I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading.
Disclaimer: Reproducing an article here need not necessarily imply agreement or endorsement!
I’ve recently been arguing that the government should remove international students from the net migration target. You can read my letter to the Evening Standard below:
Bravo to the six Senior Tories who intend to vote for removing international students from net migration figures. The net migration target, like all state-mandated quotas, is folly, but including students in this measure is especially damaging. In her opposition to this measure, the Prime Minister mistakenly believes she can win the confidence of voters by appearing tough on immigration. But ComRes polling last year found that only 1 in 4 British people consider international students to be immigrants.
There is no justification for shutting our doors to some of the best and brightest from abroad, who typically stay here for three to four years, contribute billions of pounds to our economy (£2.3 billion in London alone), and create hundreds of thousands of jobs—not to mention taking British culture, values and business practices back to their home countries. The Prime Minister should listen to her colleagues and U-turn towards a global, liberal, outward-looking approach to migration.
Today, I wrote for The Telegraph on the same topic. You can read the full article here—and an extract below:
To succeed outside Europe, we'll need to strike up new trade links with China, India and the rest of the world. But as the Government lays the groundwork for post-Brexit trade negotiations, the Prime Minister’s insistence on including overseas students in the net migration target has left our potential trade partners bewildered.
Making it harder to study in Britain not only impoverishes our world-class higher education sector, it also hurts the Scotch distilleries who want to sell to India’s growing middle-class. Indian officials are baffled by attempts to close the door on Indian students.
We are already facing stiffer competition for international students from Asia as they become a bigger player in the market, and President Trump’s wide-ranging crackdown on immigration to America presents the UK with a chance to advertise itself as a prime destination for foreign students considering studying abroad.
"Capitalism is incompatible with the conservation of nature. Only the places with a strong state and restricted economic freedom can achieve high environmental quality ratings." These statements have been repeated so often that most people consider them true without giving them a slightest thought.
Although these theories usually only explain one side of the coin, there are at least two opposing theories:
- More development and greater consumption levels put pressure on environmental variables. There can’t be infinite growth in a world of limited resources. Economic freedom also means that companies do not take into account the ecosystems that they are destroying in order to grow their market share and profits. These views relate to political ecology and eco-socialism.
- Greater economic freedom entails greater development, which in turn leads to greater environmental quality because consumers demand it. Furthermore, the protection of property rights ensures that environmental externalities are minimized. This view relates to economics and study programs that combine economics and environmentalism.
To find out which group’s theory is closest to reality, we analyze data on economic freedom and environmental quality.What Does the Data Tell Us?
When we combine environmental quality data with economic freedom data, we see that the story is very different from what we are usually told. The countries with the most freedom are those with the highest environmental quality. There does not seem to be a trade-off between environmental quality and economic development — rather, it shows the opposite.
If we rank the countries from most to least free (by quartiles), we observe how the countries with the highest economic liberty ranking are the same countries with the highest scores in the Environmental Performance Index.
Source: Heritage Foundation. Yale.edu. There are no countries with a score lower than 35 points in the Environmental Quality Index.
The scatter plot shows how the relationship between economic freedom and environmental performance is positive. Each point in the diagram represents a different country.
Source: Heritage Foundation. Yale.edu
The regression analysis shows that for every one point increase in the Index of Economic Freedom, there is a 0.96 point increase in the Environmental Performance Index. The positive correlation could not be clearer.
However, the relationship between these variables is not static. In the end, environmental quality could deteriorate as a result of laissez faire policies in the long-term. To whether this is true, we examined the Environmental Performance Index with the average of the Index of Economic Freedom for the last 15 years. Once again, each point in the diagram represents a different country.
Source: Heritage Foundation. Yale.edu
We can observe how countries with greater economic freedom, throughout time, have a better environmental performance.Exporting Pollution
One possible criticism of the argument presented here could be the following: the countries with greater economic freedom — and the most prosperous ones — are “exporting” their polluting industries to the less free third world, while keeping non-polluting industries in their country. Large companies based in the first world would take advantage of the failed governments of the developing world, polluting there what they are not able to back home.
