Rugged Egalitarianism – Hope in the Ruins

Originally posted on Rugged Egalitarianism:

As I write, American conservatism has gone mad: openly, disturbingly and resoundingly bats. There is no mistaking it. But the furious imprecations and cracked laughter of the lunatic conservatives echoing loudly down the halls of our sad American bedlam have helped obscure the fact that liberalism in the United States is moribund.  While conservatives strive to tear down our rotten and unjust system and replace it with something even more terrifying, liberals offer nothing but a determination to patch up some of the superficial rot while approving the general injustice.

Entered in evidence: Paul Krugman takes issue with Peggy Noonan’s recent assertion that the Republican Party is a party of roiling intellectual ferment and new ideas, while the Democratic Party has nothing novel to offer. Krugman plausibly, though pedantically, resists seeing the radical right ideas of the contemporary Republican Party as genuinely new, since most of those ideas go back…

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Getting to the Bottom of Things

Originally posted on Rugged Egalitarianism:

Since the crisis of 2008, professional and academic economists have grown increasingly concerned that something is wrong with their profession.  Sometimes that anxiety springs only from the recognition that most of their colleagues failed to predict the oncoming crisis.  But sometimes a nearly opposite concern is voiced: We sometimes hear the complaint that economists are offering good advice, but none of the decision-makers are paying attention.

I am not a professional economist, so I can only speak to the way the profession looks to me from the outside.  Now, if people are not paying attention to what an expert has to say, it could be that those people are too ignorant or inexperienced to grasp the important things that the expert is trying to get across.  But it could instead be that the expert doing the saying is not offering anything relevant to the most urgent problems the listeners are…

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ANALYSIS: It’s easy to explode the Government myths. So why aren’t the mainstream media doing that?

Originally posted on The Slog.:

We need a new medium to ask awkward questions

There are many idiotic fantasies we are asked by neoliberal economists to accept: that there is no alternative, that wealth trickles down, that Milt Friedman was right about everything and so on. As their world falls apart at a snail’s pace (the deceleration having been paid for by taxpayer-funded nationalisation and subsidy – the two things these numpties claim are the root of all evil) the arguments in favour of a failing system become ever more desperate and mendacious.

The funniest was, without doubt, the bollocks about “There is a recovery, but it’s jobless”. Hilarious: rather like saying, “We’ve found some gold, very special gold – it’s made from lead”. Having been found out on that one, the latest ruse is the invented evidence of rising employment, and the risibly persistent attempt by the likes of Dan Hannan to tweet “Britain…

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Dumb and dumber Britons Not Ruling Waves

There’s a poll here demonstrating how stupid most Britons really are.

http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3188/Perceptions-are-not-reality-the-top-10-we-get-wrong.aspx

It seems most of us think one in four of us is Muslim.  It’s one in twenty.  The list goes on and it’s pretty clear we have no clue what really goes on.  This is no shock to a university teacher.  It is truly amazing how uniformed our students are – and they are supposed to be the top 50%.

The top ten misperceptions are:

1.       Teenage pregnancy: on average, we think teenage pregnancy is 25 times higher than official estimates:  we think that 15% of girls under 16 get pregnant each year, when official figures suggest it is around 0.6%[i]

2.       Crime: 58% do not believe that crime is falling, when the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that incidents of crime were 19% lower in 2012 than in 2006/07 and 53% lower than in 1995[ii].  51% think violent crime is rising, when it has fallen from almost 2.5 million incidents in 2006/07 to under 2 million in 2012[iii].

3.       Job-seekers allowance: 29% of people think we spend more on JSA than pensions, when in fact we spend 15 times more on pensions (£4.9bn vs £74.2bn)[iv].

4.       Benefit fraud: people estimate that 34 times more benefit money is claimed fraudulently than official estimates: the public think that £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits is claimed fraudulently, compared with official estimates of £0.70 per £100[v].

5.       Foreign aid: 26% of people think foreign aid is one of the top 2-3 items government spends most money on, when it actually made up 1.1% of expenditure (£7.9bn) in the 2011/12 financial year.  More people select this as a top item of expenditure than pensions (which cost nearly ten times as much, £74bn) and education in the UK (£51.5bn)[vi].

6.       Religion: we greatly overestimate the proportion of the population who are Muslims: on average we say 24%, compared with 5% in England and Wales.  And we underestimate the proportion of Christians: we estimate 34% on average, compared with the actual proportion of 59% in England and Wales[vii].

7.       Immigration and ethnicity: the public think that 31% of the population are immigrants, when the official figures are 13%[viii]. Even estimates that attempt to account for illegal immigration suggest a figure closer to 15%.  There are similar misperceptions on ethnicity: the average estimate is that Black and Asian people make up 30% of the population, when it is actually 11% (or 14% if we include mixed and other non-white ethnic groups)[ix].

8.       Age: we think the population is much older than it actually is – the average estimate is that 36% of the population are 65+, when only 16% are[x].

