Home > Oz Politics > Halfway horse-race commentary

Halfway horse-race commentary

June 11th, 2016

Four weeks in, and with the two parties neck and neck, this ought to be an exciting point in the election campaign. But thanks to Turnbull’s trickiness* of calling a double dissolution requiring eight weeks of campaigning, it’s anything but. Still, it seems like a good time for some horse race commentary, partly repeating what I’ve said before.

* First, taking the horse race analogy seriously, the behavior of betting markets is as if two horses had run neck and neck in a dozen minor races, but one was still the overwhelming favorite for the big done. To spell this out, the polls have been virtually level pegging for many weeks, but the betting markets have barely moved. On past history, the two will converge by election day. If, as I expect, that means the betting odds will move towards the poll, this campaign will count as a major piece of evidence against the idea that markets are good aggregators of knowledge. And, of course, the converse is true

* Second, the likelihood of a deliberative Parliament, with neither major party having a tame majority is increasing all the time. That’s a good thing in the abstract; how good depends on whose votes turn out to be critical

* Third, the one consistent trend has been the precipitous fall in Malcolm Turnbull’s standing across a wide range of measures. Whatever happens on election day (short of a surprise LNP landslide), I don’t expect Turnbull to be PM a year from now.

* To be sure, Julia Gillard’s attempt to hold on to her leadership by calling an election eight months in advance makes Turnbull look moderate. But that was an absurdity doomed to fail, as it did.

Categories: Oz Politics Tags:
  1. wmmbb
    June 11th, 2016 at 01:10 | #1

    In regard to a deliberative parliament, there is a question as to how widely the new voting requirements for the Senate are understood. Secondly, is it the case the ALP is adopting neoliberal ideology in relation to Federal Budget? Thirdly there is the related background of the US Presidential nomination process and the lesser volume but with possible implications of the Brexit campaign. Since I don’t watch television I have no idea of what is going on in the real world of the election campaign.

  2. BilB
    June 11th, 2016 at 06:48 | #2

    A commentary I heard of the US nomination campaign relating to Bernie Sanders was that he entered the race to create discussion about important social issues that needed addressing. He certainly achieved his objective better than anyone in recent history in a campaign that would otherwise have degenerated into the typical conservative mud slinging match. It was a gutsey effort worthy of a great leader.

    After the last federal election, which was an intellectual horror show most are happy to blot from their memories, our current democracy effort has been quite civilised. Turnbull should be recognised for keeping the Abbott era LNP rabid dogs muzzled, just one slip with Joyce sparking a international incident with Indonesia, but the varnish of civility is extremely thin as evidenced by Morrison’s reaction of trash talking Labour’s ten year plan. I guess he had no option as he has no real answers having based his whole platform on “innovation”, which for an LNP treasurer is code for creative accounting.

  3. Ikonoclast
    June 11th, 2016 at 09:25 | #3

    Well, let us hope for a Labor-Greens “deliberative” parliament in both houses. The term is growing on me. I look forward to a Labor minority government with the Greens holding the full balance of power and guaranteeing supply IF certain green policies are also implemented. If election day provides that it will do as my birthday present. 🙂

  4. Cambo
    June 11th, 2016 at 10:52 | #4

    Your Third * was predicted by The Shovel a few months ago.

    I always thought the concept of betting markets as “aggregators of knowledge” was fanciful – opinions are not knowledge.

  5. Lachie A’Vard
    June 12th, 2016 at 00:56 | #5

    @wmmbb
    1. The understanding of the new ballot process is pretty much irrelevant. Votes are allowed to stand until they don’t. So if the most ignorant and gullible of Liberal voters puts a 1 in the box above the line s/he will have that vote, and no preference will be distributed if no majority is reached. Same below the line.

    2.The Alternate Liberal Party are neo-liberals. Don’t want it? Vote for someone sensible. Like the Sex Party. I’m putting Ricky Muir first in the Senate.

    3. I don’t really understand what you are asking, but offer this – the votes for Trump/Brexit are an expression of inchoate rage. There is no real logic involved, just anger. We have not yet reached this point. The failure of political parties threatens to seriously damage both Murrica and the UK. Possibly in five years we will be there. Let’s see.

