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Monday Message Board

October 16th, 2017

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

Categories: Economics - General Tags:
  1. October 17th, 2017 at 00:04 | #1

    According to Reuters, the platform of Yurike Koike’s new “Party of Hope” (Kibo no To} competing in Japan’s election includes a minimum household income guarantee. I’ve been unable to find an English version of the manifesto or even a party website. Can any other reader here help?

    The party has no chance of winning the election, but if it gets a decent number of seats it could start to play a significant role in opposition. Abe is likely to survive by all accounts, but like Theresa May he may find himself in a weker rather than stronger position. What’s curious is this is a *conservative* party with a populist anti-corruption agenda. It is also against Abe’s Keynesian policies, which is less good news. It wants a 30% renewables target for energy, which is a lot braver than Abe’s LDP.

    On the energy transition, Koike’s job as elected governor of Tokyo prefecture gives her quite a lot of scope to pilot new policies. She has realisically not given it up to run for a seat in the Diet.

  2. Greg McKenzie
    October 17th, 2017 at 07:44 | #2

    James, I have a long term friend living in Osaka. I will ask him for any info he has re-“Party of Hope”. He is not an economist but did work in Queensland political circles in the 1980s before moving to Japan to live. Will get back to you if anything comes back from this source but it is likely to be political critique rather than economic analysis.

  3. Lou Wilson
    October 17th, 2017 at 08:02 | #3

    Good morning,

    My 16 year old’s doing commerce this term. They’re covering basic economic concepts and I’m trying to help him with my own feeble attempts at interesting explanation. Something they’re looking at this week is ‘assets’, hence my thoughts below. Grateful for any comments or assistance.

    Assets are things that hold value for the owner. A puppy given as a birthday present to a child is a good example. The kid has several options with their new puppy asset.

    First, the child can derive personal utility (happiness) from the puppy. By cuddling it. By adding heartwarming images of the puppy to their Facebook page, to get likes. Or, by withholding access to the puppy, to exert emotional control over a troublesome brother or sister. This is the ‘puppy dog in the manger’ tactic, used expertly by siblings the World over.

    Alternatively, the kid can try and make money from the puppy. They can sell or lease the canine to the highest bidder. This could be seen as a ruthless act from one so young. Yet also a sound business decision, to capitalise on the puppy’s peak cuteness. Before it grows up and its market worth depreciates.

    An ambitious child, meanwhile, might seek to increase the asset’s long-term value. By training the puppy to become a professional show dog, a paws model, or perhaps even the next Lassie. But the chance of the puppy making it in these exceptionally cut-throat fields is so remote that it could ultimately turn into a dog of an investment.  

  4. Ikonoclast
    October 17th, 2017 at 09:20 | #4

    This might help.


    It is also worth mentioning that real assets (which include, for example, houses, land, stock, working animals, pets) come with costs. Puppies cost money to feed, exercise and take to the vet for shots, illnesses etc. And when the dog gets big, gets out of the yard, if it does, and bites a jogger the owner just might get sued. Just a few examples and possibilities.

  5. Lou Wilson
    October 17th, 2017 at 11:18 | #5


    Perfect! Very useful for us non-practitioners.

    Thank you.

  6. rog
    October 18th, 2017 at 02:14 | #6

    Despite the reported undue influence of pro coal backbenchers, who seem to control the govt and gave guided a pro coal energy policy, S&P are calling it a day for fossil fuels saying that the “tide has turned” and “we’ve reached a tipping point”.

    Maybe, but it’s not immediately obvious to your average man in the street.


  7. October 18th, 2017 at 05:36 | #7

    The Turnbull government goes full Trump in ditching subsidies to renewables in favour of subsidies forcoal and gas, in the form of a required minimum share of “reliable baseload” : http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article179235281.html

    To add injury to insult,
    “Mr Turnbull is also set to appoint his former chief of staff, Drew Clarke, to be head of the Australian Energy Market Operator to help drive innovation and ensure reliability ..”

    This is an extraordinary and also Trumpish move: replacing an energy professional with a political trusty, to ensure loyalty to coal.
    Will there be fightback on both moves? The anti-market guarantees for coal must drive up retail electricity rates.

  8. david
    October 18th, 2017 at 08:51 | #8

    Thanks again John,
    My sympathy for the position Malcolm has put himself into by choice.
    His and Bill’s problems may all be resolved not by the High Court secondarily but by that old Kiwi coal promoter Barnaby[and others] primarily.
    Hopefully this will be in the next day or so preferably during Question Time.

  9. Ikonoclast
    October 18th, 2017 at 08:57 | #9

    I can’t resist putting into this thread a little joke I heard.

