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Distortions in the patent market

Distortions in the patient market for new drugs mean that drugs are overwhelmingly being developed for people who will die anyway from conditions the drugs are designed to address. There are few incentives to provide preventative medicines and this distortion costs lives.

As the Economist states:

“The data paint a bleak picture. The economists find [...]

Pricing the ABC’s shows

The suggestion that the ABC should levy pay-for-view charges on the TV shows that it records wouldn’t win top grades from the viewpoint of standard economics. To the extent that the marginal cost of supplying an extra copy of a show to a customer is zero the ideal charge for gaining an extra customer is [...]

Right-wing think tanks & the press

Groups such as the Institute of Public Affairs play a dominant role in providing newspaper commentary in Australia, particularly via the Murdoch press but also in some of the better quality Fairfax papers. Partly, no doubt, when it comes to papers like The Australian this is so because the propietor endorses the views. But I [...]

Muzzling the ABC

The Coalition-Newscorp campaign to muzzle the ABC seems to be gathering force with proposals to cut the ABC’s Asian news services. As a means of promoting Australia in Asia I think this news service is very good and not expensive – far better than the BBC. The premise that pursuing “soft diplomacy” by means of [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

All the news that’s fit to print

Business groups oppose increased company taxes. Disabled citizens support the national disability scheme. Big miners oppose increased mining taxes. Unemployed demand an increase in work start benefits. Universities oppose cuts in university funding.Labor savages Coalition policies. Coalition targets Labor policies. Families oppose reduced childcare benefits. Schools support Gonski reforms. Graziers support grazing in native forests. [...]

Aussi media lynch mob

The man who shot himself in a burning house that had been attacked with tear gas rather than go back to jail was described as a “Mad Dog” by most of Australia’s press. Certainly by newspapers such as The Age. He had assaulted his girlfriend and faced the prospect of returning to jail after already [...]

Foolish assaults on the AFR

I always enjoyed John Quiggin’s columns in the AFR. They were thought-provoking. I was disappointed when his column was terminated. More generally I get much of my news from the AFR. The articles there are punchier and better quality than the mainstream non-bogan press in Victoria such as The Age. The Australian has lost all [...]

Media ownership by buffoons

It is a tragedy that the Fairfax group have fallen on hard times and seem destined to be run by the right-wing philistine Gina Rinehart. The Fairfax press – despite imperfections associated particularly with The Age – still represents the best quality media in this country. This will mean that most of the print (and [...]

The Project, Channel 10

I watch almost no TV these days. I used to watch the ABC but can’t even be bothered doing that. I used to watch some top golf tournaments on Foxtel but (generally) find that I’d prefer to play my own lousy game than to watch others play it really well. I have been inadvertently trapped [...]

Gina Rinehart & Fairfax

Gina Rinehart’s $200m foray into Fairfax is deeply troubling to me but I don’t much idea of what should be done about it. Ms. Rinehard sees Fairfax at historically low prices as it switches from print to electronic-based journalism. The 15% stake she will end up with does not give her control of Fairfax but [...]

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn & Ms. X , the maid

As I remarked in an earlier post the media have totally abandoned the principle of “presumption of innocence” in relation to the claimed rape of a hotel maid. This outrage was fostered by the New York prosecutors and the police who treated him publicly as a criminal. Commentary in the press was written and constructed [...]

Global warming & the issue-attention cycle

The Pew Climate Centre have shown that over the last year or so a decreased proportion of US citizens believe climate change is a serious public policy issue and a reduced number believe there is solid evidence that anthropogenic warming is occurring. Climate change delusionists might be credited with inducing these changed opinions but the [...]

Propaganda & scepticism toward climate science

I subscribe to The Australian – I like its business sections and detest the low journalistic standards at Melbourne’s Pravda, its main Melbourne-based competitor. But I feel more than irritation at The Australian’s ongoing war against climate science. This is an organised campaign that I have remarked on before. The [...]

Visualising the financial crisis

Jonathon Jarvis provides this exceedingly clear view of the global financial crisis.  One of the best I have seen. (324)

Long pictures

I enjoyed this oldie from BoingBoing. (262)

Newspaper futures

A lot of printer’s ink has been spilt on the issue of the future of newspapers.  I buy three each day (The AFR, The Australian and (on a discount offer) The Age), My wife likes the Herald-Sun.  Our families’ purchases are a ridiculous exception to the standard view that newspaper demands are collapsing.  This NYT article [...]

Keith Windschuttle on acceptable climate change papers for Quadrant

My paper criticising what I saw as the foolish climate change ‘denialist’ views that have been repeatedly put forward in Quadrant magazine was rejected by its editor Keith Windschuttle on the grounds that an earlier draft of the paper had been published on this blog. This seemed to me a totally spurious grounds for not publishing the [...]

TV Advertisements

During a 15 minute interval of the show Underbelly on Channel 9 last night I counted 8+9+13 = 30 advertisements over 3 successive ad-breaks. The period was between 9-15pm and 9-30pm. I noticed most of the ads were of short duration but was still astounded at their sheer volume. How anyone can question the value [...]