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The first law of Twitter: everything is exponential

Paul Mason | 11:09 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

My twitter feed @paulmasonnews has made it to the top ten economics twitterers list produced by Oxford Economics. I am there at #7 behind Roubini, Krugman, Sachs, Tim Harford etc with 5,015 followers.

I must say however, that the list demonstrates the First Law of Twitter: everything is exponential. Krugman (at 457,000) is going to take some catching.

Paul Krugman at 457k, Paul Mason at 5k

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    It's frightening how many people listen to Krugman. He's a danger to society.

  • Comment number 2.

    HUMAN FRAILTY IS EVERYWHERE

    I know a chap who writes scholarly books based on intensive research. Yet he is obsessed with their value when out of print. Is Paul falling into a similar trap?

    (Does that Paul-pic look a bit enhanced to you?)



  • Comment number 3.

    Endlessly googling yersen' is the first sign of...?

    Snigger.

  • Comment number 4.

    @1 I always find Krugman, informed, interesting, entertaining and logical.

    Judge for yourselves:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

    Of course, those who don't want to let truth or the real world affect their opinions can always enroll in the Glenn Beck University instead.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5nUf-Qtf8Y

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALnESCZolgQ

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Paul,

    congratulations, a second top 10 in four days.

    The point of Twitter is not how many followers you have but the effect one of your Tweets has.

    Re-Tweets fill the twitterverse and a view of the world can become visible, not just one persons individual thought but the uptake of that thought or opinion across the globe.

    There is a fat pipe where all the tweets come rushing out, near realtime word clouding allows you to see (and attempt to modify) the received wisdom.



  • Comment number 7.

    Wow, 'Oxford Economics' sounds impressive - a joint venture with Templeton College to give high powered paid advice on marketing and sectoral analysis and economic stuff...a bit like the esteemed and socially useful LSE Financial Markets Group who played their full part, no doubt, in alerting everyone to the impending Great Recession and its aftermath. Jeff Peel, the compiler of the list, has the grandiose title " Director of Consulting and Thought Leadership Services" with a bent towards market research. You've made it with the Thought Leadership people, Paul! Crack on..and thanks for mentioning them

  • Comment number 8.

    Paul,

    A question for you whilst you're in a googling frame of mind. What % of economics blogs / twitterers actually discuss the potential for fraud to be happening under our noses?

  • Comment number 9.

    I have a feeling Paul is trying to replace the 'nation's sweetheart' Cheryl Cole as, um, the nation's sweetheart.

    Have you tried twittering high heels and bandage dresses Paul?

  • Comment number 10.

    Krugman, Sachs, etc, the economic geography it's quite remarkable as is the fact that nobody applies the Null hypothesis, Chi Square etc. There are others who have said much of this, but they don't get the same publicity/prizes. Why is that do you think? Might it be effective group marketing, insider trading etc, skilled 'merging and especially 'acquisition'?

    In the first part of the C20th the USA universities established quotas to limit this I understand. Why? What were they discriminating against?
    Did it have anything to do with 'fairness'?

  • Comment number 11.

    "I must say however, that the list demonstrates the First Law of
    Twitter: everything is exponential. Krugman (at 457,000) is going to take some catching."


    Given the big twitters are Krugman, Roubini, Sachs are all anarchists with lots of chutzpah, you shouldn't expect to catch up any time soon, at least, not without major DNA replacement - at a guess, somewhere in the vicinity of C6p21? Selection and reward of these behaviours have almost become de rigueur across the Liberal Democracies. That's what Twittering etc is now all about:- Propaganda. This 'economics' isn't a science, it's just creative writing.

    We thought you were a reporter Paul? You should be exposing this for what it is.

  • Comment number 12.

    "6. At 2:39pm on 08 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:
    There is a fat pipe where all the tweets come rushing out, near realtime word clouding allows you to see (and attempt to modify) the received wisdom."


    If you seriously think that the likes of Twitter are reliable sources of 'received wisdom', I predict you will, if you haven't already, be in need of psychiatric help. Take this on board: economists are not scientists,a nd their prizes are commercial/business awards much like those in the publishing and media business. Some of them (e.g The Austrian School) explicitly eschew the empirical method altogether, which means you should question if they are at all concerned with truth.
    Instead, they create narratives just like Enid Blyton and the author of Harry Potter. If one can not tell the difference between truth and a good read, that's evidence of personal, and writ large, economic and demographic decline.

  • Comment number 13.

    If Keynes were alive now I'm sure he would conclude that:

    Defunct economists are just the slaves of shrewd practical men!

  • Comment number 14.

    Shireblogger, I'm the author of the piece. I don't think I had any agenda - and there is no paying client. Some people found the list useful - and by commenting and adding other Economists (as some people have done) it may even be a useful (embryonic) list for those that study economics and may want to follow Economists on Twitter. It's no more or less than that - why the cynicism? Paul is correct - Krugman has a huge, disproportionate number of followers. But several economic commentators - like Paul himself - engage a lot more on Twitter and take rather more notice of what their followers say. Indeed, they even publish comments from the likes of you and me. Surely that's a good thing? No?

  • Comment number 15.

    "4. At 2:25pm on 08 Nov 2010, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    @1 I always find Krugman, informed, interesting, entertaining and logical."


    That's what many people say about J K Rowling. That's exactly what you are seeing these days. A reminder, logic and mathematics is just a system of empty tautologies. In itself, neither has nothing to do with reality. See computer games and CGI. It's what's plugged into logic/mathematics that matters.

    We are becoming a culture of fantasists judging what's seen/read/heard etc on the basis of how it 'internally feels' or how internally consistent it is. But the psychotics world is internally consistent.

    That's the problem with it. That's why they are inaccessible. It is solipsistic/narcissistic, and this is becoming more and more economically and culturally destructive the more it's accepted socially.

    "8. At 3:45pm on 08 Nov 2010, Hawkeye_Pierce wrote:
    Paul,

    A question for you whilst you're in a googling frame of mind. What % of economics blogs / twitterers actually discuss the potential for fraud to be happening under our noses?"


    Agreed, but....watch some of them explain (its all words to them not
    actions) that as it's legal it can't be fraud, on the contrary, it's just good business practices - venality isn't illegality, on the contrary, venality is essential for a strong economy (they'll say), essen6ial to a robust business model, what profit is all about, what fiduciary duty is all about. Robustness in the face of risk must be rewarded or bankers will go abroad (see HSBC).

    This is why imperialism has been so passionately fought in many parts of the world, and many defending libertarian economics and politics genuinely don't see the problem. See BBC Newsnight programme tonight on Burma. I suspect Sue thinks she's doing good. The problem is, I bet the Chinese government won't see it that way.

    The really hard question is, why can't people like Sue and her controllers see this? This is a problem which is everywhere I suggest.
    It's a case of 'Innocents abroad' and at home too. It is human self-centredness, and there's a sex difference, one we tend to endorse too. Most won't see it.


