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Ricky Ponting retires

Ricky Ponting will retire from Test Cricket after the test in Perth. Like every cricket-loving Australian I have mixed feelings about this. No batsman, other than perhaps Adam Gilchrist at his best, gave me as much pleasure as I got watching Ponting on one of his batting rampages. He was awesome, he was fearless. He […]

Cabcharge charging a rort

Taxis are an important part of our urban transport system. The recent inquiries in NSW and Victoria show they are among the least efficiently managed industries in our community. The issue of reforming them is difficult because of the evident need to compensate those who have paid huge amounts for licences with any deregulation. But […]

Adaptive web pages

A monopolist does not maximize their profits by charging a uniform monopoly price. Provided they can segment a market and prevent arbitrage transactions the ideal price they can charge reflects each individual customer’s marginal willingness-to-pay. If you are wealthy and are lazy in terms of making efforts to search for the cheapest price you should […]

Some environmental ethics

I have been engaged in trying to understand some environmental ethical issues. Comments very welcome.

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$5m to gain an Aussi visa

Government policy is now allowing businesspeople who will make a business investment of $5m in Australia to gain entry to Australia as an immigrant. Critics have described the policy as an immoral sale of entry rights. It isn’t really. The policy in the main provides a signal of the applicant’s entrepreneurial or business skills which […]

Labor gets tough too late on asylum seekers

I have posted repeatedly in the past on the foolishness of the Labor Government’s solution to the asylum seeker problem and the virtue of the Howard Government’s “Pacific Solution” which meant almost no illegal arrivals (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and particularly here, here etc). For my troubles I have been labeled […]

John Stuart Mill on nature, population size & the value of solitude

I’ve used it before but, who cares, its my favourite Mill quote. Its about the most sensible general statement on “optimal population” and the need to co-exist with nature that I have come across.

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Israel versus barbarism

This cartoon from The Economist says much. Grim humour but, despite some core truths, exaggerated with respect to the assigned symmetry of responsibilities.

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Animal ethics

I am doing some work on environmental and specifically animal ethics. Comments appreciated on this first draft on the animal ethics topic.

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Afternoon at Kingston Heath

Kingston Health Golf Course is ranked number 2 among Australian golf courses (and 27th in the world). But over the many times I have visited it, I have never seen it in better condition than it was this Saturday when I went to watch the third day of the Australian Masters Championship. Lightning fast greens […]

Clearing the air/creating a smoke-screen

Cardinal Pell states that the proposed Royal Commission into child abuse will provide the Catholic Church with the opportunity to “clear the air” over the issue. He agrees that numerous Church clergy have raped and abused young children – big deal how could he not acknowledge this? – but he argues that this Commission will […]

Sandy & climate change

There are plausible links between Sandy and AGW. That the scientific evidence is scant because – by definition – this is an instance of an infrequent, extreme event – provides additional reasons to research such links. The event provides an instance of the type of catastrophic outcome that warming oceans, along with sea level rise, […]

Economics & business PhD conference

I have just returned from the 25th annual PhD Conference in Economics and Business held at the University of Western Australia. There were parallel sessions in economics and in finance – I attended only the 16 economics student presentations. This Conference – organized by UWA’s Professor Ken Clements – is one of the most-focused and […]

Bob Gregory on macroeconomics

Bob Gregory is interviewed by my colleague Jan Libich on some issues in modern macroeconomics. Definitely worth a listen. Jan has a string of such interviews with other economists as well which you can see on YouTubes here and on iTunes here.

Prices for inequality & civilization

I am reading Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality which, as it states, focuses on inequality but provides a more general political-economic critique of US political developments over the past 30 years. Also reading Jeffrey Sacks, The Price of Civilization which emphasises ethical issues but takes up similar themes. The chapter in Stiglitz, “1984 is […]

Killing animals cruelly

I am a somewhat uncomfortable carnivore who eats meat daily. Uncomfortable because I value the life of all sentient beings but continue to eat the flesh of animals killed for human consumption. There are standard arguments I can plausibly tell to justify this practice (it encourages additional animals to gain access to life etc) but, […]

University administrators

I commented at Core Economics on a post by Paul Frijters on the optimal number of university administrators. Paul’s contention was that we have too many. I don’t disagree with that but think that the question itself needs to be nuanced before it can be effectively posed.

It is more what administrators do in universities […]

Dump Abbott

The pragmatic obvious strong case for dumping Tony Abbott from the leadership of the Liberal Party and replacing him with Malcolm Turnbull is the fact, that with 60% voter support, Turnbull enjoys twice the popular support of Abbott. Moreover while it is true that much of Turnbull’s support is among Labor voters a majority of […]