The Wild West ... the outback ... The new world of the 1800s was a time of true liberty. People stood on their own merits. They won or they lost and they reaped the rewards or swallowed the consequences. There were no cubicle dwelling civil servants hell bent on saving you from yourself. No planning permits no licenses no permissions no heritage overlay no bylaw no regulators no inspectors. And guess what ... it worked

This site is set up to provide a forum for a number of like minded professional economists to post and comment on contemporary issues. There are a number of regular contributors whose bios are made available on the site. Most if not all of these contributors use a pseudonym for the simple reason that they are practicing economists who must take into consideration the commercial implications of posting their opinions.

While some may feel that this is a bit of a gutless approach it is the only way we can ensure free and open discussion without jeopardising our paycheques.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Realestate deals in the USA

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Writing speeches for Kevin (RR)

Its very surprising to find this article in the AGE ... its definitely worth checking out, and as you go through the comments you'll find it comes as no surprise to anyone that has worked in government previously.

However, i do differ from some of the comment in that i think the liberals empowered their ministers much more than kevin does.

thanks to IPA for pointing it out

Regulatory madness (RR)

Hows this for regulatory madness.

I just heard from a reliable source that work cover NSW is seriously considering regulating pall bearers so that they have to wear hard hats ... apparently an open grave means that the site is considered dangerous ... ergo hard hats.

Its sort of hard to pull off a sombre funeral when you have six blokes standing around the coffin in bright yellow hard hats ... or perhaps there will be special black ones .... or white ones with doves on them .... or sky blue ones with pictures of the pearly gates on the front.

or for that special funeral ... hardhats covered in flames.

Whats next ... is the priest going to have to throw a safety harness around the gravestone?

I would like to see their regulatory impact statement, in particular i would love to see the stats on falling into open grave related accidents.

Its about time someone introduced kill a bureaucrat day!!!!

Bagwhati on Moyo on Aid

Very good article from Bagwhati reviewing a book by Dambisa Moyo (an African economist)

If your interested you should also check out White Mans Burden

10 Questions for 2010: 6 to 10 (Roy Rodgers)

  1. Endangered species.... how do they get listed? Have any species ever come off the list .... that is, has any species ever been deemed to be no longer endangered? How often is the list reviewed, is it subject to independent assessment? Can you appeal a listing? Is it an effective way of protecting wildlife? What constraints does a listing have for commercializing a species? If preservation is the end goal, commercialization is the one sure way of achieving that outcome ... look at cows, do you think they are in danger of extinction? How does the definition of endangerment deal with changes in demand from humans and substitution or technical obselecence? Whales would be a good case study. Some species have had up to 50 years of protection, so how are they going? can they now be delisted? Do we now have enough blue whales? Are their current stocks sustainable given that we would no longer demand whale oil in anywhere near the quantities we did prior to the development of substitutes such as petroleum?

  2. This is a very Australian specific question ... when I turn on my digital tv and shuffle through my 400 available channels... what the hell is going on ... why are they basically all empty ... how come there are only four channels (sorry .. plus the extra re-hash ones that roll out the one program series for weeks on end!) ? Surely this is a massive government and policy failure. All that excess capacity just sitting there, all that opportunity for us to communicate, educate and entertain each other is just being wasted. How on earth does the commonwealth minister for broadband, something or other and the digital economy loudly and proudly declare that he will not let another any new entrants compete against the four incumbent tv channels .... why not? It's not as if there isn't enough space for a couple more? It's not as if competition would erode our appetite for such brilliant local content as funniest home videos and the 20 to 1... no way not under his watch. He seems to be boasting his credentials as a protectionist. Standing tall and screaming for all the world to hear ... Fk the consumer!!! And this guy is from the labour party.

  3. Afghanistan ... I just don't get Afghanistan. How can a little piece of unproductive rock with virtually no redeeming economic value cause such a massive headache to the world? Why has the world been fighting for centuries in this place .... How does this country come to have the ability to engage the most powerful countries on earth in war? The English, the Russians and now the Americans. What can economics tell us about the seemingly unique ability of Afghanistan to compel the most powerful countries in history to invade it.

