Chris Dillow’s latest thought piece has some bearing on the debate still bubbling in the comments here about whether life is sh1t or not.  It is about white male resentment: but could for me cover all kinds of Conservative Miserabilism, of which that is just one variety.  Chris asks: “what is the relationship between stated grievances and actual, genuine hardship?” . Discussing people’s perceptions of their position getting less priveleged:

Some are unhappy about “feminazis”, the “gay rights lobby” or the “race relations industry”  because they feel less privileged now than in the past – even though, objectively, they are still privileged. . . . I suspect that this mechanism helps explain white male resentment. Some are unhappy about “feminazis”, the “gay rights lobby” or the “race relations industry”  because they feel less privileged now than in the past – even though, objectively, they are still privileged.

He concludes: “Unfortunately, our pseudo-democracy does just this. It gives too little weight to the quietly oppressed, and too much to the noisy but discontented privileged”.

A letter from Alastair Campbell increases the pressure on Osborne:

His weakness is a shortage of credibility among serious economic opinion, not to be confused with media opinion, which went strangely overboard in praise of his speech to the Tory party conference . . .  One of the reasons for his strategic weakness is the sense that he is more interested in short-term political tactics than he is in long-term economic policy

I’m hoping that a paper I launch on Friday will add to this pressure. If anyone likes mucking around with Excel spreadsheets of the GDP, I’ve got one here.  All comments welcome.   I’ll be updating it with instructions, apologies, excuses for simplicity (look, I spent an hour on it, alright? etc) and so on.

Simon Jenkins’ attempt to explain why we don’t do car scrappage more is asinine. Why are some columnists allowed to stray so far beyond their expertise? Just to start:

Britain has an economic policy that works, one that is small but perfectly formed. It is not the £175bn that the chancellor, Alistair Darling, has hurled at banks, apparently with no effect whatsoever. It is the paltry £400m that Lord Mandelson has spent on his car scrappage scheme.

Now, I’m typing s l o w l y so that Jenkins can understand.  The £400m is spending.  The £175m is this year’s deficit. Money on the banking sector was not spent, it was invested. And the returns from that investment can only come if you look at the counter-factual.  And the counter-factual was: all the ATM machines breaking and the whole financial system stopping. Whereas the car scrappage scheme must be compared to  . . . people replacing their cars later.   And as the commenters point out: a lot of this flows overseas.

I like Keynesian stimulus.  Despite Jenkins’ moaning about the closure of florists, we have not had much of a retail recession, thanks in part to the VAT cut.  But with defenders like this, Keynesianism needs no enemies.

But this is all far too complicated for SJ, so he tries to deduce economic decision making from the perceived snobbishness of politicians.  Schoolboy stuff, without the A level in economics.

Tim Leunig has an excellent column about public sector strikes.  This shocked me:

Public sector workers strike far more often than those in the private sector. Since 2000, the number of days lost to strikes, per worker, has been 30 times higher in the public than in the private sector, even though public sector earnings have risen faster.

Finally, stop worrying about Swine Flu.  See amazing graphic.

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6 thoughts on “Good stuff for the 28th October

  1. Tim Leunig has an excellent column about public sector strikes. This shocked me:

    “Public sector workers strike far more often than those in the private sector. Since 2000, the number of days lost to strikes, per worker, has been 30 times higher in the public than in the private sector, even though public sector earnings have risen faster.”

    Just want to say, you might want to see some causality where you only see correlation.

    The statement “workers who fight more often for better condition get better conditions more often” is a statement which shouldn’t shock you.

    Obviously that’s an empirical statement I’m making and I’ve nothing to back it up. But I think if you reword the Tim Leunig quote (I’m about to read the whole article) you’ll find something boring and obvious.

  2. Tim Leunig has an excellent column about public sector strikes. This shocked me:

    “Public sector workers strike far more often than those in the private sector. Since 2000, the number of days lost to strikes, per worker, has been 30 times higher in the public than in the private sector, even though public sector earnings have risen faster.”

    Just want to say, you might want to see some causality where you only see correlation.

    The statement “workers who fight more often for better condition get better conditions more often” is a statement which shouldn’t shock you.

    Obviously that’s an empirical statement I’m making and I’ve nothing to back it up. But I think if you reword the Tim Leunig quote (I’m about to read the whole article) you’ll find something boring and obvious.

    Btw, I would appreciate your help.

  3. I’ll comment on the help piece on your blog tomorrow, if that’s ok – looks v interesting.

    Fancy being taught by Tim? He’s very good, I hear.

    I suspect that the causality does not run from the strikes to the extra pay: they struck a lot when the pay was lousy, they strike a lot when the pay is good, it seems to my anecdotal mind. The pay seems exogenous to the matter – depending on the flow of money to the public coffers, and the politics of the masters. Asset prices . . .

    later

  4. My reason for making that particular statement was to show that the number of strikes had not been caused by a particular grievance, such as a falling behind of pay, and to suggest that if pay is frozen – as the Tories have suggested – public sector unions have demonstrated a willingness to strike that they are likely to use when they do have a pay grievance.

  5. Today’s money numbers are more of the same…

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/fm4/2009/sep/index.htm

    Household M4 up 2.5% yoy, non-financials 1.4%, financials 29.4%

    M4 lending – households 2.0%, non-fianncials -3.4%, financials 24.2%.

    Non-financials M4L still accelerating downwards. Rather makes one think Posen had a point in that speech.

    On the Bank’s new M4 excluding intermediate OFCs (other financial intermediaries) up 2.5% yoy and lending down 0.1%. First time the series has done negative since it began in Dec 98 (back dated data constructed this year). Ouch.

  6. Thanks for that – I was longing to have someone analyse it for me, because I’m trying to get out the report (Called Slash and Grow?) and it involves 30 tailored emailes.

    QE – biggest non-event of the Japanese recession, according to Koo. I’m not sure it’s that simple, but it definitely doesn’t work through money . . .

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