9.       Benefit bill: people are most likely to think that capping benefits at £26,000 per household will save most money from a list provided (33% pick this option), over twice the level that select raising the pension age to 66 for both men and women or stopping child benefit when someone in the household earns £50k+.  In fact, capping household benefits is estimated to save £290m[xi], compared with £5bn[xii] for raising the pension age and £1.7bn[xiii] for stopping child benefit for wealthier households.

10.   Voting: we underestimate the proportion of people who voted in the last general election – our average guess is 43%, when 65% of the electorate actually did (51% of the whole population)[xiv]

 

I think this survey is enough to start sacking teachers and lecturers – I’d want a bit more evidence, but our schools and universities are clearly failing.

Slave Finance, Max Keiser, the Next Bank Collapse and Rehypothicated Lager

Most people who like to think of themselves as living in developed countries are sitting around hoping the financial crisis will go away without any effort from them.  It’s a bit like students put into groups to do something on their own – most are work shy, shy or just want to free-ride on someone else’s efforts.

Of course, the crisis hasn’t gone away and most of us have no clue what it has cost us – £6K each in the UK for QE alone.  We don’t know anything about the ‘opportunity costs’ – like, say, where Britain would be if we had not allowed Big Bang and focused the money into agriculture and manufacturing.  The real rip-off of financial services remains unknown to most, though it could have been picked up with 20 minutes a week of Mad Max Keiser on RT (ignoring his dud stuff on return to a gold standard) and the blogs golemxiv, naked capitalism and zerohedge.  Given it’s really almost that easy, we have an awful lot of free-riders prepared to vote without the effort of knowing why.  Of course, I have no vote because I have put the effort in.  I should really cash in, join a bank and laugh at my derision as a know-all, waving my bonus cheque in your face.

The banks started lying when they conned us into thinking they were a valuable part of our economy.  Finance is a cost on production (our hard work) just like any other in standard profit and loss.  You want to push that cost down, like any other, to get reasonable profit.  If we lived subsistence lives turning sod, keeping sheep and cattle, building our own homes, what would we think of a set of suits wanting 15% of our output for doing nothing?  We’d tell them to engage in overexertive sex and travel.

Of course, in our quasi-modern world, finance is partly a genuine work activity – estimates I think generous are that about a third of what is done is legitimate, the rest parasitic.  Down at the pub, my mate Dave can put up a litre of vodka, put the takings through his special till and make £60 quid.  Most of what he steals is tax.  The pub trade is hard these days and Dave is competing with low priced drugs and unlicensed premises where you can get a speedball, a few lagers and a whore for about 50 quid.  Finance has a lot in common with the smuggler-tax-stealer.  Think Starbucks, Google, Amazon – any of the companies you use a lot in the UK and what they declare as profit for tax.  All legal and above board and called tax avoidance, global wage arbitrage, transfer pricing …

It’s much worse than this because tax is not the only pot to be stolen from.  You may think it’s great your house has gone up in price.  Yet much of this inflation is stolen by the banks in a Ponzi scheme in which they lend more and more, taking more and more in fees and interest.  This steals from the next buyers because they have to pay more.  Imagine your reaction to someone trying to sell you a five year old car for twice its original cost.

Now imagine what you would want to happen to a bunch of people discovered investing in slavery.  Have a look at what actually happened to this bunch when Britain abolished slavery.  They got paid out half our exchequer costs in that time (vast amounts in today’s terms), the slaves were ‘freed’ into indenture (40 hours work a week for board and lodging) for seven years to allow the slavers to adjust.  No slave financiers in gaol.  Gladstone was a major player protecting his family’s investments.  Cameron’s lot got a major bail out.

Now you could say that investment in slavery was legal back then (around 1830), much as you might say the Moses of Numbers 31 (a clear war criminal) was a man of his time. This is moral piffle.  Our governments have been bailing out banks – the finance system generally – to massive tune and the crimes are going unpunished much as the slave investors were bailed out.  What would you have wanted in 1830 – for the slavers to have lost their investments and gone personally bankrupt, the slaves receiving what could be liquidated of the estates or what actually happened?

One bank manager I knew went to jail because his investment scheme involved donkeys at Haydock and his bets left a £7 million hole.  Finance as a whole has left Greece and Cyprus in a mess, and Ireland probably has a hole (after the bail out) as big as a third of planned total EU rescue.  You must have noticed the first submissions of bank holes are tiny compared with reality – pulled as someone from Anglo-Irish said from his arse.  The Irish face a bail-in similar to the Cyprus template – from deposits.  Even the Coop, supposedly ethical, are in trouble.  It’s hard to think they weren’t in trouble before they bought Britannia and were about to take on the unwanted bit of Lloyds – this looks like a gamble to cover-up by takeover.  If people in banks are so dumb they can’t do due diligence, why don’t we pay them accordingly – that is sack them as incompetents.  If the Coop got in this trouble without fly-boy wizards into high-yield Zambian collateralised dead donkeys, what is the state of the rest?

