Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A public service person

It occurs that I probably will never meet Tony Blair in person. I have never seen him. I have never shaken his hand. I have never spoken to him and probably never will.

For all I know Tony Blair could just be a fictional celebrity conjured up out of nothing. All I have to show for him is the few hundred pounds of EMA I received and the few thousand of working family tax credits my family received.

Oh well.

Update 23/09/2010: It occurs this could be read as being sympathetic towards Mister Blair. It isn't intended as such. I believe Mister Blair is a bit of a tit.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunglasses and the Burqa

Apropos this, and this, am I the only one who perceives a parallel between burqas and sunglasses?


Both have a "distancing" effect and both are vaguely poserish and both (arguably) have some practical purpose (I agree with Jamie Kenny that there is someting viscerally appealing about being anonymous in public).

Of course sunglasses are only considered religious wear in some Dudeic sects.

I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd

I left the following comment on this post by Shuggy:

Not sure I agree with this.

1) As you admit, conspiracies occur. We know this because some conspiracies in the past have failed and been revealed. Some have succeeded and been revealed (Iran Contra, for example, was successful, in that some of the goals the conspirators sought to achieve were achieved and everyone involved basically got away with it). Note that 'revelation' is not the only possible failure mode for a conspiracy.

2) I observe that to a large extent society is heavily influenced by a large number of quite powerful organisations composed of individuals of various levels of public profile and accountability. This observation is consistent both with a good-faith interpretation of what the saner wing of the para-political community claim and with any number of entirely rational theories about how the world works.

3) Pace Popper, of course some things 'just happen,' but sometimes things happen because small groups of people secretly and illegally and unethically cause them to happen.

4) One doesn't have to believe the 'conspiracy theory of society' to have entirely legitimate concerns about the role and behaviour of the secret state.

Shorter: to claim that a conspiracy theory is automatically nonsense by virtue of someone describing it as a conspiracy theory is unwise.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More economics, and similar

I left the following comment at this post on Falkenblog, which was itself in response to this post by Paul Krugman:

Krugman contemptuously ridicules Paul Ryan's proposed budget because it freezes discretionary spending in the future, as if this modest fiscal restraint is insane. How is this sustainable?

Government can choose one of two options:

1) The government can reduce spending at the same time as households and businesses (which is what Ryan's plan amounts to), resulting in a fall in aggregate demand and concomitant rise in spending due to increased welfare provision and falls in tax revenue due to falls in GDP.


2) The government can borrow to increase spending, thus stimulating demand and increasing GDP, thus increasing tax revenues, allowing the government to service the debt it has incurred.

"In a private company, if you are losing money you cut until revenues meet expenses"

Clearly you have never worked in a high-tech startup.

Many businesses "lose" money for years before they start making profits. They borrow money to invest in future growth, much as the US government can borrow to invest in future growth.