  6. wmmbb
    June 12th, 2016 at 03:07 | #6

    @Lachie A’Vard
    Were a significant number of people make the mistake regarding Senate voting, there will be pressure to change the system again. The Science Party looks interesting (although no reference to Climate Change): http://www.scienceparty.org.au/ I agree about the inevitability of the consequences of neoliberalism, and that, including the TPP should be at the forefront of consideration. There is a possibility after the results are in that there will be a need for horse trading in the House of Reps.

  7. Historyintime
    June 12th, 2016 at 15:36 | #7

    The betting market hasn’t changed because on the seats the Coalition are comfortably ahead.

    Most of the betting market comments on this site are consistently wrong because they are made by people who are not gamblers and so do not understand explicit gambling markets which are as efficient as they come provided there is no insider information and a comprehensive form guide.

  8. Historyintime
    June 12th, 2016 at 15:38 | #8

    And a suitably deep market.

  9. Collin Street
    June 12th, 2016 at 18:39 | #9

    > explicit gambling markets which are as efficient as they come

    + We know that personality affects both a person’s willingness to wager and also their political preferences. Electoral wagering markets are self-selecting samples, and because of the above we can expect that they are likely to be significantly biased samples. To be explicit: gamblers and right-wingers alike are affected by overconfidence in their judgement; we expect that there is a larger-than-random crossover between the two groups, but we don’t know how big it is [and we could be wrong! the relationship could be zero or even negative. Big, big error bars]
    + We know that markets priced in cash terms generate results weighted by the participants’ access to cash; twice the cash gives you twice the market pull, but the same number of electoral votes. Electoral wagering markets, then, will overrepresent the beliefs of the wealthy even among the biased sample that you start with in the electoral wagering market.

    [all markets do this, by the way; that’s why rich people like cash markets more than the poor do, a cash market is inescapably biased in favour of the wealthy. This has pretty extensive consequences, but that’s another issue]

    So. Those are two pretty large biases in electoral wagering market results. These are systemic errors, not random ones; you can correct for random errors by averaging, but to correct for a systemic error you need to calibrate, to construct a baseline understanding of the “true” results and examine the divergences; after doing this, you’re still left with the errors that were in the baseline you just built.

    The best understanding of the true results we have is the polls, and this means that our corrected electoral-wagering-market results have all the systemic and random errors that were in the polls, as well as whatever of the wagering data errors were left uncorrected by the poll data. Are strictly less accurate and less precise than the polls are. Electoral wagering market results give us an understanding that is limited in accuracy to our poll accuracy or worse, and thus cannot give us any information that we do not get from polls. Since poll information is more-easilly accessible… there’s no real point looking at electoral wagering market results.

    tldr: Electoral wagering markets efficiently produce an understanding of the electoral beliefs of people who engage in electoral wagering, as weighted by their disposable income. The number is efficiently produced, but it’s completely useless.

  10. Ernestine Gross
    June 12th, 2016 at 19:43 | #10

    “explicit gambling markets which are as efficient as they come”

    This is about the most honest way of expressing the Fama et all ‘efficient market hypothesis’. Efficiency is defined as the outcome – a perfectly empty concept.

  11. Ernestine Gross
    June 12th, 2016 at 21:23 | #11

    JQ, your two horses race analogy in paragraph 2 seems intuitively reasonable on first reading only.

    The first difficulty (2 horses only) is implicitly acknowledged in your paragraph 3. So, I’ll set this one aside.

    The second difficulty concerns ‘betting markets’ for election outcomes. I do not claim familiarity with this esoteric form of gambling. However, I am reasonably confident in saying there are at least 2 forms. One is akin to a future (market) contract and the other one is akin to a futures (market) contract. The difference between these two forms is what finance people call ‘novation’; in the former ‘the market for the contract’ opens and closes only once while in the latter ‘the market for the contract’ opens and closes at regular intervals during a fixed period of time.
    Question: Which type of gambling market do you have in mind?

    The third difficulty concerns relating a time series of sets of polls (of what? Voting intensions or beliefs as to which of the assumed 2 parties will win the election?)

    Gambling markets, viewed as election prediction markets, should be related to polls on beliefs as to which party will win.

    Question: Which type of poll series do you have in mind?

