Mike Scott

Mike Scott

  • Commented on Laundry summer madness sale!
    May I congratulate you for actually specifying the countries in whIch the offer is available, a practice that is sadly all too rare among authors who are noting Amazon deals on their books....
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    Not true. I like the EU. It is a wondrous thing, delivering peace, prosperity and freedom to a continent that was previously riven by war and artificial borders for millennia. It's not perfect, of course, but it's better than one...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    You're a bit too pessimistic, but only a bit. First, WTO tariffs aren't as high as 20% The average is more like 5%, although certainly higher for some sectors. Second, the tariffs on imports aren't lost money. They're paid to...
  • Commented on What are you reading this summer?
    I liked the second trilogy in the Foreigner universe best, books 4 through 6. Might be worth keeping going at least as far as book 4....
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLOND
    Scratch that theory, or at least part B. As well as being a US citizen, a Vice President must have been a US resident for at least 14 years....
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    Wrong direction entirely. Solar power will be cheaper than our current power sources, once economies of scale kick in and we learn how to make panels, inverters and batteries more efficiently. When power is cheaper, people will use more of...
  • Commented on Fantasy shibboleths
    For fantasy that takes economics seriously, I recommend Daniel Abraham's The Dagger and the Coin series, one of whose heroines is (as of the most recent volume) disrupting the world by inventing tradable government debt....
  • Commented on A question about the future of the world wide web
    AdBlock Plus fails on a couple of counts. First, their criteria for an acceptable ad say nothing about do-not-track, which is crucial. Second, they charge money for getting your ads listed as acceptable. The EFF's Privacy Badger is doing better...
  • Commented on A question about the future of the world wide web
    There are two options that would probably work. The first is that the major content providers get together and create a network that anyone can join. Subscribe to any one site in the network for $10 per month and you...
  • Commented on The present in deep history
    1. The domestication of homo sapiens. In 1700, violence and violent death are commonplace; in 2300 (if current trends continue) they are practically unknown. 2. The demographic/economic/scientific/cultural/technological transition from one steady state (patriarchal agricultural late feudal society with high fertility...
  • Commented on Random thought for the day
    Argentina had a choice when it issued the bonds that are now in dispute, It could have inserted a perfectly standard collective action clause requiring all bondholders to accept any alteration in the terms that was agreed by a majority....
  • Commented on Random thought for the day
    No UK government can commit a future Parliament to remain in a treaty, because Parliaments are sovereign and cannot be bound, even by previous Parliaments. All treaties signed by the UK are therefore temporary pro-tem affairs. And so any future...
  • Commented on Random thought for the day
    Parliament is still sovereign, and it's an ancient constitutional principle that nothing one Parliament does can be binding on a subsequent Parliament. So any future government could simply derogate or withdraw from TTIP if it wanted to and was prepared...
  • Commented on Two Thoughts
    @5: Information can't be a currency; it lacks the attributes of a useful currency. Information (or rather knowledge) has instead become the foundation-stone of wealth-accumulation strategies, replacing capital (capitalism, 17th-20th centuries) which in turn replaced land (feudalism, 5th(ish)-16th centuries). The...
  • Commented on Two Thoughts
    Charlie @2: I can assure you that my former employer has not captured any regulators (if only), and spends very little time fending off regulatory lawsuits. I think you greatly over-estimate the influence of regulators on vertical search engines....
  • Commented on Two Thoughts
    @11: Capitalism doesn't require perfect information; it requires the lack of it, and it fails if everyone actually has perfect information. Consider, for example, the domestic electricity market (in the UK). Suppose the electricity suppliers were required to expose an...
  • Commented on Two Thoughts
    I spent nine years as the most senior technical guy in one of the UK's most successful vertical search engines -- in the property search sector. I won't name the company, but it was the one you're thinking of (if...
  • Commented on Default Option
    Greece can't just stop paying interest, because the ECB will then withdraw support for the Greek banking system, and all of their banks will collapse. Make no mistake, a unilateral debt default means leaving the Euro....
  • Commented on Default Option
    Tax relief on mortgage interest was first introduced at a time when owner-occupiers had to pay income tax on "imputed rent" -- the rent that they were deemed to be paying to themselves in order to live in their house....
  • Commented on Default Option
    The problem with "welfare for those who demonstrably can't work" is that you end up killing the people who can't work but can't prove it other than by starving to death....
  • Commented on Default Option
    My own preference is for councils to build housing of last resort -- small self-contained units available to rent on demand (no waiting lists allowed) at a fixed rental, maybe half of the basic income. I'd suggest 40 square metres...
  • Commented on Default Option
    Serbia had widespread civil unrest and breakdown of confidence in the government between about 1996 and 2000. Not to mention fighting a losing war against NATO and getting its capital bombed. Plus, of course, the earlier wars in Slovenia (admittedly...
  • Commented on Default Option
    Although I hear that exit polls an be fairly unreliable in Greece due to the difficulty of putting together a genuinely representative sample of polling stations to survey....
  • Commented on Default Option
    And the first exit poll actually does put Syriza in spitting distance of an absolute majority. They need about 37-38% of the vote (40.4% of the vote after excluding parties with less than 3%), and the poll says 35.5%-39.5%, 146-158...
  • Commented on Default Option
    But Greece isn't protecting Europe's south-east border; Slovenia and Hungary are. Greece is in Schengen, but is isolated from the rest of the Schengen area. If an illegal immigrant gets into Greece, it's still difficult for them to then get...
  • Commented on Default Option
    If Greece were actually to print new Euro notes without going through the legal processes to do so, that is the one thing that might lead to military action. Forging another country's currency (which is what it would amount to)...
  • Commented on Default Option
    While I don't know for sure, I think it highly likely that the rules for being in the Euro prohibit a country from running a second currency in parallel. Also, look up Gresham's Law....
  • Commented on Default Option
    It's seats. Polls suggest Syriza will get about 30% of the vote, giving it 125 seats out of 300 (30% of 250 plus the 50 seat bonus)....
  • Commented on Default Option
    Of course we could reduce the UK's national debt at the stroke of a pen, by cancelling the bonds currently held by the Bank of England. But they're better off where they are, because they give the BoE an extra...
  • Commented on Default Option
    The dollar, pound and yen are not going to fail. Because they can deploy quantitative easing without limit to keep them afloat. No country that controls its own currency and can borrow money in that currency can ever go bust,...
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