All entries for Monday 04 April 2005
April 04, 2005
Not to sure what word best describes it, but candiates are Ďinterestingí and Ďrandomí. The album, called X&Y will be released officially on 6th June and the tracklist is shown below. The song ĎTalkí has been floating around the net for a few weeks, and is pretty pleasant. The press have said that the band werenít sure whether whether or not to include it once it had been leaked, but Iím glad itís there.
- Square One
- What Ifí
- White Shadows
- Fix You
- Speed Of Sound
- A Message
- The Hardest Part
- Swallowed In The Sea
- Twisted Logic
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A few comments on Adam Taylorís post entitled Stagnation, unemployment and the rentier class
As a little bit of background, graph of the unemployment trend is shown below, and a brief report from the Office of National Statistics on employment in the current period can be accessed here.
I'd find some info from European countries too, but that overlaps with some coursework I'm avoiding like the plague. So it'll be sufficient to say that many Eurozone economies are suffing from chronic unemployment, hovering just below the 10% mark.
So on with the post:
I read in today's FT (02/04/05: 11) that eurozone unemployment is currently at a seasonally adjusted figure of 8.9%, up slightly from January and part of a long standing high rate of unemployment in the eurozone. US figures are similarly gloomy, with economic growth de-linked from job creation, compounded by tax cuts for Bush's investor class and cuts in redistribute payments to the losers in the jobless economy.
Of course, government supporters, europhobes and the blind believers in the magic of the market would have us believe that the UK has somehow escaped this trend. The economically ignorant would even have us believe that the over valuing of GBP on the currency markets is a benchmark for the strength and vitality of the economy as a whole!
Unemployment figures will always be subject to creative accounting. In the US, where governance was designed from the outset to keep the rich rich and the poor in their place (read the Federalist Papers), unemployment benefits can only be drawn for a short amount off time (6 months?), after which the unemployed drop out of the statistics. In the UK the Thatcher administration was famous for masking the economic slaughter it wrought on the Northern rustbelt, but this practice continues with Blair's pushing 50% of labour market entrants into futile psuedo "higher" education (at their own expense, of course).
Is unemployment in the UK actually approaching double figures, a tendencey obscured by creative manipulation of statistics? Well itís certainly a possibility, if remote. That ruling parties sometimes engage in deception, goes without saying. No offence meant to Adam, but given the scutiny such official figures receive from economic analysts nationwide, itís unlikely that active deception is being practiced at the current time. Iíll believe accusations of fraud when voiced by someone whoís actually engaged in the process of data aggregation and its eventual presentation to the public.
Sure, the number of people in higher education may have contributed to the lower figures, but the point is weak. One canít predict what proportion of people would fill existing vacancies if a given number of people were to be removed from universities. Additionally, the admission of 50% of young people into higher education is simply a target and doesnít reflect current reality. No data on levels of higher education in other European countries has been put forward by Adan, nor any evidence to suggest statistical manipulation.
Finally, why no mention of the structural differences that the article inevitably highlighted. Such as the higher regulatory costs incurred by businesses in some European countries. Or the legislation making it difficult to release workers and thus more costly to hire them in the first place. Maybe even the more generous welfare system which reduces incentives to actually search for work in the first place. These are real differences between the UK our European neighbours. To ignore them and their effect on relative levels of unemployment is naÔve.
If concerned about the nature of employment and joblesness in the country, a more sensible tack would be to look at the huge growth in public sector employment, whether such jobs are actually productive and possible the effects of reduced government expenditure in the future.
Aside from unemployment, it's also a question of underemployment. Can someone on £5 an hour, part time, really be considered employed?
Itís a job. Theyíre being paid for it. Unless some definitions have changed recently, Iíd say thatís employment. Unless £5 is too little to live on. In which case, let's just raise the minimum wage to £20 and make everyone better off.
It could be argued that what is needed is significant cuts in labour costs. But, ironically, the sanctity of private property makes this impossible.
Youíve given no credible reasons or data to suggest there is mass disguided unemployment in the country, yet now there should be drastic state intervention in labour markets?! God forbid that the current wages reflect agreements ameniable to both workers and firms, given the supply and demand for labour.
For wage costs to be cut, the rentier class of second / multiple property owners would have to be liquidated and a massive amount of housing stock reregulated or transferred en masse to the public sector. Similarly, rentier markets across the board would have to be torn down, mostly in relation to land use but also in commodities ranging from cars to computers (car resellers make a huge profit margin over low volume).
Since when did the wage bargaing process depend heavily upon the number of multiple property owners? Letís assume itís the case anyway. Not data is put forward on the poportion of people owning a second home. No information is put forward suggesting the extent to which wage bargainers consider this variable. How can anyone take such a proposal seriously without such things? I won't go into the damage to incentives and imbalances in the supply and demand for goods that would result from price ceilings on goods. Needless to say that if it were possible for a state to judge such things accurately given the huge informational requirements we'd see a greater prevalence of collectivist societies.
Itís not possible to liquidate assets at will unless you propose forced sales at prices below the market valuation. Thatís ignoring the moral issues behind siezing an asset which was obtained without coersion. An asset bought with wealth obtained through voluntary exchange.
The source of peopleís faith in the ability of politicians, (concerned primarily with the power and status their position affords them) to engineer more Ďsocially desirableí states of the world is puzzling. Those politicians that advocates of mass intervention are so eager to grant extra power to are just as human as the people running the corporations they despise so. Their moral standards and capacity for considering only their own interests donít differ.
The latter is happening but the former, the fundamental reform of private property and housing, is unthinkable as it effects the core interests of the ruling class. Western markets could also be buoyed by reforming WTO rules to shield manufacturers from social dumping from dictatorships like China.
You talk of buoying markets, yet show zero respect for the institutions and conditions upon which they are dependent; property rights, the rule of law rather than arbitrary state intervention and the absence of distortion restrictions on the movement of goods and services.
Not sure what else to say about what is essentially an emotional spiel demonising the Ďselfishí views of those looking to make a profit and homage to state intervention even when no problem exists.