Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Guardian - ignorant again.

Is any painting really worth $179m?

Sarah and Tiffany scream at each other, ignoring, across the hardly-crowded bar of Comment is Fatuous, the public. Sarah is, apparently, a "cultural sociologist", while Tiffany has the job that rightly belongs to Brian Sewell* at the Torygraph.

They add:

Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) set a new world record last week for the most expensive painting sold at auction

What they fail to realise is that value is purely in the eye of the purchaser, or potential purchaser. That's it. All of it. The definition of value. To the purchaser, who almost certainly doesn't care what a fundamentally unimportant pair of British metro-ignroant harpies decide.

On a personal equivalency, I've paid a couple of hundred quid for various bits of debris this month, much to Mrs SE's disgust. Admittedly, they are 4.6 billion year (a few 100,000 years less for some of them) debris so I think I have a point. Her opinion varies.

Would I have paid staggeringly large amounts of cash for that Picasso? No. Even if I had the wodge. Which I don't. Would I have sacked my entirely hypothetical investment portfolio manager if she had? No. Because she isn't interested in art. She's interested in gain after tax.

* Who is, actually, for all the acerbic front, a really genuine bloke. Well, not "bloke". Possibly "chap".

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Christians should resist persecution without violence

Dear ++Cantur,

Whilst I understand the theological derivation, even certainty, behind your message, can I politely suggest that reality will generally say "Sod that for a game of victims"?


Surreptitious Evil.
(A clerk under minor holy orders.)

Monday, February 09, 2015

Now, I got this completely wrong ...

BBC headline:

"Lawyers bite over 'Left Shark' model"

So, there's me thinking some lawyers complaining about some other lawyers new form of sales strategy which describes the participants as sharks.

Nothing so amusing. Instead, it's a rather boring IPR thing about Katy Perry's Superbowl show.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Politicians. Why are they so ignorant?

Okay, so there was some politician* ranting on the Today programme about how utopia would arrive when she became Lord Protector (I think.) Anyway, the usual spend, spend, spend (costings to be explained in our manifesto in March) but this wasn't, definitely, not, a manifesto for the 2015 General Election. No way.

Anyway ...

One of her key points was "to raise the Living Wage to £10 per hour". Now, this is pig ignorance of the highest quality, and went unchallenged by the leftists on BBC Radio's flagship programme. Demanding that, or stating that they would, increase the Minimum Wage, that would be logical, if not necessarily sensible.

However, the Living Wage is a measure of what you need to be able to spend to not be considered poor. It is a combination of Purchasing Power Parity rates and social expectations (Adam Smith's linen shirt example.) Raises the Living Wage is a matter of general inflation and changes in social attitudes, not political diktat. In an ideal world, the Living Wage should be very low (although as social attitudes and spending expectations change, it is unlikely ever to go below Minimum Wage levels, whether legally enforced or set by the markets.)

If you assume that the Living Wage Foundation, who have taken this over from the Joseph Rowntree Trust, spend reasonable care in their calculations, then this probably is a better guide to an aspiration wage (remembering in work benefits) although I'm still more convinced by Tim's arguments about the difference between the taxed Living Wage and a putatively untaxed Minimum Wage (both at current rates.)

* Google suggests it was Natalie Bennet. This means that what she is actually talking about is the maximum wage anybody can afford to pay once Green Party economic policies have been widely implemented. 
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