    "14. At 4:48pm on 08 Nov 2010, Jeffrey Peel wrote:
    Shireblogger, I'm the author of the piece. I don't think I had any agenda "


    And there you have the problem. You (like some many these days) take what you think to be a reliable guide to what is and is not the case. But how can it be? Those trained in science are taught not to do that but to look to actions and their consequences instead.

  • Comment number 16.

    A graph! Be sure to show Paxman!

  • Comment number 17.

    @15 "...We are becoming a culture of fantasists judging what's seen/read/heard etc on the basis of how it 'internally feels' or how internally consistent it is. But the psychotics world is internally consistent.

    That's the problem with it. That's why they are inaccessible. It is solipsistic/narcissistic...."


    Speak for yourself. Krugman didn't win the Nobel memorial prize for nothing. He presents real data to justify the sound, if somewhat messy economics of the real world.

    You are the fantasist, consistently pretending to be an expert on statistical and other matters when you haven't a clue. The regular bloggers here aren't impressed by all the jargon: we know what you are - a pseud, like Bunthorne from 'Patience':

    "And everyone will say, As you walk your mystic way, 'If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me, Why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must be!"


    You are also the narcissist: I'm sick of the huge blocks of bold as part of your attention seeking strategy.

    I also see (@10) that you've started linking to the anti-Jewish stuff again too.

    To the moderators: How many times can someone be banned and reincarnated? Tabblenabble/JadedJean/Statist has been banned enough times for good reason. He/she poisons this blog! Can you please sort this out?

  • Comment number 18.

    #14 Jeffrey Peel
    Great to see you contributing and I hope to read more of you on the big issues Paul digs up here. Oxford Economics' league table is the second benchmark in quick succession quoted for Paul's justified success, the earlier one being Wikio. Can you explain what criteria you are using to compile the "top ten economics twitterers" list.I would like to know how Wikio derive theirs as well. If these league tables and their originators are going to be published and referred to through the BBC I would like to know on what basis they are the definitive ( or not so definitive/embryonic) tables and how they have been scored/or whether there are others competing/vying.These social media accolades are becoming important for players in the game. I agree that its a big plus for Paul to reference contributions and engage with his following - is that a quality that is factored within your list or do you just use sheer numbers of followers as the only measure of a good economic twitterer?

    What are Thought Leadership services. I have genuinely never come across such an expertise?





  • Comment number 19.

    #18

    Thought leadership services is an intriguing sequence of words.

    It would not look out of place as the title of a department within the apparatus of state in George Orwells 1984.

    Equally you could apply it to the trading name of a Zen Buddist seeking to free people from their thoughts and in so doing helping them to master them as oppose to be an unwitting follower of them.

    Some things you can not teach, you have to experience them.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    tabble

    You are the antidote to Joan Rivers!

  • Comment number 22.

    Bloody hell!

    'If you seriously think that the likes of Twitter are reliable sources of 'received wisdom', I predict you will, if you haven't already, be in need of psychiatric help.'

    Quote of the week!

    Seriously....you can only get this stuff off the blogosphere!

  • Comment number 23.

    Shireblogger, to be honest I wrote the post on a whim and my methodology was simply based on followers. I gather that some people object to this approach - and I have a certain sympathy, as some Economics Tweeters simply use a bot to tweet their blog posts. Bad form I say. Please comment on my post to add your favourites and I'll recompile my list:

    http://oxfordthought.com/2010/10/22/top-10-economists-on-twitter/

    Jeff

  • Comment number 24.

    17. At 8:16pm on 08 Nov 2010, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    'Speak for yourself. Krugman didn't win the Nobel memorial prize for nothing. He presents real data to justify the sound, if somewhat messy economics of the real world.

    You are the fantasist, consistently pretending to be an expert on statistical and other matters when you haven't a clue. The regular bloggers here aren't impressed by all the jargon: we know what you are - a pseud, like Bunthorne from 'Patience':

    You are also the narcissist: I'm sick of the huge blocks of bold as part of your attention seeking strategy.

    I also see (@10) that you've started linking to the anti-Jewish stuff again too.

    To the moderators: How many times can someone be banned and reincarnated? Tabblenabble/JadedJean/Statist has been banned enough times for good reason. He/she poisons this blog! Can you please sort this out?'

    ---------------------------------

    Please don't think you represent the rest of blogosphere on here, for that would be a grave error...you have made a typical female mistake by thinking that your position in this argument is the correct/rightous/accepted response!

    You have made the classic mistake of playing the man/woman...and not the ball.

    ARGUE WITH THE PROPOSITION/ARGUMENT...NOT THE PERSON. MAKE IT AN HONEST REPSONSE.

    Go look up 'Ad Hominem'...it can be pernicious.

    Think about that one for while...for if you don't, you truly are an enemy of reason!

    May God be with you!

  • Comment number 25.

    tabble, you wrote :

    'I predict you will, if you haven't already, be in need of psychiatric help.'

    normally I would take this as a personal insult but as it was coming from you, I'll let it pass, after all you endlessly rant on about the same conspiracy theory of an organised master race who are going to/are taking control for their own nefarious aims.
    You also say 'The really hard question is, why can't people like Sue and her controllers see this? This is a problem which is everywhere I suggest.', I'd say the problem is in your head mate, it's called paranoia.

    No doubt you will respond with some diatribe that could include anything, so what ?

    I generally skip your comments but I agree with Debtjuggler that you have the right to say what you like (more or less) even though I don't value your opinions.




  • Comment number 26.

    what tabble fails to understand is that these blogs are part of the therapy :)

  • Comment number 27.

    and finally Tabble, thankyou for allowing me to clarify what I meant by this

    'There is a fat pipe where all the tweets come rushing out, near realtime word clouding allows you to see (and attempt to modify) the received wisdom.'

    I meant wisdom that is received rather than the 'received wisdom' (in quotes)

    There was a book, 'The medium is the message', the medium is Twitter and the message is whatever it is saying.(repeatedly)

    The Categories box at the bottom of these blogs is a tag cloud, words are rated according to the number of references, bigger=more.
    If you look at the cloud you get to see a visual praisee of what Pauls bloggs are about although his prediction of volcanoes at the world cup in 2010 at the bottom was way off the mark.


  • Comment number 28.

    Look up Chinese and Counterfactuals in Google. Read the review of Bloom's book from the 80s and perhaps some of the more recent research giving a thought or two to how China prefers its leaders to be drawn from the sciences and engineering whilst ours tend to be drawn from the humanities. There's an important point of be grasped for the Harry Potter generation. Without evidence as a constraint, counterfactuals (the hallmark of thinking) easily becomes magical thinking. The Enlightenment gave us a lead over China which we are now losing through bad judgement. Some of which we saw discussed on tonight's Newsnight in several pieces.


