Author Archive

When Reporters Are Worse Than Activists

Look, I’m a partisan for centre-Right, free market policies. I’m a former candidate for the Liberals, and still active. But I can say something like: I’m not happy with the policy moves being taken under pressure from agrarian protectionists and mercantilist-populists in some sections of the Liberal Party. I’m a Party member and activist and […]

Doctors Aren’t Always Right on Healthcare

As much as I agree with medico concerns over increasing levels of administrative costs, it doesn’t follow that there needs to be less organisational management in health delivery. Scratch most hospital specialists and you find a visceral dislike of administrators – not as individuals, but as a functional class. If you’ve ever experienced some of […]

Latest Tax Talk Needs More

As an open economy our corporate tax rate has to be on a par with comparable countries. But  this latest policy suggestion from Treasurer Swan’s  business tax working group looks like a good idea that’s undercooked. The plan: drop the tax rate by 2% and fund the $3.6bn a year by reducing concessions in research, […]

Housing and Consolidation: Challenging New Paper

So, having just written I am unabashedly in favour of increasing population densities in the Inner West, in my usual read-like-a-crazy-man way I stumbled across a quasi-counterpaper  from  Journal of the American Planning Association. Download the pdf here  (1Mb) . I include it here in interests of balanced debate. The study’s no knockdown – it’s […]

Nope, It Still Represents Culture

So now some more serious discussion emerges on Israel’s comparative economic performance after Mitt Romney’s culture comment, and Jordan Weissmann in The Atlantic  highlights four concrete reasons behind Israel’s success: Learning from hyperinflationary disaster: …”crafted a grand bargain that slashed government spending, massively devalued the currency, and severed the tie between wages and prices. It […]

EPA v Solar Bonus Scheme: Something’s Rotten

Just thought I’d mention a bit on government spending priorities, now that Kevin Gosper has made it clear just how unable lifetime insiders are to make a considered decision about what’s important. More money on elite sport, or should we put it to the NDIS, which is struggling against a government profligacy unseen in this […]

Housing: Look First At Councils

Michael Koziol has called out both Leichhardt Council and its minority of nay-saying residents in a long overdue Sydney Morning Herald article. God knows how the only paying reader of the SMH will take this: Sydney’s housing crisis is substantially the fault of “narrow-minded, self-interested individuals who oppose the building of any new homes in […]

Rational-Actor Model The Core Question

Direct statement of the core challenge facing economics from one of the top (not so young) young economists, Xavier Gabaix  at Big Think.  The whole post  is great,  with eight economists identifying theoretical directions (and follow the links). The most central open question in economic theory, as I see it, is how to model realistic […]

Culture Matters: Why Do We Pretend Otherwise?

Another Romney storm in an American teacup. But it’s one that recurs in the world of social policy and economics. Romney made some remarks about culture and prosperity in Israel, comparing the economic effects of Israeli and Palestinian cultures. It may have been a hand-waving generalisation that you wouldn’t accept from a student, but it […]

God Save Foreign Policy From Politicians

It seems every time foreign policy is in the news I find myself siding with the bureaucracy. It’s a strange place to be, but political figures that opine on foreign policy generally leave me little choice but to support the  hide-the-intentions, offend-noone team at DFAT. And that’s even allowing for my lack of concern for […]

A Curmudgeon and The Creativity of Limits

A mate mentioned the other day that his internal response  to many of my posts was: You’re probably right, but for God’s sake, go get laid. Apart from the fact that as a critique it is probably true of most men in their forties, he has a point. When I started this blog I considered […]

Nudge Fads, Behavioural Econ & Paternalists

Tyler Cowen links to an interesting paper on economic research that relies on behavioural economics. Behavioural Economics identifies psychological biases that lead to irrational decisionmaking, and frequently leads to suggestions of ‘nudge policy’, where policymakers use those biases to drive policy outcomes. Only problem is, nudge approaches aren’t part of a transparent policy discussion, and […]

Darcy Byrne Opposes Himself, Screws Everyone Else

Leichhardt Labor Councillor Darcy Byrne has a knack at getting media. Admittedly, it seems to be in Fairfax press, the ABC and the Inner West Courier, which are very welcoming to a certain political view. So he has used all the time he has while working for Federal Minister Anthony Albanese to promote a 30 […]

Yes, There’s a Left Wing In The Greens – And They Want To Run Leichhardt

As hard as it is to conceive for those of us labouring under the Green yoke, we’re probably lucky. Because as Hall Greenland recently wrote, […]   the federal Greens leadership, not to mention the Greens membership as a whole, are veering to the right, driven by electoralism and an attachment to neoliberalism. They are, […]

A Big Tent Isn’t Always a Strong Tent

Lurked over an interesting Facebook exchange last night that started me thinking about the range of policy views within the Liberal Party membership. The key comment was that the weakness of the ALP has resulted in more Centre Left  youth moving into the left of the Liberal Party. I’m not sure that it’s true. But […]