the pie is not getting larger? Maybe it really is static. Maybe all those rising stock prices are not because people think the stock is worth it, but because with zero interest rates, anything is better than nothing and money is leaving the money markets looking for somewhere to go - stocks. Perhaps those higher corporate profits are hiding the fact that lots of people have been made redundant from high paying jobs and are now low earners.

Am I pessimistic? Well yes. I saw IT providing great gains in productivity through automation, then networking... but not anymore. When the great IT companies stop being IBM, DEC, Sun et al who provide business automation, R&D into much better tech; and start to become Google (looking for stuff which already exists) Facebook (cat pictures) and Twitter (speaks for itself); when we don't need more capabilities, but want things lighter and shinier; then we know we've no longer got much to contribute. Even all the server activity is about consolidation and catering to end-devices which are too feeble to do their own processing, by design. We aren't doing more anymore. All that network bandwidth going on streaming because we don't want people to have access to things without advertising being inserted. So much resource dedicated to stopping things being efficient. Moving to rental and usage models because resources are too plentiful for the IT industry to cope with. IT is becoming a parasite, not making business processes better, faster, cheaper, but merely extracting more rent for the same things we could do before. Shinier than before, perhaps, not not particularly more effective, not in a way which means we can produce more stuff.

The GFC, inflation, the Greek crisis, its all just symptomatic of corrupt minds given the tools and ability to hide, for a while, the consequences of their actions. The fact that we seem to get the same result, no matter who is elected should give us pause for thought about the current state of Western philosophical underpinnings and morality. What is it about our worldview that always seems to produce this result in those in power? Why is it that the great outcry over Ashley Madison is over privacy, not integrity? The moral aspect of it is seen mostly as foolish and in terms of a laughing-stock of techno-incompetance. Where are the laments over integrity, of acting rightly even when no-one can see you? Could it be that the lack of this in our society also drives the sub-prime strategy, the accounting cover-ups, the desire to buy votes by spending other people's money which they don't even have? It's just risk management after all and the risk of being caught is small.

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greasing the economy

Inflation does grease the economy. As should be obvious to anyone reading this site, there are a lot of things you can buy now that were not around say 20 years ago. If you were earning the same today as then and all your costs were the same where would you find the spare income for all those new toys? In effect the cost of what you continue to buy has to fall in order to make room for new stuff, or you need to be paid more without increasing the costs of what you buy. Inflation is a sleight of hand that makes those transitions palatable. And also encourages you to invest your saving rather than keep your money in a mattress.

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Re: Keep Tim

The rothschilds are the banks, it was quite a basic idea really, the jooos as you put it were the only religion allowed to lend money to people so they did and made a profit, nothing wrong with that however when the pesky locals decided they didn't want to pay them back they were persecuted (lots of examples of this throughout history even in Britain somewhere around 1000ad if I remember right) so the idea was that you had a family and you put your children in different countries moving the gold around so if those pesky locals tried to get out of paying you back then it wouldn't work because the gold(money/debt) wasn't in the one place. This in my opinion is how the current banking system came into existence. Whether this makes any difference to you or me is not really a problem however to dismiss the idea as grey alien lizard stuff is a bit silly because the facts are all there. It makes no difference to me and I don't have any problem whatsoever with jooos however to have a banking system controlled by one family does pose certain potential issues, there is also a conflict of issues with regards to the media as simple searches reveals strong links between media outlets and said rothschilds, e.g. BBC directors married to said family but I'll just be dismissed as a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist who has issues with our lizard overlords. Considering their wealth you would assume that the Rothschilds would be mentioned in the media however they are never mentioned except on one occasion that I know of and it was during real housewives of new york (god awful show my partner watches about very very wealthy women who bitch at each other) and it went along the lines of "Who do you think you are? The rothschilds?". In summary I really don't care about the who the what or the why, as long as the world is fair and just I'll just happily plod along.

Edit: I enjoy your articles and the different perspectives they give on the economy, please keep them coming.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Keep Tim

Here is an excellent, extensive documentary of the origins of our financial system and those that control it to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSSlP-sE_vI

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Consistent K

""1.44MB", just because weenie programmers are wedded to this bizarre shibboleth, but can't even use it consistently." -- pnony

1.44MB is an excellent choice if you want to complain about lack of consistency because the M is neither mebi nor mega but kibi-kilo (or kilo-kibi)!

