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Working the numbers

Stephanie Flanders | 12:55 UK time, Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Today's labour market figures for August and September show a disappointing second monthly rise in the claimant count.

Job centre

 

That has some analysts suggesting that the "trend has turned" - in other words, that unemployment has stopped falling and may even now start to rise.

It is too soon to make that call, though it is hard to believe we will see further large falls in the unemployment total in the next few months.

However, we shouldn't forget that the labour market news for most of this year has been surprisingly good. Private sector employment has grown at a decent clip for the past six months, and that increase seems to have continued in August and September.

These latest figures show that total employment rose by 178,000 in the three months to August (though, as usual, part-time work made up most of that growth).

That's all very well, you might be thinking, but wasn't that the calm before the storm - a time when the private sector is recovering, but the cuts to public sector employment have yet to hit home?

I've produced that line plenty of times in the past few months. It is probably even true (phew).

But it's worth remembering that the economy has been experiencing plenty of fiscal tightening during this period - tightening that has very little to do with George Osborne.

The primary fiscal deficit - the amount the government has to borrow, excluding the amount it pays on debt interest - is a good measure of whether the government is in expansionary or tightening mode.

Using three month rolling averages, economists at Goldman Sachs have calculate that this measure of borrowing is now 3% of GDP lower than it was 12 months ago. Think the return of VAT to 17.5%, the bank bonus tax, and the new 50p rate.

Some of that fall in the primary deficit is simply due to the fact that inflation has pushed the denominator (nominal GDP) up more than expected. But more than two-thirds of the change seems to be structural. If true, that would suggest that fiscal policy has tightened more in the past year than the coalition is planning to tighten in any single year of its plan.

Of course, this will not be the worst year for public sector job cuts. But 2011 probably won't be either. Given the time lags involved in laying off public sector workers, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is expecting the biggest job cuts to come after 2012.

Overall, the OBR is forecasting that public sector employment will fall by about 500,000 between 2010-2011 and 2014-15, from 5.5 million to about five million. That is a big number. But go back to third quarter of 1991. At that time, public sector employment was just over six million and the economy was still technically in recession.

Over the next four years the public sector lost a whopping 650,000 - rather more than the OBR is expecting now. The total fall between 1991 and 1997 was 850,000. Yet employment overall went up, and we did not feel like we were seeing the end of government as we knew it.

Will this time feel very different? We don't know. But if it does, the explanation will be slower growth.  Over the next four years, the OBR forecasts that the economy will grow by 2.6% a year, on average. Private forecasters tend to be more pessimistic. Between 1992 and 1996, growth averaged 3.1% a year - after a much shallower recession than we have just experienced.

The lesson, as ever, is that it is all about the growth, stupid. If Britain has more room to grow than the gloomier economists now expect, the private sector will be able to create more than enough jobs to offset the losses coming for the public sector.

Even that "good" outcome will of course be hugely destabilising for the people concerned and quite likely will cost them financially as well. But the alternative, slow growth path, would be many times worse. Once again, in this debate about growth, there is everything to play for.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Working the numbers ... despite lower than predicted Government borrowing, the National Debt, currently standing at around £956 billion, wll probably still trip the £1 trillion threshold around Christmas.

    Which will probably be a significant moment on the road to the dreaded 'double-dip'.

    There must be some kind of way out of here ... that does'nt involve printing money.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, if the government can create the conditions for employment - loan availability; welfare to work, etc. and the public sector drops some of its manpower, that is exactly what the coalition were intending.

    Of course if the entrepreneurial flair necessary does not materialise and the market opportunities do not get exploited then the whole thing goes down the toilet.

    I do wonder about the effect of high public sector employment on entrepreneurialism. I have worked the last 6 years in the public sector after 37 years in the private sector and I've got to say, the whole way of thinking is different - and not in a good way for future employment.

    The figure of 6 million in the public sector in 1991 is reassuring - I guess we can recover from it again. Nonetheless, something in our economic mindset seems different and it isn't just the 'bash-the-bankers' fashion.

  • Comment number 3.

    No mention of the PwC forecast or the fact that many local councils are already shedding staff. Also no mention of the sharp reduction in public sector capital spending the consequences of which are primarily on the private sector. If there are reductions in the order of 6 to 7% of support grant to councils per annum for the next four years they will be looking to make large redundancies for the next financial year (April 2011) so that they are ahead in terms of severance cost pay back. In addition has it been forgotten that this sector is facing a pay freeze for at least two years which in terms of RPI is a real deflationary hit.
    Just where is this growth coming from - exporting £20 DVD players to China! Can we please live in the real world on unemployment figures.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Of course, this will not be the worst year for public sector job cuts. But 2011 probably won't be either. Given the time lags involved in laying off public sector workers, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is expecting the biggest job cuts to come after 2012."

    This is, of course, a matter of convenient definitions. Lots of people on short contracts in agencies, universities and other places are effectively on the public payroll (the contract comes from a government department). So by not renewing the contracts, they'll appear in the unemployment numbers, but without any government department having to take any blame for putting them there. Expect this to start in earnest around April 2011, as government contracts tend to be aligned with the financial year.

  • Comment number 5.

    Stephanie: Your 5% growth figure is wrong I'm afraid (see data here). It peaked at 4.3% in 1994 and averaged about 3%.

    Claimant Count is a notoriously poor measure of unemployment. The latest figures for the actual unemployment rate are that it is down.

  • Comment number 6.

    "The total fall between 1991 and 1997 was 850,000."

    Was part of this due to the privatisation of British Rail, when c100,00 jobs went public sector to private sector?

  • Comment number 7.

    "The lesson, as ever, is that it is all about the growth, stupid. If Britain has more room to grow than the gloomier economists now expect, the private sector will be able to create more than enough jobs to offset the losses coming for the public sector."

    ...and here is the problem - the supposed uptake of the public sector unemployed by the private sector has a nnumber of problems - none of which the coalition seem to recognise.

    1) It takes time....you can't shut down a public service and expect a private service to simply pop up as it's replacement. Most private sector companies will want to make sure there is a profit to be had, and with the regulation around public sector provision - a lot of this will need removing before the private sector is interested - which means legislation changes

    2) Not every ex-public sector employee will want to work in the private sector (doing the same job) - and lots will go elsewhere. This will mean there is a training overhead for the private sector as they have to employ new staff who are inexperienced - especially if they want to undercut the public sector cost of doing things (which they will need to do if they are to profit) - chances are we'll end up with the service being provided by untrained staff who are much cheaper.

    3) Those who do join the private sector will be earning less - as thousands of council workers who went through this a few years ago know only too well. Now this might be seen as 'efficiency' - but regardless of whether it is or not the consequence will be that these employees have less to spend and will be more cautious with their earnings. This will further impact the demand for goods and services - from the private sector who will now be providing them

    4) Finally, the consumer will face higher prices for services they used to get for free, or heavily subsidised. This will have the same effect as above - damaging private sector demand.

    You see George and his 'star chamber' are far too thick to work this out - they actually think that swinging the axe around randomly is going to work. I could easily get behing public sector cuts if the waste is well defined and located - but this method is absolute madness and it will certainly result in increased costs as the repair work that will be required 'post-axing'.

  • Comment number 8.

    Is your presentation of the figures not misleading? What acoounted for the fall in public sector employment of 850,000 between 1991 to 1997? If it was mainly privitisation and/or outsourcing of public services (e.g. hopsital cleaners) or the sale of state owned operations (e.g the privitisation of British Rail) and the employees were effectively transferred to the private sector then this would have been relatively neutral to the unemployment figures overall.

    For these reasons, I consider that your comparison is not sufficiently sophisticated to be meaningful.

  • Comment number 9.

    You can "work" the numbers all you want Stephanie,but it won`t change the facts:

    "When government is spending more than 10% of GDP with borrowed money, absent that GDP would be at least 10% lower. That's the definition of a Depression - a 10% top-to-bottom decrease in GDP."

    Please tell us how many jobs would be lost if the government had to stop spending that borrowed money.

  • Comment number 10.

    #1 JohnConstable

    Try clicking your heels together. Worked for Dorothy

  • Comment number 11.

    The extortionist, bankers, could help solve the problems they created by reducing the interest rates on governmental "loans" and this would help put the governments on firmer ground, but that will not happen because greed is always selfish. There is no sense of national well-being by the bankers, except when they profess it is in the national interest that they be bailed out after their collusion in the international ponzi scheme. The issue of loss of personal wealth by the middle class because of the bankers greed has yet to be addressed even though that is the core of the problems. The "let them eat cake" attitude of the governments and bankers will continue to create anger in the prople. Banks and big business are flush with cash but the people who do the purchasing are short of cash and feeling very insecure. The arrogance of the bankers and their governmental handmaidens show a complete lack of understanding of both the nature of the problems and how they should be resolved. The governments will only do what is right after they have tried everything else.

  • Comment number 12.

    Over 3 months we get 178,000 jobs, where we are told the majority were part-time, but no one gives us a percentage. Let's assume midway then at 75% part-time. What good is that for the economy? Also, given 98,000 jobs are being created for retail expansion, I would say the bulk of those full-time jobs are minimum wage.

    Let's be generous then, and say 20% are full time jobs paying more than £20,000, that's 34,000 jobs. That's going to make a huge improvement in our economy and have a huge impact on the 2.5million out of work!

    Let's not forget, in this country we have 2.4 million also 'underemployed', that is, working part-time or contract or temporary jobs when they need a full-time job.

