Category Archives: economics

TTIP is forever

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While the secrecy, harmonisation and the inclusion of investor state dispute resolution are bad enough aspects of TTIP, it seems this is another ‘Living Agreement’. Not only will the courts that interpret these agreements be beyond public accountability, any amendments to the treaty and agreements will be so too. I found this out at the meeting called by the Open Rights Group where Nick Dearden of the World Development Movement came to speak.  … » Read more …

Nails in the coffin

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Investor State Dispute Resolution, the EU & TTIP

I have just submitted a short comment opposing the inclusion of Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDR) clauses in the EU’s negotiating position on TTIP, and urge you to join me. I used this web site, at sumofus.org. While their tag line, “Fighting for people before profits” is reminiscent of Lewisham’s rag bag of careerists and trots, both ISDR and all the non-tariff extensions to TTIP should be opposed and the concept of putting people before profit is equally laudable.  … » Read more …

Nokia exits the mobile market

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So Nokia have given up and sold their mobile handset and presumably the mobile infrastructure to Microsoft. Last year, Nokia, the World’s No. 1 mobile phone manufacturer but were struggling to meet the onslaught of Apple’s iphone and the rapidly alternative  growing of Android decided to shit-can their two Linux projects and exclusively throw in their lot with one of the then weakest phone operating-  and eco-systems, Microsoft! Coincidently they had just hired Steven Elop as CEO, whom they had poached from Microsoft.  … » Read more …

Hyperloop and Hope

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In California, they have been planning a San Francisco – Los Angeles bullet train. This was brought to my attention by a story by Molly Woods at CNET, which points at an alternative, the Hyperloop.

For some reason the politics of developing infrastructure in the USA is tortured and this project is no exception. It has the economic and environmental objections which we have all begun to get to grips with as the national debate about HS2 begins to take off. In California this debate is exacerbated by the US’s unhinged dislike of government and taxes.  … » Read more …

Tim Wu speaks

I got there late, but in time to hear the end of Tim Wu’s opening  key note. His comments about the failure to build a peer-to-peer internet stimulated an interest. His book, “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” examines the evolution of information networks from radio through TV and Cable to the Internet, so I have ordered it. It’ll be interesting to compare, contrast and possibly integrate his ideas with those of Benkler and Perez. While researching for the article that eventually became Municipal WiFi, now over 1½ years old, I was interested in the funding and technology problems faced by public sector organisations. Some hackers have considered making wireless access gateways peer-to-peer, particularly in France while the Hadoopi laws were being debated and passed, but we are still running an internet of hubs and spokes, in the words of the Register, modeled on the command and control systems used in the Soviet Union.  … » Read more …

The end of economic growth

Earlier this month, the Guardian in its Economics’ Blog, published an article called “Are the UK growth pessimists right?” The article itself is unclear, partly because it wants to make the point that Social Democrats need growth to painlessly share the wealth more equitably and fund their social investment programs. The article argues that UK economic indicators are beginning to look up, that doomsayers have always been wrong before and that technological innovations have always revitalised capitalism.  … » Read more …

Modern Monetary Theory

The Right’s attempts to fetishise the level of the deficit both in the UK and the US has led to one interesting response. While discussing this with friends, I was pointed at the group of economic theories called Modern Monetarist Theory. So I decided to a bit of reading.  … » Read more …

Was this the new Black Wednesday?

What a week for economic and political news! Unemployment down, National Income (GDP) Down, IMF & Goldman Sachs say Austerity isn’t working, Clegg and Boris agree and argue for increased capital expenditure (Houses and Transport projects). Is it the turning point in this government’s fortunes? It’s clear Plan A isn’t working and Larry Elliott in the Guardian says it better than I can.

Dave Cameron’s response to this is to say that the Tory party will offer an in/out referendum on Europe in the next Parliament, if he wins a majority. Not sure you’re on the right page. It’s still the economy, stupid!  … » Read more …

HMV, a tale of hubris, tax and monopoly

HMV, the UK’s leading bricks & mortar creative industries retailer has gone into administration. Lets hope that its winding up is not as brutal as at Jessops which also failed last week. The FT reports in an article, published yesterday, entitled, HMV calls in the Administrators that the rug was pulled when their suppliers of the music, films and computer/console games refused to extend credit terms to allow them to refinance their debt.

So 4000, jobs in the UK are risk.

Companies like HMV have been up against it ever since Amazon launched, and Phillip Beeching in his Blog shows why HMV were uniquely unqualified to respond. The cultural supply chain is now dominated by multi-nationals such as Amazon, Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers, Google, Apple & Entertainment Arts. Vertical integration and consolidation is occurring meaning that smaller players are being driven out of business, the internet is becoming the distribution channel, obviating the need for shops and vans and internet attached devices such as phones, consoles, laptops and other devices are becoming the consumer interfaces. Consolidation is a result of the deliberate strategies of the large players. They can and will dis-intermediate the retailers, retain more profit for the publishers and maintain a role as barriers-to-entry to their respective businesses, inhibiting both new acts, films and games from reaching consumers, and inhibiting consumers from using a selection of publishers. They propagate a lottery labour market where a minority are as rich as Croesus, while the majority of musicians and actors end up doing something else, having spent their youth trying to break through, consistently taking home less than average earnings. The monopolists dominance of the markets is based firstly on their size, but is reinforced by the world’s copyright laws which are written in the USA, and propagated by their lobbying machines and budgets.

It is a matter of record that many multi-national companies use international transfer pricing to repatriate profits to low tax domains avoiding sales, payroll and profit taxes in the process. It’s becoming crucial that consumers work to ensure that their consumption tax payments aren’t appropriated to other tax collection jurisdictions. We should note that the real cost values of digital media is near to zero, which makes transfer pricing a simple moral issue.

The continued industrialisation of music makes live music harder to perform and to attend. I nearly always enjoy my trips to the Bird’s Nest and while not the biggest music fan ever, I did visit the Montague Arms, one of South London’s top music venues before it closed.

How are we going to defend the UK’s creative industries? Stronger copyright will just increase the power of the publishers, who are in fact, both parasites on the creative, and barriers to entry to the businesses. Copyright isn’t working!

It’s the copyright monopolists that finally pulled the plug on HMV, but one has to recognise, that it had failed. Creative Destruction aided in this case by hubris, had wrought its path.  … » Read more …

Oracle & Sun & the European Single Market

A lot of people have been busy commenting on the EU’s investigation into the competitive dynamics of Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun, so I thought I’d join in.  … » Read more …