    "19. At 10:07pm on 08 Nov 2010, Jericoa wrote:

    Thought leadership services is an intriguing sequence of words"


    Look up Dawes,
    'House of Cards' and his book on irrationality.

    We seem to have replaced our universities with Hogwarts, and so few dare tell the truth now for fear of causing offence (and/or losing income).

    We're now awash with magical thinking, so science will move from West to East and we'll be left with nothing but witches, warlocks as the arrested developed.

  • Comment number 29.

    "25. At 02:10am on 09 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:
    tabble, you wrote :

    'I predict you will, if you haven't already, be in need of psychiatric help.'

    normally I would take this as a personal insult but as it was coming from you, I'll let it pass, after all you endlessly rant on about the same conspiracy theory of an organised master race who are going to/are taking control for their own nefarious aims."


    What if what I said was true though? Note, you didn't let it pass, instead, you took criticism as an insult. In fact, I wasn't insulting you. I was just criticising you. There is an important difference, but in today's anarchistic culture that seems to have changed. People now feel that they must be allowed to hold views even if they are false and self-destructive, what's more, some feel entitled to have such views respected as equally valid. Why is that? Just give this some thought.
    Mental illness isn't something which should be used as an insult as it's a disability, in fact, it's a Protected Characteristic under the 2010 Act.

    Let me further explain what I meant, and try to take it as helpful education rather than personal attack, as there are those who play the victim in order to secure affirmative action form others. They make out that the whole world is just out to get them, this they use to licence their ruthless, and predatory hostility towards others. Paranoia, narcissism and anti-social behaviour (as psychopathy/criminality) are in fact very close concepts you will discover if you look into it..

    On your first point, those trained in science examine the frequencies of events, i.e collect observations (assuming the Null Hypothesis) and then compare their Observations with Expected frequencies (i.e. as expected by chance ceteris paribus). What you refer to at the end of your first paragraph is in fact something which should (but clearly is not) be of concern to people on these grounds given all our talk of democracy, fairness and equality, as the Observed frequencies are extremely odd given population base rate frequencies of 2% in the USA and just 0.5% in the UK. How do you explain this departure from the expected?
    That's a statistical question I'm asking. Am I a bad person for asking rational, scientific questions?

    Do you see how intimidation is working?

    "You also say 'The really hard question is, why can't people like Sue and her controllers see this? This is a problem which is everywhere I suggest.', I'd say the problem is in your head mate, it's called paranoia."

    It could be, but let's try a rational alternative. Maybe some people want viewers to be unsympathetic towards an alternative form of governance? Might the FCO have such a remit? Does the BBC have a public service remit? Is that political? Are all forms of government given equal endorsement or are some favoured (variants of Liberal-Democracy) and others not?

    If you look more carefully, I'm suggesting (see past pieces on Uzbekistan, N Korea) that you'll see that regimes which are not liberal-democratic, i.e regimes which are democratic-centralist or its variants (cf. Iran, or not long ago Iraq) are given extremely hostile treatment by some journalists. (See the press today of Bush giving the pentagon a brief to draw up plans to attack Iran and Syria in the past).
    Have you noticed how the criticised governments are all of the same left wing type (Islam is left wing and anti capitalist)? I'm suggesting that this serves to make many domestic viewers tacitly critical of planned economies, viewing them as limiting 'freedom', which in practice means impeding imperialism, i.e free-trade, and free-market economics.

    "No doubt you will respond with some diatribe that could include anything, so what ?"

    That appears to be insulting, but I really will let that pass as you are probably upset. I'll just say in passing that one has to be upset a bit if one is to learn anything. The things to focus upon are what's being said which upsets, and why, not one's feelings per se.

    "I generally skip your comments but I agree with Debtjuggler that you have the right to say what you like (more or less) even though I don't value your opinions."

    It really has nothing to do with my rights. What he is probably suggesting is that you try to pay closer attention to the analyses as these may be offering something which is currently unfamiliar to you, i.e. which you may learn from. Would that be such a bad thing? Would it do any harm? Learning is by definition a surprising experience. For some, it can be a shocking one if one's core beliefs are challenged. If that experience is censored or censured, what are the likely consequences do you think? Might people dig themselves further into bunkers of oblivion?

  • Comment number 30.

    "There was a book, 'The medium is the message', the medium is Twitter and the message is whatever it is saying.(repeatedly)

    The Categories box at the bottom of these blogs is a tag cloud, words are rated according to the number of references, bigger=more.
    If you look at the cloud you get to see a visual praisee of what Pauls bloggs are about although his prediction of volcanoes at the world cup in 2010 at the bottom was way off the mark."

    You keep missing the point. Learning only happens through failure, i.e. through refutation by evidence, it doesn't grow via affirmation or populism. Populism (affirmation, praise etc) just takes one towards ignorance. The most insidious modus operandi is via negative reinforcement (relief)

    This learning through conjecture and refutation is what The Enlightenment was all about. Reason, with evidence, replaced popular folk lore and superstitious thinking. What you risk lapping up is propaganda. Your (and Mr Clarkson's) populism risks taking us backwards - towards Creationism, geo-centricism and all other forms of self-centredness - that's the road to madness to which I referred.

    Go back and look more closely at what I wrote instead of what you think I wrote. Remember how the Inquisition worked? It censored to support its own prejudices. Today, people self-censor by labelling other people's intelligent and well meant criticism 'insulting'. What you don't like is the thought of mental illness. But it's never kept at bay by shooting the critic especially if the critic is the therapist. But that does happen, and that's why the people who behave that way can't be helped.

  • Comment number 31.

    Steady on. We're all on the same side, against the crooks aren't we?

    Gold is going stratospheric, rumours abound of ATM machines running out of cash in the US, and Ireland banks about to take another pounding. Meanwhile, the crooks are still making off with the loot:

    http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/econned-yves-smiths-book-books

    The looting is going on under the Gvts, the regulators, the media's and the public's noses:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/11/only_eight_places_away_from_me.html#P102712128

  • Comment number 32.

    Quote from above link reviewing Yves Smith's ECONned:

    "Ms. Smith, with equal brilliance, details the annals of 'creative accounting' utilized to implement so much of the corrupt, criminal practices which have insured a crippled economy for decades to come. During the final portion of her book she realistically and most accurately describes how the government stepped in to continue the structured looting of the public for the benefit of the criminal class of Wall Street."

    Even Stiglitz is acknowledging that fraud and crooked bankers help cause the crisis:

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/investing/joseph-stiglitz-corporate-crooks-to-jail/19684353/

    --- Quote

    Q: During the S&L crisis, people actually went to jail. Do you think there's any chance that's going to happen with the mortgage crisis.

    Stiglitz: I know so many people who say it's an outrage that we had more accountability in the '80s with the S&L crisis than we are having today. Yeah, we fine them, and what is the big lesson? Behave badly, and the government might take 5% or 10% of what you got in your ill-gotten gains, but you're still sitting home pretty with your several hundred million dollars that you have left over after paying fines that look very large by ordinary standards but look small compared to the amount that you've been able to cash in.

