Landlord Paid £2.4m To Fix Up House Shock!

Public paid £2.4m to renovate Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Frogmore Cottage

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new home of Frogmore Cottage has cost £2.4 million of public funds to renovate so far, according to this year’s Royal accounts. The cottage has been remodelled from five separate living quarters into one large official residence for the couple and their son Archie, paid for largely by the Sovereign Grant.

OK who owns the Cottage?

The Queen put a whole bunch of properties that were officially “owned by the current monarch” into a formal organisation called The Crown Estate.…

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Guatemalan Nickel Royalties – If Only The Guardian Understood Basic Economics

The Guardian’s telling us all how horrible it is that a nickel mining company pays very little in royalties at its mine in Guatemala. This is, obviously, white man’s exploitation of the indigenous and all that. A claim that would bear greater scrutiny if they had even the slightest idea of how mining works, how royalties do and should work, in fact, if they knew anything at all of the subject under discussion.

European-owned mine paid Guatemala just £1.4m in compulsory royalty taxes
Swiss-based Solway group that runs Fenix nickel mine paid 1% on revenues from unrefined ore

I’m not defending a 1% royalty rate.…

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DR Congo’s Cobalt Tax Increase Won’t Change iPhone Or Car Battery Prices

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has just increased the taxes it applies to exports of cobalt, germanium and coltan. As these are used in the production of mobile phones and car batteries this is going to mean a rise in the price of mobile phones and car batteries, isn’t it?

Well, no, not really, as taxation of Ricardian rents doesn’t work that way, not unless they’re excessive.

So, this isn’t right:

Well, but if something is being taxed more the price goes up, right?…

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DR Congo Should, Righteously, Tax Cobalt And Copper Until Pips Squeak, Eyes Water

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the poorest nations on the planet, is trying to gain more of the value from the minerals extracted from that desperately poor place. This is a good idea – mineral values should be taxed until the pips squeak, until eyes water. However, they’re also going around it the wrong way and they’re going to lower, not increase, the revenues they gain over time. We’ve the interaction of the usual governmental mistake – how much can we extract now without thinking about future incentives – with properly good and decent policy upon resource rents.…

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