Blanchflower and Bell

David Bell

Professor David Bell (@DavidNFBell)
Says, I have been providing policy advice to the Scottish, Westminster and Irish Governments including work in relation to youth labour … with the UK Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Minister of State for Employment, Secretary of State for Scotland …

Sherlock Holmes and the Strange Case of the Dogs Who Won't Bite

Are you simply amoral or utterly immoral if you suppress an idea that you expect would reduce unemployment? How much worse is it if you are an economist in a position to influence or even direct public policy on unemployment?

it would be perverse if the banks didn't fund SMEs as a result of implementing this

In the socialising after a lecture in Stirling University I sprang the idea on the economist Professor David Bell of linking banker income tax to unemployment — an idea the subject of many tweets between myself and Professor Danny Blanchflower. In my impromptu presentation and Q&A of the idea with the little, standing knot of imbibing academics Bell unconsciously nodded along in agreement with my conclusion, "it would be perverse if the banks didn't fund SMEs as a result of implementing this".
As far as I'm aware none of those nodding professors in that little group in September 2013 have made any public comment on the idea.
Bell refuses to even acknowledge emails on the subject, or respond to tweets to @DavidNFBell — so not even a bark from this one. Pity, I'd really like to know if he mentioned the idea he thought would reduce unemployment to David Cameron, who he says he provides with advice on eh …, now what is it …, oh yes, unemployment; I invite all readers to email him and ask exactly that.

The lecture was by Professor Blanchflower which I attended to see if I could get a straight answer rather than the stonewalling on Twitter he'd been giving me on this linkage idea — before he'd read the full proposal he'd been against the idea, after he read it he was silent.

I was virtually in the front-row for his lecture and was among the first to put a question.
Its odd that me saying, "What effect on SME finance would there be if bankers top-rate of income tax was dynamically set at 10 times the percentage level of unemployment?", prompted a protest that he couldn't give an, "on-the-fly" answer; as if he'd never heard the idea before.

He gave another lecture about a year later — unfortunately I couldn't make it, so I've written this instead.
Hello Danny.

Who's afraid of the wolves

Good boy!

Danny Blanchflower

Professor David Blanchflower CBE (aka Danny @D_Blanchflower)
Says, I am a part time Professor of Economics

The real non-biting event worthy of note is the way both Bell and Blanchflower avoid biting the banks. Which is why Danny (@D_Blanchflower) is afraid to have a bite at me; to engage in debate saying the idea won't work would expose both theirs and the banks throats to laceration.

Twitter quote

If you follow @D_Blanchflower, you'll see he argues with just about anyone, he enjoys biting the throats out of the many lunatics, right-wing trollumnists and politicians — those often being distinctions without difference — throwing neo-liberal propaganda, and I've argued against them as he has; I don't remember throwing him a biscuit but he still follows me on Twitter.
It's worthwhile repeating a conversation between the two of us from June 2013 — three months before the lecture where he made out the idea was new to him.

Twitter quote

12:36 PM - 14 Jun 2013

Twitter quote

12:39 PM - 14 Jun 2013

you dont give up do you

Take much to shut me up? Just say why its "unworkable". Remember Darling's Banker Bonus Tax. A reply containing an answer :)

how do you police it - surely bankers can find ways around it we know incomes policies dont work

implies bankers pay zero tax. Remember Alistair Darling's Bonus Tax? That worked.

NOT an income policy - you tweeted a similar idea on Oxbridge admissions…

so why not just repeat Darling's tax - how is your idea better?

CHRIST! Are you kidding me? Have you actually read Front page explains it in a couple of paragraphs!
Also, I've answered this before, you don't *have* to police a feedback mechanism, that's why they are used!!!!! :)

so if the idea is so great why isnt everyone doing it?

The couple of paragraphs are a couple of Headings down :)

ok i will read

Thank you. :)


If you read, you haven't said.


Did you read it?


Danny, what's the problem? "Audacious Growth Policy for Right Wing Nutters & Hippy Lefties" Read it?


Its now been one whole month Danny. How long does it take you to read stuff?


He was against the idea until he actually read it properly and understood it, then he was completely silent on it. If you follow him on Twitter you will eventually come to know this is how he operates — if he can't counter an argument he simply falls silent.

We must conclude then that he thinks the idea works.

What sort of bastard does that make him if he knows of an idea that will get people into jobs, but refuses to acknowledge it?

SME Lending kickstarts Growth

Danny and I are in complete agreement, if banks provide honestly priced finance to SMEs then this will kickstart growth in the whole economy.

I can make a forecast, if you get bank lending to SMEs you'll get growth.


Not the first time anyone's said this of course, but its good to get widespread agreement on this fundamental.

… an outrage small firm lending has not been fixed - Posen & I have been pushing this for years & still nothing

As Danny is a Labour Market economist, even if you haven't seen any source where he makes the link, its not a difficult deduction to make that the reason for fixing "small firm lending" is to fix unemployment.

There is a great deal of evidence on the negative impact of credit constraints on SMEs see … …

I remember him reacting one day on Twitter, in one of the many arguments he has with people, as if I was opposing whatever stance he was taking, Danny, I said, I think we agree on everything except

Monkey see, monkey do

I wonder where Danny got the inspiration for this idea from?

If Oxbridge does not start to take in smarter kids from poorer backgrounds it should be taxed heavily — a disgrace

Are you suggesting a feedback mechanism between tax and performance?

The trap I'd set him was obvious, and he'd no trouble seeing it.

there is no argument available to counter this implication without sounding stupid or being dishonest

No argument available

So Danny is saying, Tax Oxbridge heavily until they start.
Then what? Remove the tax when they start? Reapply it when they revert? Doesn't seem sensible.
Reduce the tax a bit for some intake, and a lot for a larger intake? Yes.

