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US takes a stand on climate change

This is great news: By a narrow margin of 219-212 the US House of Representatives voted to address climate change:

‘At the heart of the legislation is a cap-and-trade system that sets an overall limit on emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide while allowing utilities, manufacturers and other emitters to trade pollution permits, […]

Climate change migrants

It is quite possible than climate change will close down whole regions or countries on the planet. The process has started in northern Kenya already. Forecasts are, that by 2050, 200-700 million people will be forced to move to escape the impacts of climate change.

Many of these migrants will be shifting from rural […]

Blogging from Beijing

I am taking a break in my regular work routine with a planned stay at Peking University in Beijing for the next month. I have been so overwhelmed with transport-sector-related work over the past few months (I’ll post the report I co-wrote with David Prentice for the Treasury once I get the authority to do […]

Getting older & dying

Posts like this reflect one’s pre-occupations to an obvious – and almost embarrassing – extent. But in this case my post is partly motivated by watching for many years an elderly relative achieving a very substantial age but being beset gradually by a host of medical problems and increasing frailty. My thoughts on this topic […]

Swan should go & maybe but probably not Rudd

It is unclear whether (changed from, ‘likely that’) Kevin Rudd attempted to do a favour for a mate and lied to parliament about that. It is certain that Wayne Swan attempted the favour and took personal interest in seeing that the favour worked – Swan should resign and be replaced by Lindsay Tanner who will […]

Taxes & Transfer Policy Conference

My blogging activity has recently come to a standstill because of a myriad of work-related commitments. I am attending the Australia’s Future Tax and Transfer Policy Conference that has been organised by The Treasury over the next couple of days at the Melbourne Business School. The papers to be presented are uniformly excellent – I […]

NSW Government bans Chinese imports

Colleague JL pointed out to me this stupid ban imposed by the NSW Government on the procurement of Chinese products by government agencies. The NSW government has the obligation to purchase goods and services at the cheapest possible cost. This ban disadvantages NSW taxpayers by wasting their hard-earned tax dollars and threatens Australia generally by […]

Chinaco & BHP-Billiton/Rio – last words

I was criticised for asserting that the key objective of Chinalco in targeting Rio was to offset its monopoly power and that of BHP-Billiton. Reports this morning suggest that I was correct – China is threatening to take anti-trust moves against BHP and Rio presumably in China. Hard to see how since, in the main, […]

Australian housing bubble

Will it burst?

28% of mortgage borrowers are first-home buyers and their average initial debt has risen by $50,000 to $300,000 over the past year. Of course over the past year the standard mortgage interest rate has fallen […]

Rational alarmism on climate change

From an insurance viewpoint we should be much more concerned about climate change than most of us are. The focus of IPCC reports is on a likely global average temperature increase forecast of 3oC by 2100 in a range of perhaps 2oC to 4.5oC. The mid-point of this range would […]

More on Rio, BHP-Billiton & Chinalco’s rejected love

I had thought my comments for Australia’s national interests being best served by rejecting the Rio-Chinalco deal were self-evident. My general argument was that Australia should not give up its monopoly power in the resource sector by transferring resource assets to Chinese firms with monopsony power over the […]

Clive gets gong

Republican Clive Hamilton gets Queen’s birthday gong.

Vic State Government takes care of James Packer

The Victorian state government has long-standing dubious relations with the gambling industry. Many former ministers and party hacks work as consultants for the industry. But I thought that John Brumby’s ending of the Tabcorp-Tattersall’s poker machine duopoly and the ending on the Tattersall’s control of the lottery market might have signified a cautionary move by […]

Obama speaking to Muslims in Egypt

Some of the right wing press* and blogs have attacked Barack Obama’s speech in Egypt where he is obviously seeking to diffuse tensions between the US and the world’s Muslims. The claims are that he committed errors of historical analysis and argued that the positions of Israel and the Palestinians are ‘morally equivalent’ when obviously […]

How to tax?

If you are a bit hazy on how to levy income and excise taxes – and have not followed recent debates – I recommend this paper by Gregory Mankiw and others. It is a straightforward presentation of key ideas and is recommended. I posted earlier on some shockingly revolutionary work of Louis Kaplow that I […]

Free trade in resource assets: No way

I am opposed to free trade in Australian natural resource assets. I am not specifically opposed to China obtaining significant stakes in our natural resource industries – I am opposed to any resource-hungry customer of Australian resources buying a significant stake in the enterprises that supply them.

The general issue here is set out nicely […]

Australian economy not in recession

It is a stunning outcome. The Australian economy grew in the March quarter. Strong growth in exports have offset the weak performance in private investment. In the absence of two consecutive quarters of negative growth we are technically not in recession – nor have we been in recession for nearly 20 years.

There has […]

ALS & Senator Fielding Go to Delusionist Love-In

The Australian Libertarian Society (ALS) are sending members off to Washington to attend the Third International Conference on Climate Change organised by the Heartland Institute. The ALS is ‘sponsoring’ this Conference – whatever that means.


NSW, a basketcase?

Well almost certainly not but this report is disturbing. For a decade NSW has been declining relative to the rest of Australia. The poorly-performing Labor Governments of Bob Carr, Morris Iemma and now Nathan Rees have been a factor in this decline.