Fashionable Economics 192

The ludicrous thing was that Britain had a AAA rating in the first place.

It is four years since I started pointing out the blindlingly obvious, that quantitive easing would cause inflation and devaluation. Four years ago this blog had far fewer readers than it does now, and I am quite proud of that piece, so do read it.

At the time it was a deeply unfashionable view – in part because it was New Labour doing it, so all the BBC and Guardianista media were backing quantitive easing. Even when I wrote this two years ago:

Inflation as measured by the retail price index remains stubbornly at 5.2%, despite all the obvious deflationary pressures on the economy and continuing weak consumer demand. Strangely, the attempts to explain this being offered by media pundits all miss out quantitive easing, or to use a more old-fashioned term, printing money.

It is deeply unfashionable to hold to the view that simply to create more money reduces the value of the money already in circulation in relation to the supply of available goods; but that is what all history tells us (the benchmark example being the rampant inflation after Spanish opening up of the New World greatly increased the amount of gold coinage in circulation). Common sense tells us that too. Otherwise we could simply solve many of our problems by printing another couple of trillion pounds.

A couple of years ago, I suggested “Enough quantitive easing and we can eventually get back to stagflation”. We are just about there. Why have none of the experts noticed?

nobody much agreed.

Fashion in economics is fascinating. Now every financial pundit on the BBC and Sky has noticed that quantitive easing causes devaluation and inflation. Suddenly they have remembered that if you create a lot of something, it decreases its unit value.

Hey, but the banks have the money that was created, and bank bonuses are back to normal. So all is fine.

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192 thoughts on “Fashionable Economics

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  • Clark

    Ben Franklin, a book recommendation for you:

    The Self-Aware Universe by Amit Goswami, Ph.D.

    Goswami’s concepts get a bit confusing in places, but the gist of the matter comes through pretty clearly.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    So long as he’s not as confusing as Don Juan Matus, I’ll give him a try, Clark.

  • Clark

    Anon, I predict that you’ll eventually come to love the MSR. You’re an anti-proliferationist, and this reactor can eat weapon cores. It’s the “Swords into Ploughshares” reactor, and our sociopath politicians probably just get the creeps about it.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)


    Clark’s book recommendation and Anon’s dialogue have some synchronicity attached.

    “The Yuga Cycle doctrine tells us that we are now living in the Kali Yuga; the age of darkness, when moral virtue and mental capabilities reach their lowest point in the cycle. The Indian epic The Mahabharata describes the Kali Yuga as the period when the “World Soul” is Black in hue; only one quarter of virtue remains, which slowly dwindles to zero at the end of the Kali Yuga. Men turn to wickedness; disease, lethargy, anger, natural calamities, anguish and fear of scarcity dominate. Penance, sacrifices and religious observances fall into disuse. All creatures degenerate. Change passes over all things, without exception……..snip…………. The popularly accepted date for the beginning of the Kali Yuga is 3102 BC, thirty-five years after the conclusion of the great battle of the Mahabharata. This is remarkably close to the proposed beginning of the current “Great Cycle” of the Mayan Long Count Calendar in 3114 BC. It is of interest to note that in both of these cases the beginning dates of the respective cycles were calculated retrospectively.”

    Spiritual Quantum Leaps (those anecdotal, personal variety) seem to occur after a high fever, or debilitating illness. It is clear that our societal decline is on some sort of precipice. We either fall to our deaths or soar like a majestic eagle. I agree, Anon. This stuff gives one some hope.

  • Anon


    I think you are in a dream world about Thorium. “and the IAEA would be opposing China’s current programme”. What planet are you living on Clark? That’s Chine not Iran.

    Nobody knows how to build one safely or even if we can do in a reasonable production configuration. I’m going to argue that we don’t know certain things about the end of the Thorium project because they are intentionally kept quiet. That’s my guess and of course it isn’t the official story. A much later team documented the near disaster of the left behind titanic mess but you just brush that off. Nobody had predicted that Clark. Yes they could have but they didn’t.

