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Friday, October 04, 2013

Scottish X-Prizism & How To Improve Our Standard Of Living

      This is the X-Prize Foundation site.

      They have a number of relatively small prizes on offer. The biggest one seems to be the Google lunar lander one. Worth $30 million. They have 4 other active ones. So in total it is offering under $50 million (£30 million).

      So a very small action on the British government's part would be to offer to award an extra 50% to any winner that was a British company. In theory that could cost £15 million but in practice odds of all 5 being won by British companies or organisations would be to small to measure  even if we were the world leader in most sciences.

       It is even something Scotland alone could do. The odds of us having to pay out anything would be up there with the odds of a windmill running 24/7.

      But it would encourage scientists to move here.

     And it would encourage countries worldwide to look at prizes as a concept.

      I haven't changed my mind about wanting to spend 4% of gdp (app £65 bn) on prizes. But start where you are.

This comment on John Redwood. He had asked for ideas on how to reduce the cost of living for ordinary people. Although he didn't put a comment on it, it took 2 days for it to be posted which usually means it was severely critical of somebody (not in this case) or that he was looking closely at it:

"I agree about cutting electricity costs (90% is possible) and housing (at least 3/4 state parasitism).

Nursery care in Britain costs 40.9% of average wages, an enormous burden. In Estonia, a very libertarian nation (also an EU member so for once they aren’t to blame) it is 6.6%. This can only be our regulatory parasitism. How about allowing an unregulated “child minding” industry and let parents choose whether they want regulated or not.

There are 200,000 elfin safety mafia. The rule of thumb is that each state inspector cost industry 20 times what they cost government so that is 4 million worker’s work destroyed. 18% of gdp. In turn, since wealth is correlated to safety that means they kill 1,000 times the 100 odd people they save annually.

I assume the government has at least another 200,000 regulators in other fields like environment.

A legal right to challenge regulations if they have a cost benefit ratio 4 times higher than in some comparable industry would exercise downward pressure on parasitism.

Automated rail would cut cost by about 1/3rd and more than double capacity, reducing fares and goods transport costs.

Go for land value tax with owner’s valuation and the right to buy at 3 times owner’s valuation. That would grease the wheels of progress.

All together that looks like it would more than double the individual’s disposable income even without cutting the 40% of gdp the state spends or making an allowance for increasing growth."

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