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 Mastodon here

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

34 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. “Chaos reigned and order descended.”
    Zhuangzi c300 BCE.

    A great sentence imo.

    Is this sentence appropriate as a tagline to some politicians responses to climate change and order of activism?

    Your application?

    Other great sentences?

    Chapter 33:
    The World    
    Translated by Nina Correa

    Zhuangzi – “Being Boundless”    
    Translated by Nina Correa

  2. Pillaging of the Pilliga by Santos,and out greed and stupidity.  

    850 wells yet – the project “cannot be simply dismissed upon the basis of an assertion by one scientist and sources upon which he or she has chosen to rely,” Mr Dowsett said.”… about Professor Will Steffen pointing out “estimated the Narrabri Gas Project would produce more than 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalents over its 25-year lifetime.”

    Will Steffan used “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO to outline”, so to be dismissed as “an assertion by one scientist and sources upon which he or she has chosen to rely” … would seem to be disparaging, disingenuous and deriding of Will Steffan and all the scientists involved in the IPCC, BoM & CSIRO.

    “His [Seffan] prediction was dire, warning of more extreme heat and intense droughts, more days of extreme fire weather, changes in rainfall patterns and heavier rain when it does fall.

    “Mr Dowsett rejected this argument”

    I hope they win on appeal, citing all scientists involved at IPCC & CSIRO. And that The Tribunal and president John Dowsett are shown to have erred, with this statement in particular; “Clearly, there is a substantial public interest in securing the availability of energy resources for the benefit of people in the region, [New South Wales] and Australia as a whole,” Mr Dowsett said.”

    “National Native Title Tribunal green-lights Santos Narrabri Gas Project, rejects Gomeroi arguments

    “The Gomeroi native title applicant has 28 days to appeal the decision to the Federal Court.

    “Thirdly, the Gomeroi had also made a climate change argument never before seen in a native title case, contending that the project would contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and “grave environmental harm” and would therefore not be in the public interest.

    “In expert evidence for the Gomeroi, climate scientist Will Steffen estimated the Narrabri Gas Project would produce more than 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalents over its 25-year lifetime.

    “Professor Steffen is the executive director of the Australian National University Climate Change Institute and a councillor with the Climate Council of Australia.

    “He used model-based projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO to outline what would happen to the Narrabri region if global warming exceeded 1.5 degrees.

    “His prediction was dire, warning of more extreme heat and intense droughts, more days of extreme fire weather, changes in rainfall patterns and heavier rain when it does fall.

    “Mr Dowsett rejected this argument, instead relying upon the environmental assessment done by the Independent Planning Commission of New South Wales when it granted the project’s development consent in 2020.

    “The conclusions reached by a statutory body such as the Independent Planning Commission cannot be simply dismissed upon the basis of an assertion by one scientist and sources upon which he or she has chosen to rely,” Mr Dowsett said.

    The Tribunal instead accepted Santos’s argument that the project was in the public interest.

    “Clearly, there is a substantial public interest in securing the availability of energy resources for the benefit of people in the region, [New South Wales] and Australia as a whole,” Mr Dowsett said.

    NSW – Future Act Determination – NF2021/0003-0006
    Tribunal file no.(s)NF2021/0003, NF2021/0004, NF2021/0005, NF2021/0006​​​NNTTA no.NNTTA 74
    (19 December 2022)
    Application type
    Future act determination
    State or TerritoryNew South Wales  

    Member Hon John Dowsett AM (President)
    Determination parties​Gomeroi People (NC2011/006) 
    (native title party)
    – and –

    Santos NSW Pty Ltd and Santos NSW (Narrabri Gas) Pty Ltd (formerly known as EnergyAustralia Narrabri Gas Pty Ltd)
    (grantee parties)
    – and –
    State of New South Wales
    (Government party)
    Determination date19/12/2022

  3. “Chaos reigned and order descended. It took a thousand years. So I have learned from the annals. It would have been easier and better for everyone if we had prevented the chaos in the first place. There were well-known ways to do that, even then.”

    I have a kind of early-warning system, perhaps, but I don’t think it arises from my having a great(er) intelligence than average. That kind of assessment can too self-congratulating. It can arise from other factors as well. And whether people have such “gifts” or “curses” is due to accidents and nature and nurture: things that happened to them.

  4. Thanks Iko,

    It seems to me that Eric Feigl-Ding apparently has ‘sentinel intelligence’, but it seems he is cursed by being ignored by the many who refuse to heed his warnings.