    And as to the quantity of critical masses present in full scale production mufti-hundred megawatt reactors. When you are thinking just over one you are talking about the (moderated) critical mass of the liquid in the presence of the moderator. Not about the total amount of kg of U-233 circulating around the production system which is “diluted”. No wonder the Chinese are aiming only at a possible 2MW by 2020.

    Just like there are many fissile bare sphere critical masses (in total mass but not in configuration obviously) in an operational “conventional” reactor so there are of U-2333 in large scale MSRs. Only in the MSR it is “diluted” and circulating in a liquid as opposed to kept in place “mixed” in a solid fuel rod.

    You keep repeating “All the problems were solved”. No they weren’t. They didn’t even know they were leaving behind a disaster waiting to happen. Let’s see what other problems the Chinese find.

    By the way, what happens if moderating material follows the reactant down your “fail-safe” plughole in a catastrophic failure scenario?

  • Anon


    Nuclear bomb designer Ted Taylor spent many years trying to find a Thorium cycle he considered safe. He couldn’t do it. He could always think of a way to make a bomb out of it. Until a few bomb designers say they are happy with an MSR design then I’ll take Taylor over the non-bomb designer proponents.

    And before you say Edward Teller, all he called for in a co-authored paper just before his death was for construction of “a small prototype reactor” to look at the cycle again and he only agreed to put his name to that paper if it was specifically to be built underground for safety. I’m dubious about how much input the 94 year old Teller had to that paper anyway especially as he had previously explicitly rejected calling for a restart of the Thorium project despite studying it himself.

  • Cryptonym

    Oh no It’s the MSR again! One concludes that it couldn’t ever be shut down once started, and then ever restarted, if that molten mass cools in situ, then core, pumps, everything are scrap thereafter. Sort of like a disposable one-shot camera, but immobile and costing billions, complete with powerful flash. The necessary pre-heating of tons, literally of this stuff, (huge energy inputs) means it can only be stopped by draining it out, while molten and still reacting, into where or what is unknown –an adjacent spare reactor? Any emergency shutdown, would leave the whole plant gummed up with these same tons of material, no longer liquid but in a semi-solid, waxy state that could never be pumped back out or remelted, and still ferociously radioactive. As for failsafe, this claim is used too often, some PWR were ‘failsafe’, in so many ways, some similar to your ‘freeze plug’ in that e.g. control rod support could be soft lead or even plastic which would melt at a certain point, well past major catastrophe and gravity would emplace them in the core, if they still fit or the core not ‘gone away’, a continent off and the earth a Stilton cheese.

    Nuclear science is a lethal dead end; budding 1980s nuclear scientists should have studied electronics instead; acne, over-enthusiasm and scant common sense, their heavy burden.

  • Dave Lawton

    @Anon There are interesting concepts emerging from Low Energy Nuclear Reaction research. I’m watching with interest but it might never be more than a curious toy compared to hot fusion. Would be nice if clean cold fusion at high power output was possible though. Probably our luck to find a nasty can of worms there as well though!

    LENR is the way to to go.Hot fusion is a waste of space they have spent billions on it for very little return.Rossi seems to have sold out so I am doing my own research and construction this year.David Bohm had a great sense of humour from my memories of him when I was working at HH Wills Physics Lab Bristol.

  • guano

    Des Res

    Protocols of Zion. Protocols meaning perhaps ground rules.
    Whatever they were I’ve never studied them, but that doesn’t mean that there are no protocols of Zionism the most obvious being the necessity of being a friend of Israel in order to climb the slippery pole of Westminster politics.

    Thinking about Thatcher, what do cows eat? Any small child can tell you grass. What do bankers eat? Interest. So why did Thatcher give the go ahead to feed cows on animal parts? And why did she give the bankers permission to eat capital by stealing the capital and substituting customers capital with ponzi schemes?

    Short term gains – long term international bankruptcy. Nothing whatsoever to do with Zionism. Unfortunately unlike you I am equipped with a brain. The moment that bankers could get their hands on real cash UK foreign policy started to attack Muslim countries starting with Yugoslavia and job still unfinished.

