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Big history

A riveting history of the world in 18 minutes. David Christian on the big bang, entropy, complexity and 13.7 billion years of history that led to ‘collective learning’ on a global scale, the internet and destructive climate change.

French think about border taxes

The French socialists have revived earlier attempts by France to introduce border taxes on imports from countries which do not impose carbon taxes. It is good policy for France (and for Europe) because it restores international competitiveness of French exports and import-competing industries. It also provides incentives for countries to impose carbon taxes themselves and […]

Discounted carcinogen deliveries

DP has pointed out to me that British American Tobacco have launched a discounted brand “Just Smokes” just before the plain packaging legislation comes into operation. The brand name has a generic sound to it consistent with the future market environment. It might be expected that the other 3 large cigarette manufacturers in Australia will […]

Liquor stores don’t cause domestic violence or crime

In the past I have criticised the argument that reducing the number of liquor stores will reduce the crime rate. Police statisticians identify a correlation between the number of liquor stores and hence of drinking with the incidence of crime in a community. They deduce that reducing the number of stores will cut crime. Now […]

Stanton & Killeen Vintage Port 1972

I was fortunate enough to participate in drinking a single bottle of this port recently – its the last of 4 vintage ports I have cellared from the 1970s – all were very good but this was outstanding. An amazing wine – it tasted like a bright young fruity port even though it was 40 […]

Dirt cheap pinot noir that is good

I read in the Epicure section of The Age on Tuesday an enthusiastic recommendation for De Bortoli’s Windy Peak Pinot Noir. At Dan Murphy’s liquor stores the 2010 was retailing tonight at under $10 a bottle. Its not great pinot but it is very, very good – fragrant bouquet and simple strawberry flavours. Good acidity […]

Ostrom & Williamson

I have been teaching undergraduate courses in microeconomics and environmental economics for more years than I will admit to. In microeconomics my thinking, in the main, is a refined version of what I learnt as an undergraduate. The main distinctive new feature of the theory for me stemmed from the work of Ronald Coase and […]


If you own a Mac Alfred is a must-have App. A marvel at finding things, doing calculations & (maybe) tying you to the kitchen chair. Free but there is an upgrade you can buy. How did I live without this?

Podcast on the carbon tax

Here is a podcast I gave for my university on the carbon tax. Yes, even I wince at my distinctive Strine accent. But, yeah, I am an Aussi.

Podcast on plain packaging.

Here is a podcast I gave on the plain packaging issue.

Here is a new quality report on this issue.

Labor values

Michael Alexander Williamson was National President of The ALP from 2009-2010. His past history of other important positions suggests he is a model citizen in the Australian labour movement. Indeed an aristocrat.

He has some explaining to do. So too does the ALP and the trade union movement. This is not just an incident which […]