* Posts by JJSmith1950

22 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Sep 2011

NASA's monster rocket inches towards testing while India plots return to the Moon


"Re-usability" wasn't in NASA's remit.

Blue sky basic income thinking is b****cks


Chris Mellor thinks governments' money comes from "tax"...


Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership election


Re: Thank god!

Ad hominem tu quoque, ad nasuem.

If you can provide a single "lie" Corbyn has uttered, feel free to repeat them here.

Why OH WHY is economics so bleedin' awful, then?


Rent Controls...

Rent controls do not reduce the number of available houses; quite the opposite, as the German experience testifies. It's our "cap-less" system that has produced a housing crisis, not market controls; but it's no surprise another economist is totally wrong. Of course, Tim will ignore the empirical evidence and reach for a mathematical formulae to dazzle the plebs, we must collectively remind him: the map is not the territory.

It is people like Tim who got us into this mess, given half the chance they would make the mess far, far worse.

Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?



Your personal anecdote is interesting, but, like Tim Worstall, you demonstrate staggering naivety. Your "understanding" of Russia's position is devoid of geopolitical context.

For fifty years the Soviet Union presented the US with an existential threat, the US wanted to neutralise the threat, understandably; the unravelling of the Soviet empire provided that opportunity. The US didn't want an economically weak, unstable, Russia - quite the opposite - it wanted an integrated, economically dependent, Russia.

In the early '90s Russia's economy was restructured under the auspices of the Chicago School in order to integrate it into the global economy; a global economy dominated by the US. Russia's vast natural resources provided its "comparative advantage", this is where investment was targeted. It was to be a supplier of primary products to international markets.

Russia's industrial base wasn't merely of '60s origin, as you suggest, it was designed and built in an environment without commercial pressures. To starve it of investment and expose it to global markets was to kill it off, effectively; Russian industry was subjected to market "shock therapy", in other words: dismantled and sold for scrap. Only the weakness of the Ruble prevented its complete destruction.

None of this happened by accident, it was by design, it was part of the conditions of the economic rescue package offered by the IMF and World Bank. Russia's new "rationalized" economy was a dependent economy; if Russia attempted to exercise its autonomy, counter to US interests, economic thumb screws could be applied relatively easily. The collapse in the oil price in the wake of the Ukraine crisis is the application of the thumb screws. Russia's current economic situation is the result of geopolitical machinations, not market forces.

Tim Worstall's "analysis" is not much better than your average kindergarten Marxist's, he's descended into Alice in Wonderland economic determinism. Like many wedded to "free market" ideology he has no comprehension of power or how it is exercised. In reality, "free market" tenets are only adhered to when it is in the interests of the powerful, they are abandoned as readily as the are adopted, when it is expedient.


Re:I have no recollection of seeing "Made in USSR"

Why do you think that was?

Why do you think you couldn't get your paws on Soviet products? Do you know what "Communism" means? Did you hear about something called the "Cold War"?


Tim... where do I begin?

You call yourself a "free marketeer" yet from the outset you delight in the influence brought to bear on the Russian economy by thinly veiled US foreign policy. You try and explain away Russia's woes in market terms, studiously ignoring the elephant in the room: Russia is receiving a massage from a US baseball bat. Russia's woes are by design, not by "market forces".

When Russia was brought in from the cold in the early '90s the "free market" proscriptions its economy endured were not applied to improve the economic situation, they were applied to break Russia - to remove the Russian threat - once and for all. Under the smoke screen of "market reforms" and the rhetoric of "comparative advantage", Russia's industrial base was systematically destroyed, for geopolitical reasons. By rendering Russia a supplier of primary resources in the global economy Russia was effectively declawed. Its new economic position placed it at the mercy of US capital flows, and stripped Russia of economic and political autonomy.

The "free market" is simply a rhetorical tool used to mask the exercise power; only fools and Machiavellian ideologues pay lip-service to its tenets. Which one are you Tim?

$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience


Re: One born every minute

It doesn't matter if there is minor packet loss, that's why we have error correction. Even a dodgy cable won't affect the output, unless it's so dodgy the error correction is unable to reconstruct the data. In which case you'd hear very obvious nastiness.

Elite: Dangerous 'billionaire' gamers are being 'antisocial', moan players


Re: Aarrr!

Dogs don't eat other dogs.

'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'


"...no chance of success"?

Er... if by "success" you mean delivering power to the grid, then renewables are already a "success". Most countries are aiming for a mix of power generation, renewables are a part of that mix. Investment has lead to rapid progress in technology; for example, IBM's new solar tech is now 80% efficient (a remarkable achievement).

Investment in renewables hasn't starved other areas of research and development of funding; the fusion project remains fully funded and the new clean coal burning plants will give new lease of life to fossil fuels (without the environmental impact). Cost remains an issue, but can be reduced by economies of scale if widely adopted.


The uncomfortable elephant...

You guys are absolutely adorable.