    There seemed to be a quota of violence, of genocide, or of aerial destruction required to achieve no perceivable ends.
    Only disintegration of Muslim societies and economies seemed to be the aim. All of this cost a lot of money. So where does the money come from when this country was economically on its knees?

    Maybe from UK business investment in what was the third world?
    Maybe from oil-rich countries like Saudi who had an agenda to subjugate the Muslims to their way of thinking? Or maybe from Zionist banksters? The conclusion that I come to from the evidence I have seen is that the answer is that the money for the war on terror came from an alliance of the above three criminal protocols.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Fred :

    “the spanking you gave me…” ?

    So that’s the kind of top shelf magazine you squint at when you’re in your local W.H. Smith, eh?

    You’re coming perilously close to admitting that my comparison is valid (if McAlpine is a paedo because he looks at pictures by Graham Ovenden then Fred must be a rapist because he looks at girlie magazines).

    And can you copy us the letter you send to the Gorgeous One about the late filing of accounts, please?

  • Fred

    ““the spanking you gave me…” ? ”

    Yes, wiped the floor with you retard.

    Now don’t you have some kiddie porn to download?

  • Clark

    Anon, it occurred to me when I awoke that you’d make the false comparison between the critical mass of fuel salt diluted with carrier salt, versus the critical mass of solid uranium. I guess you’ll have to find a safer planet to live on, because this one has about a billion critical masses circulating in the oceans, ten trillion critical masses in the crust, and uncounted quadrillions circulating in a dangerously random manner at lower depths. By your reasoning, it really is surprising that the whole planet hasn’t exploded, and doesn’t seem to suffer from random subsurface fission explosions.

    Cryptonym, if you’re going to oppose something, at least learn a bit about it, or you’ll be forever tilting at windmills and discrediting yourself. The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment was easy to halt. The fuel salt has to be contained in a compact shape for the reaction to proceed. To pause the reaction, they just drained the fuel salt into two smaller tanks, each sub-critical. Decay heat kept the salt molten, and to continue the experiment, they just pumped the fuel salt back up into the fuel loop. Yes, I’m all in favour of multiple, redundant reactor vessels, pipe work, etc. That’s one of the big advantages of a liquid core; you can just pump it into a “spare” system.

    Anon, and especially Cryptonym, the anti-nuclear campaigners have rightly been criticised for making invalid arguments and inciting irrational fear of nuclear technology. You’re attacking the wrong targets and thereby guaranteeing the failure of your own arguments. This is wasteful. We need a coherent, well-informed opposition to advocates from the pro-nuclear lobby. Nuclear technology needs to be done well, to avoid further disasters like Fukushima.

    We need good arguments in various spheres of technology now, not in decades time after the opposition have learned that they’ve been scaring themselves and everyone else with ghost stories and rumours of witches. We have nanotechnology, “kitchen biotech” and 3D printers converging into a technology so powerful it’ll make our current concerns about nuclear power look utterly trivial. Come on, folks, raise your game! It’s as if you’re spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about road transport by highlighting the possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation from ignition systems, while overlooking enforcement of driving laws, exhaust emissions regulations, decent road design and seat belts.

    Really, honestly, I want a competent opposition. What you’re offering isn’t that.

  • Anon


    The material in the circulating liquid is continually being fed through processing systems outside the reacting core. There you can in theory do anything you want with that stream as you well know. The argument that the reactor shuts down if you remove too mush fissile material is irrelevant if your plan is just to get at what’s inside. Yes, if we cover the things with cameras and telemetry to monitor every stage of the process remotely we can have some assurance but what if a country just switches them off in a crisis? What do we do? Bomb the reactor?

    I would place a large amount of money (if I had it) on there being numerous existing restricted reports on what terrorists or host countries could do with virtually any proposed and existing reactor design. In fact we do even have the odd “Red team” report in public. Allegedly a possible sequence of catastrophic events at Dounreay was conveyed to HMG which helped deal the final blow to it. Maybe we will get to see that paper one day. Maybe it doesn’t exist. I don’t know but I’ve heard that from more than one source.

