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Plane flying high … you know how I feel

I am travelling for the better part of Monday – so no detailed blog. Just a few snippets to keep things going. I will compile a report on Finland at some point soon once I reflect more on what I have learned in the last week while being here. It has been a very instructive time even though every time one steps out doors the brain freezes (as well as the body). The blog will return on Tuesday (Australian time).

One soon down, several more to go

There was a report in the UK Guardian (October 10, 2015) – Independent Scottish fiscal studies body faces closure as funds dry up – that discussed the impending closure of ‘Fiscal Affairs Scotland’, which is allegedly “one of the country’s only independent financial monitoring bodies”.

Apparently it has run out of money.

Its status as independent just means it is not part of government. The more important meaning of independence as far as I am concerned is that the framework used by an institution is free from the neo-liberal mainstream macroeconomics myths about currency-issuing governments.

Fiscal Affairs Scotland is not at all independent in that sense. Its approach is deeply entrenched in the mainstream framework that considers fiscal rules constraining deficits to be sound and responsible practice.

It fails to discuss or reveal any understanding that fiscal targets cannot be set in stone and that the performance of government cannot be judged against some arbitrary benchmarks like a balanced fiscal position or some medium-term debt ratio.

I have never read anything from that body that sets out a framework that government fiscal performance should be judged exclusively in terms of how it advances the well-being of the people the government serves.

So in that sense, good riddance. One soon down, but oh so many more left to die.

Eurozone Dystopia Book Launch, Maastricht, August 31, 2015

The quality of the footage and sound is less than perfect and at some point the camera tips for a moment but the video records the two presentations from the guest speakers and my thank you for their participation.

The event was hosted at Maastricht University, which was fitting giving the Eurozone mess formally began there. I also have close ties to the Economics Department there.

The MC was Professor Joan Muysken.

The speakers (in order of appearance) were:

1. Dr László Andor, former EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

2. Professor Arjo Klamer, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

The video goes for 1 hour and 39 minutes.

Travelling music

I was listening to this morning before I flew. I thought it was good – given I am going back to a warm Spring after ‘flying high’.

Nina Simone, incomparable. This is of the 1965 album – I put a spell on you – a song originally written for the 1964 Broadway production of – The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.

The whole album is fabulous.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2015 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 5 Comments
    1. I found the scheme for full employment impossible to finish.
      Its albeit intentional canvass of blandness overpowers a very limited story.

      Read Dahl’s” Parsons Pleasure ” and other short stories in a desperate attempt to inject some colour.
      The lesson learned from the Parson tale.
      Even the most accomplished conman can push the extraction of value a bit too far.
      Leading to the antiques total destruction.

      The most interesting tactic of the conman was his sheer patience of the recon and his willingness to tell what each household / nation wanted to hear.
      A systematic patch by patch appraisal of farm and homestead.

    2. One of the directors,John Mclaren, used to be welded to the interview side of the desk of our ‘flagship’ late night current affairs programme. In all his interminable,”on the one hand and the other”, dronings I don’t think he even stumbled into saying anything remotely informative to the great scottish public.
      It became something of a parlour game in our house to see if any glimmer of meaning could be extracted from his anaesthetic utterances.
      We never did.

    3. Dear Neil

      To get back to an earlier comment you made in response to a comment of mine, very few countries can be economically self-sufficient. All countries can have industry, but not all countries are both populous and developed enough to produce all the manufactured goods that it consumes. We can’t expect Iceland, although a developed country, to produce all the industrial goods that Icelanders consume or use. Its population is just too small for that. A country like the UK, with over 60 million inhabitants, could maybe attain industrial self-sufficiency, but for less populous countries this is either impossible or possible only at a prohibitive cost.

      Some countries, such as Brazil, Mexico, Egypt and Pakistan, have large populations but not such a degree of development that they can aspire to industrial self-sufficiency. For the time being, they will have to import many high-tech manufactured goods.

      Moreover, industrial self-sufficiency is not complete self-sufficiency because no country can produce all the primary products that it consumes. People in Britain like to drink tea and coffee, but is tea or coffee grown in the UK? I’m sure that you have eaten bananas or oranges at one time or another, but are oranges and bananas produced in Britain?

      There is also the import of services. A lot of Brits like to travel to Southern Europe. When they do so, they are importing services. As soon as a Brit leaves the UK, he starts importing, unless he brings all his food with him and sleeps in the open air.

      I agree with you that there is nothing intrinsically desirable about a high degree of economic openness. The less a country exports, the less vulnerable it becomes to economic fluctuations in foreign countries, but a high degree of economic self-sufficiency is not attainable for most countries.

      Regards. James

    4. paul says: ” I don’t think he even stumbled into saying anything remotely informative to the great scottish public”

      probably not, because the great Scottish public are heavily indoctrinated with neo-liberalism and the questions asked, as normal, were loaded with the neo-liberal answer. If one listened carefully, his ‘on the other hand’ statement would often be critical (albeit very laid-back criticism) of the mainstream view, to give a specific example, answering a question on austerity, suggesting that since no-one else seemed to be spending then it might not be a bad idea for government to spend.
      Whilst generally in the neo-liberal camp they are at the Labour end of it rather than the Tory end. One also has to remember most its publications are about Scotland who is funded by a block grant and the independence model they had to compare that situation with was one where Scotland would not have had its own currency, on the other hand, their publications seem to accept the mainstream view hook, line and sinker, there’s nothing in them to suggest they would change their message if Scotland was, or were proposed to be, a currency issuing state.

    5. It seems, with all your followers,you could solve the sound problem.
      Your last , at the pub gathering, was very difficult to listen to also.
      Of course I know nothing about recording sound for the Internet.

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