(512 bytes per sector x 18 sectors per track x 80 tracks per side x 2 sides = 1440 x 1024)

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Economics, "The Dismal Science", has had a long recognized problems in idealizing information flow and human behavior. The first fails to recognize that information is not known instantly in any real system. Individuals know bits, often important to them, but not all relevant bits. One knows what is in the pantry and knows what they want but they do not the inventory at the store. Also, as evens occur people react with their best navel gaze of the future, which by definition is unknown.

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@h4rm0ny

What did Tim do now? Ruined somebody's scientific consensus?

While I do not necessarily agree with all his arguments (and a good thing it is too, something about freedom of opinion or somesuch), I'll never support calls to silence him. Or calls to silence you, should these ever rise.

Please, everybody, keep writing. We may not know where a word of wisdom may land, we may not know what kind of fruit might it bear someday, if ever, but that shouldn't keep us from trying to say wise things once in a while.

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"I saw IT providing great gains in productivity"

There is, of course, the argument that a lot of IT has reduced productivity, Powerpoint addiction being one such example.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Keep Tim

This is for the two clowns that downvoted my comment.

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

Which is more logical?

A. Banks and financial institutions just appeared overnight and were not connected in anyway shape or form with each other or between countries?

B. The banks just like anything else in a capitalist society evolved since babylonian times...

C. The reverend Al green was right.

My only criticism is, yes I may be anonymous however if you disagree with my opinion or thoughts then please say why, that's life, you have an opinion unless you use iMicrogooglespotifuck™

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Re: Consistent K

Or 1.47 MB (1,474,560 Bytes). That the norm is 1.44 suggests that in addition to such as memory, where the sensible unit is based on something like physical address lines, it makes sense for the K, M, G, and T units to be based on integer powers of 2 in computer contexts where they map to power of two based memory. Use of powers of 10 seems to be largely a marketing technique used for consumer storage devices; "80 GB" or "320 GB" EIDE consumer devices tend to store nearly the same number of bytes as 73 - 75 GB or 300 GB SCSI server drives.

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@h4rm0ny

"any view remotely more nuanced than remove all trade barriers and the market will solve everything"

We get that you don't like what he writes, but I don't remember him writing any such thing, ever. He's in favour of markets, but to function efficiently and fairly markets need quite a bit of regulation. Which is the job of governments.

This is my view of it, not Worsall's, but creating efficient and fair markets is a pretty big job (especially with all the sellers trying to put their thumbs on the scales and all the buyers trying to shave the currency). Trade barriers make it more difficult to create fair and efficient markets and add to government bureaucracy, so where possible they should be dismantled as part of the overall effort. I think that is a little more nuanced than "remove all trade barriers and the market will solve everything."

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Why 1024 == k

Because real programmers have sixteen fingers.

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But there is an issue with infrastructure - it needs to be a) operated , b) maintained, c) paid for and d) will become obsolete as it is being built

As unemployment relief in the '20s & '30s (everybody forgets the recession Churchill created in the Empire in the early '20s) in many states of Australia many may hundreds of miles of railway line were laid in rural areas to allow farmers to more easily get their produce to market - yes useful, and using rail as transport was the conventional wisdom . Many of these lines were under 30kms long. None ever covered its working expenses, the interest on the loan, let alone cost of construction.

To use Tim's restaurant analogy the new branches were the extra "covers" but there was little or no corresponding increase in the number of wagons or locomotives(the plates and cutlery) so these became worn out faster and added major inefficiencies on the trunk lines and required a whole new expenditure on workshops).

In NSW the government, which owned the railway, tried to maintain its monopoly position by passing legislation that made it illegal to offer a regular road service where a train ran (even if only once a week), yet farmers still preferred to load the produce on a truck & drive to the largest major town & ship from there (SWMBO could go the shops as well).

Most of these lines were closed over the last 30 years, and the rail map looks remarkably like it did in 1919. We are still paying these lines off.

What bits of infrastructure could become "game changing" and improve productivity, and/or drive down overall costs/improve quality of life in the community in the medium to long term such as London's new Crossrail or in Australia the NBN ?. In NSW our beloved Premier wants to spend a billion and a half (which means 3 billion) on rebuilding 3 stadia - hey its infrastructure so it must be good,

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Boffin

peer review and repeatability

The reasons why the scientific method has prevailed as the major engine of human advancement, is the ability to retest any and every experiment as new technologies and theories come along.

Biology is very complex and fiddly, mostly repeatable (given enough time).

Economics is complex, and does not have a good foundation in experiment - well, certainly not to the same degree.....

