Sunday Reading

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, September 23rd, 2012 - 11 comments
Categories: economy, interweb, politicans, tax - Tags: , , , , ,

My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring).  This week: taxes and growth, foreign wars and the quality of MPs.

But first for something completely different: The Ig Nobels are out. These fabulous awards for research ‘that makes you laugh and then makes you think’ include this year: the prize for physics for work on the forces that determine how a ponytail is shaped and moves; the prize for medicine for work on how to minimise patients exploding during colonoscopies; the prize for anatomy for finding out that chimpanzees can recognise other individuals from photos of their rear ends; and the prize for fluid dynamics for working out why your coffee spills while you walk…

Onto more serious topics, and in the wake of Romney’s 47% speech, here’s the data on who doesn’t pay US income tax – millionaires, retirees, the military on active service, and those working on very low incomes… As well as a question asking why when they’ve never had it so good, the rich are so damn angry?  And you know you want it: yet another study showing that cutting tax rates doesn’t boost economic growth.

Over in Britain they’re asking why the boss doesn’t work for a salary – with yet more evidence between the disconnection between pay and performance: both in practice and in motivation.  The boss only cares that he’s being paid as well as the next boss, not the actual figure, and he cares more about his salary than his bonus, whether he gets it or not.  Which he invariably does, even when the company’s going down the tubes…

Over in Germany, they’re asking if they even need growth at all, as major thinkers realise it’s impossible and are willing to say so.  Better to not destroy the planet in pursuit of an impossible dream: Angela Merkel take note.

To go further afield, Syria continues, with the latest dispatches of bombings of civilians by government planes quite distressing – this seems an intractable war.  Speaking of intractable wars, a Vietnam vet sees that all the lessons of counter-insurgency from that conflict have been lost, and the US is committing the same mistakes again in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If the local government is corrupt and not bothered about winning its people over, nothing you do is going to make a difference.

Finally onto MPs: Sue Kedgley says “It’s no wonder we don’t trust our MPs.”  But David Blunkett over in the UK points out that you may hate them, but it’s still better we have politicians than faceless bureaucrats running the place.

And as a politician who doesn’t get a lot of profile, here’s Rajen Prasad comparing the quality of Labour private members bills (Marriage Equality, minimum wage, holidays, etc) to National ones (small arcane law tidy-ups that won’t affect anyone).  You need to skip about 1/3 of the way in to get past the preamble…

11 comments on “Sunday Reading”

  1. ianmac 1

    Interesting to put Sue Kedgley’s piece alongside that of Rajen Prasad.

    As an aside, while reading the Mother Jones about the Angry Rich I clicked on the sidebar about an unknown photographer. A fascinating set of pics taken in USA in the 50s+. A bleak glimpse really into the rich nature of the USA.

  2. joe90 2

    Turkey’s towering ambition, the agony of Syria, Islam and the recent embassy attacks, an historical analysis, and the sources of Salafi conduct.

    Also, if you’re the the sole income earner for a family of four on the federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, you’d need to work for 24 hours a day to earn enough to be excluded from the 47%.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Good read from Unlearning Economics:

    I’ve always sided with endogenous money because it is supported by the evidence. If anyone can offer me contrary evidence about the above or other relevant hypotheses, I’ll be happy to listen. But economist-y special pleading about how, even though exogenous money is wrong, the economy behaves as if it is right, or about how I’m not allowed to refute ‘centuries of theory,’ is simply not enough when the evidence is this strong.

    Endogenous money is the private banks printing it and maintaining balanced books through double entry book keeping. This results in an uncontrollable increase in money and debt which must lead to collapse. The fact that the banks also charge interest on the money they print means that it can’t be paid back either.

    • BernyD 4.1

      Last sentence says it all, it’s just another comms medium.
      Maybe a “Mystery” too some,but do your homework and it’s just a tool.
      The fact that kids react to a YouTube video speaks volumes about their lives and how much the role model of Mohammed means too them.
      It shows us just how much loss those kids live with.

  4. Jokerman 5

    heres some references;

    Karl Barth
    William James
    Oliver Sacks
    Irving Goffman-on masks
    Albert Camus
    Heidegger-Being and Time
    Erich Fromm
    Wittgenstein-on language
    Susan Faludi-Stiffed

    The New Imperial Order-Makere Stewart-Harawira
    Jean-Paul Satre
    Homer-The Odyssey
    Bruno Bettleheim-on Parenting

    Kafka-The Trial
    Erik Erikson
    Henri Nouwen
    Abraham Maslow (God bless all the children of Abraham)

  5. Draco T Bastard 6

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell, the controversial author Edward Abbey once said.

    That is the lesson that we need to learn

  6. Draco T Bastard 7

    Good article by Chris Trotter.

    A Republic, if you can keep it. Roughly translated from the Latin, res publica means “this thing of ours”. Franklin knew what many New Zealanders appear to have forgotten, that democracy is not, and must never become, someone else’s game; a spectator sport.

    This thing of ours. This arrangement we have worked out among ourselves. This set of rules we have devised to keep us free, and to prevent the high and mighty from traducing our rights, making off with our property and turning us into slaves. This is the most valuable thing we, as ordinary New Zealanders, possess. And if we allow “this thing of ours” to become “that thing of theirs”, then all our constitutional guarantees and safeguards are rendered useless – and we are lost.

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