To see whether this is true, we would expect that the countries with a large influx of foreign direct investment to have a bad score on the Environmental Performance Index. However, this is not the case.
Source: World Bank. Yale.edu
The criticism seems to lack evidence. The relationship between both variables is non-existent, the level of foreign direct investment fails to determine the level of environmental performance. We cannot confirm that free — and rich — countries export their pollution by relocating companies to less free countries. However, we can confirm that greater foreign direct investment “exports” good environmental practices to developing countries.
If we analyze foreign direct investment from countries with a very high environmental performance — above 85 points in the index — and countries with a very poor environmental performance —below 50 points in the index — we see that the former hardly invests in the latter. Less than 0.1% of foreign direct investment from “cleaner” countries goes to “dirtier” countries. Of the 25 “clean” countries, 14 do not have a single investment in “dirtier” countries. Out of the remaining 11, only one exceeds 5% of its investments towards “dirty” countries. Only two countries allocate more than 1% of their foreign direct investment to the “dirtiest” countries.
Source: OECD. ONU (Unctad.org)
In short, countries that destroy the environment do so alone or with the investment of countries that also destroy their environment. Most of the investment of “clean countries” goes towards other “clean” countries. Pollution is not “exported” from rich countries to poor ones.What About Investment in Mining & Extraction?
It is often said that extraction industries tend to pollute and degrade the environment more than other sectors. Furthermore, these sectors tend to have bad press. Therefore, it could be that total foreign direct investment has no relation to environmental quality, but it could also be that foreign direct investment has a stake in extraction industries, having a negative impact on the environment.
Source: World Bank. Investmentmap.org.
This time we see a line with a slight negative trend. However, if we perform a regression analysis (which is what this trend line is based on) the relationship between the variables is not statistically significant — in other words, there is no relationship between the variables.
Even if there is greater economic freedom in the recipient country, a large investment in extraction industries does not degrade the environment.Correlation Is Not Causality
The best criticism to this article could read as follows: “very well, but the data exposed here does not prove anything, it only shows correlations and does not show causality.”
Indeed, causality is explained by a theory or a set of logical relationships that aim to unite different events and give shape to a complex world that is perceived as chaotic. In other words, data does not speak for itself, it is interpreted through theories.
There are theories explaining how the freest countries, besides being the most prosperous, tend to take better care of the environment. In the same way, there are theories that expose the contrary relationship: the greater the economic freedom, the more degraded the environment. Both theories are based on opposing world views, what makes it interesting is comparing these theories with the available data. With the data at hand, it seems that the theory closest to reality is the one that claims that better economic freedom generates better environmental results. This relationship is not irrefutable; good environmental quality depends on many other variables. However, it is clear that as capitalism advances, so does the quality of the physical environment.Conclusion
With the data analyzed, we can see that capitalism suits the environment. The greater the economic freedom, the better the environmental quality indexes.
The “cleaner” countries do not export their pollution by relocating companies. In fact, “cleaner” countries do not even invest in the “dirtiest” countries.
Carys Moseley looks at the recent controversy over Altrincham Grammar School for Girls’ decision to stop referring to its students as ‘girls’.
I strongly suspect that the world would be a much better place if we journalists were never allowed to go into politics. (Although I suppose that, if pressed, I might make an exception for Winston Churchill.)
We suffer from an alarming tendency to believe in simple answers. We prize making an impact over getting things right, and an off-the-cuff opinion over a considered judgement.
As the American journalist Andrew Ferguson put it many years ago: 'Journalism is a character defect. ... It is a life lived at a safe remove: standing off to one side of the parade as it passes, noting its flaws, offering glib and unworkable suggestions for its improvement. Every journalist must know that this is not, really, how a serious-minded person would choose to spend his days.'
Ouch. A good journalist might know how to ask the right questions, but a good politician knows how to find the right answers. There's a big difference.
Exhibit One: Toby Young, former provocateur extraordinaire, a man so proud of his ability to get up people's noses that he wrote a book called 'How to lose friends and alienate people'. It was later made into a film, but it demonstrated, as Young continued to do for many years, an unusual knack for being both offensive and wrong.