    Employment experts say the future job market won;t need full-time permanent workers any more due to technology mostly. That same technology will make jobs easier, and therefore lower paid.

    I would say then, we are not looking at this problem holistically and if we did, we would see the future is very scary indeed!

  • Comment number 13.

    Post # 1 by JohnConstable asks if there is a way to avoid the double-dip. The trouble is that the double-dip is the result of a collective response by many countries (especially those with right of centre governments) all taking the opportunity to cut back welfare and public employment.

  • Comment number 14.

    WOTW:
    "4) Finally, the consumer will face higher prices for services they used to get for free, or heavily subsidised. This will have the same effect as above - damaging private sector demand."

    Free? Oh dear. Like the NHS is free? Once they have cut all the state chaff they can lower taxes, giving individuals more spending power, which they will then invariably spend on private services rather than council-run services, as the latter are so bad one only uses them when compelled to by a monopoly.

  • Comment number 15.

    5. At 1:43pm on 13 Oct 2010, NBeale wrote:
    "Claimant Count is a notoriously poor measure of unemployment. The latest figures for the actual unemployment rate are that it is down."

    ....which doesn't differentiate between full time and part time.

    but reassuringly the length of time the average unemployed has increased - so no matter how the Government manipulates the claimant counts and unemployment numbers - the strong trend is those who lose their jobs are staying out of work. Which to the austrians means this is not cyclical unemployment but structural (i.e. the jobs aren't coming back)

    It doesn't matter how hard you try to put a spin on the unemployment figures - they're not pretty - and won't be for another 5 years I reckon.

  • Comment number 16.

    This is a thought provoking article Steph.
    These are scary times for those in the public sector. My friend has just been told to apply for his own job. He has been told there is no pay rise for 2 years. Three of his colleagues have left and there is no money to employ replacements. He and his colleagues have been told they have to soak up the extra work. He manages the risks inherent in very dangerous criminals and he is beginning to wilt under the extra workload. Yesterday, his employers told him that other people like him would be made redundant if there were no volunteers for redundancy. He tells me that this will have a catastrophic impact upon his ability to do his job correctly and safely. I fear for his health but, moreover, I fear for the safety of society if he or his colleagues are unable to manage the dangerous criminals for whom they are responsible.
    This is the true impact of job cuts. Yes, we need to save money to pay for past mistakes but those jobs such as that done by my friend are the foundation of society and have to be done properly. If we just see public service jobs as costs rather than investments we will pay more in the long run.

  • Comment number 17.

    10. At 2:46pm on 13 Oct 2010, toryandproud wrote:

    "#1 JohnConstable

    Try clicking your heels together. Worked for Dorothy"

    Firstly - I must point out you do know you can choose your own username!

    Secondly, if we're into the world of fantasy and yellow brick roads - can you please explain to us how the good old Tory plan is going to transfer jobs from the public to the private sector in such vast numbers without leaving a gaping hole in between?
    How will the construction industry cope with it's loss of Government capital spending? - will there be some new private housing companies which pop up overnight to provide accomodation for the homeless?

    I am presuming economis isn't your strong point - I guess 'law and order' is more your expertise.

    P.s. You cannot use the phrase "well if the last Government hadn't left the finances in such an awful state" - or I shall be forced to refer to the deficit John Major and Margaret Thatcher left after their time in Government when they sold everything - but still managed to rack up an awful lot of debt (possibly because they got burned by Geroge Soros) after their inexperience in handling a crisis.

  • Comment number 18.

    #5 NBeale
    Claimant Count is a notoriously poor measure of unemployment. The latest figures for the actual unemployment rate are that it is down.

    Hmm, that's interesting, considering that the technical definition of the unemployment rate is those who are part of the labour force (defined as those who are in work or actively seeking work) but not in work; i.e. those on job SEEKERS' allowance or equivalent.

    Far from the claimant count being such a poor measure, isn't it really the reporting of un/employment statistics that is so "notoriously" misleading?

    As for the article, I agree with comments that point out that the comparison with the early 1990s is completely false because of the varying models and speeds of privatisation of utilities etc, but even if it were relevant, it would not represent any serious precedent for whatever it is that we are about to witness.

    It's less about "working the numbers", more about guesswork. I wouldn't mind that, and could accept it, if only its authors would admit it.

  • Comment number 19.

    I notice that you say this in this latest post Stephanie

    "Some of that fall in the primary deficit is simply due to the fact that inflation has pushed the denominator (nominal GDP) up more than expected."

    This is odd because I distinctly remember you saying a few posts ago that there are no signs of inflation.

    Which is true as they cannot both be?

  • Comment number 20.

    With anectodal evidence of pressure on Benfits claimaints we can now expect to see the start of a long term rise in the unemployed.

    What this will show is that the willing and flexible Polish wil gain employment while the less willing or able former unemployed will remain just that unemployed simply because no sane employer will employ them.

    A point Mr Cameron may like to ponder before pushing vast numbers onto claiming unemployment or seeking work. Does he realy want his numbers to look so bad. I guess Red Ed may use a former Conservative Ad - Conservatives Not working!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    13. At 3:05pm on 13 Oct 2010, OldManHodge wrote:

    "Post # 1 by JohnConstable asks if there is a way to avoid the double-dip. The trouble is that the double-dip is the result of a collective response by many countries (especially those with right of centre governments) all taking the opportunity to cut back welfare and public employment."

    The "double dip" doesn't exist - it's a figment of the collective (lack of) imagination of the media. We went into depression in 2008 / 2009 and we haven't left it since.

    The collective Government stimuli made it look like we came out of depression (well if you will use a monetary value to measure growth!) when in fact all we did is tinker with the money supply and throw some cash at a few industries to make it look like we had some demand to counter our over-supply.

    This is a rouse - simply to try to split the events of 2008 with the events of 2011 / 2012 - they are one and the same depression which is going to continue for some time.

  • Comment number 22.

    The UK claimant numbers are up, but in line with expectations.
    The Office for National Statistics said the number of people claiming employment benefit rose by 5,300 last month. That was the biggest jump since January and followed August's upwardly revised increase of 3,800.
    Job seekers, however, fell by 20,000 to just under 2.45 million in the three months to August. That took the jobless rate down to 7.7% - the lowest since May 2009. But we don't know if this 7.7% is accurate because some people have just given up and stopped seeking. What has changed for the them is category only from job seekers to discouraged non-seekers.
    Britain's labour market is in a fragile state.
    Public sector job losses yet to come.
    Employment rose by 178,000 to just over 29 million in the three months to August, mainly due to a 143,000 rise in the number of part-time workers. The number of people employed by companies in full-time jobs fell by 17,000. This is an extremely important set of figures because only fulltime, permanent staff (normally) qualify for benefit packages, like sick days, vacation days, healthcare coverage, registered retirement plans...These 143,000 part-time must be careful about benefits that they are losing day-to-day.
    How many people will lose their jobs from spending cuts?
    Isn't there a report floating around that says: A million people, half of them in the private sector, could lose their jobs in Britain as a result of spending cuts. Pricewaterhouse/Coopers said private sector jobs, particularly in construction and defence, would be hit woefully by falling demand for their products/services from the public sector.
    The good news, the report said that the cuts were unlikely to tip Britain into a double-dip recession, as some commentators have predicted.
    The report comes before Prime Minister David Cameron's Coalition Government reveals its long-anticipated plans for spending cuts (25% for most departments).
    Maybe the public reaction will make The Coalition Government more receptive re FTT or FAT going into November's G-20.

  • Comment number 23.

    Afternoon Stephanie,
    I seem to remember that it was that nice Mrs Thatcher that changed the official unemployment measure from numbers unemployed to numbers claiming unemployment benefit. This was, and still is, a political fudge to disguise the real situation.
    May I ask a simple question?
    If Civil service redundancy payments were 6 years salary, how do we save money by sacking that individual? Surely, we have to find this money now instead of spreading it over 6 years. Isn't finding the money now the problem (borrowing)?
    This logic applies no matter what the redundancy payment was and I have never understood why private employers only have to pay according to the Statuatory Redundancy Scale but the Civil Service have agreed these obscene amounts for severance. The minimum salary to be assessed for Public service workers is to be £23,000. The MAXIMUM salary allowed for private worker calculations is £388 per week (£20,176/annum).
    Something is horribly wrong and unfair here.
    My conclusion is that we cannot save even £1 by sacking public sector employees so just keep employing them and institute a freeze on ALL public sector employment (by the Government) with no exceptions whatsoever. Any shortfalls could be filled by retraining other civil servants to do a different job (we have plenty of spare capacity here).

  • Comment number 24.

    7. At 2:13pm on 13 Oct 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "2) Not every ex-public sector employee will want to work in the private sector (doing the same job) - and lots will go elsewhere. This will mean there is a training overhead for the private sector as they have to employ new staff who are inexperienced - especially if they want to undercut the public sector cost of doing things (which they will need to do if they are to profit) - chances are we'll end up with the service being provided by untrained staff who are much cheaper."

    Sorry; but this doesn't add up. For people to have the option to go elsewhere then there needs to be jobs there for them to go to. If this is the case and there are other new jobs to go to then the jobs market won't be so bad, conversely if there are few other jobs around then I'd be very surprised if people chose to quit the job-market if they had the option of carrying on with the same job albeit with a new private sector employer.

    "3) Those who do join the private sector will be earning less - as thousands of council workers who went through this a few years ago know only too well."