I should be able to tell you the current state of banks from their accounts.  After all, I could be teaching your kids finance.  I can’t tell you because no one could on the basis of what they publish.  Like poor students with a bit of guile they can equalise the balance sheet by pulling something from thin air.  Equity (from shares) and deposits are about 30% and after that we are into the nether world of derivatives and values from bank models.  Further in you discover they are claiming past losses as capital – because this can be claimed against tax on future profits.  Spanish banks alone want to turn 35 billion in losses as tax credits so they can use this in Basel III capital.  Don’t smirk about southern Europeans – our banks are already allowed to do this.  70% of what the banks are claiming as assets are valued by – er – banks.  If they gave me the details I could run up a spreadsheet that would show what these assets are worth in a range of situations – my current guess is that as little as a 4% drop in asset prices would crash most banks.  The capital they claim to hold is not a reserve pot they could dip into – much of it is futurology accounting including tax they won’t pay in the future and a variety of tricks with CDOs and other acronyms to make transactions look profitable in future outcomes – very Enron.  Academics have produced a spreadsheet to warn of crash potential – but guess what – the data needed for it is ‘confidential’ and it can’t be run on the real figures.

Ask yourself how, if banks got us into all this trouble (I think 10 times worse than admitted) on past practices, how can we expect them to recover if they are just doing the same things over again?  Many of the assets they are claiming and the security of loans made depend on the real economy they are not investing in (like house prices might rise if we got more wages – but how can this happen without good jobs for us invested in by them).  Do we want them selling us more dud insurance like PPI and interest-rate swaps?  Or front-running our trades?  They were doing much worse.

In a standard liquidation of, say, a manufacturing company, I would be sent off to visit assets.  Plant and machinery listed as worth £100K often turned out to be a liability worth how much it cost to get scrap people to shift it.  What we should do with the banks is send people in with cops to identify what needs to be kept running as a utility, with the rest put to market to find the real value.  I’d actually sequestrate this as I would have sequestrated the slavers’ assets.  The cops should be allowed criminal investigation without political interference.  As we find out what has really gone on, we should decide on a structured debt jubilee (we have, after all, been quasi-slaves of the rich) and economies based on job guarantee before it is too late.

None of this is about capitalism – it’s about getting to genuine democracy and real changes in the way we can live.  Our society is as captured by an idiot, dominant ideology as surely as the Soviet Block once was, or the society that allowed slavery (pretty much all in history).  We need a sea change in our attitudes on money as surely as we needed change on slavery in the past.  The crisis is in leadership – and take a look at what that really was across history (Barbara Kellerman‘s ‘The End of Leadership’).  They have made us apathetic and snide in attitude to criticism, politics so boring no sane person not after feathering his own interest could take part, our political parties hence wide open to infiltration by vested interests of left and right minorities and most of the world in poverty.

I don’t think we have much time to take control.  Flat-bust Germany was able to re-arm under the Nazis in a few years.  They were despicable scum and what we should learn from this is we could mobilise for world peace and to make poverty, like slavery, a thing of the past.  So far, the nearest we have got is Italy and the election of a real clown.  In the UK we have UKIP – much as I like Farrage – and what we need is the opportunity to vote for what matters.

The big crash is coming, the plan now for rich interests to be holding the cash and physical assets when it comes and then buy the rest of the world in the fire-sale.  The crunch may come in Greece, Spain and Portugal (Ireland will go under in a whimper) where there is substantial communist and fascist pedigree (all bent in the past) and the potential for governments that will give up on international debts by declaring national insolvency.  It will start in a couple of months by deposit haircuts in Ireland and later EU (German) moves against Iberia.

I really don’t think our Establishment could bail out slavers today – but the point is they will bail out (and have) the modern slavery we haven’t recognised as such yet, and given the access I could probably link a lot of old slavery money to today’s oligarchs.  1% own nearly everything you can put a monetary value on in a non-slave economy?  I don’t think so.  A lot of the world does live in what we would call slavery – the sweat shops we buy our clothes from and worse.  There has been a third world war (in Africa) most of us didn’t notice – remember the UK war with Indonesia (28,000 dead plus 128 of our brave lads).

There will be a burglar-borrower-from-shops family in the next street to you.  It’s likely they stole a lot less than the bank clerk next door through PPI.  Welfare is puny and mostly well spent compared with what financial services cost us.  Try to work out how the banks make money.  You don’t really know – and there lies the rub – education  didn’t tell you. How is money created and by whom?  The banks create it from thin air and they make money because they get first use of it (the Cantillon effect).  If you put money in a shoebox under the stairs does it breed?  Go and put £100 in your pub’s one-armed bandit and see how long you last until it has gone.  That machine takes 25% of all money that goes in it. Banks are looking for that kind of cut too.  Supermarkets run on 4 – 5% – but some of them may be creaming profit from elsewhere like paying their people squat, laying-off health care costs on welfare, transfer pricing offshore …

Look around and find out what has happened to CEO and bankster “wages” over the years since WW2.  They have been getting more and more money as unemployment rises and everyone else’s wages and general share of wealth has been going down.  So their claims to be working harder and smarter seem unlikely – if they were the engine of  rugby team we’d boot them out and bring in someone else – but their work is not under the scrutiny of the modern rugby player.