    Heisenberg was speeding down the highway. A cop pulls him over and says, ‘Do you have any idea how fast you were going back there?’ Heisenberg says, ‘No, but I knew where I was.’

  10. Smith
    October 18th, 2017 at 13:03 | #10

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the latest energy policy put forward by Malcolm Turnbull – and approved by the Liberal Party room – is actually a back door emissions trading scheme? It sure looks like it.

  11. Lou Wilson
    October 18th, 2017 at 13:13 | #11


    I’m uncertain how to respond to this…other than to say I like it.

  12. Smith
    October 18th, 2017 at 13:46 | #12


    Schrödinger walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “I’ll take a beer, and a beer for my friend, Heisenberg.”

    The bartender looks around and asks, “Is your friend here?”
    “Well,” says Schrödinger, “he is and he isn’t.”

  13. rog
    October 18th, 2017 at 17:38 | #13

    @Smith I think so, coal is disadvantaged because it’s not
    dispatch able and high in emissions. Of course, this all depends on the targets, yet to be announced.

  14. Smith
    October 18th, 2017 at 17:55 | #14


    No, coal is dispatchable but is high emissions. Solar/wind not dispatchable but low emissions. So there is a balance between them. Details will tell us where the balance lies. Presumably if batteries kick on then solar/wind will become dispatchable.

  15. rog
    October 18th, 2017 at 19:08 | #15

    @Smith I guess it boils down to the time required to satisfy the definition of dispatchable. From what I read coal takes several hours, which may not be sufficient to rectify sudden changes to demand. Batteries seem to be required for solar and wind to properly adapt to the demands of the grid.

  16. rog
    October 18th, 2017 at 19:36 | #16

    Energy council use the term “firm equivalent” which “could be either new dispatchable generation (coal, gas, hydro) and/or firm equivalent combinations (wind/solar and gas, wind/solar and storage, stand-alone storage, demand response).”


  17. October 18th, 2017 at 21:07 | #17

    The despatchability of a coal plant depends on the design. Recent coal plants in Germany can be ramped up and down. But I doubt if this holds for the old plants in Australia and the USA. In any case, even a modern, rampable plant is subject to the intermittency curse: the zero marginal costs of wind and solar put them at the head of the despatch stack, and their much criticised variability becomes a coal-killing lever to force coal capacity factors down into loss-making territory. The Monticello coal plant in Texas was below 30% in CF before its owners recently pulled the plug.

  18. October 18th, 2017 at 22:04 | #18

    Decent summary of the latest CoalSwarm survey of coal generating projects worldwide: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/10/18/one-seven-coal-power-plant-owners-heading-exit/
    This covers the plans of investing companies. It’s not believable that they are underestimating the demand for coal power, and very likely that they are overestimating it. See developments in India. It’s not at all axiomatic that the ca. 70 GW of coal capacity allegedly under construction really is.

  19. rog
    October 19th, 2017 at 03:07 | #19
  20. Ikonoclast
    October 19th, 2017 at 07:39 | #20

    Anyone else notice that the National Energy Guarantee is “NEG”. It is aptly named as it is a NEGative policy which will NEGate our best chances of CO2 emission reductions. What we need is a POSitive policy. You know, one which is Premised On Science.

    We need to rename some terms in this debate. Baseload power is actually “Inflexible Generation” and Dispatchable power is actually “Flexible Generation”. So ask yourselves folks, do you want to belong to the inflexible generation or the flexible generation? No matter your age, you can belong to the flexible generation if you support renewable energy!


  21. October 19th, 2017 at 19:53 | #21

    Hurricane/ tropical storm Ophelia has swept through Ireland, leaving three dead, power lines down, hospitals closed and so on. What I’m not seeing are reports of damage to wind turbines.

  22. Greg McKenzie
    October 24th, 2017 at 08:08 | #22

    James Wimberley, my friend in Osaka explained to me that politics in Japan is more about personalities and sexism. The Yurike Koike PARTY OF HOPE did very badly in the recent Japanese Diet elections. They are largely a Tokyo based party formed around Yurike Koike, a former mayor. But they were outpolled even in the Tokyo prefecturate by another socialist party. No points for working out why a party led by a woman in Japan could be outpolled by a similar party led by a Japanese male. But my friend said that it was a single issue election anyway. The North Korean threat was used by the LDP to put forward the suggestion of rearming Japan to address this nuclear threat. That touched two main deep physiological imperatives in Japan: fear of foreigners (read China into that) and the fear of any more nuclear weapons landing on a Japanese city. The PARTY OF HOPE was not in the race for votes. There is little hope in A Japan that is xenophobic and very fearful.

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