Monday Message Board

Another Message Board

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

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

23 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. At age 18, I too was caught out by a lawyer asking repetitive questions and muddying the facts. But the proposed merger if Random House & Simon & Schuster will impact Gross Upward Pricing Pressure Index (guppi) models, and my hip pocket!

    The lawyer “appeared intent on casting him [ Nicholas Hill PhD] as the Casaubon of economic consultants” … “The lawyer, gentle and avuncular, dramatized his own inability to keep “monopoly” and “monopsony” straight; he paused to rifle through his notes, asked repetitive questions,”

    “Is Publishing About Art or Commerce?

    The antitrust trial to block the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster has riveted the industry—and raised larger questions about the business of books.

    …”he [Nicholas Hill] was there to reinforce the idea of an “anticipated top seller” market. Writers behave differently around the two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar threshold, Hill alleged. They’re “making different choices.” His most memorable contribution, though, was a series of Gross Upward Pricing Pressure Index (guppi) models, which he’d crafted to theorize about the market share that a joint Penguin Random House–Simon & Schuster might capture.”

    “The guppis proved a matter of tense dispute. If Hill embodied the Justice Department’s academic approach, Mark Oppenheimer, an attorney in the defense, appeared intent on casting him as the Casaubon of economic consultants.”


    FM & JQ… “Intensity of Competition and the Number of Competitors

    … Conversely, when the intensity of competition is small, a reduction in the number of firms can have a large impact on welfare. We also examine the case when the intensity of competition is a function of the number of firms in the market and provide a sufficient condition for mergers to be profitable.”

    Menezes, Flavio & Quiggin, John, 2011. “Intensity of Competition and the Number of Competitors,” 
    Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151197,
    University of Queensland, School of Economics.

    “Upward pricing pressure as a predictor of merger price effects

    …”The results also support that UPP provides accurate screens for anticompetitive mergers.”

    “Empirical Properties of Diversion Ratios

    …” and we identify cases in which the GUPPI would imply increased regulatory scrutiny of a proposed merger.”

  2. KT2 says … due to unbounded returns capital vs bounded returns to labour.

    Harry, Ernestine et all,

    ^2. Labour as stabilizers due to unbounded capital vs bounded returns to labour;

    “Economists Fear Fed Minutes Show Central Bank Bent on ‘Unleashing Mass Unemployment’

    Badwill perceived as goodwill due to unbounded capital vs bounded returns to labour;

    “Companies are paying inflation busting dividends at cost to the rest of the economy, including their employees
    … [ Graphs! !! ]
    “The top 36 companies paid out 178% of their profits on average. The next 36 or so paid out less: they only rewarded their shareholders with 88% of the profits earned. Together these companies represented 60% of the market value of the companies surveyed and 56% of all sales.”

    “In that case their exploitation pays.

    “So, when the argument is made by companies (usually the largest ones) that they cannot pay inflation-matching wage rises, what they’re actually saying is that they want to continue paying inflation-busting, and very often unearned, dividends instead.

    “The message is that these companies don’t want to pay inflation matching pay rises because they’re not interested in employees, the future of their companies, their sales or keeping anyone happy so long as they can by financial engineering keep turning borrowings into profits.

    “Companies Are Paying Inflation Busting Dividends at Cost to the Rest of the Economy, Including Their Employees

    “Economists Fear Fed Minutes Show Central Bank Bent on ‘Unleashing Mass Unemployment’

    “Continued interest rate hikes “risk a recession throwing millions out of work,” a pair of experts warned.

  3. Somewhere profit –  due to unbounded returns capital vs bounded returns to labour.

    “that money’s got to be going somewhere and economists tend to call that somewhere profit” says Richard Dennis

    And for unbalance + FUD – AiGroup lobbyist says it is all the fault of mining, finance & real estate, and (a porky) “the proportion of total capital owned by superannuation funds — workers’ capital has increased astronomically over the last 30 years,” he argued.”

    Amnesia – Ai forgot about the Wages Accord. Isn’t superannuation is a replacement for the pension, Ai Group lobby FUD merchants.

    Like Bart says “look over there!”

    “Real wages are shrinking as profits are soaring. But are most businesses really raking it in?

    “The Australia Institute’s executive director, Richard Denniss, said it was clear where that extra income had gone.

    “You would expect the profit share to be rising at the moment, because if prices are going up and wages aren’t, that money’s got to be going somewhere and economists tend to call that somewhere profit,”

    ” ‘Shift towards large firms’
    “The paper also posited a rise in oligopoly power as a factor that allowed big companies to grow profits without being compelled to pass those gains on to their workforces.

    “Since the early 2000s, there has been a shift in economic activity towards large firms,” Dr La Cava observed.

    “The Labour and Capital Shares of Income in Australia

    21 March 2019
    Gianni La Cava

  4. Corporations now profit from minitoring getting and pasing water!
    Truth – always stranger than ficrion.

    “E-hallpass, a company that tracks children’s urination:”

    “Workplace surveillance is coming for you 


    ” Successful shitty tech rollouts start with people you can abuse with impunity (prisoners, kids, migrants, etc) and then work their way up the privilege gradient. I call it the Shitty Technology Adoption Curve.