Imagine ordering a couple of lagers in a pub.  You have no money, but do have capital to back up your order.  This is in the bank form of previous losses on various derivative bets that failed.  You can use this as Tier 1 capital because you can claim it against future tax liability on future profits.  The economically literate barkeep asks where your future profits will come from and you say your future bets are bound to come up smelling roses.  The barkeep says it will take a minute or two to authorise the transaction..  He comes back with two full glasses.  You take a sip and announce ‘But barkeep, this is urine’.  He points to two large gentlemen sitting in a corner.  ‘No mate, it’s rehypothecated lager those two drank earlier’.  The situation is not eased by the appearance of an Irish banking colleague claiming he can pull 7 billion Euros from his erse.

Moral: the average barkeep knows more about money than the smartest politician or Gaussian copula swinging banker.

Cost of Crime (2)

It’s hard to explain how we might go about establishing facts in order to create a more rational and ‘better’ society.  There is room to doubt that even schools and universities have failed us in this respect.  These days most of us could home school through the Internet.  There is some cracking stuff about in the mire of 99% porn and crap.

Google is now our first route into knowledge – I use duckduckgo too.  I refinement on Google is Google Scholar.  This puts you into the academic world of books and papers – porn is rare but the 99% crap rule applies.  Without organisational/university access you have to pay to read many journals.  Paying $20 – 50 a pop for goat-poo doesn’t feel good.  Some academics post their work free on their own or university sites.

You can build quite a library through the Internet – but how do you sort the wheat from the chaff?  In Cost of Crime (1) I tried to give the reader a glimpse into how hard this can be.  Slack use of words by academics reporting a cost of crime project from Cambridge had be thinking each of us in the UK pays 12 quid a year to support just one miserable male criminal prolific offender.  Actually, its 12 quid from each of us on average to support all 780 thousand in this category.  Pity – as I pointed out – as culling just 4 of them would pay our country’s EU fees if my first reading had been true – whereas the fact is culling all of them would only pay a quarter of this.  I think killing people is wrong – but this is incidental to the thought experiment.

One reason I was tempted into false belief on the cost of an individual recidivist scrote is personal impact when they have crossed my path.  Our former next-door neighbours were so damaging on our lives that I should have killed them at the start and done the time – I’m a bit ashamed I couldn’t have lived with the guilt.  In more recent times, our grandson and many others have been terrorised over two years by a 15 year old piece of vermin.  Action and attitudes amongst the relevant authorities has improved, but the ease with which such scrote can ruin victims lives remains as was.  How does one cost such stuff as finding a grandchild on suicide sites?

The devastating impact of these shits on people forced to put up with them is so massive I can imagine 4 or 5 of them costing us more than EU membership.  The truth is that we are very reluctant to spend the money needed to prevent crime fucking the lives of victims.  12 quid each a year is peanuts, even in dealing with the part of crime committed by the male, high-rate offenders.  Yet the peanuts add up to us not having a university of the air – or whatever.

The 15 year old I mention first came to light in our street waddling about in his nappies.  A decent neighbour used to take him in.  He caused so much trouble at his junior school he was transferred to the one our grandson attended.  He needed a firm hand, but I quite liked him at this time.  He lasted almost no time at all at secondary school as was sent to one for behaviourally disturbed kids – only to be such a problem there parents started to withdraw their kids – he will be excluded.  A six week custodial had no effect and his crimes include burglary and blackmail.  The story is long and he has probably done years of damage to other kids.  One ‘answer’ could have been to evict the family, but not only would this have punished the rest (decent enough) of the family, they were able to evade this by putting in to buy the house.

Loads is written on all this - https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/208804.pdf - is an American example.  My own feelings on discovering my grandson’s terror concerned killing the source of the problem – I’m almost non-violent.  When I did warn the scumbag off he caused £500 of damage to our car.  I accept that we give up personal retribution, prevention and vendetta for good reasons..  Even Hobbes knew that.

We can ask what it would cost to do the best we can for the 15 year old lout.  He could go to a semi-secure boarding school – cost vast.  This would, of course, remove the cost burden from our grandson and 50 or so others.  A major feature of our CJS is that it defrays costs onto victims.  Decisions are made in cash not pain – and in devolved budgets.  And we should consider that paying out for facilities to perpetrators feels lousy.

It costs a fortune to sneeze these days.  The amount we probably need to spend on the people who commit most of what we consider crime is probably so massive we can’t afford it.  Instead we have  CJS that tries to keep the lid on and a lottery attitude to being a victim. You’re lucky if you win the money lottery and it’s just tough luck if you ‘win’ the victims’ one.

The financial cost of dealing with problem families is so vast one has to wonder whether giving them the £500K with plane tickets to Bulgaria would be better.  Looking ahead of being able to marshal facts, I’d say most already written is likely to be cloud-cuckoo-land posturing.  I’m sick and tired of ‘project solutions’ set up with no clue how to put intensive care operations into the financial mainstream.  I currently believe we are ignoring paid work as an answer.

We need some imagination – so imagine this.  We do some charity stuff to buy some tractors and such (plus the means to fuel and maintain them etc.) and take them to rural India to boost agricultural production.  Before getting carried away, you need to think that this excellent idea might end up killing peasant farmers and their families made redundant by the technology.  This warning applies well to crime thinking.

