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.
22 thoughts on “Monday Message Board”
Resource page from Brookings on reconstructing Ukraine: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2022/11/03/financing-and-governing-the-recovery-reconstruction-and-modernization-of-ukraine/
Different organizations have come up with different guestmates of the price tag – a popular figure is $349bn.
It’s good that serious professional thought is going into this. The US Army started training civil affairs officers in 1942 IIRC – not combatants but desk wallahs to run ruined Germany.
Lots of thorny issues of course.
1. Who should run it? The EU Commission would of course like to, but that won’t wash in Washington, so it will probably be an ad hoc structure. The German Marshall Fund suggests leadership by an “American with a global stature”: Barack Obama? Hillary Clinton?
2. Conditions: a sensible consensus seems to be emerging that initial aid should be in the form of grants not loans.Will they stick to this under pressure? Reform strings will be attached – but how many and how neoliberal?
3. Funding from Russian reparations, barely discussed. It would be tempting just to follow Boris Johnson’s lead and raid the reputedly $600bn of frozen Russian state assets abroad, but the rule of law requires that this is only done as part of a peace treaty, in exchange for the ending of sanctions.
Talking of broken countries, a friend of mine is over in London, and he says that the country is “broken”. Having lived in the UK for over twenty years, up until 2019 when he moved to Australia, this friend says he has never seen it this bad in and around London. Now the UK economy has been in a worse situation, mainly under Margaret Thatcher, but the asset inflation in the UK seems to make the path to recovery seem more fraught with roadblocks. The first roadblock is the politics of the Westminster system. An advertorial system, this form of democracy makes consensus action by parliament almost impossible. Only when a government has a clear electoral mandate does there seems to be any across the political aisle cooperation. But the UK election is two years away.
The second roadblock is the selfish action of the US Federal Reserve in forcing up the cross-exchange rates for the USD. This is the real purpose of their massive interest rate hikes. We saw what this dominance by the USD did to money markets in the UK when its government tried to pursue what they saw was their own national interest. The US Fed Reserve seems to want other countries to pay a high price for its own failure to manage asset inflation in the USA, particularly among its paper assets.
The third blockade is the war in the Ukraine. This is driving up UK energy prices at the very worse time for their domestic economy.
All of this “”noise” is drowning out any good economic, or for that matter social, news coming out in the UK. According to my friend who is over there, negative sentiment has taken hold of the country and it will take great leadership to bring the UK out of these depressed times.
Racing vs public ownership vs private & virtual, and regulatory capture.
1) Weird quasi public benefit decision;
“The [Western Australian] government says it has been unable to find an offer which meets the government’s “policy objectives”, after reports that deals worth upwards of $1 billion collapsed.”
Or 2) protection raquet for flesh & blood horse racing aka regulatory capture;
“Country Racing WA President Kevin Scott, who was on the panel for the sale of the TAB, said the announcement gave some certainty to the industry after a sale process that had “gone on for too many years”.
“It’s caused too much uncertainty in the industry of where we’ve been going. Now, as of today, we’ve got some certainty,” he said.
“We’ll continue to run it the way it’s been run – or if we can even make it better – that’ll give us more money for our industry.”
Or 3) anomaly
“Despite exhaustive efforts, a balanced outcome cannot be achieved.”
“In a statement, the government said it had “progressed negotiations with a preferred respondent” who was unable to “confirm the necessary financial commitments” to allow the sale.”
It seems to me that the wagering public, if the sale had gone through, was unable to be protected as;
” Legislation was passed in 2019 to allow the sale of the TAB, along with an allowance for any successful bidder to offer electronic simulated racing games in TAB outlets, despite a ban in WA on poker machines and simulated racing games outside the Crown Perth casino.”
“Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti said not a single bidder gave “certainty” throughout the sale process that they would be able to ensure the best interests of the industry and taxpayers.
“The Western Australian racing industry should rest assured that Racing and Wagering Western Australia will continue to operate the WA TAB to the benefit of the local racing industry,” he said.”
WA government already “operate[s] the WA TAB to the benefit of the local racing industry,”
And then what would happen to flesh & blood horse racing when “an allowance for any successful bidder to offer electronic simulated racing games in TAB outlets”.
