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Some links which may be of interest

December 8th, 2012 (10:14 am)
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...and which some of you will doubtless have seen elsewhere, so apologies for the repetition.

The stuck society

Bagehot in The Economist writes "A supply of people able to work for less than their cost of living gives parsimonious firms a convenient pool of temporary workers. This is how two-tier labour markets, with a group of insiders enjoying job protection and a group of outsiders with none, are born. Undoing the situation can be impossible." Many of us know this from personal experience.
Latest chapter added to the story of St Boswells book store success
The Southern Reporter on an expanding bookshop (and more) in St Boswells, Roxburghshire, much resorted to by members of my family.
US newspaper warns of impending doom
Deaths are coming!
Radio Times digitization completed
The sale of Radio Times to the Immediate Media Company in 2011, without BBC Worldwide even retaining ownership of the brand, might add an additional complication to the distribution of the information retrieved by this project.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcasts
The latest release is Andy Sawyer's article on Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
A Cheshire cheese from 1825, which its recipient - Prince Frederick, duke of York, brother of George IV - passed on to Mary Isabella, dowager duchess of Rutland.
Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/563000.html.

Comments

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 11:13 am (UTC)
cat scorn

The resounding silence in the Bagehot article is about house prices. He speaks of "recovery" as synonymous with a return to house price inflation, and then does not connect this with why workers' cost of living is higher than their pay, and why increasing numbers of young people continue to live at home.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 11:18 am (UTC)

That's a good point - it didn't resonate with me as it should have done. However, the way he writes often encourages readers to fill in the gaps themselves.

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 11:29 am (UTC)
fruitbat

But not, I think, in this case, because the chattering classes are all in it up to their necks, and nobody else counts.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)

It's not so much the chattering classes as those in protected long-term employment. The chattering classes include plenty of people whose livings are precarious. Anyway, the iniquity of a divided economy is his point, as I understand it.

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
la linea

Yes, good point. I mainly meant the media bubble, as inferred from the implied reader of so many articles, who is supposed to be in the market for £200 shirts, £1000 handbags, and rejoicing at house price inflation. So handwringing about a divided society while regarding rising house prices as a positive indicator of a healthy economy suggests a massive blind spot.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 12:33 pm (UTC)

I read it less as a sign of a healthy economy than as a possible source of 'dynamism' and 'disruption' which could change the current situation. There are reasons why this might make me happy, and reasons why it might not please you.

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
i hate everything

Hm, I think we had entirely too much of that kind of "dynamism" in the years up to 2008, and that's what has got us to where we are now. But then I am one of these delusional people who think houses are for people to live in, not for a far smaller number of people to enjoy the trappings of a rentier lifestyle on the backs of others.

Edited at 2012-12-08 12:40 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 12:44 pm (UTC)
Palace_fire

Some of us are enjoying only the shadow of a rentier lifestyle, and have been pondering whether or not to cash in for some years, and have as yet come to no decision. However, I agree with you, and wish the system had not become so inflated.

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 12:49 pm (UTC)
eek

I should point out that without making it explicit, I was thinking principally of buy-to-let landlords and similar, not people in your position, and I am sorry if you thought I was having a go at you! It is legitimate to hope that the value of one's house might rise along with inflation, but not to cheerlead and fuel a speculation bubble for the purpose that has the knock-on effect of pulling up the ladder and pricing everyone out of a home (rented or bought).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC)

Well, I did feel somewhat guilty in the circumstances! As for buy-to-let, you may at least gain some satisfaction from reports that that sector has suffered a lot since 2008.

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 11:30 am (UTC)

"It" being benefiting from the house price escalator.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 11:33 am (UTC)

Of a particular generation, certainly; but the younger people of most professions are having more trouble climbing on to the ladder, and once they reach the escalator, they find that it has stalled.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
Marxist

From a strictly demographic viewpoint, deaths are indeed coming, but then, so are births.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
Styre

This is of course true. If the paper had gone to press with 'Births are coming' filling the relevant classified column, what picture would it have suggested?

Posted by: rustica (rustica)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Lead Ion

"Successive governments in Japan have found it so hard to push through change, when faced with well-organised groups who stand to lose out, that they have given up trying altogether"

This is pretty much word for word what I've been thinking about Cameron's lot.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 8th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
UKPolitics

I've come across at least one article since the present government was formed which suggested that policies had not been taken forward because senior ministers would stop being invited to the dinner parties they enjoyed.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 9th, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
Kafka

Sorry for being cynical, but articles where? And which policies?

I tend to believe in the cock-up theory of governmental failure rather than the conspiracy theory.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 9th, 2012 01:59 pm (UTC)

I can't remember, but am sure they can be tracked down. I'm not talking about conspiracies, simply inevitable social pressure.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: December 9th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)

I was using 'conspiracy' in a loose sense. I just get annoyed by the outlook of the media (both left and right-wing) that always supposes that "The Other Lot" are motivated purely by greed and social pressure/class interest, whereas "Our Lot" view the problems of government disinterestedly and objectively.

Sorry, I didn't mean that to sound like a dig at you, I've just been grumpy about politics and the media in general for the last few weeks. I'm hoping to get a poem out of it to get it all out of my system, otherwise I'll become a completely cynical nihilist - always assuming I'm not one already...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 9th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)

Believe me, I don't take that view for a minute - at least, not when I am actually thinking.

Posted by: Kargicq (kargicq)
Posted at: December 9th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)

The accursed power which stands on privilege
(And goes with champagne, and women, and bridge)
Broke! And Democracy resumed her reign
(Which goes with bridge, and women, and champagne).

--Belloc, Notes on a General Election

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
UKPolitics

Yes!