Infra­struc­ture con­fer­ence in West­min­ster Tues­day 24th

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A new organ­i­sa­tion called NEKS (for “New Eco­nomic Knowl­edge Ser­vices”, see is hold­ing its inau­gural con­fer­ence on the eco­nom­ics of infra­struc­ture In West­min­ster on Tues­day Jan­u­ary 24th, and you should attend.

Why NEKS, and why Infra­struc­ture? The eco­nomic impor­tance of infra­struc­ture is obvi­ous, but the actual per­for­mance of infra­struc­ture often dif­fers rad­i­cally from what is pre­dicted when it is being planned. Three forms of delu­sion make many infra­struc­ture projects far less ben­e­fi­cial than expected by their pro­po­nents: the com­plex­ity of exe­cu­tion is under­es­ti­mated, the ben­e­fits are over­es­ti­mated, and ben­e­fits are also cal­cu­lated poorly using dodgy eco­nomic the­ory.

These are pre­cisely the sort of issues that NEKS was formed to address. NEKS’s objec­tive with this con­fer­ence is to pro­vide a real under­stand­ing of how com­plex­ity and uncertainty—including the impact of actual human behav­iour and institutions—affect large pub­lic infra­struc­ture projects. These issues are sim­ply not ade­quately con­sid­ered by the cur­rent “cost-ben­e­fit” method of eval­u­at­ing projects, which relies heav­ily on main­stream eco­nomic con­cepts of mar­ginal cost and mar­ginal util­ity.

For exam­ple, HM Treasury’s sup­ple­ment to The Green Book (the bible for eval­u­at­ing gov­ern­ment projects) talks about the need to con­sider ‘non-mar­ginal eco­nomic impacts’ (which is almost the whole point of infra­struc­ture invest­ment), and to take into account ‘endoge­nous pref­er­ences’ (the fact that peo­ple change their micro behav­iour when the macro world changes around them). This sup­ple­ment fol­lowed the deba­cle over HS2, when the pur­ported strate­gic case based on trans­form­ing north­ern economies was totally divorced from the eval­u­a­tion of eco­nomic ben­e­fits, which were based mainly on try­ing to quan­tify the increased util­ity expe­ri­enced by lots of peo­ple sav­ing bits of time trav­el­ling.

Both Trump and May are por­tray­ing them­selves as “infra­struc­ture lead­ers”, but they will only prove to be so if their projects work and deliver on time. The chances that they will instead be White Ele­phants, deliv­ered too late with inad­e­quate or even neg­a­tive returns, are high unless the real-world com­plex­i­ties of devel­op­ing and deliv­er­ing infra­struc­ture are prop­erly con­sid­ered.

NEKS’s con­fer­ence at the pre­mium County Hall venue in West­min­ster will take a real-world look at the UK’s infra­struc­ture plans. Vince Cable, the lead min­is­ter for indus­trial strat­egy in the Coali­tion Gov­ern­ment and an advo­cate for new eco­nomic think­ing, will kick off the con­fer­ence. A Min­is­ter should speak about infra­struc­ture and the Government’s freshly minted indus­trial strat­egy Green Paper. Ann Pet­ti­for, who suc­cess­fully led the Jubilee 2000 cam­paign to for­give the debts of the world’s poor­est coun­tries, will speak about the financ­ing impli­ca­tions of infra­struc­ture.  Brid­get Rosewell, a National Infra­struc­ture Com­mis­sioner and def­i­nitely a new eco­nomic thinker, will be giv­ing a keynote.  The ever con­tro­ver­sial hedge fund man­ager and Hayek fan, Crispin Odey, will add con­trar­ian spice to pro­ceed­ings (he was one of the few peo­ple who saw the Crash com­ing….. and shorted it).

There will be an inter­est­ing com­bi­na­tion of cre­ative, strate­gic and ana­lyt­i­cal thinkers attend­ing from many areas of life to dis­cuss these issues with.

If you’ll par­don the pun, I am keen that as many of you that fol­low this blog and under­stand the need for new eco­nomic think­ing, are there and I’ve per­suaded NEKS to offer a 50% dis­count on the cost of the con­fer­ence. Go here to get more infor­ma­tion. I will def­i­nitely be there from 2pm onwards (teach­ing respon­si­bil­i­ties pre­vent me attend­ing for the whole day). I hope to see you there.


About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.
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  • Bhaskara II

    The basic income is a big idea with a pedi­gree. It owes its roots to Thomas Paine, the 18th-cen­tury rad­i­cal, who in 1797 pro­posed pay­ing all 21-year-olds a £15 grant funded through a tax on landown­ers. Since then it has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of many a philoso­pher, but until the past cou­ple of years never gained much polit­i­cal trac­tion beyond the fringes.”