    Your incredible arrogance on this specific subject (which flows from the literature of MSRs) is astonishing and you are actually managing to turn me more and more against the technology by your attitude as you remind me of the arrogant bastards throughout the nuclear industry which I once a long time ago naively thought I wanted to be part of.

    The only real MSR that ever operated was a dangerous toy. They have a 100% record (1 out of 1) of nearly causing disaster. The superior arrogance of you and MSR supporters in general actually sickens me.

    Don’t you even begin to comprehend the difficulty in scaling up the process from that little toy? The Chinese experiment will be only 1/500th the scale for a commercial grid supplying reactor. But really the passive cooling will scale up in an emergency will it? The building will be the heat-sink you say? What if the building isn’t three? And what varies by the square and what varies by the cube.

    A sackcloth and ashes approach is the only thing I want to hear from the nuclear industry. Not the sick-making brochures.

    Btw, MIT said that they ran the burn simulations for all the technologies including Thorium MSR but sadly they didn’t publish them all. What do they reckon really comes out as waste in practice as opposed to on paper where you just draw an arrow between boxes in a closed loop and say “solved”.

    If and when the Chinese produce a working truly “closed fuel cycle” design then we can talk specifics but the Chinese 2MW MSR has slipped from 20015 to 2017 and now to 2020.

    In any case if Skunk Works have a 100MW fusion reactor operation before 2020 as they say they can than a 2MW MSR by the same date is completely pointless..

    Really, honestly, I want a competent opposition. What you’re offering isn’t that

    Well, that will get us onside.

    Maybe just maybe there will be deployed production MSRs but I doubt it greatly

  • Clark


    “It’s as if you’re spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about road transport by highlighting the possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation from ignition systems, while overlooking enforcement of driving laws, exhaust emissions regulations, decent road design and seat belts.”

    It’s actually worse than that. It’s as if you’re using dubious arguments about possible leukaemia clusters around transformers for electrified rail systems which would amount to a few dozen victims in the unlikely event it turned out to be true, while failing to mention road transport at all, with the tens of thousands it kills and injures every year.

    The high human population on Earth is now utterly dependent upon sources of energy. If we can’t make enough energy, billions will starve. But all our sources of energy have inherent dangers, in addition to unnecessary political dangers. Hundreds of thousands are already dead, and millions have been displaced and had their lives ruined, by fighting over hydrocarbons, and it’ll only get worse as supply becomes more difficult. Please try to get things in perspective.

  • Clark


    “A sackcloth and ashes approach is the only thing I want to hear from the nuclear industry.”

    Yes, but that’s also what you want for the Internet, isn’t it? You did comment to that effect. And what else? Just how far back do you want to go? Abolish the dangerous technologies of reading, writing and arithmetic? Stop using fire? Maybe weaving ropes and sharpening stones were bad. You need to spell this out; how do you intend this to be enforced?

  • Clark

    Anon, also, do you have any thoughts on the popular idea of an “emerging global consciousness”? I’ll give you a clue about my own perspective; I think such a thing is emerging, but I do not accept dualism.

  • Anon

    Yes, but that’s also what you want for the Internet, isn’t it? You did comment to that effect. And what else? Just how far back do you want to go? Abolish the dangerous technologies of reading, writing and arithmetic? Stop using fire?

    Don’t be silly. And,I have no idea what you mean about any previous comment I may have made about the Internet. I was enthusiastically promoting that when it was still just Arpanet.

    Emerging global consciousness?

    And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.…

    So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.


    If anything better does emerge it will probably only be after we face a global long dark night of the soul.

  • Clark

    Anon, sorry; maybe it was Cryptonym advocating a world without the Internet, asking me “where the line should be drawn”. Or maybe there are multiple Anons. It’s back on an earlier thread somewhere. I’ll try to find it later, but I have to go and sort someone’s Internet connectivity problems next.

    That said, there is a strong anti-technology wing in the anti-nuclear contingent, and they generate a lot of unsupportable arguments. And paradoxically, a lot of them seem to be in favour of burning fossil fuel as fast as possible.