1) A juxtaposition of regulator capture exposed.
2) punters just go online anyway to jet on simulated racing + spreads + derivative betting.
Damn near insanity, with horse racing a “prefered” industry.
JQ said “More generally, I find it impossible to imagine that sports betting isn’t causing widespread corruption.”
“Update That’s the best individual response. The policy response, I think, is to legalise and encourage welching. That is, refuse to enforce gambling debts through the legal system and apply strict liability to attempts at collection through strong arm tactics, with a presumption of guilt against the creditor even if they can’t be tied directly to the enforcer.”
“In 2017–18, horse and greyhound racing contributed approximately $1.4 billion to the Australian Gross Domestic Product. Further value-added income for the economy is generated by breeding, horse sales, prize money and wagering.”
“Figures from Racing Australia suggest there are approximately 159,000 individuals involved in thoroughbred racing nationally, including over 82,600 racehorse owners, as well as various other participants, volunteers and employees.
“Greyhound racing includes around 30,000 ‘registered participants’ with figures from Greyhound Racing Australasia indicating that 7,000 people are directly employed in this industry, while tens of thousands are indirectly employed as a result of industry operations.”
“The high cost of horse racing media to betting shops is causing bookmakers to look for cheaper sources of racing content. Aiming to meet that need are the suppliers of racing visualisation and simulation technology.
“Consider the following scenario: the FOBT restricted stake is implemented and a bookmaker has a lease with three years to run with the landlord. Closure of the shop is going to happen, so why not save up to £40,000 a year and have the simulated service? At least the bookmaker would be rid of the contractual obligation of SIS and costs are contained over the run-down period.”
“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Anger vs bet limit in UK.
“Curbs on FOBT stakes fuel fewer police callouts to bookmakers
“Incidents down by nearly 40% as reduced maximum bet on terminals leads to fewer violent reactions to losses”
The UN said last month “but current climate plans show a 10.6 per cent increase instead.”
And the “International Energy Agency projects net income for oil and gas producers will double in 2022 to an alarming US$4 trillion.”
(In supoort of Ikonoclast – hope you are well Ikon)
Just to state my opinion, I believe(d) we are able, if we choose, to manage the effects of climate change and leave our grandkids a liveable world. What a crappy goal “liveable”!
Yet I am forced by events to accept my positive attitude is being seriously challenged by climate and energy progress, world events and lack of action.
Warming rate increase:
“”Countries’ climate promises still not enough to avoid catastrophic global warming: UN Report
“Increasing instead of decreasing
“In 2019, the IPCC indicated that to curb global warming, CO2 emissions needed to be cut by 43 per cent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels, but current climate plans show a 10.6 per cent increase instead.”
“A technologically advanced society is choosing to destroy itself. It’s both fascinating and horrifying to watch
“… And yet, a UN report last week found even if all nations meet their climate goals this decade, the planet would still heat by a catastrophic 2.5℃.”
“But after borders reopened, our fossil fuel addiction returned with a vengeance. In fact, the International Energy Agency projects net income for oil and gas producers will double in 2022 to an alarming US$4 trillion.”
“As social scientists, this is both horrifying and fascinating to observe. How is it that a technologically advanced society could choose to destroy itself by failing to act to avert a climate catastrophe?
” ‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History’
by Elizabeth Kolbert”
By Michael S. Roth
February 21, 2014
“It may seem impossible,” Kolbert concluded, “to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.”
“Organising Responses to Climate Change. The Politics of Mitigation, Adaptation and Suffering”
– Daniel Nyberg,
University of Newcastle, New South Wales
– Christopher Wright,
University of Sydney
– Vanessa Bowden,
University of Newcastle, New South Wales
“People are suffering. And yet, emissions continue to rise. This book unpacks the activities of the key actors which have organised past and present climate responses – specifically, corporations, governments, and civil society organisations. Analysing three elements of climate change – mitigation, adaptation and suffering – the authors show how exponential growth of the capitalist system has allowed the fossil fuel industry to maintain its dominance. However, this hegemonic position is now coming under threat as new and innovative social movements have emerged, including the fossil fuel divestment movement, Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and others. In exposing the inadequacies of current climate policies and pointing to the possibilities of new social and economic systems, this book highlights how the worst impacts of climate change can be avoided.”