The reason why physics, for example, uses a lot of mathematics is because it gives the *wrong* answer if you don't use enough (mathematics that is). Even the approximations are rigorously bounded (e.g. Newton vs Einstein).

Economics is largely madey-uppy because the mathematical models are insufficiently predictive. If there is one thing you learn in the study of mathematics and statistics, it is that humans have lousy intuition, and the interpretation of model limitations is paramount. Video games would not look as good without it!!!

When you add the concept of partial differential equations to account for time-delays inherent in all reality based models (like we use in the sciences) you get a much better idea of the boundaries of the representative phases space, and the behaviour of the economic system as a point in this plane.

Don't trust any article that gives you an average without a variance for the distribution it is calculated .

Don't trust any economics article without the the differential equations and conditions being used to model the system....

P.

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RE: "macro-economics is very *young* science "

I sometimes find Mr Worstall's articles to be interesting and so enjoy looking to see what it is he's offering this time; alternatively I sometimes find him annoying and always find his support of UKIP a bit risible. Nevertheless he's worth checking out. I would argue though that Economics, macro or otherwise, is not a science and my old economics professor would back me up on this as that's precisely what he would teach. Economics is not an immutable law of nature unmoved by human nature or behaviour and unswerving in its course. Rather it stems entirely from human nature and behaviour and, unfortunately, that includes all the bad traits we have. Its an abstract pseudo science, much like the social sciences, that exists almost entirely in our own heads and only exists because we will it so.

Perhaps.

Perhaps not.

If I felt in the mood we could argue about this till the cows come home. There is no wrong, and there is no right. Theres just todays fashion, which you can bet there will be be someone exploiting and making a killing on while it lasts. Thats the only immutable thing here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Keep Tim

I'm guessing some people on here belong to the chipping norton set...

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Well, sorta:

"Economics is not an immutable law of nature unmoved by human nature or behaviour and unswerving in its course. Rather it stems entirely from human nature and behaviour and, unfortunately, that includes all the bad traits we have. Its an abstract pseudo science, much like the social sciences, that exists almost entirely in our own heads and only exists because we will it so."

It's really trying to describe human behaviour so obviously it has a number of faults because so does our behaviour. Next weekend's piece is an (maybe even interesting) look at some new research into exactly this.

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@Harmony

I'm really starting to wonder what strings Worstall had to pull in order to get his polemics regularly featured on a tech news site.

I'll take Worstalls work over Pottys polemics any day of the week. I can't quite understand how someone with no enterprise level experience, for whom the industry beings and ends in mom & pop small shops, is regualrly given bandwidth to write articles with all the depth and critical thinking I'd expect of a typical "Page 3 Stunna".

Thankfully, we all like different things. Some people prefer Tim, others Trevor. El Reg sells advertising space in both their works, but Worstalls regularly produce more ad revenue (based unscientifically on the number of comments per article). That, I suspect, is the crux of the matter.

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"it is still perfectly possible that everything you ever learned about it at school will turn out to be wrong"

Market economic simply doesn't work the way anyone expects and not at all logically (a huge chunk of what goes on is emotional/herd reaction to stimuli)

During the days of stagflation, Maggie and friends were frantically pulling money out of circulation but inflation rates simply kept going up.

The problem is that governments are not the only ones able to magic money out of thin air (or magically delete it) and if you're going to embark on a path of QE then you have to be magicking it up faster than the banks are magicking it away.

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@P.Lee

As one who writes software purely to juggle money, I can understand your sentiment. However, there are people within our wider field that are working on cutting edge image enhancement for medical scanners, for example, who really are making the world a better place. Widespread drone automation could be used in a weaponised manner, but it could equally be used for search and rescue operations over difficult terrain.

IT is just a toolset. How it gets used depends in part upon the ethics and motivations of those in the industry, but moreso on the ethics and motivations of those to whom we report - the business, in that sense, who control the agenda.

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Only on El Reg...

...would you have a thread discussing the theory of money that is interspersed (spelling?) with posts arguing on how to correctly identify the capacity of a floppy disc :)

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Re: Keep Tim

"Considering their wealth you would assume that the Rothschilds would be mentioned in the media "

What you're missing here is that this stuff's all a lie. The Rothschilds are not extraordinarily rich, simple as that. Between them the family is worth maybe single digit billions. Yes, that's certainly absolutely loaded by our standards, but it's not even close to the richest people on the planet.

