Tom Foale’s “QuantumChoices” twitter thread on economics of “Brexit – Whose Interests?”

[This post also available as a pdf: https://sciencepolice2010.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/quantumchoices-tweets-to-adam-asking-whose-interests-using-comparative-economics-04.pdf ]

On August 3rd 2018, Tom Foale Twitterering as @tfoale : “QuantumChoices”, gave a vivid economics-graphics-based series of tweets, replying to “Adam”. I have not been able to locate the tweets in TF’s twitter feed, so don’t know Adam (…from Adam!) but the thread can be found here:

https://twitter.com/tfoale/status/1025630498431926272

I got it from https://twitter.com/CatharineEdwa 5th Aug, who got it from: https://twitter.com/WritersFrock/status/1026294387477635072 . WritersFrock later tweeted: https://twitter.com/WritersFrock/status/1026471805417078786 :

[Happy to show image attributions when I discover them. Inform me by comments to this post.]

TF’s QC twitter thread starts here:

Replying to @wehden07 @pete_at_tweet @DeborahMeaden

Adam, let me present you with some comparative economics, and then you tell me whether ANY Tory (and I was one) has your interests at heart. I’m going to compare the UK with our partners in Europe. Firstly, we WERE the fifth largest world economy. Remember that.

Despite that, we have one of the highest levels of poverty in Europe.

Map showing London richest in EU while some UK provinces poorest.

Map showing London richest in EU while some UK provinces poorest.

Wealth is the LEAST equally distributed. By a very long way.

Chart showing staggeringly high UK wealth inequality, and getting worse 2000-2015.

Chart showing staggeringly high UK wealth inequality, and getting worse 2000-2015.

Where does all of that wealth go? Well, the UK has the highest property prices and rents in Europe.

Average monthly rental costs for apartments in European cities 2015.

Average monthly rental costs for apartments in European cities 2015.

The Tories would love you to believe it’s due to immigration, but the truth is that we are strictly average in the number of immigrants per head, and those states cope.

Gross inward migration by EU countries 2012.

Gross inward migration by EU countries 2012.

The truth is rather nastier. The Tories strongly represent a class of income-earners called rent-seekers. Adam Smith, one of the fathers of modern economics and free markets, said…

Adam Smith maligning landlords (note: not all landlords are evil!)

Adam Smith maligning landlords (note: not all landlords are evil!)

Rent seekers like income that comes from owning property, not doing work, and includes finance. As soon as rent-seekers have dominance they have the perverse incentive to limit the supply of housing to drive up rents and house prices.

Adam Smith on oppression of poor, monopoly of rich, highest in countries going to ruin fastest.

Adam Smith on oppression of poor, monopoly of rich, highest in countries going to ruin fastest.

This diverts capital from growth-creating production businesses, because people can earn more from owning property. This leads to underinvestment in R&D and automation.

UK lags behind on R&D 2016.

UK lags behind on R&D 2016.

We are below average in industrial robots per head, for example. This leads to the UK falling behind.

Industrial robots per 10k employees by country - UK not in top 21.

Industrial robots per 10k employees by country – UK not in top 21.

We have declining productivity compared to the rest of the G7 – the northern Europeans could take Friday off and still produce more per week than a brit:

Declining UK productivity.

Declining UK productivity.

…the rest of the world (particularly Asia) is catching up fast, and this leads to the lowest wage growth in Europe.

UK joint bottom with Greece for wage growth 2015.

UK joint bottom with Greece for wage growth 2015.

We also have the worst pensions:

Comparatively miserable UK state pension.

Comparatively miserable UK state pension.

So it doesn’t look like the EU is the source of the UK’s problems, does it – when every other EU nation is better off? Could it be our own government that is to blame, of which JRM is one of the most self-interested?

Adam Smith showed, in his book “The Wealth of Nations”, that all wealth is created by production, by companies and people like Deborah [@DeborahMeaden] risking their money to invest in them.

Adam Smith says wealth created by producers for their own interest.

Adam Smith says wealth created by producers for their own interest.

In a normal country there can’t be more rents than there are production profits and workers wages to pay them. However, we are not a normal country. We invented the offshore tax haven and trust fund system, a product of anglo-saxon law.

Panama Papers revelation of money laundering.

Panama Papers revelation of money laundering.

The City of London became what it is from managing wealth, not creating it. It manages wealth on behalf of companies and individuals around the world. Mostly legally, because of our EU anti-bribery and anti-money-laundering laws.
https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/criminal-justice/anti-money-laundering-and-counter-terrorist-financing_en

However there is a link between the City and the seamier side of these offshore trusts that is exposed in the documentary “The Spider’s Web”, http://spiderswebfilm.com , which is available on Amazon, free on Prime. And it links all of the pieces of Brexit together very nicely.

Offshore tax havens now look after around $50Tn in assets in secret trusts. Fifty thousand billions. Now if the City earned just 1% for managing that money that would be $500Bn. Easy money, no need to worry about workers.

The Russian Money Laundromat exposed.

The Russian Money Laundromat exposed.

This offshore system attracts tax avoiders, money launderers and despots (did you know that Africa owes 200bn but African despots have almost a trillion in offshore funds while their people starve? If you want to reduce immigration, give the African people their money back).

So that is the link between all of the key players in Brexit. They all benefit from offshore secrecy. Farage, Arron Banks, the ERG group of MPs, Putin and his oligarchs, US billionaires, UK media moguls. The British public has been fooled by some extremely rich, very toxic people

Now those people have persuaded you that we need to build a commerce wall around the UK to keep out those nasty EU types with their regulations, despite it being very easy to prove that this is an EXTREMELY bad idea.

Retweet of @tfoale’s own earlier tweet:
[Dear BBC, you are confused. Here’s a simple explanation. Leaving the Common Market/Customs Union is like building a wall all of the way around the UK that costs people and businesses time and money to get over, in both directions. Those costs are trade barriers. ]

This is based on a very fundamental misunderstanding of economics. They are cargo-cult economists, having belief in ‘free markets’ with no understanding of how they really work. Not that Labour, or even classically-trained economists, are any better.

Retweet of @tfoale’s own earlier tweet:
[Libertarianism is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of free markets. The ideal free market is not ‘free of regulation’. It’s a market which perfectly balances supply and demand based solely on the self-interest of its participants, GIVEN that certain assumptions hold. ]

So please, recognise that these old Etonians are NOT acting in your interests, the Tories are NOT the party of business and fiscal probity, and the UK is being cut adrift without a rudder to make a few rich ex-pat and foreign right-wingers even richer, at YOUR expense.

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