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Sir Humphrey

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About Sir Humphrey

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  1. This is why I get frustrated when current economic policy is described as Keynesianism. Smoothing out the business cycle is what Keynesianism is about. Instead the last few years have been driven by laissez-faire. The outcome for housing may end up being the same, but had the boom been smoothed out, the wider ecomony may have become less dysfunctional, and the pain caused to many people reduced. With regards to patience: I am a 28 year old with no dependents. There is little lifestyle downside waiting, but if I had a family it would be different matter. This shouldn't be the case, but renting legislation is weighted in favour of landlords in the UK. This may be part of the reason why landlords are despised by many people. You also have to remember that the UK has a feudal history unlike the USA. The Rachman/Rigsby style landlord is also a powerful image for many Brits. Smoothing out the economy in that way may reduce economic freedom for some people, but that idea should not be conflated with political freedom. I think that is an error made by many Libertarians. Chile under Pinochet would be an example where the former existed, but he latter did not. They do not go hand-in-hand, and in some cases they be inimical. For instance, under a free economic system, the powerful may be able to lobby government to reduce political freedom. My opinion is that is what has happened in the USA under Bush II.
  2. Sir Humphrey

    CGNAO - Here & on HPC: The Grim Reaper

    No! Surely not!
  3. Sir Humphrey

    When a bailout is worthwhile.

    I am still reluctant to draw this conclusion. It seems that NR are now trying to offload bad mortage risks and increase their saving base. the evidence is mixed. But clearly IMO Granite should be nationalised too, but that could increase taxpayer exposure further. IMHO, I think the govt know the game is up now. It is not in their interest to spunk £110bn* as that would terminate their careers and that of the next generation of hacks too. I do think they will try their damnest to get the money back for the Exchequer now. No hard evidence though, just my gut instinct. There are no good options. This should have been prevented. -- * not that the amount at risk is that high anyway, although it is high nonetheless.
  4. Sir Humphrey

    When a bailout is worthwhile.

    I think we are arguing from very different premises. Better to agree to disagee I think. The revelation that Granite is not included in the Nationalisation certainly changes my view of Nationalisation. I had thought that the better loans in Granite might be able to bail out the taxpayer, that they are not included is very smelly.
  5. Sir Humphrey

    When a bailout is worthwhile.

    This is true capitalism. Statements like that remind me of Trots who reckon that Communism was never tried properly. Personally, I favour the mixed economy. Prevention is better than cure. Of course most people aren't going to fully understand the banking system, it is very complicated. I am certainly not defending it's recklessness either. But what you are proposing would return us to the Great Depression.
  6. Sir Humphrey

    When a bailout is worthwhile.

    No. You want to destroy confidence in banking...er okay. Yes, under the mattress. You can't expect people to do a full risk assessment of their deposit bank! Are you arguing for a gold bug position, or are you trying to destroy Capitalism?
  7. Sir Humphrey

    When a bailout is worthwhile.

    Sorry for the delay in replying guys, been distracted the last few days. It is not unusual to blame the EU for stuff, they make a useful scapegoat. I holiday a lot in the south of France. When you travel around the rail network in the south, you pass a lot of huge silo installations from where the wheat is transported. It all seems very efficient and green. Agriculture is a way of life in rural France, it seems to be almost what it means to be rural French. I can fully understand why the government protect it so much. The Gaullists rely on the "country bumpkin" vote as well. At least Darling has finally done the sensible thing with Northern Rock. Let's hope they extract the taxpayer's money, save what is worth saving, then dispatch the rest to history. I expect all this "sell as a viable business" stuff is spin (I hope so).
  8. Sir Humphrey

    When a bailout is worthwhile.

    Actually, the Bank of England will have the power if I recall correctly. Just like before Gordon Brown changed the system. That would apply to industrial companies.
  9. http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/cont...age_top+stories France bails out Alstom, and four years later it launches what should be a world beating green product. Not a fan of Sarko, but chapeau bas to him on this one. Britain bails out some Geordie spivs instead. It makes me want to put my head in my hands.
  10. The M6 Toll Road is a private road. The "Free Market" in action.
  11. Sir Humphrey

    A question for gold bulls

    All this depends on whether we are facing deflation or inflation. High inflation = choke money money supply. Deflation = get out Milton Friedman's money helicopter. Not my position of course, but if you take a monetarist position helicoptering money and high IRs are two sides of the same coin.
  12. Sir Humphrey

    A question for gold bulls

    Sounds more like a managed increase in aggregate demand (allowing latent demand to be turned into real demand by making borrowing cheaper) feeding through to money supply growth. That would make money supply growth an effect, not a cause. This would explain the early 1990s money supply flatlining...an effect of a recession (with low aggregate demand) rather than a cause. I see how broad (not printed) money supply could be a useful indicator, but like a speedometer on a car it measures not creates. The accelerator would be demand, with other issues acting as a gearbox, or a tuning mechanic.
  13. Sir Humphrey

    A question for gold bulls

    As I have already explained, Mise's logic is premised on axioms rather than evidence based. I have explained already, the chart you mentioned showed flatlining money supply in the early 1990s, with a continuing decrease in $ value. I have explained already (along with others), broad money is not exogeneous, only actual physical banknotes. As I have explained, other factors can influence inflation, such as supply shortages of good, or general gluts. In any case, it is up to you to prove Mise's argument. They are my counter-arguments, but the onus of proof is on you.
  14. Sir Humphrey

    A question for gold bulls

    Maths is a priori reason, but is subordinate for the same reason. To say that the number of apples has doubled from 3 to 6 is still false if there were only 2 apples to begin with, (false premise). There is also evidence that Mathematical reason is not inbuilt into the brain, but is learnt in childhood. For instance a child may understand that there is an apple, or some apples, but not give an exact number to "some" apples. Secondly, if you consider that the mathematical concept of zero was unknown to the Romans is also an argument aginast innate mathematical knowledge. Remember, I am not arguing against logic or maths, only pointing out that the premises need empirical underpinning when understanding the real world. I accept logic, but an pointing out that alone it is not enough. i.e it is not sufficient for truth.
  15. Sir Humphrey

    A question for gold bulls

    Sorry, I see your point. No, you cannot be sure it is true. But the degree of doubt can be so small that it doesn't matter for practical purposes. This is where pragmatic judgement comes in. You can also build alternative a priori arguments with "if" clauses to model different possibilities in the case of serious doubt. Wittgenstein (and I tend to agree) that you cannot discuss metaphysical concepts with language without introducing distortions to the argument. So you should really just say nothing. A clear example of language distortion is with differing definitions of inflation. So really, pragmatism is the only course of action. As Wittengenstein stated, all explanations end somewhere. So yes, even with an empirical approach, there are axioms, but all they consist of are "I exist" and "The world exists". The more axioms you have, the more likely error is to occur. You need a mixture of empirical facts and reason to connect those facts. You cannot have facts alone, not reason alone (which is what a priori is). A fact can be a fact without it being 100% certain. The trouble with pure a priori reasoning is that it in practise tends to become simply an expression of beliefs, (which is all axioms really are). People often have crazy beliefs So the alternative which Mises takes is to ignore experience altogether which is likely to result in worse judgement than taking a pragmatic approach. Hayek does not make this error as he maintains an empirical approach (IIRC he worked closely with Karl Popper). At the end of the day, what I am advocating may well be superceded in future as human thought improves. Indeed, I hope it is. But that is the current state of human knowledge, the collective geniuses of human histiory have not yet solved the problem of induction. Personally, I suspect it will not be solved until/if time travel is invented (assuming it can be invented). All we have are pragmatic workarounds which have differing success rates.
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