It's true that at one point the Rothschilds were a particularly prominent banking family in the Anglo-Saxon culture. That was at about the beginning of the 20th century. A whole load of antisemitic propaganda was created around that time - by people like Hitler's inspiration, Henry Ford - about the Rothschilds, and as it's aged, it's become more and more obviously crackpot.

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Clue: Count the comments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Keep Tim

"It's true that at one point the Rothschilds were a particularly prominent banking family in the Anglo-Saxon culture. That was at about the beginning of the 20th century"

Earlier than that, as they helped Britain acquire the Suez Canal.

The Rothschilds are part of the establishment, and that's the nearest to a conspiracy theory you need to get. Their religion, or lack of it, is rather irrelevant. As you rightly say, what strikes one about them is how extremely English they are, right down to the entomology and the working for MI6.

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"Any economic analysis of QE that does not acknowledge the debt based nature of this unbacked privately issued river of gold and the problem of the interest payment is meaningless."

QE may be "debt based", but it isn't "unbacked"; governments are effectively "backing" the investment from QE with future earnings (taxation) in exactly the same way that a company or individual may borrow money based on their capacity for future earnings (wages for individuals and profits for companies).

The main risk with QE is that the government is effectively acting as lender and borrower, so they need to have restraint and balance the improvement they can make to the current economic situation with the impact on the future economy.

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Re: Only on El Reg...

"...would you have a thread discussing the theory of money that is interspersed (spelling?) with posts arguing on how to correctly identify the capacity of a floppy disc :)"

Personally, I'm wondering how many of the younger readers are confused about what the significance of 1.44MB is supposed to be.

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Happy

@ Tim RE: Next weekends article...

That may indeed be interesting and I will certainly read it. I'm confident that, being Tim, you will also be able to come up with something to annoy me. :-)

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Re: Only on El Reg...

@Naselus

Or why anybody'd be bothered by such a small, insignificant unit of data as a Megabyte ;)

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ww3

So when we run out of debt-based money (ie credit) to pay for our new infrastructure, you're fine with us seizing what we need at gun point? How very modern of you.

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Also @ GrumpyOldBloke

Quite right. This looks an awful lot like Danegeld to me.

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Re: Keep Tim

"What you're missing here is that this stuff's all a lie. The Rothschilds are not extraordinarily rich, simple as that. Between them the family is worth maybe single digit billions. Yes, that's certainly absolutely loaded by our standards, but it's not even close to the richest people on the planet.

It's true that at one point the Rothschilds were a particularly prominent banking family in the Anglo-Saxon culture. That was at about the beginning of the 20th century."

So when and how did they lose their money?

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Re: Keep Tim

"So when and how did [the Rothschilds] lose their money?"

They didn't, so much as they've been overtaken by others. Seems to happen regularly when it comes to the ultra-rich (contra Piketty), because families like the Rockefellers are also no longer as relatively rich as they were when they were the richest in the world.

Don't get me wrong, the Rothschilds are still very rich, and as with others like them have the connections to get their kids into top jobs/sinecures. But they're not notably so on a global scale. Their familial wealth is of the order of hundreds of millions or single-digit billions, not trillions like the conspiracy theories claim. They don't own the Fed or the BoE, that's pure fantasy. They're no more than a rich family who used to be much more important.

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"Much as some of us love international biz editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard over in The Torygraph, it is true that he can occasionally get a little bit excited about whatever it is that he's spotted."

Ha, that's so true. I'm not an economist and, probably for that reason, find him impressive to read. He has authoritative economist patter down to a T. Yet over the months and then years, it becomes apparent his prognostications are utter, utter drivel. He spies a problem with the economy and then sees it as this kind of thread on a jumper, pulling on which portends the destruction of the jumper and "oh oh, the other end is attached to a black hole we are negligently dragging into our solar system" Whereas in truth, apart from on very rare occasions, even economies run by tax and spend lefties have a lot of negative feedback loops which tend keep things self righting. In short he sees every economy as like a house of cards, when it seems to me, economies are like my garden, often messy, sometimes (rarely) close to critical but almost invariably, thanks to nature, alive.

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Facepalm

Grinding axes ...

Someone spotted grinding axes in a Worstall article a couple of weeks back.

Now if Worstall occassionally grinds an axe, AEP runs a FTSE-100 business grinding axes for every woodcutter and dwarven warrior in fantasyland. I have only to see his name on an article (especially one on Europe), and I don't bother reading it because I already know what it says.

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