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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  11/01/2009  :  06:04
New Year, new topic. If you want to see the old one do a forum search for same title but 2008.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 03/01/2010 : 13:53
I can feel an article building up!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 04/01/2010 : 12:22
Well before you write it read `Buyer beware or be fleeced' by Patrick Hosking in The Times, 2nd January 2010. A great article! It's on the Times Online web site here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/article6973478.ece


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 04/01/2010 : 15:25
A good article and oh too familiar. Same applies to phone lines and broadband. One way of duping the customer is the come-on 3 month offers. Another is making the structure of the charges so complicated that you don't know what you are paying for. BT have a thing called free weekend call plan. It's actually the line rental and you don't get free calls if you are with another provider. I should look into these things but I'm too busy writing books!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2010 : 06:35
There is a small black cloud on the horizon, no bigger than a man's hand. (See "There ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand.". First book of Kings. Old Testament)

A leading bond trading house has announced it will be a net seller of UK treasury bonds and the markets are waiting to see if there will be any revision of the country's AAA rating. Not a biggy at the moment but ominous because this could be the start of the unravelling of 'Quantitive Easing'. Call it what you like but this is printing money without assets to back it up which automatically means that the existing money in circulation is eventually devalued.

The real impact of this shift in perception is that the UK will not be seen as a secure investment and the interest rate on money that the government borrows will rise. This slows down recovery and the ability to reduce the national debt. Add to this the fact that we are still technically in recession no matter what Godron says and you have the classic precursors of a slow slide into a double dip recession, in other words, what recovery there is will slow down. None of this is speculation or rumour, it is hard economic logic. Now ask yourself if any politicians are addressing this in their public pronouncements as they try to boost their vote in the coming General Election.

The message is clear. Worst case management says that we should all take note and get ready to head for the bunker.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Posted - 05/01/2010 : 12:46
Yes, and the BBC business and economics commentators were saying this morning that most people in Britain have no idea how bad things really are, and how much worse it's going to get.

Alluding to the politicians' expenses scandal and the bankers, one of them said that  we have been "rooting about under the foundation stones of the nation" and this causes instability, unrest, lack of confidence. They even went as far as to wonder what would happen if the public decide they don't trust any of the politicians, whatever their party. Revolution discussed at the BBC - whatever next? - It must be bad!

Meanwhile, Godron is back to his old line of "It all started in America" with the implied "Nothing to do with me Guv".


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2010 : 16:06
Peter, the basic problem is that the vast majority of the public are more interested in 'reality' Tv than taking any interest in the real reality, what is happening to the world around us. I've been a sceptic for years and it gives me no pleasure to say that I was right. The really frightening thing is that all the signs I can see are pointing to it becoming much worse even if there are no additional shocks.  I've written an article today for publication in a fortnight that comes at this from a different direction. What I'm trying to do is alert people gently to how this all came to pass.

I'm reminded of Bob Smith at Nelson and Colne College who summed up a particular situation by saying "our trouble is we've been plaiting sawdust for years and now all the pigeons are coming home to roost". Everyone understood him and so do I, this is what is happening to us now.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 06/01/2010 : 07:10
I run many of my pieces past my mentors and asked my favourite economist, Martha Paas, to comment on 'no bigger than a man's hand'. The corrected one thing I said. Here's the expert view on quantitive easing:

The problem with your piece is that you say "printing money without assets to back them up". The largest "asset" the government has is the ability to tax, and if the country is growing and the tax base is expanding, then raising the public debt is not a problem. Public debt is not like private debt. You never have to pay it back because the government never dies and can continue to borrow more. 
Now, obviously, it should not print money without cause, but a recession is exactly the time when the government should deficit spend. It was about this time in 1937 that the US began to worry about the deficit and inflation and raised taxes and the recovery stopped. So, the UK is a secure investment and even if interest rates rise, as long as the government does something useful with the money to promote growth ( or stop recession)that's OK. Keynesian economics 101.  

 



Stanley Challenger Graham




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frankwilk
Senior Member


3975 Posts
Posted - 06/01/2010 : 08:18
Stanley the debt can rise that's not a problem, but the interest payment on the debt is a problem. Just like a credit card if you don't pay it off it just grows and grows. I think that is the problem.



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Posted - 06/01/2010 : 10:19
Better point out to Martha that tax revenue has fallen through the floor in the UK and that's why we are in such a deep hole with national debt now. The `ability' to tax is one thing - the ability to get enough tax revenue is another.


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handlamp
Senior Member


1100 Posts
Posted - 06/01/2010 : 14:36
Frank,  I think that's a very optimistic view - surely, with all the q.e. plus the debt the Government has already incurred (such a ppp) we must be getting near the state that, given the rise in interest rates which must come, we won't be able to find even the interest on it.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 07/01/2010 : 06:23
I think M knows that she is simply stating the standard Keynsian view. Ted gets nearer my fear because there is a real danger we are heading for that situation where the outstanding interest mounts up and is added to the debt which raises the amount of interst etc. The country starts to vanish up its own bum. Exactly what happens to people overspent on credit cards but no way out for something as big as a country.

This is why the stock markets are seeming to do so well. Investing in stock or commodities is the least  unsafe thing to do. Bottom line is that we are deep in the doo-doo.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Posted - 28/01/2010 : 11:01
I've now watched the second of the `Schama on Obama' programmes (or call it `Schama on the bankers'). The Americans are much more willing to get off the fence and say what they really think about what the bankers have done, but then they've suffered more than we have from the mess.

Now here's a thought. If a company executive on £1 million a year were replaced by one on £500,000 (or the current one took a pay cut of 50%), the company could employ an extra 25 people at the `coalface' on £20,000 a year. I know in reality the figures wouldn't be as simple as that but it does make you think. These extra people could make the company more efficient and they could be used to give better customer service. But it won't happen because the people who make these decisions are the ones on £1 million. Even the non-executive directors won't do it because they will be on £1 million in another company. And the shareholders are mostly funds run by peole also on massive salaries. It's not the workers being screwed by the managers these days but all of us being screwed by the CEOs.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 28/01/2010 : 17:04
I can see only one faint chink of light. Some time ago in the wake of the expenses scandal I raised the hope that the tectonic plates might be moving and we could eventually see some fundamental change. There are signs that in terms of 'Proprietary Investment' in banks there may be some movement. More people are looking at this and suggesting change. This is the real root of the problem in the casino banks.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 28/01/2010 : 17:05
PS. That was the programme where Schama said the bankers needed to develop a memory and some knowledge of history. He thinks that Obama has this. I agree with him and haven't lost hope for him.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Posted - 28/01/2010 : 20:24
Schama was on Andrew Marr's Start the Week a while ago and they were discussing the programme before it was shown. They had an American lady on too and she said that there was a danger in the US of people making an association between the worst recession for ages and the first black president. She said it would suit some people to promote that association. At least she believed that the blacks who criticised Obama for not being tougher on the bankers would still vote for him in the next election. But will the whites who voted for him last time? I hope so.


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