    The fourth difficulty concerns ‘aggregation of knowledge’ in betting markets. You write:

    “If, as I expect, that means the betting odds will move towards the poll, this campaign will count as a major piece of evidence against the idea that markets are good aggregators of knowledge. And, of course, the converse is true.”

    Setting aside the above mentioned difficulties regarding the type of poll and the type of betting market, I don’t think your proposed conclusion is watertight and my concern does not rest on the word ‘knowledge’. Starting with Van Hayak, the term ‘knowledge’ has been defined in theoretical models that investigate ‘aggregation’. What is considered ‘knowledge’ depends on the particular case considered. That is, the theoretical models differ by the information, including preferences over risky possible outcomes, which is assumed to be dispersed over the members of the society (personal information). Common knowledge is allowable in some models. Others include observations of a signal from a probability distribution.

    There is no doubt in my mind that a betting market does aggregate information (appropriately defined ‘knowledge’). However, this does not necessarily imply that the resulting price information is of any use as a prediction tool for the election because:
    a) the betting market may not involve the entire set of voters (not representative)
    b) the motivation of the betting ‘market’ participants is to make a profit, irrespective of the outcome of the election. (Only those who take the word ‘the market’ as an axiomatic solution for any society’s resource allocation problem reach the fallacious conclusion that ‘zero profits’ imply ‘efficiency’.)

    Polling of voting intensions is an entirely different ‘race’. Here, if I understand correctly, the difficulty is in getting representative samples and take into account the institutional arrangements regarding the voting system.

    It seems to me, if your hypothesis regarding the convergence of the betting prices to the poll results turns out to be unrefuted, then you may (subject to the form of the betting market) be able to conclude that the betting market is ‘inefficient’ in the sense that signals in the form of polling results have been ignored by ‘the market’.

  12. Collin Street
    June 13th, 2016 at 00:08 | #12

    >because they are made by people who are not gamblers

    To summarise a longer comment that’s stuck in moderation:

    Most voters aren’t gamblers, either.

  13. Ernestine Gross
    June 13th, 2016 at 10:00 | #13

    Collin, you use the word ‘cash’. Do I understand you use it in the same way it is used in Finance (ie monetary values of tradables)?

    Fully concur with you that a ‘betting market’ is monetary wealth constrained on an individual level while voting is not (in principle, ie setting aside manipulative management of elections such as no postal vote and long distances to a polling booth.)

    A ‘market oriented economy’ without the ‘minimum wealth condition’ being fulfilled is fundamentally incompatible with the democratic idea of one head one vote. (The minimum wealth condition under all reasonable interpretations I can think of is stronger than the idea of a safety net even in the goods and services sector of ‘an economy’. In the case of a betting market for election prediction purposes the condition ‘one head one vote’ would require an interpretation that comes close to but not necessarily equal to ‘equal wealth distribution’. Without requiring a lot of empirical studies, I am very confident in saying the ‘minimum wealth condition’ is strongly violated even in contemporary Australia.)

    My impression, based on cursory reading of the press on the USA elections, is that the proportion of fiancially poor people who do not vote tends to be larger than the proportion of rich people. Would you or anybody else please confirm or deny or qualify my impression. Thank you in advance.

  14. Historyintime
    June 13th, 2016 at 14:21 | #14

    Markets on elections are better than polls because they are based on polls + judgement (ie ‘expert’ knowledge of seats, translation of poll trends into on the day voting and so forth).

    If you really believe that electoral markets are not accurate I invite you to bet against them. To (mis) quote Larry the Liquidator you will do your arse.

    Note also that because a market has say the ALP at $10.00 and it wins does not mean that the market is inaccurate. As yesterday’s racing results shows their are plenty of $10 winners. It’s whether the $10 was an accurate price.

    Double note that sometimes betting markets are inefficient for a short while especially if there is an innovation – for example in racing when speed maps and sectional times – became available. But this doesn’t last.

  15. Ernestine Gross
    June 13th, 2016 at 15:26 | #15

    @Historyintime

    “If you really believe that electoral markets are not accurate I invite you to bet against them. To (mis) quote Larry the Liquidator you will do your arse. ”

    What advice do you have for people who are not fools? (‘fools’ is defined in item b) @11 in brackets. Another expression for ‘fools’ is blind believers.)

