Wednesday 31 March 2010

California: just like Scotland

The YouTube is from the Reason site

The problems with public sector workers are:

1. They cost too much.
2. We can't fire them.
3. They create a permanent lobby for expanded government and higher taxes.

This article in today's Scotsman talks about possible cuts in government expenditure:

The First Minister will meet Mr Darling in London to call for a further injection of spending for Scotland, arguing a fiscal stimulus to help the recovery is needed.

But it comes after Crawford Beveridge, the man leading the SNP government's review of his budget, said that privatising Scottish Water should be considered as a way of reducing the Scottish Government's costs. It currently pays £150 million a year for the utility.

Mr Beveridge, who also sits on the Scottish Government's panel of economic advisers, went on to suggest that, in the search for savings, the pensioners' free bus pass scheme should be restricted and the NHS should not be exempt from cuts.

A possible cut mentioned in the print version is:
If wage rises in the public sector were frozen to inflation-only, ministers would save an approximate £450m over three years
But that's not a "cut". It's not giving a rise.

The whole western world seems to be in a downward spiral that's leading to bankruptcy. There'll be a last ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy by stealing all private savings but the end point is clear.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Where's the money?

I'll name one of the organisations I work with "O". It deals with several government departments one of which I'll call "G".

A couple of weeks ago "O" sent an e-mail to "G". Essentially it said: "Send us an invoice for £Megasum and we'll pay you by return. But please make sure the invoice reaches us before 31st March."

Needless-to-say "G" has yet to send the invoice. All it needs to say is: "Send us the money." We'll pass over why on earth "G" itself doesn't know how much to invoice "O".

Like all such entities "G" is short of cash.

Or is it?

It certainly spends lots of cash. From previous experience it's highly likely that when "G" gets round to sending the invoice and subsequently receives the cheque from "O", "G" will stick the cheque in a drawer for up to three or four months before they decide to deposit it in the bank.

This is not a one off. I know of several "Os" that have similar experiences with "G".

Saturday 13 March 2010

Economics in One Lesson

A great video of one of the best books ever written.

Must viewing in Hawick and elsewhere.

The Hawick Pound

I see that some folk in Hawick want to issue their own currency:
A pilot scheme for the "Hawick Pound" is being launched this month to try to encourage more people to shop locally.

There has been concern from traders because of the competition they face from larger retailers outside the town.

But the idea is that the local currency could only be spent in Hawick, so money would stay in the community.

I'm all in favour of towns like Hawick having strong economies. And I'm also in favour of private monetary systems. But I don't think that the good folk of Hawick have thought this through properly.

Listen to this broadcast:

Basically we are going to print up some notes and sell them into circulation.
Just like that.

When the BBC reporter asked, "How would inflation work in Hawick?" the answer was, "I don't know." Not good enough. And if the currency is just going to be "printed up", we can guess the answer on that one.

As Mises explained, a sound currency can only come into existence by winning the hearts and minds of people in the marketplace. Why would a resident of Hawick prefer a currency that was only usable in his home town, especially a currency that can be "printed up"? There's absolutely nothing to stop Hawick folk from patronising local businesses as things stand right now. By all means let that include a bank - but one founded on sound principles.

Monday 8 March 2010

Calling you...

MPs are having a moan about banks:
Banks are continuing to aggressively target customers who have fallen into debt, according to a report by a group of Scottish MPs.

The Scottish Affairs committee has called for an end to "undesirable practices" such as automated calls.

I didn't realise that the IMF used automated calls!

I blame the public sector workers

According to David Bell in today's Scotsman:
PUBLIC sector workers are not responsible for the recession.
But in the very next sentence Mr Bell writes:
Most of the blame should lie with regulators, bankers, governments, economists, auditors, credit rating agencies etc.
Eh? Aren't the regulators and "governments" public sector workers? And the economists have almost all been educated at universities that employ public sector teachers. Lots of those economists still work in such "public" institutions and wouldn't know real economics if it hit them on the head.

Of course bankers, auditors and credit rating agencies have also fallen down on the job but the prime reason for the financial crisis (most of it yet to happen I guess) is the existence of the fraudulent government-created money system.

Now why could this be?

Here's some interesting news about camera sales:
The UK has embraced the Micro Four Thirds camera format, making up over 10% of interchangeable lens camera sales (by volume) in December 2009. According to figures from market research company GfK Retail and Technology, around 6,600 Micro Four Thirds cameras were sold in the UK, accounting for more than half of the system's sales volumes in 11 major Western European countries.
The Micro Four Thirds system allows serious cameras with interchangeable lenses to be much smaller than the more conventional SLRs. Also, by not having the bulky pentaprism on top, these cameras look very similar to compacts.

Now why would the Micro Four Thirds system be doing especially well in the UK?

It's not the price: these cameras are pretty expensive. I reckon that the reason may well the one that's making me think of getting one of these pricey little devices. Having a small and unobtrusive camera could well mean that the user is less likely to come to the attention of Britain's police forces who are waging a relentless war on photography. Unusually in European history this is a war that seems to have left the mainland unscathed.