Category Archives: economics

Save the environment, give it a market price

An old insult directed against economists is a reprise of Oscar Wilde’s pithy putdown of cynics – they know the price of everything, and the value of nothing. Like so many glib one-liners, it is both manifestly unfair and hinting … Continue reading

Posted in economics, environment | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Just say no… to the war on drugs

What would you do with $1 trillion? Don’t answer too quickly, lean back and think about it for a while. Physically, using the highest-value banknote I know of (the €500 bill that will be excluded in Britain due to its … Continue reading

Posted in economics, international, law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I’m no Lord Kelvin, but I try

A long time ago I read a thoughtful critique on orthodox economics, and while I can’t do justice to the argument presented by the author (I can’t even remember who the author is!), what stuck with me was a line … Continue reading

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The Stilwell Manifesto

Those of you who have read my blog for a while might recall I wrote an incomplete critique of Frank Stilwell’s Who Gets What?, a book that analyses income and wealth inequality in Australia. Coincidentally, I’m currently doing a summer … Continue reading

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Poverty and trade revisited

The anniversary of this blog passed by without me realising it. In belated celebration, I’m re-printing the post that started the whole thing below the fold. It’s my attempt to persuade left-wingers that they should support free trade if they … Continue reading

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Competition. It works, bitches.*

I’ve long extolled the benefits of companies competing for consumers’ business. According to orthodox economics, it reduces prices, and therefore profits, and thus shifts the division of the economic surplus towards consumers. Competition is generally a Good Thing. Unless you’re … Continue reading

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When is a bonus not a bonus?

AIG is in trouble. Financial trouble, sure, but I’m talking about the naughty-corner type of trouble. Being a giant company deeply enmeshed in the financial system, AIG has been receiving money from the US government in order to prop it … Continue reading

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Speaking of inequality…

..I came across this map of the world’s Gini coefficients at the incredible, incomparable, what-would-I-do-without-it Wikipedia. It shows in clearer form than ranks of numbers how generally there is a negative correlation between the Gini coefficient and GDP per capita. … Continue reading

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If only…

Joshua Gans praises the iTunes App Store model, and it inspired me to do the same. I’m with Mr Gans – never before have I bought so much software. The low cost and ease of use means games and whatnot … Continue reading

Posted in economics | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The future of progress

Reading the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, as usual I browsed the letters to the editor. At the top of the page was one from Stephen Asprey of St Ives, bemoaning changes from the good ol’ days. He hit on the … Continue reading

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