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Taking a break

I am taking a break as I assume a position as Visiting Professor of Economics at Peking University, Beijing, China. I am teaching a course there on ‘Environmental and Natural Resource Economics’.

This is almost certainly among the best of the universities in China. The students there are selected as the best in China and […]

Gillard hypocrisy

Quote from Julia Dullard

“Labor has a long and proud track record of reforming the institutions and practices of political life I want to renovate that Labor tradition to bring lasting and durable improvements to our democracy”.

With the exception of the Hawke-Keating years – a significant period – Labor has no ‘long and proud […]

Efficiency

From Greg Mankiw I got this interesting piece by Uwe Reinhardt critiquing the economic idea of efficiency – it’s a sequel to an earlier argument by Reinhardt. It interests me that both articles pop up in the business pages of the NYT.

Roughly efficiency means in a producer setting that more valued output is obtained […]

Liberals who voted Green

The Australian’s Kate Legge rang me during the week and asked why I am now voting Green. My response is in this article of Kate – basically my revisionism stems from my concern with climate change and more general environmental issues. There are a few Liberal supporters in this article who had similar ideas to […]

Economic outlook sours

Joseph Stiglitz is warning of a double dip recession in Europe because governments are becoming overly concerned with their deficits. Europe has similar fears but emphases weaknesses in US private sector housing demand that they some claim call for an increased US fiscal stimulus.

Equity markets around the world – including Australia – are tipping […]

Too much politics, time for a gag

The world’s best one-liner?

Tim Vine has been crowned king of the one-liners after one of his gags was named the best joke of the Edinburgh Fringe. Tim won for the gag:

“I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.”

Election eve tip

My guess is that Tony Abbott’s Coalition will not win enough seats to form a government on its own bat but that it will fall just short of a majority of seats. With the support of the independents Abbott will be able to form a government in a hung parliament situation. Its a pretty good […]

BHP-Billiton to invest in agriculture?

Potash or potassium carbonate has several industrial uses but is, in the main, used in agriculture. According to the Wikipedia entry: “Potash is important for agriculture because it improves water retention, yield, nutrient value, taste, colour, texture and disease resistance of food crops. It has wide application to fruit and vegetables, rice, wheat and other […]

Banal thoughts on Federal Election

It is now 5 days until the Federal elections and most people I talk to can’t wait for the campaign to be over. The obsession in the media with personal and electoral trivia and the blatant dishonesty and misrepresentation by each side in their public pronouncements and the use of ‘sound bite’-style advertising leaves me […]

US bankrupt?

Several of the Fairfax newspapers ran this op ed by Laurence Kotlikoff. The linked version is superior to the local version because of the valuable IMF hyperlinks it contains. The stalling of the US recovery is no news to anyone who watches international equity markets. The bloodbath over the last few days reflects these fears […]

Election 2010 & Macbeth

A guest post by DavidP

Julia Gillard probably knows Shakespeare’s story of Macbeth. It was a standard high school text in English during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Noble lord, ambition stoked by witches’ prophesies, murders his king, turns into a bloody tyrant, and then himself is killed on the battlefield by his successors. […]

Migration & population economics

For the most part I have refrained from entering into the current discussions on migration and population targeting. My preferred approach to these issues – as an economist – is to recognise the potential for economic gains from migration and population increase and then to look for policies that guarantee resident Australians will be better […]

Labor to ban truants from playing sport

You were linked to it here first. These clowns have got to be joking. Haven’t they? Who will be the First Assistant Secretary for monitoring your local footy club? Will this be part of the ‘education revolution’? Is this devisive policy the real reason Dullard dumped Krudd?

Worsening local environmental conditions in China?

One of the plausible hypotheses I have seen raised is that China’s internal environmental problems (air, water) are improving but it is the regional and global problems that are continuing to worsen. This article in The Economist suggests that internal problems are not improving – they are worsening. The only possible ray of light is […]

Oil spills in Gulf

I posted on the Gulf oil spill a while back and a discussant argued I was being alarmist. The NYT thinks he is right. It is bad but there seem to be worse environmental problems. 74% of the oil released was captured which reduces the scale of the problem and “much of the rest is […]

Plain packaging of cigarettes

This policy proposal is something I have long advocated. The views of big tobacco – BAT and Phillip Morris – that there “is no credible evidence that plain cigarette packs reduce smoking but the move will instead add time to shop transactions and ultimately cost businesses money” are not plausible. Plain packaging hasn’t been tried […]

What changed in Abbott/Gillard?

Tony Abbott is likely to be the next Prime Minister of Australia. I think that Julia Gillard has not provided a successful substitute for the unfortunate Kevin Rudd. It’s an interesting and conflicted situation for me since I am a long-term Liberal Party supporter who sees a very poor Labor Government facing the prospects of […]

Abbott fork tongues on carbon tax effects

John Quiggin does a sound job demolishing Tony Abbott’s claim that a $40 per ton carbon tax will double the price of electricity. It won’t – the increase John calculates at about 20%. I have been equally puzzled by people’s assumption that a $40 carbon tax on fuels would increase petrol prices dramatically. Again it […]

Ipad gets my nod as better E-reader

I’ve previously reported on my Kindle and Ipad purchases. Both are great technology so I am happy to praise both. Though I must say that – given its connectability to any part of the WEB – the range of things you can do with Ipad is much greater. And OK, this is fairly bourgeois, but […]