  16. paul walter
    June 13th, 2016 at 17:43 | #16

    Ernestine Gross, your blood is worth bottling!

    I think there will be a hung parliament, although in one respect that’s wishful thinking. Half the public doesnt trust Turnbull and the other half, Shorten and the politicians themselves are responsible, by their own documented deeds, for the inevitable lack of trust people now feel toward them.

  17. Historyintime
    June 13th, 2016 at 20:00 | #17

    My advice to anybody is don’t bet in a market that returns more than 100% to the “bookmaker” ie all gambling markets. If you do want to bet serious money you need to have either inside information or be a true expert who follows every market movement. And if you’re that smart you may as well be in financial markets.

  18. Ikonoclast
    June 13th, 2016 at 21:13 | #18

    @Historyintime

    1. If I have reasons to believe or even logically infer that some data is inaccurate or might be inaccurate that doesn’t mean I know what the accurate data is.

    2. Betting on an event where outcomes may be affected by standard probability and/or indeterminacy and/or “chaos” and/or unknown/unknowable factors and/or corruption or rigging, and doing so in a situation where the house guarantees itself a cut, is a fools game.

  19. derrida derider
    June 13th, 2016 at 22:52 | #19

    I reckon the bookies are right – Turnbull is odds on to get back:

    – With all those sitting Lib local members, Labor needs more than 50% of the TPP to win. That’s usually the case if the previous election was a landslide (that’s the story of 1998 – Beazley got 52% of the vote but not where it counted, because 1996 created a whole lot of coalition sitting members in marginal seats, and sitting members start with the advantage of name recognition).
    – Confusion over the Senate ballot changes will differentially hurt Labor this particular election because less educated and aware people tend to vote Labor. Some Labor votes will be declared informal.

    Note that it’s “odds on”, not “unbackable favourite” – a lucky break or two over the next fortnight could still see Shorten PM.

  20. Historyintime
    June 14th, 2016 at 03:20 | #20

    Ikonklast

    at 1. If you know some data is innacurate (the favourite is “off’) your estimate of the remaining data is better – you get closer to accurate.

    The most recent electoral example is Queensland 2015 where the polling 2PP estimates (not the raw data) were off because they falsely assumed that preference flows would be the same as in 2012. Whereas us pineapples knew that there was a vastly different Green and independent attitude to Newman than in 2012. And yes I did state this before the election. However that temporary imperfection has now been recognised and corrected as your expect.

  21. Punter
    June 14th, 2016 at 10:02 | #21

    @derrida derider

    Turnbull is odds on to get back

    The favourite in a two-horse race is odds-on, by definition.

    1998 – Beazley got 52% of the vote but not where it counted

    1998 was an anomaly. One Nation got 8% of the vote, mostly from the LNP in safe LNP seats, which mostly went back to the LNP as second preferences. The leakage of ON preferences is what pushed up the Labor 2PP vote (to 51%), but this was not useful for winning seats.

    Note that it’s “odds on”, not “unbackable favourite”

    The LNP are now at $1.20, Labor at $4.50. The LNP are an unbackable favourite. This election, for Labor, looks like 1980. Nice try, good campaign, but no cigar.

  22. Moz of Yarramulla
    June 14th, 2016 at 12:43 | #22

    @wmmbb

    wmmbb :
    The Science Party looks interesting (although no reference to Climate Change):

    Except under Environment. Agree that it should be its own section, or possibly reflected in every relevant section from Defence to Transport.

    The Science Party is in favour of moderate, sensible action to mitigate the potential grave risks associated with climate change

    It’s worth noting that their “moderate, sensible” puts them towards the “radical looney” end of the Australian political spectrum, closer to The Greens than the LibLab duopoly with their “deny, delay, destroy” policies. Although they are not explicit that they support action to limit warming to 2 degrees, let alone 1.5, there’s a lot of room in their policy to announce that “actually, 1.5 degrees is the best estimate of a safe limit available therefore radical action is necessary”.

    They also slip “zero carbon emissions by 2030” into their #nuclear_research Energy Policy page, which I suspect puts them out past the Greens on that issue. I fear they have read some of the three or more reports on decarbonising our electricity and believe that to be politically possible. I fear the ALP will see them burn first, and the Liberals will light the fire.

