Return to Website

Number Watch Web Forum

This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

Number Watch Web Forum
Start a New Topic 
View Entire Thread
Re: CO2 is a killer!

Disagreement between the French and German governments on monetary policy is also of minimal relevance. Every government which signed up to the Euro knew what the deal was - the ECB would be independent (as far as possible) of political interference and set interest rates to control inflation - i.e. modelled on the Bundesbank/Bank of England. Now I don't read all of the small print every time I sign a contract, that's what I employ politicians to do! The value of the euro and its effect on exporters can go hang - it was introduced primarily to facilitate trade amongst a group of countries that do most of their trade with each other and surprisingly little with the outside world - with the exception of Germany which is the world's biggest exporter, and isn't having any more problems with a strong Euro than it did with a strong Deutschmark. The euro wasn't introduced to make life easy for the handful of club med exporters who were only competitive with a perpetually devaluing currency - and governments that complied by printing more money every time things got tough.

How has encouraging the free movement of labour resulted in you paying more of the British indigenous population to do nothing? I was given to understand that unemployment claims have gone down recently. Labour was moving into the UK because there was work to be done and no-one to do it. Importing labour isn't an alternative to "training and retaining" - indeed freedom of movement provides a huge incentive to employers to train their staff and retain them by paying them properly. If I were desperate for a pay rise I could simply entertain the advances of the next headhunter who calls, fly off to Latvia or Sweden or wherever for an interview, come back armed with an offer and ask for more money or leave. Similar pressures work in lower skilled jobs too even if the wheels turn a little slower - but ultimately if there is better money available elsewhere, people will follow it. The NHS pays the "Ryanair locums" a rate dictated by the market. It's a lot of money because the rest of the package is crap - I spent most of my academic career in UK hospitals and they are very unpleasant places to work. Doctors get very few perks from their employers that most equivalent professionals in business would take for granted - so they demand more money than said professionals instead. If the NHS were likewise free of government restrictions (namely foreign-trained doctors are at a severe disadvantage and effectively forced to work at lower grades than they are qualified for) it could instead think about taking on overseas doctors on a more permanent basis, which would reduce the cost of employment considerably. As usual, it's governments getting involved in the transactions which people freely enter in to which screws things up.

The whole aim of a free labour market is to widen the range of personal freedoms you and everyone else enjoys. You aren't forced to work in Sweden, or Poles to work in Britain - you just have the option. If you don't want it then don't exercise it, but don't take it away from people that do want it. Raise the drawbridge and you could hypothetically have 5.5 million expatriate Britons repatriated. You won't make room for them by kicking out the Poles and Czechs.

Re: CO2 is a killer!

Market prices for energy, food etc are going up because the raw materials costs are going up. The costs would be yet higher under the old system of monopoly suppliers because they would still have to cover their costs. Iran and Venezuela famously have extremely cheap and subsidised fuel - but are now having to ration it because the governments have finally understood the concept of opportunity cost. A barrel of oil burned in an Iranian car which is inefficient because there is no incentive to reduce fuel consumption is a barrel of oil that hasn't been sold for hard cash to an overseas customer. The same would happen if you ended up with the UK government subsidising fuel bills in the wake of recent price increases. Someone has to pay for it - and the full cost of using it - in my political and economic philosophy that should usually be the person using it. Socialising costs is something that should only be considered when there are overwhelming reasons to do so and people cannot be persuaded to socialise "by consent". The cost of rebuilding my house should it burn down is one I socialise by consent by buying insurance. Health insurance is arguably something I should be forced into by the government because now in my youth, I would be much better off just to pay for my ~annual visit to a doctor than extortionate socialised health insurance, but in 40 years time I will probably not be able to afford all the care I need out of pocket. I'm not satisfied that I should be subsidising anyone's gasoline bill either directly or through expecting the exchequer to forfeit an opportunity cost (which has the same effect of increasing my tax bill).

Re: Re: CO2 is a killer!

Venezuela has abundant resources of oil and especially the Orinoco basin. The problem for them is Huog Cahvez, one of Red/Green Ken's friends.
He has done enormous harm to the oil industry there and virtually de-skilled the industry.
One product especially was Orimulsion. Hugo has proven a difficult man to deal with.
Take a look at the New Brunswick power company problems .
Hugo was using his "cheap" fuels to try to undermine the US economy. He then decided to sign an exclusive deal with China for the supply of Orimulsion. They even set up a brand new facility. Then Hugo cancelled the deal leaving China in the lurch and prompting them to have to try and purchase Heavy Fuel oil on the open market. Significantly more expensive the sudden demand from China pushed the price still higher. This at a time when crude prices were rising already (which prompted Hugo to reclassify Orinoco crude and hence cancel the orimulsion deals).
So Venezuela at least has not made any prudent regulation of oil exporting and his internal refining capacity is a mess.

Don't buck with me!

Yeah, never underestimate the power of a government to screw its citizens. If Venezuela sold its oil on the open market rather than using it as a crude (pun intended) political tool, it could be a much richer country. But if Venezuelans really are so infused with socialist ideaology to the degree that they're prepared to sell their property for less than it's worth, then why should I stop them? I see this (and indeed the ever-expanding remit of government in general - from something most people ignored 200 years ago to 50% or more of the economy and 90% of the evening news these days) as a problem with democracy. Anything, even monumentally stupid things, can get passed if you have the consent of a majority - or more usually the consent of the largest minority, but we know that in the real world things should not be decided by weight of popular opinion (or indeed its contrary). God doesn't exist just because a referendum on the issue would probably produce a "yes" vote - if anything the lesson of history is that most people are wrong on most things most of the time - I don't consider myself to be an exception. I wouldn't like to argue against democracy, I believe it was Churchill who described it as the least worst way to govern and in considering the alternatives I agree - but the fact that any agenda can be hijacked by a vocal minority who are tolerated by an apathetic majority needs to be addressed, before we end up with governments running everything, income tax at 100% and bureaucrats deciding what car you'll drive (or rather which yak you'll ride) to which socialist free-store and what goods you'll take home for your reguation meals - irrespective of which party you put in office. A free society is not one in which you get to choose who makes the rules - its one in which you get to make the rules yourself as far as possible.

Thatcher was wrong when she said you can't buck the market. You certainly can - just watch the Fed, ECB and BofE. But when you try to buck a market, someone has to pay - usually not the person doing the bucking but everyone else, which is why hardcore liberals like myself hate governments (or anyone else) manipulating markets absent a very solid justification of why it is in the common good to do so.