If that's how you get your kicks, fine. But as Young has belatedly discovered, it becomes a bit of a problem if you then try to reinvent yourself as a serious educational reformer with ideas that deserve to be listened to by policy-makers. What seemed clever when you were in the losing friends business risks backfiring when you start trying to win allies.
So I'm afraid I have little sympathy now that he has had to resign as a member of the board of the higher education regulator, the Office for Students. As a puerile wordsmith, he can comment till he's blue in the face about women's body shapes (while watching prime minister's questions in 2012, he tweeted: 'Serious cleavage behind Ed Miliband’s head. Anyone know who it belongs to?')
He can also, if he insists, be crassly offensive about people who don't share his superior intellect: 'If Gove is serious about wanting to bring back O-levels, the Government will have to repeal the Equalities Act, because any exam that isn’t "accessible" to a functionally illiterate troglodyte with a mental age of six will be judged to be "elitist".' But he shouldn't be surprised if some people take such comments as suggesting that he may not be the ideal person to sit on the board of an education regulator.
Let's not obsess too much about Toby Young. Exhibits Two and Three: the Terrible Twins, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. Both of them former journalists (Gove at the BBC and The Times; Johnson at The Times, the Daily Telegraph, and The Spectator), both of them with a marked talent for bad judgement and a preference for the short-term over the long-term. Definitely not a good advertisement for the journalist-politician brand.
Of course, there are exceptions. There always are. Whatever you think of his, er, whacky views on climate change, no one could argue that Nigel Lawson (another former editor of The Spectator) wasn't a serious politician in his time as Margaret Thatcher's chancellor of the exchequer. Likewise Ed Balls (former Financial Times leader writer), notwithstanding his decision to reinvent himself on Strictly Come Dancing.
Michael Foot was a first-rate journalist (editor of the Evening Standard at the age of 28) but not such a success as leader of the Labour party; Bill Deedes, on the other hand, seems to have made a pretty good fist of being both a Cabinet minister (1962-64) under Harold Macmillan and editor of the Daily Telegraph (1974-86).
Norman Fowler (formerly of The Times) is now Speaker of the House of Lords, so he's done all right; Ben Bradshaw (BBC) served as culture secretary under Gordon Brown; and Ruth Davidson (also BBC) is leader of the Scottish Conservatives and increasingly spoken of as a future party leader, so she's not done too badly either.
Overall, however, the record is not encouraging for journalists with political ambitions. Much better to stick to asking questions rather than trying to answer them, and -- as Toby Young has shown -- indulge our talent for losing friends rather than try to win allies.
Oh, and a final thought: I feel much the same way about celebrity-politicians. I suspect I need hardly mention the current occupant of the White House, but I'd also harbour grave doubts if Oprah Winfrey decided to try her hand at politics. Being good on TV is not the same as being good at running a country.
Nor is being good at running a business. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, please note.
This could be taken the wrong way around so, to clarify right at the beginning, we do not mean that those who don't like Brexit should leave. However, this is a good example of one of the great - perhaps not the greatest as in the headline but still hugely important - freedoms and liberties:
The number of British nationals applying for French citizenship has increased nearly tenfold in three years, France’s interior ministry has said.
The ministry said 386 Britons filed applications to become French in 2015, rising to 1,363 in 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – and to 3,173 in 2017. Over the same period, the number of UK nationals obtaining French citizenship increased from 320 to 1,518.
Le Figaro newspaper said many applicants were motivated by considerations such as avoiding queues at airports, the Channel tunnel and Eurostar terminals or a desire to secure rights to healthcare and social benefits after the UK leaves the EU.
But Fiona Mougenot, a British woman who runs an immigration consultancy in France, said she was handling more than 20 naturalisation applications filed in 2017, many prompted more by a wish to retain European citizenship than to minimise potential bureaucratic issues.
“Practical matters are important for our clients, of course,” Mougenot told the paper. “But for most, the primary motivation is to stay European. Many could not vote in the referendum, are horrified by the prospect of Brexit and feel betrayed. France is vital to them because their lives are here, but beyond France it’s Europe they don’t want to abandon.”