    Very true, however given that private sector workers get paid less for doing the same job, then doesn't this simply mean that the public sector is employing people at above the market rate?

    "4) Finally, the consumer will face higher prices for services they used to get for free, or heavily subsidised. This will have the same effect as above - damaging private sector demand."

    Maybe they will, but to suggest that some services are currently 'free' is laughable. In case you hadn't noticed we already pay for public services via our taxes. Personally though i'd quite like the choice of whether I pay for a service or not. To take a simple example; why should I pay the council to cut the grass verge outside my house when I'm quite prepared to do it myself at no cost to anyone?

    "You see George and his 'star chamber' are far too thick to work this out".

    Come on! If you are going to make such bold assertions on HYS then at least take the trouble to build a coherent argument.

  • Comment number 25.

    16. At 3:33pm on 13 Oct 2010, Steve
    Good post Steve. It points out the real effects of stupid, idealistic, ignorant decisions by politicians and the moronic economists who advise them.

  • Comment number 26.

    23 splendidhashbrowns
    "If Civil service redundancy payments were 6 years salary, how do we save money by sacking that individual? Surely, we have to find this money now instead of spreading it over 6 years. Isn't finding the money now the problem (borrowing)?"

    I agree, this seems to be direct evidence that the intention is primarily to shrink the state. If this is true, they must also believe that public sector employment is "crowding out" private sector employment. Though this can happen when the economy is at full capacity, it cannot be the case when unemployment is so high.

    As to whether freezing public sector pay would be a better alternative -I believe that the only legitimate reason for doing so would be to keep public sector pay on a par with private sector pay (though I'm not sure about this). The trouble with this is it will still suck spending power out of the economy. In short, I think that trying to shrink the state during a recession is a very bad idea - we need to recover first, then think about the size of the state later. The Torys conflated the two issues, but they are completely seperate in my view

    Kind Regards
    Charlie

  • Comment number 27.

    Look - we are not at the start of a recovery at all. Those that said that as soon as 2008 passed then it can only get better were always flying in the face of economic history and living in cloud cuckoo land.

    Austerity brings economic contraction that no amount of QE can fix - and there is no instant solution. We will have a depression, and because of the cause of the debt bubble, a long one - that is the inescapable lesson of history (see The Long Depression of 1870s etc).

    The fact is that because the Bank of England and the Government are in denial, they have already wasted the deficit financing that should in a Keynesian way help us grow again. They have wasted it on re-inflating the property bubble and because the money has been wasted, things will get much much worse and indeed much worse than they would otherwise have been if the correct economic policy had been followed a couple of years ago.

    But we are where we are. (and the economic ignoramuses are still steering the ship!)

    We have to get debt-deflation over quickly and policy needs to force this through quickly - whether it damages the banks or not. What really matters is the trade and business sector NOT the banks. The taxpayer will have to bail out the banks again - that is a given. But the price MUST be a maximum banking pay even if it causes the fly-by-night bankers to flee the country!

    So interest rates up to counter retail price inflation - NOW. Public works of constructing dormitories for the dispossessed need to start NOW - this is a proper use of QE!

    We also need to scrap all non essential projects - such as the Olympics etc.

    Pay cuts NOT redundancies should be the method in the public sector - combined with an absolute ceiling of the Prime Minister's salary. (For the obvious reason that cuts decrease inequality whereas redundancies increase inequality. And the opposite of this was the falsehood that is behind 'Trickle Down Economics' - that is the failure at the core of the policy of the last 30 years.)

    We have to weld society together again - to do this it is essential that a rigid National Maximum Income policy is enforced across all sectors including football - see the Blair/Beckham test- and banking/finance). Remembering that 'Trickle Down Economics' was an historic error that CAUSED the problems that we now have. It was wrong when Reagan and Thatcher employed it in the 1980's and it has well and truly proved itself to be a disaster.

    We have to have a paradigm change in economics as the current orthodoxy is a proven disaster and the economists trained in the last thirty years are simply wrong and not really economists at all but jesters and fools.

    The key savour of the Nation has to be the productive employment of the maximum number of our people producing things (and NOT services) that we can sell abroad. We need to get back to basics. We also need to remain, and become further, integrated into our 'home' market of Europe (incl. joining the Euro).

  • Comment number 28.

    "16. At 3:33pm on 13 Oct 2010, Steve wrote:
    ...Yes, we need to save money to pay for past mistakes but those jobs such as that done by my friend are the foundation of society and have to be done properly. If we just see public service jobs as costs rather than investments we will pay more in the long run."

    Fear not Steve, as Ben says; the trusty private sector will fill the gap.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have read the BBC's Q&A on Quantitative Easing:

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7924506.stm

    I am reliable informed that the following statement is a misleading:

    "According to the Maastricht Treaty, EU member states are not allowed to finance their public deficits by printing money. That is one reason why the Bank of England will buy government bonds from financial institutions, not directly from the government."

    Fortunately, in the case of the UK, the protocol merely "notes" the practice of the government of the United Kingdom to fund its borrowing requirement by the sale of debt to the private sector. This is not legally binding i'm told - phew!!

    The article also fails to indicate the obvious diference with the UK spending without issuing debt, and what happened in Zimbabwe and 19020's Germany: both Zimbabwe and 1920's Germany were suffering from 'supply shocks' to their economies - (a collapse in farming output in Zimbabwe and, foreign occupation of Germany's industrial capacity), and it was these shocks that were the essential components responsible for hyperinflation.

  • Comment number 30.

    27. JFH as usual a wise post. I would add more along these lines:

    1) Take up large scale state investment into our energy industry infrastructure and encourage private companies to invest in this field too. We must reduce our dependency on imported energy, particularly oil and natural gas. We must develop alternative transport systems to current private petrol and diesel vehicles. Massive liquid fuel shortages are coming and we are totally unprepared for the catastrophic impact this will have on our ability to sustain our large highly specialised population.

    2) Invest publicly and encourage private investment in developing local community sustainable and organic farming and small-holdings. The above problems with oil price and shortages will again impact badly our ability to feed ourselves and we are again unprepared. We are fortunate in the UK to have a good climate for farming but as in industry we have been short-sighted and gone for cheap imports and cheap oil enabled large farms which have eroded our ability to sustain ourselves when these imports and farming methods are no longer cheap or available.

    3) Stop the state-sponsorship of having ever more children. The world and the UK are over populated and steps need to be taken to reduce the population by natural and non drastic means over this century. Sustainable population for the UK is about half what it is now as indeed is world population.

    4) End the consumer mindset. Production of largely irrelevant "stuff" which doesn't last long and needs to be replaced too frequently has caused our resources to be depleted much too rapidly and given us pollution issues. We have to get people to enjoy socialising with friends and family and enjoying their surroundings more than shallow addictive retail therapy funding a consumer economy.

    5) Get people to do more physical work whether for money or pleasure. This will reduce the cost on the health service, improve their state of mind, and teach them a whole new life of simple cheap pleasures that don't involve a weekly trip to the shopping mall.

  • Comment number 31.

    one point to make on the number of claimants is that JSA runs out after 6 months so those of us still unemployed after the 6 months aren't "claimants" anymore so disappear from the statistics.

    And yes I am still seeking work, but after 18 months in an industry where employment agencies reign, they don't even bother submitting your application if you've not worked for over 6 months.

    I'm looking to re-train but won't get any support from the jobcentre as there isn't a guaranteed job at the end of training. My wife is in a low paid job so we can't raise the money for me to re-train ourselves, so I'm stuck with no job despite paying for my own professional training.

    Thanks to the Tories for allowing in the 80s and 90s for this kind of thing to develop with their business lead mates.

  • Comment number 32.

    Re #5 and Steffie's Blog:
    Steffie, could the increase in those claiming be due to the summer part-timers who have already finished thinking that if things are going to become tougher, signing on now might be a good idea if the usual winter part-time jobs do not materialise?

  • Comment number 33.

    re #29
    Hello Charles,
    The quote you included could be a typo on the part of the Beeb or from the Treaty:

    "According to the Maastricht Treaty, EU member states are not allowed to finance their public deficits by printing money. That is one reason why the Bank of England will buy government bonds from financial institutions, not directly from the government."

    There is an obvious reason why it doesn't make sense to me or am I horribly out of date?

    Yours sincerely,
    Snuffy

  • Comment number 34.

    Snuffy,
    I haven't found out what the wording of the Maastricht Treaty actually says yet, but there are two obvious things from this comment that make no sense. Firstly, the government do not need to issue the bonds in the first place (whether the BoE buys them directly or not) - they can simply spend without issuing the debt. Secondly 'printing money' is an erroneous term anyway. Have I missed something more obvious?

    Kind Regards
    Charlie

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm afraid the analysis does not tell us anything except that the City global transactions, SE region, banks and multi national sector of the UK economy and goondog billionaire, tax dodging middle men retail merchandisers of damaging job killing imports are achieving and overall slow rate of growth ... and the rest of the UK domestic economy varies between recession and depression ... and then to properly confuse everyone and obscure the 'big picture' this is all rolled into a meaningless, single, GDP 'hot-potch' figure.

    If 'we' can't properly differentiate what is actually happening and not happening in our UK economy then ...

    How absurd!

  • Comment number 36.

    re #21
    It's hard to say. When I was a lad, before the war, a slump was a slump, a depression was a long slump but neither were recessive. Some people have been trying to re-write these expressions to somewhat different uses. Similar changes have been applied to inflation and deflation. (I get a bit suspicious of this - shades of Orwell, etc.)

