Category Archives: History of Ideas, Methodology, Philosophy

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Paper to the Fabian Society, 12 October, 2016   While we continue to chew over the carcass of the Fourth Labour Government – the Lange-Douglas one – we pay little attention to the subsequent Fifth Labour Government. Yet the Clark-Cullen one is greatly shaping the current Labour Opposition and the current National Government. It will,…
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ARE NEW ZEALAND ECONOMISTS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?

The Secretary of the Treasury appears to have doubts.   Pundit: 24 November, 2014.   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   In a speech to economics teachers  earlier this month, the Secretary of the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, argued for a different approach to economics from the one which dominates the profession in New…
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DOES PIKETTY MATTER?

Thomas Piketty says economic inequality has been getting greater in the world, and will get greater. What about New Zealand?   Pundit: 28 October, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   Paul Krugman has said “Thomas Piketty has transformed our economic discourse; we’ll never talk about wealth and inequality the…
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THE PURPOSE OF ECONOMIC POLICY

Published as a briefing paper: 13 May, 2014 (A service being provided by AUT) http://briefingpapers.co.nz/   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   The annual May budget is a public spectacle. The Minister of Finance is photographed holding aloft a copy of his speech while those from political parties and sectors dominate media discussions…
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Growing Pains

As our main indicator of economic growth, GDP has major limitations.   Listener: 30 January, 2014.     Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History;   The expectation is for normal economic growth in the coming year. The economy peaked in September 2007 and stagnated (in per-capita terms) through to March…
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Poor Show

Why it has taken so long for child poverty to become part of the conventional wisdom.   Listener: 16th January, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Social Policy;   Corso, the Council of Organisations for Relief Services Overseas, decided in 1979 that it was wrong to ignore poverty in New…
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MYTH, POLITICIANS AND MARKETS:

The Truth Behind the Free Market by Bryan Gould (Macmillan, $54.95) This review was commissioned by ‘The Listener’ but not used  Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History; The dominant public narrative has a vision of business and the market as progressive forces, held back by unnecessary interventions from politicians and…
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The Archbishop and the Economist

St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society  24 October, 2013   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   Those who founded this venerable church, more than 160 years ago, might be a little disturbed that the Archbishop of Canterbury should be introduced into it. However my intention is not so much…
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The Austerian Economists’ Error

The Austerian Economists’ Error In the battle of opinions for managing sluggish economies, rhetoric often misrepresents the research.   Listener: 13 June, 2013   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Macroeconomics & Money;   The right response to high unemployment and lethargic economic activity is to cut back government spending, according to “Austerians”, whose…
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Our Muslim Neighbours

Indonesian Muslims don’t necessarily support the opinions and actions of Middle Eastern Muslims.   Listener: 8 June, 2013   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Literature and Culture; Political Economy & History;   I once flew from Dublin to Vienna – both Catholic but with very different atmospheres. The distance from Mecca to Jakarta…
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Albert Hirschman (1915-2012)

  It is said social scientists don’t live dangerously, but here’s one who did.   Listener: 16 February, 2013.   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History;   Miraculously, all four Jewish schoolboys in the picture (which accompanied the column)  taken in Berlin in about 1930 escaped the Holocaust, which killed…
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Money Can’t Buy Me Love

The available text of Shakespeare?s Timon of Athens is a bit of a mess. It was all the compilers of the 1623 Folio edition of Shakespeare?s plays had when it was published, but it is almost certainly an early draft by its two playwrights (Thomas Middleton wrote about half of it), replete with inconsistencies that would have been dealt with when the play was staged. This may justify more freedom than modern directors regularly take with Shakespeare; the British National Theatre seized the opportunity last year with a stage production (right), also on film, located in London after the global financial crisis.

The Context of Light-handed Regulation

Introduction to a Fabian Society series on Light-handed Regulation, Wellington.10 September 2012 This is the first of five presentations on light-handed regulation. Its critics sometimes call it “light-headed” regulation, referring to the simple mindedness of the idea, or “light-fingered” regulation, referring to the way a goodly number used it to line their own pockets at…
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What Are Our Public Priorities?

This is the revised version of a paper given to the a public health group in Lower Hutt, and a Presbyterian Church group in Hamilton. It is a development of an earlier paper “What Are Our Economic Priorities?” (http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1549) There is an accompanying PowerPoint presentation. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; I want to…
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Are Our Decisions Based on the Influence Of Irrelevant Factors?

Listener: 12 May, 2012. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Economists have long assumed individuals try to do what they judge best, but from the 1970s a notion of “super-rationality” became popular. This assumed that decision-makers took everything into account and made optimal choices. This assumption simplified some otherwise tricky mathematics, but its greatest…
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Rogernomics and the Left

For Bruce Jesson: We Miss You Published in the CAFCA “Foreign Control Watchdog”, April 2012, No 129, p.46-55. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History; The rise of the left and its socialist analysis was a response to the disruption and hardships of the nineteenth-century industrialisation (which we now know morphed into today’s…
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