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Olivier Blanchard on uncertainty & the financial crisis

Blanchard’s solution: commit to expansionary policies now and, if necessary, in the future so that people will no longer believe that a financial apocalypse is around the next corner.  In addition, recycle the proceeds of government security sales into riskier assets and get the government to spend more on retail as well as encouraging the public […]

Wrong Wong

The miserably hot conditions in southern Australia (it got to 45.1oC* at 4-30 pm in Melbourne as I write) over the past few days have attacked the brain of Climate Change Minister Penny Wong.  She claims the conditions confirm the warnings given by scientists about climate change.  They do no such thing.  As I have pointed […]

Uncertainty & irreversibility of climate change

Most commentators on climate change issues recognise the uncertainty attached to specific climatic forecasts. A few denialists even question the AGW hypothesis itself. Fewer scientists have commented on the irreversibility issues associated with AGW. In today’s press there are reports on this latter issue – this one interestingly from FOX. Even if the smokesacks stop […]

IMF forecast worst world economic performance for 60 years

The IMF revise their growth forecast for the world in 2009 from 2.2% two months ago to 0.5% now.  Growth has virtually stopped.  50 million jobs will be lost globally.

The developed countries will experience major declines. The US economy will contract by 2%, Britain by 2.8% (the worst in the developed world), Japan 2.6%, […]

Business-people who reduce capitalism’s appeal

Maureen Dowd shows justifiable contempt for the greedy ‘masters of the universe’ who have destroyed the lives of millions – 80,000 extra unemployed globally in one day this week – and yet still cretins like former CEO of Merrill Lynch Mr. Thain – a man who in my view should be in jail – cries […]

Hot hot hot hot

There are forecast to be four days (Wednesday-Saturday) of 40oC+ temperatures in Melbourne this week.  Melbourne has not had 3 days above 40oC since 1959.  The heatwave, defined in this way, is the worst since 1908.  The whole of Victoria is sweltering.

Checking out the records I find that this heat wave is up there with some […]

People who caused the global financial crisis

This Guardian survey sounded at first to me like a dumb idea but it is interesting. The wide range of people surveyed suggests the diverse origins of the current mess.

I’d foregotten all about Abby Cohen – the perpetual stock market ‘bull’. But, yes, she makes the list.

At the end of the […]

Australia Day

26th January 1788 was the day the British initiated their settlement of Australia. As a celebratory tribute I am off to play golf in the morning at Yarrambat – the aboriginal name for ‘high hill’ which pretty much summarises my attitude to Australia. After that I’ll have a beer (or three) and thank providence for […]

Monetary mop-ups

This graph shows the US monetary base – the ‘high powered’ money that generates the money supply – for the last 100 years.  I assume that this base is generating a less than proportionate growth in the US money stock – M3 grew in 2008 at only about 15% – because of the much-publicised decline in […]

Ethics & Merrill Lynch executive remuneration

The real bonuses and the phoney profits have been a feature of Merrill Lynch’s US operations.

But ex CEO John Thain’s actions seem to me to show the moral bankruptcy of Wall Street.  Merrill Lynch paid out $15 billion to executives in 2008 which just matched the controversial 4th quarter losses that Bank of America (its purchaser) have […]

GPS’s for cars & for golf

I have long-enjoyed my car GPS system. It is a useful device particularly when I travel interstate and hire a car but don’t know where I am going. My knowledge of my former hometown, Sydney, is fading which isn’t surprising – despite visits I have not lived there for 30 years! Now all I need […]

Barack Obama’s presidential acceptance speech

Gracious and serious this is a speech worth listening to. There is much sense amid the rhetoric and Obama is – as everyone now knows – a talented man of enormous charisma. But as I stressed a few days ago the difficulties facing the US and hence Obama are immense*. The positive changes will […]

Harry Nicolaides

As a past resident of Thailand a number of people have asked me what I think of the Harry Nicolaides case. Nicolaides has just been jailed for 3 years for lèse majesté – specifically for insulting the Thai monarchy.   Generally I am puzzled at what has occurred as Nicolaides has worked in Thailand since around 2003 […]

First sharkgull spotted in Australia

Long believed to be extinct in territorial Australia – but occasionally seen on off-shore islands that do not lie in Australian territorial waters – this great snap of Accipiter selachimorpha (the Common sharkgull) was taken by C. Marter while the bird roosted on the roof of a local eatery near Gosford NSW.  Until this gory […]

This little girl wants more Nazis

Despite the ceasefire (which now even the Hamas terrorists have agreed to)  thousands of Palestinians marched in Melbourne yesterday condemning Israeli violence. I wonder if the caped crusader to the left of the little girl is her history teacher. For the following photo HT Tim Blair.

Meanwhile despite the usual pathetic claims Hamas do in […]

Optimism & the Obama Presidency

Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States tomorrow.  Despite the exceedingly tough economic times Americans overwhelmingly see Obama as something positive for America.

‘a New York Times poll found 79% think Barack Obama will improve the nation – a level of support that is higher than for any incoming president in […]

Confused thinking on the environment at Catallaxy

A post over at Catallaxy suggests that policies of preventing the exploitation of oil and gas reserves near national parks in the US harm the poor (mainly blacks) and are therefore unacceptable – there is even the suggestion in the original news story* that such policies are racist . It is at best a partial […]

A break in Syd

I am relocating to Sydney for a few days R&R – escaping forecast temperatures in Melbourne of 39oC tomorrow for a more moderate 29oC in Syd. I’ll post if Bondi beckons less than I anticipate it will but I doubt it.

Son William: ‘Dad, those ladies over there are missing the tops to their bikinis’.

[…]

Keep wages high to increase misery

As unemployment in Australia looks ominously set to soar the mindless are at it again endorsing preservation of real wages in the face of the most serious threat to employment Australia has faced since the Whitlam and Keating years. The reason they claim – keeping wages high will stimulate aggregate demand and the role of […]

The Brothers Karamazov

I have re-read Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov after more than 30 years. I remember being almost spellbound by the novel when I first read it – it led me into The Idiot which I also found a revelation. A curious feature of my reading of both books is that, after such a time, the […]