    Q: So the system is set so that even if you're caught, the penalty is just a small number relative to what you walk home with.

    Stiglitz: The fine is just a cost of doing business. It's like a parking fine.

    ---- End quote

  • Comment number 33.

    #31

    Sadly there are many different kinds of crooks out there, from the petty crime of systematically and dogmatically stealing BBC blog space to promote your own extreme views, right through to the white collar crime against humanity perpetrated by an unwritten pact of self interest between politicians, media, bankers and regulators of all kinds, which keeps a good chunk of the world in wholey unnecesarry bondage and life quality poverty.

    There may not be physical chains anymore so that we may recognise it more easily, but slavery is alive and well.




  • Comment number 34.

    #29 & 30 tabble

    your posts really do make me laugh, they are very well constructed.


    You open with a quote from me

    'normally I would take this as a personal insult but as it was coming from you...'

    and then you say

    'instead, you took criticism as an insult'

    which obviously isn't true but nevermind, I know that you always use critism and that what you post can sometimes be perceived as an insult but that you believe that this is the fault of the criticisee rather than the criticiser.

    -----

    'That appears to be insulting, but I really will let that pass as you are probably upset'

    Upset about what? I would only be upset if I felt personally insulted by your original comment.

    You jumped to a mistaken conclusion regarding my post because you prejudged the comment based on my userid and not what was written which then biases your following comments.

    -----

    'You keep missing the point'

    No tabble, you keep missing the point, I have read all of your posts and I have followed all of your links (more than once)

    What you post is your interpretation of how you view the world, you use your interpretation of the meaning of the linked content to support your views.

    Your rational view of the world as you believe it to be is yours and yours alone.

    What new 'Enlightenment' would have to occur for you to change your unshakeable beliefs?

    That last question is rhetorical, this is Pauls economics blog and I'm sure people would rather discuss the subject matter he eloquently raises.

  • Comment number 35.

    Here's the problem in a nutshell. Whilst there is a Jewish IQ advantage over White gentiles, this advantage is restricted to verbal IQ, not spatial IQ. Human females tend to have higher verbal than spatial IQs whilst males tend to have the reverse pattern. But here it is a matter of brain-gender. Some genes can shift that balance. Human males excel in the sciences and engineering, where spatial ability matter. Human females excel in writing and verbal fluency, but not in science and engineering.

    Does everyone see the problem? There's lots of good statistical research work behind this which I am not referencing, but it is all out there for those interested. Take another look at the prize winning economists.
    What do you notice? (Krugman is a science fiction fan by the way, and the Austrian School economists are not empiricists).

    Do you think J K Rowling should be advising on how to run the country?
    She's very popular. How about Simon Cowell or Cheyl Cole, or Stephen Fry?

  • Comment number 36.

    "31. At 09:55am on 09 Nov 2010, Hawkeye_Pierce wrote:
    Steady on. We're all on the same side, against the crooks aren't we?

    Gold is going stratospheric..."

    Well, it's high. Property prices went high too, as did the use of derivatives, but how were these related? No discussion on that. As RMBS were just a small part of the securitization and credit boom, what was all the rest and what did it have to do with 'homeowners'.

    Silence

    The price of gold is another commodity bubble, it's gold-bug driven, it's not driven by the big investors. Why not?

    What's at issue here is populism vs rationality. Counting tweets is like counting X Factor and Strictly votes. Note how Anne Widdecombe is still in Strictly? Is that rational? Is that fair? Listen to the audience when judges pass accurate comment. That's democracy, mob rule.

  • Comment number 37.

    "31. At 09:55am on 09 Nov 2010, Hawkeye_Pierce wrote:
    Steady on. We're all on the same side, against the crooks aren't we?"

    No, that's my point. Most of those who collude don't see how they do so and any efforts to enlighten them is likely to be dismissed as paranoia or conspiracy theory. Many regard anything which they don't believe or understand like that. That's what's so irrational, nothing changes down the ages. Did The Inquistion treat those advancing heliocentricism as fairly. Just for the record, the CAT3 used to predict GCSE grades in so many of our schools, was essentially Cattell's work). The three subtests are proxies for Maths, English and Science ability, also the core constricts in the OECD PISA which has been monitoring the 'European' workforce this way since 2000 (see also Lynn, Vanhanen and the economics of intelligence).

  • Comment number 38.

    Is Ireland about to run out of money - 60 days of 'cash' left so the experts are saying online.

    Apparently the UK banks hold about 230 billion worth of rubbish Irish debt - mainly mortgages as UK banks liked getting into housing bubbles overseas as much as here in the UK.

    If Ireland defaults the reprecussions could be very striking indeed not just for Eire but for the EU, for the UK and for the global economy. It could bring about a second round of collapse in banks around the globe and push us further into the Second Great Depression.

    I really wish someone would ask the question that no one seems to want to ask - why is the housing bubble that brought both Irish banks and the Irish state close to collapse any different from the housing bubble here in the UK?

  • Comment number 39.

    31. At 09:55am on 09 Nov 2010, Hawkeye_Pierce wrote:
    Meanwhile, the crooks are still making off with the loot:
    The looting is going on under the Gvts, the regulators, the media's and the public's noses:"


    All the people you refer to are saying is that when there's little regulation (and it is by design as many have now pointed out) there will be more white collar crime and venality. This is why Hare said he would look in the stock exchange for psychopathic subjects if he didn't look in prisons. This is why he wrote 'Snakes in Suits'. The sad reality is that you and I can't do much if anything about that here. What we can do is look analytically at the published explanations, and try to highlight where and when it doesn't add up getting others to do the same. That's how I have tried to contribute. See the 'households' definition and the securitisation of debt point. We know there are those in finance who are Personality Disordered, and we know that they are well rewarded for the risks that they take. This is endemic in our culture. What one can do, I repeat is forensically analyse the data.

    Does it add up? I think not. Don't be distracted by those talking of tweets and victimhood and their hurt 'feelings'.

  • Comment number 40.

    #38

    I visit Ireland fairly regularly and in so doing get a perceptual 'snap shot' of the situation there. It has had the feel of a downward spiral with no tangible base to it for some time now.

    It has no tangible base to it because they are part of the Euro in my view which, in effect, for an economy like Ireland, keeps them uncompetitive and endebted in perpetuity.

  • Comment number 41.

    The best thing for Eire is, like Iceland, to default but the lizard people who control the global economy - did I really type that - are petrified that if one of the PIIGS goes then all the others will follow Eire into default.

    That would leave the lenders, especially the UK and Germany, holding worthless debt that will then trigger off all sorts of problems in their own countries and further afield.

    I wonder how much of the PIIGS' debt, mostly mortgage debt, is held by banks in the US or by sovereign funds in the Middle East, Asia, etc?

    How is Eire going to get out of this mess?