Bill McKibben: “This is a truly fascinating account of how business-as-usual has managed to continue even in the face of the greatest crisis humans have ever wandered too. It is equal parts illuminating and infuriating, and hopefully will provide activists with a new sense of where we might find purchase in the fight to make the rich and powerful face the truth of our moment.'”
And just to reinforce my comment above, here are the headlines in The Guardian au front page 8th November 2022 – today:
(Let’s hope rich Rishi Sunak acts and doesn’t just grandstand and pontificates:
“Rishi Sunak UK PM says it is ‘morally right’ for country to honour climate pledges”)
“Barbados PM launches blistering attack on rich nations at climate talks”
“Rishi Sunak UK PM says it is ‘morally right’ for country to honour climate pledges”
“António Guterres World is on ‘highway to climate hell’, UN chief warns at Cop27 summit”
“Climate crisisWhy scientists are using the word scary”
Barbados PM launches blistering attack on rich nations at climate talks
” ‘An absolute scandal’ Australia among rich nations falling short of ‘fair share’ of climate funding”
“Explainer What is Cop27 and why does it matter?”
“Australia among rich nations falling short of ‘fair share’ of climate funding”
“Arctic World faces ‘terminal’ loss of sea ice during summers”
“World faces ‘terminal’ loss of sea ice during summers”
“Loss and damage issue keeps us negotiators wrangling late into the night”
The Secret Negotiator
Hi James! Sorry to be a simpleton, but why are we assuming Ukraine can’t rebuild itself? (I agree about grants or low interest loans though – til there is a way to get Russia to pay.) Shouldn’t they be in charge?
I skimmed a bit of the linked piece. Were I a Ukrainian, I think I’d be miffed at this talk of modernization and transformation.
Why is it our business? Just because they got attacked, now all the big ngos get to go in and do whatever they want? (I know *you* aren’t like that – but, pardon me, this is scary language.) I know it says Ukrainians should “take the lead,” but I’m not sure that would comfort me much, were I in their shoes. I hope we are not going to be bullies. Wouldn’t it be a nice change. This talk doesn’t seem very democratic to me.
I’m still around and reading. Just not commenting, especially on economics. Here to post this. Well worth a read.
I’ll be following you into retirement soon-ish Ikon. Hope the eyes & landscaping are well focused now.
Thanks, yeah more or less on the eyes and landscaping. Good luck! Plan constructive and safe activities for retirement. 🙂
COFF! Rust – “The global cost of corrosion is estimated to be US$2.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.4% of the global GDP (2013).”
Exagerated maybe as this is an industry report. “NACE and SSPC are now AMPP, The Association for Materials Protection and Performance”
Made me think of something I rarely think about.
“Table 2-2. Global Cost of Corrosion by Region by Sector (Billion US$ 2013)”
ASSESSMENT OF THE GLOBAL COST OF CORROSION
“The global cost of corrosion is estimated to be US$2.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.4% of the global GDP (2013). By using available corrosion control practices, it is estimated that savings of between 15 and 35% of the cost of corrosion could be realized; i.e., between US$375 and $875 billion annually on a global basis.
“These costs typically do not include individual safety or environmental consequences. Through near misses, incidents, forced shutdowns (outages), accidents, etc., several industries have come to realize that lack of corrosion management can be very costly and that, through proper corrosion management, significant cost savings can be achieved over the lifetime of an asset.
Hyper productive mathmatician Saharon Shelah has developed proofs(?), probably used by JQ, Ernetine, Harry, possibly without knowing? JQ, Ernestine, Harry?
“On the Arrow property
“Arrow’s impossibility theorem asserts that under certain natural conditions, if there are at least three alternatives then every non-dictatorial social choice gives rise to a non-rational choice function. Gil Kalai asked if Arrow’s theorem can be extended to the case when the individual choices are not rational but rather belong to an arbitrary non-trivial symmetric class of choice functions. The main theorem of this paper gives an affirmative answer in a very general setting.”
