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Saturday, August 29, 2009


Steve Sailer has written several times on the way the cost of starting a family affects people choosing to have children & therefore the political culture (red state/blue state). This is from a primary article;

The best indicator of whether a state will swing Red or Blue? The cost of buying a home and raising a family. --- Steve Sailer

“For People increase in Proportion to the Number of Marriages, and that is greater in Proportion to the Ease and Convenience of supporting a Family. When Families can be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier in Life.” Benjamin Franklin

As America’s coastal regions filled up, affordability of family formation began to differ sharply from state to state (disparities partially masked over the last few years by subprime mortgages and other financial gambits). CNN reported in 2006: “More than 90 percent of homes in [Indianapolis] were affordable to families earning the median income for the area of about $65,100. In Los Angeles, the least affordable big metro area, only 1.9 percent of the homes sold were within the reach of families earning a median income for the city of $56,200."

...“Manhattan’s 35,000 or so white non-Hispanic toddlers are being raised by parents whose median income was $284,208 a year in 2005.” Second was San Francisco, where the 50th percentile of income for white parents of small children fell at $150,763. That explains a lot about why the city by the bay is last in the country in percentage of residents under 18, below even retirement havens such as Palm Beach.

...And where it is economical to buy a house with a yard in a neighborhood with a decent public school, you will generally find more conservatives. It’s a stereotype that marriage, mortgage, and kids make people more conservative, but, like most stereotypes, it’s reasonably true.

...Bush was victorious in the 26 states with the least home-price inflation since 1980, while Kerry triumphed in the 14 states with the most...The correlation between low housing inflation and Bush’s share of the vote was strong, with a correlation coefficient, or “r,” of 0.72. A rule of thumb in the social sciences is that correlation coefficients of 0.2 are low, 0.4 moderate, and 0.6 high. Thus 0.72 is quite high, especially given the complexity of voting patterns.

...For example, white women in Utah lead the nation by being married an average of 17.0 years during those 27 years from age 18 through 44. In contrast, in liberal Washington D.C., the average white woman is married only 7.4 years. In Massachusetts, where Bush won merely 37 percent, years married average just 12.2.

Applied to white women, this new measure proved to be the single-best predictor imaginable of Bush’s share of the vote by state in the last two elections. Bush carried the top 25 states, while Kerry won 16 of the lowest 19.

...This theory suggests that, in order to encourage marriage and children among voters, Republicans should pursue policies that raise wages, lower demand for houses, and keep the public schools from eroding further. The most obvious way to move the country toward a more Republican future is to restrict immigration.

In Britain we have just passed the level of 50% of children being born out of marriage. Some of these will be relatively well off stable households who didn't marry at least partly because it would cost them extra taxes. However many are from single parent homes & the correlation between fatherlessness & growing up criminal is well proven.

There has recently been a considerable amount of publicity about how Britain's population is growing & the official implication is it is because of more children being born not more immigration. "It is the usual government spin to claim these numbers as a success for immigration policy despite the fact that foreign immigration is virtually unchanged at about half a million a year." The immigration figure is actually the net immigration figure - immigration (obviously not counting illegals) - emigration (to countries where family formation is easier) - Poles going home because, with the £ falling there are greener pastures elsewhere. We are also living longer.
The Office for National Statistics says the country's population is now growing by more than 0.7 per cent every year — three times the level in the 1980s.

The figures show that 791,000 babies were born in 2008 — 33,000 higher than the year before — bringing Britain's population to 61.4 million. The population last year was 60,975,000.

A quarter of all births last year were to women born outside the U.K.,

So population is growing by half a million, net migration is the same but 200,000 of those births are to immigrants & half of them are illegitimate.

The main cost of family formation is a home & as pointed out before, because of government regulation, homes cost 4 times what they could. I also strongly suspect the cost of child care is artificially pushed up by government regulation to the same degree (it is always easy to sell more government regulation of anything to do with children).

