Saturday, April 21, 2012
he was the puppeteer who set into motion the policies that ultimately nearly ended our world. From the beginning, his agenda was purely financial. He saw Marvel as an undervalued asset when he purchased the company for the bargain price of $82.5 million in January of 1989. He reasoned, quite correctly, that if he raised prices and output, that hard-core Marvel fans would devote a larger and larger portion of their disposable income toward buying comics. Once he had enough sales numbers in place to prove this hypothesis, he then took Marvel public, selling 40% of its stock for vastly more than he paid for the entire company. The flaw in his plan, however, was that he promised investors in Marvel even further brand extensions, and more price increases. That this plan was clearly impossible became evident to most comics retailers early in 1993, as more and more fans simply quit collecting due to the high cost, and amid a widespread perception of declining quality in Marvel comics. ....Any of this sound familiar. Now I would not wish to suggest that Craig Whyte is another Perelman. He isn't remotely as smart as his history of bankrupt firms, including the one his father left him, from which he has extracted assets before the collapse shows.
Ronald O. Perelman continued trying to build Marvel into a mini entertainment conglomerate. In a flurry of acquisitions during the early 1990's, Marvel purchased Fleer Trading Cards, SkyBox Trading Cards, Panini Stickers, Welsh Magazines, and Malibu Publishing. The total cost of these acquisitions (plus an ill-advised repurchase of half of the stock held by the public) ultimately pushed Marvel's bank debt to over $700 million dollars. That's more than eight times what Perelman paid for the company in 1989! At the same time as Marvel was going deeply into debt internally, Perelman convinced an army of gullible investors to purchase $900 million in zero coupon bonds, with the only collateral backing the bonds being his ownership of 60% of Marvel's stock. Because the paper trails are hard to follow, there is some debate as to how much all this financial magic ultimately netted Perelman, but Raviv speculates that he (through his holding companies) benefited to the tune of somewhere between $200-$400 million dollars.
His first job was with his father's plant hire firm, and in 1990 he set-up his own plant-hire company. The company, Whyte Hire, was not a success and went bankrupt in the early 1990s with debts of around £300,000. Whyte recovered from this loss and branched out into security, manufacturing and property. In 1997, aged 26, he was Scotland's youngest self-made millionaire. After selling off most of his businesses, he moved to Monaco. When he moved back to the UK (to London), he became a venture capitalist...
Whyte had illegally been a de facto director of a company called Re-Tex during a seven-year period when he was banned from doing so – a claim supported by Robert Burns, the Head of Investigations at the Insolvency Service. Prior to Re-Tex being wound up in 2003, the company made an offer to sell shares to potential shareholders at a price based on company statements the BBC alleges contained "false and misleading" information, formed from accounts signed off by fake auditors appointed by Whyte. The auditors were allegedly run by a convicted fraudster – and former associate of Whyte's – Kevin Sykes. Whyte's ban from being a director followed the failure of one of his companies – Vital Holdings Ltd – to produce satisfactory accounts. The investigation also alleged participation in an array of other criminal acts, including taking £100,000 from the Re-Tex account, ostensibly to pay a tax bill
Whyte has repeatedly claimed that he personally guaranteed the Ticketus deal whereby they gave him, or his agents, but not Rangers, £25 million against future Rangers seat earnings. Though he has undeniably lied repeatedly I tend to believe this since Ticketus would have to be incredibly stupid not to to have required such a guarantee. So if Rangers is declared actually bankrupt they will pursue him. Oh dear, to bad, what a shame, never mind. However if a deal short of bankruptcy is done Whyte is likely to emerge not only safe from that but as a creditor, having written various contractual obligations to himself.
But looking at what happened to Marvel is instructive. Marvel's assets largely consist of their characters and the fans loyalty to them, as Ranger's main asset is its brand name and the fan's loyalty to it.