…” lists 1063 published books and journal articles with 248 coauthors. His main interests lie in mathematical logic, model theory in particular, and in axiomatic set theory.
“In model theory, he developed classification theory, which led him to a solution of Morley’s problem. In set theory, he discovered the notion of proper forcing, an important tool in iterated forcing arguments. With PCF theory, he showed that in spite of the undecidability of the most basic questions of cardinal arithmetic (such as the continuum hypothesis), there are still highly nontrivial ZFC theorems about cardinal exponentiation. Shelah constructed a Jónsson group, an uncountable group for which every proper subgroup is countable. He showed thatWhitehead’s problem is independent of ZFC. He gave the first primitive recursive upper bound to van der Waerden’s numbers V(C,N). He extended Arrow’s impossibility theorem on voting systems.
“Shelah’s work has had a deep impact on model theory and set theory. The tools he developed for his classification theory have been applied to a wide number of topics and problems in model theory and have led to great advances in stability theory and its uses in algebra and algebraic geometry as. ..”
“This website hosts (most of) the mathematical work of Saharon Shelah and his coauthors ”
Thanks to an ASX grant a typist was funded to access these 14 new papers….
Land tax, Georgism & digital virtual land.
I’ve asked JQ to review “Land Is a Big Deal”. (I’m not holding my breath).
By Lars A. Doucet
Three endorsements of book “Land Is a Big Deal” – (one by Viatek Butlerin who has enough money to effect change – via crypto as you know.)
“Lars’s work is intellectually fascinating and among the clearest and most compelling writing in support of land value taxes that I’ve seen.—Vitalik Buterin
“Lars Doucet has thought more deeply about land taxes than anyone I’ve ever met…and I’ve met just about everyone.—Noah Smith
“An absolutely wonderful summary of the economics of Henry George and land value taxes. Comprehensive but accessible, and above all fun!—Rethinking Economics
Lars A. Doucet has applied land tax to digital / virtual worlds land:
“Georgism and Game Design:
“Land Speculators will kill your game’s growth
“Land Value Tax in online games and virtual worlds: A how-to guide
Lars A. Doucet is:
“Director of Outreach for Common Ground USA.
“Common Ground USA is an all-volunteer organization that promotes land value tax shifts, rent-sharing land trusts, and other commons-based approaches to social, environmental and economic issues.
“Game of Rent
“Writings on Georgism and related topics by various authors
“Georgism and Game Design:
“Land Value Tax in online games and virtual worlds: A how-to guide
“Georgism and Norway:
Norway’s Sovereign wealth fund: a Georgist success story
Virtual land example with lots of references w links:
“Yorio tells CNBC her company sold 100 virtual private islands last year for $15,000 each. “Today, they’re selling for about $300,000 each, which is coincidentally the same as the average home price in America,” she said.”
“Macroeconomics is still in its infancy
A lot of ideas; not a lot of conclusions”.
By Noah Smith
Nov 8 2022
John Quiggin comments;
Liked by Noah Smith
“IS-LM macro still works well enough. Macro was in a better state in 1958 than it now.https://johnquiggin.com/2013/01/05/the-state-of-macroeconomics-it-all-went-wrong-in-1958/
“As for DSGE, you know my view from Zombie Economics.”
KT2, Macroeconomics offers too many answers. I did my PhD in the area and became aware of the indeterminacies with respect to the simplest questions e.g. the effect of monetary expansion on the exchange rate. Moreover, econometrics has resolved little – just another set of indeterminacies – e,g, the interest elasticity of investment demands and the demand for money. Key questions, still unresolved. The universities should emphasise the basic Keynesian model – the IS/LM version is a worthwhile extension but, for the most part, teach microeconomics where our intuition is a better guide to what makes sense. I think the universities would add more value if units in applied microeconomics, international trade and public economics replaced the three years of macroeconomics graduate students in economics cop.