    There is no EU OB1 money heading their way anytime soon if ever. They are no longer the cheapest place to hire workers in the EU let alone globally and property prices are not going to go back to their highs for a generation.

    What choice has Eire other than to default?

    I think we are about to see stage two of the global debt crisis kicking off. It will take down more banks and put the likes of the UK into an even deeper financial crisis than we are currently in.

    Put the popcorn on.

  • Comment number 42.

    tn01

    "First of all, gold is not in a bubble, silver is not in a bubble, precious metals are in general terms not in a bubble. That's the first statement. If there is a bubble, it's in Triple A rated Treasury papers, whether from Germany or United States."

    http://www.chaostheorien.de/artikel/-/asset_publisher/haR1/content/i-dont-want-speculation-i-want-clear-investment?redirect=%2F

    Here are a couple of other quotes from the article:

    "If we talk about currency wars as I said the United States are at the center of starting this currency war rather than anybody else.

    America is doing cosmetic jobs and intends no structural reforms to refurbish their business model."

    Whether or not Gold is a neccessary means for stabilising the global economy, it's recent price hike is a sure sign of trouble ahead.

  • Comment number 43.

    Two things for you to think about Hawkeye, like so many 'influential'
    American economists, he's Jewish (like so much of the Word Bank and IMF). He was born in Gary Indiana. Maybe he could have a go at sorting out Indiana's economy?

    His main claim to fame:"Stiglitz's most famous research was on screening, a technique used by one economic agent to extract otherwise private information from another. It was for this contribution to the theory of information asymmetry that he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics"

    How much of this economics is just story 'narrative' - i.e. creative juggling with intensional concepts? You see, the problem with the intensional is that Peter robs Paul for pseudo-explanation. It is logically a closed, mentalistic world ,which does not cash out in reality (see Quine). That is why I say it's all the stuff of J K Rowlling. It's female art form, and it's misleading because it is not grounded in reality.

    It's mentalistic (verbal) construction, and as such, not truth-functional, and thus outside reason. Good stories for boys maybe?

  • Comment number 44.

    "33. At 12:29pm on 09 Nov 2010, Jericoa wrote:
    #31

    Sadly there are many different kinds of crooks out there, from the petty crime of systematically and dogmatically stealing BBC blog space to promote your own extreme views,..."

    But these aren't 'crimes' at all are they? This is just your odd way of using language to vilify what you don't like surely? That's nefarious rhetoric, not reason at work and that's the problem which I am generally referring to. What many seem to want to do is a nice friendly girlie football like chat where nobody really says anything of substance at all for fear of being extremely clear, and if anyone does, someone shouts foul, and demands the ref sends them off - a penalty kick where the other side is able to say just the opposite for balance and the world will all be OK.

    It's madness, or just entertainment - take your pick. The citadel of the counterfactual where truth doesn't matter a jot. See The X Factor.

    That's what is going on here.

  • Comment number 45.

    34. At 2:04pm on 09 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    "Your rational view of the world as you believe it to be is yours and yours alone."


    That clearly is not true. If you followed the links and understood them you would have learned by now that what have been stating here is mainstream research from many working in these areas. With all due respect to Paul Mason, Paul is a journalist not an economist (as he has pointed out himself). What i am drawing attention to here is that far too many here and elsewhere have been seduced by clever celebritism marketing. Most of these famous economists are essentially political, PR creations. There is no science to it. So they can write what they like.

    If you judge them by their eloquence you are truly in the land of J K Rowling as I say.

    You must try to judge on the basis of facts, not fame. The latter is in fact to commit the ad hominem (invalid argument from Authority, as there are no authorities in economics as it isn't a science). It is very probably a PR political con is what I'm saying the statistics indicate.

    This is all engineered in support of libertarianism.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    #44

    I actually really liked that post tabble, and there is a lot of truth in it. As you know I do not agree with much of what you say but there is no doubt that there is a considerable intellect there.. and even a sense of humour on occasion, which gives me hope that you can yet be enlightened through experience rather than through intellect.

    As for 'girlie football like chat' .. I suggest you spend an evening in the South Stand at Elland road, you would no doubt approve of the direct talk you will find there and may even make a few friends with similar views. However, I strongly suggest you don't refer to football talk as 'girlie' while you are there as restoritive dentistry work is quite expensive I hear:)

    Tally ho..

  • Comment number 48.

    #41

    Hmmm I see what you mean, the only way Eire can save themselves is to pull out and default, then re-build ala Iceland, except if they do that...hey presto a rather large UK banking crisis and Euro contagion is what I am understanding here.

    Catch 22.

    I will be interested to hear what PM has to say on it tonight and I will watch this emerging dynamic carefully, it has the feel of something significant about it.

    How long can they continue to patch up and keep alive this genetically flawed being that is the economic structural design, supposed to underpin, support and promote the acttivities of human beings in a positive way.

    If they do manage to keep it alive will it be a creation that (given the power of self determination) would rather volutarily pay a visit to the dignitas clinic than keep going of its own volition?




  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    The PIIGS may decide to individually or collectively default - what is the worst that happens?

    The enormous debt that the PIIGS have is not really their problem. It is the problem of the UK, of Germany, of all those banks and sovereign wealth funds, the super-rich, who loaned them obscene amounts of money to build near cardboard-thin walled flats and shoe-box size houses all over Eire, Spain, etc.

    There is more at stake for you and I - the Joe Public of the UK, Germany, etc, as it will be us, via bank bail-outs, reduced Govt spending and higher taxation, that will ultimately pay the price of a default in Eire or another one of the PIIGS.

    I think what is at stake here is merely the wealth of the super-rich and the vested interests of them, of bankers and of politicians who are all part of the global gravy train.

    They wish to keep the status quo going re global capitalism so that there are plenty of incredibly well-paid perks, jobs and post-political career board memberships for them all - and, of course, the real fear that if the PIIGS default then the peoples of the UK, Germany et al might decide to default on our political and economic masters.

    Can't be having that can we?

  • Comment number 51.

    Is it possible to give the Editor of Newsnight a kick up the backside?

    I tuned in to watch the Eire story and got treated to this damp squib story about street lights being turned off. Assuming that it was going to last for a sizeable time I did some quick channel hopping only to come back to the Eire story halfway through.

    If the street light story was so short then why headline with it? What little I saw of it it was very weak. Meanwhile, the bigger story - Eire about to run out of cash - was relegated down the chain.

    Someone point out to the Editor that if Eire goes bust then British banks are going to be in deep trouble again as will be the UK economy - it might even force loads of BBC types to off-load their BTL portfolios at a loss!

    Won't have to worry about street lights then.

  • Comment number 52.

    Ireland missed the boat on the default thing. Shoulda done it sooner: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/1108/1224282865400.html

  • Comment number 53.

    I don't think that a eurozone country like Eire can default, it is probably buried somewhere in the Lisbon Treaty that you give up sovereignty of your economy to the EU and the IMF under certain economic conditions and that the host government has a legal obligation to comply.