  5. Cassandra’s in preference to conspiritors and SCAD’s (^2.) perhaps better for both.

    A movie I can’t recall, has a 10 person scenario squad packed with sentinels to be scanning – – for dire plots threatening a ruler. One of the 10 is charged with producing opposite conspiritorial cassandra-esque plots. Any idea? I’ll try to find a title.

    Don’t mention the CT’s C*******cy T****y!

    Ikon, in your link to “You’re Not a Fearmonger. You Have Sentinel Intelligence.
    Some of us are cursed to hear the future.” is the sentence as paragraph:

    “Conspiracy theorists do the opposite.”

    Or as Lambert Struther prefers below:
    ” C*******cy T****y-ists do the opposite.”

    Over at nakedcapitalism
    Lambert Strether doesn’t want any CT’s accidentally dropping by and trolling, so asterisks the headline out, and has posted a review and a very detailed – longest I’ve seen – and stern comments warning:

    “Book Review: Lance deHaven-Smith, “C*******cy T****y in America”

    “This is not a post for you to dilate or expound on your favorite CT, whether in Dallas, in Manhattan, in a Chinese wet market, a laboratory, leaky or otherwise, or where- and whatever. Don’t bring them up. And don’t tell me you’re not sure what I’m talking about. Plus if you’re not sure, don’t. Our vicious but fair moderators will nail your head to the floor if you do. I am enforcing this policy for three reasons:”

    3) DeHaven-Smith’s purpose in writing the book is to replace CT with a what he calls a policy science of State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs):

          “In contrast to conspiracy theories, which speculate about each suspicious event in isolation, the SCAD construct delineates a general category of criminality and calls for crimes that fit this category to be examined comparatively.”

    4) And don’t game this warning by asking “Gosh, could it be that this [a historical event in Dallas, say] was really a SCAD?” Because our moderators will know. This is not a post for enthusiasts. There are many verycontemporary and not yet stigmatized and worked-over events for which the SCAD framework may well be appropriate (and on both sides of the aisle). Do that.”

  6. The private Sydney bus.

    Capitalist conspiracy or
    State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs)?

    Perrottett delivered $2bn to privatise WorkSafe, so why not ignore advice “urging the government to consider returning bus routes to public hands” and double down on giving natural monoplies more enclosure for profit.

    Definite dogma debilitating imagination.

    “It comes after an upper house inquiry into the privatisation of bus services handed down its recommendations earlier this year, urging the government to consider returning bus routes to public hands.

    “But the government said operators in Sydney and Newcastle were offering services beyond the “one-size-fits-all model of service delivery”, including high capacity routes in some areas, and on demand travel in others.

  7. The assessment of bus services by some government departments always undervalues their social benefits of public busses. These social benefits include but are not confined to the inclusive nature of such public services. Instead of excluding passengers who may live away from main roads, or those who are not mobile enough to get to major bus stops, public bus services give access to cheap transport to as many people as possible. The flight to privatisation always focuses on how much money can be saved/obtained in the short run. No long run analysis is done on the probability of failure of service by these private, profit orientated businesses.

  8. Ant-ificial Intelligence?
    End of RAnt.

    “Driven by this understanding and building upon the models, the researchers built robotic ants, nicknamed RAnts, to see if they could work together to escape a similar corral. Instead of chemical pheromones, the RAnts used “photormones,” fields of light that are left behind by the roving RAnts that mimic pheromone fields or antennation.”

    “We showed how the cooperative completion of tasks can arise from simple rules and similar such behavioral rules can be applied to solve other complex problems such as construction, search and rescue and defense.” said Prasath.

    “such behavioral rules can [not] be applied to solve other complex problems such as”;

    “Don’t Let Artificial Intelligence Take Over, Top Scientists Warn

    By Tanya Lewis
    12 January 2015

  9. NSW COVID hospitalisations 1 Dec 2021 to 23 Dec 2022, per graph tweeted today @crudeoilpeak

    COVID is still a big load on the hospital system that it seems is not going away anytime soon.

  10. As others see us:
    Australian gambling features strongly in a video on American sportsbetting.
    Lots of Australians also critical in comments.

  11. Trove is too valuable to not fund properly. How would I know ‘We’ are still having the same arguments!

    Did you know the Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Saturday 2 November 1895, page 11 had an article titled:


    “The most important economic discussion of the present day, and one common to all civilised countries, relates to the remunera-tion of that kind of productive exertion which is commonly called labour,…”

    “Now, the products thus due to this superior pro-ductivity or advantage in one soil or site over another is neither more nor less than economic rent”
    (Full text incl rebut below )

    By “William Hurrell Mallock (7 February 1849 – 2 April 1923) was an English novelist and economics writer. Much of his writing is in support of the Roman Catholic Church and in opposition to positivist philosophy and socialism.”