I do not think it is in the best cultural interests of the British population, or indeed of politicians who support family values, to maintain massive government disincentives to people having children & thus being politically family orientated themselves & then relying on mass immigration, by peoples with different cultural values, to increase the numbers.

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Friday, August 28, 2009


Via the Taxpayer's Alliance article on all the non-jobs comes this piece of taxpayer funded negatively productive nonsense
you will lead on the development and implementation of the Corporate Equality and Diversity strategy and associated action plans.

As the leader of a newly established team, you will motivate and inspire all employees and stakeholders about equality and diversity. Your communication skills will enable you to build credibility and raise the profile of equality and diversity
further on the advert confirms that
In line with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 this post is politically restricted. We are committed to equality and fairness at work - applications are encouraged from all diverse communities.

To put it another way NO WHITES NEED APPLY.

How fortunate we have an Equality & Human Rights Commission to bring this rogue employer to heel, after all if they are going to jump on a small voluntary group like the BNP for not accepting membership dues from certain ethnicites, without any evidence whatsoever that they want to join think how much harder they will jump on an organisation with such power (ie governing) who hand out jobs on a racial basis.

After all they are commited to equal rights for all.

Or am I being naive?

UPSATE Fred on how special treatment for diverse people "it often injures the people it is supposed to help; that it succeeds in antagonizing whites without benefiting blacks; that it has become more of an ideological battleground than a practical program; and, finally, that it is a fraud, serving principally to benefit groups that grow fat from racial programs"

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Thursday, August 27, 2009


I wrote before about the poetry of Lily Allen's lyrics. This is from her new hit 22
She's got an alright job but it's not a career
whenever she thinks about it it brings her to tears
It strikes me that as individuals it is impossible for the majority of people to have above average jobs. However if a career is a job with prospects of doing better in future &/or being able to achieve something then it is possible for an entire nation to go for a career. The alienation of most people is because we are cogs in a spinning directionless machine rather than part of a society that is going somewhere or even knows where it wants to go.

To have a career you have to map out where you want to go. The same applies for a country. We should map out what career objectives Britain wants to achieve over the next 50 years. I would suggest either Parliament or any single party approving it proclaim objectives & report annually on whether they are being achieved.

These are what I support. If anybody has alternatives....

1 - 9% annual growth

2 - Be at or near the top of international tables of human freedom

3 - Be at the forefront of space development, mainly by using X-Prizes. Ultimately investing as much as we do in the military.

4 - Be at the forefront of scientific discovery & technology use, by using X-Prizes &/or other working methods. Ultimately investing as much as we do in the military.

5 - Support peace through adherence to equality for all nations under international law.

6 - Be at or near the top of tables of corruption free countries.

7 - Be in the top quartile of low crime countries

8 - To maintain our culture keep 1st, 2nd & 3rd generation immigrant citizens in the British Isles to not more than 1/6th of the population

9 - Support the development of other nations by supporting free trade, assisting in the dissemination of technology & giving 0.7% of GNP through both private & public sources, as aid. Long term government aid to be limited to countries whose governments to maximise their own economic progress.

10 - Bring British citizens guilty of war crimes & genocide to trial.

A few explanations - (1) is my long term hobbyhorse, but none the worse for that. Apart from a few eco-nuts who ignorantly believe economic growth depends entirely on using more oil etc, rather than on using resources with improved technology, nobody has seriously disputed that it can be achieved. Parts (2)(3)(4)(6) & (7) would all improve growth & would in turn be more affordable with growth. High growth produces a virtuous circle which makes almost all other goals more easily achievable. For example 20m years of 9% growth would bring the UK economy up to matching the US economy of today (thus if the US economy grew at 4.5% we would match them in 40 years).

(3) & (4) Currently Britain spends 2.4% of GNP on the military which is £34 billion ($54 bn) which is far & away more than any other country spends on space. Moreover spending it on X-Prizes would be about 20 times more effective than NASA is so the speed with which we switch to fast track space development can hardly be overestimated. I certainly would not propose putting that much money into X-Prizes from day 1 but to increase it as the economy grows. Also, if we go for a peaceful policy of not invading other countries our actual military spending could decrease & as the economy grows fast the proportion decreases quites fast so by the time our economy has tripled (13 years) we could be spending 0.8% of GNP each on military, space development & science, with zero added burden, if we wished.

