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Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc (Read 44591 times)

petejh

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If rape isn't your thing in literature then don't go near Greek mythology! But Greek mythology could also be said to be some of the most inspirational works ever. Certainly more inspirational than Rand. Zeus seemingly raped his way through half his extended family, along with beastiality and torture.

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Neither the Scandinavians nor the Mediterraneans never asked of their gods that they would be good or virtuous. The gods where not to be liked but to be feared and mistrusted.

andy popp

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The god of the Old Testament is not such a nice chap either, I believe.

As to Rand, I've long meant to read at least one of the novels, partly on a know thine enemy basis, and partly because I taught her work for several years. But I've never been able to summon up the resolve and fortitude.

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If rape isn't your thing in literature then don't go near Greek mythology! But Greek mythology could also be said to be some of the most inspirational works ever. Certainly more inspirational than Rand. Zeus seemingly raped his way through half his extended family, along with beastiality and torture.

A bit late for that advice as Greek myths were a staple of mine from 13. I took them as a useful parable of bad behaviour, like most religion. People with power will very often abuse that position and any claims of religious motives must be treated with great sceptisism. The total dysfunction of Rand's great love story, starting from rape and moving to a public play of hate but totally dedicated passion in private seems an alien example to sell her philosophy but that's maybe because the philosophy was always going to be alien to me, as sell it does, and more.

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The god of the Old Testament is not such a nice chap either, I believe.

Careful now, the Jewish god as vengeful and the Christian god as compassionate is an extraordinarily unsympathetic description of G-d in Judaism. About as popular as Roman law, if you like.

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A report of some economical analysis on the costs of prevention of future pandemics.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/23/preventing-next-pandemic-fraction-cost-covid-19-economic-fallout

Fultonius

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Thought it might be good to revitalise this thread based on some of the comments on the Local Lockdowns thread.

This adds a bit of weight to my point:  https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2020/03/19/the-government-can-create-all-the-money-we-need-an-explanation/

seankenny

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Thought it might be good to revitalise this thread based on some of the comments on the Local Lockdowns thread.

This adds a bit of weight to my point:  https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2020/03/19/the-government-can-create-all-the-money-we-need-an-explanation/

Ahh, MMT.
Here's a critique of MMT, from the left, in fact from a think tank funded by individuals rather than corporations, so less ideologically suspect if that's your bag:
https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2019/02/24/whats-the-point-of-modern-monetary-theory/

Nigel

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Thought it might be good to revitalise this thread based on some of the comments on the Local Lockdowns thread.

National debt is never repaid, and likely never will.

I know you've resurrected the finance thread so I'm replying to a post of yours on Lockdown thread here - just in case anyone doubts the statement above, below is a graph of UK national debt since 1692 (more or less the start of the BofE) up until just post 2007 financial crisis, which as we know caused such (unjustified) panic that austerity was the result. So for clarity, "current crisis" isn't covid, it was the last one, although the current situation is basically unchanged in debt / GDP terms:



I think it speaks for itself - the line never drops below the x-axis i.e. we *never* pay back the debt. Obviously there is a lot of historical context to take into account, but ultimately here we still are having been debtors for 330 years. The question of where it becomes a problem is, let's be diplomatic, unsettled. The only other comment I'll make is that expensive national endeavours (or catastrophes if you prefer) are what obviously causes the debt ratio to rise. Don't forget that we are guaranteed (another) one of these very soon, and I don't mean Covid. I suspect Brexit is playing into government financial calculations RE Covid despite it (Brexit) having been largely ignored / forgotten about by the public / media.

It really is the time for UBI to be properly explored. If peoples basic needs were covered, then businesses could effectively lie dormant until demand picked up. (as long as rates, rents, and interest payment were all frozen).

It would be worth exploring, but I would say the likelihood of the current government doing it are very slim, to none.


Fultonius

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Ahh, MMT.
Here's a critique of MMT, from the left, in fact from a think tank funded by individuals rather than corporations, so less ideologically suspect if that's your bag:
https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2019/02/24/whats-the-point-of-modern-monetary-theory/


Thanks Sean. I wouldn't say I'm in the "Modern Monetary Theory" camp, so to speak. I'd actually observed what has happened with QE since 2008 and come to that conclusion. Interesting, I'd posted something similar back before I binned farcebook and got a response from a friend saying I should check out MMT.