    Where will I find such history if Trove is defunded? 

    (And if we don’t donate to Wikipedia )

    It will be an Attack on Democracy, as Mike Jones, and Deb Verhoeven say, and history & culture, if we let Trove die.

    In The Conversation;
    “Reduced access to these publicly funded resources is more than an inconvenience: it is an attack on democratic accountability.”

    ” For many people – and not just academic researchers – Trove is now part of their daily lives. The service boasts more than 22 million visits per year: around 63,000 a day on average. Trove is one of only two Australian government websites in Australia’s top 15 global internet domains – the other is the ABC.”

    “On Trove you can find more than 6 billion digital items on any topic.

    “Trove connects you to digital collections fromour hundreds of Trove Partners across Australia, including libraries, museums, galleries, the media, government and community organisations and more.

    “There is so much available, so much to find out.

    1 of > 6,000,000,000 items.

    “Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Saturday 2 November 1895, page 11


    By W. H. MALLOCK.


    The most important economic discussion of the present day, and one common to all civilised countries, relates to the remunera-tion of that kind of productive exertion which is commonly called labour, and by labour is meant exertion which, though of many grades, is mainly muscular or manual. In other words, it is the exertion of which the great masses of mankind are capable, and which they always have made and always must make, in order to keep them-selves alive. The rarer forms of exertion, of which only the few are capable, are always, in common use, excluded from what is meant by labour. That invention, enterprise, and so forth, play a part in advanced production, is not denied even by the Socialists ; and to exertion of these kinds, as a mere point of words, the word labour might be applied with as much propriety as to digging. But in practical discussion it is not applied thus. When the labour question is talked of, what is always meant and what is exclusively meant is a question affecting not the remuneration of men like Watt or Bes-semer or Edison or Brassey, but the mass of men who have directly or indirectly been em-ployed by them. Nor is this definite and ex-clusive use of the word confined to practical discussion. The economists themselves adopt it by a universal instinct. Mill, for instance, though here and there he speaks of the “labour” of such men as Watt, shows clearly enough what the word really means for him, by naming his chapter as the pro-spects of the mass of wage-earners, “the prob-able futurity of the labouring classes.” Since then it is admitted by all parties that in all advanced production there are two species of economic exertion involved, and since uni-versal use has appropriated the term Labour to one of these, it is absolutely necessary for the purposes of clear thought to appropriate some other term to the other. In Labour and the Popular Welfare I call this other species of exertion Ability. My definition of ability I shall speak of presently. It is enough for the present to say that in place of the three factors in production hitherto dealt with by economists, namely, Land, Capital, and Labour, I put four, namely, Land, Capital, Labour, and Ability. And I approach in this way the question of the remuneration of labour for the following reasons. That re-muneration was represented by economists, formerly, as dependent altogether on supply and demand ; but at the present day all the more extreme reformers repudiate this theory as one useful indeed to capitalists, but altogether fatal to the actual rights of the labourer. They say that the remuneration of the labourer is neither more nor less than the whole of what his labour pro-duces. In Labour and the Popular Welfare I accept this doctrine, and the principal aim of my inquiry has been to determine what labour does produce— or the methods of determining what it does produce—as distinguished from the other factors in production—namely, Land, Capital, and Ability. We have, for instance, a cer-tain area of land on which a thousand men produce a hundred thousand pounds annually, employing capital in the shape of imported machinery, the value of which is a hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Of these thousand men ten are managers, ten are owners of the capital, ten owners of the land, and the rest are labourers. There are, there-fore, four sets of interests to be considered— those of the landlords, those of the capitalists, those of the managers, and those of the labourers ; and if the labourers are entitled to the whole of what labour produces, the landlords are entitled to the whole of what land produces, the capita-lists to what the capital produces, and the managers to what their managing ability pro-duces. The problem is how to apportion their shares—to find out how much of the hundred thousand pounds is produced re-spectively by each of these factors in pro-duction.