I am interested in the incentives agents have to leak information from large scale databases. To be useful such databases must be accessible at low costs by large numbers of individuals in an organization and it would be difficult to track, ex post, who has accessed such bases and what they do with access information. If blackmailers are successful in extorting payments from those utilising compromised databases then there are market processes that limit the scope and usefulness of such databases. I’d be interested in knowing how computer scientists are addressing such issues.
All we have to do is lobby to alter “units in applied microeconomics, international trade and public economics replaced the three years of macroeconomics graduate students in economics cop.”
Maybe you and JQ might endorse and promote an open letter.
I’ll sign. Any else?
Lobbyland = +2C heating.
“If you want to address malaria, you don’t invite the mosquitoes,” said Phillip Jakpor”
1. “Fossil-fuel emissions hit a new high” correlated with a …
2. “record number of fossil-fuel lobbyists at COP27 — more than 600, an increase of more than 25% on last year’s COP” and
3. “We consider the financial implications of continued climate policy obstruction for financial system stability and the success of the clean energy transition.”
1. “Fossil-fuel emissions hit a new high
“Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are projected to increase by 1% in 2022, hitting a new record of 37.5 billion tonnes, scientists announced today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. If the trend continues, humanity could pump enough CO2 into the atmosphere for Earth to warm to a point at which the Paris climate agreement — which aims to limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial temperatures — is broken in just 9 years. ”
2. “Lots of fossil-fuel lobbyists at COP27
“There is a record number of fossil-fuel lobbyists at COP27 — more than 600, an increase of more than 25% on last year’s COP meeting in Glasgow, UK, according to an analysis released on Wednesday by three advocacy groups”
Via newsletter today of:
3. “Confronting Climate Risk With Lobbying: Evidence From the Fossil Fuel Industry
17 Oct 2022
,,,” Estimates of fossil fuel firm vulnerability to climate change news risk increase after 2013, strengthening firms’ inclination to lobby just when this activity becomes less valued by shareholders. We consider the financial implications of continued climate policy obstruction for financial system stability and the success of the clean energy transition.”
The worst breach my occur when a latent, preset, imperceptable until used by developer “backdoor” is triggered. Worse, not the application, not the source code to generate the application – the compiler to compile the source code into the application.
The developer of UNIX did just that. You are viewing this via a derivation of unix. And other compilers compiled from his compiler! I believe niegh on impossible to check for unless you read source code and spot errant code.
See Cory Doctorow. Lots of links;
“Undetectable, undefendable back-doors for machine learning”
“This was most memorably introduced by Ken Thompson, the computing pioneer who co-created C, Unix, and many other tools (including the compilers that were used to compile most other compilers) in a speech called “Reflections on Trusting Trust.”
Click to access Thompson_1984_ReflectionsonTrustingTrust.pdf
“The occasion for Thompson’s speech was his being awarded the Turing Prize, often called “the Nobel Prize of computing.” In his speech, Thompson hints/jokes/admits (pick one!) that he hid a backdoor in the very first compilers.”
“Delegating trust is really, really, really hard (infosec edition)
Such a backdoor features in scifi;
– Snow Crash by Niel Steaphenson
The metavese developer and protagonist had escape hatches built into the metaverse.
– An episode of the Sherlock Holmes contemporary series Elementary.
The “safest safe” developer built in Pi to spoof random numbers. Able then to use a pi filter to bypass randon number code at will. I liked this one.
I assume many others.
Harry, infosec 2.
Here is a basic set -11 – of contemporary security types explained.
I note “IBM, one of the pioneers of research in this area, has released a toolkit for integrating its homomorphic encryption with applications for iOS and MacOS.”
“11 technologies improving database security
“The database does not have to be a security and privacy liability. These technologies can reduce risk and help ensure regulatory compliance. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3623814/11-technologies-improving-database-security.html
10 major Cyber Security journal linked to wade through.