    The fact is that times are tough but we are in a new game. It is not impossible that in five years or so, we will be wondering what all the fuss was about. On the other hand things may get worse over a generation and take at least another one, perhaps two, to recover. That is assuming God decides to keep the planet running rather than go for a fire sale, of course.

    Full-on liquidation, I understand, has been ruled out.

    Hey! Let's be considerably more careful, out there today.

  • Comment number 37.

    re #34
    Charles,
    The other thing that pops out is the fact that the statement refers to the BoE as both seller and buyer. As I understand it, the first QE was the BoE giving dosh to Banks and then encouraging them to spend part or all of it on Gilts.

    There is nothing to stop a quoted institution buying its own shares but I have always felt it was ever so slightly dodgy. Much better to have the masses clamouring for them with fists full of dosh. While the BoE/Treasury/HMG is not quoted, I can't help feeling the same about QE1 ...

    Best wishes,
    Snuffy

  • Comment number 38.

    Has everyone noticed that since the GFC there is a near perfect inverse correlation between dollar index and DJIA?

    See here: https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&to=EUR&view=10Y

    https://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=%5EDJIdji;range=20001014,20101001;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined

  • Comment number 39.

    It is all about growth! UK businesses, supported by politicans and Union leaders need to be promoting the UK brand in Asia and other high growth areas like Brazil. We need to get out of our comfort zone of America and Europe, this way we can bring jobs and wealth to the UK

  • Comment number 40.

    21. At 3:54pm on 13 Oct 2010, writingsonthewall

    There’s something about your postings, which doesn’t quite stack up.
    And I’m beginning to question who you really are.

    I’m curious WOTW, why (in your postings) have you avoided the burning issue of, debt, the fractional reserve banking system, and the benefactors of it?

  • Comment number 41.

    Stephanie,

    Private sector example - In the early 90s M&S sourced approximately 90% of their stuff from the UK, they held on as long as possible. The currently source, as I understand it, about 90% overseas.

    Public sector general - There may have been more public sector workers in the early 90s. However I think you will find that government departments and agencies have been successively privatised or encouraged to subcontract out activities. At one stage Porton Down was discussed as a privatisation opportunity, to safe hands only lol.

    I am afraid I find it difficult to compare your figures.

    I would expect JSA figures to wobble as after 6 months the benefit is means tested. Cash 'rich', all being relative (at less than 10K), jump ship in many cases. So if higher salaried long time workers are shed at key points in the recession or its aftermath they jump out of the figures after 6 months.

    'If Britain has more room to grow than the gloomier economists now expect, the private sector will be able to create more than enough jobs to offset the losses coming for the public sector.'

    Really. Manufacturing is highly likely to contract in numbers employed. Finance and business is expected to expand, quite healthily but not employ more. The public sector is due to shrink. UK exports had a bounce following effective devaluation and the supply chain being emptied. That bounce has 'eased'.

    The way forward, other than green - subsidised on the back of consumer bills - is the tail of the mouse, lower rather than higher volumes - higher value added - piggybacking the volume distribution or supply systems, effectively gaining a subsidy on some costs from the volume guys. However this is unlikely to easy for novice entrants.

    Due to being the birthplace of the industrial revolution the UK moved very early on to a mass employment model with big businesses. With the collapse or migration elsewhere of these employers the key question is who is going to employ the huge numbers of people who 'expect' employment to be provided to them.

    It is also quite clear that vocational jobs are needed but training is by definition extended and cannot solve much immediately. Further some employers will not offer the training at present due to the uncertainty of the economic situation.

    I suggest we will be very lucky if the public sector slack is taken up by the private sector. There does not appear to be any Plan B. Have you heard of one.

    I am sorry but it simply is not credible to suggest a truly monumental problem can be solved with a one-liner about growth and this is the area which needs consideration. Personally I consider this one-liner a political sop from HMG to buy time as the 'results' cannot be determined for a couple of years. Like so much of this situation every 6 months or so somebody will pop up and say - Doh its worse than we thought we can't do what we thought we could do.

    This particular play has been going on with different actors for a long time. Roughly every decade the same groups say roughly the same thing usually pointing the finger at another group. Then the players have memory wipe and it all starts again. However with each reenactment the resource held in the UK is diminished.

    Incidentally unless the banks actually do the job they were saved to do, ie lend rather than packing out their bottom line and larding up bonuses at the drop of a hat then we will just bump along.

    regards

    Not Buzz Windrip

  • Comment number 42.

    40 Dempster:

    A number of posters work for banks

  • Comment number 43.

    snuffy,

    Which war. Are you Rip Van Winkle.

    QE. How else dilution and distancing wherever possible from pre-existing liabilities held by other key parties. Those are the two measurands I would respond to.

  • Comment number 44.

    29. At 5:40pm on 13 Oct 2010, Charles Jurcich wrote:
    I have read the BBC's Q&A on Quantitative Easing:

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7924506.stm

    I am reliable informed that the following statement is a misleading:

    "According to the Maastricht Treaty, EU member states are not allowed to finance their public deficits by printing money. That is one reason why the Bank of England will buy government bonds from financial institutions, not directly from the government."

    Fortunately, in the case of the UK, the protocol merely "notes" the practice of the government of the United Kingdom to fund its borrowing requirement by the sale of debt to the private sector. This is not legally binding i'm told - phew!!

    The article also fails to indicate the obvious diference with the UK spending without issuing debt, and what happened in Zimbabwe and 19020's Germany: both Zimbabwe and 1920's Germany were suffering from 'supply shocks' to their economies - (a collapse in farming output in Zimbabwe and, foreign occupation of Germany's industrial capacity), and it was these shocks that were the essential components responsible for hyperinflation.

    >>>

    Charlie - how is this for a UK supply side shock scenario:-

    UK prints money.

    Currency gets worth less.

    Imports of all types increase in (real) terms due to weakening of currency.

    shortages

    supply side shock

    oooeeer

  • Comment number 45.

    40. At 9:55pm on 13 Oct 2010, Dempster wrote:
    21. At 3:54pm on 13 Oct 2010, writingsonthewall

    There’s something about your postings, which doesn’t quite stack up.
    And I’m beginning to question who you really are.


    Don't know why you bother reading his entries. He is a Marxist, yet works in the banking sector earning an above average salary. So he either is making it up or a hypocrite.

  • Comment number 46.

    No Ms Flanders! Unemployment figures are not about growth, but rather some close to 10 million people in UK who have no jobs, others made redundant on account of wrong UK priorities, businesses gone belly up because the royals, the aristocrats, the upper classes, and certain others filthy rich not paying their shares of taxes. Plus these bigot conservatives with their perversity of inequality, rights only of their kind malignant narcissists, chronic scape-goaters, uncorrectable brag baggers perpetuating their hog wash status quo.

  • Comment number 47.

    21. At 3:54pm on 13 Oct 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    This is a rouse - simply to try to split the events of 2008 with the events of 2011 / 2012 - they are one and the same depression which is going to continue for some time.

    Agreed. It will carry on until the private banks are recapitalised. That's what QE is really about. We fall for it time and time again.

    I'm not sure why Dempster's turned on you. I think you've been pretty consistent throughout and whilst i don't agree with everything you write, keep going. You make alot more sense than some idiots on here.

  • Comment number 48.


    From what I can see, the posters like WOTW and JFH who oppose the received wisdom have been consistently better at predicting what happens next than "pump it up" crowd.

    I neither know nor care whether this is because they are applying a marxist analysis: and I find the political polarisation of this debate rather tiresome.

    As is the tendency to re-analyse the crisis by reference to the latest monthly statistic. To my mind, we've killed the goat and we're not going to bring it back to life by poring over it's entrails. Unemployment statistics are compromised and don't tell the whole story anyway. As people have said, there has been a shift to part time work and even for people in work, wages are falling in real terms. Conclusion? People are getting poorer.

    The question is, what can the Government do about it?

    The answer appears to be, nothing. Indeed, the forthcoming cuts are likely to make things a whole lot worse for a lot of people. When this crisis broke a number of commentators were talking about the "end of capitalism" or something along those lines. This may, indeed be true, but it is strange that we appear also to be witnessing the beginning of the end of socialism.

    (Aside: Just guessing, but the abolition of universal benefits (child benefit, further education) will destroy the inclusive "all together" ethos of the welfare state. By the time this has finished the middle classes could be paying much more in tax and getting nothing in return. When they do their cost/benefit analysis they will revolt: but they will not call for a return to the welfare state. They will call for lower taxes.)

  • Comment number 49.

    The claimant count for unemployment is going to soar over the next few years - but not necessarily becuase of job cuts in either the private or public sectors.
    Every incapacity benefit claimant is going to be reassessed and as >2.5m are claiming and all reassessment data indicates that between 60% and 80% of these will no longer be eligible, that means something like 1.5m - 2m people will move onto Job Seeker's Allowance.
    The key number is the International Labour Organisation definition of those economically inactive/active as this gives a truer picture of how many people are in/out of work

  • Comment number 50.

    Statistics can be manipulated. It goes back to the half full or half empty views

  • Comment number 51.

    #48. tFoth wrote:

    "The question is, what can the Government do about it?

    The answer appears to be, nothing. Indeed, the forthcoming cuts are likely to make things a whole lot worse for a lot of people"


    Accepting your premise that the Government can do nothing creates an internal contradiction in your ideas as you go on to say that what the Government will do will makes things worse.

    To suggest that it is bad to makes things worse implies a judgement about what you value and what value you place upon each element of society and our national economy.

