It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Archive for August, 2017

Got some spots here

Posted by chrisrick13 on August 24, 2017

It is obvious: what power have you got, where did you get it from, in whose interests do you use it, to whom are you accountable, how do we get rid of you


I just came across two quotes. I hope they aren’t but I am afraid that they are:

“We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back”


“When it becomes serious, you have to lie”


You have to guess who said it. I’ll give you a clue: they are not from “Yes Minister” though they could have been.

While you are thinking I have another quote, a cracker from Jean Monnet. If you have to ask who he is then you have a problem. It is a bigger one than any others you might have. It is also a clue to the quotes above:

“Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose but which will irreversibly lead to federation.”

I think he meant well but I am sure he was 100% wrong in all that he thought and did.

Who was he? Very much the founder of what we now know as the EU. His other quotes are even more chilling.  Even worse he was setting up something to happen that he knew he would be around to endure.

The other two quotes come from that nice Mr Juncker.


It is obvious: what power have you got, where did you get it from, in whose interests do you use it, to whom are you accountable, how do we get rid of you – does not matter we are close to answering all those questions in the UK…Mr Juncker.

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Posted by chrisrick13 on August 24, 2017

It is obvious: I can help people in need


I listened to a TED talk last week by the mayor of Albuquerque. He had put signs around the town with a toll-free number offering accommodation, food and help to anyone who needed it. Mainly homeless and beggars – the same group really. The signs were having an effect but not much. Then he saw a man standing under one of his signs begging…for a job.

In short he cut through all the problems and got what became a fleet of vans that toured the city every day. They would pull up at beggars on the pavement and offer them a days work to be dropped off back there or at a refuge at the end. They would earn enough money to buy food and accommodation and have money left over.

The scheme is saving the city millions and has all but eliminated begging and homelessness in the city. (Listen to the talk.)

I often muse on schemes to do the same with prisoners. The problem is that the homeless person can run away from the job and nothing happens. Can’t do the same with prisoners! Community service is an attempted step in that direction. I don’t know that it works that well though. My musing extends to “two years in the army” which was a solution used two generations ago but is not possible now.

The Albuquerque scheme works because there are people in a poor place who will effectively enter something close to slave labour to get out of it. The city is not a criminal organisation so helps these people and does not perpetuate their ‘slavery’. There is a gap in the market that they fill. Means and ends? There is not much harm done and a lot of good which washes away my unease.

As the mayor described it, the scheme was incredibly easy to set up.

Why can’t we do it for the deprived people on the world but concentrated in Africa?


It is obvious: I can help people in need but just giving money will not do it

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On a street near you…

Posted by chrisrick13 on August 23, 2017

It is obvious: it all works well


Do you remember? ten years ago and more. Lots of stories about US sub-prime mortgages. TV news with whole streets in towns where everyone had handed their keys in and walked away…often to homelessness.

Bit of a giggle happening so far away. Never affect us.

The US system was different as the property was the asset backing the loan so there was no comeback on the people who had taken out the loan. In the UK of course if you do it the bank will sell the house at a knock-down price and come after you for the rest. However for a lot of people, that would be a waste of time and a long, long wait for any money to come in. Indeed it is why government and BoE strategy is to boost asset prices and keep interest rates low – until they can’t. That is another story hitting a cinema near you soon enough.

While I’m at it, houses in this country are worth £9 trillion. Which pre-supposes that someone with a spare £9tr is around and willing to put their hands in their pockets. That is yet another story. The people relied on for that £9tr are first-time buyers. These are the people with £50,000 of student loan debt, wages that need them to live with mum and dad to actually have money left to buy food with, and wage decline (carefully hidden by the fudged inflation numbers that for some reason don’t include food or housing costs).

We have learnt from history though and such a scheme will not happen again. It is a variant on Einstein’s comment that to keep repeating an experiment expecting different results is insanity.

We can’t repeat history because there is a lot of change going on at rapid pace. For example driverless cars are not far away. Trying to assign blame in car crashes is a huge distraction from the important stuff. There will be far fewer of them. Insurance companies will be happy to take up the slack as they will be making a lot more money. All the cameras will make sure that accidents are very well documented. If someone runs into the back of you it is their fault. Soon enough if a crash happens between a human driven and driverless car it will automatically blamed on the human.

The model for the car manufacturers will change as they will produce cars and rent out journeys. They will soon sell few cars. Hold on though, isn’t that what is happening now? Car manufactures produce cars and the manufacturer’s finance company extends a loan so that the punter (you and me) can have possession of the car for 3 years and then hand it back. We are renting 3 years of journeys?

The residual value of the car guarantees the loan. So there is no risk. If you can no longer afford the payments you give it back. The finance company then sells it and recovers its loan. Everyone is happy. Trouble is the residual value is at £X and the value is plummeting. It means that the finance company will be lucky to get £0.5X. There is also the loss of income for the finance company as the interest on the loan is no longer being paid. The car manufacturer finance company will take the manufacturer with it if it goes bust. It will take a lot of jobs as well. Many more than a bank. I wonder if car manufacturers are too big to let fail because they all did not so long ago.

Doesn’t this sound a lot like the sub-prime home loans of 10 years ago? At lot of deja-vu still hanging around.

It is obvious: it all works well…until it doesn’t

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