BimetalismBen Bulger was a silver man,
Though not a mine had he:
He thought it were a noble plan
To make the coinage free."There hain't for years been sech a time,"
Said Ben to his bull pup,
"For biz—the country's broke and I'm
The hardest kind of up."The paper says that that's because
The silver coins is sca'ce,
And that the chaps which makes the laws
Puts gold ones in their place."They says them nations always be
Most prosperatin' where
The wolume of the currency
Ain't so disgustin' rare."His dog, which hadn't breakfasted,
Dissented from his view,
And wished that he could swell, instead,
The volume of cold stew."Nobody'd put me up," said Ben,
"With patriot galoots
Which benefits their feller men
By playin' warious roots;"But havin' all the tools about,
I'm goin' to commence
A-turnin' silver dollars out
Wuth eighty-seven cents."The feller takin' 'em can't whine:
(No more, likewise, can I):
They're better than the genooine,
Which mostly satisfy."It's only makin' coinage free,
And mebby might augment
The wolume of the currency
A noomerous per cent."I don't quite see his error nor
But fifteen years they gave him for
That technical offense.(Ambrose Bierce, Shapes of Clay, src)
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Or 'Bimetallism', as the debate used to be in the days of precious-metal standards.
Friday, February 18, 2011
"If you vote for a mainstream candidate who is top of the ballot in the first round, your other preferences will never be counted," [the Prime Minister] said."But if you vote for a fringe party who gets knocked out, your other preferences will be counted. In other words, you get another bite of the cherry. I don't see why voters of the BNP or Monster Raving Loony Party should get their votes counted more times than supporters of the Conservatives or, for that matter, Labour or Liberal Democrats." (src)Now, I've dealt with this issue before (posts passim), but it's only fair to have another bite of the cherry. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Although actually, I'd like to take issue with the first part of the Prime Minister's statement, which is a new one from the 'No' camp. Because at least in theory, there is nothing stopping the candidate who comes top in the first round from eventually getting knocked out. So although your candidate comes top in the first round, it may still be that eventually some of your other preferences come into play. And even if not, your ballot has played a part numerous times (as I have explained before) in keeping your candidate in the race, which is in many ways nicer for you than seeing your preferred candidates keep getting knocked out of the process. So a supporter of the Big Three will see their first choice stay in the process longer (and thus have a better chance of winning) than someone who only supports fringe parties. To me, that seems completely unproblematic.In the interests of an ostensibly balanced approach to the question, let me take issue with something the Deputy Prime Minister said as well.
"It is because there are so many MPs with jobs for life that there are so many who can take their constituents for granted,” [the DPM] said."And it is because there were so many MPs taking their constituents for granted that so many abused their expenses. When a person is corrupt, they should be punished. When a system makes corruption more likely, it should be changed."In fact, there wasn't a very strong link between either the majority or the tenure of an MP and their likelihood to have abused expenses, except in the sense that longer-serving MPs had had longer to rack up dubious expenses claims. The original blogospherical study which claimed such a link was swiftly shown to have been a statistical artefact, and no further work, to my knowledge at least, has produced any kind of statistical link between any given property of an MP and their expenses claims.Of course, in spite of my attempt to be balanced, readers will be aware that I do intend quite strongly to vote 'Yes' in the forthcoming referendum: I am all in favour of widening consumer choice, and cannot see why I should abandon that principle when it comes to the ballot box. It puzzles me that people who share my preference for wider choice are so frequently against changing to a ranked system, while people who tend to oppose wider choice are so often in favour.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
If you want to maintain a blogging career, I have learnt two lessons.
- I can recommend a PhD: easy hours, regular pay, regularly thinking about all sorts of things anyway, and opportunities to chat with colleagues thus sharpening arguments and critical thinking are only a few of the benefits.
- I can't recommend graduating without a proper contract of employment: working two jobs to keep body and soul in roughly the same location is not conducive to having the time to think up new and interesting things to write about.