(5) is about never again participating in criminal wars such as Yugoslavia & Iraq & probably never again trying to occupy other nations. Not only have these been immoral & therefore not something that Britain should do if we want to be proud of ourselves but they have an immense cost to us. I am not calling for pacifism - we should fight to defend allies being attacked, maintaining freedom of the seas (& ultimately space) & even sometimes preemptive strikes against military targets but occupation is neither moral nor useful & wars consisting of civilian bombing, as in Yugoslavia, are immoral. Maintianing a blockade of Iraq & air control cost about $10 million a year whereas occupation has cost trillions. (10) is linked to this & I can think of no way of convincing the world's peoples that we arev worthy of trust & respect, or to convince bombastic politicians to seek another career, than hanging Blair.

(7) note that I am aiming for a lower standard in solving crime than in corruption & freedom. This is not because I am being less ambitious but because we are currently further down the tables. In all these cases I would suggest hiring somebody in whatever countries are at the top of the table, usually Singapore, to write & publish a report saying what we need to do.

(8) we have a long term immigration problem & we had better face it because it isn't going to go away. I would be happy to have as many foreign born scientists as we can cope with but that is not where the problem lies. Note that I have specifically limited this to the British Isles - if we are going to build a spacegoing civilisation (& on floating & non-floating islands) that will involve mass immigration. Even there I would not hand out citizenship lightly to people who have no reason to be consider themselves British though I would auction off a few hundred thousand citizenships annually.

(9) currently aid has little, if any, benefit. This programme is pretty close to what we already spend (most government figures only include government aid) but designed to actually achieve something.

In all of these I have tried to put numbers on these ambitions - if you don't do that we are merely talking about an aspiration not a promise & there is no way of measuring whether it has succeeded - this may be why political promises often don't contain firm numbers.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


President Barack Obama says the United States has lost "the greatest United States senator of our time"

US Senator Ted Kennedy will be mourned around the world as a champion of equal rights, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday, while ex-premier Tony Blair called him a "true public servant."

"Senator Edward Kennedy will be mourned not just in America but in every continent," Brown said

Back when he was getting his knighthood Simon Heffer in the Telegraph said
I felt sorry for Ted Kennedy when I heard he had a brain tumour. I temporarily forgot the support he gave to IRA murderers during the 1980s and 1990s. Since some nasty people flew airliners into a few buildings in 2001 the Americans have stopped seeing the glamour of terrorism.

Until then, however, Fenian murderers were routinely feted on St Patrick’s Day, and no American welcomed them more warmly than Ted.

Now, for services to gangsterism, he is to get a knighthood. It comes as the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland announces that terrorist activity is rising, despite a so-called ceasefire: Ted’s friends remain drug runners and bank robbers. What wickedness this is, and what an insult to those whose husbands, wives and children were blown up in shopping centres by the IRA.

This from a list of IRA supporters:

KENNEDY, Edward (Ted): US Senator Mass. USA Pro-IRA, anti-RUC Democratic US Senator Left Mary Joe Kopechne to drown in car he drove off bridge after leaving party. Tried to get others at party to take blame before he tried to get help to rescue her.

KENNEDY, John Jr: American IRA supporter Attended funeral of IRA bomber Patrick Kelly

Perhaps Mr MacAskill will make a remark about "higher powers".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Edinburgh's trams should be not more than £105 million instead of £600m & counting

Forth Bridge costed at £4.2 bn, previous one was at £320 million inflation adjusted, a tunnel would cost £40 m

Crossrail at £16 bn should be £1.3 bn

Glasgow Airport rail link now at £300 million when we could have a monorail at £20 million.

Millenium Dome was £46 million to build & £670 million after the paperwork was finished.

