Category Archives: History of Ideas, Methodology, Philosophy

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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Treasury Improving

Listener: 23 November, 2011. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Social Policy; Economists always knew income was just one contributor to total well-being, but it was the only bit they could study. Later, as the databases became more comprehensive, new research enabled them to turn their minds to what else matters and to look…
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What Are Our Economic Priorities?

Fabian Society, Wellington, 20 October, 2011 (Note that this is a revised version of the paper at http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1524. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Macroeconomics & Money; Tonight I want to talk about our economic priorities. I’m going to differ from the conventional wisdom by arguing we should pay less attention to the growth…
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An Ethical Economy?

Poverty in New Zealand, St Peters on Willis , Wellington, 17 October, 2011. (This followed a presentation by Stephanie McIntyre, the director of the Downtown Community Ministry.) Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History; I want to begin by saying I have an enormous respect for Stephanie McIntyre, the team she…
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What Are Our Economic Priorities?

Spirited Conversations: Nelson 24 August, 2011 A revised version of this column is at http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1549. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Macroeconomics & Money; Tonight I want to talk to talk about our economic priorities. I’m going to differ from the conventional wisdom by arguing we should pay less attention to the growth of…
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Indian Listener Columns

Keywords: Growth & Innovation; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History; The Asia New Zealand Foundation kindly made a grant to enable me to visit India. Here are the columns I wrote: A CLASH OF TITANS (22 January, 2011) http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1416 GOD’S OTHER COUNTRY (19 February, 2011) http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=1435 INDIA’S UNMET DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENT NEEDS…
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Amartya Sen and India’s Future

India is a country of the past, but it is also a country of the future. Listener: 25 June, 2011. Keywords: Growth & Innovation; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History; Many New Zealanders find India mysterious, for we don’t have much to do with it – unfortunately it is just out…
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Quakenomics

Earthquakes are bad for the economy, despite the wool some are trying to pull. Listener: 19 March, 2011. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Business journalists sometimes seem to compete among themselves for the silliest argument, but the height of fatuity must be the crowing that the Christchurch earthquakes will increase our gross domestic…
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The Foundations Of Social Welfare in New Zealand

Paper to a Student Group from Carleton University, 10 February 2011. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History; Social Policy; Europeans were greatly puzzled by the American debate over President Obama’s health reforms, for almost everyone there assumes the public sector should actively promote universal health care. Clearly that is not…
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What Chance a Genuinely Creative Intellectual Community?

Management Magazine, February 2011, p.9. Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; While like Colin James in his November column (Management Magazine), I would be delighted if New Zealand were to produce a economist or philosopher of the international quality of David Hume or Adam Smith – the leaders of the Scottish enlightenment – the…
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A Good Keynes Man

Paul Samuelson, 1916-2009. Listener: 23 January, 2010 Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; We called it “Sam”, but its official title was Economics. Written by Paul Samuelson, it’s the book that – as author Robert Heilbroner put it – “changed our vision of economics from the dismal science to a study of social possibilities”….
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Cassandras and the Global Financial Crisis

Spirited Conversations: Nelson, 29 October 2009.   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   Political Economy & History;   This evening’s presentation is about two terms which are homophones. I shall begin by talking about prophets – spelt p-r o-p-h-e-t-s. Later I shall talk about p-r-o-f-i-t-s. Both have a number of meanings, not least the…
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Less Equal Than Others

Societies with great inequality are more prone to poor health, social hostility and crime. Listener: 29 August, 2009. Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; When I was working on the problems of inequality and poverty in the 1970s, my colleagues joked I was a social economist, even if they spent more time…
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