    I take the considered view that sharing the pain as widely as possible will lessen individual pain and will also lower the risk of social discord. Hence where there is a policy choice between increasing inequality and lessening it I take the view that the best option is always to lessen inequality (and not just of opportunity, but of outcomes.)

    Hence: pay cuts are patter than job cuts, and an absolute cap on income is required.

    Government tinkering will be a disaster as has been well illustrated by the consequences of their attempts to cut child benefit. The reason that Government has become so very bad is the poverty of intellectual understanding and integrity of both our 'professional' politicians and our Civil Service.

    My policy would see a child credit paid to the responsible adult combined with a tax regime that taxed it as well as an income cap and floor for individuals and families. Every child should have a minimum income, if you like, and where its parents do not have the income the state should step in. But this should be done progressively - not stupidly and unfairly as is the Government proposal.

    The fact is that the Inland Revenue (HMRC) is in chaos and it is vital that this situation is fixed. The only way to fix this is to drastically reduce the complexity of the tax system whilst making it as completely progressive as possible - but first to produce and test the new computer systems!

  • Comment number 52.

    48. At 08:58am on 14 Oct 2010, tFoth wrote:


    From what I can see, the posters like WOTW and JFH who oppose the received wisdom have been consistently better at predicting what happens next than "pump it up" crowd.

    I neither know nor care whether this is because they are applying a marxist analysis: and I find the political polarisation of this debate rather tiresome.
    ======================================================================

    I entirely agree. There is an element of what I can only term religious fundamentalism amongst the free market enthusiasts on these blogs which I find exceptionally unpleasant. The mantra of this sect is "he's a marxist, so ignore him". That is really not very intelligent, in fact it's blatantly stupid. I've been reading these blogs for some time now, and I am interested in reading the views of the many thoughtful and intelligent contributors who post regularly, including those who proclaim themselves to be Marxists. I don't agree with everything the Marxists say, but their contributions make a great deal more sense than the free market, let it rip brigade, who appear to have learned absolutely nothing from the events of the last 3 years. Of course the reason they have learned nothing is because they are, in every sense, fundamentalists. Their minds are totally closed to anything that challenges their own position, which appears to be that a free market economy is ordained by some divine being, and cannot be improved upon by humanity. I have little to contribute to these blogs because quite simply I lack the intelligence to do so, but I am intelligent enough to understand that the economic arrangements on this planet are the work of the human race, not some "invisible hand". And having been created by humanity, these arrangements can be changed by humanity. The fundamentalists will argue that there is no example anywhere of a system that works better than the one they worship, so change is unthinkable. Well there was no better system of transportation anywhere than a horse and cart before railways were invented. The current economic system has failed badly. Why the reluctance to at least consider something different?

  • Comment number 53.

    It is easy for a government to manipulate the ratio between the numbers of public and private sector jobs. They can do this by outsourcing or outright privatisation.

    The proposed privatisation of the Royal Mail will cause a substantial change in the numbers, without any significant real change. The coalition and the right wing economists who support them, will no doubt claim that this is proof that their paradoxical theory that cutting public sector jobs will increase overall employment is correct.

    If there is an overall increase in jobs as a result of privatisation, it will most likely be because the private sector has to employ extra staff to cope with the extra advertising and promotional activities that a competitive environment requires.

  • Comment number 54.

    Snuffarama and Co.

    No expert in the Maastricht Treaty, but I believe the deceit lies in the fact that the BofE is not considered to be "UK Governement" so QE1 neatly sidesteps the Treaty - almost as French as Camembert (and equally smelly if left long enough!).
    We should all not forget when commenting on the latest economic indicators that the last government chucked just about everything including the kitchen sink at the economy by way of stimulus and we're getting shall we say mixed results as Steph observes. The current lot (I believe for ideological reasons as much as anything) are about to shrink the state by c.10% (Cf. Thatcher Mrs 1981 any stats. anyone? and that led to riots) The trivial impact of Child benefit reductions (in a macro economic sense) has caused such a stir, I wonder how the full impact of the CSR will be received. This will be a depression that truly squeezes the property owning middle. We have to invest in Nuclear energy not weapons, infrastructure not retail, jobs not welfare.Pip pip.

  • Comment number 55.

    #49 Ralph,

    Where did you get your statistics regarding Incapacity Benefit? I am asking because your figures appear to be just more 'noise' that confuses fact.

    Remeber, there are now only 2 pilots of re-assesment. As they have just begun there is no information regarding the number of claimants who will be found to be "capable of work" acording to the new criteria. Therefore, a projection of 60-80% is not based upon any fact.

    The new test itself has been used for new claimants for some time now. Note these people have never been tested before. Two things have become clear from the use of this new test:

    it has been roundly criticised as not fit for purpose.

    nationally, over 40% of all appeals (sorry don't know the % of tests) against the decision are successful.

    None of the above will change the rise of the numbers who are unemployed or economically inactive. However, it does show that we must be very careful with using noise/propoganda to base our analysis.

  • Comment number 56.

    If I look at the Marxism –v– Capitalism thing, what do I see?
    Differing principles and political ideology.

    If I look out of the window, what do I see?
    A window cleaner, a bus driver, an executive and a mother pushing a buggy.
    And all these people are going about their daily lives endeavouring to do the best they can by themselves and family (if they have one). And no ‘ism’ is ever going to change that.

    The question now arises, what is the difference in doing the best you can by yourself/family and plain old greed? And in reality, the answer’s probably not that much.

    As far as I can see, you can argue Marxism –v– Capitalism till the earth stops rotating, but in so doing you will likely allow the current beneficiaries of the debt based monetary system to carry on, unopposed, unchecked and unconcerned.

  • Comment number 57.

    #48 tFroth,

    "When this crisis broke a number of commentators were talking about the "end of capitalism" or something along those lines. This may, indeed be true, but it is strange that we appear also to be witnessing the beginning of the end of socialism."

    You may be right. As haufdeed suggests, political and economic structures are human entities and are therefore capable of change. Both capitalism and socialism have to be included in the change process (you would have to ask th Marxists if their philosophy is capable of interpritation/change).

    For my part, I have consistantly stated that capitalism IN ITS PRESENT FORM is in its death throes. I am further prepared to accept that what I understand as being the workings of socialism will also have to adapt to meet these changes.

    haufdeed, I have to say that your postings give a lie to your assertion that you lack intelligence.

  • Comment number 58.

    #51 John from Hendon

    I take the point. Government as we know it (and as we have it) is doing nothing that will turn things around. And maybe, after all it can do nothing, because its ability to act to make people wealthier is dependent on its ability to raise and spend money: and that ability is greatly curtailed by the current debt and deficit (and by an unwillingness to default).

    On the current paradigm they have borrowed and spent all the money and people are becoming poorer because we are now paying it back.

    I agree entirely that things could be different if we tore the book up and started again: and your suggestion would be a good place to start. But none of the current economic or political establishment are going to do it.

    I'd be happy to work up a manifesto with you - and have a go at the next election. Writing on these blogs is fun (and cathartic since I realise I'm not alone) but it won't change anything.

  • Comment number 59.

    #56

    Marxism v Capitalism?

    Das Kapital, was a criticism of capitalism, the contradictions and its fundamental flaws. Marx believed it would destroy itself, and lead to socialism.

    However, Capitalists believe socialism would eventually die too - simply because of human nature and our primitive animal instincts. The desire to be the alpha male means some will always try to out-do their fellow man.

    Basically if we were to share all resources equally among ourselves, eventually, given enough time, most of the resources would end up back in the same few hands again.

    The world is unequally split into the 'have' and 'have nots', and unfortunately only the 'have nots' want to share.

    And if you look globally - the UK is very much in the 'have' category.

  • Comment number 60.

    #55 foredeckdave

    160,000 people were reassessed in a trial recently completed that was started under the previous regime: of those, 50,000 appealed and 40% of those appeals were successful. So, out of 160,000 reassessments 140,000 were removed from the IB claimant count. This represents something like 92%. I used the numbers of 60% - 80% so as to avoid over-egging the pudding.
    The current roll-out in Aberdeen and the-other-place(I've forgotten the location) is a roll-out, not a trial. So we can expect a huge number of people to move back on to JSA as the roll-out gathers pace and all IB claimants are reassessed between now and 2013/14.
    This will also remove approx £90 ish per week from the spending power of each IB claimant - which will rent asunder the budgets of a lot of low income families whilst saving the rest of us who pay tax something like £9.36bn (£90 x 52 x 2m). It will also have a fairly significant impact on the retailers where these people spend their money eg supermarkets, pub groups.......
    The other corollary of this is the headline number of unemployed is going to soar - unless of course the recovery absorbs a lot of these people or they stop claiming altogether.

    The incentive to get back to work is about to get a lot bigger now that the alternative is about to become a lot less attractive. This should put a lot of downward pressure on wages at the bottom of the food chain. Personally I don't think anyone is going to be able to forecast accurately how this will all play-out. The headline (unemployment) numbers will make it easy for Labour to score cheap and slightly misleading points, and the coalition will have to work much harder to explain away things than they are currently doing. If the coalition can successfully accuse labour of having conned the country about unemployment by putting 2.5m on IB and adding £9bn onto tax bills for political expediency they will have gone some way to destroying whatever vestiges of trust that Brown, Blair et al have managed to retain. As a member of the old govt AJ could be very badly tainted and could prove to be a very poor pick for shadow chancellor

  • Comment number 61.