Cost of Crime (1)

In most of my life, economics has been the main reason for not being able to do what I wanted to – from lounging on Caribbean beaches during an England Test tour to getting a European project to help some local kids off the ground.  In the smaller sense of business costing, costs have generally stopped me in my tracks.   Given money is really just plucked from thin air this seems odd.  When it finally dawned on me mos of this plucked cash goes into a bookmaking scam I gave up on economics.

It is estimated that a male high-rate chronic offender on average would impose an annual cost of £18 ($29) per U.K. citizen or a lifetime cost of £742 ($1,185) per U.K. citizen.  This from:

http://jrc.sagepub.com/content/50/1/53

Money expressed like this makes no sense.  It costs each UK citizen £74/year to be in the EU – so four bastard chronic offenders cost each of us as much as EU membership.  Nigel Farrage probably thinks the EU does us more damage, but much as I want the smoking ban lifted, I don’t.  If we could cull only 100 of these shits we could pay our way in 24 varieties of EU – not everyone’s choice in using the money!  I bet it might be enough to get a university of the air off the ground.  I could write the business plan that killed this lot off in return for bounty equivalent to their known cost and build this modern university.  Fees would be about £2K a year for non-science graduate programmes offered to all on an international basis.  I like enterprise solutions to crime, and not much is more criminal than than sticking kids with $100K debts for the opportunity to regurgitate some limited textbook material into a degree certificate.  I’d offer local businesses the chance to host social, sports, art, theatre and discussion events for our students – based on student social networking and organisation.  Electronic library and resource board – all that’s missing is the overhead (60% of charges for a bit of toss-art in the vice chancellor’s lodging).  The International University of Killakrook?

I hope, in rough approximation, this gives you a real idea of the costs of crime.  No one in their right mind would want 24 EU memberships, but would anyone in their right mind really want 100,000 recidivist scrote preventing 1000 innovative start-up businesses every year?  For this is the status quo of our madness.

I see crime and its costs as much wider than this.  Just now I need to find someone with a subscription to the journal with the £18/year per person in the UK figure.  There are 65 million of us.  65,000,000 times £18 is more beer than I could drink in a lifetime.  The research is from Cambridge – maybe they can’t count?    I rarely see social research that can be taken at face value.  £1300 million a year to keep a scrote criminal?  I suspect it’s nearer £1 million – but in principle my figures above work – we just need to kill the crooks 130 times faster.

From the actual paper:

This crime cost is calculated using the following formula with the high-rate
chronic offender group as an example: [2.5 percent (prevalence of male highrate
chronic offenders)  31,118,895 (2011 U.K. male population) ¼
777,972 (total population of male high-rate chronic offenders)  £59,760 (average
cost of a male high-rate chronic offender) ¼ £46,491,606,720/62,698,362
(2011 U.K. total population) ¼ £742 per U.K. citizen]. The annual crime cost
is calculated by dividing the lifetime crime cost by the number of years of
offending data available in the study (41 years).

Sorry abut the loss in electronic translation.  You should be able to tell how easily I’m lead up the garden path reading academic stuff.  It rarely makes itself clear.  I thought these people (before I got the full paper) were saying each of us Brits were coughing up 18 quid for each of these high rate chronic scrotes a year.  In fact each of us is paying 18 quid for all three-quarters of a million of them.  So we pay 4 times more to be in the EU.

This is still a huge amount of money – roughly £1300 million.  Remember this is nowhere near the annual cost of crime in the UK.  The paper is quite interesting and has a lot of further references.

online 16 December 2011
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 2013 50: 53 originally published
Alex R. Piquero, Wesley G. Jennings and David Farrington
“The Monetary Costs of Crime to Middle Adulthood : Findings from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development”.

Aggregate total costs of crime (in the United States) have been estimated to be between $1 and $2 trillion (O’Brien 2010), which is likely an underestimate of the total costs because this includes only known crimes and excludes many whitecollar/corporate crimes whose costs are in the mid-billions to low trillions.

The language that had me confused was this:

It is estimated that a male high-rate chronic offender on average would impose an annual cost of £18 ($29) per U.K. citizen or a lifetime cost of £742 ($1,185) per U.K. citizen.

However, pushing on, it seems there are nearly 778 thousand (2.5% of the male population) of these high-rate chronic offenders amongst us at any time.  On self-reported crime they claim nearly 40 offences for one recorded.  I could not establish how many of them are in jail at any given time – but the proportion must be low when we only have 87,000 banged up from our total population.

Back of a fag packet style let’s say just short of 40,000 of them are banged up – that’s about a 20th of them or 5%.  If we really are cutting crime in this group and all the others, it seems we lack information on why.

 

 

 

Crime May Not Be Falling At All

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/163144/story-prison-population.pdf.pdf

The number of people in prison has more or less doubled since 1993.  Police recorded crime has more or less halved in this period.  The linked document gives some of the reasons for the rise in the prison population.  The only one that seems to matter is that courts are trying more serious offences against the person.

