Upper Class Twit of the Year: Thoroughbred

Multi-millionaire banker Howard Flight, is making a late charge:

“We’re going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it’s jolly expensive, but for those on benefit there is every incentive, well that’s not very sensible.”

You have to love it when these twits come out and say what they really think. The honesty is somewhat refreshing, just wish they wouldn’t spoil it by apologising. It’s just not dignified!

England: it’d be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

Rule of 72

The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest

— Albert Einstein

Compound interest motherfuckers… do you get it?!


The impetus for this outburst is an article in the completely fucking clueless Daily Telegraph. It would be pointless to expect much else, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from needing to rant.

Figures released last week showed that the Japanese economy grew last quarter, albeit by just 0.9pc. But few expect the nascent recovery to last. Most economists expect the economy to contract in the current quarter as the strong yen damages Japan’s crucial export sector. Japan’s long struggle with deflation continues.

The pinhead that penned this drivel doesn’t seem to understand that an economy growing at ~1% a year will double in size in ~70 years. That’s what the ‘rule of 72‘ means.

In case it has escaped your notice Japan is pretty crowded. Some people might even opine that the over-crowding the big cities is the cause of the decline in birth rate. The dimwits at the Telegraph are still living in a victorian “world of infinite possibilities” … a deluded concept if ever there was one. Thus far we have, as a race, been too stupid to formulate a plan for living sustainably. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to overcome our limitations (Greed?) and give up trying.

[Yes, you could argue that Tokugawa Japan, which kept Japan isolated from the rest of the world, living sustainable(?) for ~400 years is one counter-example… but i’m not sure it’s a model that can be replicated in this age of world trade… perhaps when the last of the cheap oil is gone?]

Don’t misunderstand me: Japan is an abysmally governed country. The ruling class would struggle to organise a kindergarten, and are about as mature. This, however, does not mean that what Japan needs is growth Growth GROWTH! In fact the last thing that Japan needs is growth. Growth is the one thing that hides the incompetence of governments better than war, or a perpetual state of fear!

Given that the prospects of growth around the world are … limited in the face of a massive wall of debt, and it could well be decades before the west (minus Japan) works through all this debt, the idea of adding to population seems to be akin to societal suicide to me. What are those new bodies going to do? Is it going to be productive? The UK is on schedule to be the most populous nation in Europe within in 50 years. At least the Japanese (and, for that matter, the Germans, also with a declining population) are still running a trade surplus, and seem capable of producing goods that the rest of the world wants to buy!

Oh, and while we’re hating, i fucking hate that cliched picture at the top of the Telegraph piece. What mindless crap.

What a Surprise. Next!

What a shocker:

The announcement of the potential €90bn international bailout for debt-laden Ireland – of which the UK could contribute up to £10bn – offered only a temporary respite to nervous markets.

By tonight, concerns that Portugal and even Spain might also need their own rescue packages were rising and sent the euro and shares falling while the risk of holding the debt of potentially vulnerable countries rose alarmingly.

It turns out that €90bn isn’t even enough to keep the dogs at bay for 24hrs! You’d think that someone might step forward and say that this obviously wasn’t working, and adding additional debt just to keep the bondholders happy wasn’t really helping. Eventually it’s going to be clear that ignoring the base fraud and negligence just results in a bigger and bigger can to kick down the road. One day soon that can is just going to be to big to kick…

Oh, and now there’s going to be an election, i’ll keep my fingers crossed for my Green party hero in the previous post!

New hero!

“With all due respect…” oh, yes, with all the respect that is due. Chuckled for an age, the very idea of something like this happening in the UK Parliament… oh, it would be a wonderful day.

I’ve voted in exactly one election in my lifetime (concluded many years ago that it would only encourage them), a european election (maybe this one). Obviously the green candidate got my vote.

Edit: in case it wasn’t obvious the above was in reference to the Irish bailout. Seems to me that the game will now move on to the next of the PIIGS. My guess is Portugal. As long as it’s guaranteed that bond holders will be made whole this is going to rumble on and on.

Looking at Ireland, a country with too much debt, to which has just been added ~$30k per capita (~$70k, if you count only privately paid workers), it’s hard to see how yet more debt is going to do much more than postpone the inevitable. Yes, of course there would hardship if Ireland defaulted. Yes, the repercussions in  Europe would be horrendous. Yes, it would probably bankrupt other countries. …but where does this end? Can the Irish (let alone the Greeks) really pay off all this debt? Really?!

Somewhere down the line one of these countries is going to grow a pair and do an Iceland. Then maybe we’ll start to see some progress in actually writing down / off the debt, rather than the continuing delusion of it being paid back.

The bond holders took a risk, for which they may be rewarded. Or they might lose everything. Take away one side of that transaction and you’re well on the road to modern capitalism – aka a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

Exporting Out of Trouble? Er, no.

In the FT, on the Ireland issues:

Few people would deny that helping Ireland is in the national interest. After all, Britain exports more to Ireland than to Brazil, Russia, India and China combined.

That’s a stunning statistic!

Really, what does it say about the state of the UK economy? Even with the pound devalued by 25% over the last few years, exports to a minor market like Ireland still eclipses the combined exports to most of the BRICS! It doesn’t really inspire much confidence in the idea that the UK can export it’s way out of recession. Nor does it give you much hope for a future recovery as a meaningful secondary economy.

It makes me wonder what can replace all those lost manufacturing / factory jobs? The current long-term unemployed aren’t likely candidates for financial services industry (except perhaps as robo-signers?)… where are they all going to work? With the eastern europeans leaving in droves, and the weak pound forcing up the cost of food imports, perhaps it’s time to get back to fields?

What a long strange trip this industrial revolution has been…