Heathwick is Impractical – It would take more than 15 minutes

Name me any city to city High Speed Rail route anywhere in the world which has 5 terminus’s at one city and one at the other end.  None  Its impractical.  You would have a terribly complex series of acceleration deceleration and merging/demerging of traffic.  Yet that would be necessary as having one route on a loop servicing 5 stations would be required to slow down and stop at each, and an HSR is not like a tube, loading and unloading takes some time.

How then can the Government consider that an HSR linking Heathrow to a two runway Gatwick is practical, even for a moment?  It is claimed that the transfer time would only be 15 minutes, but how to you load and unload at Heathrow?  The only practical solution would be to have a single HSR terminus at Heathrow and then distribute the traffic to terminal via some kind of people mover.  But this will add 10 minutes to the journey time, +15 minutes HSR time +10 minutes Headway, its creeping up to 35 minutes.  This means there is zero time advantage over a new hub north of Cotwolds/Chilterns solution on the existing or rerouted HSR route.  A route which could have three airports along it former RAF Gaydon (which has space for a four runway hub, is on the M40 and would be served by HSR (if slighly diverted) and the Chiltern Line, Former Coventry Airport site and Birmingham International.

Justin Greening calls for an end to ‘pub conversations’ about airport capacity.  But the classic dremt up in a pub by civil servants who dont know about the operational requirements of HSR solution is Heathwick.

Multiple Own Rates of Interest – Does it matter in a Monetary Economy?

There has been a very good discussion over the last few months about the argument promoted by Sraffa (though first used by Fisher) that because each commodity will have its ‘own’ rate of interest it is not possible to assume a single ‘natural’ rate in the economy.  This on its face not only undermines Austrian Business Cycle Theory but all work in the Wicksellian tradition including Woodfords brand of New Keynsianism which has been so influential to Central Bankers.

Here at Daniel Kuehn’s blog. Here (with many comments) on David Glasner’s blog.  Here is an older comment on “Lord Keynes” blog. Bob Murphy also has a paper (pdf) and JP Koning has a contribution as does Daniel Kuehn.

An own rate is the difference in price of the same commodity between two points in time. But passage of time will change the commodity.  Strawberry seeds will grown into strawberrys over several months and will rot to zero value over several days.  At each point in time they will be different commodities.   We therefore need to consider production and the money needed to put the commodity into production.  This will require consideration of costs of storage & carry.

Lets consider an ‘own rate’ as a rent of money saved or created to bridge the inter temporal price gap between T0 – the input price-  and T1 – the output price-  when the produced commodity will be sold.

Lets then consider a toy model that for every commodity there is a bank solely financing that commodity.

A loan by a bank to finance the commodity purchase will be on the assumption of a sale price at T1. They will make more or less profit dependent upon the accuracy of their forecast.

Wheat yield at T1 will depend upon the risks of a bad harvest and will built into the price of credit.

If there is a bad harvest the equity of the bank will decline and their ability to lend for production of that commodity will fall. If there is a run of bad harvests the equity price of the bank will fall against risk adjusted assumptions.

An investor then – in a toy model where the only investment opportunities are single commodity banks, will attempt to form a portfolio of different banks to hedge risk over the yield period of their investments.

Now widen the model so that banks could not only loan against their single commodities but also to purchase other peoples bank investment portfolios. This will then produce a single ‘money market’ interest rate.

So can we say ‘so what’ for multiple own rates then? Can we say it doesn’t matter in a monetary economy?

No – because different commodities will have different responses to changes to the ‘money’ interest rate.

If interest rates are lowered then production will become profitable for processes with high own rates/high risk rates and vice versa. This creates the conditions for speculation and overinvestment in some sectors (which wont always have a lot to do with the time structure of capital – but this is a much more complex point)

If all own rates were identical then we have a speculation and arbitrage free economy – not the real world.  But differential profits and own rates drives the dynamics of the economy.

Neighbourhood Planning and the Failure of Spontaneous Order #NPPF

Today Planning Aid and the RTPI launched a website designed to act as a forum and means of interchange between forerunners and other groups.

The golden rule of launching websites is dont launch them before you have content.  This has nothing not available on the DCLG website.

It lacks on the step by step introduction to neighbourhood planning – as in the DCLG funded CPRE guide, and the latest news sections lacks the key latest news – Dawlish, and the lessons from that.

Part of the whole ideology of Neighbourhood Planning is that it will spontaneously fill the gap in planning and housing numbers caused by the planned revocation of regional plans and so many local planning authorities revising their housing numbers down as a result.  Greg Clark et. al. have given endless speeches to this effect.

It is polyannaish nonsense with no evidence to back it – quite the opposite.  It is driven as in so many areas of policy formulation by neo-liberal ideology rather than evidence.  Notably in this case Hayeck’s theory of ‘spontaneous order’.  This concept has a grain of truth – that centralised state interventions can be inefficient – as long ago stated by thinkers of the libertarian left such as Proudhon.  But this alternative strand avoids two key errors made by neoliberal ideologies.

Adam Ferguson described the phenomenon of spontaneous order in society as the “result of human action, but not the execution of any human design”.  But Neighbourhood Planning is a result of cooperation and collective design not individual human action.  So the the whole sociological basis of the Neoliberal approach to planning is undermined.  ‘Planning’ is attacked as a bad thing for not being spontaneous, but local/neighbourhood planning is far from spontaneous.  It requires structured information, evidence and lack of uncertainty so as not to require bureaucratic intervention.  It is this lack of certainty which pervades neighbourhood planning.  Again the ideology is they will work it out, but without information and process we get chaos not certainty and a failure to move forward together at speed.  Information and the levers of power are pulled by those with wealth and influence to which small local groups will always be at a disadvantage unless the public sector explicitly provides the information, expertise and process needed.  If this is not funded it will not move forward.  As Neoliberal ideology says it cannot be funded as the priority is to protect rentier income of the few and cut public spending quite simply neighbourhood planning will stall as local planning authoritiy budgets are squeezed to zero as the Graph of Doom advances.

The only way to reconcile neoliberal ideology with neighbourhood planning is to assume a position of minimising harm.  The idea that states do harm because they are big and powerful so minimise this through undertaking planning at the lowest level possible.  Of course this minimise harm position will also minimise gain by marginalising neighbourhood planning to shaping the small, scattered and non strategic.

The success of Neighbourhood Planning is therefore incompatible with Neoliberal Ideology and can only be made successful by abandoning these assumptions in the shaping of policy and support provided to it.

Windfarms ‘the one objection that is not dishonest? It is: “I don’t like the look of them.” Damien Carrington


So what’s the one objection that is not dishonest? It is: “I don’t like the look of them.” As I have reported before, I accept that argument is a valid one in some locations, though I’d note the planning system already turns down plenty of wind farm applications and that more community ownership could resolve the stand-off. But accepting the argument that an “ugly” wind farm should not be built also requires accepting the fact that it will raise energy bills.

Here here.  Days, sometimes weeks of evidence is spend on reargusing issues of national energy policy which are irrelevant and out of the scope of the inspector’s powers.  The arguments are confusing becaus the political discourse on this is confusing.  But published policy has not changed and is clear.

If these were national infrastructure projects inspectors would be tough, outside of the scope of the inquiry.  So why not be similarly tough at T&CP Section 68 appeals?  Why not simply rule out of order all and every piece of evidence relating to energy policy, subsidies and energy prices.  All that is relevant in planning terms terms relating to output is carbon savings.