Archive for the ‘poli-mics’ Category

Bubbles 2: Glubba glubba in the puddles

(Random topic courtesy of Dressy Bessy) A couple more thoughts on Sunday’s post. In comments, Brendan Scott asks “Why would a trader extrapolate against their estimate v valuation?” But there’s actually a broader question — why would anyone trade at all? The initial scenario provided infinite supply at $500 per item, and gave a randomly […]

Bubbles: the joy and the laughter

The efficient market hypothesis — that prices in a market immediately adjust to fully reflect new information as soon as it becomes available — is probably the primary foundation of the success of markets at allocating resources: eg, making the prices people are willing to pay at supermarkets influence what farmers produce and how much […]

Catholic guilt, and the economics thereof

Disclaimer: I’m not Catholic, so this is even more speculative than usual. It’s also probably taking “devil’s advocacy” a little too literally, but hey, faith is there to be tested, right? So I wonder how much Catholic Guilt is an economic phenomenon, as opposed to a purely religious or moral one. Here’s the theory. The […]

Pensions for millionaires

A recent ABC story quotes the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s recommendations for counting the family home amongst net assets while calculating pension entitlements, with the recommendation that retirees who have valuable homes take out a reverse mortgage, eg, rather than getting a pension. I somehow suspect we’re going to see a lot of ideas along […]

Recessions and Free Software

I’m still not convinced I’ve got much of an idea what’s going on with the economy and global finance and all that, but one thing that seems apparent is that to at least some extent we should be expecting a widespread extended recession. Naturally, that’s inspired various folks to explain how that’s a good thing […]

Babysitting bankers

It’s interesting how much high-falutin economics seems to come down to analogies to baby-sitting. The most recent example (via Russ Nelson a few days ago), is an article by Paul Krugman (actually from 1998) extrapolating from a baby sitter’s co-op to the Asian monetary crisis. Basically, the idea is that a bunch of parents get […]

Banks and financial literacy

It’s a bit funny, but I kind-of think banks are a huge impediment to financial literacy. There are two key insights that could be really useful to Joe Public (or, for that matter, me, say ten years ago…) that banks absolutely mess up. Credits and debits One is basic double-entry accounting. In double-entry accounting, you […]

Interest incrementally

I was looking at bank accounts and interest rates the other day — such as the Virgin Super page that lists every single fund returning a negative percentage, except for cash and one of the funds available to over-60s. It seems really hard to compare percentage rates, for example if you gain 10% on year, […]

Costs and Benefits of Voting

Economics has lots of odd results. Many of them are deeply insightful, like the principle of comparative advantage, with the potential to improve lots of people’s lives when understood and acted upon. On the other hand, some of them are just bizarre, which for my money includes the claim that voting is irrational. Basically, the […]

On the banking collapse

I’ve been trying for a while now to find someone saying something sensible about the current financial shenanigans. It’s quite difficult. First you’ve got to avoid getting distracted by the various folks who’re going to claim it’s a crisis even if it isn’t — newspapers looking for some bad news to run on page one, […]

For Pete’s Sake

I was going to blog something, what was it? Oh yes, some musings on Mr Costello. He gave an interview with Ray Martin on 60 minutes on Sunday, which didn’t really say anything new — Ray tried to make it sound like there was some chance this was all some devious plot and Costello was […]

Wow

So, either a black US president, or a female VP. Nifty. And not just because the latter nomination won me $4950 odd inkles.

Inflation

There’s been a few major issues lately where inflation and central banks have been key elements: Zimbabwe’s collapse under Mugabe, the recent Australian Federal election, and the US sub-prime mortgage crisis. What I find fascinating is that it all seems to be treated as an absolute black art by almost everyone, in spite of economics […]

The Liberals in Limbo — how low can they go?

The latest squabbling incompetence: Gold Coast MP Ray Stevens says leadership contender Tim Nicholls should withdraw his challenge and get behind Mark McArdle. Mr Stevens says if the matter is not resolved that way, he says his legal advice suggests the only option left will be to draw names out of a hat. “That is […]

Big Spending Budgets

Every time I’ve heard the budget mentioned over the past week or so, it’s prefaced by the words “big spending”, but I’m lost as to how that could actually be the case — it’s in surplus, and taxes are to be reduced a bit, so doesn’t that mean any other possible budget would be a […]