The damage Health & Safety & similar regulations do.

And why we simply can't build as technologically advanced buildings as they do in China.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I have blogged previously on this immensely valuable pdf document - a statistical analysis of what factors correlate with growth. It is worth doing it again & I am now going to reprint stuff from

Chapter 9 FACTORS AFFECTING GROWTH pdf page 53:

"resource-rich countries are usually slightly more prosperous than resource-poor ones. The problem is that they are not as prosperous as they should be"

"there is a great deal of evidence to the effect that governments tend to use resources less efficiently than entrepreneurs. The most significant point is that
what matters more than how much governments take in tax is what they do with it. The evidence suggests that governments are more likely to promote growth if they use their revenue primarily to:

build infrastructure, especially
transport infrastructure;

provide services, rather than
regulate economic activity;

do things that don’t duplicate
what the private sector can do,
specifically that they do not
compete with it; and

increase efficiency by outsourcing
and privatising." p54

"strong correlation between ‘business tax friendliness’ and growth. Tax friendliness measures the impact of tax complexity and incidence on business" p54

"governments are best advised to do less rather than more because the downside risk of what they do is greater than the upside potential" p55

"countries with the world’s smallest governments tend to be super-achievers" p55

"Notwithstanding a value-free approach, much of this report refers to indices of freedom defined in various ways (civil liberties, rule of law, economic freedom, political freedom et al). This was not contrived; it is simply that the factors that correlate most with prosperity happen to be indicators of some form of freedom. We expected other factors to present high positive correlations, such as natural resources, climate, history, culture, religion and governance. Neil van Heerden, former head of the SA Foundation, suggested that these ‘negative’ findings might be more instructive than positive correlations. Identifying the
extent to which people ‘know things that just ain’t so’ is essentially the falsification of hypotheses." p56

"key finding is that the least regulated economies (top quartile) grow 2.2% faster than those that are most regulated (bottom quartile)." p56

"It finds that efficient economies rely more on commonlaw than regulation, and that social democracies (like Denmark, Norway and Swede) benefit from streamlined business regulation, they offset the burden of welfare by liberating productive market forces" p57

"The world’s twenty least regulated economies are all (except Taiwan) rich first world countries, including all G8 countries" p57

"such as health and safety regulation, most of which has never been shown to have benefits exceeding costs, and all of which imposes enormous direct and indirect costs
on people at the expense of prosperity" p57

"A retreaded tyre regulation in the USA, for instance, was found to have cost a few million dollars for every sub-standard tyre identified by the measure" p57

"regulatory compliance (‘red tape’) cost South African businesses R79 billion in 2004, equivalent to 6.5 per cent of GDP" p57

"An OECD study found that over-regulation is the major cause of the slower rate of growth of the European Union compared to that of the USA. But what are the benefits of regulation? The study found ‘no quality benefits’. We all know that government is
costly, but a 75-country study found that regulations usually cost a country twenty times more than they cost the government" p58

"government may have a more intransigent problem with excess red tape than it realises. This is its fourth major attempt at systematic regulatory review. The first...The report was circulated through the Cabinet to all departments with a view to them addressing the problem in accordance with its recommendations.
... it was never heard of again. The second was to be undertaken by the Small Business Council, but it was dissolved. The third (full & never heard from again). It may be helpful to establish why isolated departments did succeed at substantial market liberalisation" p58


"sound policies can withstand almost any shock, and produce prosperity under almost any conditions." p59

"There is virtually no empirical evidence in favour of aid, subsidies, debt relief, technical assistance or protection" p59

"the Marshall Plan failed to generate prosperity. Furthermore, the UK received much more aid than Germany without achieving high growth. If anything, aid enabled it to perpetuate inappropriate policies." p59

"the relative size of education budgets does not correlate significantly with growth" p60