    In order to show the principles on which this problem is to be solved, I begin by con-sidering two factors only out of the four— the only ones that are involved in production during its simpler stages, namely, land and labour ; and I point out how the question we are concerned to ask has been confused and obscured by the orthodox economists hither-to. I take as my starting point the following well-known passage in Mill, in which it is asserted that the task proposed by me is a hopeless one, and that it is impossible to dis-criminate between the products of labour and the products of land:—”When two conditions are equally necessary for producing the effect at all it is unmeaning to say that so much of it is produced by one and so much by the other. It is like attempting to decide which of the two factors—five or six—has most to do with the production of thirty.” I point out the entire fallacy of this reasoning, and show that what Mill says is impossible and unmeaning is both possible an necessary ; and that the same kind of reasoning that is thus applied to land and labour is equally applicable to the other factors in production. My critic perceives the importance of the point, and at once sets himself to demolish this fundamental position. It will be interesting and also amusing to see how he attempts to do so.


    Mill’s error in reasoning with regard to the above point is of a very curious kind. He speaks of the joint product of land and labour as “the effect,” just as though labour being taken as a constant quantity (which for argument’s sake is a necessary assumption) the effect produced by it as applied to land were always the same. Were this really the case—did any one acre of land always yield to similar labour precisely the same product, Mill’s argument would be sound. But, as no one has insisted more strongly and elaborately than himself, land is of very different qualities, and yields to similar labour very different results—one acre for instance yielding £5, another £8, and another £12. He is therefore wholly inac-curate, and ignores what he himself demon-strates to be the principal factor in the situta-tion, when he speaks of “the effect” pro-duced by labour as applied to land.

    What he really should have said is ” the widely varying effects.” Were land as unvarying a factor as he assumes labour to be, the shares produced by each could cer-tainly not be discriminated, for there could be no comparison ; and his argument from the multiplication table would have been unanswerable. But as matters stand it is altogether irrelevant. Supposing Mill’s figure 6 to stand for a certain piece of land, and 5 to stand for a given amount of labour, we shall have to represent land in general, not by one figure, but very many, by 7, 8, 9, 10, and so forth ; and the question we have to ask is, not whether 5 or 6 does most to pro-duce 30 ; but whether, if we keep to our 5, but change our 6 into 10, 10 or 5 does most to change our original 30 into 50. The answer is obvious. The extra 20—the difference between 30 and 50— is produced by the extra 4 which has turned 6 into 10 ; and this represents some extra quality or productivity not in labour, which is still expressed by 5, but in the land. Now, the products thus due to this superior pro-ductivity or advantage in one soil or site over another is neither more nor less than economic rent ; and I accordingly pointed out that what Mill declared to be an im-possible and meaningless discrimination is a discrimination made by all economists as the foundation of their theory, and by all landlords, whether individual or corporate, as the groundwork of their practice. And now what does my Australian critic say to this? How does he attack this position? He begins by ridiculing me for “attempting to set Mill right”—Mill,
    “that eminent text-writer”; and he pro-ceeds to justify his ridicule by attacking my exposition of the theory which represents rent as the difference between the products
    A reply to an Australian critic of Labour and the Popular Welfare.
    of superior soils and the product of the worst or most disadvantageous soil. His sole argument admittedly is confined to this point, and “so far,” he says, “is Mr. Mallock from cor-recting Mill that it is abundantly plain he has himself fallen into a radical error.” The reader will be amused to learn, if he has not perceived it already, that the theory of rent which my critic supposes to be mine, and with regard to which he imagines I have attempted to correct Mill, is no theory of mine, but the theory which is Mill’s own, and which, though originally formulated by Ricardo, Mill has done more than any man to emphasise, to defend, and to popularise. In my exposition of the nature of rent, nothing was or claimed to be original. I merely endeavoured to make plain, by a homely illustration, what my critic will find in every economic text-book, not excepting even those of the more educated socialists. Two short quotations will be enough to illustrate this. ” In the first place,” says my critic valiantly, ” Mr. Mallock’s theory involves the admis-sion that there is a certain quality of land— all that which yields to the tiller no more than a living—absolutely without economic value. This on the face of it is an absurdity.” Let my critic turn to the table of contents in his Mill’s Principles of Political Economy and look out headings of the second and third sections of chapter xvi. of book II., and he will find them to be as follows:—” No land can pay rent except land of such quality or situation as exists in less quantity than the demand.” “The rent of land consists in the excess of its return above the return of the worst land in cultivation.” Then let my critic turn par-ticularly to the second paragraph in the latter of these sections, and he will find in it a long and elaborate exposure of the folly of those “who deny (as my critic does) that there can be any land in cultivation” with-out economic value. In other words my critic sets out with ridiculing me for venturing to differ from Mill, and when he comes to attack me in detail carefully selects the exact points in which I agree with him, and proceeds to launch at me the precise superficial objections which Mill himself refuted a generation and a half ago. It is perfectly true that I have corrected Mill as to one point; but this point was not the theory of rent. I corrected him merely by indicating certain consequences that flow from this theory, and showed that in discriminating rent as a portion of the total produce of superior soils, he is obviously him-self doing what he said in one place could not be done—namely, discriminating the portion of the produce which land produces from the portion which is produced by labour. But my critic, in his anxiety to dis-credit me, by any and whatever means, entirely misses the point, and instead of at-tacking me, really attacks the man by means of whose high authority he imagines that he has discredited me.

