Category Archives: History of Ideas, Methodology, Philosophy

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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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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ECONOMISTS AT WAR: How a Handful of Economists Helped Win and Lose the World Wars: Alan Bollard

New Zealand International Review, January/February 2021 Vol 46, No 1: p.28-29 (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2020, 321pp, £20) The outcome of a long war is usually determined by the economic strength of the combatants. But how to present this in a lively and interesting way — battles are so much more engaging? Alan Bollard successfully…
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Good and Faithful Servant: Jas McKenzie 1939-2020

Policy Quarterly Vol 16 No 3 (2020) p.79-80. The earliest assessment of Jas that I recall is that he was ‘New Zealand’s John Stone’, referring to a towering secretary of the Australian Treasury. When I told Jas this, he was appalled because their political views were very different. I explained that the comparison arose because…
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What Happened to Egalitarian New Zealand?

Bob Scott Lecture Series on Inequality, 25 June 2019. (See also Have We Abandoned the Egalitarian Society?) What I want to do this evening is examine egalitarianism. In particular, New Zealand is a less egalitarian society today than it was when I was growing up in the 1950s. Why? How? The structure of the paper…
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Obituary: Ian Francis Shirley

Ian Shirley (28 February 1940 – 20 January 2019) This obituary was first published in “The Policy Observatory” which Ian founded New Zealand’s progressive causes have been driven by a strong sense of social justice. Ian Shirley was one of the nation’s strongest drivers. He was born in Kaiapoi and spent his early years in…
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NEW ZEALAND’S 9/11: UNITY IN DIVERSITY

This was submitted to an American publication but not published.) On 15 March, 2019, a gunman entered Masjid Al Noor, a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, during prayer time, and fired a semiautomatic rifle adapted to shoot continuously. He then went to a second mosque a few miles away, shooting people there too. Altogether 50…
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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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How Shallow is Intellectual Life in New Zealand?

It is not what Eleanor Catton said about the government, but how we respond to what she said. Sean Plunkett’s intemperate attack on Eleanor Catton is a reminder of just how superficial is tolerance of dissent in New Zealand. I leave others to defend the exact interchange – Danyl McLauchlan was as I normally expect…
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The Matter With Economics?

Jeff Madrick identifies seven bad economic ideas; Alan Blinder is more cautious. What do economists actually believe, and how does it stack up against what we think economics says? Jeff Madrick, a highly respected American economic journalist, recently published a book, Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World. It was…
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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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