    I think that they are just trying to stabilise Eire, not fix it, there are other problems in the system, Eire is just a part.

    The EU and the IMF would allow the BoE to protect UK banks with some kind of guarantee/insurance/asset purchase and we would have QE2 to do it with and so kick the can a bit further.



  • Comment number 54.

    #52 Sean,

    your comment and link hadn't come up when I posted my #53, your link is excellent

    looks like squatting will become the new form of home ownership.
    If a community took control of empty re-po'ed houses and used them to house local families, what would the mortgage company do, especially if they were offered a guaranteed affordable rental income from a registered social landlord.

    It offers a way out for mortgage companies to value those properties at longterm trends rather than mark to market (which is killing them).

  • Comment number 55.

    ASSET BUBBLE

    Can someone tell me why, looking at the Blue Books for 2000 and 2010, which list accounts for 1991-1999 and 2001-2009, if one plots the value of residential buildings in the Households tables (10.10) along with agricultural assets and commercial assets, whilst also plotting the same for residential buildings in the Public Sector (10.11), the scatter line of value against year is almost exponential for the households tables (10.10), but not for residential property in the Public Sector tables (10.11)? The agricultural assets and commercial assets are pretty flat over the entire period too Why didn't residential buildings in the public sector go up like those classed as Households? I gu4ss I'm really asking in whose interests the inflation of property values in this private sector really benefited, given securitization of these assets?

  • Comment number 56.

    FRAGMENTS OF THE GREAT LIBERTARIAN MONEY PUMP?

    Our governments should be held responsible for the outcomes and the way these seem to have worked out is that over the past 20 years residential buildings asset value as 'households' have almost tripled (1991=£1.2 trillion, 2009=£3.8 trillion - 1997=.£1.3 trillion) whilst the same class of assets in the Public Sector haven't (1991=89 billion, 2009=111 billion Blue Book 2000, and 2010 Tables 10.10, 10.11). In the same period, the asset value for agricultural and commercial buildings in the public sector and as households didn't change in the same way. Still, perhaps massive immigration didn't increase demand there?

    Was the objective to reduce national sovereignty across the EU states so that people couldn't get in the way of the likes of Tesco etc to run business without interference as set out in Lisbon Treaty human rights?

    Was massive credit issued secured against inflated assets (driven in part by mass low skilled immigration pushing inner city demand), securitised to make the financial sector massive profits for services rendered, and then, when the bubble was popped as the Lisbon Treaty was signed in Dec 2007, governments had to implement 'austerity measures' meaning cutting Public Sectors, i.e general government, which further reduces people's say nationally?

    Somehow, this all seem to come back to the Lisbon Treaty being an alternative EU libertarian Constitution serving the interests of the libertarian financial service and retail sectors and those who have been acting in their political interests? Revenue for Tesco alone last year was about £41 billion, which, along with other retailers and the banks, is no doubt where a good share of government revenues in taxes will find its way to in the end no doubt (disposableincome) anyway..

    But then, who could present the evidence to convince enough people that this isn't just a paranoid conspiracy theory?

  • Comment number 57.

    #56 tn02

    The evidence exists. It is just conveniently ignored by the mainstream media and a docile public.

    Read Akerlof & Romer's 1993 article on Looting. Securitising assets enables them to be traded over and over, creating the appearance of a highly liquid market, and over inflating the asset values. Hence the differential between private & public sector values.

    Unfortunately the banking sector seems to have read this article (and William K Black's "The best way to rob a bank is to own one") as "how-to" manuals on fraud & looting.

    P.S. Yesterday's Max Keiser had a wonderful word for the libertarian economy created by the likes of Tesco: "Walmarticoy reservations".

  • Comment number 58.

    #54

    Keep an eye out for this phenomena occuring more frequently in Ireland.

    http://maxkeiser.com/2010/11/10/we-have-quite-successfully-forced-this-bank-to-write-off-a-mortgage/

    Especially if the loan origination was fraudulent!

  • Comment number 59.

    So glad that instead of that Twitter nonsense you started with ...the most comments are coming in about the huge Mortgage fraud in the USA which as previous posters have said has not been yet covered by the mainstream media which in a way is you or Newsnight. Why? This is a potentially huge issue. I think you need to get on the case and stop wasting time. I loved your book Meltdown so I hope this criticism is seen as helpful

  • Comment number 60.

    #52

    Great article that and very well written, I especially appreciated that the writer clearly understands the tragedy aspect of this which affects real lives in a very real way, I found it quite moving.

    Good stuff.

    I wish there was more journalism like that and it was more mainstream, instead I saw the Daily Express headline this morning.

    '' Pensions get Huge boost'' referring to the stock market gains and its illusory knock on effect onto pension balance sheets.

    If it were down to me such headlines would be met by a court order for libel (on the basis of insult to human intelligence).

    Intrigued at such an extraordinarily ill informed and unbalanced headline I bought the paper and read the article out, there was not one mention of the possible mechanism behind the stock market bubble (QE as oppose to real comapany value).

    No mention of the risk of the stock market bubble popping in spectacular fashion if reality does not catch up with the QE fantasy money soon...i.e. companies actually start performing and have their worth measured on performance rather than being a convenient vessel to stuff the mountains of paper cash governments have given to banks.

    Anybody know where I can sign up for a revolution?


    Geeeze.


    Can you do a brief expose Paul on the above, the Express should not be allowed to get away with printing such potentially life wrecking trash (people may believe it and act accordingly y'know with thier savings and investments) without it being challenged.....please ....pretty please with a cherry on the top....

  • Comment number 61.

    Sorry Paul but much as I admire your opinions I shan't be joining the twitterers club.

    Too many superficial soundbites for me. Too much like the advertising businezs.

  • Comment number 62.

    "41. At 5:11pm on 09 Nov 2010, tawse57 wrote:
    The best thing for Eire is, like Iceland, to default but the lizard people who control the global economy - did I really type that - are petrified that if one of the PIIGS goes then all the others will follow Eire into default."


    It's clearly false to single out any one class exclusively - that's a logical point about truth and reference, and this is what makes talking about any of these matters so difficult. The problem with classes is the problem of membership inclusion, and this always comes down to probabilities (sometimes wrongly referred to as as fuzzy sets - Zadeh) and functional relationships which are useful in practical management.

    If one says that there is more of a certain type of behaviour emitted within a particular group, be it ethnic, racial or just occupational (e.g.those working in financial services) the reality is that there will always be some, often many, others behaving the same way in other groups. That's why racism per se is wrong, it's wrong because it's false. Racist statements can be refuted. But that does not mean that important points can not be made about frequencies or probabilities with respect to classes. The actuarial and scientific profession is based on doing exactly that. It's just important to be clear about what one is saying.

  • Comment number 63.