    “We will next pass on to another portion of his criticism ; and we shall discover methods of argument even more naive than the above.”

    “William Hurrell Mallock (7 February 1849 – 2 April 1923) was an English novelist and economics writer. Much of his w%riting is in support of the Roman Catholic Church and in opposition to positivist philosophy and socialism.”

    And remember to donate to Wikipedia this year.

    Merry Happy 2023 … as you deem appropriate. 

    And thanks – as always.

  12. N says “Peace in 2023 – it could happen!”

    Great goal for 2023 N. Peace needs to be on every front page and feed on the planet. It could happen!

    And Happy hols too.

    See you on the 21st September! Where?

    “International Day of Peace

    21 September


    “The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.

    “The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

    “Past Observances

  13. Ikon, I feel a T-shirt coming on…
    “Don’t worry. Everything is out of control.” – The Tao.

    “Don’t worry. Everything is Risky” – The Tao of Quig.

    “6.1 Decision weights

    “Prospect theory a is a fairly complex theory that also deviates in other ways from expected utility theory. The traditional focus on outcomes is replaced by a focus on losses and gains, which are treated asymmetrically. (See also Section 7.3.)

    “A problem with the function rr, as defined above, is that the transformed probabilities which it gives rise to will not add up to 1 except in the trivial case when r is the identity function (Fishburn 1978). To solve this problem, Quiggin (1982) introduced the rule of maximizing anticipated utility(also called utility with rank dependent probabilities). Instead of replacing p(x)p(x) by a function of the individual probability, r(p(x))r(p(x)), he replaced it by a function that also depends on the other probabilities and utilities involved in the problem. The outcomes are first ordered from worst to best, which results in a vector ⟨x1,x2,…,xn⟩⟨x1,x2,…,xn⟩ of outcomes, such that u(x1)≤u(x2)≤…≤u(xn)u(x1)≤u(x2)≤…≤u(xn). A decision weight can then be assigned to each outcome, taking into account both its probability and its position in the ranked sequence of outcomes. Since the decision-weight can be different for outcomes with the same probability, Fishburn’s trivialization result does not apply here. There is evidence indicating that rank-dependent utility models may be more empirically adequate than prospect theory (Harrison and Ross 2017).

    “Other models have been proposed that replace the probabilities in expected utility maximization by some other type of decision weight (Gilboa and Schmeidler 1994; Buchak 2014).

    “6.2 Pessimism, cautiousness and the precautionary principle

    “In decision-theoretical analysis of risk, it is important to distinguish between two pairs of concepts that are both related to risk: Pessimism vs. optimism and cautiousness vs. risk-taking.”…

    Quiggin, J., 1982, “A theory of anticipated utility”, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 3: 323–343.

    “Probability Primer”

  14. MIT, the Democrats and now even Republicans like Mitt Romney endorse the most sensible way of controlling carbon emissions. Impose a carbon tax on carbon emissions that are consumed within an economy. Place border taxes on imported carbon-containing goods that are untaxed in their country of origin and exempt exports from taxes. The proposal works since it drives the private sector at home to innovate away from carbon pollution and provides incentives for other countries to follow suit by imposing their own carbon taxes – they collect the taxes not destination countries. .

    Yes, I sound like a cracked record since I have been arguing this proposal for over 20 years. But i’ll stick with the proposal in preference.

  15. Harry, Merry Christmas and thanks for sounding like a cracked record “since I have been arguing this proposal for over 20 years.”

    They finally gave me a cracked record alleviation study, with the proposed robot tax, not dissimilar from a carbon price.

  16. I received my economics wish.

    My economics angels delivered –
    A robot tax. 

    JQ, I hope 2023 may see you endorse a robot tax. Or an “Automation Price” or “optimal technology regulation” (Costinot Werning 2022 below).

    The ‘T’ word being so offensive. Thanks.

    From: (158 comments so far)
    “A Modest Robot Levy Could Help Combat Effects of Automation On Income Inequality In US, Study Suggests

    from the taxing-tech dept.