  • Bhaskara II

    Pro­fes­sor Keen,

    Are you, or would you be in the mar­ket for a really cool sun­dial for 12 or 20 euros? This is one of the finest designs I have seen. It is quite accu­rate and reads off nor­mal clock time with min­i­mum error. No, 15 minute error due to earth’s ellip­ti­cal orbit. {I read on twit­ter your giv­ing up apple watches.} 

    Func­tion: The pro­jected sun spot rests on the map’s place on earth that the sun is above, And, the nor­mal clock time is read using the fig­ure 8 hour marks, called analem­mas.* The date is read on the par­al­lel lines. The sun enters the open cir­cle and projects to oppo­site side.,48916#tab_bar_2_select

    The small sur­mount­able prob­lem is a dial should often be designed for it’s location’s lat­i­tude and lon­gi­tude. **

    Look­ing at the photo this one can be adapted for Lon­don quite well. And, it is inex­pen­sive. To you, the map on it should be right side up, but reflected! By the 12 noon mark it looks like it might be one hour dif­fer­ent than Lon­don.

    I don’t know who the orig­i­nal man­u­fac­ture is.** But, I think it is in Ger­many. If it could be found you could get one for your spot. Maybe a cus­tom model can be obtained at the link below for 13 euros. This one is above is 20 euros, so it is a good price. I think they used to be 100 euros cus­tom for the loca­tion. The beauty of the design allows inex­pen­sive print­ing man­u­fac­ture.

    To adapt the one above: It should be in the same exact ori­en­ta­tion in (3d space) in its new loca­tion on the planet as the ori­en­ta­tion it would be at the loca­tion it is designed for. (Earth rotate.) It’s pole should be aligned with the north pole and the time adjusted turn­ing it on the earth’s pole axis (twist on Polaris axis) it to the proper time. I could put more thought or research into the cor­rec­tion, to do it eas­ily. It could also be rested in a sand box or on a bean bag. If adjusted right one might resin the sand under it. Or, a base with screws. I was think­ing a north south wedge might be good enough but not per­fect for an hour dif­fer­ence unless one just added the dif­fer­ence of an hour. Once adjusted the bot­tom could be ground to the cor­rect angle (dif­fi­cult to get right with­out expe­ri­ence).

    In its designed loca­tion one would set it on a level sur­face and twist it to the cor­rect time and date. The pole should then match the earth’s. And it would work all the time.

    google images: analemma sun­dial

    Time zone map:

    ** This blue one might be cus­tom printed for the customer’s loca­tion and it is only 12 euros. Don’t know if the photo is just a sam­ple photo.–4000-06-Solemio-Zylinder-Sonnenuhr/dp/B003BZTBZ6/ref=sr_1_23/254–6126660-4305629?s=watch&ie=UTF8&qid=1488691982&sr=1–23&keywords=Der+Untergang–4000-06-Solemio-Zylinder-Sonnenuhr%2Fdp%2FB003BZTBZ6%2Fref%3Dsr_1_23%2F254-6126660–4305629%3Fs%3Dwatch%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1488691982%26sr%3D1-23%26keywords%3DDer%2BUntergang&edit-text=

  • Bhaskara II

    Here are two exam­ples of dials that read clock time, with out the map. 

    They both gives the celes­tial zodiac dates. Strait line in the mid­dle is equinox, and the out­side hyper­bo­las are win­ter and sum­mer sol­stices.

  • Bhaskara II

    Pro­fes­sor Keen,

    The sun­dial can be eas­ily adjusted for Kingston by stick­ing a spacer to the bot­tom of it to tilt it toward the cen­ter of Ger­many.

    It was designed for the cen­ter of Ger­many and the instruc­tions give the adjust­ing pro­ce­dure for other parts of Ger­many. It can be extended to Lon­don. It will then read the time­zone in Ger­many and stick­ers can used to make time match the Lon­don time zone by chang­ing the hour num­bers. Tem­po­rary stick­ers are bet­ter for test­ing.

    Basi­cally, it is tipped toward the cen­ter of Ger­many by the angu­lar dis­tance it is away. The direc­tion (azimuth) and the of angle of tilt to the cen­ter of Ger­many can be got­ten from a great cir­cle cal­cu­la­tor online. If one gets a nau­ti­cal mile dis­tance divide by 60 nmi/degree to get the cen­tral angle of the arc. which = degrees tilt. It will then be in the same ori­en­ta­tion as one in Ger­many.

    Its a lit­tle dinky thing 50mm. The design loca­tion is marked on it.

