Monday Message Board

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. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

63 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. And wow. News you can use. No idea what to say about it. Is this of value to anyone. 2011 update 2017.

    The Price of Nails since 1700: Even Simple Products Experienced Large Price Declines Daniel E. Sichel* Wellesley College and NBER April 2017
    …”these declines were nowhere near as rapid as those for lighting and computing, they were still quite sizable and large enough to enable the development of other products and processes and contribute to downstream changes in patterns of economic activity. Moreover, with the relative price of nails having been so much higher in an earlier period, nails played a much more important role in economic activity in an earlier period than they do now. [A not yet completed section of the paper will use a growth accounting framework to assess the proximate sources of the change in the price of nails.] ”

  2. What’s the difference between Ken Henry and God? God doesn’t walk down the street thinking he’s Ken Henry.

  3. I wonder at the strong push for sunscreens as opposed to using covering clothing. Even covering swimwear is possible except for the face and hands probably. I wonder if sunscreens are safe for humans let alone for marine life. There seems a possibility to me that the chemicals and nano-particles are at least as carcinogenic as strong sunlight (though not as burning).

  4. Comments on banking are interesting but entirely miss a central issue which is that the root cause of most of the problems is simply that banking is no longer a profession run by people who know what they are doing. When rapacious amateurs take over chaos reigns – and look at what has happened. A simple example is provided in recommendation 1.14 of the final report – “ensure that (distressed agricultural loans) those loans are managed by experienced agricultural bankers” I cannot imagine what went through the mind of whoever wrote that statement. Did they not think it would be a good idea if ALL agricultural loans where managed by experienced agricultural bankers and if that was the case there would be far fewer problems in the first place? And what about other forms of lending; shouldn’t all business loans be managed by experienced business bankers etc. If consumer lending had been entirely in the hands of highly dedicated and experienced consumer lenders, then all discussion about arrears levels and national household debt would not be happening.
    Consider this: if you were on an aircraft preparing for take-off and the announcement was: ” our pilot is young Brett, he hasn’t really done much flying, and this is his first time in this type of aircraft but never fear -if anything goes wrong, we can call up someone on the ground for advice. Well enjoy your flight and remember if something bad happens you paid your fare, and it is your responsibility to exercise your judgement on aircraft and flight safety before boarding” How would you feel? That’s precisely what banks do. As I mentioned above my statements are informed by 47 years in banking.

  5. @Ikonoclast

    I wonder at the strong push for sunscreens as opposed to using covering clothing.

    I don’t think there’s any such thing. In general, the push is for sunscreen and covering clothing.

  6. On the other hand you could also argue that farmers also need to understand financial risk. There was that case that Alan Jones ran with, that of Carrisbrook Station. The reality was that poor farming practices were exposed by increased pressure on margins, something that all business has had to contend with. The farmer at Carrisbrook was very old, his family had moved off as the property was unsustainable and they were eeking out a meagre living while managing a huge debt. There is a lot of property like that and the banks need to protect depositors funds.

  7. ikonoclast

    I wonder at the strong push for sunscreens as opposed to using covering clothing.

    Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat. The message hasn’t changed in 40 years.

  8. Hugo,

    Exactly. The problem is that the message has NOT changed. The message needs to be far more nuanced than that. “Slip on a loose fitting, long sleeved shirt with a 100% UV screening rating. Slip on long trousers and covered shoes with the same rating. Wear a large sun-screening hat. Use sunscreens in adequate amounts but only on those relatively small areas of skin which you cannot effectively cover in other ways. When swimming wear sun-top and sun-bottom swimwear. This can double as stinger protection and provide slight flotation assistance and streamlining (all enhancing your swimming experience in most cases).”

    The results of this message could be a large reduction in polluting sunscreens (which pollute the environment and often leach into the skin and body (some components and chemicals). Of course, there is the issue of how polluting the manufacture of better covering clothing and swimwear is.