    “An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT News:

    “Should we tax robots?

    “Study suggests a robot levy — but only a modest one — could help combat the effects of automation on income inequality in the U.S.

    Peter Dizikes
    MIT News Office
    December 21, 2022

    “Now a study by MIT economists scrutinizes the existing evidence and suggests the optimal policy in this situation would indeed include a tax on robots, but only a modest one. The same applies to taxes on foreign trade that would also reduce U.S. jobs, the research finds.   

          “Our finding suggests that taxes on either robots or imported goods should be pretty small,” says Arnaud Costinot, an MIT economist, and co-author of a published paper detailing the findings. “Although robots have an effect on income inequality … they still lead to optimal taxes that are modest.”

    “Specifically, the study finds that a tax on robots should range from 1 percent to 3.7 percent of their value, while trade taxes would be from 0.03 percent to 0.11 percent, given current U.S. income taxes.”

    “The paper, “Robots, Trade, and Luddism: A Sufficient Statistic Approach to Optimal Technology Regulation,” appears in advance online form in The Review of Economic Studies. Costinot is a professor of economics and associate head of the MIT Department of Economics; Werning is the department’s Robert M. Solow Professor of Economics.”

    “Robots, Trade, and Luddism: A Sufficient Statistic Approach to Optimal Technology Regulation 

    Arnaud Costinot, 
    Iván Werning

    The Review of Economic Studies, rdac076,
    04 November 2022

    “Technological change, from the advent of robots to expanded trade opportunities, creates winners and losers. How should government policy respond?

    “We provide a general theory of optimal technology regulation in a second–best world, with rich heterogeneity across households, linear taxes on the subset of firms affected by technological change, and a nonlinear tax on labor income.

    “Our first set of results consists of optimal tax formulas, with minimal structural assumptions, involving sufficient statistics that can be implemented using evidence on the distributional impact of new technologies, such as robots and trade.

    “Our final results are comparative static exercises illustrating, among other things, that while distributional concerns create a rationale for non-zero taxes on robots and trade, the magnitude of these taxes may decrease as the process of automation and globalization deepens and inequality increases.”

  17. Fealing some Schadenfreude about Tesla stocks falling. Also about Tesla failing miserably imposing its exploitative corporate culture at the German factory (in contrast to China it seems unfortunately). That said, the logic why they are falling so much at this particular timepoint escapes me, and they still look overvalued.

  18. Addition: And now the richest man on earth is someone selling only outright status symbols without any additional value over cheaper competing products besides the label at all…. Not an improvement. The world is a sad place. Competition for social status via showing off money in particular is a very sad game. Suppose it beats showing off guns in use… otherwise not much comes to mind and there just seems to be no way to participate in human society without wasting sooo much energy showing off in exagerated ways how great oneself is.

  19. I’d say that the producers of Glass Onion: a Knives Out mystery had Elon Musk in mind.

    If not, it was serendipitous that the story of how the tide went out on the richest man in the world is playing right now.

  20. hix,

    Thorstein Veblen nailed it over a century ago.

    “In “The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions (1899)”, Thorstein Veblen identified, described, and explained the behavioural characteristics of the nouveau riche (new rich) social class that emerged from capital accumulation during the Second Industrial Revolution (1860–1914).[6] In that 19th-century social and historical context, the term “conspicuous consumption” applied narrowly in association with the men, women, and families of the upper class who applied their great wealth as a means of publicly manifesting their social power and prestige, either real or perceived. The strength of one’s reputation is in direct relationship to the amount of money possessed and displayed; that is to say, the basis “of gaining and retaining a good name, are leisure and conspicuous consumption.” – Wikipedia.

  21. The pea and thimble trick to beat all others. Maximum prices will be set by the Labor Government for gas and oil to “protect” Australian customers from high prices. The Australian customers however will be taxed to compensate the Australian firms subject to these maximum prices for the lost profits these firms will incur. For example, taxpayers will be slugged about $450m to compensate mining giant Rio Tinto and its partners for anticipated losses incurred by the Albanese government’s coal price cap.

    The net effect is that intensive energy uses get a net subsidy at the expense of less intensive energy users. Genius economics.

  22. Harry – it shows the abiding power and influence of the fossil fuel lobby over Australian government policies. Whether that is Labor politicians being beholden or being cowed isn’t clear.

    A slight bit less beholden or cowed it seems, or there would be no price caps AND compensation… preferably in the form of government support and subsidy for more new mines and gas fields or just more subsidies for greenwash like CCS or dirty Hydrogen with CCS. But then, they’re getting all those anyway.

