For all intensive purposes

For all intensive purposes

Johnson’s wry note suggested replacing “one fell swoop” with “one foul swoop”. Macduff wails in Macbeth, “Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? What, all my pretty chickens and their dam, At one fell swoop?” Shakespeare is using an avian metaphor to compare the murder of Macduff’s wife and children to a hawk suddenly swooping down on defenceless prey. Surely “one fowl swoop” is to be preferred?

Professor Michael Mainelli
Emeritus Professor
Gresham College
London

7 August 2021 – https://www.economist.com/letters/2021/08/07/letters-to-the-editor

E-taxes

Mike Godwin’s law of Nazi analogies states that as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. A corollary adage might be that as an economic discussion grows longer, the probability of creating a new form of taxation approaches one. Your leader on the rise of e-money violated this proper economic discussion by creating no new tax (“The digital currencies that matter”, May 8th). In fact, tax got no mention at all.

You summed up well the positive aspects of central-bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Yet government-issued fiat currencies are deeply entwined with tax (fiat currencies are arguably just tax credits). CBDCs provide new tax-collection powers. Complex taxation algorithms can be applied to any CBDC transaction in real time. Once people realise the power of CBDC systems to support various taxation initiatives at low transaction costs, we should expect avalanches of proposals: town taxes, child-noise taxes, sugar taxes, alcohol-consumption taxes, foreign-visitor taxes, and so on.

In 2016 I gave an example of such a CBDC-based tax to the House of Lords. Given widespread sentiment that London is too overweening, imagine a populist redistribution tax whereby transaction taxes rise in wealthy districts. To bring about levelling up, politicians increase the taxation rate as you approach Trafalgar Square, up to 99.9% beside Nelson’s Column, or spend your money in the Outer Hebrides at 0.1% tax. Technology cuts two ways.

Professor Michael Mainelli
Executive Chairman
Z/Yen Group
London

29 May 2021- https://www.economist.com/letters/2021/05/29/letters-to-the-editor

Opening Up The City

What a week! The Lord Mayor and the Civic Team had the privilege of continuing to ‘open’ the City. During the week of 12 April we participated in a significant number of events showing that shops were open. During this week of 17 May we participated in a significant number of events showing that hospitality locations and clinics were open. Just on Monday we ‘opened’ a hormonal replacement therapy clinic, an especially ‘green’ dental practice at the edge of recycling everything possible, Tower Bridge’s visitor centre, the Barbican, two pubs, a drinking club, and a hotel reception overlooking the Tower for the Central London Alliance.

Of all these, perhaps the most telegenic was Shepherd Neame brewery bringing up a dray and horses to go from Mansion House to one of my favourite pubs, a haunt for 40 years, and one of the oldest pubs in the City (1610, present premises 1666). The Lord Mayor and our host, Chief Executive of Shepherd Neame, Jonathan Neame, led the dray through the City streets, ‘guarded’ by two panting Sheriffs straggling behind, for there was no room at the ‘inn’.

And here you can see the amazing things that emerge from behind horses’ backsides from time to time…

Pret-Tea-In-Porter

Well, the Elf went home, the weather warms, and all good brewing seasons must come to an end. We managed to squeeze in a final batch. This time it was a porter, although my nephew Sean points out, strictly, they should always be a porter. At 6.8%, it packed a punch, fermented on coffee and barrel-matured on cocoa with a touch of cinnamon and ginger. After 10 days of fermentation and a month in the barrel we cracked it last night (anzapfenned it as we say in our household).

Continue reading

Two Nights At The Old Bailey Watching Movies – “Life Is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung Heroes”

“Life is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung Heroes” is a documentary film by Sir Nicholas Stadlen, former judge of the High Court of England and Wales. He captured the personal experiences of the last remaining trialists and their defence lawyers, sharing the human stories and the legal arguments used in the Rivonia Trial. A wide team of people organised a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for participants to understand the complexities of the times and to engage with Sir Nicholas Stadlen, who had much to share that did not make the final cut. Then we had a ‘second in a lifetime’ event…

Continue reading

Elfbräu

Since September, our lovely niece, my German goddaughter, has been stuck with Aunty and Uncle here in London. As she is a fan of Harry Potter and cooped up in the spare room ‘under the stairs’ (well, more accurately ‘beside’ them), she was rapidly dubbed our ‘house elf’ by those of us of the Scooby Doo era. Upon learning that she was untutored in the ways of beer (and German?!, have my in-laws some peculiar form of non-home-schooling???), naturally I resolved to educate her. Digging deep down at the back of our fifth floor garden shed (sic) I pulled out the old beer-making kit which had tutored my own children in the ways of fermentation and spoilage. Thus, in a spirit of cooped-up covid-19 entrepreneurship, a new business has been born…

Continue reading