One can understand that creeps in prison have less chance to commit crimes against us and so crime might drop, but wouldn’t we expect the drop in crime to lead to lower volumes through courts and caution systems at some point?  In some ways one might expect declining crime to lead to a declining prison population, those on probation, doing community service and so on.  One might also expect the recidivist population to decline too.  Judging on what happens in the courts this isn’t true.

In 2011/2012 68,100 out of 108,119 offenders with more than 15 previous convictions, some 62.9%, received a penalty other than prison. This was compared to 49,729 in 2006/07, an increase of 38%.

So with crime declining year on year the prison population and the numbers of recidivists getting non-custodial sentences is rising.  The number of convictions offenders have is rising a lot too, with 44% having 15 or more on the rap sheet.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/162610/criminal-justice-stats-dec-2011.pdf.pdf

There has been a fall in out of court disposals (cautions, fixed penalties).  I don’t get fussy about precision until I think I have a correlation model.  I can’t get past the notion that a real fall in crime should lead to a fall in criminals being convicted.  Clearly this may not be a straightforward relation, as banging up recidivists might well reduce crime while the useless creeps are banged up.

I know police crime stats are juked – they always were.  All developed countries show a big drop since around 2000 and no doubt nodding, skewing, cuffing and fitting play a role.  Performance management itself has been on the rise in the public sector and a lot of pressure is put on the people doing it year on year.  One of my old universities simply lied on the employment figures for its graduates (it was me who taught the poor sod with no data how to do this – pick a figure just above the national average and work the spreadsheet backwards – they still do this).

The way police figures are going we will have no crime in 12 years.  One would suspect there must be a point at which the prisons would be empty of all but lifers and the few bobbies left fighting over rescuing kittens from trees.  This, of course, isn’t going to happen.

With crime down roughly 50% it seems amazing our cops have got so good at finding it that they are still getting as many crooks as ever in front of the courts or other means of disposal – after all you might think they would only have half the opportunities to spot bodies to nick.  My own thief taking was pretty random and I suspect would have dropped more than half with only half the opportunities (one gives up through boredom) – at least in uniform.  So where does the steady stream of jail fodder come from and why do they have more convictions than ever on arrest?

If we have more criminals committing less crime one would expect them to have fewer convictions on arrest.  Given the idiots who commit most crime we might expect doubling the prison population to reduce crime by 50% – though this assumes one scumbag is not simply replaced by another.  On this “model” doubling the prison population again would more or less eradicate crime.

Criminals inside don’t commit crime in society – that’s rock solid.  So twice as many locked up might be a fit with a 50% reduction in crime.  But what is the relation between the actual criminal population size and the relevant prison population?  I doubt we ever have half of them banged up.  Say it’s one in ten and we double that.  All of a sudden the ratios collapse in any simple form – we still have 80% of them in society instead of 90% – so crime would drop only 10% or so on the simple model.  Of course, those left among us might be substantially deterred – but we should remember recidivists are slow learners if they learn at all.

Remember, many corporations increase profits and top manager earnings simply through accounting devices and tax stealing through offshore transfer pricing and offshoring jobs to gain global wage arbitrage.  Police accounting is quite possibly as bent.

It makes sense to me that the availability of criminals to bang up and otherwise dispose of (I like the term ‘dispose’) is because there is plenty of crime.  There is certainly enough for the criminals themselves to have bigger rap sheets than in the past (up from 9 convictions to 15 in a few years).

One needs a dynamic model of crime to know whether it is going up or down.  I work with statistics for a living and intend no unpaid overtime here.  The production of a decent model is someone else’s job.  i’d want paying.  The question is why some overpaid ex-student of mine in some government department or criminologist hasn’t produced such a model.  There will be work comparing police recorded crime with the British Crime Survey – but both of these are subject to abuse, the latter done on the cheap.

There is clearly a point at which, if crime is really falling, there will be few criminals left to catch and a fall in jail numbers and those in front of courts or otherwise disposed.  This is obvious before we get clever with numbers.  In the States they’ve been jailing people for fun, personal profit and generally being black or brown.  Their cops have been reducing crime figures for years too and their prison population is four or five times ours – without reaching the obvious mutual decline above.

I don’t know at this stage what I would include in a crime model spreadsheet – what I have in mind would render the BCS obsolete and be much cheaper.  Essentially we need to correlate police figures with courts, jails, probation and money estimates of crime.  We could create an online BCS-type check.  Anyway no one is paying me so I’ll just say my guess from police, court/other disposal and jail figures is that 43 chief constables are lying to us about crime.  And the government is wasting loads of our money producing useless figures.

We should really expect crime to rise because of austerity, pressure on welfare and immigration (French cops hate Romanians).  I’ve used approximations here,  but what I’m saying in principle holds.

