Weekly email #2

Here’s the second of my planned weekly emails. If you want to be on the recipient list email me at j.quiggin@uq.edu.au (preferred) or put in a request in the comments section.

Weekly Email #2
Hi everyone,

Time for my second weekly email update. As before I’ll post it on my blog and link from social media, so people can sign up (best to email me on j.quiggin@uq.edu.au ) and also alert me if anyone who has asked to be included hasn’t got the email.

I’ve been thinking a fair bit Adani’s proposed mine in the Galilee Basin. The economics of the project look almost as bad as the environmental effects, but it seems to be going ahead regardless, unless it’s an elaborate ploy to save Adani from writing off the money already invested in the project.

The big problem is the huge political appeal of the promised) jobs and royalty revenue. It’s easy enough to point out that these promises are spurious, but what’s really needed is an alternative. I’ve made a start in this piece, published last week in the Fairfax papers
but a more comprehensive analysis is needed. Suggestions are welcome.

Last week, I took part in a very interesting panel on Universal Basic Income, at Politics in the Pub, held at the Brisbane Powerhouse Arts Centre. There’s no video or transcript, AFAICT, but I’m hoping to write more about this.

Next Wednesday, I’ll be debating John Rivett on the subject of Easytax. Rivett is a lawyer who works with John McRobert, the main proponent of the tax (three Johns have got a bit confusing at times). Details are here
I’d have preferred a free event, but I left it to the proponents to organise, so I can’t complain I guess. I’ve attached my presentation, which gives a fair idea of what I’m going to say, and I believe a video of the event will be made available.

Hopefully, as a regular feature. I’m going to link to campaigns I think are worthwhile. Here’s one for fast food workers in Germany


Blog posts
https://johnquiggin.com/2017/05/22/monday-message-board-329/ MMB
https://johnquiggin.com/2017/05/20/there-are-better-things-to-spend-1-billion-on-than-the-adani-coal-mine/ Adani
https://johnquiggin.com/2017/05/17/house-of-cards/ House of Cards
https://johnquiggin.com/2017/05/16/mindboggled/ Mindboggled

https://johnquiggin.com/2017/05/15/churchgoing-labor-voters/ Churchgoing Labor voters

Last 25 Tweets
link created_at fav rt text
866121994936262656 2017-05-21 02:42:30 1 0 In a pre-Trump world, this would be a fair-size scandal. As it is, tl;dr https://t.co/5Lp9iZ95qh
865750911041376257 2017-05-20 02:07:56 16 3 There are better things to spend $1 billion on than the #Adani coal mine #auspol… https://t.co/MKb9AhEjMH
865749332774993920 2017-05-20 02:01:40 2 5 There are better things to spend $1 billion on than the Adani coal mine https://t.co/kX9Md1quYB via @brisbanetimes
865470659685527556 2017-05-19 07:34:19 0 2 NSC officials include Trump’s name as often as possible so he reads memos: report https://t.co/VxpRS7hoTH #NotAPoe
865390062141194241 2017-05-19 02:14:03 0 0 @berkalen305 Yes, I plan to write about this when I get a free moment.
865085260140171264 2017-05-18 06:02:53 0 2 How Trump might go https://t.co/58KV7PnbNp
865066710054973440 2017-05-18 04:49:10 1 0 Welcome to mailing list subscribers https://t.co/x2smpu0ofh https://t.co/0TYuUD5kSs
865025509276532736 2017-05-18 02:05:27 7 5 China to cut new coal-fired power plants in 29 provinces https://t.co/x69IeLJTzf via @smh
864999654340968449 2017-05-18 00:22:43 2 0 Biblical literalism on the wane in US https://t.co/vkhOB6xz3m
864691939995725824 2017-05-17 03:59:58 0 0 So, we finally joined the 21st Century and got Netflix. We are watching House of Cards (US version), an episode… https://t.co/tIleQxXkOn
864691882655444993 2017-05-17 03:59:44 0 0 House of Cards https://t.co/OaSgLZNlBv
864441941202616320 2017-05-16 11:26:33 6 2 Bank tax equal to about 5 per cent of annual profits, but can’t possibly be absorbed it seems #auspol #kenhenry
864352601818546176 2017-05-16 05:31:33 2 2 Did Leyonjhelm really say something so mindbogglingly absurd #auspol https://t.co/Vei6yQqy4Y https://t.co/fK2cUspxcf
864248909975011328 2017-05-15 22:39:31 4 2 Connecting the dots between Trump and Russia #tcot https://t.co/8XmEqqKqMf
864244544031694849 2017-05-15 22:22:10 1 2 Religiously conservative “traditional Labor voters” are an extinct species #auspol… https://t.co/aiKLG94N6K
864081676917329921 2017-05-15 11:35:00 2 0 Another #UMPP coal project scrapped in India https://t.co/iBMwVdo7KR
864069846564192257 2017-05-15 10:47:59 0 0 @pythiasmuse Probably not much longer, and for the same reason https://t.co/RrSxGzuym8
864069591755915268 2017-05-15 10:46:58 1 0 @Boomerocracy Except in the US, legal access to guns hasn’t really survived.
864019275077500929 2017-05-15 07:27:02 3 0 Can Bitcoin survive its use for ransomware attacks? I’d say not, but would like links on this.
863904722243076096 2017-05-14 23:51:51 3 0 As promised my first weekly email #auspol https://t.co/BeB79x4Q32
863903402694148097 2017-05-14 23:46:36 3 7 As promised, my first weekly email https://t.co/He7YpCbQde https://t.co/TPyWShsoqU
863650295980609537 2017-05-14 07:00:51 1 0 @timdunlop It’s not going to be a big thing, at least to start with, more a summary with links
863615514697883652 2017-05-14 04:42:38 4 1 This time with a link! Weekly email coming soon. Sign up to mailing list if you would like to get it https://t.co/BeB79x4Q32
863615275026927616 2017-05-14 04:41:41 0 0 @graham_moloney2 Annoying! That was supposed to come through.
863573572282974208 2017-05-14 01:55:58 7 0 Weekly email coming soon. Sign up to mailing list if you would like to get it

