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New Year’s Resolutions

1. I will never again poke holes in the fatuous arguments of dumb-assed lefties. Instead I will learn to feel empathy for their sad, lost souls and for their misguided views on the ugliness of humanity. Cheer up comrades.

2. I will support the Australian pharmaceutical industry and purchase supplies of sleeping pills. Reading Paul […]

Thoughts on the Australian economy and investment opportunities in 2008

The last 5 years have been among the most prosperous in Australia’s economic history. Emma Connors in the AFR December 28 quotes CommSec’s Craig James:

‘Australians are not just doing well, they are doing better than previous generations by a country mile. Once allowance is made for inflation, private sector wealth has doubled in the […]

Freeing up international trade with poor countries & wage inequality

Paul Krugman in today’s NYT summarises a widely-held assessment of the impact of trade with low wage countries on US growth and inequality. There is nothing radical about his claim – free trade with poor countries increases growth but increases wage inequality by driving down unskilled wages.

The same general message applies to effects on […]

Bhutto dead

Benazir Bhutto assassinated. A brave woman who risked all for her country. What a tragedy for Pakistan. What a terrible further tragedy for the Bhutto family. It was only 13 days to a general election that she had a good chance of winning.

What conceivable good can come from this evil action? Civil strife, more […]

What does Xmas mean?

Xmas is a celebration of what is guessed to be the approximate birth date of Jesus Christ. It is an important occasion in almost all civilised societies for both Christians and Non-Christians alike.

In Australia the number of people who describe themselves as Christians has fallen from 71% of the population to only 64% in […]

Xmas holidays

I am winding down my blogging activities and will post only intermittently in the period through to the New Year. I hope that readers have an enjoyable break. Compliments of the season to all.

In the spirit of Xmas: Hogwart’s Hall of Fame Nomination for Conjuring Trick

“To Kevin Rudd. At a time when Australia was suffering an unprecedented shortage of skilled labour (truck drivers were earning $100,000 in the Pilbara, for example), Kev managed to persuade the electorate that workers were being persecuted under Australian workplace agreements. If St Kev and La Jool carry out their election promise and hand bargaining […]

Vignettes on the sub-prime crisis

The losses associated with the sub-prime crisis are now being estimated to be US$500b. Lenders are now being overly careful about who they lend to (‘shutting the gate after the horse has bolted’) and generating talk of a US ‘liquidity trap’ that prevents credit market transactions occurring even though official interest rates are set low. […]

Obligations on lenders not to create impossible debts for customers

This proposed policy seems to me a sensible notion with applicability in Australia.

US lending institutions will now be required to show customers they can afford the loans they offer them. Lenders would also be required to reveal all hidden charges in loans and commissions. If they did provide inaccurate information they could then be […]

In praise of high petrol prices: Why not higher electricity prices also?

Mr Rudd’s foolish mutterings during the election campaign to manage petrol prices may come back to haunt him. He didn’t say ‘control’ but he did suggest that something needed to be done about them – the impression was unmistakeable. Mr Rudd’s concern was to win a few votes from disgruntled consumers but this message was […]

Centro in liquidation mode?

The Centro Properties Group hit a low of 42 cents on the market today, closing at 82 cents. They hit a peak of $10 mid last year. At these sorts of prices investors are signaling real concerns about the ability of Centro to survive. If you think that is an exaggeration you should join the […]

Labor has no IR mandate

Kevin Andrews points out that at the recent election the ALP scored 43.38% of the vote and the Coalition 41.78%. Over 5 million people voted to return the John Howard Government. Many of them were workers who have benefited from a prosperous economy and from improved employment possibilities in labour markets.

While in power the […]

Hope but no policy substance from Bali meetings

The political left and the diplomats are celebrating but the reasons for the ‘party’ are not clear. The UN themselves see the ‘Bali roadmap’ as an opportunity to negotiate, with perhaps a heightened sense of urgency, up to 2009.

But the outcomes from the actual Bali talks seem to be close to nil – the […]

Friday news post Saturday morning

I spent yesterday morning on Bondi Beach with son William and the afternoon smashing golf balls at a practice range in the Macquarie University grounds. It was a glorious Sydney day with an overwhelmingly blue sky – only a little cloud in the west. I am as pink as a lobster in most of the […]

Political correctness & historical myth destroys young lives

I agree with Miranda Devine – Jenny Macklin ‘should start formulating an apology to all those children murdered, raped and abused in the past decade as a direct result of the (Stolen Generations) report, which, in the name of cultural correctness, has put so many obstacles in the way of removing indigenous children from unsafe […]

The case for further liberalising labour markets

Economists seek economic efficiency by utilising the effectiveness of free markets. They do this because they want markets to maximise the value of net outputs produced – to maximise the size of the social pie. The idea is not to ignore ‘fairness’ or ‘equity’ concerns but to realise these objectives in quite different ways using […]

Keeping it simple: computers & blogging software

I am (by constraint) using a MAC to post for the next couple of weeks. It is amazing these clumsy, clunky fiendishly obscure toys survive when the modern PC offers such convincing competition – simpler, cheaper and very robust with modern operating systems such as XP or Vista. It is testimony to the extent that […]

An obituary for the Coalition is premature

Every time a ruling political grouping in Australia is defeated the cries grow that the party is finished that it will never win another election and so on. The cries are partly just the triumphalism of the victor party and its supporters and partly just the press trying to manufacture a story out of ordinariness. […]

Open thread on Christmas

I am now taking some time holidaying in Sydney – I need to recover from my exhausting European travels – and, for the first time in 30 years, am staying in Sydney’s inner west (Summer Hill).

I am looking forward to some surfing at Bondi and some golf in other parts of Sydney – at […]

Mildura a town based on irrigation

I drove through Mildura in north-western Victoria a few years back and was surprised at the opulence and general prosperity of the town. It was a contrast to smaller towns in western NSW and Victoria. It is very much an oasis in the desert compared to the the devastated landscapes north of the town between […]