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Preliminary thoughts on gambling economics

Recreational gambling is a socially disapproved of activity. That it yields entertainment benefits in the form of service flows rather than material outputs should not be the reason for this disapproval. Services rather than material outputs are a significant source of consumption pleasures for most people – many enjoy viewing football matches, pictures in art […]

All in the mind

‘Your brain hijacked – possessed by a chronic, relapsing brain disease. Scientists now view addiction as a disease, not a behavioural problem. Brain circuits involved in reward and pleasure, planning and control are dramatically changed. The priority is medical treatment, not shame and blame. But others challenge what they dub the ‘disease rhetoric’, arguing it’s […]

Nostalgia: The Forsyte Saga

I have been occupied for the past few days watching the complete original version of The Forsyte Saga based on the novels by John Galsworthy. A couple of years ago I tried to watch a more recent 2002 TV adaptation of the same tale but lost interest – the characters lacked conviction compared to the […]

Youth smoking & risk foresight

Smoking cigarettes usually begins in adolescence. In Australia the average age of smoking initiation is 15.9 years. Although the incidence of youth smoking has decreased dramatically over the last few decades still around 10% of school-kids aged 12-17 smoke . A basic issue for designing possible policies for limiting such use is whether youth understand […]

The PBS & mesothelioma drug treatment

The Age runs its normal pre-election, anti-Liberal Party line – this time Mr Howard (with all those budget surpluses) won’t interfere to ensure the PBS spend money to provide the drug Alimta, on a subsidised basis under a PBS listing, to unfortunate sufferers of mesothelioma. An editorial repeats these charges.

Drug firms seek to […]

Using surpluses to invest rather than cut taxes

The Australian Financial Review (subscription required) and The Australian (here) have run commentaries over the past few days asking why the huge surpluses the Commonwealth Government is accumulating are not simply returned as tax cuts rather than being invested in the stock market via such things as the Future Fund, the Higher Education Endowment Fund […]

End of heroin & advent of socially-approved big pharma narcotics provision

I posted a few days ago on the explosion in use of illegally-diverted prescription painkillers such as oxycodone now occurring in the US and throughout the western world. In my view this is a dramatic development that may signal the advent of a new global drug problem that is, in many ways, analogous to the […]

Liberal Party & the environment

To state the blindingly obvious – the Liberal Party does not promote its concern for the environment well. The current spat between Malcolm Turnbull and Geoffrey Cousins over the Minister’s approval of the Tasmanian pulp mill project could have been better handled. Turnbull could have been more conciliatory and listened harder. The Liberal Party does […]

A nation in pain

This article in The Age reports on an explosion of addictive painkiller use in the US. It fails to mention that a significant degree of this abuse is due to prescription and illegally-diverted prescription use by those addicted to these drugs. Oxycodone is the drug most responsible for the increased use of painkillers – it […]

Daft law overturns Haneef visa cancellation

The judgement overturning the Haneef visa cancellation by Justice Spender is extraordinary. He claims not that Kevin Andrews was wrong in cancelling the visa -there were plenty of grounds to do that on the basis of UK police reports – but that Andrews has applied the wrong test. After setting out the highly technical grounds […]

Sex, Kevin Rudd, drunk, sex, left the boring old wife at home, apology, sex

I am amazed at the reaction of the left in feeling the need to apologise for Kevin Rudd’s drunken evening at a strip joint. I am also surprised at the attitude of those feminists who almost seek to apologise for not condemning him in order to preserve their dubious reputation for consistency. The response indicates […]

Ms. Rolah McCabe, big tobacco & the ACC

In Australia there had been no successful individual actions against local tobacco companies until the successful case of lung-cancer sufferer Ms. Rolah Ann McCabe who was awarded $700,000 against British American Tobacco (BAT) in the Supreme Court by Justice Geoffrey Eames in 2002. The judgement, however, was overturned by the Court of Appeal […]

Lung cancer & capitalism

I have been reading some quasi-medical literature on lung cancer and emphysema. The Wikipedia entry here, despite some wiki-criticism, seems to me an excellent start to the subject of lung cancer. The graph above I pinched from this survey. It shows nicely the 20 year lag between smoking and the contracting of lung cancer in […]

Smoking cannabis damages your lungs

FHX kindly sent me this link to a Guardian article claiming that smoking a joint is much more dangerous to your lungs than smoking cigarettes. Note that this is different from the claim that smoking cannabis causes lung cancer – that is not being asserted here.

The article states:

A single cannabis joint may […]

Australian economic prospects

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Statement on Monetary Policy came out today. I am not a macroeconomist but I normally glance through this document to get a feel for what is happening.

It is 64 pages long so it must take a fair bit of effort to remain up to date – particularly given the […]

Costello said….

Journalists and reporters work in the most distrusted occupations in the community – they rank lower in terms of public trust than Federal or State politicians. The of actions of the trio (Michael Brissenden, Paul Daley and Tony Wright) in reporting now (in the leadup to a Federal poll) comments claimed to be made by […]

Pets as part of the household

I recently posted on some descriptive aspects of pet ownership in the US – the claim was that $41 billion was now spent of pets. A study by Schwartz, Troyer and Walker (STW) looks at more economic, analytical aspects of the issue – they seek to embed pets in a theory of the household that […]

Liberal backbenchers lack judgement & political nous

Backbench Coalition MPs Dennis Jensen, Jackie Kelly, Danna Vale and David Tollner have disputed the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

A consensus report, here, deals with the technology of carbon dioxide geosequestration. The dissenting minority report here accepts the quality of the main report’s work on carbon sequestration but disputes its underlying hypothesis that global […]

What is addictive about smoking?

The story I have long believed is that it is nicotine that addicts smokers to tobacco products but that it is the other compounds in tobacco (e.g. tobacco specific nitrosamines) which cause medical problems such as cancer.

Hence one way to encourage people to stop smoking is to provide NRTs (nicotine replacement therapies) such […]

Cigarette commercials

In the 1880s when ‘Buck’ Duke purchased the Bonsack machine, which enabled the mass production of cigarettes for the first time, he was able to produce cigarettes much more cheaply than his competitors. However cigarettes in these days were an unpopular form of consuming tobacco – most was consumed as pipe tobacco, cigars or chewing […]