Marvel never missed a single comic publication date. A new company was created whose shareholders were given shares in proportion to what they were owed (including Perelman). Since then the company has recovered, is still easily the largest comic publisher and owns what is soon to be the $ billion raking in Avengers film.
If this, known as a debt for equity swap, was done the Inland revenue would undoubtedly end up owning the majority share. However they are not in the business of running football clubs and would quickly sell the shares for whatever the market price was. Rangers would be a debt free company, admittedly penalised in points, but able to get on with its real job of playing football. It would probably have a few lean years but that would be it.
And then the Inland Revenue, having lost a lot of money, might wish to talk to Whyte about his apparently criminal retention of millions of pounds of tax and PAYE. Not for the first time.
Friday, April 20, 2012
A new 3D printing process developed at the University of Glasgow could revolutionise the way scientists, doctors and even the general public create chemical products.It seems only 3 years ago that 3D printing was promising to revolutionise conventional production but to move on to putting complex chemicals together at an atomic level is like going from the Enigma machine (post WW1) to the microprocessor (early 1970s) in the same time.
Professor Lee Cronin, Gardiner Chair of Chemistry at the University, believes his research could lead to the development of home chemical fabricators which consumers could use to design and create medicine at home.
A new research paper, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, outlines how the process has been proven to work. Using a commercially-available 3D printer operated by open-source computer-aided design software, Professor Cronin and his team have built what they call ‘reactionware’, special vessels for chemical reactions which are made from a polymer gel which sets at room temperature. more
Now how long will it take till government, the overwhelming brake on progress in the modern world, authorises its use for ordinary people. Anybody is willing to bet on less than 3 years?: Or even less than 15?
Thursday, April 19, 2012
The oxygen crisis
Could the decline of oxygen in the atmosphere undermine our health and threaten human survival?
Written by Peter Thatchell and appearing in the Guardian it hits all the buttons of lunacy
Compared to prehistoric times, the level of oxygen in the earth's atmosphere has declined by over a third and in polluted cities the decline may be more than 50%. This change in the makeup of the air we breathe has potentially serious implications for our health. Indeed, it could ultimately threaten the survival of human life on earth, according to Roddy Newman, who is drafting a new book, The Oxygen Crisis.
I am not a scientist, but this seems a reasonable concern."Prehistoric" literally about 4,000 BC when writing began and therefore before which there can be no written history.
What these buffoons have stumbled on is some actually very interesting real science done by analysing air trapped in amber back in the time of the dinosaurs.
Analyses of the gases in these bubbles show that the Earth's atmosphere, 67 million years ago, contained nearly 35 percent oxygen compared to present levels of 21 percent. Results are based upon more than 300 analyses by USGS scientists of Cretaceous, Tertiary, and recent-age amber from 16 world sites.* The oldest amber in this study is about 130 million years old.That explains the heretofore inexplicable ability of pterosaurs to fly when their apparent power to weight ratio was wrong - more oxygen means faster burning of food, means more power.
But 67 million years is quite a lot of time for this to have happened over. You don't have to be a "scientist" but merely capable of some primary school arithmetic to realise that if oxygen has dropped 14% over 67 million years the drop since "prehistory" ended will be about 0.0012% which is riot going to undermine even Thatchells' health.
Of course Thatchell is a gay/;environmental/anti-racist/socialist/anti-capitalist/Labour/Green/anti-smoking/authoritarian activist who couldn't get elected for Labour in a safe seat. As such he is an official part of Britian's PC nomenklatura regularly invited to pontificate on what is and is not allowed by the "balanced" BBC Fascists and Guardianistas.
BBC radio (Scotland) invited (Thatchell, who has no Scots connection) on as a guest to discuss some Catholic prelate who had referred to homosexuals as "perverts". Now quite obviously, in biblical terms for those interested in such things, this is nothing but the truth. Nonetheless despite this & despite the fact that a poll had shown that a very large number of people agreed Tatchell's argument was entirely the assertion that such a word was "unacceptable". The arrogance of this dismissal of the right of even a majority of people to hold contrary opinions was breathtaking.
