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Financial crises & climate change

I am in Queensland at the 37th Australian Conference of Economists.  I learnt early this morning about the House of Representatives rejection of the Bush bailout package with the consequent 7% fall in the Dow Jones and, as I write this, the Australian stock market has fallen by a bit less than 5% in response. The […]

Hedge funds

Are hedge funds the next class of financial institutions to start collapsing? They face record demands for redemptions and are highly geared.  Their share prices are taking a hammering.  Who would want to invest in them these days? High fees and lots of gearing like sub-prime mortgages are acceptible when asset prices are increasing since investors can […]

Vale Paul Newman 1925-2008

Paul Newman has died from cancer. A comprehensively decent man whose acting performances have entertained me for as long as I have been watching movies. This interview with him was made in 2007.  I most remember him best from The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and a compelling, very different sort of performance, in The Verdict.   He […]

Krudd takes on the world

Krudd’s Australia is leading the world on climate change policy. Well, starting last November we did.

Krudd’s Australia will ‘work with’ the G20 countries to improve the world’s financial management. They will be grateful. Krudd delivers a stern economic message to the world’s economic leaders. They will appreciate Aussie honesty and directness. After all, Australia’s […]

Swan implements Turnbull’s policy after misrepresenting & attacking it

Swan implements Turnbulls’s policy. Yes, the Australian government will buy home mortgages – an amazing backflip involving $4b. OK, so no-one really knows what they are doing in the current volatile situation but sometimes the low-brows in the government’s benches might consider opposition suggestions.

Anyway imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. After criticising […]

Malcolm Turnbull

I watched Malcolm Turnbull’s extended interview last night with Tony Jones on the ABC – the video here – and believe he has the skills and charisma to defeat Labor at the next election. I also think that, even should Peter Costello eventually challenge for the leadership, Turnbull remains the better choice – Costello has […]

Getting informed about the MDB

The ABS have just released a compendium of water use and other statistics for the Murray Darling Basin. I found it useful and valuable for understanding the MDB. Some of the choicer observations.

Physical Attributes. The MDB covers 14% of Australia’s land area mostly in NSW (56%) and Queensland (24%). A fair slab of Victoria is […]

TV Advertisements

During a 15 minute interval of the show Underbelly on Channel 9 last night I counted 8+9+13 = 30 advertisements over 3 successive ad-breaks. The period was between 9-15pm and 9-30pm. I noticed most of the ads were of short duration but was still astounded at their sheer volume. How anyone can question the value […]

Economists opposed to the Paulson plan

Some big names in finance and economics here. Hat tip to Gregory Mankiw whose posts I am grabbing a lot lately. The last signatory on the list of eminents is Luigi Zingales who has a fascinating article in The Economist’s Voice, Why Paulson is Wrong, which suggests how the crisis should be handled. I excerpt […]

China as leader in the global financial crisis

Peter Drysdale over at East Asia Forum exposits claims by historian Harold James that only action by China can rescue the global economy from US financial ineptitude.  Indeed, to James, China is the US of the 1920s and 1930s.  China should become the anchor of the modern international financial system.

 James’ argument:

‘China is today’s America…When the 1920s […]

Superb Fairy-wren

Its just a great picture of a common bird in Melbourne. Courtesy of the Bird Observer’s Club website.

Thoughts on the US economy

The US Government debt will rise to $11.3 trillion with the proposed $700 billion bailout of troubled mortgages now before Congress. That amounts to $37,098 of public debt per citizen.  To say the US financial system is stressed is to understate the issue.  The question is whether foreigners will come to demand higher interest rates on […]

Privatizing ocean fisheries

I haven’t posted for a while on fishery issues. Such concerns occupied a fair amount of my research time in the early 1980s. This article in The Economist makes the case for imposing individual transferable quotas on ocean fish stocks. 121 of the ocean’s fisheries operated under ITQ’s are much healthier than those not managed […]

Financial crisis

This is a clear Q&A style discussion of the current financial upheaval.  David Brooks comments on the kneejerk reregulation response that is becoming the new fashion.  Meanwhile today’s surge on stock markets around the world apparently reflects moves by Congress and the US Treasury to buy back at deep discounts the remaining mortgage bad debt in the […]

Oil prices dip

I forecast in April this year – in the face of hysteria about $200/barrell oil prices – that the price of oil would approach $75US/barrell within 18 months and would settle around there. After I made my prediction it increased to a peak of $145-29US. Today- about 5 months later –  it touched $91-23US.  Indeed we […]

Are we in a liquidity trap?

Currently it is claimed that lending is drying up because lenders are fearful of the credit worthiness of borrowers.  That is self-evidently true. I assume lending is also limited because people are holding onto money balances to purchase assets which look like getting cheaper across the board.  I notice that in the UK there are proposals […]

Malcolm Turnbull

The election of Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Liberal Party is a good outcome for the party and an excellent outcome for Australia. Turnbull deserves the support of the Party and all those determined the kick the Rudd Labor Government out of office.

Turnbull has much more business and life experience than Kevin Rudd and […]

Financial collapses

Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac receiving public bailouts or failing and yes even the venerable Merrill Lynch being flogged for a pittance.  And insurer AIG seems to need about $40 billion to survive. AIG is a big insurer in Australia with 500 employees. In the UK Hbos looks threatened by the collapse of Lehman. The […]

Two excellent French movies

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a 2007 film adaptation of the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby. Bauby had a massive stroke which left him paralysed except for the ability to move a single eyelid – the ‘locked-in syndrome’. He communicated using this eyelid to write a memoir describing his interior journey. The film is […]

Two interesting articles on climate change

Stewart Franks supports my earlier claim that the current dought in the Murray-Darling Basin cannot be attributed to climate change.  It can be more accurately attributed to the 2002 El Niño event and there is no convincing evidence increased frequencies of such events can be linked to climate change.  In the past such events have been […]