    52. At 10:09am on 14 Oct 2010, haufdeed

    Very well put.

    Many people confuse the laws of the land/accounting/business etc with being as set in stone and unflexible as the laws of physics. (i.e. the rationale behind stating a reduction in the amount you thought you'd lost, as a profit, even though you've still lost on the position).

    Anyone who can rationalise between what is right and wrong with the way things are should be listened too and anyone who can only see one side without acceptance of its short-comings and disbelief of any other way is as you say, a fundamentalist.

  • Comment number 62.

    51. At 09:47am on 14 Oct 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    John, recently you posted your complete plan for a tax system. Cpould you post it again please as I seem to remember that it had a major inconsistency in it.

  • Comment number 63.

    Typical BBC spin. Unemployment falls but the BBC wants us to think the sky is falling in.

  • Comment number 64.

    FDD, Ralph,
    I've taken the earlier IB test (which everyone supposedly thinks was easier). The assessor (who was a clinical psychologist) kept asking me leading questions and suggesting answers to me. She asked me if I had a mobile phone...I said yes...she said what do you use it for?...at this point I had to think because I almost never use it...so she said "making arrangements? contacting friends or family?...I said yes, but then added that I hardly use my phone at all and i'm estranged from my family. In the report she wrote that I used my phone to contact my friends and therefor had an active social life!! She also wrote that I preferred to be around other people though I specifically said that I preferred to be on my own. Her report even had contradictions in it! These people use every trick in the book to twist everything you say.

    This assessment is an abomination and a crime against humanity, - that assessor should have been struck off!

  • Comment number 65.

    #52.... I am interested in reading the views of the many thoughtful and intelligent contributors who post regularly, including those who proclaim themselves to be Marxists. I don't agree with everything the Marxists say, but their contributions make a great deal more sense than the free market, let it rip brigade.


    My comment #45 about WOTW being a Marxist wasn't that he should be ignored because he is a Marxist, but because his life is a contradiction, working with a high salary in the banking sector.

    It is much easier to see the flaws in something than propose something better. I agree with most of WOTW and Marx analysis of the flaws of Capitalism. But WOTW rarely proposes anything better, other than more government control/spending. Where is a communist regime that he can use to show us the error of our ways? Even in China, they are only coming out of poverty as a result of engaging with the materialistic capitalistic West.

    The main problem in the UK is not Capitalism, it is vested interest. And it's twin sister rigged markets. We would not be in the mess we are in if house prices had remained stagnant over the Labour reign. You can guarantee that all those in power, in opposition, and those in influence (BofE etc) were thinking how nice it was for their property and property-investments to be rising in value, blinded to what they were doing to the wider economy by allowing it to continue.

  • Comment number 66.

    Stephanie,

    'Even that "good" outcome will of course be hugely destabilising for the people concerned and quite likely will cost them financially as well.'

    The best outcome would be the one where the destabilisation and financial costs are minimal, these are peoples lives.

    This outcome can be achieved through accounting but will require that politicians to cooperate with each other in the fairer and more efficient redistribution of wealth in the West as the accumulation of pools of capital (in the hands of banks/the superrich etc.) blunts the effects of any stimulus


    'But the alternative, slow growth path, would be many times worse.'

    In some economies, slow growth is actually what is required, in others fast growth is required.

    In the developed world there is already sufficient wealth (although is is distributed unfairly) and we only require moderately slow growth to keep at this level, developing economies require faster growth to allow them to rise up to the Western level.
    The BRICs still require to achieve a higher growth level than the West although China is now tryng to moderate their growth without crashing their economy as they approach the levels that we have, Brazil could also use lifting their foot slightly on the growth pedal but India still needs to keep the growth up as they are at a lower base.

    The poorest nations need desperate help from all of us to jumpstart their economies.

    China effectively gave a huge Keynesian stimulus to their economy by lending us money to consume their production and stimulate their growth.

    China can't just gift us the money to spend on their economy, everybody would see that as being a dumb way to do business and would leave a huge hole in their balance sheet, the only way is for them to lend it to us.

    The way the system is setup, the loans shouldn't be allowed to default as defaults make a mess of everyones books

    The rise of production and growth in China and the consumption in the West occurs before the loan has to be repaid and so there is no actual reason to repay the loan except in order to balance the books

    This can be done by punting the redemption date far into the future, say the year 5000

    The books now balance and the increase in growth and production in China, which was the object of the exercise, has been achieved.

    As the Chinese economy matures they will move from being a producer nation to more of a consumer nation and the Chinese people will start to benefit from things like social security, a NHS etc.

    The poorer nations can then start to loan money to both the West and the BRIC nations to stimulate their production and rapid growth that is required to raise their levels of prosperity.

    We in the meantime should be helping those poorer nations to build the basic infrastructure and equip their people with the skills that will be necessary to achieve that growth.

    The Western growth that we require is in the knowledge/skills industries and the growth rate itself is much smaller, this requires less stimulus so the West should similarly make smaller loans to China which they use to buy this production from us.

    'Once again, in this debate about growth, there is everything to play for.'

    Win/Win all round is the only result that matters and as we are all on the same team, if we played properly as a team then the result would be a foregone conclusion.






  • Comment number 67.

    #52. The current economic system has failed badly. Why the reluctance to at least consider something different?

    Following my last point about vested interest. You could start by having all those in senior position of political power, including those in the BofE, not being able to personally gain from any decisions they make. They should all take on the roles based on public service. And be banned from earning more than a small premium over average salary. And have no outside business or investment interests, including those kept on hold to return to. And that would include property. They can then get a nice pension as a reward when they finish.

    Next, you can pass laws to make the maximum pay of executives only a certain multiple of their lowest paid worker.

    Then you make a taxation system that massively rewards donation to charity, or rather massively penalises excess profit/income not passed onto charity. This is far better than just taxing more. Everyone would rather know the cause they are benefiting rather than give to the inefficient state. This should apply to corporations and individuals.


  • Comment number 68.

    Lots of lengthy and well informed bloggs, could I summarize?

    Don't get old
    Don't become unemployed
    Don't become sick
    Don't become poor
    Don't become homeless
    Don't join the armed forces

    And for heavens sake, don't die! You don't know where you'll end up.......

  • Comment number 69.

    A bit more about vested interest. Just imagine if all the members of the Monetary Policy Committee (who set interest rates) had been forced to sell all their properties (including home) and rent during their period of office. Can you imagine the conversations they would have had while their low interest rate policy was doubling then trebling house prices? Can anyone honestly say that the committee would have taken the same actions?

  • Comment number 70.

    #65

    'The main problem in the UK is not Capitalism, it is vested interest.'

    You mean 'Greed'. It will destroy any 'ism' we try and will most likely destroy our environment and then us.

  • Comment number 71.

    Steph,

    The ignorant are being misled by your posting, which could more accurately be entitled "Lies, damned lies and statistics". Post 18 being a prime example of the confused. You wilfully chose to concentrate on the claimant count figure, which rose, rather than the real unemployment figure, which fell. This was for purely rhetorical reasons, as far as I can see, since the claimant count figure has long since been discredited as a true measure of unemployment.

    The rise in claimants and the fall in unemployment shows that those who do not claim benefits, i.e. the middle-class unemployed, are now getting back into work, while low-paid workers are still losing their job. Not only that, the rising long-term unemployed figures show that once they lose their job they don't find another.

    Now isn't that a better story? More relevant, more interesting and more accurate. Or you could have stuck with the original story and pointed out that a fall of 20,000 over three months won't set the world alight.

  • Comment number 72.

    59. At 11:30am on 14 Oct 2010, newblogger wrote:
    ‘The world is unequally split into the 'have' and 'have nots', and unfortunately only the 'have nots' want to share’

    Well put……….sentence of the week?

    ‘And if you look globally - the UK is very much in the 'have' category’

    I suppose in the debt category we’re a definite ‘have’.

  • Comment number 73.

    Well one thing for sure is the bonfire of quangos is going to up the unemployment levels (but probably not the claimant count as highly paid chiefs don't sign on)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11538534

    If the Government bothered to find out why Quangos exist then they wouldn't be so keen to axe them - here's a classic example.

    PM: We need to cut public spending through efficiency
    Minister: Good idea - the public will ike that
    PM: So where can we make these cuts without imapacting the service
    Minister: I'll set up a body (QUANGO) of experts to look into it and report back
    PM: Excellent - this should reduce public spending
    Minister: Well we need bit of money to set up the QUANGO and pay everyone - but it shoudl be temporary
    PM: Fine

    .....18 months later

    PM: How are the efficiency cuts coming along
    Minsiter: fine, the QUANGO recommended 42 places we can save money without impacting the service.
    PM: Excellent - good job, keep it up.
    Minsiter: (quietly) although the cost of identifying these cuts has cost more than the cuts themselves.
    PM: (blasey) good, good, now what's next on the agenda...

    The Government is filled with morons - which is why they are quick to axe what they don't understand - like a neanderthal will attack what he doesn't recognise or can reason it's existence.

    You'll all find out in due course what these 'pointless' QUANGO's did.

  • Comment number 74.

    #71

    'The rise in claimants and the fall in unemployment shows that those who do not claim benefits, i.e. the middle-class unemployed, are now getting back into work, while low-paid workers are still losing their job. '

    Not sure this can be deduced from the statistics. You could equally argue the middle class have used up all their savings and have now started claiming.

  • Comment number 75.