    They also make The Greens look a bit conservative when their indigenous policy is under the heading “Treaty”, which then goes straight to “treaties with various…”. I don’t think that’s ambiguous, but wholly sheet, it’s …. different… to the current discourse. On “Freedom and Rights” they’re much less radical, settling for consent-based two person marriage, for example. I say less radical, but consent isn’t accepted as a basis for marriage by any other party or the body politic.

  23. James A
    June 14th, 2016 at 18:55 | #23

    I also still believe it will be a deliberative parliament. Im a Sydney sider and it really is hard to factor in the sinking popularity of Premier Baird, as well as the ‘sophomore’ effect. Also, it might be a strange election where some senior coalition figures get rolled (Dutton, Briggs and Pyne for instance) but the government hangs on. I agree, either way, Turnbull will be in a different role in 12 months (probably Morrisson too).

  24. zoot
    June 14th, 2016 at 20:07 | #24

    It seems to be accepted that Turnbull will scrape back in. It also seems to be accepted that this result will bring about the return of Abbott P.M.
    Are the great unwashed of Australia really so stupid they haven’t realised this?

  25. Ben
    June 14th, 2016 at 22:41 | #25

    @wmmbb
    I watched the video on the Science Party’s website. They lost me when they said they wanted to add another 20 million people to Australia and construct a new city.

  26. Nick
    June 15th, 2016 at 01:30 | #26

    “It seems to be accepted that Turnbull will scrape back in.”

    zoot, I think people like Mark Kenny in the SMH want to suggest that’s the inevitable outcome.

    Swinging voters want to pick a winner. Convince them Labor has no real chance, even though they’ve run a decent campaign, and they’re less likely to change their vote. That’s pretty much the motivation of his last couple of articles to my mind.

    In the real world, at the half way mark…

    Turnbull looks shitty and tired.

    Shorten looks like he’s just warming up.

    I don’t see any reason at this stage to suggest Labor can’t win the election.

    For those above who think the “odds” tell the story three weeks out:

    Queensland Election 2015: Odds shorten on LNP victory

  27. wmmbb
    June 15th, 2016 at 03:36 | #27

    @Moz of Yarramulla

    @Ben

    Notwithstanding policy gaps, they have, I consider, a very good website. They may well have set the benchmark. Moz and Ben they asked for criticism, I hope you took up the offer. As for their idea of an new constructed city, with the proposed name Turing – I am not sure about wanting to live there – nonetheless it reflects that they are positive, not negative in their policy formation. Presumably, for example, if elected to the Senate, their representative could describe megadata.

  28. Jim
    June 15th, 2016 at 10:50 | #28

    Half way in an election race between two hobbled and blinkered horses, ridden by two jockeys named “Captured By Factions’.

    Riveting…

  29. Nick
    June 15th, 2016 at 12:45 | #29

    Comment in moderation.

    I’ll just add, if you look at the ABC and Fairfax tabloids websites today, you can see there’s virtually no Australian election coverage on their home pages.

    That’s not accidental.

  30. derrida derider
    June 15th, 2016 at 14:40 | #30

    Punter @21, you’re right that I was loose in my use of punting terms. Though note even in a two horse race the favourite need not be odds on – that depends on the size of the house’s vig. And $1.20 is nowhere near an unbackable favourite – plenty of people will be putting money down at those odds.

    But on the substance of the 1998 election, I still think it was the sitting member effect that mattered. One Nation in fact improved Howard’s vote – like the DLP it was a way that some Labor-inclined voters ended up voting via preferences for the tories – but it still wasn’t enough to give him a majority of votes.

  31. Punter
    June 15th, 2016 at 15:11 | #31

    @derrida derider

    Though note even in a two horse race the favourite need not be odds on – that depends on the size of the house’s vig.

    You’ve got it the wrong way around. In a two horse race, the favourite is always odds-on, but if the vig is big enough, both horses could be odds-on. This happens often with betting on football games between two roughly equally matched teams.

    As for whether $1.20 is “unbackable”, sure, plenty of people will be putting money down. This is why bookmakers are rich, and the term “mug punter” was invented. It’s just not a value-for-money bet.

