Thanks to everyone who the first three chapters of my book, Economics in Two Lessons. I’ve learned a lot from the comments and made changes in response to some of them. These chapters have been a bit abstract, but now I’m moving on to some applications, which might be more interesting for some readers. Here’s the introduction to Part II
Lesson 1, Part II: Applications
The economic analysis showing how market equilibrium prices reflect the opportunity costs facing producers and consumers is elegant and, for a certain kind of mind, convincing.
For most of us, however, it’s more useful to see how the logic of prices and opportunity costs works in particular cases, sometimes in ways that conflict with strongly held intuitions. This will also give us more insight into the ways in which prices can fail to reflect opportunity costs for society as a whole, some of which we will examine in Lesson 2.
Now here’s the draft of Chapter 4:Lesson 1: Applications. Again, I welcome comments, criticism and encouragement.
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Thanks to everyone who commented on Chapter 2 of my book, Economics in Two Lessons. I’ve learned a lot from the comments but haven’t yet had time to respond to them.
Now here’s the draft of Chapter 3. Again, I welcome comments, criticism and encouragement.
The book so far is available
Table of Contents
draft of Chapter 2
Feel free to make further comments on these chapters if you wish.
After the kerfuffle about Emma Alberici’s piece on company tax, I’m highly attuned to signs of bias at the ABC. And, sure enough, I just found one. Its an article on coffee consumption that quotes just one authority, Laure Bajurny of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, where her Linkedin profile describes her as a content developer.
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A Crooked Timbercomment on my last post, about Chapter 2 of my book-in-progress, Economics in Two Lessons, convinced me that I needed to include something about bounded rationality. I shouldn’t have needed convincing, since this is my main area of theoretical research, but I hadn’t been able to work out where to work this into the book. I’m still not sure, but at least I’ve written something I’m reasonably happy with. Comments, praise and criticism welcome as usual.
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The combination of budget cuts and market ideology has been a disaster for vocational education in Australia. That’s the shorter version of a piece for Inside story based on my submission to the SA TAFE Senate inquiry.
Update: On the same day this article appeared, Labor has come out with a call for a major inquiry encompassing both unis and TAFEs. Whether or not my past advocacy had anything to do with this, it’s a welcome outcome.
It’s just been announced that Aurizon is not pursuing its application to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to build a rail line to the Galilee Basin, essentially because the company hasn’t been able to secure any commitments from putative customers (most obviously Adani and GVK Hancock but also Clive Palmer and others). This is great news. It’s now highly unlikely that coal mining in the Galilee Basin will go ahead any time soon.
Opening the Galilee Basin would have been a huge disaster, so it made attention to focus attention on Adani, as the leading proponent, and secondarily on Aurizon and GVK Hancock. But, with this threat apparently staved off, a more comprehensive policy is needed.
Fortunately, we already have one. The Australia Institute has, for some time, been proposing a moratorium on new coal mines. That allows for a gradual winding down of the industry and gives more protection to existing jobs than there would be if new, competing, mines were allowed to open.
Politically, there’s a precedent, with Labor’s “three mines” policy on uranium. That was a fudge, of course, but it was clearly within the export power of the Commonwealth and it didn’t create any big problems with sovereign risk.
That’s the title of my latest piece in Inside Story. Nothing that will surprise anyone who’s been paying attention to what I’ve written on this, so I’ll just cite the conclusion
Since bitcoins are not useful as a medium of exchange, or desirable in themselves, their true value is zero. The highest price at which bitcoins have traded is around $20,000. At the time of writing, the market price is halfway between that level and zero. Pay your money (or not) and take your chances.