I’d take recording crime out of police hands – after all its mostly clerical-routine – this would partly stop the gaming-juking – but also improve service delivery.  I don’t normally like privatisation but a bit of customer choice might be good on ringing the law.  Nah! Scrap that – they’d start trying to sell us life insurance.  We could try something like this:

http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/351275/1/13socm09_ByrneEvans.pdf

Crime might just be down because we have most of the prolific offenders in prison – if this is the case we’d expect it hard for cops to reduce crime much further.  A pile of considerations can be found here:

http://www.sastudyoffending.org.uk/Journal2006.pdf#page=34

The latest ONS – in which I discovered BS is now CSEW is here and says the crime drop is real:

http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?as_ylo=2013&q=british+crime+figures&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

The ONS work does point to some of the problems in believing police recorded crime from a different tack than Steve Bennett.  While it isn’t hard to believe crime will fall by banging crooks up, we need more sophisticated analysis.  I’d start by asking the criminals.  I know they are lying bastards but there are ways.  That and the cops on the line.  A small straw poll suggests criminal activity is moving – from burglary (too risky) to borrowing from shops and stealing cash in public places.

Police and Corporate Corruption Off the Gatsby or Max Keiser Scale

Those who enjoyed Gadget and the brilliant Night Jack could take a look at this site - http://www.upsd.co.uk/

Here, you will find a microcosm of the Swamp, Reservation and Everglades in a single West Yorkshire police station – Killingbeck.  I’d say, on language analysis, the site is run by former cops and journalists.  Pedophiles, a voracious female officer, thieves, Jimmy Saville‘s driver, senior cops who regularly lose case files and so on make up the story of this nick.  I’d apologize to any decent officers working out of this hole, and will when I see any giving evidence against the goings on.  I suspect one already tried and they fit him up for an assault.

Evidence is very tough to establish even when one has the relevant authority and resources.  The story in West Yorkshire is of – er – West Yorkshire getting to investigate – er – West Yorkshire.  The Incompetent Poodles of Constabulary Corruption (IPCC) don’t seem to have got in and done anything, though they barely report what they do these days and leak rubbish to the press as in inspiring national riots.  UPSD post the new police commissioner as a big part of the problem.  I can only say their blog rings true and I suspect most forces are as bad.

To understand these matters better we need to widen our view.  Our cops are unlikely to be worse than our general society – on work experience I still trust cops ahead of academics.  The C/Super caught shagging the C/inspector was taken out by the sergeant who lived with her, the C/inspector by the super’s former cop wife – all very ‘Swamp’, very incestual – except there were no arrests.  The shagging was newspaper fodder.  The important stuff is that we have lost (or never had) any sensible ways to prevent corruption in all our organisations (I work for myself and it’s still tough!)

Our regulatory bodies are designed not to regulate, not to weed out crooks and incompetence.  There’s a good example by Graham Smith on the IPCC written years ago (google) that gets to the nub.  You can’t let people investigate themselves or make decisions on what gets investigated.

Neo-liberal politics more or less gives up on regulation and investigation, leaving markets to sort out the crime on the grounds of consumer choice.  This is dumb as consumer choice is very limited, whether in terms of buying cheap clothes made in sweat shops about to burn down, or in reporting a sexual assault to a nest of pedophiles, complaint file losers and Jimmy Saville veneration club.  I drive a VW knowing a former CEO used to fly a prostitute favourite first-class from Angola to Paris.

What I’d favour is test-purchase/mystery shopper stings across our organisations and some strong legislation on transparency – including punishments for people who lose evidence from CCTV and so on.  We have banks telling us they don’t know where money has gone, CEOs who didn’t know what was happening (but want to keep pay and bonuses) and massive stealing of tax money and money laundering.  We could stop most of the corruption without the sky falling in.

I think Peter Fahy has made a positive difference with less resources in GMP.  We still don’t know why shagger Todd was so well thought of and have no clue why similar banksters are worth so much of our money or why so few white-collar crooks go to jail.  I’d bet Fahy would do the job for 6 times (Plato’s recommendation) the recruitment pay of a PC.  I know I could find enough cops at every level at Plato’s rates of pay.  The value of our local bobby far exceeds that of any banker I taught or know.  We need to understand the wider corruption and unfairness to understand why all our organisations are protecting their Killingbecks, selling us horse-meat (its rat as lamb in China and poisoned baby milk) and lie in cover-up at the drop of a hat.  Jimmy Saville was on the radar when I was a cop 30 years back.  We did some extra-judicial work on some of his mates.  Beatings were fairly common – I preferred to get them for something else I could stand up in court.  Against the highest standards I failed – but I can’t remember a single officer I should have reported and didn’t.  Most (not by me) who were reported should not have been, and cops who did make complaints were bullied.  Plus ca change – except in spades?

UPSD may have a great deal right.  News from Cleveland contains a standard excuse on missing CCTV (and back-ups).  Imagine what bank and corporate lawyers and managers allow to go missing when it can take months or years to get warrants for the evidence.  The outcomes across current corruption are the same – very few banksters, very few bent cops in jail.

One can imagine a solution.  We could stop the useless recruitment and selection processes of “great leaders” and go for sortition – roughly qualification by exam and experience to a list and rolls of the dice for appointment.  The lot would stop much cronyism.  We’d need to do something about royal routes through private schools and elite universities and find genuine ways of recognising work achievement for qualification.  We seem to be destroying integrity across our organisations.  On complaints, the IPCC should already have conducted sensible research.  Typically only 6% of complaints are upheld.  A small sample, rigorously investigated, could tell us whether this unlikely figure is real.

