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review of the alchemists by neil irwin five GoldenYak (tm) award

This a book provides a blow by blow account of the actions of central bankers since the banking meltdown from 7 August 2007.

The Alchemists gives excellent reportage without superfluous fluff or dogma, written by a competant, informed author. This book was published on 4 April 2013 and so is very nearly up to date.

Well worth reading, especially for those with busy lives who have not had the time to follow all the details of this saga since that time.

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the economics zone

The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire by Neil Irwin

The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire by Neil Irwin

Penguin Press, hbk, 4 April 2013

ISBN-10: 1594204624
ISBN-13: 978-1594204623

$10.88 [] {advert}

Kindle edition
Penguin, 2012
3975 KB
$21.60 [] {advert}


The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire by Neil Irwin

Business Plus, pbk,4 April 2013

ISBN-10: 0755362675
ISBN-13: 978-0755362677

£12.74 [] {advert}



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once again, the inevitable facts of socialism start to dawn on western populations

“The second lesson is that there really is no such thing as private property. In extremis the government considers itself entitled to any amount of your property it desires even if, as in the Cypriot case, it means revoking its own commitments to protect bank deposits.

“But then this is the logical outcome of taxation. If you think that a shortage of government revenue can be solved by the government simply helping itself to someone else’s revenue you really can’t have a philosophical problem with this. If you believe in the 50p tax rate this is where you end up.

“The third lesson is the limits of democracy. The Cypriot Prime Minister, Nicos Anastasiades, ran at the last election on a promise to protect depositors. Now he stands behind a lectern explaining why he cannot protect depositors. The greater a country's debts the fewer are its options and in the euro, with no possibility of devaluation, this problem is exacerbated.

“The Cypriots will probably feel much as the Irish or Portuguese did to have their economic policy decided by the Troika of the EU, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank. They may feel a touch like the Spanish or French did when they elected an anti-austerity candidate only to find that they get some measure of austerity anyway. They may end up feeling like the Greeks or Italians who skipped these intermediary steps and went straight to having their governments foisted upon them by the European Union.”

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uk economy - the current situation, february 2013

RPI: 3.1%, CPI: 2.7%, reality: approx. 5% - what you should know!

Real inflation is once more on the rise. This will have a heavy effect on eroding the national debt.

The UK national debt is in the region of £1.1 trillion (71% GDP).

Eroding by 5%, this means the real debt is dropping by around £55 billion a year.

The Conservative government has lowered the deficit from about £170 billion a year to about £120 billion forecast for this year.

Subtracting the erosion, that brings the real deficit into the region of £70 billion. Not good, but not nearly as bad as the media scribblers suggest.

While driving the interest rates down makes carrying huge debts somewhat less onerous, a greater debt can be serviced without increasing costs.

The attack on ‘New’ Labour’s profligacy continues, as the standard of living drops towards levels the UK can presently manage.

related document
The mechanics of inflation: the great government swindle and how it works

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good to see someone looking sideways at alleged 'growth' figures

"GDP data, which beyond their capacity for political knock-about, have become about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

"So there’s another big chunk of past growth that has turned out to be of little or no long-term value. Strip these things out and it is by no means clear that the rest of the economy is suffering the crippling decline in productivity widely assumed. To the contrary, much of the anecdotal evidence points to significant advances, especially in the digital economy, which is growing faster in Britain than almost anywhere else."

related document
GDP1: Gross domestic product


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is china’s growth sustainable?

“ We can now discern more or less when the catch-up growth miracle will sputter out. Another seven years or so - enough to bouy [sic.] global coal, crude, and copper prices for a while - but then it will all be over. China’s demographic dividend will be exhausted.

“Beijing revealed last week that the country’s working age population has already begun to shrink, sooner than expected. It will soon go into “precipitous decline”, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“Japan hit this inflexion point fourteen years ago, but by then it was already rich, with $3 trillion of net savings overseas. China has hit the wall a quarter century earlier in its development path.”

“Boston Consulting Group says that “productivity-adjusted wages” were just 22pc of US levels as recently as 2005. They will reach 43pc by 2015, or 61pc for the American South.

“It is a key reason why General Electric, Ford, Caterpillar and others are “re-shoring” from China back to the US, though cheap shale gas, a weaker dollar, and shipping costs all play their part.”


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skidelsky: how much is enough?

Here is a useful lecture by the younger Skidelsky on their new book, who is more sophisticated than his daddy. (Daddy’s 33-minute version is available here.)

23:35 mins

However, the implacable approach from externals does seem very crude to me. People could learn more from the Stoics or even from Schumacher. The religiously inclined tend to report being happier than the mass.

In their book, the Skidelseys make constant reference to to Keynes’ What are the economic possibilities for our grandchildren?

Some of the Right has tended to take up a position of unthinking opposition to anything associated with socialism. This is not surprising, as socialism is one of the worst catastrophes ever to hit humanity.

One of the results of this has been to make a false confusion of redistribution with socialism.

The answer to most of the problem lies in a citizen’s wage. President Richard Nixon tried to introduce a citizen’s wage, way back in 1970, over 40 years ago. This was killed by the Left.

“What went wrong? Most of Moynihan's eloquent, polemical book is devoted to an exhaustively researched attack on the liberal opposition. To be sure, he does not spare the right (and is impressively blunt in recounting Nixon's own self-defeating partisanship in 1970--the year of Carswell, Cambodia, Scammon and Wattenberg). But the intriguing question--for the reader as for Moynihan--is why the left helped kill the guaranteed income.” [Quoted from]

All the indications are that, in Britain, the Cameron administration is now preparing the ground for rectifying the problem there.

The Politics of a Guaranteed Income: The Nixon Administration and the Family Assistance Plan
by Daniel Patrick. Moynihan

The Politics of a Guaranteed Income by Daniel Moynihan

Random House, 1973

ISBN-10: 0394463544
ISBN-13: 978-0394463544

How Much is Enough?: The Love of Money, and the Case for the Good Life
by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky
How much is enough? By Skidelsky and son

Allen Lane, hbk 2012

ISBN-10: 1846144485
ISBN-13: 978-1846144486

£12.80 [] {advert}

Kindle edition
Penguin, 2012
643 KB
$18.45 [] {advert}


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socialists can’t count and can’t think

Here linked is an article from the Groaniad [the Guardian], so, of course, it will be dishonesty.

Now taking a quick glance, even that brings this:

“The 22% increase in the deficit between April and August compares with the government's target of reducing the deficit by 4.6% this year.”

Notice the elision from “April to August” to “this year”. [

The Groaniad is the Socialist ‘Worker’ with longer words. I really cannot be bothered deconstructing their acres of distraction/disinformation. The above was the shortest paragarph I could find.

When will Groaniad readers learn to read?
When will they learn the difference between debt and deficit?
When will they learn the difference between gross debt, and debt to GDP?
When will they study the inflation effects?
When will they understand the difference between debt and debt servicing?

Groaniad readers are innumerate like every dumb socialist, and like just about every ‘reporter’.

Fortunately, George Osborne is intelligent and understands all these things they don’t understand and can’t be bothered to study.

That’s why con men like Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Tony Blair are so easily able to fool their audience, and themselves .

related material
GDP1: Gross domestic product
GDP 2: GDP and other quality of life measurements


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