10 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Slate has picked some New Yorker pieces to peruse before the paywall goes up. Some good stuff.

    I’m halfway through this one about asset forfeiture in the US – essentially small-town police legally mugging people driving through through their jurisdiction.

    Unsurprisingly, the poor are disproportionately targeted, and it’s another reminder of what happens in the sort of user-pays society that the Right is so enamoured of.

  2. The black market in tobacco, based on anecdotal observations of what people are smoking, would seem to be on a rapid increase. Perhaps somebody with an insight into economics could explain this phenomena. Or if the anecdotes are wrong then perhaps they could point me to some sort of greater authority.

  3. @TerjeP
    Black market tobacco is presumably being smuggled into Australia, as it’s no longer produced here – very different to the chop-chop trade of a decade ago, when Atherton Tableland farmers were selling stockpiled tobacco illegally after the big tobacco companies stopped buying.

  4. Did anyone read the article in The Conversation yesterday on the necessity of economic de growth if we are decrease carbon emissions for even a 50% chance of staying at or below 2 degrees of warming?


    “For the purposes of this analysis, we’ll aim for a carbon budget that gives us a 50% chance of avoiding 2C of warming…. the precautionary principle really demands a far higher probability of success than 50%, but let’s stick with this for now.”

    “Anderson and Bows assume that non-Annex 1 nations will peak in emissions by 2025 and then decarbonise at an unprecedented rate of 7% per year.”

    ” In order to keep to [the above mentioned carbon budget to have 50% chance of staying at 2 degrees], developed nations must reduce emissions by 8-10% each year in absolute terms (rather than per unit of economic productivity) over the coming decades…. These numbers were formulated in 2011. Since then global greenhouse emissions have continued to increase…”

    ” UK economist Nicholas Stern [2006] calculated that decarbonisation of more than 3-4% is incompatible with economic growth. He noted that emissions reductions of more than 1% per year have historically been “associated with economic recession or upheaval””

    “Significant emissions reductions will require us to use considerably less energy. And because energy use and economic activity are intimately related, less energy means less production and less consumption.”

    “It therefore follows that developed nations should immediately begin a strategy of planned economic contraction, with less energy and resource use. ”

    ” the assumptions above are too moderate anyway….. As thousands prepare to rally in New York and around the world [tomorrow 21st september] ahead of next week’s United Nations climate summit, we need to challenge ourselves to transcend growth fetishism”

  5. @ZM


    But how do you get an investment banker or a hedge fund manager to alter their behaviour or expectations?

  6. I am not sure. I suppose we could ask people we know in these sort of jobs and see what they say. It might make for uncomfortable get-togethers though..

  7. I wonder if the attendees at today’s G20 finance ministers meeting in Cairns have given much thought to LTG or if they have a convincing rebuttal up their sleeve. Their order of business was apparently corporate tax shifting, non-crappy jobs for all and economic growth. Perhaps they look at fellow blue ties across the table and convince themselves things can be solved with a bit of tinkering.

    I makes me think of a gaggle of merchant bankers trying to start an old lawn mower. Years of tunnelled thinking haven’t trained them to notice the spark plug is missing.

  8. Hermit,

    “I wonder if the attendees at today’s G20 finance ministers meeting in Cairns have given much thought to LTG or if they have a convincing rebuttal up their sleeve. ”

    There was a climate march in cairns tied in with the worldwide marches. Hopefully this might have sparked discussion .

    Scene 1: Joe Hockey and unnamed foreign finance minister smoking cigars outside due to restrictions on smoking indoors

    Joe Hockey – more rabble. Everywhere we go these days our hard done by government finds rabbles. As I mentioned indoors – what we need are good jobs for people
    Unnamed finance minister – you should see the rabbles in Spain and Greece – thank your lucky country stars
    Joe Hockey – I notice Spain had a housing bubble (ponders in silence)
    Unnamed finance minister – don’t fret Joe – a new bubble will start up soon enough – then all will be well
    Joe Hockey – but bubbles are so inconsistent – we blow them up as big as we can – then they burst on us. All that blowing of hot air we do – and what comes of it all?

    Scene 2 – 3 o’clock in the morning tomorrow in an indistinguishable hotel room

    a dishevelled Joe Hockey wakes from a nightmare where all the giant bubbles he tries to catch burst as he finally touches them as a rabble looks on sadly bewildered at his craze for bubbles – after a dark night of the soul Joe at dawn announces to room service ” I will attend the Fenner conference on steady state economics and bring the treasury dept with me! ” as his heart has been broken and the iron has entered his jolly and eager soul after the inconstancy and capriciousness of bubbles


    I just read about a few years’ old presentation by a geophysicist titled “Is Earth F&@?!d ?” which modelled environment and society. According to the abstract:

    “These dynamical relationships are illustrated and explored using a numerical model that simulates the short-, intermediate- and long-time-scale dynamics of the coupled human-environmental system. At fast scales, economic and political interests exploit environmental resources through a maze of environmental management and resistance, guided by virtual Earth predictions. At intermediate scales, managers become slaved to economic and political interests, which adapt to and repress resistance, and resistance is guided by patterns of environmental destruction. At slow scales, resistance interacts with the cultural context, which co-evolves with the environment. The transition from unstable dynamics to sustainability is sensitively dependent on the level of participation in and repression of resistance. Because of their differing impact inside and outside the dominant culture, virtual Earth predictions can either promote or oppose sustainability.”

  9. The Cairns pow wow reminds of the story of King Canute who failed to banish the incoming tide
    The Cairns mob have issued a decree ‘let there be economic growth’ but dark forces are not co-operating. It shows we are just passengers on the little blue marble (= planet Earth) and we kid ourselves if we think we’re in the drivers seat.

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