    “If anything better does emerge it will probably only be after we face a global long dark night of the soul.”

    Yes, I’m afraid of that, too. It’s looking increasingly and depressingly likely.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)


    Was it the ‘wave speech’, or the particle speech? I saw the water-marks on the Grand Canyon from the once broad and deep Colorado river which eroded the surface shale down to billion-year old strata and wondered about the original inhabitants….Navajo and Hopi……and their sense of time.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Doug Scorgie

    Since this is supposed to be a thread about economics, could I remind you that you still owe us an explanation of the discrepancy between the the 13000 fewer unemployed but the only 11000 more employed, which was raised on a previous thread.

    Your somewhat lofty tone gave me the impression that you had considerable expertise in employment economics and I was just thinking that you could perhaps share some of that expertise with us.

    Thanks in advance!

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    24 Feb, 2013 – 2:47 pm

    You say:

    “It’s very curious, isn’t it, that he [George Galloway] refused to debate with the Israeli, since he’s normally very fond of talking and very fluent when doing so.”

    “Could the answer be that he chickened out given that the Israeli was nearer to the “scene”, so to speak, than most of the other people he usually debates with and that he was fearful of being out-debated and out-argued for once?”

    You’re at it again Mr Habbabkuk; expressing your point of view in the form of a question: “Could the answer be…”

    Why don’t you just say something like…In my opinion George Galloway chickened out…?

    Do you not like to commit yourself to a straight assertion of your views? Is it because someone might out-argue you and so, by putting a question mark at the end, will allow you to respond that you were merely asking a question?

    I was disappointed that George Galloway walked out but he does act on impulse at times – like the rest of us. Galloway’s track record for winning debates is well established as you seem to acknowledge when you imply that he may have been “…out-debated and out-argued for once…”

    In other words: he hasn’t been out-debated or out- argued previously.

  • doug scorgie

    resident dissident
    24 Feb, 2013 – 3:01 pm

    In answer to Fred’s question:

    Do you think it was right of our sportsmen to refuse to play against apartheid South Africa?

    You said:

    “Yes when they were representing the State of South Africa – but in this case Galloway went to the debate and after giving his rant/speech left because he “doesn’t recognise Isreal [sic] and he doesn’t talk to Israelis”.[sic]

    Eylon Aslan-Levy was at the debate to represent the state of Israel.

    Galloway and others are boycotting interaction with Israel and its representatives because of the international crimes and human rights abuses that the state commits against the Palestinians.

    Israel now operates an apartheid system not too dissimilar to old apartheid South Africa.

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    24 Feb, 2013 – 4:49 pm

    “Does not George Galloway remind one of that hero from the wonderful pre-Thatcherite 1970s, the great Derek Hatton of Liverpool?”

    No he doesn’t and why should he? And your wrong again Habbabkuk: Derek Hatton was Liverpool Council Deputy Leader from 1983 (not pre-Thatcherite 1970’s).

    Check your facts.

    “Both are sharp dressers, both are eloquent beyond one’s wildest dreams…”

    What is “a sharp dresser”? What are you implying here?

    And Derek Hatton could never be described as “eloquent beyond one’s wildest dreams” by anyone’s standards.

  • doug scorgie

    resident dissident
    24 Feb, 2013 – 7:02 pm

    You say to Fred:

    “But debating is not a team sport – and even if it was I very much doubt that the Israeli who Galloway objected to would have been on the team given his views on settlements.”

    What are his [the Israeli’s] views on settlements? Please enlighten us.

  • guano

    Galloway was perfectly correct in refusing to debate fiercely with an obviously Jewish-looking student. The debate would have become both personal and racist within minutes and Galloway had the commonsense to see that he had been set up.

    Galloway is not a Muslim so far as I know, but I know from my own experience as an English Muslim revert, that for historical reasons of Empire and its treachery most born Muslims resent the witness of English people about Islam or the issues that affect Islam. The organiser Mahmoud Naji would not be acting abnormally if he set up an Englishman to look racist and personal.