With all that support from Beeboid/Guardian totalitarians who censor anybody with something reasonable and fact based to say what need does he, or anybody in the nomenklatura who read the Guardian without laughing, have for the ability to do primary school arithmetic.
A fitting display of the ignorance, dishonesty and stupidity of our ruling nomenklatura, but also of their desperate attempts to produce some new scare story "to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
Dear Guardian Editor,I will, of course, publish any reply they make.
I would like to know if the Guardian wishes to claim that any single article or even statement published by you is at least 11,000 times closer to honesty than the very highest standard of honesty to which you aspire ,demonstrated in Peter Thatchell's "stealing our oxygen" scare story - or should every single word be treated as the sort of lie to be expected from the corrupt, lying, child raping, organlegging totalitarian fascist parasites who work for your propaganda rag?
On very much the same lines Bishop Hill has a reply from C4 news acknowledging that, when they did a piece on shale gas, including the pictures of allegedly fracked gas getting through water pipes they knew at the time that this was a fraud. The have, nonetheless not retracted it
Having broadcast what you have admitted you knew at the time to be a wholly fraudulent film making a false scare claim about shale gas I would be interested to know if there is any intent to retract it. If not you are obviously claiming this lie as being in accord with the very highest standard of honesty to which C4 news ever aspires.
Do you claim that the claims made about atrocities in Sri Lanka, or your acknowledged faking of film about Yugoslavia or a single word you have said about Syria etc are at least thousands of times closer to honest that the very highest standard of honesty you corrupt, lying, child raping, organlegging totalitarian fascist parasites ever aspire to
UPDATE - I have had a reply from ITN (ie C4 News) "I will be blocking emails from you from now on, because I don’t appreciate being called a liar, a fascist parasite or indeed a child rapist.". How different from the BBC who, when I said the same to them, in 2006, asked for details so that they would "address" the points. In fact, of course, the BBC, like ITN were ultimately unable to dispute any of the facts and while they may not "appreciate" the truth neither has been able to deny that every employee of both organisations are indeed "corrupt, lying, child raping, organlegging totalitarian fascist parasites ."
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
In fact the Economist was not as doom laden as one might thimk.
Nationalists argue that, mostly thanks to North Sea oil and gas, Scotland subsidises the union and would be better off alone. The more sneering sort of unionist argues the opposite, that Scotland is a parasitic subsidy junkie.Their argument amounts to With My opinion in bold
Both are wrong, in the short term at least. Assuming it keeps the oil and gas extracted from under Scottish waters, an independent Scotland would currently gain roughly as much in taxes as it would lose in subsidies
In fact it performs better than all regions outside the south-east of England, and has done particularly well in the past decade (see chart). In 2010-11 Scotland’s GDP was £145 billion ($225 billion) including a geographical share of North Sea oil and gas, around 10% of Britain’s, with 8.4% of the population.
Historically Scotland has received bigger grants per head from central government than Wales, for example—in part a tacit acknowledgment that it contributes handsomely to oil revenues, which in 2010-11 amounted to £8.8 billion. An independent Scotland would lose that subsidy, but gain the right to collect taxes on hydrocarbons locally. For the moment, Scotland’s day-to-day accounts would look little different to now. But the argument does not end there.
in 2010-11 offshore activity accounted for 18% of GDP. The equivalent share for the whole of Britain was just 1.8%....
The North Sea is gradually running dry. Many fields will stop producing in the 2020s; by the 2040s oil is likely to be dribbling rather than gushing forth. Tax revenues from oil and gas are highly volatile—they are soaring now because commodity prices are high. And if prices fall both production and receipts could plummet.... Julian Simon, in the wager which, by them now refusing to accept it, proved no "environmentalist actually believes their "peak oil" scare stories. He showed that the long term price of resources is always down in real terms. Thus even were our oil to continue forever it would provide proportionately less of our national income.
