Category Archives: Listener

Inequality Claims

I reviewed “Inequality: a New Zealand Crisis”, Max Rashbrooke (ed) in “The New Zealand Listener” of 10 October, 2013. (http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/2012/11/is-new-zealand-still-fair/). It elicited the following letter and my reply.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics;   We welcome Brian Easton’s review of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis (“Books & Culture, October 19) and his acknowledgement that it…
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Labouring over Inequality

The big issue concerning Labour’s grass roots is a bit of a surprise.   Listener: 17 October, 2013   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Political Economy & History;   The popular party vote that elected David Cunliffe leader of the Labour Party reveals much about what the party grass roots think. They gave a lower significance to…
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“Inequality: a New Zealand Crisis’, Max Rashbrooke (ed)

Max Rashbrooke and his contributors have begun a valuable discussion about wealth distribution in New Zealand – but it is no more than a starting point, and one with huge gaps.   Listener:10 October, 2013   Keywords: Distributional Economics;  Social Policy;   In recent years, debates about income inequality in rich countries have become prominent…
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Volting in a Vacuum

Wellington’s disdain for local councils makes the present elections almost meaningless.   Listener: 3 October, 2013.   Keywords: Governance;   The abolition of the provinces in 1876 made New Zealand one of the most centralised states in the world. Not completely, however – a second level of regional, city and district councils exists that we…
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On Capital Gains Tax

It’s time to stop subsidising speculation on housing.   Listener: 19 September, 2013.   Keywords: Regulation & Taxation; Social Policy;   Scared by finance company failure, you decide to invest some of your savings in a rental property. You borrow just enough so the tenant’s payments cover the interest, rates and other outgoings. The return…
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Cleaning up Corruption

CLEANING UP CORRUPTION Becoming a democratic country is not as simple as just holding free elections.   Listener: 5 September, 2013.   Keywords: Growth & Innovation; Political Economy & History;   Indonesians think of their country as a democracy following the introduction of relatively fair and free elections after the collapse of the Suharto dictatorship…
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Culture of Dependency

We must remember the lesson of the 1960s and ensure the diversity of our exports and markets.   Listener: 22 August, 2013.   Keywords: Globalisation & Trade; Growth & Innovation; Political Economy & History;   We learnt from the Great Depression of the 1930s that New Zealand was over-dependent on a few exports – wool,…
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Future Pressures and Caring for the Elderly

How to live with the Treasury’s Long Term Financial Projections.   Listener: 11 August, 2013.   Keywords: Regulation & Taxation; Retirement Policy; Social Policy;   I was on the external panel advising the team from the Treasury that put together its Long Term Fiscal Projections, required every four years and looking half a century forward. A…
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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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Competitive Advantage

Carefully designed changes to the electricity-generation industry could make it work better.   Listener: 25 May, 2013   Keywords: Business & Finance; Regulation & Taxation;   Discussions on what to do about electricity have been so political and self-interested that almost all the public economic analysis has been puerile. So let’s begin with some basics….
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Sky Lark

Managers don’t always do what their shareholders want, which may explain the SkyCity deal oddities.   Listener: 30 March , 2013.   Keywords: Business & Finance;  Governance;   Richina Pacific has hardly reported to its shareholders since 2008, according to NZ Herald business columnist Brian Gaynor. By ignoring them, Richina Pacific gave no information to…
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Son of Think Big

New technologies and light-handed regulation are a recipe for disaster.   Listener: 16 March , 2013.   Keywords: Business & Finance; Regulation & Taxation;   The leaky-building debacle involved homes and commercial and public buildings being built with new technologies that the builders were not competent to use, coupled with weak supervision and regulation. The…
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