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.

10 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Labour economics involves much debate about mobility. Both geographic mobility and occupational mobility were discussed before and during the Jobs Summit. Some argued that working from home has broken the restraint of geographic mobility at least domestically. But what about occupational mobility? The data about a failed TAFE system was most concerning. If it is true that most apprentices fail to complete their training then this must addressed as a matter of some urgency. One solution seems to be to give these apprentices a clearer career path. Some sort of job security on completion would also seem to be advisory. Too often Australia’s labour market has sought skilled trades employees from overseas before looking to home grown prospects. The pandemic showed up that strategy as flawed and so any ‘new normal’ on Australia’s labour market should include a well structured TAFE and apprenticeship system. a am

  2. Alcohol & By Fergus McCullough “Against alcohol”, a review of “Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health by Professor David Nutt

     “Australia was above the OECD average for litres per capita of alcohol consumed by people aged 15 and over, at 9.5 compared with 8.7 litres per capita in 2020 (OECD 2021).”

    “A review of Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health by Professor David Nutt, with comments.

    By Fergus McCullough

    “Against alcohol”

    “Alcohol is a drain on economic growth, damaging productivity and forcing us to spend money on healthcare that could be used elsewhere. The CDC estimated the cost of hangovers to the American economy as $249bn in 2010.

    “The Institute of Alcohol Studies estimates a cost of £1.4bn a year for British productivity. (The charity Alcohol Change UK puts the productivity damage at £7bn a year instead.) If you think economic growth isimportant, then alcohol is not worth the hassle.

    “Treating the results of excessive alcohol consumption is a huge burden for the NHS. In England alone, around 350,000 hospital admissions per year are mainly attributable to alcohol.1

    [Or repost on Substack with “nicer” formatting, but with unforseen long tail risks of veto, and support of Thiel & Musk.]

    “Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia

    Last updated: 24 Aug 2022

    Key findings

    ^ The majority of Australians aged 14 years and over consume alcohol, however the proportion of people drinking in excess of lifetime risk guidelines declined from 21% in 2001 to 16.8% in 2019

    ^ In 2019, 25% of people aged 14 and over exceeded the single occasion risk alcohol guideline by consuming more than 4 standard drinks in one sitting, at least monthly

    ^ Between 2015 and 2021, the highest rates of alcohol and other drug-related ambulance attendances were related to alcohol intoxication

    ^ Alcohol accounted for nearly 3 in 5 drug-related hospitalisations in 2020–21 (57% or 86,400 hospitalisations), up from 53% in 2019–20 (74,500 hospitalisations).

    ^ There were 1,452 alcohol-induced deaths in 2020

    ^ In 2020–21, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in closed treatment episodes provided for clients’ own drug use (37%)

    – “Australia was above the OECD average for litres per capita of alcohol consumed by people aged 15 and over, at 9.5 compared with 8.7 litres per capita in 2020 (OECD 2021).

    – On average, Australian households spend $32 on alcoholic beverages per week and this has remained stable between 2009–10 and 2015–16 (ABS 2017, Table 1.1).

    “Measuring risky drinking according to the Australian alcohol guidelines

    Last updated: 25 Mar 2021

  3. If Chomsky says we need new words and language we are definitely in trouble.

    – Superlatives to;
    > lunacy
    > catastrophic

    “Chomsky said “There are no words in languages for this — lunacy does not work, catastrophic does not work — they will have to invent something new … that is where we are.”

    Via the nominative deterministic commenter Jeremy Grimm (in a comment I have not verified at writing) “at just past the hour into the recent Paul Jay interview of Chomsky and Ellsberg, “Warning from Chomsky and Ellsberg”, Chomsky said “There are no words in languages for this — lunacy does not work, catastrophic does not work — they will have to invent something new … that is where we are.” I believe Chomsky’s call for new words applies broadly.”

    “Warning From Chomsky and Ellsberg”

    Couldn’t find a transcript. Anyone?

  4. Reportedly Anthony Albanese reassured fossil fuel bosses ahead of a climate deal.

    Glenn Holmes tweeted last night (Sep 6) an AEC list for the financial year 2020-21 for fossil fuel donors to political parties.

    Is that an example of regulatory capture?

    In politics, regulatory capture (also agency capture and client politics) is a form of corruption of authority that occurs when a political entity, policymaker, or regulator is co-opted to serve the commercial, ideological, or political interests of a minor constituency, such as a particular geographic area, industry, profession, or ideological group.

  5. Equity premium – government guaranteed equity [debt] to private capital …”yield, from 48.3 basis points to 21.5 basis points between the agency’s bonds and the Australian government”(^2.)

    … via funding affordable housing, at the expense of the commons, instead if being funded by government?

    Spruked by Wayne Swan! Such a good investment it was oversubscribed by 2.5x.

    Therefore providing capital a positive feedback into the future

    JQ, Ernestine, Harry, Ikon et all? I’m not quite sure how to put this into perspective. Any thoughts.

    Waynr Swan sounding like a capital maximising private capital ist… ”

    “With regard to social and affordable housing, Cbus’ investment in bonds issued by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation demonstrates what can be achieved by government, super and industry working together. 

    “When you think about it, asking funds not to invest in asset classes such as these is the best way to ensure they break their duty to provide members with the highest possible returns.”…

    Equity premiium to capital or superannuation?

    “NHFIC bonds snapped up by investors
    Oct 27, 2021 

    “Investors are demanding up to three times the supply of social bonds on issuance, leaving the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation struggling to find enough projects into which it can channel funding.

