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Chinese land purchases are against Australia’s interests

The move by Chinese interests to purchase 1.3% of Australia (the Kidman properties) for $300m is against Australia’s economic and political interests. The land will be used by the Chinese to pursue pastoral activities in Australia using imported Chinese capital resources and, at least down the line, Chinese workers. In fact the land – apart […]

Pessimism overrules logic on our macroeconomic future & this imperils us all

I posted this on FaceBook on 27th August, 2015 but current events in world equity markets invite a repost and some further comments. Quote:

“There is hysteria over the alleged “China slowdown”. 7% growth in an economy that has been growing at 8-10% for a decade is substantial growth.

Do the arithmetic.

Incomes of 100 […]

Chinese tariffs on coal there & gone

An interesting feature of the proposed Australia China free trade agreement is that so little is at stake. Most of Australia’s exports to China and most of China’s exports to Australia are tariff free. The catch is the restriction on Chinese purchases of Australian housing and land and Chinese foreign investments generally which are subject […]

Some thoughts on Chinese environmental issues

I am back in Australia after a month in China in Changsha, Hunan Province. It was a most enjoyable and instructive stay. People have asked me about my visit and what I learnt and I think there are two core messages that I would like to (tentatively) convey.

Environment. The first and most obvious problems […]

Common property issues on the Yangtze

I posted recently on the environmental problems at Yueyang and Dongting Lake. This is an excellent short article from The Economist that links the general environmental problems of the Yangtze with the priorities of the Chinese government in developing central and Western China. There are a myriad of complex issues here.

Specific taxes would outperform ad valorem taxes on cigarettes in China

I wrote a paper on cigarette smoking (with Bao Jia Tan) while at BEDA in Beijing in 2010 – here is a pre-print. While in China this time I have tried to argue the point with Chinese students that there was a strong case for increasing tobacco taxes in China and that this tax should […]

Yueyang & Dongting Lake

I traveled to Yueyang at fairly short notice so I didn’t have time to do the usual internet search I do when I visit a new location. All I knew was that it was a tourist destination that was also an industrial cerntre, that it contained one of the three major pagodas (or in this […]


I am currently based at a university in south central China and fairly absorbed in events going on around me. Posting will be slow for a while. The last few days I spent in the area around Zhangjiajae National Forest Park which is around 500 kms west of the city I am residing in, Changsha. […]

Dead ducks in Chinese river as swine flow eases

I wasn’t sure whether this suggested water quality was improving or not. I suppose 1,000 dead ducks are better than 14,000+ dead pigs.

After all (quoted from the last link):

“Authorities have assured the 23 million residents of the Shanghai urban area that the water supply, of which 20% comes from the Huangpu (the pig-cum-dead-duck […]

Long term trends in global CO2 emissions

This excellent EU reports tells us – up to 2010 – where the world is in terms of carbon emission trajectories. Over 2009 to 2010 there was a rapid switch back to trend in global carbon emissions. World emissions fell by 1% in 2009 but rose by more than 5% in 2010, an unprecedented increase […]

Beijing Forum 2011

II have taken a break from golfing and enjoying my ‘rich social life’ to attend the Beijing Forum 2011 at Peking University, Beijing. Its my fourth Beijing Forum and, in format, it follows the standard, immaculately-organised pattern. Some amazing speakers are presenting – Roger Myerson and James Mirrlees are both Nobel Laureates in economics – […]

Cigarette smoking in China

The Chinese government have embarked on an active campaign to reduce the incidence of smoking in China. About 1.2 million Chinese die annually from smoking-related and another 100,000 die from the effects of passive smoking. This paper, co-written with Ms. Bao Jia a student at Peking University, examines some of the main policy issues. The […]

Thoughts on my China visit

I posted these thoughts on the CHED’S website at Peking University.

China to comprehensively tax pollution

China is set to levy a range of charges on various types of pollutants over the next 5 years. It is expected to be announced soon in the next 5-year plan – by far the greenest five-year plan in China’s modern history once renewable resource investments are included.

The environmental tax – which will levy […]

Chinese mothers & Aussie women

I have posted before on the relative success that Asian kids have in Western education systems. Amy Chua has written a strident defense of the role of Chinese mothers in using discipline to bring out the best in their children. I am sympathetic. Westerners do undervalue the abilities of their kids and apologize for childish […]

Chinese visitors to Australia

A major source of tourism in Australia is now from mainland China. Last year more Chinese visited Australia than Americans. Moreover they stay longer and spend much more than other groups such as Japanese – in 2009 Chinese visitors contributed $7287 to the economy compared with $3420 from the Japanese. The average Chinese visitor stayed […]

Returning from China

My 4.5 month visit to China is complete and I return to Australia tomorrow. Its been an amazing experience teaching at BEDA (Peking University) and teaching the sort of environmental economics I have always wanted to teach to the best students one could imagine. People here ask me if I am sad to leave and […]

Yao Ming on ‘finning’

I was delighted to see an advertisement on CCTV Beijing where a legendary Chinese basket baller, the 7 foot 6 inch, Yao Min, rejects a plate of shark’s fin soup. In fact, as I later found out, he has been pursuing a campaign against the appalling practice of ‘finning’ (removal of a shark’s fin and […]

Beijing traffic planning revisited

I wrote a brief note earlier this year on how Beijing should resolve its traffic problems. The interesting news over the past few days is that the Beijing administration has announced a whole set of anti-traffic congestion policies. The Vice-Mayor of Beijing in charge of traffic ‘resigned’ the day the measures were introduced and is […]


It’s my last month in China and I am trying to cram a lot into the last few weeks. Currently in Shanghai and enjoying it’s magnificent seafood and southern cuisine. It’s a cliche but true – this is the Paris of the east -a vibrant, modern European-style city with, yes, a Chinese twist. Shanghai has […]