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New Corp’s attack on the ABC

Crikey gets it right on the reasons for the venomous attacks by News Corp on the ABC – they are placing their news and TV program content behind paywalls and face competition from a better-quality ABC news and entertainment service. Of course News Corp’s commercial interests are particularly exposed because its stable of newspapers have […]

Daft Coalition policy 8: Slagging former Australian Government in the US

Prior to the recent Federal election Tony Abbott bragged of his extended personal experience and readiness to assume power. He is revealing himself to be a total clot by slagging the former Australian Government while visiting the US. His combative rhetoric could, at worst, damage US-Australian links but will never be a positive. At best […]

Daft Coalition policies 7: Promoting climate change lies

Now Greg Hunt has joined the PM Abbott with comments on bush fires. It is true that the current fires in NSW cannot be unambiguously linked to climate change but there is research suggesting climate change increases both the variability of climate and possibilities of extreme weather. For example, the intensity and length of El […]

Good, very good & irrelevantly good DSLRs

I’ve just purchased the Canon 5D DSLR and the Canon 24-70 mm L lens. The quality of the photographs I am taking is as good as I have ever done but for this money that’s what you would almost insist on. Well-known camera critic and 5D aficionado* Ken Rockwell claims that, in terms of resolution, […]

Don’t buy civet coffee

This YouTube shows why. It isn’t fashionable or smart to use coffee beans that have been passed through the arse end of a civet. It promotes cruelty to the animals.

So too is eating civet – in China they are considered a delicacy that strengthens sex organs. Ancient Chinese medicine or ancient baloney?

Mother nature […]

Facebook or blogging

Recently I’ve taken greater interest in using Facebook than I have in the past. Its a nice way of keeping up with the conversation of life. If you do read this blog, and are reasonably active on Facebook, please join me by searching for me from your Facebook home page.

I’ll definitely continue with this […]

Islam & animal liberation

I am interested in connections between religion and animal ethics. The Bible is ambiguous on the issue – at times lording humans over non-humans (we are, after all, the “Sons” of God!) and at times showing compassion. St Francis (one of the great figures of Catholicism who does inspire me) prayed to the birds! I […]

Gladwell glibness

I find Malcolm Gladwell’s economic reasoning to be uninspired, glib, piffle*. But it is immensely fashionable and, I have read, he commands huge consulting fees. He is successfully taken to pieces here over his recent David and Goliath claims. Those who are disadvantaged can win. Err…yeah.

*To be fair I haven’t read any of his […]

Daft Coalition economic policies 6: Endorsing sleazy behaviour & lying about it

It is difficult to tackle corporate criminals and dishonest behaviour generally when you yourself lie over expense accounts. The hypocrisy is too raw. PM Tony Abbott has spent $23,000 of taxpayer money attending sporting events in recent years. His argument? Any sort of travel is “business-related” since you meet people. That the Labor Party is […]

Daft Coalition Economics 5: Poor bargaining instructions on a trade agreement

Mr Abbott is sending out signals that he wants to quickly – by the end of this year – reach a free trade agreement with China. It is generally dumb to announce in advance in a bargaining situation that you wish to settle quickly. It provides incentives for the other side to seek to exact […]

What I am reading – Murdoch

I read too much serious stuff. Condensed economic or other arguments that I have to read for work – the sort of stuff that furrows your brow and makes you feel your age. For pleasure I am now reading Paul Barry’s cheeky “Breaking News: Sex, Lies & The Murdoch Succession”. It is well-written and interesting. […]

Gloom on the oceans

New Scientist summarizes the recent State of the Oceans Report.

“We know the oceans are warming. We know they are acidifying. And now, to cap it all, it turns out they are suffocating, too. A new health check on the state of the oceans warns that they will have lost as much as 7 per […]

Elephant ivory

I read in NewScientist that the US Fish and Wildlife Service are crushing and destroying 6 tonnes of illegally-poached elephant ivory. The obvious response as an economist to this action is that it might be better to sell the ivory on the open market thereby deflating its price and reducing incentives for further illegal poaching. […]

Cost-cutting

An entirely hypothetical situation I am thinking about raises the following parable.

A firm employs someone who earns $100,000 per year and he/she produces each year in revenues $400,000 – the value of their marginal product. There are no other significant variable costs. In the face of cost pressures the firm sacks him/her to save […]

Privatizing Australia Post

Julie Novac is one of the more thoughtful IPA-Catallaxy people but she still can’t see past ideological blinkers in promoting the case for privatizing Australia Post. Why? Well because in many respects Australia Post is a natural monopoly – a firm that has technological advantages in the sense that its costs are sub-additive. It would […]