  4. Why do heritage trams exist? You don't get heritage buses. How can there be any value in being forced to sit on a rickety, uncomfortable, unsafe tram? Why would you want to? Buses and trams are perfect substitutes (or as close to as you're going to get) Does the simple fact that trams run on rails while buses run on tyres mean trams are somehow more valuable, more endearing?

  5. One more ... economics, globalization and cuisine. I would like to know how food cultures react to various changes in the resource availability that accompany mass migration programs. The most obvious example is Chinese. How does a cuisine evolve once it migrates to another country and as a consequence is subjected to a whole new bundle of available resources ... what makes a cuisine successful in its new environment, how do some cuisines manage to maintain their essential characteristics? Australian Chinese is obviously very different from Chinese Chinese which is again very different from American Chinese.
Ponder on .....

Monday, February 22, 2010

why is it American cartoonists get it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

10 Questions for 2010: 1 to 5 (Roy Rodgers)

  1. We all love the dali lama ... but what would the political economy look like if he was actually in charge of Tibet. The dali is essentially a theological dictator, and while i understand hes reportedly a fairly compassionate guy do you really think you would want a religious leader of a strong monastic sect, with all that it entails in charge of government. How do you deal with a political leadership that sees the ultimate utility of a country as its devotion to a rigid religion and the realization of some form of spiritual enlightenment. Whatever fiscal or monetary policy these guys produced would have to be a complete farce. how would vested interests compete for policy outcomes. Do you really want a guy who believes in self denial and asceticism in charge of your essential infrastructure program. Very interesting public choice question.

  2. Queuing behavior when boarding and alighting from airplanes. Lets start with boarding. I'm always in awe of how they manage to get people to queue in the first place let alone stand in the queue for 10 minutes while they fumble with the boarding passes. It's not as if getting in line early and standing there is going to get you to your destination any faster, it won't even get you a better seat (as these are already assigned). And then there's the question of why every one jumps up as soon as the plane lands. Why? There doesn't appear to be any benefit from doing so. Planes empty row by row so you don't get off any faster, at best maybe you can push in front of one of the guys from the row in front of you, but again what's the point, you all end up at the baggage carousel where you have to wait 20 minutes for the bags to come out, by which time you've lost any advantage from your pushing to get off the plan. Chillax (as my 7 year old would say!)

  3. Why is popular media, particularly TV and the big screen, such a big bunch of lefties. Liberal media commentators are far and few between and liberal orientated movies are far and few between. I find this very perplexing especially when you consider that Hollywood would have to be one of the most merit based market sectors there is, why are businessmen always portrayed as greedy, and private companies as always corrupt. Why didn't Hollywood go the other way? What role does economics and incentives have and why isn't economics portrayed accurately.

  4. In a similar vein, I would like to know how rock stars reconcile the obvious tension between their anti-capitalist herding behavior and the fact that they themselves are the robber barons of the modern capitalist system?I love spearhead, but i often wonder why if micheal franti was so sincere he hasn't released the intellectual property associated with all their music into the public domain ... why are those that scream so loudly about social ownership the first to protect their own property. Should they lead by example? In another related question ... why does the left produce all the good music? why is it classical liberals have to make do with Country and Western.

  5. How come people are slow to realize the opportunity cost in their houses? By this I mean when you look at Sydney and Melbourne - two cities with the most unaffordable housing in the developed world ... how come there are still inner city suburbs like Footscray, where houses are worth 500 000 to 600 000 smacks and yet there are still heaps of bogans living in these expensive dilapidated shacks with their commodores parked dutifully on the footpath. Why haven't they realized the opportunity cost associated with their little shit heaps and buggered off? 500 000 buys a lot of cold chisel CDs.
I recently received some critical feedback from one of the two people (excluding fellow authors and associated family members) who follow this blog .... apparently I am a 'long winded bastard'. In the spirit of self betterment I've split the questions for 2010 into two separate articles ... so stay tuned and questions 6 to 10 will appear here soon.