    However, I don’t want to imply that political betting markets are infallible. You can get $2.25 on Leave to win the Brexit referendum, with Remain at $1.62. Yet Leave is far ahead in the opinion polls. Somebody is going to end up very wrong.

  32. Nick
    June 15th, 2016 at 15:16 | #32

    dd, punter is right on this note at least.

    The favourite is always odds-on in a two horse race. It’s the only way for the bookmaker to prevent arbitrage from occurring.

    ie. if they offered a return of >100% on both parties, you’d simply bet on both parties.

  33. Mpower
    June 15th, 2016 at 16:10 | #33

    The average guy would not know the odds so it is easy to challenge them with :”Labour has no chance” until someones says “Wanna bet”. You might get away with an implicit even money bet or even say giving 2 to 1. You then lay off a bit of the proceeds at $4 to cover a Labour win and pocket the rest. Beats working!

  34. Ikonoclast
    June 15th, 2016 at 21:43 | #34

    @Mpower

    Actually, that’s still work. And you are going to have a lay a lot of little bets (which is all you will get) to clear say $20 an hour for 40 hours to make a little more than a minimum wage. Laying off “a bit” will be the tax you pay when you don’t pay tax.

    Footnote: I said it’s “work”. I didn’t say it’s “productive work”.

  35. Julia Perry
    June 15th, 2016 at 21:58 | #35

    John Quiggan, At this point in the election race the media is on ‘who can be trusted to bring the deficit back to surplus?’. I gather you are a critic of MMT. Why?

  36. Mpower
    June 16th, 2016 at 16:35 | #36

    @Ikonoclast
    David Walsh made what he called advantage betting into highly productive work. My example was more about male bravado pub betting which is more about egos than money.

  37. Mpower
    June 16th, 2016 at 16:40 | #37

    @Mpower
    Footnote: Walsh did not appear to use the term arbitrage betting but that is when you put the house on.

  38. Nick
    June 17th, 2016 at 01:46 | #38

    Skimming money from the losings of the stupid, the poor and the desperate is “highly productive work”?

  39. derrida derider
    June 17th, 2016 at 09:59 | #39

    Julia, old fashioned mainstream neoclassicists like John (and I) agree with the MMTers that in current circumstances deficit fetishism is both absurd and harmful; in Australia as much as elsewhere the gap between the bipartisan political narrative and what most of the academic specialists are saying is a chasm. The right election question should be “who can be trusted to get growth back so the deficit automatically shrinks?”.

    In current circumstances the differences between modern Keynesians and the MMTers are largely theological (on the nature and purpose of money). The practical differences arise in how to keep the good times going, not in how to get past the tough times.

  40. Ikonoclast
    June 17th, 2016 at 11:05 | #40

    @derrida derider

    Interesting comments. I agree with most.

    1. I am not sure J.Q. would call himself a “neoclassicist”. In economics isn’t the term “neoclassical”? In any case I don’t think J.Q. would call himself a “neoclassical” either. He might call himself “neo-Keynesian” but I am not even sure about that.

    2. “John (and I) agree with the MMTers that in current circumstances deficit fetishism is both absurd and harmful.” I also agree strongly with that.

    3. “… in Australia as much as elsewhere the gap between the bipartisan political narrative and what most of the academic specialists are saying is a chasm.” I agree.

    4. “In current circumstances the differences between modern Keynesians and the MMTers are largely theological…” I had a laugh at that way of putting it and have to agree.

    In relation to point 4, I developed a straightforward philosophical-logical argument demonstrating that modern Keynesians and the MMTers are really saying the same thing about modern fiat money. To give a simplistic mathematical analogy, I essentially demonstrated that one school was saying that x = +1 and the other school was saying x = – (-1). The inter-school “argument” about taxes and funding of expenditure essentially reduces to that absurdity so it is a non-argument. Strangely, each side is strongly wedded to telling their narrative of the basic logic their way and imagining (in some cases) that they oppose each other.