Again, the point is not that those who don't like an independent Britain should wander off. Rather, it's to point to that freedom, the right of exit. If you don't like a polity, for whatever reason, then it is essential that you have that liberty to leave it. This is true of bureaucracies, taxation systems, nations, food suppliers and transport systems.
It is, in fact, the basic argument against monopoly and in favour of competition. That you, we, are able to select the organisational system, supplier of such, which best suits our own desires.
You don't like what your fellow citizens do? So, go and commingle with a different group in a different citizenry. That is the great freedom, that right of exit, just as it is in any other quarter of life.
“When you enroll in a math class, you will have math problems. Those math problems are not an argument for staying out of the class. When you resolve to follow Jesus Christ, you will have ‘following Jesus Christ’ problems. If He gives you victory, you will have victory temptations, like Gideon. If He gives you the opportunity to doubt Him while in prison awaiting execution, like John the Baptist, you will have those kinds of problems. We can fail at being well-fed. We can fail at being hungry” (Empires of Dirt, p. 116).
Get This Date On Your Calendar ASAP For All You Mathematicians
Worlds most accurate pie chart. pic.twitter.com/eqkWAe7ISG
— You Had One Job (@_youhadonejob1) January 4, 2018And So Japan Culturally Appropriates East Tennessee
And it is about as cool as it gets.Podcasts You Should Subscribe to Diversity Is Our Strength
Oil seems immune to what in the past — artificially, effectively and quickly — caused a surge in its prices. Recent OPEC cuts have had little (or no) effect on the market. The sanctions from Saudi Arabia (and other countries in the Persian Gulf) on Qatar were barely noticed. Unlike all NYSE indexes, that show a steady post-crisis growth, crude oil benchmarks have not taken off, showing a bear market behavior. Forecasting trends and prices brings up an important question: Will geopolitics alone be able to influence the oil and gas market as it did in the past?
We may be witnessing a more realistic version of the market taking over — the invisible hand in action. New players have a bigger stake on the oil industry, thus the power to influence oil prices is scattered among a larger number of parties rather than a cartel and its allies (as it was in the past with OPEC). The result is that a single action (i.e., cutting oil production) does not have a large effect on the global oil market, because there are other “forces” playing a role almost just as big in the commodity’s overall supply and demand. Perhaps we are approaching to a period of steadier values — i.e., “lower for (much) longer." Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that the trends will be easier to predict, but that it may be more difficult for a single party to artificially influence prices.
One thing to watch closely is the current glut and the storage capacity, which is likely what has driven not only the market but also OPEC’s decisions in the last years. Russia has agreed to follow Saudi cuts in a hopes of reducing their current stock and rising crude prices, but the market has showed the opposite. The glut alone is far from being the main price driver. There are two main non-OPEC actors that also play an important role.China’s Slowdown
China’s energy consumption plays a major role in the global economy. According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, China’s total energy consumption increased less than 2% YoY in the last two years (2015, 2016) and its GDP annual growth rate in 2016 (6.79%) was lower than that one in 2015 (6.9%). Oil consumption shows a rather low increase (3%), half of what the country’s oil demand was for the previous year (6.9%).
Infrastructure plans might be seriously jeopardized, amid corruption scandals and a huge debt. All big infrastructure projects (planned, designed and executed by the Chinese communist party) seem to honor the motto “build it and they will come.” According to a study conducted by the University of Oxford, “fewer than a third of the 65 Chinese highway and rail projects he examined were genuinely economically productive, while the rest contributed more to debt than to transportation needs.” With a null return on such big spending, China keeps adding debt to their economy (more debt in the first nine months of 2017 than the US, Japan and the EU combined.). Another global crisis may be on the verge. China, with its demand for energy and its economic policies, is a major external player in the oil and gas market prices.US: Leading Oil Production, Optimizing Fracking, Withdrawing from the Paris Accord
Unlike China, the United States (a non-OPEC country) does not have the Federal Government playing a big role (by international standards) in the domestic oil and gas market. This is even moreso since the export ban was lifted in 2015. This nation is leading the world oil’s production for the third year in a row; a direct hit on OPEC’s further plans on cutting production. Higher prices (if supply reduction is strong enough to rise them) will mean a bigger market share for the current US shale oil and gas industry, where some producers have managed to run the business with lower costs (an incentive created by the low oil prices). Activity is already showing positive numbers, the US oil rig count has increased for the first time in the last two years.
