- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ponder on .....