The link you gave ties in quite well with my thinking. I'm not nave enough to think you can "have your cake and eat it", but I do think that at times of historically low (and even negatoive borrowing rates, with minimal inflationary pressure, we should flips things on their head and just fund what needs funded (and for me, right now, that includes energy transition, education, health) if that leads to inflationary pressure, then we tax. #

MMT has been bad-mouthed due to people thinking it means we can spend without consequence (tax rises), which is clearly bunkum. Doesn't mean we can't advocate a different way of addressing a country's needs though.

AJM

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So for clarity, "current crisis" isn't covid, it was the last one, although the current situation is basically unchanged in debt / GDP terms:



I think it speaks for itself - the line never drops below the x-axis i.e. we *never* pay back the debt. Obviously there is a lot of historical context to take into account.....

I'm totally on board with the idea of it being better to spend what needs to be spent, especially with rates this low, but I  think the context of that graph is very relevant. As you say the level at which debt becomes a problem is ill defined but I'm not sure that it should (and I don't think you did, to be clear!) take from the graph that the answer is ill defined but >250%.

The growth of the industrial revolution, and probably the post war period too, is something I'm not sure I see us replicating these days. Also, historically there was a lot more pressure for institutions to hold gilts than there maybe is now, and for a decent chunk of that graphs time horizon sterling was the reserve currency that the dollar is today, which creates more demand and allows for larger debt issuance than might otherwise be the case.

Having said all that, we printed a lot of money to get through 2009-ish and we're printing a lot more now and the demons of inflation seem not to be rearing their heads. Between that and negative interest rates I'm not really sure how many of the usual rules make sense any more anyway! Uncharted Territory.....

Nigel

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I think it speaks for itself - the line never drops below the x-axis i.e. we *never* pay back the debt. Obviously there is a lot of historical context to take into account.....

I'm totally on board with the idea of it being better to spend what needs to be spent, especially with rates this low, but I  think the context of that graph is very relevant. As you say the level at which debt becomes a problem is ill defined but I'm not sure that it should (and I don't think you did, to be clear!) take from the graph that the answer is ill defined but >250%.

The growth of the industrial revolution, and probably the post war period too, is something I'm not sure I see us replicating these days. Also, historically there was a lot more pressure for institutions to hold gilts than there maybe is now, and for a decent chunk of that graphs time horizon sterling was the reserve currency that the dollar is today, which creates more demand and allows for larger debt issuance than might otherwise be the case.

Yes to be clear, I'm definitely not saying that we can merrily go to 250% ratio (thanks for recognising that!). As I say a sustainable level is an eternal debate. The only point behind posting the graph was simply to demonstrate clearly that the UK has always been in debt, as Fultonius said and which perhaps some people may not believe? I am aware that there is a school of thought that seems to hold that the government being in debt is somehow abnormal / undesirable, which is a point of view but they have the last 330 years to explain.

Everything you said about historical context I agree with.

Having said all that, we printed a lot of money to get through 2009-ish and we're printing a lot more now and the demons of inflation seem not to be rearing their heads. Between that and negative interest rates I'm not really sure how many of the usual rules make sense any more anyway! Uncharted Territory.....

It certainly is for us. Although Japan have been in similar territory for some years.

Nigel

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Forgot to mention - the other main point I was trying to get at was that Covid is the not only thing in play with government finances. We still have Brexit definitely* happening on Jan 1st 2021, 10 weeks away. This may be being displaced by Covid in the media / public imagination, but I the same will not be the case in government. It is telling that the scientific advice RE circuit breaker has been released, but the economic assessment hasn't. It is perfectly possible it flags projections RE Brexit, not necessarily to UK advantage I suspect, that may bring it back into focus at a crucial** time in the negotiations. Today is BJ's so-called "deadline day" for no-deal.

*Nothing is definite these days!
**The real crucial time is once the result of the US election is known.

AJM

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It certainly is for us. Although Japan have been in similar territory for some years.

Very true.

