Again With Why Mariana Mazzucato Is Wrong

As we all recall, Mariana Mazzucato wants us all to know that government invents everything and thus should get a slice of the cash from everything that’s invented. As we all should know she’s wrong about this. For government doesn’t invent everything. It does some things, sure, and it funds quite a lot of basic research too.

One comment there being well, we give 35% of everything to government each year, nice of them to produce the occasional useful thing as a result.…

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The Case Against Nationalising Pensions

Chris Dillow tells us that there’s a good case for nationalising pensions:

The state, however, is much better placed than the private sector to bear these risks. It can obviously pool longevity risk. And tax revenues are more stable than investment returns: in the financial crisis they fell only 3.4 per cent peak-to trough whereas MSCI’s world index in sterling terms fell eight times as much*. In particular, there is one source of risk to equity returns that the state can pool whereas retirees cannot – distribution risk, the danger of a shift in incomes from profits to wages.

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Hampstead Heath Ponds And The Tragedy Of The Commons

Despite this being North London we’re not talking about common people here and the tragedy of their entering the precincts of the progressives. Rather, the tragedy of common resources.

One fact about those bathing ponds on the Heath:

Honesty boxes for bathers to pay to swim were introduced in 2005. There were plans for a compulsory charge in 2012, but they came to nothing.

We have open access to a resource, Marxian access. We also have one other fact:

It was once a well-kept secret.

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Andy Haldane’s Gobbledegook on Productivity

This is really rather sad. The Bank of England’s economist has got himself believing fashionable nonsense.

The decade-long productivity crisis may have been caused in part by labour market rules that make it too easy for bosses to hire and fire staff, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said.


Improving the quality of jobs may help to fix Britain’s so-called productivity puzzle, Mr Haldane wrote. “The greatest benefits to productivity may come from increasing the quality of work among the ‘long tail’ of companies currently with the poorest offering.”

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Too Much Regulation And Not Enough Competition

The problem with Latin America is, apparently, too much regulation and not enough competition. The regulation part we can culturally understand given their starting point as Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Everything – even in the days of sailing ships – has to be decided in the capital. In fact, in the Spanish colonies, no colonial – ie not born in Spain – could even become the local Mayor they were so anal about it.

Then there’s the competition part – the one thing we know competition does is increase productivity.…

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The US Jobs Number Ain’t So Bad

The Telegraph tells us that the US jobs market is slowing terribly and ain’t this a shame:

The US jobs market has shown signs of a chill, casting a cloud over Donald Trump’s chances of re-election in November.

The labour force slowed by more than expected last month and wages rose at the weakest annual pace since 2018, although unemployment rate was steady at a 50-year low of 3.5pc.

Non-farm payrolls expanded by 145,000 in December, shy of the 160,000 expected by economists and well below the downwardly revised 256,000 increase in November.

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Beware Those Economic Numbers

We have varied sets of economic numbers to try to measure the world around us. All of them are pretty hazy because the economy’s a pretty big and pretty complicated thing. We only even get close to any accuracy about GDP – just to use an example – about 6 months after the relevant period has passed. We’re not, thus, really able to use GDP as a reliable guide to policy. To policy action that is, rather than a measure of what we did.…

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AOC Has Lost Her Mind Over Poverty

I’m assuming that she’s been accurately quoted here and if she has been then she’s lost her mind:

Elsewhere we’re told that this is her evaluation of what the individual poverty line should be, that $38,000 a year.…

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It’s Remarkable How This Works Really

An horrific statistics from the United States:

The current poverty line is drawn at annual incomes equal to or less than $12,490 for an individual and $25,750 for a family of four, regardless of where someone lives. By this standard, 38.1 million people are living in poverty with an additional 93 million more “living close to poverty,” according to the most recent Census Bureau data from 2018.

That’s, ish-ish, half the entire population in or near to poverty!…

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Technology Changes Geography

The gravity model of trade is based on the idea that distance somewhere between influences and determines the amount of trade that will happen between two places. Bit like Newton and thus the name, square (or is it square root?) of the distance.

Peeps then say that obviously the UK should be trading with Bulgaria because distance! Except that’s not the sort of distance meant. We’re talking not about geography as such but economic distance. Economic distance being partially, and only partially, based upon geographic.…

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