    The point of the Shitty Technology Adoption Curve is to normalize technological oppression, 

    “As the metaphor of corporate personhood has become more and more concrete (for example, through the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, which ruled that limits on corporate political spending violated their corporate persons’ free speech rights) many have pondered the question, “What sort of person is a corporation?”

    “The 2003 documentary “The Corporation” investigated this, declaring the if corporations are people, they are psychopaths – remorseless and totally lacking in empathy. Science fiction writers have claimed that corporations are “slow AIs” (Charlie Stross), or Skynet (Ted Chiang) or immortal colony organisms that use humans as gut flora (me):”

    “Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.”

    “E-HallPass is a new system they implemented at WTHS this May. It requires students to request to leave their classrooms for anything – getting water, going to the bathroom, heading to the office, etc. It’s an invasion of privacy, to say the least.

  5. Whereas John identified the problems of Sri Lanka as being due to poor local government policies, the Chinese Communist press has an explanation that should warm the hearts of some contributors to this blog. The problem it seems was “western neoliberalism” which engineered a reliance on international markets along with Western political constraints that it alleges were a sneaky requirement for participation in markets. The profit motive was the inappropriate guiding tool and this led to a downgrading of the role of government in ensuring “efficient and equitable” outcomes. However China will come to the rescue of developing countries with debt problems and it never, as they say, imposes political side constraints.

    As a reactionary fan of globalization as well as being a staunch neo-liberal I don’t agree with this hypocritical Chinese nonsense or, for that matter, with criticisms of free trade in goods and capita, generally. I instead accept the most basic ideas of economics. China has developed on the back of massive free trade with the US and Europe and has bestowed massive benefits on the rest of the world through its delivery of cheap goods, particularly capital goods.

    The problem is not globalisation but in the fact that the efficiency gains from free trade come at the expense of clear distributional problems that have been acknowledged by all trade theorists for as long as I can remember. These need to be addressed in the West through more progressive income and capital taxes and through transfers, retraining schemes and so on. They also need to be addressed in China which has a terribly skewed income distribution. But China, with its usual gall, condemns the source of its own prosperity and advises other developing countries not to have a global orientation but to simply put their government in charge of everything and everyone. A recipe for never developing and for dictatorship of the proletariat by an elite class of masters.

    The jargon is thick but the following is worth a glance.

  6. CDR plus and minus. And geoengineering as a colonialism geopolitical risk.

    “Principles for Thinking about Carbon Dioxide Removal in Just Climate Policy

    15 authors,

    “Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is rising up the climate-policy agenda. Four principles for thinking about its role in climate policy can help ensure that CDR supports the kind of robust, abatement-focused long-term climate strategy that is essential to fair and effective implementation.

    “On the other hand, societies that pursue CDR at too large a scale, adopt the wrong mix of approaches for their circumstances, or govern CDR ineffectively could face serious social and environmental downsides.

    August 2020
    One Earth 3(3):150-153


    “Who Are the Engineers? Solar Geoengineering Research and Justice 

    “Solar geoengineering research is a small but growing field as concerns arise that reducing emissions will not be sufficient to limit severe climate impacts. With this increasing attention, ensuring that the field advances equitably and inclusively is of immense importance. This commentary is a response to arguments that advocate for abandoning solar geoengineering research altogether because it perpetuates colonialism and promotes injustice. We find, however, that this brand of argument is itself performatively colonial and recommend a more inclusive framework for solar geoengineering governance that integrates existing research on relevant structures.

    “There has been increased attention on solar geoengineering (SG) research as climate impacts are worsening and mitigation efforts are seeing limited success.

    Via theprepared

  7. Harry, thisbstatement in your linked Flibal Times arricle needs a clarifying response deom you please;
    “China’s cooperation and aid construction itself does not have any political strings attached to it.”.

    After I cleaned up my coffee, I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or what the meaning of your comment and the inteded effect of article. Very muddy.

    Deeply weird. The article, and as I cannot understand your comment, both you and the Global Times article, withou mentioning the
    ectended Rajapaksa families actions, seem like apologists for:
    “Together these three brothers control somewhere between 45% and 70% of Sri Lanka’s budget and manage five of the largest government ministries. A fourth brother is Speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament. In total 29 members of Mahinda Rajapaska’s extended family hold senior positions within the government, civil service, media, or industry” says the Sri Lanka Campaign. Sri Lanka Campaign‘s  infographic, nepotism in Sri Lanka.”

    I may be wrong. A clarifying comments may be userul.

    As JQ said in How did Sri Lanka run out of money?
    ” How it got into this situation requires more explanation. It’s a story of
    – fiscal imprudence,
    – unsustainable exchange rate policy and
    – chronic mismanagement.”

    And markets, neoliberalism, colonial mindset, greed, neoitism, racism etc etc seem to be missing or, misinterpret by me, from your comment and article.

    Easy to blame a system. Someone has to implement it.

    Oh, and a reference to Rajapaksa’s in The Panama Papers may shed some light too.

