It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Archive for February, 2014

Is that Roy Rogers on his horse…

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 19, 2014

It is obvious: there is nothing new in the world

I have a big advantage over the economists in the world – I know nothing about economics.  Actually I do:
For every seller there is a buyer at some price.
What goes up comes down a lot further than you ever think possible.
Lemmings follow.
The Laffer curve is programmed into all of us.
It is possible to read a pattern into any random curve.
Bookies (and bankers and market makers) always drive big cars.

All of these, and the many more that I have, leave you standing, paralysed, in the on-coming headlights.

I have read a lot over recent years and can recognise the ‘spin’, intended or not, on media output.  Perhaps it is attempts to simplify so that most people will understand that somehow move away from the truth.  Perhaps it is the simple journalists!

I recognise the spouting of MPs, bankers, CEOs and others.  They are all stretches of the truth.  A lie would be caught out.

Predicting the future has not been easy since Cassandra.  Entities such as the IMF and ONS issue updates on their predictions.  Nice words but they could say: hey we really missed out on that prediction – try another one – probably be just as good as the last one, but it might be right and it might push you to act in the way we want you to.

But if you can’t get the kind of performance that you want, particularly as a government, then change the measures.  Make them a suitable metric and make sure that it is not possible to run any comparison into the past.  Inflation and its measuring criteria over the last 10 years are a good example.

So it is not easy to predict where economic activity is going.  A good starting point might be to find the BoE view and take an opposite one.  Rick’s law helps.

Plan for the worst hope for the best.  Don’t hope for the best and make no plans.  But what if it is not possible to make plans as it is all too complex and too random?  Look for Roy Roger’s horse.

I have two of these: the Scottish Referendum in September, the general election in 2015.

It is obvious: there is nothing new in the world because we keep repeating ourselves, mistakes and all


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The Scottish Question

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 19, 2014

It is obvious: Scotland the brave

At decimalisation and Y2K there was a surge in IT employment.  At Scottish independence there will be a surge in IT employment.  I work in IT.  Therefore Scottish independence is a good thing.

I have been pointed to the fact that Scotland is in a union and it is up to them whether they leave or not and we in England should not have a vote.

it is interesting that Scots in England do not have a vote…a large constituency that might have a natural bias to union.  If you are going to have a vote on something choose carefully who you will let vote.

I was dismayed to discover that my children are an eighth Scottish.  Given that my wife’s name in Heather and her brothers are called Bruce and Douglas I guess there were a few obvious clues for me to pick up on.  Can we apply Hitler’s rules and declare them not Scottish?  Perhaps they can have dual nationality?  What will happen about passports?

We have some rules in place about immigration and benefits.  Will they apply to Scots?  Will we now have a border that needs guarding.  it will be used a lot but maybe Hadrian had it right?

The EU is has lots of monetary union which is failing as they have not got fiscal union (as in the US ).  Scotland are proposing to move away from fiscal union and have monetary union.  That is not going to work well.  Separate currencies will cost…money of some stripe.

Scotland will be small and UK smaller.  This means vastly reduced influence in the world.  Or even more reduced.  But being big helps in this world.  It helps when your banks are a small part of your economy and they will be a large part of Scotland’s.

Perhaps by getting independence there is a confidence that the Scottish MPs will run their country better than the MPs running the union.  There is an irony that the chancellor who did so much to ruin our economy is Scottish.  But will Scottish MPs do a better job of running their country than current MPs running the union?  I have little confidence in any MP in any country in the world.

What about oil?  Do I see a glint in Scottish eyes?  It is not going to be the big factor it could have been and the distant oil under the Atlantic will need protecting.  Fusion might arrive at any time and yesterday’s blog showed another step forward in that direction.  Oil will help but not for long.

Put those and many others on the scales and where does it come out?  I can’t be accurate.  I think that the UK and Scotland will both be worse off.  I think that it will be an price we can ill afford but as in my first sentence some will come to me.

It is obvious: Scotland the brave, the very, very brave.

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The sun has got his hat on

Posted by chrisrick13 on February 18, 2014

It is obvious: I’m feeling happy

A long break in posts.  I made myself a promise not to write anything until I could write something cheering, uplifting, funny, happy.

How about an amusing anecdote?  A couple of years ago in Paris my wife and I decided to visit Rodin’s house as it was near where we were.  Late in the day but time aplenty to run around the house.

A tall red-brick wall very atypical of Paris marked the place.  In it a small window with a queue of people at it and just beyond that a door with a uniformed man standing by it.  People moved from what was obviously the ticket window to the door handing tickets to the man and disappearing inside.

My turn.  “Deux billets pour la maison s’il vous plait.”

The woman in the ticket booth responded in perfect unaccented English.  “Would you like to visit the garden as well?”

I looked at my wife to find out what I wanted to do.  She nodded.

Way beyond my French I replied:  “Yes please, we will do the garden as well.”

“I am sorry but at this hour the garden is closed,” she replied with no expression on her face.

I kept my face also without expression.  “Just two tickets for the house then please.”

It was less than 10 Euros and tickets in hand we went to the door.  The man took them from me and opened the door for us.  We stepped through.

Can you guess what you have to go through to get to the house?

How about some irony?  That nice Mr Putin has stopped any intervention in Syria, his only Arab ally and big customer for his arms industry, because it is not allowable to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.  So what is he doing in Ukraine?

How about farce.  The suave Mr Carney, new man at the BoE chose to ‘forward guide’ on interest rates using unemployment rates as his criteria that the BoE forecasting department said would not reach the required level for two years.  Possibly the worst forecasting organisation on the planet saw their forecast number reached in 3 months.  What now Mr Carney?

I have written before about losing weight.  It is simple to do if not easy.  Consume less energy than you use.  Nobody has discovered perpetual motion.  You will lose weight.  It becomes more complex.  You can eat the ‘right’ things at the ‘right’ time and lose weight at a quicker rate and stay healthy.  The basic tenet remains: eat fewer calories than you consume and you lose weight.

So it is with fusion power.  If you can persuade two hydrogen atoms to snuggle up and form helium then you will get a lot of energy as well.  You can boil a kettle and have some tea.  The clever guys in white coats have been able to persuade small amounts of hydrogen to do just this…by putting in a lot more energy than they get out.  Last week the Lawrence Livermore laboratory in the US did the reverse.  Still many years to go but the progress is inexorable.  I wonder if a lot of our leaders are just hanging on waiting for commercial fusion energy?

It is obvious: I’m feeling happy – no, not the dwarf.

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