It is quite possible that there is enough oil off the west coast to match what we are losing but that raises the question whether a Scottish government committed to Luddism will allow it to be exploited. The initial reaction of the UK government and current reaction of the Scottish government to shale gas suggests that if North Sea oil had first been discovered now it would be kept under wraps.
Another point about oil is that it is notorious that governments who depend on oil revenue are less concerned about having a healthy national economy than those who depend on that economy for their money "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". This, on its own, may well explain why Scotland's government, which gets more money per capita than The UK average, is more parasitic and generally socialist than the UK's.
The second question over Scotland’s future is whether renewable energy could replace oil as a cash cow... OK I've been over this repeatedly and lets just say that Salmond's plan to create electricity at 3 times the competitive cost and get rich by selling it to england is clearly clinically insane.
third long-term problem is the state of its financial-services industry. The country has done well out of banking, but in the past five years the problems of having an outsize banking sector have become apparent. In 2008 the British government bailed out Scotland’s two biggest banks, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HBOS, which was acquired by Lloyds Banking Group. These would probably be broken up as part of an independence settlement, not least because many of their assets are English.
But Edinburgh’s fortunes as a banking centre would be hard to revive. A small, newly seceded economy would struggle to support a large financial sector, Clearly trueAnother point I have not seen discussed anywhere is our long term demographic future. Scotland's population is growing older faster than the UK average. The major reason is seen to be emigration from Scotland - particularly to the rest of the United Kingdom. If we are going to gave more pensioners per worker, even moreso than in England, it is impossible to see how pensions can be kept at current rates without increasingng taxes further.
Fourth and most testing for Scotland’s future would be the question of its currency. Mr Salmond’s hopes of joining the euro have soured—for now he plans to stick with the pound. Yet the euro zone has amply demonstrated the dangers of entering a monetary union without fiscal union. Soothing niceties from Cheshire-cat politicians no longer reassure bond markets—Scotland would pay a premium for being part of a monetary union that could break. It would have no central bank, no monetary freedom and limited fiscal autonomy. Again true. England is a large country with relatively sane government. Scotland would be a small new one where both government and opposition are committed to borrowing more than in England. The only sort of person who would choose to lend money to Scotland at the same rate as England is the sort who would choose to lend it to Greece rather than Germany and such people have little spare money. The only way we could do it is by paying a significantly higher interest rate.
None of these are insoluble problems. Indeed Scotland could become far richer than the UK if only we had a competent government committed to economic growth. But then so could the UK. The discussion of whether we would lose or gain from separation is about no more than 5-10% of GNP - 1 year's growth in the rest of the world. Which shows how silly it is to concentrate on this as if it were a serious answer.
What I suggest is that we need to detoxify the oil money we get. That can only be done if this money goes to the Exchequer. Rather than leaving it all there, which would indeed hurt us, it should then be handed over not according to the current "needs" based Barnett formula but as a proportionate bonus on the other taxes we pay. Perhaps by oil money all going to central funds and Scotland getting a higher proportion of our tax money back than England. This would provide the necessary incentive to government to promote a growing economy rather than just girning that they need more for their windmills and quangos.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
By the same polls the Tories are the 2nd party. If the Tories are smart this will mean they very quickly ditch Cameron and start adopting some real free market libertarian positions, before they start losing not just members but MPs to UKIP. The Tories have rarely been accused of being smart but neither have they been accused of being gentle with leaders who fail them.
The BBC heavily promoted the claim, made by the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OECD) that the Russian elections had not been democratic. Linked here though in the Orwellian tradition of that organisation their own search facility now denies they ever even mentioned that election. I have previously gone into some detail on the matter.
So what did the OECD actually say? Well here it is.
Although candidates in yesterday’s presidential election in the Russian Federation were able to campaign unhindered, conditions were clearly skewed in favour of one of the contestants, current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the international observers concluded in a statement issued today.