"highest growth countries cover the full range of possibilities, from poor (Trinidad & Tobago) to rich (Iceland), small (Luxembourg) to big (China), formerly capitalist(Ireland) to formerly socialist (Vietnam), resource-rich (Mozambique) to resource-poor (Finland), countries that were colonised until recent decades (Tunisia) and
ones that were not (Finland). There is also a wide range of cultural, religious, ethnic, historical and geographic diversity among high growth countries" p61

"experience of other countries is that it is likely to achieve and sustain high growth only if it resists the temptation faced by all governments to abandon a winning formula when sustained high growth is achieved. As this report shows, markets tend to respond enthusiastically to pro-market reforms" p62

"Trinidad & Tobago, shifted from one extreme to the other having elevated itself from the lowest to the highest growth rate group" p62


"The proverbial “bottom line” is that the world’s experience suggests that ........ is likely to prosper if, and only if, it:

1. reduces crime;
2. relaxes and preferably scraps exchange control;
3. reduces time people have to spend with bureaucracy;
4. relaxes or scraps insistence on centralised bargaining
5. shifts from spending on economic regulation and
parastatals to spending on transfers and subsidies...
6. the rule of law;
7. foreign trade liberalisation;
8. business liberalisation;
9. banking and financial market liberalisation.

And from p 44

"The world’s experience appears to support the view that economic freedom may be a necessary and sufficient condition for prosperity."

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Sunday, August 23, 2009


A few days ago I blogged about the Saltire Prize being, so far as I knew, the only government sponsored X-Prize in the world. Well it turns out that the US Army put up $3 million of prizes & it worked:

"August 18, 2009: The U.S. Army's decades long effort to develop a practical autonomous UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) has succeeded. Earlier this month, two T2 vehicles equipped with sensors and control equipment, successfully passed realistic tests...

Two years ago, for the third time since 2004, the U.S. Department of Defense sponsored a race for robotic vehicles. For several decades, the U.S. Department of Defense has been trying to build a robotic vehicle. But in early 2004, the Department of Defense decided to try something different, and give enterprising civilian organizations a chance to show what they could do. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) held the DARPA Grand Challenge. Put simply, the first robotic vehicle (moving completely under software control, with no human intervention) that could complete a 240 kilometer course, would get a million dollars for its designers. No one even came close. But a second Challenge, held in late 2005, yielded several finishers, and the first one picked up the million dollar prize for navigating a 212 kilometers cross country course in just under seven hours. All vehicles operated under software control, as true robots. The third "Challenge" race was held in late 2007, and had a two million dollar prize for the first vehicle to complete a 60 kilometer course through an urban environment (an abandoned air force base) in under six hours...

The DARPA Challenge races have been a bonanza in terms of advancing the state of the art for robotic vehicles. For less than $10 million in prize money and expenses, the Department of Defense has created new technology that would have otherwise cost more than $100 million, and taken a lot longer to perfect."

I hope it was a lot less than $10 million in prizes & admin expenses since it was 3 million in prizes. The non-military spin off of having such driverless vehicles seems to me to likely to proportionately match the non-billiard ball spin off when a billiard ball company put up such a prize for a substitute for elephant ivory to make balls & wound up with celluloid, the first plastic.

However the principle that X-Prizes work, in this instance admitted to be something like 30 times better than conventional government funding, is even more valuable than that. I have still yet to hear anybody explaining why not - particularly when you remember that if nobody wins the prize, as happened the first year her, no payment is made.

I got this story via Jerry Pournelle eh says "I have never understood why prizes are not popular. They cost almost nothing -- perhaps a million a year total to fund a commission that determines if a prize should be awarded -- and you know the total to be paid. A ten billion prize for a Lunar Colony Prize (keep 31 Americans alive and well on the Moon for 3 years and one day) would either get us a Moon Base or it would cost nothing. A reusable space ship prize of 5 billion (send the same ship to orbit 13 times in one year) would again get us a space ship or would cost nothing. We spent more than half that on the X-33 fiasco." Perhaps it is the ultimate proof of Pournelle's Law - that the prime purpose of government spending is to pay government workers & their friends & X-Prizes are devoted almost entirely to the nominal but secondary purpose of achieving results.

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