    "57. At 09:18am on 10 Nov 2010, Hawkeye_Pierce wrote:
    #56 tn02

    The evidence exists. It is just conveniently ignored by the mainstream media and a docile public."


    Hence my efforts to draw people's attention to differential and dysgenic fertility and the birth dearth (TFR) issue with respect to intelligence and the Cluster B Personality Disorders.

    "Read Akerlof & Romer's 1993 article on Looting. Securitising assets enables them to be traded over and over, creating the appearance of a highly liquid market, and over inflating the asset values. Hence the differential between private & public sector values."

    On your recommendation, I have that downloaded and will read it today.
    Thanks for you other comments above. Trading over and over the same asset might indeed explain why only 1/3 of the growth in securitization appears to be based on RMBS. But how can one get evidence on that?

    I do think people should take on board how and why most economists are in my view pseudo-scientists. It's a Quinean (extensionalist) point that I am making. So are most cognitive psychologists (but not Behaviour Analysts and the Behaviour Economics from that stable) by the way. Be wary of many others calling themselves Behavioural Economists, as they are just cognitivists/intensionalists. This is a major but subtle problem given the intensional terms they traffic in as intensional terms can not be reliably used as explanatory terms. This is at root a logical point. When one reads a class term, one has to know what the term refers to parametrically, ie as a quantified measure of its membership, or else one doesn't really know what's being referred to. When one reads some of the famous economists, try asking what their key variables are measured in terms of to see what I mean here. I am suggesting that they wittingly or unwittingly play a shell game to get on, with many colleagues and those in the media acting as shills. Populism is no guide to reliability. In fact, it is usually a sign to be wary. Those who court populism over evidence driven practice are not to be trusted and in some areas are a danger to society (e.g. in engineering).

  • Comment number 64.

    47. At 8:03pm on 09 Nov 2010, Jericoa wrote:

    "there is no doubt that there is a considerable intellect there.. and even a sense of humour on occasion, which gives me hope that you can yet be enlightened through experience rather than through intellect."


    This is meant to be helpful. Please read it that way.

    What you write above strikes me as a bizarre way of writing, as it strongly suggests that you pay too much attention to the wrong sorts of things in what you read and hear (propositional attitudes note). Imagine someone advising you on your accounts and you making comments (voiced or not) about the cut of their suit, their hairstyle etc. What would that amount to?

    That's what I'm saying is wrong. It isn't a moral or ethnical matter, it's an important technical point. It doesn't matter whether comments are negative or positive, the point is that such comments are in fact irrelevant, and, if they come to dominate exchanges, they only serve to distract.

    Can you see the general point which I am making? It is one about the decline in rationality and its consequences for our way of life. In passing , why has Paul Mason suddenly started to write about something as seemingly trivial (irrelevant?) as populist ratings?

  • Comment number 65.


    57. At 09:18am on 10 Nov 2010, Hawkeye_Pierce wrote:
    #56 tn02

    The evidence exists. It is just conveniently ignored by the mainstream media and a docile public.

    Read Akerlof & Romer's 1993 article on Looting. Securitising assets enables them to be traded over and over, creating the appearance of a highly liquid market, and over inflating the asset values. Hence the differential between private & public sector values."


    The UK Blue Books for 1991-1999 and 2001-2009 for the combined UK Financial Sector (ch. 4, Table 4.1.9) makes depressing reading in conjunction with the article where the authors write:

    "To enforce discipline and to limit opportunism by shareholders, governments make continued access to the guarantees contingent on meeting specific targets for an accounting measure of net worth.
    However, because net worth is typically a small fraction of total assets for the insured institutions (this, after all, is why they demand and receive the government guarantees) , bankruptcy for profit can easily become a more attractive strategy for the owners than maximizing true economic values.

    If so, the normal economics of maximizing economic value is replaced by the topsy-turvy economics of maximizing current extractable value, which tends to drive the firm's economic net worth deeply negative."


    As for the years 1991- 2009 the net worth for our financial sector went as follows

    £ billions:
    1991 1999
    36, 30, -14, -6, -47, -65, -263, -276, -162

    2001 2009
    -417, -362, -294, -301, -367, -377, -360, -263, -390:


    So it's not a new practice, it just became much more extreme under New Labour?

  • Comment number 66.

    Hawkeye - Note the abandoning of the Rational Choice Axiom when they introduce their Abstract Model of Looting on page 5? Most of the rest of the paper is narrative taking its cue form the work I have highlighted elsewhere. It begins:

    "We warn the reader that our approach in setting up the model in this section differs from the approach used in most other examinations of contracts. The typical analysis starts with a description of an economic environment and characterises efficient contracts. Inefficient contracts are presumed not to arise in the market, or at least not to persist for long'"

    Read Herrnstein's (1990) paper "Rational Choice Theory: Necessary but not sufficient' it is based on lab work (with pigeons and rats). The other part of that work is the genetics of IQ, and human diversity, and how that determines economics.

    You're right though. In a veiled way it does either teach how to a) exploit or b) regulate. That was the point of asking Debtjuggler to quote from the last paragraph of the 1990 paper. Few will grasp this, as there's a major right-wing 'conspiracy', largely comprising post WWII propaganda, which stops most people from clearly seeing the true nature of human diversity and how libertarians exploit this for profit by appeals to caveat emptor, equality and an environmental (rather than nativist) approach to education (for which there is absolutely no good empirical evidence).

  • Comment number 67.

    I periodically find that I have an email telling me I have been 'Facebooked', which presumably means I must have signed up some time in the past. It is almost invariably commercial claptrap. I number amongst my 'friends' several people of note (including Paul), none of whom ever talk to me and who would not know me from Adam if I wrote to them. I have recently started receiving messages that someone is 'following' me on Twitter. It is doubtless good stuff for people like me who live in eastern Europe and my have a certain nostalgia for looking over their shoulders to try and figure out who their minder is. But I really do want to understand what useful purpose Twitter serves - answers please to Facebook.

  • Comment number 68.

    #67

    Not sure what 'useful' purpose they serve but along with computer games, TV and the internet in general they certainly keep most students and other potential disafected groups who may otherwise cause a fuss safely engaged in benign activities in a kind of semi catatonic trance.

    Who needs the expense of minders and the threat of the salt mines to keep people in line when you have Facebook, Twitter, Call of Duty - black ops (the latest massive computer gamne release) and Rupert Murdochs media to do it for you without the need for getting your hands dirty.



  • Comment number 69.

    Ah right - a sedative for big kids of all ages?

  • Comment number 70.

    Something for those impressed by prizes and experts to take on board:

    "In his speech at the 1974 Nobel Banquet Friedrich Hayek stated that if he had been consulted whether to establish a Nobel Prize in economics he would "have decidedly advised against it" primarily because "the Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess... This does not matter in the natural sciences. Here the influence exercised by an individual is chiefly an influence on his fellow experts; and they will soon cut him down to size if he exceeds his competence. But the influence of the economist that mainly matters is an influence over laymen: politicians, journalists, civil servants and the public generally."