    I gave up on both schools some time ago after passing through infatuations with both. This is not to say they are wrong about fiat currency. Indeed both schools understand fiat currency and simply tell the story (of the money cycle) from opposite ends. Keynesianism is useful as macroeconomics of the extant system (really existing mixed economy capitalism) but it remains unable to make a complete analysis and critique of the capitalist political economy in total. I can’t go into the reasons here or my post will get far too long. MMT is limited to modern monetary theory as its name states. MMT neither attempts microeconomics so far as I know (which might be a good thing actually), nor critiques capitalist institutional economics beyond extant mixed economy institutions and practices UNLESS it also imports Marxist, Marxian, Veblenian or other left critiques.

  41. Ikonoclast
    June 17th, 2016 at 11:17 | #41

    In my last phrases in post 38 above I should have written:

    “beyond technical analysis of extant mixed economy institutions and practices and their possibilities UNLESS it also imports Marxist, Marxian, Veblenian or other left critiques.”

  42. Troy Prideaux
    June 17th, 2016 at 11:22 | #42

    @Ikonoclast
    I’m curious about the harmful implications of MMT and the mechanisms that produce that harm. I’m guessing inflation would be a primary concern with economies that rely a lot on imports? Anyway, off topic for this thread, but it’s something that I’ve often wondered about which can hopefully be explained in a future more relevant topic.

  43. Ikonoclast
    June 17th, 2016 at 11:56 | #43

    @Troy Prideaux

    Yes we need a sandpit. I yearn for the “old days” when J.Q. put up, every week, a Monday Message Board, A Sandpit (for idee fixes and long arguments) and Weekend Reflections for long (hopefully) well thought out pieces. That format made J.Q.’s blog nearly unique so far as I could find.

    Of course, that’s asking for a lot and J.Q.’s intentions, interests and even patience may have moved on considerably since the “old days”.

  44. Tim Macknay
    June 17th, 2016 at 12:00 | #44

    @Ikonoclast

    Yes we need a sandpit.

    Or a hobby. 😉

  45. Ikonoclast
    June 17th, 2016 at 12:35 | #45

    @Tim Macknay

    Well, the Cossacks 3 game has been delayed about a year so that’s a hobby problem for me. If I go back to 4WD-ing and camping, which I did when I was young, then that’s a pretty bad outcome for my CO2 emissions, turning me into even more of a horrible environmental hypocrite than I am already. Blogging is relatively harmless. It’s not as addictive as RTS gaming and not as environmentally damaging as 4WD-ing. Of course, I can join the local library chess club and book club, and may do so, but that won’t be enough to keep me out of trouble… 😉

  46. Tim Macknay
    June 17th, 2016 at 18:08 | #46

    @Ikonoclast
    You could take a leaf out of Hermit’s book (whatever happened to Hermit?) and make your own biodiesel…

  47. Nicholas
    June 17th, 2016 at 19:48 | #47

    Bill Mitchell reckons the federal government deficit needs to be between 1 and 1.5% of GDP larger than it is now in order close the output gap and achieve full employment with stable prices. Neither major party is offering a program that would come anywhere near satisfying the work desires of our people.

    I think that Bill Mitchell is Australia’s greatest economist, followed by Steven Keen and John Quiggin.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=33481

  48. Ikonoclast
    June 17th, 2016 at 21:58 | #48

    @Nicholas

    Given that we are bordering on deflation, Bill Mitchell’s statement looks reasonable. Bill Mitchell has been annoyingly correct (from a neoclassical point of view) for a long time in his macroeconomic predictions. His warnings and predictions re private debt unsustainability, deflation, high unemployment, flat recovery and the complete unworkability of the EU currency union all have very good track records. He clearly knows a heck of a lot more than do neoclassical economists. Whether he knows more than Keynesians of various stripes is a moot point. However, he is not captured by the pressure to remain somewhere in the orthodox spectrum.

    The empirical evidence supports his theories so far as they go. As I said in a post above, MMT does not amount to a complete critique (or any critique) of mixed economy / capitalist political economy nor is it intended on its own to amount to such. It enables critiques of different macroeconomic settings within a mixed/capitalist economy with a fiat currency and that’s all. It appears to be preforming better at that task than any other non-Marxian macroeconomic theory.

  49. John Quiggin
    June 18th, 2016 at 04:53 | #49

    I’ve been busy, but normal service should resume soon

Comments are closed.