* Posts by Neil Wilson

21 publicly visible posts • joined 29 May 2007

Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works

Neil Wilson

The automation argument can be answered very simply - allow people to retire earlier.

When the state retirement age is heading every upwards towards 70 it's very difficult to take the 'automation' argument seriously at all. When it gets down below 50 there may be a case.

But of course that isn't the argument for Basic Income at all. The desire for Basic Income comes from a certain section of the middle class who want a 'passive income' they can use to buy new Wellies for Glasto. All the 'justifications' raised are smokescreens to hide the real reason.

What they forget is that the reason the rich are detested is because they are seen as not having earned their income.

Dell confirms price rise post Brexit vote as UK pound stumbles

Neil Wilson

It's your patriotic duty to beat them up severely and make sure they take the currency hit not you.

Neil Wilson

If they can make the price rises stick, then there is a question about whether the market is competitive enough.

But more likely they will put prices up, people will push their existing kit along a little longer or change supplier, volumes will drop and the price will go back down again as market reality hits home that a currency shift means suppliers are the ones that take the hit.

The world is short of demand. There isn't anywhere else in the world to shift this stuff.

Doctor Who's good/bad duality, war futility tale in The Zygon Inversion fails to fizz

Neil Wilson

"FFS even Thunderbirds back in the 1960's didn't require the suspension of disbelief"

That's because they used up all the suspension on the puppets.

Moving from permie to mercenary? Avoid a fine - listen to Ben Franklin

Neil Wilson

"Real IT contractors should be moving fairly quickly"

There is no reason that contractors can't stay working for one client for as long as they want.

In case law the longest somebody has worked for one client and still been self-employed is about 20 years.

And that's because they were self-determined in all other aspects.

Neil Wilson

Re: Tax slavery?

"Public schools.

Public health care.

Public roads.

Other public infrastructure."

Unfortunately tax really doesn't pay for any of that. Any more than National insurance covers the Dole or the State Pension.

It's all a con trick for the hard of accounting.

The public sector is provisioned by the government spending money - essentially on an overdraft at the Bank of England. That then generates taxation as a matter of construction for any non-zero tax rate - automatically clearing the overdraft. The remaining income moves onto the next person in the income chain and the process repeats until the money disappears in taxation. It's a mathematical progression.

So government spending is a matter of whether there are real resources available to do what they need to do. If there is, then they can be deployed for the public purpose.

Taxation is there to stop the economy overheating and there being too much demand for certain resources. How much taxation is required depends upon how much excess saving there is (ie people essentially taxing themselves by not spending or by paying down debt).

To sum up in monetary terms government spending causes the taxation and saving necessary to pay for that spending.

Now distributionally you can argue that it is unfair that the self-employed are taxed differently from the employed. And you'd be right - there is no good reason that the burden should be shared in that unfair way. But your taxation or lack of it still doesn't actually pay for anything overall.

Bill Gates: Corporate tax is not a moral issue

Neil Wilson

Re: Who pays corp taxes?

No you're wrong.

Ultimately taxes are only paid by corporations. That's why the wages of staff are at the value they are. They raise their wages to cover the cost of taxes.

Of course I jest slightly. In reality taxes are paid at the point in the spending cycle you decide to measure them - and any point is as good as any other.

Neil Wilson

Re: Yup he's right y'know...

It can't be spirited out of the UK. They don't use Sterling in many places outside the UK.

You have to exchange it for something else with somebody coming in the opposite direction.

Non-convertible currencies alter the way the game is played.

Neil Wilson

Re: Corporate tax is not a moral issue

That's exactly how transport economics works. They don't fix road junctions on the off chance. They wait until the economic return of the casualties and potential casualties makes it worth the money spent.

Taxation is best if it avoids morality. Just make the system simple so Joe Plumber can work it out on the back of his fag packet.

Leave it to levies and duty to punish 'bad behaviour' and correct for negative externalities.

Neil Wilson

Re: But they are required

Those who payeth piper calleth tune.

Unfortunately we get the political class we are prepared to pay for. And since we are not prepared to pay them, somebody else has.

Neil Wilson

Re: Bill is right this time.

Except that government in most of the world doesn't need funds.

It's that misconception that causes most of the problem. The causality is actually the other way around - government spending creates the liquidity with which taxes are paid. Government spending is actually limited by the amount of free stuff and resources its currency can command.

Taxation is a distributional issue. It is unfair that Company A pays less than Company B all other things being equal.

But it has no effect of the ability of government to do stuff - however much the politicians spin the line that it does.