    On The Economics "Nobel"

  • Comment number 71.

    67. At 6:56pm on 10 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    One of the problems with some of these social-networking sites is that when people sign up and give their e-mail address (and password), the site software goes through their e-mail account, grabs their e-mail contacts, and sends all and sundry an unsolicited e-mail inviting them to become the social-networker's friend via the social-networking site.

    Some think this diabolical chutzpah, but then, that's libertarianism folks. Libertarians are in fact evil, soul-less people.

  • Comment number 72.

    #69

    Works for me :)

  • Comment number 73.

    There is a great episode of South Park - you can find it on Youtube - where everyone in the town joins Facebook apart from one of the small boys.

    He refuses to get involved in Facebook until no one will talk to him because he is not listed as their 'Friend' on there.

    In the end he reluctantly agrees to sign on to Facebook via a profile that has been created for him.

    When he logs on to Facebook for the first time he is greeted with a message that he has 850,000 Friends.

  • Comment number 74.

    what social network sites are really used for :)

  • Comment number 75.

    Paul, Paul wake up the government are up to re-inventing the poor law. Here is your keyboard - get tapping before the media circus leaves town!

  • Comment number 76.

    Currency Wars

    Below is a link to a very interesting interview discussing where we are now re inflation, unemployment, market manipulation, commodities and the Irish problem.

    How the actions of the US Fed are making things worse not just for the US but for the global economy.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232/?video=1640401359&play=1

    Asian billionaires and the super-rich are getting even richer via these policies whilst hundreds of millions in the US, EU and elsewhere are becoming poorer.

    How long will the people take this?

  • Comment number 77.

    73. At 11:24pm on 10 Nov 2010, tawse57 wrote:
    There is a great episode of South Park - you can find it on Youtube - where everyone in the town joins Facebook apart from one of the small boys"


    "74. At 07:35am on 11 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:
    what social network sites are really used for :)"


    if you look objectively you will see the that the same,
    extended, tightly knit, political (what is a political group do you think?) group, has many other people laughing about what's perpetrated against them. That's how it's done, either laughing or analysing (in the case of finance). I suggest it's all a distraction from doing anything to better regulate it.

    How easy was their funding? Might the same be so with the likes of Jon Stewart and the rest of US comedy and media? But, what is comedy? Why is it all so disproportionately from one source like economics experts and prize winners, especially given that all people are allegedly equals and inequality in opportunity is such a liberal evil (this group is 2% of USA and 0.5% of UK, the latter like the British Chinese)? Why is pointing out glaring contrary to expected by chance inequalities in pursuit of rational explanations such a taboo? Might it be because asking intelligent questions (as with the predatory lending fiasco) is potentially bad for some people's business? If rational explanations can be provided which are fair and equitable, what is the problem? Why and how has it been rendered discrimination or bad taste to ask rational questions? Is this not just a clever bit of group psychology?

  • Comment number 78.

    Do they know something that we don't know?

    For those who believe that the game is now rigged, that Giant Squids are manipulating the global markets for their own end, or that we are on the verge of a second bigger banking crisis, read on:

    'Insider Selling Hits All Time Record Of $4.5 Billion In Prior Week As Everyone Is Getting Out Of Market'

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/insider-selling-hits-all-time-record-45-billion-prior-week-everyone-getting-out-market

    and;

    'Congratulations to Cisco Insiders for Dumping 6,620,750 Shares, 60% of Holdings in 6 Months'

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/11/congratulations-to-cisco-insiders-for.html

    Will Eire going broke be the catalyst? Or is there something even worse about to kick things off?

  • Comment number 79.

    ON RAGING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE

    Look out for press piece title's like "student rage" etc. Usually these alleged adults (and it's not just students) are getting very emotional over things which most mature adults would never have tantrums over. if they were to get angry they would be more effective and change something themselves not expect someone else to do it for them! Note the child like passivity. We see this everywhere these days. We see lots of emoting expected of children and adolescents (and females) . It's arrested development. Narcissistic entitlement. It is a failure to grow up, and I don't think it's a choice, it's genetic dumbing down. Sadly, if one dare point out the nature of this nationally self-destructive behaviour, one risks being censured for hurting people's feelings! :-(

  • Comment number 80.

    SCAREMONEGERING GETS ATTENTION?

    When watching or reading about libertarian scaremongering pieces like "Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story" which is possibly of the same genre as all the other scares we have been fed in recent times from flu epidemics to global warming> None of these have had as much of a wake up call aka fear impact on the public as the credit crunch 'issue' largely because most people can't grasp it as it's numerical and they are not good at even basic maths!. All that matters is that these issues are aired, not which side of the issue one sides on take note as the media loves them all, it sells copy and it grabs viewers, which is good for market share. Market forces have no morality, especially when regulators (statists) are being thinned out (see FSA an Charities Commission staffing).

    For a note of caution, take a long hard look (if you can read numbers) at the ONS Blue Books for the national accounts 2000 and 2010, examining closely the sector by sector Balance Sheets, focusing upon assets, liabilities, net worth (and the peculiar emergence of derivatives which cancel out), but for the majority of the economy which is now in the Private Sector. remember 80% of the 30 million people in work do so in the Private Sector and half of the 6 million or so state workers in 'government that the likes of the Libertarian producer of "Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story" would have you lose are in the health and education area, most of whom are naive and well meaning. As you look at the Blue Book data, bear in mind also the market capitalisation of companies. The net worth of a company and its market capitalisation are not the same thing. To start with, the collective net worth of our financial sector companies is negative, in the billions. The market capitalisation reflects the market value of all issued shares and these are sold for many multinationals including banks, on several world stock markets, from London, NY to Hong Kong.

    Perhaps Paul could have some Chartered Accountants from reputable firms (are any left after ENRON?) with something to lose on NN or even a special to give a 'dummies guide' to finance for viewers as I don't trust CH4 - note it is also n the Public Sector.

  • Comment number 81.

    "78. At 9:09pm on 11 Nov 2010, tawse57 wrote:
    Do they know something that we don't know?

    For those who believe that the game is now rigged, that Giant Squids are manipulating the global markets for their own end,"


    The superstitious refer to giant squids, supreme benevolent (or evil) beings etc, whilst the professionals analysing behaviour at the individual, group and national levels just refer to statistical 'factors' of human cognitive ability and personality, its genetic diversity and how this determines economic behaviour as a function of reinforcement. To children (the as yet undeveloped) almost everything is magical, life is one big Harry Potter adventure. To the arrested developed it's a paranoid conspiracy, cynically to be dismissed as not 'down to earth' (a euphemism for beyond them?)

    Look at the numbers and compare observed frequencies with expected. It's called Testing the Null Hypothesis, where one assumes equality, but only to reject it as not fitting the observed data. To permanently assume the Null Hypothesis is anathema to reason, not something to be lauded!

 

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