8 thoughts on “Weekly email #2

  1. Regarding alternative methods of creating jobs: “a more comprehensive analysis is needed. Suggestions are welcome.”

    It really does seem that there is no coherent mainstream strategy for where public money should be invested in order to maximise the creation of sustainable employment. It really does seem that the Queensland Government’s only reason for backing Adani is creation of jobs in the regional towns affected. It really does seem that the federal Coalition has no theory for creating new sunrise industries other than handouts to business, all while they hollow out TAFE and withdraw funding for the capacity building programs for stranded youth.

    I agree Prof John, a comprehensive analysis of the preconditions for sustainable employment is required. I wouldn’t have thought it was all that hard. One could follow the benefit-cost ratios of various projects/programs – the studies available are patchy, but they could form a start. Then one needs to factor in emerging challenges such as climate change, peak oil and public/private debt. Then one looks at the scientific evidence of the preconditions for a healthy, well-balanced, job-ready, young job candidate and one would nourish programs that supply those preconditions. Then one could factor in the effects of free trade and free foreign investment, and identify the types of enterprise that are resistant to siphoning off shore.

    I delivered a conference paper on the subject a few years ago, but it was fairly lightweight. I intend to write something fresh on this when I get a couple of current projects out of the way.

    In the meantime, can I turn the question back to you and ask whether there are any quality books or scholarly articles that deal with this question? Most of the mainstream economics literature is stuck in a GDP mode. I have found a page on the subject in “That Used to Be Us” by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. I usually regard Friedman as a bag of wind but in this work he does identify five pillars which are all public goods.

  2. Wanted to comment on the drones post, but the comments were closed. One major disadvantage with conventional aircraft in a world of finite oil, is that the fuel they need is not easily synthesized. The length of the carbon chain in aircraft fuel is not easy to make and can only be conveniently extracted from oil. (I know this from discussions when I taught English in an oil company, and I also have a degree in chemistry and understand the basic science behind this.) Therefore, I would expect our current era of cheap flights and conventional aviation to end if peak oil comes about.

  3. @c_heale
    Geological peak oil is probably upon us now, c_heale. It is hard to nail down the date partly because the data are unreliable, partly because of fluidity in the definition of “oil’ and partly in any case because peak will only be seen as peak in retrospect. Global production of conventional oil is bumping along a plateau and the limits on supply are masked by the production of unconventional shale oil from the US.

    The fact that imminent geological scarcity is not reflected in market prices partly confirms the mainstream economistic view that there is plenty of oil around to be purchased – supply and demand is operating. However, an alternative explanation is that the present phenomenon simply confirms that market prices are disconnected from biophysical supply. The alternative explanation is given support by pondering whether markets can ever signal scarcity by an orderly ramping up of prices. As price rises, suppliers scramble to push their resource assets harder, setting up the conditions for a rapid collapse.

    We have been insulated in the past by the availability of alternative fuels – wood replaced by coal, coal by oil, oil by…. Now, there is no alternative fuel in sight as convenient for internal combustions engines as petroleum; and alternative fuels such as electricity require our entire economy to be re-engineered.

    Even the most optimistic economists have admitted that oil production will peak at some stage, most by 2040. That is less than 25 years hence, which is too short to re-engineer the economy for a different form.

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