Most of you will know that my day job is dealing with the weirder end of the metals market, most especially the rare earth scadnium. This popped into my inbox as a result of one of those automatic alert jobbies:
I find myself entirely jaws agape at one of the arguments being used against the exploitation of shale gas in the UK. Roughly expressed here it's that because it won't move prices very much then we shouldn't bother to do it.
I've a long piece elsewhere looking at the effect of WalMart on the US economy. The basic contention is that the consumer surplus of the company (and possibly Big Box stores in general) is vastly larger than the amount that the owners of the original company have managed to keep for themselves:
Or if it's too much for you to believe that Keynes could have been wrong at all, where current interpreters of Keynes go wrong in thinking about that essay. For of course, Keynes did indeed say that by around and about now we'd all be so damn rich we'd not need to be working hardly at all. At which point we might wonder why so many of today's Keynesians are worried about part time jobs but that would be just snide and sarcastic.
The Telegraph tells us that there will be more consultation on fracking permits:
In a development that will be welcomed by opponents of fracking, the Environment Agency (EA) said the “current level of public interest” meant that the permitting process was likely to be extended to allow for more consultation.
You'll have noticed the calls for the banning of zero hours contracts. What we used to call temping in fact. My problem with this call for the banning of said contracts can be summed up with this comment from Natalie Bennett (Leader of the Green Party).
I don't think it's any surprise to anyone that Madsen and Eamonn, here at the ASI, are rather more Austrian in their view of the world than I am. This is partly just because they are but also because I'm not really sure that I believe in any school of macroeconomics at all.
An oft expressed contention is that if only we allowed those wise people in Whitehall to plan more of our lives then the future would be made so very much better that we won't mind paying the costs of having those wise people in Whitehall. One problem, among many, with this idea is that it does require the people we're paying for to be wise. Not something that I'm really willing to bet on, that.
We have a new contender for silly economic theory of the year here. Marianna Mazzucato's book on how it's really the State, government, that invents everything and that therefore we must, umm, well, I'm not sure actually. Either allow the state to carry on inventing everything or tax everyone more.
A complaint from the independent petrol retailers that those dastardly supermarkets are killing off their business. Which I'm sure they are, opening larger stations, selling fuel at cost and so on. Given that this benefits the consumer long may it continue as well. I don't insist that they should not be allowed to complain about this: that's what trade associations are for. To push the interests of their members, just as unions do for their. Only that we don't have to pay all that much attention to such special pleading.