  8. Brilliant! What a hoot!

    Scott Morrison Appoints Himself As Dark Shadow Master To Steal Everyone’s Job | Remix Matrix

  9. KT2, It obviously wasn’t my comment or belief – it’s a ludicrous claim in the article. Re-reading it, yep it was a bit unclear. I was rubbishing the Chinese for endorsing the anti-free trade views that are advanced by economists such as Joe Stiglitz which I think are nonsense. Trade theory has never proclaimed that “free trade (in goods or factors of production) is (unconditionally) optimal”. It says that, without a variety of distortions and without foreign ownership, free trade confers long-run (ignoring adjustment dynamics) efficiency gains on a country’s residents. In fact the most simple type of trade result – e.g. exporting a good that was previously not internationally trade (take the example of cut flowers) has ambiguous welfare effects – local firms selling the flowers are better-off and local flower consumers are worse off – they now face the higher international price. Importing cheap manufactures from China disadvantages local manufactures of these goods (and their workers) but advantages uses of the goods etc etc etc. The economics wisdom in all these cases is that (again ignoring possibly painful transitional adjustments) the gainers gain more in monetary terms than the losers lose.

    Of course opening up a country to trade provides these efficiency gains but for reasonable outcomes the gainers need to compensate the losers. Those who lose jobs should be assisted (with transfers and re-training) into newly created jobs. Restricting profitable international trades is shooting yourself in the foot.

    I was surprised to see that the Chinese have learnt to (with blatant hypocrisy) articulate the wrong Joe Stiglitz-type rejection of globalization.

  10. Phew. Thanks for cleaning ihat up Harry.

    I’m always surprised how the seeds of destruction, god like ruler and incongruous attitude “… the Chinese for endorsing the anti-free trade views” are always embedded at t=0 and refreshed with seemingly good intentions.

    And so – vigilance.

    Come to think of it, he opportunity cost of vigilance must be astronomical and unceasing.

    Back to trust.

  11. Wind engineer David Osmond tweeted a thread this afternoon (Aug 24):

    Thread: Each week I’m running a simulation of Australia’s main electricity grid using rescaled generation data to show that it can get very close to 100% renewable electricity with just 5 hrs of storage (24 GW / 120 GWh)
    last week: 99.0% RE
    last 52 weeks: 98.8% RE (1/6)

  12. Euan Graham tweeted last night (Aug 24):

    Don’t think everyone appreciates how huge French nuclear drop off is!!

    Looked at this in 2020 when I was at
    – drop in French nuclear output that year (-44TWh) was almost enough to cancel out EU-wide increase in wind and solar (+51TWh).

    Now look at the blue line!

  13. The argument supporting the use of hydro as a green energy provider seems to be running out of steam. Snowy 2.0 has sacked their CEO, at the direction of the minister. Reported cost blowouts and delays shouldn’t have been a reason, if the performance of the project stacks up. But as the cost of energy is a political hot potato I suspect that, unlike submarines, a cost benefit theorem is being applied.

    We are no longer looking at future climate change, we are in it, it is here. Water is a resource that is subject to the vagaries of climate and a monolithic capital intensive scheme so dependant on a consistent supply of a variable resource seems to be fraught with danger.

    Snowy 2.0 makes solar and wind just so more compelling.

  14. Annual eletricity futures in Germany have reached 950Euro/megawat hour baseload, 1250 peakload. 453/24 baseload; 285/25 baseload, Any solar park installed right now would make a fortune without subsidies. Don´t think there are any actual such projects, mainly because getting permits to built fast enough to make it worthwhile are such a risk here. Electric car chargeing and household electricity will be no fun once contracts with old prices run out.

  15. Today ex Minister Fran Bailey released her reasons for sacking Morrison some 16 years ago, saying in part that she was gobsmacked when he became PM.

    If it was the ALP the dirt would have been dished out years ago, no doubt aided by the complicit media.

    Is this how the Libs run things, that the fear of speaking out against the party overwhelms that of the public interest?

    It seems the Libs have become their own worst nightmare.

  16. BTW I’m both rog and akarog, it’s the way this format works and it’s too tedious to fight it.

  17. rog akarog, I am gobsmacked Fran hasn’t denounced Morrison for 16yrs- since 2006.

    Also John Winston Howard and the whole LNP apparatus. And they think they are foing to heaven.

    “Morrison also demonstrated repeatedly, keeping critical information from the Tourism Australia board. As the minister and the TA board lost confidence in Morrison, Bailey advised to Prime Minister John Howard that Morrison be sacked. Howard accepted the advice and Morrison was fired in August 2006.[7]

    “In 2022, following Morrison’s multi-ministerial positions controversy, Bailey revealed that Morrison showed no respect for his colleagues at Tourism Australia and he left her feeling bullied, also confirming that he “point-blank refused” to provide her or the board with any documentation or to answer questions about how the ad campaign was awarded to Saatchi. She said she was “gobsmacked when he became prime minister” and called for Morrison to resign from Parliament. ”

    Shame the “inquiry” isn’t retrospective. Bullies & liars also rise to the top it seems.

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