    65. At 12:23pm on 14 Oct 2010, jonearle wrote:

    "My comment #45 about WOTW being a Marxist wasn't that he should be ignored because he is a Marxist, but because his life is a contradiction, working with a high salary in the banking sector."

    This is true - I do live in a contradiction - I could (and should) easily support capitalism, but when should self interest overrule human progress (in my eyes, never)

    "It is much easier to see the flaws in something than propose something better. I agree with most of WOTW and Marx analysis of the flaws of Capitalism. But WOTW rarely proposes anything better, other than more government control/spending."

    Come on - what are you children and I'm the adult? There are many solutions out there - all I'm saying is that centralised control is the most efficient way of organising your society on pure Economic terms - not sure I agree it's the best way forward socially. Still it's all irrelevant as none of the major parties is loking beyond Capitalism at the moment.

    "Where is a communist regime that he can use to show us the error of our ways? Even in China, they are only coming out of poverty as a result of engaging with the materialistic capitalistic West."

    I don't think that's true at all - they are exchaning the economic stability of centralised planning for a less stable market driven economy. They may be labelled Communist - but they are actually deformed worker states and in most cases result in a good old dictatorship (but where the workers party is the dictator - i.e. Stalinism)

    "The main problem in the UK is not Capitalism, it is vested interest."

    ...which Capitalism encourages - does it not? Show me any competitive system where self interest isn't promoted to the top as the prime driver for it's participants.

    "And it's twin sister rigged markets. We would not be in the mess we are in if house prices had remained stagnant over the Labour reign. You can guarantee that all those in power, in opposition, and those in influence (BofE etc) were thinking how nice it was for their property and property-investments to be rising in value, blinded to what they were doing to the wider economy by allowing it to continue."

    All these are symptoms of the problem - not causes.

  • Comment number 76.

    71 Tim,
    The claimant count is not meant to be a measure of unemployment, merely a measure of claims for JSA (exactly what it says on the tin!). There is no dishonesty there! The claimant count is important because it is viewed by many as a leading indicator for where both unemployment and GDP are heading. Stephanie did actually put the appropriate caveats on her analysis.

  • Comment number 77.

    59. At 11:30am on 14 Oct 2010, newblogger wrote:

    #56

    "However, Capitalists believe socialism would eventually die too - simply because of human nature and our primitive animal instincts. The desire to be the alpha male means some will always try to out-do their fellow man."

    Only those who have feel they have deficiencies need to compete with everyone else all the time (younger brother / sister syndrome).

    "Basically if we were to share all resources equally among ourselves, eventually, given enough time, most of the resources would end up back in the same few hands again."

    Only through the methods which caused that situation in the first place - aggression, coerscion and theft.

    "The world is unequally split into the 'have' and 'have nots', and unfortunately only the 'have nots' want to share."

    ...but is that because that's all the 'haves' have got? Most wealthy people I meet are boring and childish individuals - they don't have much of a personality - they have often lost the ability to communicate and converse with their fellow men / women. Losing their materialistic wealth would result in them losing 'everything' - but is it right we shoudl allow this situation to develop to give those who are essentially 'anti-social' something to feel good about?

    "And if you look globally - the UK is very much in the 'have' category."

    ...which is why so many people inthis country are happy to 'look the other way' and throw a bit of money to African charities in order to relieve their conscience.

  • Comment number 78.

    #60, Ralph,

    Interesting response. Firstly, I note that you automatically assume that claimants of IB do not pay tax. That is not necessarilly the case. Such comments merely fuel the them and us (tax payers) schism.

    You also fail to note that the test itself is under attack from the majority of agencies that deal with disability and disadvantage as not being fit for purpose. From a discussion on the BBC with Chris Grayling and a number of their representatives it became clear that they will be seeking a judicial review. Basing a decision on fitness for work on questions such as "can you sit for half an hour" merely lead to 'judgements' such as the cancer sufferer with less than 6years life expectancy being told that they were fit for work!

    Now, I do agree that we will not know what the effects will ultimately be. However, the costs (£9.36bn you calculate) is dwarfed by the taxman's estimate of evaded tax. Therefore, as you accept that unemployment is likely to rise the concentration upon IB appears more ideology than efficient cost-savings.

    I would still like to know where you got your figures from?

  • Comment number 79.

    47. At 06:55am on 14 Oct 2010, MetalGasket wrote:

    "I'm not sure why Dempster's turned on you. I think you've been pretty consistent throughout and whilst i don't agree with everything you write, keep going. You make alot more sense than some idiots on here."

    I don't think he has - I think he is just getting concerned that if he believes what I write then it somehow makes him an 'evil Capitalist' - well it doesn't. I mean you can only play the cards which you are dealt - as do I.
    Maybe I'll give up and go and live in a Kubutz (although that will be a hard sell to Ms Writingsonthewall) - I don't know what's going to happen - all I ask is when you come to burn the banks down - give me a chance to get out first!

    One thing my job does allow me to do is see how much of what the Government and media say is a pack of lies. You think all these banks are watertight and well regulated institutions - well I can asssure you they aren't - and I was not surprised when they had (another) crisis.

  • Comment number 80.

    70. At 1:01pm on 14 Oct 2010, newblogger wrote:

    "#65

    'The main problem in the UK is not Capitalism, it is vested interest.'

    You mean 'Greed'. It will destroy any 'ism' we try and will most likely destroy our environment and then us."


    ...and the quickest way to stop 'vested interest'? - well it's to give everyone on earth a vested interest in everything.

  • Comment number 81.

    #65. At 12:23pm on 14 Oct 2010, jonearle wrote:
    "The main problem in the UK is not Capitalism, it is vested interest. And it's twin sister rigged markets. We would not be in the mess we are in if house prices had remained stagnant over the Labour reign. You can guarantee that all those in power, in opposition, and those in influence (BofE etc) were thinking how nice it was for their property and property-investments to be rising in value, blinded to what they were doing to the wider economy by allowing it to continue."

    An old learned economist colleague of mine used to say that the economy of any state had a very simple cycle, it was;

    Labour - Production - Product - Value - Market - Price - Wages - Labour

    The factors are all aggregate factors for a single state i.e. labour for everything - houses, services, volunteers, industry etc and so on.

    The theory goes, say the whole of this cycle had a given total unit cost because there is only so much money available then increasing any single factor in the equation will drive another one down. The consensus is then that the "Value" factor is much too high in the UK due house prices which pushes wages up deflating labour and market. Additionally if you add "profit" anywhere in the cycle the effect is wages have to be driven down along with production and product to increase price. Add QE increasing the aggregate value of the cycle and boooooooom - hyperinflation.

    Its very simple I grant but if you sit and ponder it in a bit of detail it makes a hell of a lot of sense.

    My learned colleague also used to say capitalism is just with profits communism, I sort of like that.

  • Comment number 82.

    66. BOBROCKET You like many on this blog and in the old economic "growth is everything" camp are continuing to fail to understand the exponential function and it's implications in a finite world.

    To explain it in quick fashion there are not infinite resources to enable an ever expanding world population to enjoy ever more consumption for ever and ever amen.

    We are living beyond what is sustainable already. If economic growth means using ever more finite resources (energy from fossil and nuclear fission fuels, metal and mineral ores, water, topsoil) then we will not be able to achieve this. Our current malaise is just the starting symptom of us pushing against the boundaries imposed by our planet of limited resources.

    A new way of thinking is required. We need to wean ourselves off of a dependance on cheap oil and other finite natural resources and invest our human capital in developing sustainable lifestyles and numbers of humans on the planet. Contraception has been invented so we can all have a great time without making loads more little humans. What's the problem?

  • Comment number 83.

    #73. At 1:33pm on 14 Oct 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    "Well one thing for sure is the bonfire of quangos is going to up the unemployment levels (but probably not the claimant count as highly paid chiefs don't sign on)"

    Anyone over 50 will be given EAR (Early Approved Retirement) and you're not unemployed when you're retired even if you do look for work. Abracadabra - no increase in unemployment stats.

  • Comment number 84.

    82. At 2:08pm on 14 Oct 2010, Sage_of_Cromerarrh wrote:
    Contraception has been invented so we can all have a great time without making loads more little humans. What's the problem?

    I think that you will find that several major religions are telling their adherents that contraception is not to be used and many are heeding the instruction.

  • Comment number 85.

    # 82. At 2:08pm on 14 Oct 2010, Sage_of_Cromerarrh wrote:
    "To explain it in quick fashion there are not infinite resources to enable an ever expanding world population to enjoy ever more consumption for ever and ever amen."

    Most highly virulent parasites destroy their host quite quickly. Mankind has only been on earth for a comparative millisecond of its existence and we've already near exhausted the planet.

  • Comment number 86.

    I've gone to a lot of trouble to write this, what with making everybody's life better by working hard and paying tax and all.

    I've noticed that writingsonthewall is all over this blog, spraying insults all over the place.

    If you can choose your own name, who chose yours?
    Obviously you don't believe in emanciaption, since you've ascribed your monicker to your partner, whom you state as Ms, not Mrs. Ms does not have your name, unless she's changed it by deedpoll.

    Don't think I can really be bothered to discuss either economics or politics with you since your head is stuck well and truly in the sand and, just to mix up the old metaphors a bit, your mind is losed to reasonable argument, allegedly.


  • Comment number 87.

    84. ANOTHERENGINEER- ha here you have hit upon a major obstacle. Bronze age belief systems still wielding influence in the 21st century. A mind virus that only rigorous logic and reasoned argument can hope to cure. But there is always hope.