If he accepted this as a description of what he was proposing he'd have to also accept a feedback metric attached to banker income tax would give economic growth, but there is no argument available to counter this implication without sounding stupid or being dishonest.
He chose to be silent.

Bankers reduce their income tax by reducing unemployment; which is achieved by fixing "small firm lending", which Posen and he have been pushing for years but still nothing — a disgrace.


Even I was surprised to discover, when deflation became a possible threat, that my idea prevents and solves it, but it is a Panacea!

Again we see Danny foreseeing my obvious intent, this time he answers!

Would forcing QE money out of banks into real economy resist deflation?

i assume that is a trick question....with your usual follow-up!

Well its a question; you won't answer because you know would force QE money into the economy. Yes/No?


Well he replies but then he proves me right by not answering the actual substance, and its very similar to his non-response (if there can be such a comparison between things which didn't happen) to his Oxbridge tax proposal.

Reasoning & Reasons

So if you've no reasoning, you must have reasons, I've said to him a few times. What are those reasons? I've asked, but he refuses to reveal them — why the sudden, strange inability to argue his case on this subject, why so little bark and no bite?

Playing nice

Being the fair minded man I am, I informed Danny I was writing a "prickly" article about his and Bell's silence, and asked him to provide some reasoning, and gave him an extract of this document answering all the points he raised above, but there was no reply from him.

Harry Alffa
I'm writing a prickly article about you and David Bell, centres around your refusal to give any intellectual arguments.
Care to sink it before I even publish it?


Yet again he balks at intellectual engagement.

The banks are to blame

Its that simple.

Bell on accountability

Bell says of accountability in, The Scottish Budget under the Smith Proposals, Having a direct stake in the performance of the Scottish economy and facing the fiscal consequences of policy decisions.
Taking out the word "Scottish" and applying that statement to the banking sector pretty much sums up my idea, but Bell is silent on applying this idea to banks but happy to prescribe it for the Scottish Parliamentary Government.

There have been no fiscal consequences for the bankers who's policy decisions crashed the global economy. Why are economists protecting bankers from feeling the fiscal consequences of the unemployment they've caused?

The hand that feeds

Economics Division at Stirling Management School

… Staff within the Division have undertaken prominent work in a number of areas including, Money, Banking and Finance

Screen grab illustrating quote

Well isn't that telling.

Of course Danny doesn't provide any reasoning against the idea because he has none, and to engage in debate would reveal this.

So no reasoning, but what then are his reasons for being against the idea?
I say the banks provide him with nice little earners he doesn't want to lose, and the banks also provide a great deal of funding for economics departments in all major universities around the world.

There is no doubt that the banks would fight tooth and nail against this idea.

There is also no doubt that if an economist being fattened by fees from banks supported this idea, the banks would stop their cash line and probably their department's — and perhaps try to have them sacked, like the BBC did with Professor John Robertson.

So Danny isn't biting the bankers — good boy! — even though this would restore the country and remove the need for food banks.

Its still corruption

Its still corruption not do the right thing out of fear you, or your university department will lose funding. Get over that by stopping universities from hiding their fiscal relationships with the financial sector; they keep it secret for a reason, and its nothing to do with the crap they trot out as reasoning.

Economics departments continue to turn out economics students who go straight into the banking sector, enabling them to apply an academic veneer to the cardboard construction they use for their continued ripping of wealth from the real economy by fraud.

Economists in favour of the idea?

Occasionally there are "unorthodox" economists who make favourable noises

- brilliant stuff. First time I've seen it. A great simple solution.

Good plan for the real economy. Doesn't deal with debt directly. Needs bankers to understand what they are doing. They don't.

Very good in linking top with the middle class. Shared sacrifice, shared benefits of a working economy. Good concept, message

Harry Alffa
It has enormous & far reaching consequences (for the good) in changing banker mind-set; so they start to understand.

If enacted, yes. But even if promoted, the message is worth hearing. Get lending into the real economy.

Harry Alffa
Yes! Just getting the idea out there, & have it talked about seriously will impact the banks.
Great minds think alike!

Harry Alffa
Most valuable personnel in banks become those investing in the real economy; least valuable the traders (harming economy).


Harry Alffa
Its so obvious, but I'm continually surprised that so few see it!

Harry Alffa
I obviously caught @DavidNFBell on the hop in conversation, & he agreed it would work. Absolutely refuses any written comment

But strangely there is no follow up from them. Indeed The Renegade was brought to heel by Stephen Kinsella, where, without any change in the facts, he agreed I was a "bit of a headbanger"!

You would think that as IDEAeconomics instantly saw the positive consequences of even just talking about it they would at least be doing that, if not actively promoting or writing research papers on it. Instead there is complete silence from them, maybe you could contact them and ask, let me no if you get more than the silence they furnished me with!
It is astonishing that though IDEAeconomics agreed with my mindblowing assertion, Most valuable personnel in banks become those investing in the real economy; least valuable the traders (harming economy), the organisation has done nothing about it!

Just because you declare Economics is Broken or call yourself a Renegade, doesn't mean you don't look forward to fat fees from banks.

Danny blocked me on Twitter while I was writing this; when I said this article would have to be filed under Truth, Liars, Lies & Deceits

The phrase "completely corrupt and corporate controlled media" has been proven even to the readers of it by HSBC's links to the 'quality' national newspapers.

Questions & Protestations Answered

I've answered Danny's, "So why not just repeat Darling's tax - how is your idea better?" as well as his other questions, plus others, here.