Friday, 3 June 2011

Friday Morning Ramble: Lot’s to get (un)excited about

Local politics has become almost unwatchable. So I’ve stopped watching it. For the moment, anyway.  How about you?
In the meantime, here’s a few things that caught my eye this week.

  • As  Eric Crampton points out, debaters on both sides of the minimum wage argument have been making stuff up.
    Over and underestimating effects of minimum wages
    – Eric Crampton, O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R
  • The story of New Orleans’s resurgence after Hurricane Katrina might offer some hope for struggling Cantabrians if they can get the political classes off their backs. Because Katrina’s recovery did not come from the top down. The disaster “undermined the corrupt, inept political regimes that had burdened the area for decades… After Katrina everyone was forced to become an entrepreneur. The dominant concept for the rebuilding has become one of resiliency and self-employment.”
    Let’s hope the same thing will pull Christchurch through.
    [Hat tip Owen McShane]
    The Katrina Effect: Renaissance on the Mississippi -  Joel Kotkin, N E W   G E O G R A P H Y
  • According to Suffolk University economics professor Ben Powell, the three most common immigration myths are that immigrants are a drag on the economy, they steal our jobs, and that they depress wages. The evidence for those assertions is so weak that it takes Powell less than two and a half minutes to debunk them.
    As he concludes, “Whatever your position on immigration was before, if one of these three myths was holding you back, this should push you more on the margin toward wanting more open borders, not less.” [from Bastiat Institute by Ryan Young]
  • What would the world look like if too many people spent too much time and money learning too little of anything that really matters a damn? Well, take a look around folks: we’re living in that world now.  Lot’s of folk with MBAs and PhDs, and too few to make stuff, fix stuff, and to come out weekends to repair your drains. (No, it’s not a conspiracy. It’s what happens when a market is as heavily subsidised as this one.)
  • Let’s get this straight: GDP, that measures so-called Gross Domestic Product, does not measure production. It mostly measures consumption (i.e., spending by you and me at the shops, and spending by the government buying votes). And when it does measure production, it netts it out so drastically so that what it does count is only the very small tip of a very big iceberg. So it’s neither Gross, nor a measure of Production. In fact, in recent times, what it is coming to measure most is government spending, and their expansion  of the money supply. So, with that in mind …
    ... Can We Please Stop Pretending the GDP Is "Growing"?
    - Tyler Durden, Z E R O  H E D G E [ht Keith W.]
  • How’s Australia doing? Strangely, there are still folk around that think it dodged an economic bullet. And oddly, Roger Kerr seems to be one of them.
    The State of the Australian Economy – R O G E R   K E R R ‘ S   B L O G
  • Yes, Virginia, Australia’s housing bubble has burst. “First and foremost, house prices are falling.  We’re going to use the dreaded ‘f’ word here on television.  House prices are falling.” And: “The rate of decline is actually accelerating.”
    * 5 Myths That Won’t Stop an Aussie House Price Crash
    * Why Housing Will Fall as Hard as Silver But Take Longer to Recover 
    - Kris Sayce, M O N E Y M O R N I N G A U S T R A L I A
  • And for the rest of the world? The crash radar is still on extreme.
    Why We Back Top Fund Manager’s Crash Call – Kris Sayce, M O N E Y   M O R N I N G   A U S T R A L I A
    Why the US is in Re-Recession – D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G
  • Will the economic pain in Spain stay mainly on their plain? No, it won’t. Spaniard wanting to fake the reality they’ve voted for won’t help.
     Forex focus: the pain in Spain – T E L E G R  A P  H
  • Does New Zealand need a weak dollar?  No, we need a sound dollar. (The arguments here are essentially the same as they are in the U.S. )
    Do We Need a Weak Dollar? – Robert Murphy, M I S E S   D A I L Y
  • Meanwhile, back in the States, rather than cut their profligate spending they’re still trying to pass a bill so they can government can raise the amount they can keep borrowing without breaking the law. ‎150 horrified economists have called for responsibility, and signed a letter opposing an increase to the debt ceiling. Paul Krugman was not amongst them.
    150 Economists Sign Letter Against Increase Of US Debt; Spoiler Alert - Paul Krugman Is Not Among Them – Z E R O   H E D G E
  • Meanwhile, mainstream economists are still baffled by the US’s “slowing economy and low yields,” and that’s despite all the Keynesian stimulus they’ve had thrown at the problem. As Steven Kates implies, they’re only baffled because they haven’t learned to read more widely—like some of the folk you might read here.
    Are we still all Keynesians now? – C A T A L L A X Y

“The public debt is a double burden on the free market:
in the present, because resources are withdrawn
from private to unproductive governmental employment;
and in the future, when private citizens are taxed to pay the debt.”
- John Stuart Mill, “Of a National Debt,” as paraphrased by Murray Rothbard
[Thanks to Greg D. for the cartoon] 

  • By the way, if you’re an “app” writer (and I know some of you are), then listen up. We could be reaching a “tipping point” in apps.
    Hitting a tipping point in apps – C O D Y  W A T C H
  • “I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” A hospice nurse reveals the top five dying regrets of her patients.
    Regrets of the Dying – Bronnie Ware, I N S P I R A T I O N   &   C H A I
  • Would you give up Vegemite for Amanda Palmer? Tough question.
Amanda Palmer in Sydney, with her Vegemite Song
  • Here’s the world’s best Republican vibraphone player: Lionel Hampton.
Lionel Hampton and his band perform ‘Flying Home.’ Broadcast on American Television in 1957.
  • Now how about this for a treat! Vladimir Horowitz play Liszt’s piano transcription of Richard Wagner’s ‘Liebestod.’  Magic.

Have a great weekend.
I will be.


  1. I don't know about Amanda, but I'd give up Danish citizenship for vegemite on the principle simply that their government has banned it (and marmite).

  2. NIA is a fraud according to Peter Schiff. Their strategy is to appeal to libertarians and then 'pump and dump' to them.

  3. I understand that migration and immigrants improves the economy, but what about the social aspects? Is it wise to import death cultists or have a refugee class that becomes welfare dependant? Would a targeted immigration policy be more effective in counter-skilling/ supplementing the population? Or would the answer be to remove welfare availability for immigrants for a period of 5 years?


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