Of course "green" energy isn't supposed to replace fossil fuels or nuclear energy. The adoption of "green" energy generation will require the radical transformation of our system of production and consumption. This is the whole point of "green" energy, it's a tool to dismantle neoliberal Capitalism; it's not a life support system for an outdated ideology.

A few years from now you will all be wearing sandals...


This isn't about energy, it's about ideology.

The critics of "green" energy seem to be missing the point by a country mile. Yes, only nuclear energy can maintain our current form of industrial Capitalism, we ALL KNOW THIS. And, that's precisely why it's resisted. Our Neoliberal economic system is unsustainable, it chews through resources and the environment at a frightening rate, energy consumption is the break on this system. By making energy expensive we are starving this pernicious system, it enables us to move to another more sustainable economic and social model: a less rapacious form of market organisation.


Re: How convenient...


The nuclear energy industry is not "regulated out of existence", if it wasn't for Government intervention there would be no nuclear energy industry at all: it's the most heavily subsidised industry in the history of all subsidised industries.

Rich techbro CEOs told to sleep rough before slamming the poor


Re: Means nothing

I suspect the three down votes you've received are from fans of Tim Worstall. These kind of people regard poverty as a behavioural issue, they seriously think poverty is a choice. They choose to ignore the fact poverty is a structural feature of Capitalism, the system cannot function without it.

THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models


Accountants Are Not Economists...

John Watkinson just presented an accountants view of economics, in short: he doesn't understand how the economy works. The majority of Government debt is owed by the Government, to the Government. When the Government pays interest on its debt, it pays the money directly to itself. This is because the Government owns the bank it is borrowing from, it chooses the terms of the borrowing, and sets its own interest rate.

For perspective, both the UK and the US were in worse debt after WW2; they used an economic growth strategy (borrowing to invest in the economy) to shrink the debt relative to GDP, combined with a low interest rate and an elevated inflation rate to eroded the debt, without spending a penny of taxpayers money.

The big problem we currently face is the indebted consumer. The reason why the World economy has languished is because for the first time ever consumers lack the disposable income to lead the recovery. The "recovery" we are experiencing is fragile because wages aren't matching inflation, consumers are actually getting poorer, in real terms. This is occurring while the wealthy are richer than they ever have been in history. Orders of magnitude richer, thanks to 30+ years of Neoliberal economics.

The big question is: how do we shift the lumpen wealth accrued by the rich into the hands of the consumer (the people who generate demand, and economic growth)? Unfortunately, ideological baggage of the right wing prevents this question being addressed; just as their ideology prevents us from addressing the issue of climate change. The ideology of Neoliberalism is a big part of the problem, dismantling this pernicious belief system is one of the greatest challenges we face.

Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy


Marx was explicit: Capitalism is a necessary stage on the road to Communism. I'm surprised the author of the article is unaware of this.

China's Communist Party have finally understood this point, it isn't possible to leap-frog "stages" of development.

Modernist relapsi unite! We have nothing to lose but our sense of irony.

SR-71 Blackbird follow-up: A new TERRIFYING Mach 6 spy-drone bomber


Re: As an intellectual and technological excercise...

"False dichotomy fallacy. Many more technological marvels of the 20th century were the result of non-military research."

Such as?

Sorry, that was a rhetorical question. All our current tech can be traced back to Government R&D programmes. Indeed, the industrial revolution was built on military tech for boring accurate canons. These machine were repurposed after the Napoleonic War when it was found they could produce "ultra" efficient pistons, which made steam engine technology viable.

"The counterfactual is: if the money had been left in the economy, what would people have come up with, quite probably more efficiently?"

You too are guilty of an informal logical fallacy: the "appeal to probability" fallacy. No company would invest hundreds of billions over decades for technology with no market. There was no demand for the technology produced for the Government, other than the Government.

You are letting your ideology cloud your judgement.

China wants eight new Lenovos by 2015


China has had a very successful State planned export driven economy; it is now shifting focus. Their particular form of "planning" resembles dirigisme (I guess you'll have to Google that), rather than dictation.

Feeling poor? WHO took all your money? NOT capitalist bastards?


Re: So where is the Money?

Governments owe the money, largely, to themselves. Governments issue bonds then print money to buy those bonds. I'm not joking either.



Erm... Corporate profits are at record levels and workers' pay has stagnated, and in some sectors declined, over the past 30 years.These are verifiable facts. The author of this "article" needs to do better research before expressing an opinion.

Boffins claim breakthrough in hovering robothopter experiments


civilian tech vs military tech...

The civilian research community ARE given the same budget. Government provides a brief to a group of civilian companies that specialize in a particular field of technology. Government pays for the R&D, then awards the contract to the company that comes up with the best solution.

Mars trips could blind astronauts


Dear Anna...

Please stop writing nonsense like: "...Mars missions, which would be a three-year round trip requiring rocket power beyond what we can currently muster."

NASA could have sent a manned mission to Mars with Apollo era tecnology. In the 1970s several landers reached the surface of the planet, we had the "rocket power" then, we certainly have a lot more now.