The observers noted that all candidates had access to the media, but the Prime Minister was given a clear advantage over his competitors in terms of media presence. In addition, state resources were mobilized at the regional level in his support. Also, overly restrictive candidate registration requirements limited genuine competition....
Voting on election day was assessed positively overall, but the process deteriorated during the vote count which was assessed negatively in almost one-third of polling stations observed due to procedural irregularities.So lets compare and contrast.
Firstly the one thing the OECD don't mention is the electoral system. Russia has a fully proportional system whereas we have FPTP, a system deliberately maintained by the Labour and Conservative parties for the purpose of ensuring that it takes many times more votes to elect an opposition party than to elect one of their's. That undeniably produces " limited genuibe competition" and is "overly restrictive" of opposition candidates. On that basis the Russian system is infinitely better.
Secondly there are unspecified problems with the vote count. However the very fact that they are unspecified suggests this is not a serious problem. Vladimir |Putin agrees.
"It's possible there were irregularities, probably there were some. But they can only influence hundredths of a per cent. Well, maybe one per cent; that I can imagine. But no more."[
For those who we need a more pro-western observer there is Charles Crawford, who as a foreign Office operative somebody involved in the wars against Yugoslavia and overthrowing Milosevic certainly cannot be accused of a pro-Russian bias. He rules out fraud on any more massive scale too.
At literally every stage of the process in any country there is scope for human error and/or deliberate mischief. Ruling out both 100% is impossible.
Complicated official arrangements such as running a nationwide election work in good part because they are transparent... An earlier, excellent option of including on the ballot paper a vote for “none of the above" has been withdrawn. ....
One frequent claim again in Russia is that ‘captive’ voters in mental illness institutions and the Army were lent on hard to vote for the Putin party....
Yet in Russia as in so many other countries the mass of people are getting more powerful vis-a-vis the state.
By comparison Britain's system is far more open to fraud. The easy postal ballot system was introduced in such a way that massive fraud was deliberately made easy. As a Judge said in the Birmingham vote fraud trial
There are no systems to deal realistically with fraud and there never have been. Until there are, fraud will continue unabated", that "Frauds of this magnitude require a considerable degree of organisation and manpower, not to mention supervision and co-ordination. It would be unthinkable for them to be the work of a few hothead activists", & of Prescott's reforms which made fraud possible on this scale that this was "positive assistance to fraud "...... "Short of writing 'Steal Me' on the envelopes, it is hard to see what more could be done to ensure their coming into the wrong hands".That was in 2005 and, quite deliberately, nothing has been done since.
This accounts for 4 million votes, (out of about 26 1/2 million or 15%) a far larger number than needed to reverse any UK election. Obviously voting fraud is far easier for parties with large organisations and far easier yet again for those who control the instruments of the state. Neither Labour nor Tories can be unaware of this. Unless no postal ballots from the "captive" voters, usually in retirement homes, were ever filled in in the presence of "professional carers" the pressure Charles mentions would have to be intrinsic to the British system and it clearly is.
We equally lack the "none of the above option" which is said to be a serious objection to calling Russia democratic.
Clearly on the second count fraud in British elections is around a 15 & perhaps 1500 times more serious problem.
Thirdly the most serious charge against the Russian elections is that government ownership of much of the media has been used to give Putin more coverage than he should have. So lets make comparisons
The media of Russia is diverse, with a wide range of broadcast and print outlets are available to the consumer, offering all kinds of perspectives and catering for all tastes.
