Category Archives: Listener

AND THE WINNER IS …

In the economic contest between communist China. and democratic India what matters is people.   Listener: 9 August, 2014   Keywords: Growth & Innovation; Political Economy & History;   The debate in the 1950s was whether the Chinese economy would do better than the Indian one. Both countries had become independent in the late 1940s,…
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BLOWING BUBBLES

If New Zealand is heading for a housing market implosion, watch what you borrow.   Listener: 24 June, 2014.   Keywords: Business & Finance; Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation;   When commentator Jesse Colombo in business journal Forbes said New Zealand had a housing and credit bubble, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce shot the…
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Chips with Everything

Chips with Everything It is a fallacy to claim the poor just need financial advice to improve their lot.   Listener: 10 April, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   I was working on a standard-of-living case and was shown figures prepared by an approved budget advisory service for Meg and her daughter Stacey…
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Business of Office

It’s much easier to be environmentally pure in opposition than in government.   Listener: 27 March, 2014   Keywords: Environment & Resources; Political Economy & History;   Last year, a blogger argued that the Green Party did not need to engage with business interests while in opposition since whatever it did, it would win no…
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Been Counters

Statistical errors aren’t unusual – so it’s important to measure their effects.   Listener: 13th March, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics;   There was a bit of flapdoodle recently when the Treasury and Statistics New Zealand owned up to having made an error in some household income statistics, which had a knock-on effect on…
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The Elephant in the Room

Free trade is a fine ideal but comes at the cost of compromised sovereignty.   Listener: 13 February, 2014.   Keywords: Globalisation & Trade;   Once free trade agreements (FTAs) were about reducing tariffs on imports. But it wasn’t long before it became necessary to deal with other means of favouring domestic production: import controls,…
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Child Poverty

Listener:  8 February, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   I hope Brian Easton (Economy, January 25) is right that child poverty is at last accepted by the conventional wisdom. He made an early contribution to the debate.   However, I fundamentally disagree with him that there has been a lack of quality research….
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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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Hard Times

Literary classics from another era can tell us a lot about today’s economy.   Listener: 2 January, 2014.   Keywords: Literature and Culture; Political Economy & History;   This year I’ve been reading early 19th-century novels, partly for their literary quality and narrative, but also because they shed a fascinating light on English industrialisation and…
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Shock of the New

Oh for leaders who cushion us from economic blows and remain progressive.   Listener: 12 December, 2013   Keywords: Growth & Innovation; Political Economy & History;   We might pretend economic management is concerned with accelerating growth, but it is mainly about dealing with the myriad shocks that pepper the economy.   The market can…
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First, Show Us the Evidence

Policymaking is too often based on what someone thinks is a good idea.   Listener:  5 December, 2013   Keywords: Governance; Growth & Innovation;   The Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, has called for the greater use of evidence-based policy formation. It arises out of his medical background, where there has been…
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Long Term Prospects for Health Spending

Wellington School of Medicine Seminar Series: 22 November, 2013. [1] Keywords: Governance; Health;   The Public Finance Act requires the Treasury to produce a statement on the Crown’s Long Term Fiscal Position every four years. It involves projecting 40 and more years out based on current policy assumptions with some alternative policy assumptions to assist…
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Market Daze

Can the property companies that run rest homes provide effective care?   Listener: 14 November, 2013   Keywords: Regulation & Taxation; Retirement Policy; Social Policy;   I have had to visit a number of rest homes for the elderly. Such visits can be pretty draining. The one positive is the caring and concerned staff –…
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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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