Thursday, 20 March 2008

Poor transport links hit economies of northern towns.

The economies of northern towns are falling behind their southern counterparts because transport links to the big cities of Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle are inadequate, according to a study by the Centre for Cities thinktank. There is a comment on the report in the Guardian.

The study focuses on the poor local public transport and road links around cities such as Manchester and Leeds, compared to those in London and the south-east, and gives this as a reason for lower average pay in those areas.

What it fails to mention is the sky-high housing prices - in reality, land values - in the prosperous areas, which gobble up much of the advantage of the economic benefits of better transport.

Suppose, for a moment, that substantial investment was made in transport around, say, Manchester, leading to higher pay and improved economic performance. This would quickly push up land values, with higher house prices, and higher commercial and residential rents. In other words, the benefit of the investment would be mostly taken by land owners. Little of the investment would turn up in higher tax revenue, and that only slowly and haphazardly.

If, on the other hand, a tax on annual land rental values was in place, the increasing values resulting from the investment would be captured and provide the revenue stream which would repay the cost of the investment. Indeed, the projects could be paid for from bonds issued on the strength of the enhancement to land values and consequently raised revenues. But it is not going to happy any time soon.

Poor transport links hit economies of northern towns.

The economies of northern towns are falling behind their southern counterparts because transport links to the big cities of Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle are inadequate, according to a study by the Centre for Cities thinktank. There is a comment on the report in the Guardian.

The study focuses on the poor local public transport and road links around cities such as Manchester and Leeds, compared to those in London and the south-east, and gives this as a reason for lower average pay in those areas.

What it fails to mention is the sky-high housing prices - in reality, land values - in the prosperous areas, which gobble up much of the advantage of the economic benefits of better transport.

Suppose, for a moment, that substantial investment was made in transport around, say, Manchester, leading to higher pay and improved economic performance. This would quickly push up land values, with higher house prices, and higher commercial and residential rents. In other words, the benefit of the investment would be mostly taken by land owners. Little of the investment would turn up in higher tax revenue, and that only slowly and haphazardly.

If, on the other hand, a tax on annual land rental values was in place, the increasing values resulting from the investment would be captured and provide the revenue stream which would repay the cost of the investment. Indeed, the projects could be paid for from bonds issued on the strength of the enhancement to land values and consequently raised revenues. But it is not going to happy any time soon.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

How stupid is that? #1


Well done Brighton and Hove Council #1
Originally uploaded by seadipper.

A committee of MPs has criticised councils for their lack of enthusiasm about a pilot scheme to charge people for the amount of rubbish they put out for the dustmen.

Rubbish is left all over the place all the time even when it is taken away free, so what will things be like if people have to pay according to the amount of rubbish they produce?

Most rubbish is packaging. The cost of disposal should be incorporated in the price so that you pay for rubbish when you buy it. This would create a fund for it to be collected with no questions asked. Since the cost of disposal would thereby be reflected in the price, it would create incentives all round to be economical with packaging and to recycle and re-use containers.

Other rubbish such as metals and electronic scrap is potentially a source of valuable commodity elements, though many items could actually be kept in service much longer than they actually are - I recently bought a laptop computer for £150, only four years old and £1200 when new. It will do for several more years, which makes one wonder why the original corporate owner did not have the same idea.

Organic waste such as food is another matter. Composting is the best solution but difficult for people who live in flats.

Part of the solution is to get people to sort their rubbish into metals, paper, electronic scrap and batteries, and compostable food/garden waste.

But charging to take away rubbish. No.

How stupid is that? #1


Well done Brighton and Hove Council #1
Originally uploaded by seadipper.

A committee of MPs has criticised councils for their lack of enthusiasm about a pilot scheme to charge people for the amount of rubbish they put out for the dustmen.

Rubbish is left all over the place all the time even when it is taken away free, so what will things be like if people have to pay according to the amount of rubbish they produce?

Most rubbish is packaging. The cost of disposal should be incorporated in the price so that you pay for rubbish when you buy it. This would create a fund for it to be collected with no questions asked. Since the cost of disposal would thereby be reflected in the price, it would create incentives all round to be economical with packaging and to recycle and re-use containers.

Other rubbish such as metals and electronic scrap is potentially a source of valuable commodity elements, though many items could actually be kept in service much longer than they actually are - I recently bought a laptop computer for £150, only four years old and £1200 when new. It will do for several more years, which makes one wonder why the original corporate owner did not have the same idea.

Organic waste such as food is another matter. Composting is the best solution but difficult for people who live in flats.

Part of the solution is to get people to sort their rubbish into metals, paper, electronic scrap and batteries, and compostable food/garden waste.

But charging to take away rubbish. No.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Ticket touts


Chimaira concert photographs from Tilburg Holland 06/10/03 MORE bands artists singers pop stars www.yoursuperstar.com
Originally uploaded by www.yoursuperstar.com.

There was a piece on the radio this morning about concert promoters who want a cut from people who buy concert tickets and then sell them on at a profit, often using the internet. The obvious question that comes to mind is that if the promoters want their full whack, why don't they just charge more for the tickets in the first place?

As the discussion developed, it turned out that sometimes, the tickets are sold at a discount from the original price. In other words, the intermediaries, the so-called touts, are taking a loss and doing the promoters a favour by taking the tickets off the promoters' hands.

All in all, then, these intermediaries are performing a useful function all round, in providing the promoters with an assured market and customers with an assured supply. It is a kind of insurance, with the "touts" taking part of the risk.

It is sad that public understanding of basic economic principles is so poor that their activities are regarded with opprobrium instead of being recognised as a useful service.

Ticket touts


Chimaira concert photographs from Tilburg Holland 06/10/03 MORE bands artists singers pop stars www.yoursuperstar.com
Originally uploaded by www.yoursuperstar.com.

There was a piece on the radio this morning about concert promoters who want a cut from people who buy concert tickets and then sell them on at a profit, often using the internet. The obvious question that comes to mind is that if the promoters want their full whack, why don't they just charge more for the tickets in the first place?

As the discussion developed, it turned out that sometimes, the tickets are sold at a discount from the original price. In other words, the intermediaries, the so-called touts, are taking a loss and doing the promoters a favour by taking the tickets off the promoters' hands.

All in all, then, these intermediaries are performing a useful function all round, in providing the promoters with an assured market and customers with an assured supply. It is a kind of insurance, with the "touts" taking part of the risk.

It is sad that public understanding of basic economic principles is so poor that their activities are regarded with opprobrium instead of being recognised as a useful service.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Canon Ixus RIP



I never liked this camera, when the lens jammed I tried to open it up to fix it but all the bits are stuffed in and the task is impossible except for Canon's technicians who charge almost the price of a new camera.

It has lasted just two years and I took around 12000 exposures. All the same, it is unlikely I will be looking for another one of the same make. At least it cost a lot less than film but it has encouraged quantity rather than quality.

All suggestions welcome. I already have an SLR which lives under my bed and almost never comes out so a digital SLR is not for me. Olympus mju 795SW is a possibility.