Author Archives: Brian Easton

Review of Michael Cullen’s Autobiography

New Zealand International Review November/December 2021 Vol 46, No 6 p.26-7. LABOUR SAVING: A Memoir by Michael Cullen (Allen and Unwin, Auckland, 432pp, $50) In the 40 years since Muldoon’s reign, the predominant form of national political leadership has been a dual premiership in which, broadly, the prime minister manages the politics and the co-premier…
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FRIDAYS WITH JIM

Conversations about our country with Jim Bolger: David Cohen (Massey University Press, Auckland, 287pp, $45.) NZ International Review (September/October 2021) p.29-31 James Brendan Bolger presents a paradox. When he became prime minister, a Tom Scott cartoon presented him as a kind of Forrest Gump; in 2017 he outshone his other three panellists: Helen Clark, Geoffrey…
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IN OPEN SEAS: Part I: On the Seashore: (1943-1970)

Brian Easton (Journalist) Interviews Brian Easton (Economist) Published in Asymmetric Information, Issue 71 August 2021. You grew up in Christchurch? In Somerfield, in the south of the city, in a state house the family bought. Dad was an electrician who in the middle of his life became a psychopaedic nurse. Mum was a clerical worker…
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IN PRAISE OF THE VIENNESE SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

The Marginal Revolutionaries: How Austrian Economists Fought the War of Ideas: Janek Wasserman (Yale University Press; 2019) Asymmetric Information, Issue No. 70 / April 2021 p.7-8. Mentioning to colleagues that I was reading a book on Austrian economists almost invariably led to strong responses – sometimes positive, more often negative. But, typically, their responses were…
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Some Published Articles on Behavioural Economics by Brian Easton

In the Abstract: Will Most Of Us Have an Impoverished Retirement? (June 6, 1998) Richard Thaler’s Savings Principles (7 January 1999) Two Styles Of Management (1 July 1999)             This reviews             Thaler, R.H. (1992) The Winner’s Curse: Paradoxes and Anomolies of Economic Life, Princeton University Press;             Thaler, R.H. (1994) Quasi Rational Economics, Russell…
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A Proposal for an Earnings-Related Redundancy Insurance Protection.

1          Summary 1.1       This short paper sets out a scheme for reducing the shock of lost income from redundancy. 2          Preliminaries: Dealing with a Private Market Failure 2.1       This proposal arises because the private market has not been able to provide adequate income protection for those who become unemployed from redundancy. In particular…
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Notes on ‘Rentier Capitalism’

I have been dipping into Brett Christophers’ Rentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy and Who Pays for It? Economists should be warned that his use of the term ‘rentier’ is ‘heterodox’ (his term). I have no difficulty with Humpty-Dumpty’s ‘When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither…
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Designing a The Primary Macropolicy Wellbeing Indicator

Introduction: The focus of this paper is on macroeconomic management and not on the entirety of economic policy. There are many issues which macroeconomic interventions cannot address. To use macroeconomic instruments, rather than the relevant targeted instrument, will blunt the effectiveness of macropolicy interventions. Reflecting, this paper is really a critique of the current primary…
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We Must Avoid Treating Māori As Living Fossils.

There are times when tikanga needs to be broken for tikanga to survive. I recently gave a presentation on Māori economic history based on my Not in Narrow Seas. Its most important message was that Māori proved to be a very adaptable people continually evolving as new opportunities arose. The European tradition recalls the Duke…
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A Brief History of the Māori Economy: How Things Change

Presentation to a Statistics New Zealand Seminar, 23 February, 2021. Māori involvement in the economy has been an integral part of New Zealand’s story, even if we ignore the first 500 years when there was only a Māori economy. Unlike many of our histories, Not in Narrow Seas does not. There are about 40,000 words…
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The Sources Of House Price Inflation.

Building more houses is not going to reduce house prices much (although it will help more people to be decently housed). The inflation driver is financial speculation based on leveraged borrowing. Until that is addressed, house prices will continue to boom. Policies based on theories which do not fit the facts are not going to…
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Is The King Above The Law?

While many readers will say ‘the king is certainly not above the law’, not everyone believes that, especially if they are in power. The term ‘democracy’ is complicated and often used misleadingly. For instance, the ‘German Democratic Republic’ (a.k.a. East Germany), which was a part of the Soviet Empire, had one male in four reporting…
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