    “Strong institutional demand is making each bond issue 2½ to three times oversubscribed, and is a key factor behind a narrowing over the past three years of the spread, or difference in yield, from 48.3 basis points to 21.5 basis points between the agency’s bonds and the Australian government benchmark 10-year bond yield, NHFIC said on Wednesday.

  6. Workers & wages to fix inflation.

    “Officials aren’t just prepared to countenance a loss of economic momentum, they’re actively trying to facilitate a slowdown. The same goes for the labor market. Job losses are acceptable. Desirable, even, although decorum means never saying as much out loud.”

    “This Is The ‘100-Trillion Dollar Question’

    August 30, 2022

    “But the key is “eventually.” Negative payrolls at any point this year would be extremely vexing. The Fed can’t turn right around after Powell’s big moment in Wyoming and pivot in November or December if, by some stroke of bad luck that could only happen to Powell, NFP [non farm payroll] turns negative in 2022.”

  7. Climate scientist Erich Fischer tweeted yesterday (Sep 6) a chart of Greenland Melt Extent for 2022 up to Sep 4 with the comment:

    Record-shattering ice melt in Greenland (@NSIDC) and Alpine glaciers (@glamos_ch) . Remember: the longer we measure the rarer records should become without climate change. And records should be broken by increasingly smaller margins. They are not.

    Meanwhile, the Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) yesterday approved the proposed Mt Pleasant Optimisation Project, allowing coal extraction at that mine to continue beyond the previous consent (to 22 Dec 2026), until the end of 2048.

    IMO, governments (both federal and state), through their ongoing approvals of more fossil fuel projects, are continuing to contribute towards facilitating civilisation collapse later this century.

  8. Geoff, it does look like Labor is, if not genuinely supportive, then is some combination of beholden or cowed by the fossil fuel companies and their partisan political backers. I suspect significant levels of genuinely supportive are in that mix. Their assurances to them will surely take precedence over those to the public of deep commitment to addressing the climate problem.

    Ongoing and absolute support for fossil fuel exports offers those supplying domestic markets a credible alternative should domestic emissions reductions actually work, with that demarcation between end user responsibility and supplier absence of responsibility being their means of evading government responsibility as well.

    Even big business was unimpressed with the LNP and getting them to at least not fiercely oppose Labor may have seemed worth making such assurances for. I think green advocacy (green because mainstream politics abrogated leadership with “you care, you fix it”) was not wrong to push for consumers to feel their responsibility and to choose low emissions but it has been thrown back at them, with their greater push for supplier responsibility somehow lost in the counter-noise. Which reframed calls for energy frugality into alarmist fear of lost prosperity and economic catastrophe.

    As for economic catastrophes from energy insecurity, surely the failures of gas to be the reliable and low cost means for evading the need for more difficult things like pumped hydro and remaking electricity grids that they promoted themselves as should put their credibility at risk – but it seems not. They and their spruikers are going all out to reframe that failure of gas as a green energy crisis, with massive expansion of their industry the solution. It is looking surprisingly effective. It is gobsmacking hypocrisy – but this industry has become increasingly dependent on false and misleading to maintain it’s social license. Long term I don’t think it will work but medium term we will see them get their way and it will do the transition to zero emissions much harm.

    Conflict driven stratospheric gas prices are giving this industry hyper profits even as they are sending economies into recessions and depressions but they won’t drop their prices to mere super profits to prevent global economic disaster. Why would we imagine there is any genuine commitment to fixing the climate problem or support of anything that constrains overall production?

    It wasn’t green policies that inserted gas into the clean energy mix; mainstream politics, the rest of mainstream politics, made that into the take it or leave it compromise for supporting significant amounts of wind and solar. Not that I thought we would get much pumped hydro or other serious investment until levels of wind and solar were already very high. I also suspect a strong conviction that significant amounts of wind and solar were considered so unlikely that giving such support would be inconsequential, but gas would do well as an element of a fossil fuels dominated grid. Even coal – especially the deposits that were not profitable – could be exploited as coal seam gas.

    The Green and Teal wave isn’t going to do it but it is putting the wind up the climate science and renewable energy deniers. A Green and Teal tsunami might do it. Of course it would work much better if the cozy Lib Nat Lab threesome put their duty of care above favours owed and cowardice.

    (JQ – I’ve given up on WordPress; too many problems posting comments. But even unsubscribed WordPress sites still link to my email address and won’t let me post. I’ve used a different email address. A prior attempt at that went astray – but I also think I made a typo on the new email address. Ken)

  9. Harry, I’ll let Lael Brainard serve –

    – after tax profits “were 13 percent in the second quarter. This is just slightly lower than the series high since 1947 of 13.5 percent, set in the second quarter of 2021”

    Your return serve to The Fed would be welcome Harry.

    September 7, 2022
    “Bringing Inflation Down”
    Vice Chair Lael Brainard

    “7. After-tax profits in the nonfinancial corporate sector, adjusted for inventory valuation and capital consumption and expressed as a fraction of nominal GDP, were 13 percent in the second quarter. This is just slightly lower than the series high since 1947 of 13.5 percent, set in the second quarter of 2021”

    “At an aggregate level, in the second quarter, measures of profits in the nonfinancial sector relative to GDP remained near the postwar peak reached last year.7

    “Similarly, overall retail margins—the difference between the price retailers charge for a good and the price retailers paid for that good—have risen significantly more than the average hourly wage that retailers pay workers to stock shelves and serve customers over the past year, suggesting that there may also be scope for reductions in retail margins. With gross retail margins amounting to about 30 percent of sales, a reduction in currently elevated margins could make an important contribution to reduced inflation pressures in consumer goods.”

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