I can't find out exactly how much the BofE currently holds but it's target is 645bn, or give or take 30% of the entire national debt. Now of course the Bank would say that "this is a temporary state of affairs and those will be sold back into the market at some point, it's definitely not as simple as saying a branch of government owns 30% of the government's debt which means it all cancels out"; I am more of a pessimist and expect some of that to still be there when I retire! Effectively we printed 645bn and there wasn't hyperinflation, the sky didn't fall in - hell, I'm not sure how many people actually understand that's what happened (my mother certainly didn't). Given that I'm starting to wonder whether the really meaningful "sustainable level" isn't necessarily how much debt you have but how much money you can print to buy it up with before it all goes pear shaped.....

seankenny

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Ahh, MMT.
Here's a critique of MMT, from the left, in fact from a think tank funded by individuals rather than corporations, so less ideologically suspect if that's your bag:
https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2019/02/24/whats-the-point-of-modern-monetary-theory/


Thanks Sean. I wouldn't say I'm in the "Modern Monetary Theory" camp, so to speak. I'd actually observed what has happened with QE since 2008 and come to that conclusion. Interesting, I'd posted something similar back before I binned farcebook and got a response from a friend saying I should check out MMT.

The link you gave ties in quite well with my thinking. I'm not nave enough to think you can "have your cake and eat it", but I do think that at times of historically low (and even negatoive borrowing rates, with minimal inflationary pressure, we should flips things on their head and just fund what needs funded (and for me, right now, that includes energy transition, education, health) if that leads to inflationary pressure, then we tax. #

MMT has been bad-mouthed due to people thinking it means we can spend without consequence (tax rises), which is clearly bunkum. Doesn't mean we can't advocate a different way of addressing a country's needs though.

I would say the argument "tax if we have inflation" is a definite MMT argument, and it ignores the fact that in the 1960s and 70s the UK had fairly high inflation (which barrelled around all over the place) alongside fairly high taxes. We know that monetary policy works to keep inflation in check, I'm not sure we should jettison that finding so easily.

As for the graph, what AJM said...! I am not convinced tho that a governent left-wing enough to satisfy Nige would appreciate that limits as to what we can borrow might exist, and that they would not take away from the graph the fairly obvious conclusion that the UK debt/GDP ratio did actually decline after the peaks, for whatever reason. They would probably, in my view, overestimate any government's ability to increase growth and assume that they could replicate post-1945 growth rates via their own policies. This may look like continuing to fight the last war, and maybe it is, but I prefer to think of it as paving the way for an effective social democratic government-in-waiting that the British people might actually vote for.

Having said that, Tory talk of immediate tax rises, and indeed the whole post 2010 austerity experiment, are to my mind fucking destructive bollocks.

Oldmanmatt

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Ahh, MMT.
Here's a critique of MMT, from the left, in fact from a think tank funded by individuals rather than corporations, so less ideologically suspect if that's your bag:
https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2019/02/24/whats-the-point-of-modern-monetary-theory/


Thanks Sean. I wouldn't say I'm in the "Modern Monetary Theory" camp, so to speak. I'd actually observed what has happened with QE since 2008 and come to that conclusion. Interesting, I'd posted something similar back before I binned farcebook and got a response from a friend saying I should check out MMT.

The link you gave ties in quite well with my thinking. I'm not nave enough to think you can "have your cake and eat it", but I do think that at times of historically low (and even negatoive borrowing rates, with minimal inflationary pressure, we should flips things on their head and just fund what needs funded (and for me, right now, that includes energy transition, education, health) if that leads to inflationary pressure, then we tax. #

MMT has been bad-mouthed due to people thinking it means we can spend without consequence (tax rises), which is clearly bunkum. Doesn't mean we can't advocate a different way of addressing a country's needs though.

I would say the argument "tax if we have inflation" is a definite MMT argument, and it ignores the fact that in the 1960s and 70s the UK had fairly high inflation (which barrelled around all over the place) alongside fairly high taxes. We know that monetary policy works to keep inflation in check, I'm not sure we should jettison that finding so easily.

As for the graph, what AJM said...! I am not convinced tho that a governent left-wing enough to satisfy Nige would appreciate that limits as to what we can borrow might exist, and that they would not take away from the graph the fairly obvious conclusion that the UK debt/GDP ratio did actually decline after the peaks, for whatever reason. They would probably, in my view, overestimate any government's ability to increase growth and assume that they could replicate post-1945 growth rates via their own policies. This may look like continuing to fight the last war, and maybe it is, but I prefer to think of it as paving the way for an effective social democratic government-in-waiting that the British people might actually vote for.

