Inflation conquered (for some)

Date: 14 Mar 14
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St.
Burlington, ON Canada L7R 2B5
905 634 9538
For: Editors, The Economist, London, UK
Re: ” … bring down inflation … ” Mar 8, p. 41

Dear Editors:

Back to Economics 101, boys and girls.

You say, “[A 30% raise to their employees] would help to keep [inflation] from skyrocketing.”

More pay for no more production is, by definition, inflation.

A corrected reading of that hypothesis might be:

A 30% raise to one certain group, teachers, would help keep inflation from
skyrocketing for teachers but would increase it for another group, ie everyone else.

You are to write on the board 25 times, “More pay for no more production = inflation.”

Cheers,

F.

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Quebec’s Neverendum

Date: 15 Mar 14
By: Frank Gue, 905 634 9538
For: Letters, Macleans
Re: “The future of Confederation is not safe”, Editorial, Mar 24

No, and it never will be safe as long as Quebec is allowed to keep the Rest of Canada (the RoC) permanently on the defensive.

At a recent poltical meeting in Calgary, one speaker was the leader of the allegorical Separatist Party of Alberta (it would be Alberta, wouldn’t it?).

He jokingly assured us that he wasn’t out to break up Canada. Turning serious, he said that Canada will continue indefinitely swinging in the wind on Quebec’s hook until the RoC develops an “or else”. Quebec’s “or else” hook is their foreverendum threat: “Do this, that, and the other or we’ll leave”.

The speaker suggested an “or else” to the effect that the RoC should have a referendum. The question (a “clear question” of course) could well sound like: “Do you want to keep Quebec in Confederation at today’s tax cost to you personally of X thousand dollars per year? Yes or no?”

Such a move might well silence Premier Marois and her advisors for at least a while.

F.

Education: Rising cost vs. falling enrolment

From Frank Gue, Burlington:

For a small patch of 26 schools in Burlington I once formed a Criterion of Performance by dividing per-school EQAO results by per-school cost per pupil. This can reasonably be termed “Value per Dollar”.

There was a marked difference school-to-school. Since the schools all were in a nearly identical socio-economic stratum with very few ethnic or other confounding factors, I have (somewhat arbitrarily and subjectively, I admit), assigned the differences to school management, despite the fact that a principal has limited control over either cost or curriculum.

School reformers should ask this question, along with the inevitable mandatory question (seldom if ever asked by educators), i.e. “Why the difference? Can we learn from one another?”

Curiously, when I tried to do an update, the District 6 administration claimed that cost per school is not available and never was. The former is perhaps true, I wouldn’t know: but the latter emphatically is not true, because I have the cost figures on file from 2004. This demonstrates the furious opposition of many in Education to being measured in any way. As declared firmly and publicly by one Burlington Supt. of Instruction, “WE WILL NOT MAKE COMPARISONS!!!”

This illustrates how far this educator was from the real world; because EVERY improvement begins with a comparison.

Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St.,
Burlington, ON L7R 2B5
905 634 9538

Activist courts

Date: 26 March 14
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St.,
Burlington, ON L7R 2B5
905 634 9538
For: Editor, The Spectator
Re: ” … courts should not interfere with the will of Parliament, which is exactly what the court did.” Editorial, March 26

Dear Editor:

With all respect to the good justices of the Supreme Court, they are operating in a system based on a glaring conflict of interest, which is that the providers of a service should not be those determining the rules and financials governing that service.

Specifically, judges should not be part of the process of selecting judges. A fundamental of democracy, as defined in dictionaries, is that, as amongst Parliament, the Prime Minister, and the courts, the people (the Parliament) are supreme. The Supreme Court should certainly advise the government on such matters but emphatically should not have the final say.

There is a natural tendency for a craft or profession to develop a large, exclusive, expensive, impregnable organization that is unresponsive to the public who pays it bills and must use its results. Note just two such:

* National and international banks (e.g. the US Federal Reserve and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision) set their own banking rules and procedures. Before 2008, this allowed bank reserve ratios to become razor-thin which amplified their profits but which, provably, was a major cause of the 2008 meltdown. Worse, that allowed the banks to reap the profits but also allowed many big banks to offload huge losses onto the taxpayers, who had to bail them out because they were “too big to be allowed to fail”. Worse yet, these very organizations are now lobbying to permit their reserve ratios to sink back down from the levels to which they were raised after the 2008 crisis; they will probably succeed.

