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Disrespecting science

This article – extracted from New Scientist – provides a valuable summary of the anti-science attitudes of US Republicans. Its the usual stuff – climate change delusionism, giving equal status to Biblical and evolutionary theories of the origin of the human species, diseases caused by immunisations and so on.

This type of irrational credulity created […]

Screening for cancer

Is screening for breast, cervical and prostate cancer nearly always ineffective and, for detecting the few cases where it does avert deaths, an overly expensive waste?

Medical scientists are rethinking their views on cancer by accepting that many cancers are benign. Sensible preventative maintenance of the human body requires inspection procedures that detect treatable, non-benign […]

Qantas to fight trade union reactionaries

Allan Joyce’s move to ground the entire Qantas fleet today was an inevitable attempt to break the backs of trade unionist reactionaries. As a Qantas shareholder I am dismayed at the current outcome but, as Qantas has not paid dividends for a couple of years, I support attempts to force the airline to gain competitiveness […]

Abbott’s overwhelming flaws gives Gillard a glimpse of hope

Tony Abbott’s idiot populism can undo his apparently election-winning political ascendency. It is obvious from the opinion polls that the Julia Gillard Labor Government is ‘on the nose’ and faces the real likelihood of electoral defeat at the next election. But a surprising feature of the switch away from Labor is the continuing unpopularity of […]

Costs to the US of the Great Recession

Gavyn Davis in the Financial Times points out that the cost to the US economy of the GFC-inspired continuing Great Recession is $5900b or about 41% of annual GDP once the divergence between actual and potential GDP is accounted for. The effects of other issues on US output are, by comparison, always trivial.

Nobbling Noble Sargent

Some may wonder if Thomas Sargent has made a lasting contribution to economics. The Nobel Prize Committee thought so but I don’t and neither does John Kay. Novel ideas such as rational expectations provided fodder for a lengthy cohort of PhD students employed in the model-building industry (I started early on) and it still feeds […]

A winner-takes-all-society will fail

Joe Stiglitz makes the sensible point that the “1%” society America has become cannot be sustainably successful. The prosperity of the 1% depends on the prosperity of the 99%. Gross inequality is also economically inefficient and distorts a country’s politics.

Quote “It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. […]

Workers are better off with lower company tax

Peter Martin gets it right in The Age. In a small open economy such as Australia boosting supplies of international capital boosts the productivity of labour and hence their wages. The trade unionists, such as Paul Howes, who oppose such moves are ignorant reactionaries. Their prejudiced ignorant views damage the welfare of their memberships.

Culture of thrift risks all

That’s what the IMF says and that repeats my earlier claims (and those of all sensible macroeconomists). Increased personal savings, savings by firms and pressure on governments around the world to reduce deficits are driving a situation that replicates events that ocurred during the Great Depesssion of the 1930s. Too little demand due to excessive […]

High Frequency Trading

I am not on top of the relevant literature but wonder whether high frequency trading is partly responsible for the extraordinary volatility of global stock markets in recent times. In some cases firms are transmitting thousands of stock market orders per second. 2 out of 3 stock market trades in the US are of this […]

Right wing science rejectionism & its apologists

The ragbags of the American right concede they are anti-science ninnies but seem to be claiming some kind of justification because Democrats also have some anti-science attitudes. Its a truly bizarre argument pursued at home here by one of the least interesting representatives of the right in Australia, Rafe. You do feel sorry for this […]

Fallacy of composition driving global economy to the brink

John Lancaster in the London Review of Books gets it right. It is self-evidently good for an individual who is in excessive debt to cut back spending, less good for a single nation to adopt this stance and downright dangerous for the developed countries as a whole to do so. The Lancaster article expresses this […]

Steve Jobs RIP 1955-2011

Why do many of us feel so sad about the passing of Steve Jobs? He was a remarkably successful entrepreneur and a visionary in terms of product design but he is scarcely a Thomas Edison. I don’t have a particularly clear answer to this question.

I am a recent convert to the world of MAC. […]

Tax Forum

I have been attending the Tax Forum in Canberra for the past two days. I made a submission to this Forum on congestion pricing on roads and I made a presentation based on this submission in the Environmental and Social Taxes session. To be honest this was the only session at the Forum where I […]

Evidence of continuing recovery in US manufacturing

It’s here. Of course these positive stories are being outweighed in financial markets by strong fears about Europian financial stability. Certainly the evidence does not support fears of a second recession. Investment in construction is showing strong positive growth.

Shane gets the sheila

I always liked Shane Warne and thought he would have made a great captain of the Australian cricket team – he had a strong understanding of cricket strategy and had considerable skill at handling the media – at least in interviews. I liked his intensity in relation to cricket and his joy-seeking attitude to life. […]