There are 330 television channels in total. 3 channels have a nationwide outreach (over 90% coverage of the Russian territory): First Channel, Rossiya and NTV.According to 2005 television ratings, the most popular channel was First Channel (22.9%), followed by Rossiya (22.6%). The survey responders' local TV company was third with a rating of 12.3%. The three national TV channels provide both news and entertainment, while the most popular entertainment-only channels are STS (10.3% rating) and TNT (6.7%).That does give the government a pretty strong hold on the broadcast media. But not stronger than in Britain where the BBC the government broadcaster, paid out of taxes and thus not seriously responsive to audiences. Channel 4 is almost a carbon copy, paid out of taxes on advertisers. "Independent" TV is heavily controlled by the government regulator Ofgem, committed to enforcing there the same "balanced" reporting the BBC does. This might be OK in both Russia and Britain if the power of censorship was not used but, at least in Britain, it is used vigorously. The BBC admit they censor & lie to promote the global warming scare story. They also censor to stop the British people knowing of the (ex-)Nazi war crimes the main party leaders are complicit in. Also they censor on purely party lines, for example ensuring that UKIP get less than 1/40th as much coverage as the officially supported eco-fascist party.
By comparison in Russia
The channels do, however, provide large amounts of free airtime to all opposition election candidates, as required by law. During the Russian presidential election, 2008, the four presidential candidates all received 21 hours of airtime on the three main channels to debate each other and present their viewsThe candidate with the smallest vote got 3.85% of the vote (in a PR election), less than UKIP (in a FPTP) election yet during the last Westminster election UKIP was almost entirely excluded from any coverage on the BBC and limited to
Other registered parties should qualify for a PEB if they are contesting one sixth or more of the seats up for electionThat's one unit of 4 mins 40 seconds repeated on 5 channels. being generous that comes to 23.3 mins. That is 1/54th of what equivalent parties get, by right, in Russia. I also remember our BBC coverage during the Scottish election - it consisted of 1 1/;2 minutes at noon on Sunday after all the tiny socialist fragments had had rather longer.
So it depends how you cut it - Britain is either infinitely or 15-1500 times or 54 times further from the Russia the BBC repeatedly insists is undemocratic.
At the very least we need every significant party to get proportional access to the state owned media; to have a thorough housecleaning of the "journalists" on those broadcasters who clearly accept that their job is to lie and censor rather than report the news; and for all significant parties (those that get 3.85% or more though I would not object if the government insisted on going down to 1% to include the Greens) should get 21 hours of airtime to use as they wish, including debating.
That should be followed by a Speaker's conference to determine what is needed to guarantee long term freedom and make us somewhat more democratic than Russia.
Monday, April 16, 2012
I note with considerable interest that UKIP has now matched the LibDem's 11% poll rating. Since, at the last European election UKIP, at 16% were the 2nd largest party and the LibDems were significantly less popular, arithmetically, UKIP is now the 3rd largest party across Britain.Polling http://survation.com/2012/04/survation-mail-on-sunday-attitudes-survey/
It must be admitted that other polls have shown us lower. However they suggest their answers by asking if you would vote "Labour, Conservative, LibDem or other" and I don't think even the most unsophisticated in the polling industry would suggest that results achieved that way are valid.
It will be interesting to see if coverage now starts to show some relation to the people's interest. It is notorious that UKIP receive only 1/40 th as much coverage on the BBC, per vote received, as the Greens do. Anybody who has watched any such coverage will know that treatment of Green claims is, to put it politely, obsequious, while that of UKIP is normally hostile. Since the mainstream media normally follow the BBC lead because that organisation is legally required to be "balanced", there is clearly room for improvement.
As a candidate in the forthcoming local elections you may imagine how much I am looking forward to more balanced coverage.
40 times more coverage for Greens http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/how-you-can-easily-check-how-corrupt-in.html
I intend to write shortly comparing the Russian elections, of which the BBC repeatedly point to the OECD finding that they are biased and not fully democratic with our own to see how they compare.
The day after I wrote this the Sun published a poll which puts us 1 point ahead of the illiberal LudDims. I guess that removes all question.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
A London university could ban the sale of alcohol from parts of its campus because some students consider it to be "immoral".This has family resonance for me & I commented
Malcolm Gillies, vice chancellor of London Metropolitan University, said he was considering the move because a “high percentage” of his students see alcohol as “negative”.