The Great Gatsby is a novel about pathetic desire for an empty woman and money lust.  Max Keiser puts over a more credible ‘Radio Moscow’ message of a world run by bankster terrorists void of any integrity.  That we find this being acted out in a single police station with senior cops in sauna sex trists, fitting up their own, selling and using drugs, perverting the course of justice, shagging children, losing evidence and raising a wall of silence that should bring the ‘Untouchables’ raining down on the place – well it raises questions on whether anything has changed since celebrities were getting away with regular abuse and how far we have all fallen as yet more authority figures tell us ‘lessons are being learned’.  One wonders too, why Gadget had nothing to say on such and whether he knew which end of the whistle to blow.  My post should end with a statement that most cops are good people and the rest.  The shame of it is I don’t think any of us are.  We lack the system to be good in.  The basic problem is that we have UPSD reporting, but evidence from investigation is not put forward for public scrutiny even when we get the investigation.  Even people prepared to follow the evidence can’t when it isn’t revealed.  Hillsborough has demonstrated depravity by our authorities, press and idiot sections of the public.  The scandal underlying international banking is much worse.  This threatens democracy itself.

I don’t really care if a couple of senior officers get up one another in a sauna.  Their business unless they expect us to pay.  I’ve turned a blind eye.  Volunteering a week’s pay to charity and record expunged after 12 months sounds about right.  What would we expect of a Deputy Prime Minister doing much worse?   The real problem is some lad or lass on the shopfloor gets wacked for much less and that serious breaches of trust and law are covered-up.  Anyone thinking the police system impenetrable (away from the Killingbeck unlovely) needs to get out more.  Academe, the professions and bank and corporate accounts are much worse.  Most of us know about the blind eye, white lies and ‘there but for the grace of god go I’.

There are many malicious complaints, lefties who don’t realise the great plan failed in China and the USSR, righties with no clue that austerity is a Black Death solution in the third world and education has failed.  There are arguments about everything,  Did you know Britain was really behind Hitler as part of a plan to waste Germany and the USSR on each other?  The book is called ‘Conjuring Hitler’ – I got bored on lack of promised evidence.  We have known since the pre-Socratics that powerful arguments can be made for almost any view.  The key is evidence (though there are arguments this is not the case) and honesty in collecting and presenting it.

Anyone who has worked on a reasonably complex fraud or murder enquiry knows how tough it can be to collect, collate and present the evidence even before lawyers and judges ply their trade and various levels of disclosure.  Lab experiments can be more complex – but we have at least fucked the lawyers off.  In most social situations the actual evidence is not presented to us.  You must have seen banksters saying they have to get and pay huge salaries.  In 20 years teaching and researching in business schools I have seen no evidence for this at all.  Police forces regularly say there is no corruption problem or only a small one.  I see no evidence to support this.  The main reason in both cases for the lack of evidence is the lack of sensible and impartial investigation.  There is almost nothing that can be taken at face value.  Banksters and rich Harvard professors of moral philosophy point to soccer stars and their massive fees – so two wrongs make a right?  Soccer could bring in a salary cap.  So could banks.  When cops claim CCTV didn’t work or evidence has been lost – well this could be true.  But evidence here would be statistical – are cops regularly claiming evidence has accidentally gone missing and more often when their case might be contradicted by it?  Are the 160 amended statements at Hillsborough an exception or is this regular practice?  None of 17 civilian witnesses at Stockwell heard ‘stop armed police’ shouted – what’s the statistical likelihood?  The chance of me shouting that when about to shoot a suicide bomber is zero.  Tap, tap and explanation afterwards.  There is, at the same time, no evidence most of our cops are bent.

The point across social issues is evidence is being withheld from us.   We take positions without the very stuff that would make them reasonable.  We vote on ‘the economy’ and know no economics.  Some are anti-CO2 but can’t explain likely models of climate change (one of the latest is cloud seeding by cosmic rays – science not clown fiction).  Economists of mainstream ilk based theory on rational man – a joke in biology – and debt being irrelevant (now an agony).   Blair tells us he is sound with god (which we can’t check) and asks if we would rather Saddam was still in power.  One suspects those Iraqis in the death count we don’t have might rather be living – and in any case we could have sent men ashore to achieve no Saddam.  One can argue we went to secure the oil – or that we went to keep the price up.  I increasingly think we live in a world denied evidence.  Our protest politics is UKIP – yet the EU only costs us £74 each and on the Swiss-Norwegian model we’d pay as much after leaving to remain in the trade area.  Of course, one might vote for them to repeal the smoking ban, curtail immigration and register how sick we are with the three main parties.

Pity John Prescott wasn’t elected a police commissioner.  They might be repealing the farce by now.  Two Jags outside the sauna, compliant chief inspector … we’d be better off with Max Keiser running the show.  If you watch you’ll see he only pretends to be mad.  The real psychos are running our organisations.