No less important is Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, perhaps a breath for the oil and gas industry — at least at a domestic level-. The country has no obligation to impose “green” taxes on fossil fuels; this avoids an artificial, negative effect on oil, gas and coal demand, thus keeping prices free to change with the market. This particular topic should not be isolated from the expected corporate tax cuts (to be approved by Congress), because that might create incentives for investing in technology, targeting a new reduction in production costs. The growth of renewable energy will still depend on subsidies –if current demand of such energy remains unchanged–, but they will not come from taxes on oil, at least temporarily. The actual destination of those extra bucks in the investor’s pockets will depend on the decisions made by shareholders on the corporate boards.
Crude prices have not soared, let alone showed a significant increase in the last three years. The big glut is still driving some geopolitical decisions, but there are other factors, powerful enough to spontaneously challenge the market. With supply and demand not influenced by geopolitics anymore, the oil and gas markets might soon be free or at least strong enough to overcome the remaining political intervention.
How crude prices react with upcoming events (i.e., Aramco IPO, future OPEC’s cuts, India and South America development, etc.) will tell us whether the power is still held by a (new) cartel or not. Meanwhile, longer periods of price stability are good news to consumers and so are they for the industry.
A new updated LVE Manager version 3.0-35 is available for download from our updates-testing repository.
- WEB-848: Some functionality related to mysql-gov is missed (return reason of restriction and ability to unrestrict all)
To update run:yum update lvemanager --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing
Would like to try Reseller Limits but have CloudLinux 6 installed and have doubts?
Do not hesitate! You can easily convert your CloudLinux 6 kernel to CloudLinux 6 Hybrid kernel and enjoy Reseller Limits feature!
Reseller Limits are only supported in kernel starting with the version 3.10.0-714.10.2.lve1.5.3.el7 for CloudLinux 7 kernel and 3.10.0-714.10.2.lve1.5.3.el6h for CloudLinux 6 Hybrid kernel. However, we’d recommend a newer kernel version that supports reseller limits 3.10.0-714.10.2.lve1.5.8. Please find more details here.
Please note that if you are using CloudLinux 6 kernel you would have to migrate to CloudLinux 6 Hybrid kernel first in order to be able to use new Reseller Limits functionality.
Use the detailed instruction below:
- Install CloudLinux 7 or CloudLinux 6 Hybrid on a new server. Follow the instructions described here. Or you can convert your CentOS 6.x or CentOS 7.x system to CloudLinux 6 or CloudLinux 7 respectively. To do this, follow the instructions described on the link.
- If you have installed the CloudLinux 6, please convert it to the CloudLinux 6 Hybrid Kernel. Follow the instructions described here.
- Install LVE Manager with Reseller Limit support or update it up to version 3.0-18 (or later) by running the following commands:
yum install kernel lve cagefs lvemanager lve-utils lve-stats --disableexcludes=main --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing
yum update kmod-aacraid kmod-cciss kmod-dell-dm-switch kmod-drbd84 kmod-drbd90 kmod-e1000e kmod-flashcache kmod-igb kmod-ixgbe kmod-microsoft-hyper-v kmod-r8168 kmod-tg3 kmod-sysdig kmod-xtables-addons --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing
For CloudLinux 6 Hybrid Kernel with Reseller Limit support, please run the following commands:yum install kernel lve cagefs lvemanager lve-utils lve-stats --disableexcludes=main --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing,cloudlinux-hybrid-testing yum update kmod-aacraid kmod-cciss kmod-dell-dm-switch kmod-drbd84 kmod-drbd90 kmod-e1000e kmod-flashcache kmod-igb kmod-ixgbe kmod-microsoft-hyper-v kmod-r8168 kmod-tg3 kmod-sysdig kmod-xtables-addons --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing,cloudlinux-hybrid-testing reboot
If you've missed the previous releases of the feature, please follow the links to check information on Beta releases: