ITQs Work – Again

In August, Denmark published an evaluation of the impact of the reforms it has introduced in fisheries following ITQs.

History to ITQs in Denmark

ITQs were introduced in Denmark in January 2003 to mackerel and other industrial fisheries. This was later extended to the demersal fleet in January 2007.

The quotas were granted on a grandfathering basis on recent historic catch basis.

Has ITQs Reduced The Fleet Size?

It has led to a reduction in the size of the fleet by 32% (2000-2010).

Total tonnage has dropped by 41%.

The average age of the fleet has been more or less consistent from 27 years to 30 years.

Landings Down , Catch Value Up

And, whilst the volume of landings has decreased from 1.5 million tonnes to 0.8 million tonnes, the value has dropped from only 437 million to 390 million.

Profits Mainly Up

Profitability for most of the fleet has improved, whilst profitability for the less than 12 metre fleet has declined. And, the quota ownership between the coastal and non-coastal fleet has remained more or less the same.

Fishermen, Fish and Tax Payers Win

 And, this has all been achieved with very little taxpayers aid. Similar fleet reductions have cost 100s of millions of taxpayers cash, and delivered very little benefits.

A Model for Europe

I think that the Danish model is an example that all of the EU could follow. I have thought so for several years now. The Danish Government, in cross-party agreement, decided to force the industry to enter the 21st century. The industry opposed for a while, then looked outside to the real economic world, and saw that making a profit, without being funded and supported by friends in government, was really normal. Indeed, seeing your natural resource – fish – grow made economic sense.

Perhaps, it is time for the rest of Europe to follow those innovative danes.

Welcome to Belgium – A Tax Paradise

Belgium is a remarkable country.

1960s Socialists Live Here

The Socialist Parties (French and Dutch speaking versions) really are genuine socialists. The Flemish Socialists being less so than their Walloon sister party. But, as a British Labour Party member, they seem to be re-reading Eric Heffer’s speeches

Twinning with North Korea

That Wallonia seems to have adopted their economic policies from North Korea does not seem to be a big issue. Wallonia’s political class all seemed to be in mourning when a political lord of one of their cities, who was best known outside (and inside) Belgium for being an off the wagon AA member, and praised him as leader, seems to sum how things are here.

Anyone but the Catholics

They have a Liberal Party, whose only real selling point seems to be that they are not Catholic and/or they are Masons. Belgium has a strong masonic/catholic split, and to this day, education and parties are divided along this line. I have never been able to understand what is liberal about them. When they were last in power, they were not even able to introduce the liberalisation of sunday shop opening, after an alliance of small shop keepers and the catholic church blocked it.

If they are Conservative I am globlin

There is the conservative christian democratic party. Whenever I have heard their people speaking on TV I thought I was hearing mid 1960’s socialist economic lectures. The Flemish PM seems to have no problem with bailing out car producers with a few squillion here or there.

Bail Out Your Rich Friends

Strangely, all parties get united when their friends in the Belgium ruling class mess up. Belgium coughed up a few billions (well actually 10 + billion) when Dexia went broke.

Belgium is a country that seems to be set up to protect one of the most indolent and fecklish group of people you have ever met. There is an old ruling class here who seemed to make their fortunes off the back of the pillage of the Congo (no historical documentaries of hand chopping King Leopold allowed here). And, then they built up a tax system to keep them in place.

A Tax Paradise for The Indolent

An expat magazine selling the lures of Belgium’s tax paradise describes it so:


• The actual rental income received from property is untaxed, although a nominal amount of tax is payable on the notional rental value.

• Capital gains in most circumstances are not taxed. If an individual wants to sell assets that have grown enormously in value, be they property, shares or a business, it can be beneficial to move from France, Germany, the Netherlands or the UK to Belgium before selling the asset to avoid capital gains taxes.

• Income from directly held investments – cash accounts, bonds and shares, for example – are taxed at much lower levels than the highest rates on earned income. In addition, it is possible to avoid income taxes completely by investing via collective vehicles such as mutual funds, unit trusts or insurance policies.

• There is no wealth tax in Belgium. This has been a particular source of concern for the French government, which is acutely aware of the large number of French tax exiles living in Belgium.

And, What for the Rest?

The rest of us pay 50% income tax. Ah, and if you work very hard and get a bonus, it takes a while to see what is left after the tax man has taken 70% of it.

The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve jobs

I switched to my mac book  about 10 years ago. I’ve never looked back, they work, the  blue screen of death which killed off the thesis just before you due to submit don’t appear, and are simple to use.

 14 Beautiful Lessons to Create Excellence

Walter Isaacson in HBO April 2012 edition provides a useful summary of leadership lessons from Steve jobs. They are:

  1. focus
  2. simplify
  3. take responsibility end to end
  4. when behind, leapfrog
  5. put products before profits
  6. don’t be a slave to focus groups
  7. bend reality
  8. impute
  9. push for perfection
  10. tolerate only “A” players
  11. engage face-to-face
  12. know both the big picture and the details
  13. combine the humanities of the sciences
  14. stay hungry and stay foolish

Don’t be Reasonable

Just as in his excellent book Isaacson draws out some other important traits. Jobs was not a reasonable man. He saw perfection he was petulant and inpatient and he was rude to some very bright people he demanded the best he got the best and he pushed people to achieve things they never thought were possible. The reason is a reasonable people wouldn’t be exceptional people pushed of three minutes they were. To be fair those of the lessons of history


Build Excellence for Yourself

The article draws have lesson for the iPod he didn’t make it framework but themselves and his friends as he said we made the iPod for ourselves and when you’re doing something yourself, or your best friend or family, and organic cheese and

You can read the article here. The book is good.


Perfection is Worth The Price

You can sense the journey for perfection in 1984.

A New Labour “Fair and Just” Tax Code

It is a wonderful summer day in Brussels. The  sun is out, streets deserted, and all is well.

 The Belgium Model – Feed the Rich, Kill the Middle Class

Ah, but there still is income tax is still kicking in at around 50%. The government is still bailing out their friends at Dexia, a crony run bank of  Belgium ruling class parisites. And, I can not forget that  tax regime for that same ruling class (who all seemed to make their money on the back of fleecing the Congo) that makes Switzerland look like a high wealth heavy taxer.

Why Labour Needs to be the Radical Party on Tax

The weather reminds me of May 1 1997. A glorious day when New Labour swept to power. The whole nation wept with joy. But, as Tony Blair, Labour’s most successful Primeminister points out, the revolution did not go far or deeply enough.

Now, I wanted to put out there, a genuinely radical proposal for my Party. A new tax code of one page, that everyone can understand, which is fair, encourages hard work and industry, and by the way makes the nation solvent and propserous.

Now what would that New Labour tax code look like?

  •  Income for firms  is taxed at 25% – no doing an Irish – you earn it here, you pay it here.
  •  Income for people is taxed at 25% – no non doms – you earn it here, you pay it here.
  • No tax paid on the first 20K earned by  firms or people – that should get rid of the working poor, students and part time workers from paying  income taxes all together.
  •  No exemptions or write offs for anything – yep none –  it gives a chance to have a longer tax form – you want to give money away , fine, do it. You want to buy a house, good luck to you. You want to invest or buy a company, enjoy, but no write offs for dinner with friends erm sorry potential clients. Trusts will be angry but who the hell cares.This is not a tax against the rich, it is a tax scheme against the indolent.  Hard work will be rewarded, the poor will be removed from the oppression of taxation.
  • Balance the Books – Ah, before I forgot, we’d adjust revenues to be in line with spending. Now, I know that is a novel idea, but its worth a try. We can start paying off the national debt.

 Live Within Your Means?

Now, I know this will mean less government spending. It will mean an immediate end to corporate welfare bailouts of firms (banks that means you). We should end the limited liability protection for the wholesacle fraud being carried out today by some industries. We will need to reform pensions, support for the poor, and health care, but that does not mean we can not first act on making our tax code just and fair for all.