    85. NORTHSEA - Very true if we are a parasite without intellect. We must learn to use our intellect to subdue our instincts towards greed. This way we can enhance and improve the planet's ability to survive and prosper. This way we become a symbiot instead of a parasite.

  • Comment number 88.

    #80 WOTW

    Not sure we really disagree but you have more faith in mankind than I do.

  • Comment number 89.

    86. At 2:37pm on 14 Oct 2010, toryandproud

    Being "proud" of ones politics is just like being fundamental about a religion. It is in fact pure self-righteousness.

  • Comment number 90.

    #86 troyandproud,

    Does not your own 'handle' suggest that you too have your head "well and truly in the sand"?

    From what I read of your latest posts they too appear to be produced by a closed mind.

  • Comment number 91.

    Right WOTW you’ve really bugged me, I hope you know that, I’ve actually spent time reading about bloody Marxism and Capitalism for god’s sake.

    Trouble is when you start trying to get your head around one ‘ism’, some one shoves another one under your nose.

    For instance: Stalinism, Marxism, Bolshevism, Socialism, Communism, Materialism, Anarcho-capitalism, Corporate capitalism, Finance capitalism, Late capitalism, Neo-capitalism, Post-capitalism, State capitalism, State monopoly capitalism, Feudalism, Mercantalism, and Protectionism, to name but a few.

    There are more ‘isms’ out there than you can readily shake a stick at.

    But the problem I see with ‘isms’, is many people are not naturally ‘ists’, and the only way to get them to become an ‘ist’ is to ins‘ist’ upon it.

  • Comment number 92.

    #65 - jonearle - I agree with every word of that post, well put. I have said on other blogs/posts that I think WOTW and others are putting forward an extremely compelling picture of why things are going wrong, but their reduction of everything to money/capital is only a part of the picture - albeit the biggest part.

    Interesting to see that with a few boneheaded exceptions most people on these blogs are prepared to agree this isn't left/right but right/wrong

    Vested interests are of course a key issue and they will be franticly at work at the moment. The vested interests use 'class' - (something that still pervades English manners and culture) - as a weapon. Nothing changes over the centuries, a small cabal took over England by military conquest and held on by being ruthless - (WOTW might wish to reflect that this also describes 1917 in Moscow...)

    This IS a political point - given the social and work background of the Tory members of the cabinet - who's tune are THEY likely to dance to? But I would support a Conservative cabinet that stuck it to the banks in the national interest, albeit with gritted teeth.

    Its interesting that there is a magazine article on British fair play on the BBC site today - as we have probably all experienced at some point in our daily lives the English ruling classes - monocle, top hat, mad dogs & Englishmen etc - are only polite to a point.

    When it comes to getting served in a pub, securing massive taxpayer-funded bouses, or conquering half of Asia - manners and fair play go out of the window and its sharp elbows ahoy. Their lives are all about social 'points' - prestige & power - and of course cash - preferably other peoples money, and a rigged market to make sure its the ghastly proles who take all the risks (even though they aren't even aware of being in the game)

  • Comment number 93.

    #90 fddave

    I'm happy to say immune to wrong headed arguments, rather than simply closed. I'm happy to read opposing views, and respect everybody's right to hold an opinion, whilst reserving the right to have mine.

    If that means we fundamentally disagree, then fine.

    I just don't expect to get insulted off the back of that position, makes me dig my heels in, if you get my drift.

  • Comment number 94.

    #87. At 2:45pm on 14 Oct 2010, Sage_of_Cromerarrh

    Yep, point taken.

    Still trying to be sure of the "intellect" bit though. The theory of intellectual evolution assumes the powers of learning and reason will adapt reactively to maintain the equalibrium in its changing environment i.e. the intellect follows the environment not leads it. Seems mankind hasn't quite got sussed that yet while all other beasts have but that's a whole different blog. Overall I share your sentiments totally.

  • Comment number 95.

    86. At 2:37pm on 14 Oct 2010, toryandproud wrote:

    "I've gone to a lot of trouble to write this, what with making everybody's life better by working hard and paying tax and all."

    ...who hasn't - I bet I've paid more tax in my life than you have - na na nena na

    "I've noticed that writingsonthewall is all over this blog, spraying insults all over the place."

    That's not an insult - I've been going easy on you.

    "If you can choose your own name, who chose yours?"

    Fate.

    "Obviously you don't believe in emanciaption, since you've ascribed your monicker to your partner, whom you state as Ms, not Mrs. Ms does not have your name, unless she's changed it by deedpoll."

    I didn't want to confuse you with my internal affairs - me and Ms, Mrs or Miss Writingsonthewall are one mind - except when it comes to the washing up. Unlike you and I - she has had a very hard life and come through the most awful social failures of this nation. I have more respect for her than I could ever have for anyone else. I hope the feeling is mutual.

    "Don't think I can really be bothered to discuss either economics or politics with you since your head is stuck well and truly in the sand and, just to mix up the old metaphors a bit, your mind is losed to reasonable argument, allegedly."

    Oh really? - well what do you call someone in receipt of a state pension who aligns himself with a party intent on the destruction of such a benefit now that he's had his fill? Head in the sand, or living a selfish fantasy?

    I mean come on - surely you were asking for it when you thought up that username? Politics isn't like supporting your local football team you know..

    I didn't think you could be 'bothered to discuss Economics with me' - I get that a lot - very odd don't you think?

  • Comment number 96.

    87. At 2:45pm on 14 Oct 2010, Sage_of_Cromerarrh wrote:

    "85. NORTHSEA - Very true if we are a parasite without intellect. We must learn to use our intellect to subdue our instincts towards greed. This way we can enhance and improve the planet's ability to survive and prosper. This way we become a symbiot instead of a parasite."

    ...so lets get started by ridding ourselves of a system which promotes greed an selfishness and ignores the people and planet around us - which seems to be justified on the basis of "it's the best things we've tried...well sort of tried...well it just happened really because nobody consciously implemented Capitalism"

  • Comment number 97.

    88. At 2:45pm on 14 Oct 2010, newblogger wrote:

    "#80 WOTW

    Not sure we really disagree but you have more faith in mankind than I do."

    Of course I do - I am an optimist! (something the Capitalist brigade can't get their heads around)

    Capitalism is stiffling the human races advancement - not promoting it.

    Tell me how easy would it be to expand the human race across the universe if we didn't commit so many resources to building cheap platsic trinkets to pleasure the jilted ego's of the weak minded? How much of what we do would be renewable by now if we didn't wait for the authorisation of a bank manager or billionaire first?

    You see Capitalists assume that the presence of profit means an activity is worth doing - so who built all those shut down businesses littering our high streets today?

    Remember - man has overcome greater challenges than this - currently we're in a 'lazy phase' where people actully think it's a good idea to have wealth generated without a grain of effort.

    It's a race to see which will happen first - social collapse or environmental collapse - no, wait a minute, Capitalists conveniently don't believe in either!

  • Comment number 98.

    91. At 3:30pm on 14 Oct 2010, Dempster wrote:

    "Right WOTW you’ve really bugged me, I hope you know that, I’ve actually spent time reading about bloody Marxism and Capitalism for god’s sake."

    This is excellent news - and I know it's dreary in places, but stick with it - I promise it will be worth it.

    "Trouble is when you start trying to get your head around one ‘ism’, some one shoves another one under your nose.

    For instance: Stalinism, Marxism, Bolshevism, Socialism, Communism, Materialism, Anarcho-capitalism, Corporate capitalism, Finance capitalism, Late capitalism, Neo-capitalism, Post-capitalism, State capitalism, State monopoly capitalism, Feudalism, Mercantalism, and Protectionism, to name but a few.

    There are more ‘isms’ out there than you can readily shake a stick at.

    But the problem I see with ‘isms’, is many people are not naturally ‘ists’, and the only way to get them to become an ‘ist’ is to ins‘ist’ upon it. "

    Dempster - you are truly a humour-ist - and I mean that in a nice way. Don't fret - this is a journey, we don't know exactly where it will lead us, but if we don't try we will never know.

    It's better to explore the world than sit in your house worrying about the sky faling in all the time - or accepting this system as 'the best we're gonna get' - that's too defeatist for my liking.

    What we need is a new system, based on sharing the worlds resources with equal ownership where we can produce what we need, but not produce what we think we need - I name this system - DEMPSTER-ISM.

  • Comment number 99.

    92. At 3:33pm on 14 Oct 2010, FauxGeordie wrote:

    "Nothing changes over the centuries, a small cabal took over England by military conquest and held on by being ruthless - (WOTW might wish to reflect that this also describes 1917 in Moscow...)"

    Absolutely true - in 1917 they started out with the best intentions, but unfortunately intentions are not enough - but does that mean we abandon all hope of utopia? - Did NASA abandon all hope of landing someone on the moon because of a few setbacks?

    However I disagree that things don't change - I mean we're having this discussion and I don't know who you are - but it doesn't matter - the anonimity ensures I cannot prejudice what you say by what you look like - I can only reflect what you actually say.

  • Comment number 100.

    79 Writings on the wall.

    One thing my job does allow me to do is see how much of what the Government and media say is a pack of lies. You think all these banks are watertight and well regulated institutions - well I can asssure you they aren't - and I was not surprised when they had (another) crisis.

    WHAT JOB. You are here all day every day posting. Other than the government who on earth would pay you to do this.

    Also some of us do not feel guilty about Africa. They were better off when we ran the show.

 

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