    Man­ual p. 11~13:—–Anleitungen—–/43.4000_g.pdf—–Anleitungen—–%2F43.4000_g.pdf&edit-text=

  • Bhaskara II

    The fol­low­ing will make it eas­ier to ori­ent and an extra check but is not nec­es­sary at all. As the instruc­tions tell if one has date and time it ori­ents to north. And, if you have north and date you get time. But, if you have no watch and north and the rough date it will give time. As per instruc­tions.

    If you order one and it is easy add a cheapo tiny com­pass to stick to it. And, a cheapo cir­cu­lar bub­ble level for the mount­ing sur­face.

  • Bhaskara II

    Pro­fes­sor Keen or Lon­don­ers:
    Con­clu­sion Sun­dial for Lon­don:

    This accu­rate 50mm x 43mm sun­dial will work in Lon­don quite well if adjusted for the angu­lar dif­fer­ence with Ger­many. The dial should read clock time accu­rately. A spacer needs to be stuck to the bot­tom; to tip it 6.81 degrees toward the cen­ter of Ger­many where it is designed for. As per, the dial’s instruc­tions.

    It is inex­pen­sive and the adjust­ment pro­ce­dure for Lon­don has been pro­vided. I was try­ing to fig­ure out the adjust­ment above but here is the final method.–4000-13-Solemio-Zylinder-Sonnenuhr-orange-/182035441626?hash=item2a622867da:g:wHMAAOSwG-1WzwVk

    The adjust­ment is to stick a spacer on the bot­tom. This is to tip it toward the cen­ter Ger­many, 6.81 degrees in the 89.33 degrees direc­tion from the map’s North. This is almost due East. Its map will read cor­rectly, And, the time will be Ger­man time. But, it has two time scales, so, one scale will work in Lon­don part of the year. This is the exact pro­ce­dure in the sundial’s adjust­ment instruc­tions for the time adjust­ment in Ger­many extended for London’s dis­tance.

    It will then be aligned in space, as if in Ger­many, as Lon­don is tipped away from Ger­many on the Earth. 

    The cen­ter of the map of Ger­many is seen in photo linked. Third cir­cle is marked 3° degrees from cen­ter of Ger­many, where it is designed for. This map with angles from the cen­ter of Ger­many is for adjust­ment for the cities marked. (Lon­don is 6.81 degrees.)

    One time scale will be cor­rect dur­ing day­light sav­ings time’s, “fall back”, scale in the sum­mer in Lon­don. (It has two sets of hours one will be cor­rect for Lon­don for part of the year, the other set will need to be cor­rected. Use tape or stick­ers at first for a few months. It is easy to make a mis­take.)

    The instruc­tions of the sun­dial and it’s trans­la­tion are linked above. If the trans­la­tion looks over­writ­ten on your screen too, copy the text to a word proces­sor and it will be clear.

    Cal­cu­la­tion work shown (for par­tial credit): 

    Accu­rate sun­di­als are designed for their posi­tion on earth. 

    You do not need to recal­cu­late unless you want to do it or want to do it for the part of the design posi­tion marked on the dial and not in the photo (If my assumed lat­i­tude dif­fers a lot). (Lower right.) I got the lon­gi­tude from the dial photo. Time is more time sen­si­tive to lon­gi­tude than lat­i­tude. My assumed lat­i­tude is from what google gives of as the cen­ter of Ger­many, as the dials design lat­i­tude spec­i­fi­ca­tion is not in the photo. My cal­cu­la­tion should work pretty well. Using the lat­i­tude (not pic­tured) from the actual sun­dial and it should work per­fectly.–4000-13-Solemio-Zylinder-Sonnenuhr-orange-/182035441626?hash=item2a622867da:g:wHMAAOSwG-1WzwVk

    Angle of Lon­don from Ger­many com­puted by great cir­cle route. Divide nau­ti­cal mile dis­tance by 60 to get degrees.

    408.3 NM Kingston from Ger­many
    89.33° Map head­ing toward Ger­many

    408.3 NM /60 [°/NM] = 6.81 great cir­cle degrees from Ger­many

    51.4031134, –0.306125 Kingston U., Lon­don
    51.0778516, 10.5 Ger­many

    Posi­tions obtained from google maps and photo of sun­dial.
    lat1=51.4031134 lon1=-0.306125 Kingston
    lat2=50.9825233 lon2=10.5 Sun­dial design loca­tion

    Posi­tions are entered into sec­tion, “Cal­cu­late the great cir­cle dis­tance between two points” of the fol­low­ing link:

    Dis­tance but­ton is clicked then the draw map buttion is clicked.

    Spare check of cal­cu­la­tion using other cal­cu­la­tor:

  • Bhaskara II