My father, about 1950, was the Student president of Glasgow University Union. According to the history it was he who persuaded the worthies of the University Court to allow the Union to open a bar on the floor below the tearoom. Merely as a temporary experiment in the interests of science you understand, to test whether there was enough demand to match that for tea.
The experiment was never concluded, but anecdotally, the market does seem to exist.
Who would have thought that the 60s generation and their successors who now run things would have turned into po-faced puritans who would make the 1950s look like a rave?----------------------------------------------
On EU Referendum
I think these scares are inherent in the maintenance of massive government bureaucracy and state parasitism. To quote Mencken (as I am fond of doing ) "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
The failure of scare stories will mean the collapse of governments taking half the nation's money. We can see this in the American elections where Tea partyists set the agenda and may well beat Obama. Even if they don't achieve a majority this time it is clearly coming.
Just as the state's method of solving the debt crises is more debt their solution to the failure of their scare stories is bigger scare stories. Such trends cannot continue forever. So far their is no sign of anything more fearsome than the discredited CAGW fraud so I hope we are on the cusp of reducing government from a fearful master to a useful servant.
[Since I wrote this it looks virtually certain that Mitt Romney will win the republican nomination. He was not my choice but he is a self made billionaire, which bespeaks considerable competence. Ann Coultar, who supported him from the beginning, points out he was the "conservative" runner against McCain (who brought in Palin) 4 years ago, so there is no reason to suppose he is an overly soft option. She is an intelligent woman who does not fear to oppose the "consensus" and I have previously discussed here support of the radiation hormesis theory and of her discovery that Obama's hit man was behind the smearing of Cain.]
On John Redwood on the growth of China:
“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: All the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” Adam Smith
China’s growth has been almost exactly 10% on average since 1980. Electricity production went up from 240 TWH to 2400 TWH between 1980 and 2005 – a rate of 9.64% annually. That correlation over that period of time is remarkable by any standards. China during this period has become a distinctly free market economy, unforced or restrained by overgovernment.
The future may be China’s for the taking but they have not done anything difficult. We could have & indeed still could do the same and since it has been historically easier for richer economies to grow than poorer ones we could still outpace China.
Al Fin does an article on railguns as replacements for conventional weaponry. I comment:
This looks like it would work for purely kinetic (no explosive) bullets. These should be invulnerable to laser systems designed to destroy shells in flight (or aircraft). If so this would be not one but 2 qualitative leaps beyond what western armies, other than Israel, have.
John Redwood on infrastructure building. I answer:
The government’s role in energy is entirely and very strongly negative, which is rather a shame because any possibility of getting out of recession depends on cheap energy. It is possible, though not likely, that with Huhne gone his promise to stifle the shale gas industry may no longer be operative.Shale gas is what is bringing the US economy out of recession but the EU generally seems to be intent on preventing that here.
Their role in airports is similarly entirely Luddite.
The problem with roads is that the transport budget is largely devoted, for purely ideological reasons, to rail whereas almost all travel is by road. If road funding were given most of the money taken in road taxes and run at arms length (whether through private companies or a quango) it could be properly funded.
However almost all government infrastructure projects suffer from the fact that around 7/8ths of their budget go to governmental bureaucratic parasitism (or alternately a combination of government parasitism and outright fraud). This is shown in the fact that the new Forth Bridge is 8 times the cost of last one even after correcting for inflation and that the London sewage outflow tunnel costs £100m per km when Norway can cut & outfit road tunnels at £5m per km.
[A Luddite regular on there asserted that America's growth is nothing to do with the shale gas exploitation, which is happening now, like the growth, but entirely to Obama's $1 trillion stimuli, which happened earlier, as recession continued. When pressed he, as is normally the case with such, declined to produce any evidence,]