“10 Popular Journals in Cyber Security
August 24, 2021
By: D. Peraković
– IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure ComputingIEEE
– IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
– Journal of Cybersecurity
Oxford University Press
– IEEE Security and Privacy
– IET Information Security
Institution of Engineering and Technology
– ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
– Journal of Cryptology
Springer New York
– Computer Law & Security Review
ACM Transactions on Computer SystemsAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Dave Jones, electricity analyst and global lead at Ember, tweeted yesterday (Nov 11):
Harry, when I ask an economics / market based question similar to yours computer scientist question;
HC: “If blackmailers are successful in extorting payments from those utilising compromised databases then there are market processes that limit the scope and usefulness of such databases. I’d be interested in knowing how computer scientists are addressing such issues.”…
I have to at least read up and or skim as many resources as I have posted here re your computer scientist question, to have even a mildly passable understanding to keep up with the conversation here. JQ, Ernestine or you just need to summon memory and load your neo cortex.
Welcome to my world.
These security features above and data breaches below remind me why I do NOT register anything anywhere unless absolutely necessary.
I am currently arguing with the ATO – via email – to get access to a refund without having my voice print generated and stored by the ATO! Our fingerprints, face print and voice, once stolen, can’ not be replaced like a drivers licence or medibank ID#.
#1. #1: $540 Million Stolen in Ronin Breach
“In March 2022, a group of hackers broke into the blockchain project Ronin and looted over $540 million in cryptocurrency – making this incident the second largest crypto heist ever. Ronin is the Ethereum sidechain used to power Axie Infinity, an online game involving NFTs.
“The culprit would appear to be the Lazarus Group, a state-sponsored gang of hackers working for North Korea. The group was able to launder at least 18% of the stolen crypto immediately following the attack, and may have been able to launder more in the months since. So far, it does not appear that any of the stolen cryptocurrency has been recovered.
Detail of #2.
#2. 0ktapus attacked relatively secure Multi Factor Authentication.
“Roasting 0ktapus: The phishing campaign going after Okta identity credentials
“Over 130 organizations have been compromised in a sophisticated attack using simple phishing kits
“Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is often implemented as a form of enterprise identity security to protect organizations against credential theft , dictionary attacks, and brute force techniques. But what if MFA is intercepted by a fraudster? In the cyber arena, where there is a continuous arms race with offensive and defensive strategies trying to outcompete each other, techniques that overcome MFA have existed for some time. In this blog, we share the techniques that utilize surprisingly simple tools that were used to overcome enterprise identity access management (IAM) and conduct supply chain attacks.
Tell us what you find Harry.
Harry, what is this in economic terms?
Cut both ways “Apple built a walled fortress in full knowledge that it might be called upon someday to turn that fortress into a prison.”
Why? “the titanic Chinese middle class”. (Titanic loaded ready to hit an iceberg of opression? While Apple profits.)
“Apple also relies on selling phones and computers and services to the titanic Chinese middle class, a category that’s loose enough that estimates of its size range from 350m to 700m – but even the lower figure is larger than the entire US population.”
Right on cue Cory Doctorow again.
Above quotes from:
“Apple’s business model made Chinese oppression inevitable
“Last month’s Chinese protests were coordinated in part thanks to a novel technological tactic, one that made use of one of Apple’s most innovative technologies: Airdrop. Airdrop is an ad hoc, peer-to-peer file transfer protocol that lets two nearby Ios users exchange files with one another without identifying themselves.
“Anti-Xi organizers used Airdrop to exchange forbidden protest literature. Because these files travel directly between Ios devices, they weren’t visible to the censors and spies who monitor other digital communications tools in China.
“This use of Airdrop is a canonical example of the ways that digital technologies can be part of human rights struggles, giving people new tools that give them leverage over powerful state actors.
“Right on schedule, the Chinese government has ordered Apple to break Airdrop so that it can’t be used to organize protests, requiring users to opt into receiving files from strangers every ten minutes, rather than letting them set their devices to publicly visible until they are ready to turn it off:
“Apple called this a “security update.” It updates the security of the Chinese state from democratic accountability.
“There’s a strain of technology criticism that sees incidents like this as proof that digital tools have no place in human rights struggles, because they will always be turned against their users.
“But no one forced Apple to launch its “curated computing” service, nor to design it so that its customers can’t override it. Apple built a walled fortress in full knowledge that it might be called upon someday to turn that fortress into a prison.