    Muslims not only resent, patronise and discount the insights and knowledge of their English brothers/sisters, but they actually want to conquer and subjugate the English who conquered and subjugated them. They do not want the spiritual and intellectual purpose of exchange of ideas between the non-Muslims and Muslims. They put every physical and psychological barrier in the way of English people who reach out to study or preach their religion.

    In this context, I see the underlying racism of Mahmoud Naji, and I think George Galloway was highly astute and wise to evade the trap he saw he had been put in.

  • guano

    What is more, in the course of the War on Terror, it has become increasingly clear that all of the misfortunes of the Muslims do not result from the ordinary non-Muslims, they result from political minds inside Islam who call on hostile powers from outside Islam to punish Muslims who resist their megalomanic ideas.

    It’s hard to make that psychological shift from blaming and scapegoating the colonial powers, to recognising the qiyanat/ betrayal by the ambitious/criminal/ self-interested Muslims who want to win position and power from the enemies of Islam by betraying their brothers and sisters.

    Whenever I tell my Muslim brothers and sisters that their enemies lie inside the Muslim community they always reply:’ Yes, we know this and we have always suffered from this throughout the history of Islam. The present day is no different. All of the problems of Islam are caused by the traitors from inside Islam. ‘

    The wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya,and now Syria are principally punishments by self-appointed deviant-minded politicians who cannot win their brothers and sisters over to their way of thinking by reasoned argument, and enlist the help of the enemies of Islam to castigate the Muslims with the conditions of tyranny and war in order to punish them for not accepting their authority blindly.

    As I have mentioned before, the fact that these self-appointed minders of Islam collaborate with the enemies of Islam and betray their fellow Muslims by definition means that they are wrong-minded, opponents to the patient etiquettes of Islam.

    If the Saudis were not unfathomably racist against all the Muslims who hie from East of Mecca, and unfathomably racist in favour of all non-Muslims who come from the West, it would be easier for those Eastern Muslims to submit to Saudi indoctrination. Do as I say, not do as I do prevails.

    I know this audience couldn’t care less about the internal problems of Islam. I see Galloway as a Scotsman who instinctively understands the institutional injustice of the central controlling power against the surrounding satellites. But when a sensitive and principled voice speaks up for one of the satellites such as Palestine, a member of another satellite nation tries to accuse him of being a representative of the central controlling power. This is our problem. Please do not try to interfere.

    The Muslims should have the humility to understand that anyone who reaches out with sympathy and understanding to analyse and assist the Muslims against internal or external oppression, from political domination by Saudi or political domination from the non=Muslims, not to shun them. Until they learn the humility to learn from the wisdom of their sympathisers, Divide and Rule rules OK. It is not a hostile act to tell your fellow human being the truth about their situation from their own experience, and it takes great humility to have that truth accurately described to you by someone outside your own circle of ideas.

  • resident dissident

    Guano – I withdraw my previous comment about your handle being appropriate. Guano has a use – you clearly do not.

    Your latest demonstration of your pig ignorance (sorry, I withdraw the pig – pigs are intelligent animals) include the following:

    “to debate fiercely with an obviously Jewish-looking student” – hasn’t anyone told you that many Jews in Isreal look no different at all from their neighbours.

    “UK foreign policy started to attack Muslim countries starting with Yugoslavia” – that would be Muslim Yugoslavia and those two well known friends of all Muslims Slobo and Karadzjic would it?

  • resident dissident

    “Eylon Aslan-Levy was at the debate to represent the state of Israel.”

    No he wasn’t – he was there as an individual Oxford student – as the Muslim chair who arranges the debates explained this was one of a series of debates to pit individual Oxford students against public figures.

    As for his views on settlements these were partly set out in the original Guardian article to which Mary linked i.e.

    “Aslan-Levy, who was born and brought up in Britain, said he is keen for the Palestinian conflict to be settled diplomatically and disagrees with the settler movement and its representatives, such as Dani Dayan, who spoke at the union last Friday”

    I’m sure if you want to know more then you can send a polite question to his twitter account.

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