Let us legally rip discs, campaigner tells govt

Neil Wilson

Reduce Copyright length

Copyright is supposed to be about ensure that novel stuff appears and is used. Therefore surely Copyright should only apply to really new stuff and that older stuff should lose its protection.

Otherwise there will be an incentive to constantly rehash old stuff rather than concentrating on producing stuff that is new.

No more than a decade after a creation or a couple of years after first commercial exploitation I would say.

Then the whole argument becomes moot.

Warner Music gives up on free streaming services

Neil Wilson
Thumb Down

This will not end without legislation

Until copyright is reduced in scope we're going to get nowhere here. Copyright and Patents on stuff that is easily replicated should be limited to a few months at best, before it becomes generally available. That way if you want a state sponsored monopoly, you'd better have a good pipeline of new stuff lined up.

It isn't copying that is killing music. It is being strangled by archaic IPR laws tailored to vested interests.

Bono accuses ISPs of 'reverse Robin Hooding' over piracy

Neil Wilson

Bono as Sheriff of Nottingham

I can kind of see Bono as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Living off yesterday's glories so he doesn't have to do any real work today.

After all working for your days pay is for peasants.

Creators should get paid when they create, ie they need to go to work and get a *job*. Musicians should get a *job* to get paid (playing music funnily enough). Just like the rest of us have to.

Copyright is a monopoly and like all monopolies it creates a very few winners, who you hear a lot from since they own the distribution channels, and an awful lot of losers from whom you here nothing.

Music should be like French bread - worthless when it is old. If copyright was short we'd get a lot more fresh stuff and a lot more performances. And less whingeing from yesterday's "stars".

Today is not New Year's Eve - or the end of the decade

Neil Wilson

Why go backward when you could go forwards?

Not quite sure why you'd want to revert to the Julian Calendar given that it is inaccurate according to the Solar Year. If you're doing that you may as well go Lunar, which would mean that Easter stays still and Christmas moves. At least that would be a change.

Instead we should be championing the Herschel amendment to the Gregorian Calendar to exempt the year 4000 from being a leap year - making it an even better approximation of the solar year. Of course it won't affect us, but it would mean that the calendar will be named after a scientist rather than a theologian.

And that can only be a good thing.

UK judges reject Lucas' appeal in Star Wars helmet case

Neil Wilson

Is Lucas' helmet art?

Would have been a better title, no?

Except that it's clearly not Lucas' helmet otherwise he wouldn't have had to fall back on the weak 'art' line.

Europe gives temps same rights as permanent staff

Neil Wilson

Simple solution

The solution to all this is simple. Any business operating as a recruitment firm for temporary staff (an 'employment business' in the jargon - where they sit in the middle) must employ the individual directly on a contract of service (ie an employee) and be responsible for the individual they are hiring on all in the same legal entity.

That would deal with the temps situation completely and provide protection to the voiceless thousands of low-level staff who operate in this market with no security whatsoever, generally appalling treatment and very poor pay.

The alternative would be for the agents to get out of the middle of the relationship and again I would require that they can only place individuals on contracts of service if operating as an employment agent (as it is known in the jargon).

Is Red Hat doing its part to win the 'open source' war?

Neil Wilson

Don't we need a new licence

The move to service software driven by Web Services is a challenge for Free Software. As you have probably noticed, not many Web Services are Free and Open.

GPL was written before the advent of the Web Browser, and it lacks clauses within it that require those who use open source software to provide services to publish any code changes they make to that software.

Personally I would like to see a 'British Library Rider' on the GPL that states that if you don't publish your changes to GPL software, then you must send them to a central storage area where interested parties can find them and catalogue them if they are useful.

Without something like this, I'm struggling to see how Free Software can handle the transistion to a service-oriented world.

Incoming EPO president reopens software patent debate

Neil Wilson

It's dead easy

Grant patents, but make them shorter. No more than five years for anything that can be duplicated easily, and the item then enters the public domain thereafter (ie you give up copyright protection if you get a patent).

Then people can decide whether to use patents, or plain and simple copyright.

Then you'll see if there is a great drop off in 'innovation'. I very much doubt it.

Institutional idiocy in IT

Neil Wilson

And you haven't even started on the salesmen

IT company salesmen are the biggest bane of my life. How much better it would be if we could dispense with their services.

UK firms contest 'absurd' software patent ruling

Neil Wilson

But what about Copyright

I would have thought that the software part would be covered by copyright, like all other creative works. The necessary protection sits in that sphere.

Software is built from only three primitives, as music is built from just 12 notes. You can hardly suggest that music has suffered from a lack of progress simply because you can't patent a tune.