* Governments worldwide are struggling, with very limited success, to snatch back control of their education systems. The Education establishment has captured the process of determining what shall be taught, how it shall be taught, and what it shall cost. This establishment is so firmly in charge that it refuses to be judged by simple results such as, Can Johnny read (too often he can’t)? Any reader who can find the word “results” in any Ontario public education system statement of purpose or similar policy document should publicly congratulate the administration responsible. Lots of luck, because politicians up to the Ministerial level will admit privately that they cannot direct or control Education policy.

Similar conflicts of interest with varying degrees of influence are to be found in many places in the public arena.

Conflicts of interest, from pre-Biblical times forward, have been major contributors to the downfall of mighty civilizations. We need to take care.

Frank Gue

Memory and Altzheimer’s

 

From: Frank Gue <frank.gue@cogeco.ca>
Subject: Memory – “Diagnosing Dementia”, March 15
Filename: Economist re Alzheimer’s March 14
Date: 26 March, 2014
To: Letters, The Economist, London, UK

Dear Ed:

This is a suggestion for a subject for one of your excellent science and tech editors:

It’s commonplace to note that loss of memory is an unwelcome development with advancing age; but there is an interesting complexity that is worthy of study.

I’m talking to someone. I need a word. Not an unusual word – just a word. I can’t find it. Embarrassing pause. Maybe I find it but sometimes I don’t. Or I find it an hour later – or a week later, as it pops up unbidden. My brain was obviously working in it all this time, unbeknownst to me.

In conversation, someone uses that word. I recall it and fit it into the context instantly – in milliseconds or microseconds – without giving conscious thought.

So it’s clearly not a memory problem – the word was there all the time. It’s an access problem. And the access problem is two-way: quick and instantaneous incoming, slow, error-prone and clumsy outgoing; also a clear demo of the brain’s ability to identify a problem and work on it somewhere far in the background.

 

Malaysian plane missing

Hi, Gary.

 
Yes, possible.  Anything is possible.  
 
The actual likelihood that some event – such as this –  happened 
is the arithmetic product of the possibility and the probability.
 
The possibility that this is a terrorist or similar act is likely 90-100%.
 
The probability that it is a terrorist or similar act is likely 25 – 50% 
(my WAG)* and rising.
 
The actual likelihood it was a terrorist or similar occurrence is
therefore:  0.95 x 0.375 = 35.625.  But the use of five significant
figures in such a calculation is totally unjustified.  Let’s say there
is maybe a 1/3 likelihood.
 
You can use your own numbers and come to your own conclusion.
 
The probability that it will happen to your daughter’s flight is
likely <<1%, owing to endless confounding factors, all of them
pointing to “no”.
 
Cheers,
 
F.
 
* WAG = Wild-Assed Guess.
 
 
 

On 2014-03-14, at 10:04 AM, Gary Reid wrote:

?????  Possible?????

My daughter is on a plane from Shanghai to London as I write this!!!!!!

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Fwd: FW: TOM HENEGHAN EXPLOSIVE INTELLIGENCE BRIEFINGS
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 07:41:01 -0500
From: cecil mcray <nonelbc@gmail.com>
To: None Left Behind Corp <nonelbc@gmail.com>

Inflation definition – Economist Mar 8 p. 41

Date:       14 Mar 14

By:            Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
                 2252 Joyce St. 
                 Burlington, ON Canada L7R 2B5
                 905 634 9538
For:          Editors, The Economist,  London, UK
Re:           ” … bring down inflation … ” Mar 8, p. 41
 
Dear Editors:
 
Back to Economics 101, boys and girls.
 
You say, “[A 30% raise to their employees] would help to keep [inflation] from skyrocketing.”
 
More pay for no more production is, by definition, inflation.
 
A corrected reading of that hypothesis might be:
 
A 30% raise to one certain group, teachers, would help keep inflation from
skyrocketing for teachers but would increase it for another group, ie everyone else.
 
You are to write on the board 25 times, “More pay for no more production = inflation.”
 
Cheers,
 
F.