    It does look like a shell game, where they always win.

  23. hix says: “That said, the logic why they are falling so much at this particular timepoint escapes me, and they still look overvalued.”

    Paul Krugman

    “Did the Tesla Story Ever Make Sense?

    Dec. 27, 2022


  24. It is clear that the rental market for housing is in a perfect storm, if you are trying to get long term accommodation. I don’t know the economics of it, but it would seem that a combination of fire and flood has taken a lot of rural housing stock out of supply, and short term rental has affected supply in the tourist zones. Our taxation and legislative instruments are strongly geared to property ownership as an investment, both for capital gain and for solid rental income. Leveraging with interest only loans has had some impact too, although with the rising interest rate presumably that effect will diminish in time. On the other hand, we had a substantial decrease in temporary immigration to Australia during the pandemic public health measures, so in principle the housing supply should have increased, at least in some jurisdictions.

    It’s pretty challenging as a lay person to read how these different forces shape the housing market, both for long term rental and for personal residential purposes (i.e. purchasing a home, not a property as such). Should we reconsider a pathway to either reducing or removing negative gearing of property, say grandfathering with a declining benefit over time, until it is either removed or only applicable to a second property, for instance? Would that have any long term impact in terms of realignment of housing price with median or mean household income, or would the impact be significantly diminished by other economic forces? I would like to know, for the current situation with housing affordability, and with the virtual impossibility of obtaining long term rental accommodation that’s affordable, has put so many people into precarious accommodation arrangements, such as living in their car, tenting, couch surfing, emergency rooming, library sleeping, etc. This is a real emergency.

    A related and immediate concern is that those who must use unemployment benefits are receiving so little in real AUD per fortnight, they would struggle to pay for a room in the most dive hotel. If we can overlook this, then we can overlook a lot of harm to citizens or residents in our society; that isn’t good for the affected, and it isn’t good for our norms that define our society. Once we become inured to the plight of homeless people, once we rationalise why we think they are homeless (without actually doing background research), we normalise it. Is that where we want to be? I hope not.

  25. JQ tweeted Jan 1:

    2023 could be the turning point in the energy transition, at least for electricity Another 400 GW of solar and 100 GW of wind, hydro etc would more than meet demand growth. With prices of coal and gas still high, carbon-based generation…

    Evidence/data indicates an emerging trend that suggests this may well be so.

    Simon Holmes à Court also tweeted on Jan 1:

    🤓 in 2022, renewables provided 80 TWh of energy — 34.9% of supply — to australia’s national electricity market.

    …almost 2x RE in 2018 (44 TWh), which was almost ~2x RE in 2011 (21.5 TWh).

    (RE = turquoise, coal = black, orange = gas)

    The graph & table at OpenNEM for yearly consumption (in GWh) in the NEM (NSW/ACT, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania & Victoria) for years 1998-2022, by source is at:

    If that trend continues, RE will overtake coal within the next few years as the single biggest energy source for electricity generation in the NEM.

    IMO, it can’t come fast enough!

  26. Meanwhile, it seems US-origin COVID ‘super-variant’ XBB15 is spreading globally very fast, per Eric Feigl-Ding tweet thread today (Jan 3):

    Why is XBB.1.5 a ‘super-variant’? Because it’s:

    * Among most immunity-evasive ‘escape variants’ to date;
    * One of the best variants for invading human cells via ACE2;
    * Spreads much faster than old XBB or BQ;
    * Causes rising hospitalizations wherever dominant (e.g. NY, CT, MA, NJ).

    It seems the US CDC entity failed to report for weeks that XBB.1.5 was surging in the USA.

    Latest weekly (IMO, should reinstitute daily) data indicates NSW hospitalizations are still rising:

    Here we go again!

  27. Geoff,

    Thanks for the update. I have quit the Chirpy-Cheep App in protest at the new owner’s shenanigans. And have cut way down on all social media and blogs for personal time-saving and equanimity reasons. It’s good to have an update though.

  28. Geoff,

    Worldometer shows no particular rise in daily cases or deaths in US. In fact they are near lowest since the pandemic started. Same with NY, CT, MA and NJ, though MA has seen a slight rise. Perhaps Feigl-Ding has been scare mongering again?