Having said that, Tory talk of immediate tax rises, and indeed the whole post 2010 austerity experiment, are to my mind fucking destructive bollocks.

Amen.

Nigel

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As for the graph, what AJM said...! I am not convinced tho that a governent left-wing enough to satisfy Nige would appreciate that limits as to what we can borrow might exist....

I'll take that in the good humour with which I'm sure it was intended!  :kiss2: Bit busy to respond fully but will hopefully get round to it.

In the meantime, relating to the general argument on government borrowing, Alaistair Darling (ex-chancellor) and Mervyn King (ex-governor of BofE) submit that it should currently be unconstrained to fund further furlough support: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/19/mervyn-king-says-covid-furlough-scheme-may-be-needed-throughout-2021  (usual apologies for cliched Guardian link etc)


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#267 Re: Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc
November 05, 2020, 05:57:33 pm
Another 150 billion of QE announced. Now up to 450 billion in 2020 alone. Between 2009 and 2020 QE went from 0 to 445Bn following the financial crisis, so in the last 6 months alone we are now exceeding the entire amount of QE deployed in response to that.

Steve Baker MP said that 20 million spent on free school meals would sink the currency.

Oldmanmatt

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#268 Re: Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc
November 05, 2020, 06:08:43 pm
Another 150 billion of QE announced. Now up to 450 billion in 2020 alone. Between 2009 and 2020 QE went from 0 to 445Bn following the financial crisis, so in the last 6 months alone we are now exceeding the entire amount of QE deployed in response to that.

Steve Baker MP said that 20 million spent on free school meals would sink the currency.

But, school meals for vulnerable kids, at Xmas, was so much too far...

Bradders

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#269 Re: Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc
November 05, 2020, 09:14:49 pm
Another 150 billion of QE announced. Now up to 450 billion in 2020 alone. Between 2009 and 2020 QE went from 0 to 445Bn following the financial crisis, so in the last 6 months alone we are now exceeding the entire amount of QE deployed in response to that.

Steve Baker MP said that 20 million spent on free school meals would sink the currency.

But, school meals for vulnerable kids, at Xmas, was so much too far...

You know QE and state benefits aren't the same thing right?

Completely agree that free school meals should have been funded, and that excuse from Steve Baker is clearly nonsense, just think that's a strange comparison to make.

Oldmanmatt

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#270 Re: Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc
November 05, 2020, 09:46:20 pm
Another 150 billion of QE announced. Now up to 450 billion in 2020 alone. Between 2009 and 2020 QE went from 0 to 445Bn following the financial crisis, so in the last 6 months alone we are now exceeding the entire amount of QE deployed in response to that.

Steve Baker MP said that 20 million spent on free school meals would sink the currency.

But, school meals for vulnerable kids, at Xmas, was so much too far...

You know QE and state benefits aren't the same thing right?

Completely agree that free school meals should have been funded, and that excuse from Steve Baker is clearly nonsense, just think that's a strange comparison to make.

Exactly.
It was, of course, just a flippant dig about the relative difficulty or ease with which the money can be found, depending on who wants it...



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#271 Re: Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc
November 05, 2020, 10:43:17 pm
Ah okay, gotcha.

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Nigel

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#273 Re: Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc
November 06, 2020, 11:50:07 am
You know QE and state benefits aren't the same thing right?

Completely agree that free school meals should have been funded, and that excuse from Steve Baker is clearly nonsense, just think that's a strange comparison to make.

Yes I know that. And I accept my post was a non-sequitur! But ultimately the money the government is borrowing and spending at present is (largely) originating with the Bank of England's QE. So if the argument against 20million on school meals is that it will "debase the currency" then it is, as you say, nonsense - in the context of the 450,000 million that has been created for the government. Its 0.00004%. I

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#274 Re: Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc
November 18, 2020, 10:58:51 am
Just listened to the most extraordinary interview I have ever heard on the BBC news channel with Jolyon Maugham from the Good Law Project, talking about poor governance in PPE contracts . Started at 10.30am and lasts for 10 minutes and builds to a proper crescendo. I'll try and link from BBC I player later.

It relates to this NAO report highly critical of government.

https://www.nao.org.uk/press-release/investigation-into-government-procurement-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

 

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