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Merits & demerits of markets.

This is a nice piece on the merits and demerits of markets.

It is a discussion by Thomas Wells of Michael Sandel’s, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. The claim by Sandler is that markets degrade certain relationships and “products”.

Wells points out that conventional economics criticises markets strongly whenever natural […]

John Adams at Arts Centre

I am not a big fan of modern classical music. It is often “interesting” and “attention grabbing” but it often fails the want-to-hear-it-again test. An exception for me is the minimalist music of John Adams that I have enjoyed for more than 2 decades following the release of Harmonielehre in 1985. Adams is visiting Australia […]

Spam from University of Sydney

I get large amounts of email spam. Apart from asking people concerned to stop (the University of Sydney ignores such requests) and adding unsought email addresses to my junk mail box (useless as the address list is apparently circulated inside the organisation) what else can I do? Isn’t an unsubscribe option a requirement for this […]

Libertarians promoting smoker rights

Over at Australia’s premier lunacy blog Ratchel Conner from the Smoker’s Rights Party is arguing for lower excises on cigarettes, abolishing plain packaging and abolishing restrictions on smoking in private premises. Her argument is that smokers should pay no more than the non-internalised health costs they impose (wrong if you are a Pigouvian), that plain […]

Bruni & Sugden defend capitalism

J. King referred me to this piece by Luigino Bruni and Robert Sugden that defends capitalism from the perspective of virtue ethics. Poor old capitalism gets a rubbishing from many undergraduate Arts students because of its imperfections and outright corruption. The undergraduates note this on their iPads just before they drive off to that new […]

Social insurance against kidney failure

Greg Mankiw in his recent JEP study “Defending the One Percent” provides the following contra to the Rawls (1971) “veil of ignorance” argument:

“A common thought experiment used to motivate income redistribution is to imagine a situation in which individuals are in an “original position” behind a “veil of ignorance”…. This original position occurs in […]

Inside Job

I watched the movie with this title on a blu-ray tonight. A fascinating tele-documentary on the GFC. Some of the prominent macroeconomists* that I had learnt to respect reveal themselves to be utter s***s who would say or do anything for a moderately large cash pay-out. A word from the wise guy: There is more […]

Killing animals: The case of hunting

I recently joined a group of hunters pursuing Sambar deer in central Victoria – the mountainous area not far from Walhalla. As one who teaches classes on animal rights I do have strong views on the subject but wanted to see myself what goes on. To be clear I did not hunt myself – I […]

Professional ethics for economists: Notes on DeMartino

I am teaching a new course on “Economics and Ethics” this semester. It is oriented towards students doing joint degrees in philosophy, politics and economics – a strand of work that follows a famous degree offered at Oxford University. It came at a convenient time given that, for the last year, I have been reading […]

Election forecast – Coalition to win comfortably

My very conventional view – backed by a synthesis of recent polls – is that the Coalition will win the forthcoming Federal election easily. That isn’t surprising but it does raise the question of what Labor gained by replacing Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd. Fewer Labor seats will be lost but my guess is that […]

Australia’s economy

Overseas economic experts are often amazed at the pessimism that Australians express towards their economy. Part of the story is our national affection for some drama. Partly it is just the lunacy of the far right in trying to exaggerate the perils our economy faces to advance their political and Newscorp-style journalistic objectives. I like […]

$250b cost of Kevin Rudd

You don’t have to pay newspapers to have the views of your political opponents demolished. You do however need the support of the newspaper proprietor. Paul Sheenan provides some specific motivations for Rupert Murdoch’s recent stance.

Kevin Rudd has cost Australia $250b according to Henry Ergas and Judith Sloan.

An amazing rant that takes the […]

What is a photograph?

I enjoyed reading Peter Benson’s The Ontology of Photography in Philosophy Now (unfortunately behind a paywall). The gist of the argument is that photography liberated Western painting from its obsession with realism. With analogue photography the essence of a photograph is perceiving something “that-has-been”. I ran the marathon, I went to the scenic site, I […]

Vale Paul Mees 1961-2013

I was out of the country when it happened but belatedly now want to express my sadness of the passing of Paul Mees. Paul and I did not see eye-to-eye on some transport issues (e.g. congestion pricing) but I strongly supported his endorsement of the key role of public transport. He had a far more […]