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Why the global warming skeptics are wrong

I’ll probably set this reading by Bill Nordhaus as required reading in my environmental economics (and other) classes. A superb demolition of the nonsense propounded by the group of 16 who wrote to the WSJ, to the nonsense of the Heartland lot and to the disinformation spread by our own local low-brows (Quadrant, Catallaxy, Jo […]


Like my father (and all my male uncles on my father’s side and, indeed, my mother and her mother) I have gradually contracted cataracts in both eyes. The operation to remove them takes only 20 minutes or so and, with a local anaesthetic and a ‘soothing’ agent it is a painless and simple procedure. I […]

Is it really time to impose congestion charges?

These are some notes I prepared for the SMART Workshop on “Infrastructure economics and policy: new tools for new problems” that was organised by Henry Ergas and held last Thursday and Friday at the University of Wollongong. My endorsement of Ken Henry’s urging a year nor so ago for a more responsible […]

Labor self-destruction

Julia Gillard has now publicly and explicitly identified the reasons Kevin Rudd could not continue as PM. His administrative incompetence was a primary difficulty. These reasons have long been recognised but Gillard’s public expression of them, and attacks on Rudd by senior ministers in the government, make Rudd an impossible choice as alternative PM. Gillard’s […]

Resurging climate denialist lies

The denialists based in the right-wing think-tanks might get money from tobacco firms and oil companies but they do have one outstanding environmental credential. They recycle their garbage. Their lies about no climate change since 1998, using satellites to gain a different picture of temperature change, ocean temperatures showing no change and sea levels not […]

Good pinot

I got a chance to sample Tuck’s Ridge Buckle Vineyard 2007 Pinot Noir. James Halliday ranked this vintage of TR – a Mornington Peninsula vineyard – as Australia’s best in 2010. Acting promptly, I managed to secure a half-dozen. An intense bouquet and a very full-flavoured pinot with great intensity and a mouth-filling persistence of […]

Currencies & holiday planning

With a strong Aussi dollar and feeble international currencies it is time to think about making a move:

Perhaps time now to think about planning for (but not yet paying for) a holiday in Greece.

Or maybe wait for a while for a trip to Japan. Currently running a trade deficit – the first since […]

Exercising too hard

There is no question that getting sufficient exercise is important for health. I guess I don’t do as much as I should but I do have a few 20 minute walks each day and play golf 2-3 times each week which involves over 10,000+ steps per game on a 6000+ metre course. I don’t go […]

Paid to spread lies on climate

The anti-climate science nonsense being promulgated by ratbag groups such as Quadrant, the IPA and the utterly degenerate and despicable Catallaxy blog depend on the rantings of a handful of so-called ‘sceptics’. According to the DeSmogblog in a series of posts (the earliest is here) the most prominent of these sceptics are being paid monthly […]

Great Mellie, Fremantle

A group of us visiting Fremantle WA for the AARES Conference on agricultural and resource economics were searching for a good restaurant for the last night of the Conference. There were many to choose from and where we had a limited knowledge basis for choice. The solution was to rely on the preferences of Edward […]

Era of cheap food wiped out by surging meat-eating population numbers

I was struck with this claim by the US commodities trader Cargill. World population is forecast to grow from 7 to 9 billion or by something less than 1 third. But total food production needs to grow by 70% because wealthy consumers in developing countries eat more meat. Is it true? Food prices are estimated […]

Catching Europe’s ills?

Warwick McKibbin in today’s AFR argues that Australia is in danger of mimicking the worst economic policies available by pursuing the European approach. He cites specifically the attempt to use a carbon pricing scheme to control greenhouse gas emissions, continued protectionist support for the car industry and an excessive reliance on redistributionist policies together with […]

Rogoff & chess

Rogoff, chess, game theory, financial history & on declining dessert. A great read. Economists are not one-dimensional zombies.

Fa piao again

I was pleased to notice that my enthusiasm for Chinese Fa piao is taken up in a post at Marginal Revolution. Of course the streetwise Aussi economist got there first! I emphasised the nature of this unique Chinese mechanism as an anti- tax avoidance device whereas Marginal Revolution see not collecting the Fa Piao as […]

Gina Rinehart & Fairfax

Gina Rinehart’s $200m foray into Fairfax is deeply troubling to me but I don’t much idea of what should be done about it. Ms. Rinehard sees Fairfax at historically low prices as it switches from print to electronic-based journalism. The 15% stake she will end up with does not give her control of Fairfax but […]