    Finally, there is a reason the Arab peoples wear the garments they do. They have been wise enough to develop the wearing of garments to fully cover up against the sun and to protect the body and face from wind-blown dust and sand. If only we were as wise. Australians should probably dress like Middle Eastern people rather than like Northern European people on a Greek holiday.

  9. @Ikonoclast

    That is largely what contemporary sun safety advice does recommend (apart from the nonsense about providing flotation and enhancing the swimming experience).

  10. Finally, there is a reason the Arab peoples wear the garments they do. They have been wise enough to develop the wearing of garments to fully cover up against the sun and to protect the body and face from wind-blown dust and sand.

    Why do you write things like this? Only months ago we saw Iranian women risking imprisonment, torture and rape by defiantly removing their head coverings. The ridiculously restrictive clothing is more about misogyny and social control than health. Also note how the women are often forced to wear black, which must be fun when the temp is 40 degrees celsius or more.

    It is well known that the garb you advocate is disastrous for health: ***



    And ditto Tim on your claim about “providing flotation and enhancing the swimming experience”.

  11. The Drum panel was pretty unanimous that the change has to come in the culture, involving a bit of (previously unexplored?) reflexivity and honesty, starting with the so-called leaders. There is not much in what these people have shown as to themselves during public exposure that leads someone like myself that this will occur of course, but we must wait in hope, which at least gives us a little time before we die in despair as to these supposedly adult children.

    Personally, I have come round a bit to Rog’s comment that people themselves need to sharpen up a little bit, not so lazy, not so trusting.

    Caveat Emptor.

  12. Ikon… there is a push for sunscreen use.

    The school newsletter today for the first time (in 40 yrs) states:
    “Each individual student will need: 2 x HB lead pencils, 2 x red and blue pens, a 30cm ruler with mm markings, a glue stick (UHU or Bostik, as the cheaper brands do not stick as well), an eraser, scissors, a sharpener, coloured pencils, a pencil case, a library bag and sunscreen (for individual use)
    Optional Items: dictionary, thesaurus, textas, sharpies, water colour pencils, Mathematics tools (compass, protractor), calculator (Years 5&6 only).
    Class supplies: another glue stick (UHU or Bostik, as the cheaper brands do not stick as well), hand sanitiser (Years 3&4), soap (Years 5&6) and a box of tissues. (These items will be used by the class throughout the year as required.”

    I wonder how long before a brand of sunscreen ala glue stick is promoted!

    We need more proof and better usage protocols. If I were being paranoid sunscreens will be the new talcum powder or cough syrups.

    Prof Terry Hughes cited a study where one ingredient in sunscreen was placed in a plastic bag. “This study exposed small fragments of corals (branch tips) to high levels of benzophenone-3 and other chemicals by incubating them for a few days inside plastic bags. The fragments in the bags quickly became diseased with viruses and bleached. The authors concluded “up to 10% of the world reefs are potentially threatened by sunscreen-induced coral bleaching”. Someone was oaid to do that?!

    His article just didn’t convey, without a second read, the paucity of proper studies. Maybe just me.

    “In conclusion, there is actually no direct evidence to demonstrate that bleaching due to global heating is exacerbated by sunscreen pollutants. Similarly, there is no evidence that recovery from thermal bleaching is impaired by sunscreens, or that sunscreens cause coral bleaching in the wild.” … and I was then expecting the kicker… give me more money and I will get the evidence. Maybe the editors?

    He certainly expressed agw but used ‘heating’ ” However, coral bleaching at a global and regional scale is caused by anthropogenic heating, not sunscreen. ” … and the word heating, although probably a more appropriate word, threw me off the flow of reading.

    I want to know and asked him directly via email;
    Who makes the checials,
    Who and what q.a. is done before making the sunscreens,
    As the sun cancer people expressed concern at not using sunscreens, where is the comparison of sunscreens to physical barriers ala hats, vests etc.

    We will know when I have grandchildren I’d say! In the meantime the precautionary principle guides me. Right time, good physical cover and sunscreen on nose if no peak or low sun.

