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Grandma goes to court

Lawyers should never ask a Mississippi grandma a question if they aren’t prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, ‘Mrs. Jones, do you know me?’

She responded, ‘Why, yes, I […]

Australian money & credit growth facts

The year-to-year growth rates in broad monetary aggregates and in credit from November 2007 through January 2008 were the highest they have been for three years according to the RBA. Broad money over this three-month period grew at from 18.5-18.8% while credit grew from 16-16.4% again on an annual basis. Annual growth rates in borrowing […]

Water resource problems – more politics than economics?

The Rudd Government’s decision to purchase by tender $50 million worth of water rights from irrigators in the Murray Darling Basin is sensible policy. The Howard government agreed only to purchase water that resulted from technology-induced water savings, a policy that was never going to get far. According to much of the press the current […]

Current events: economics of the Iraq war

The war in Iraq has been a controversial conflict. Economists have worked hard at identifying its economic implications. Some have even attributed the current world economic crisis to the war.

The Iraq war caused the global credit crisis?

This article on claims by Joseph Stiglitz regarding the economic implications of the Iraq war is worth reading. It repeats Stiglitz’s claims that the war will cost the US $3 trillion and that it has raised oil prices by at least $5-$10 (but more plausibly by $35) per barrel.

It also claims that to fund […]

Economic Society of Australia

If you are going to major in economics you might want to think about joining the Economic Society of Australia. Each Australian state has a branch of the ESA and you would therefore join the Victorian Branch.

Student membership is $37 (compared to $87 for non-students) and, for that you get the main Australian economics […]

Week 1 Introductory class & basic quantitative methods

The first class tries to give you an overview of what economics is and some general ideas about the subject. Make sure you get a clear understanding of the idea of opportunity cost.

The second class deals with the very basic quantitative techniques we use in this unit. Basically you need to develop skills at […]

Youth drinking & alcopops

This report on alcopops by Choice magazine is interesting. Basically youth consume such drinks without experiencing the taste of alcohilc beverages. The taste of alcoholic beverages is rather unpleasant to neophyte drinkers so vendors of alcoholic products market sweet-tasting, alcopops with a soft-drink or milk base and often laced with a tasteless alcohol product such […]

Aboriginal deaths in the Kimberley

The deplorable situation of aboriginal people in the Kimberley region of Western Australia was described by that state’s coroner yesterday. He was reporting on the deaths of 22 men and women – including the suicide of an 11 year old boy. Billions of dollars are being spent by Commonwealth and State governments but the situation […]

Barry Humphries on Madge Allsop RIP

Emily Perry, the sidekick of Dame Edna has died aged 101.

Humphries once cheerfully described her (in a performance) as ‘a human maggot held together by bacteria — and I mean that in a caring sort of way’. She certainly enhanced his act and he obviously knew that. In fact Humphries was fond of Emily […]

Conservative academics

Why are there comparatively few academic conservatives? The Chronicle of Higher Education provides some answers based on a paper by Matthew Woessner & April Kelly-Wessner.

Conservatives are not as interested in the issues that might go into a doctorate, feel discriminated against by professors – ‘liberal enclaves provide a chilly environment’ – and have more […]

Bobby Fischer – a belated RIP 1943-2008

I have never been a good chess player – don’t have the persistance – but the achievements of Bobby Fischer always interested me. His death earlier this year left me saddened though I didn’t post on it – instead I spent time working through some of Bobby’s great games that Nicholas Gruen linked to. The […]

Garnaut & Labor politics

During the Federal election campaign last year I criticised the Labor Party as a collection of me-tooers who would say anything to get into power and would then do what they like. Peter Garrett explicitly said that the me-tooism didn’t matter since once they got into power they would, in fact, do what they liked. […]

Climate change & macroeconomics

The RBA published today the best brief assessment of recent trends in Australia’s agricultural sector I have seen in a while. It is interesting how climate change issues are impacting on macroeconomic assessments of how well the Australian economy is going. They don’t actually mention climate change explicitly but the implications of it […]

Controlling gun ownership using economics

Gary Becker pursues a consistent market-driven approach to gun control in the US in the face of recent massacres – increase taxes on guns sold legally and increase penalties on black market purchases of guns and on criminal activities involving gun use. This would mean that most guns would tend to be sold via legal […]

Bring back Mal Brough or at least ditch Macklin

Probably the least competent of the entire Ruddite Ministry – if you ignore the northern NAIRU peanut – is Jenny Macklin – remember her? She was that Deputy Leader of the Opposition who was seldom either seen or heard. As Miranda Devine points out, Macklin’s role in the aboriginal affairs portfolio already looks feeble. Macklin […]

Academic views paid for by big tobacco

It is nothing new to reveal that the cigarette companies lied their heads off about the dangers of cigarettes for 50 years. They knew 50 years ago that smoking cigarettes definitely caused lung cancer and while they debunked a range of animal-based experiments they were carrying out their own animal experiments which confirmed the conclusions […]

Howard’s defeat

Four Corners tonight began by describing election evening at Kirribilli House in 2007. After 11.5 years as PM a stoic John Howard on election night: ‘I am dead meat’ he said as watched the disastrous electoral returns on TV. Then off to the Wentworth Hotel to give a gracious speech that accepted defeat. Since then […]

More on sexual frustration & the supply of religious fanatics

I posted some time back about sexual frustration under Islam as a source of inspiration for terrorism. Gary Becker has argued that sexually-frustrated nobodies whose lives are going nowhere are a primary source of terrorist supply.

In poor Islamic societies – this NYT report documents the situation in Egypt – youth are turning to religious […]

My criminal past

I have just received a copy of part of the transcript of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1834 which contains the earliest record I have of a member of my family on my mother’s side, a Richard Vickers. My great, great, grandfather Richard (I’ll call him Richard1) was convicted, at age 18, for theft […]