  29. KT2: – “We have mRNA now.

    ICYMI, OzSAGE’s submission #299 for the ongoing Parliament of Australia House of Reps Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care & Sport Inquiry into Long COVID and Repeated COVID Infections provides some very sobering observations worth repeating (bold text my emphasis):

    1. The precise incidence of long COVID has yet to be determined, but a growing body of scientific evidence indicates that, internationally, at a minimum 4% of vaccinated people who have a breakthrough infection will experience symptoms lasting for three months or longer. More credible estimates, repeated in several studies, are around 15%, with high estimates over 30%. An Australian survey estimated 29%. The incidence of long COVID is higher in unvaccinated people, and reinfection increases the risk. There is no reason to think Australia will be exceptional.

    2. Vaccination can reduce the risk of a person developing long COVID and other serious post-acute sequelae of COVID-19. The extent of protection remains uncertain, with estimates ranging from 15 to 41%, indicating less than half of cases of long COVID are prevented through vaccination. A vaccine-only pandemic strategy is insufficient to protect Australians from long COVID and repeat SARS-CoV-2 infections, particularly when, without action, high numbers of infections will continue to occur.

    3. In addition to the risk of developing long COVID, people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are at significantly higher risk of serious cardiovascular and metabolic complications, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease, as well as damage to the nervous and immune systems. There is credible evidence that the risk of experiencing these outcomes increases with repeat infections. Infection during pregnancy may have adverse outcomes for both mother and baby,

    4. Children are at risk of developing long COVID. The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has also reported that children and adolescents can experience serious postacute sequelae including myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, kidney failure, diabetes, and pulmonary embolism and other thrombotic events. A Danish study showed the highest risk was in children 0-3 years compared to older children, a compelling reason to vaccinate younger children.

    5. There is clear and compelling evidence from around the world that SARS-CoV-2 spreads readily in schools. Children are at high risk of infection and reinfection if mitigation measures such as improved ventilation and air cleaning technologies are not present in the school environment, as recommended by The Lancet COVID-19 Commission Task Force on Safe School, Safe Work, and Safe Travel, Whitehouse Summit on Improving Indoor Air Quality. Australia’s National Covid-19 Evidence Taskforce does not currently cover ventilation – a gap that we recommend should be filled.

    6. SARS-CoV-2 will continue to circulate into the foreseeable future. Australia will
    experience ongoing waves of COVID-19 due to the winding back of strong preventive
    and isolation measures, waning vaccine efficacy, suboptimal booster rates and
    immune evasion. High levels of infections and reinfections will lead to impacts on
    workforce, reduced life expectancy and diminished quality of life due to long COVID
    and post-COVID health problems.

    I think governments at all levels are in denial of the accumulating compelling evidence/data, and through their collective wishful thinking and many bad decisions, aided and abetted by many ill-informed & ideologically-driven media commentators, our society is at increasing risk of being steadily eroded by an increasingly debilitated population.

    KT2: – “Yet I find anything Covid, now pales in significance…

    I think you are over-emphasizing the local threat of nerve gas and underplaying the global threat of COVID.

  30. Geoff, you are right to say of my VX comment “I think you are over-emphasizing the local threat of nerve gas and underplaying the global threat of COVID.” … today and for the foreseeable future.


  31. (Geoff my reply was eaten. 2100?)

    Via Tyler Cowan who says “It has fallen down the memory hole a bit just how um…”off” these people were, and that is the polite word.  That said, I don’t think they should have been banned from any social media platforms.  Here is the full NYT piece, excellent throughout, and mostly about other topics.”

    NYT link;
    “9 Pandemic Narratives We’re Getting Wrong

    Jan. 4, 2023

    “We’ve moved past interventions like masks as a country, but that doesn’t mean the Great Barrington Declaration advocates were right.

    “Dr. Bhattacharya, for instance,proclaimed in The Wall Street Journal in March 2020 that Covid-19 was only one-tenth as deadly as the flu. In January 2021 he wrote an opinion essay for the Indian publication The Printsuggesting that the majority of the country had acquired natural immunity from infection already and warning that a mass vaccination program would do more harm than good for people already infected. Shortly thereafter, the country’s brutal Delta wave killed perhaps several million Indians. In May 2020, Dr. Gupta suggested that the virus might kill around five in 10,000 people it infected, when the true figure in a naïve population was about one in 100 or 200, and that Covid was “on its way out” in Britain. At that point, it had killed about 45,000 Britons, and it would go on to kill about 170,000 more. The following year, Dr. Bhattacharya and Dr. Kulldorff together made the same point about the disease in the United States — that the pandemic was “on its way out” — on a day when the American death toll was approaching 600,000. Today it is 1.1 million and growing.”


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