  13. Something completely different. Mexico’ new left-wing president Obrador has suspended the planned renewable energy auction: ***** This has surprised everybody, as the previous auctions had produced record-breaking low prices for both wind and solar. As far as I can make out, AMLO’s decision is based on reflex support for the old Mexican model of state energy monopolies.

    The crisis offers a test case or at least new data points for JQ’s thesis on Australian electricity, viz. renationalization. My prediction FWIW is that AMLO’s plan will work out badly, and both slow down the renewable transition and raise prices. We’ll see.

    My humble take on this follows Deng’s black cat – white cat epigram: the question is which catches mice better. Australia once had pretty effective publicly owned electric utilities, and the privatised system is a high-priced and unreliable mess. California made a hash of it too: black cats. The reform model (monopoly grid and distribution split from competitive generation) has worked better in Texas, India, Germany and its homeland the UK, the white cats. The limited data I have on Mexico, the success of the auctions plus the unimpressive record of the old national champions, suggests that the country is in the white-cat group where reform is the better bet. The choice has very little to do with the model – perfect nationalization and a perfect market give the same unattainable result – and everything to do with history, institutions,and the details of market and non-market design.

  14. @KT2

    Some writers prefer the term ‘global heating’ as they believe it better conveys the sense of risk than ‘global warming’, which they think sounds too comfortable. Whether they are correct in this, I’m not sure.

  15. Sorry, error apparently. Government is paying $30 million according to only report I can find..elsewhere someone claimed the higher figure.

  16. You see now why Hayne did not want to shake the minister’s hand. Then the collusion would have been too obvious unless Hayne was in the dark over it all.

  17. 5 years, 300 researchers, 125 reviewers, and still the deniers will deny. This report is open scource so anyone may publish or extend (maybe a prof of economics might pass a topology brush over it?) and republish for a wider audience. We may all use the social media megaphone for good by posting key phrases and noting 300 researchers and 125 reviewers. Keep it short and sweet. But I don’t do soc media! We here I think will have to rely on a new ‘digital native’ generation.

    “One-third of Himalayan glaciers will melt by the end of the century due to climate change — threatening water sources for 1.9 billion people — even if current efforts to reduce climate change succeed, an assessment has warned.”

    “It comprises important scientific research on the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable mountain development and will serve as a basis for evidence-based decision-making to safeguard the environment and advance people’s well-being. The compiled content is based on the collective knowledge of over 300 leading researchers, experts and policymakers.”

  18. How refreshing to have a Commissioner who has attracted no criticism for his conduct of the enquiry. He fortunately was not sprung attending Liberal Party functions mid-Commission.

  19. Via cory doctrow.

    This from link below:
    “Companies that contribute to climate change are, in effect, stealing. They are gaining a benefit at the expense of others, for which they are not paying. First, have a look at the latest National Climate Assessment put out jointly by 13 federal agencies. It documents the staggering economic costs that are expected to result from climate change. For example, “lasting damage to coastal property and infrastructure driven by sea level rise and storm surge is expected to lead to financial losses for individuals, businesses, and communities,” and “changes in extreme events are expected to increasingly disrupt and damage critical infrastructure and property, labor productivity, and the vitality of our communities.”

    Ah… the u.s. govt. 13 feds!


  20. A new problem ahead: traffic jams caused by driverless cars cruising slowly around to avoid parking fees. It’s clearly fixable of course, but only by government regulation. ******

  21. James, I drove a car today and it wasn’t at all like my youth in rural Queensland where if you saw another vehicle on the road it was so disturbing that grandad would have to pull over and have another beer to calm his nerves. It was so busy and there were so many rules! We’re not allowed to drive on the wrong side of the road even if there aren’t any cars on it.

    We obviously desperately need self driving cars. There is so much inefficiency currently as a result of the need to have a driving system that ape nervous systems can handle. Fortunately, self driving cars appear to work, although the final few steps on these types of projects can often be doozies so I don’t want to guess just how soon we’ll be able to hop in a self driving taxi in Australia but I hope they arrive before my parents have to give up driving. (Nothing human should be forced to put up with my father’s conversation.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s